NOVEMBER 15, 1860: Lieutenant Thomas A. Craven, Commanding U.S. Naval Forces at Key West, notified Secretary of Navy Isaac Toucey that due to "the present deplorable condition of affairs in the Southern States" he had moved to prevent the seizure "by any bands of lawless men" of Forts Taylor and Jefferson.
Craven, on the USS Mohawk, defended Fort Jefferson and Lieutenant Fabius Stanly, USS Wyandotte, held Fort Taylor. Fort Jefferson was located a ways from Key West on Fry Tortugas Key. Fort Taylor was in Key West.
The far-sighted action on the part of Craven, who distinguished himself throughout the war, enabled the Union to retain the vital Key West posts, the importance of which, Craven noted "can not be overestimated, commanding as they do the commerce of the Gulf of Mexico."