[Continued from Part 1]
On the same day Seward, intent upon the
reinforcement of Fort Pickens, brought Captain M. C. Meigs of the
Engineers to Lincoln to discuss an expedition to that place. On March 31
Meigs and Colonel Erasmus D. Keyes, of General Scott's staff, were
directed to draw up a plan for the relief of Fort Pickens. They took it
to Lincoln who had them take it to Scott to be put into final form and
executed. On the next day, April 1, Seward, Meigs, and Lieutenant D. D.
Porter of the navy went to the Executive Mansion and after consultation
with Lincoln finished the plans for the Pickens expedition. It was to be
conducted with such absolute secrecy, lest information leak out to the
Confederates, that even the secretaries of War and the Navy were to know
nothing of it. The orders were signed by the President himself. It was
only because the same ship, the Powhatan
, was selected for both expeditions that the Secretary of the Navy learned of the expedition to the Gulf of Mexico.i
Energetic preparations began in New York and Brooklyn to collect vessels, men, arms, and provisions for the two expeditions.