Having burned seven small vessels in the harbor, which we were loading with cotton and turpentine (with the intention, information of which had doubtless been conveyed to the enemy, of running the blockade), and also the wharf of the Florida Railroad, which has its Gulf terminus at that point, and several flat cars belonging to the same road, he withdrew and went to sea. There was posted at this place a small force, consisting of a lieutenant and 22 men, belonging to the Fourth Regiment Florida Volunteers, placed there as a sort of police force, to protect the inhabitants of the Key (some 80 or 100 persons) against any disturbance from bands of marauders. The lieutenant and 14 privates were taken prisoners, but 4 of the latter were subsequently released for reasons set forth in one of the papers,* which I have the honor to forward herewith (as information) to the commanding general. The rest of the men made their escape. There were three old guns which had been in battery on one of the Keys of the group, but which had been condemned after inspection by Major J. G. Barnwell, inspector-general of this military department, as unserviceable. They were never removed, however, as not being worth the removal, neither the guns nor their carriages. These guns the enemy, nevertheless, is said to have spiked.
It is said that some of the inhabitants of the Key were required to sign an oath not to take up arms against the Government of the (so-called) United States during the present war.
I must not omit to mention a circumstances which reflects high credit upon Commander Emmons. Three negroes escaped from the Key and went out to his steamer; they were all ordered back forthwith.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. TRAPIER,
Captain T. A. WASHINGTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Coosawhatchie, S. C.
HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL FORCES,
DEPARTMENT EAST AND MIDDLE FLORIDA,
Tallahassee, Fla., January 31, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt to-day of a letter from the general commanding, under date January 27, from Coosawhatchie. Referring to the late affair at Cedar Keys, the general says:
It seems that the commanding officer, with almost his entire force, were taken prisoners in daylight by the crew of a man-of-war. I desire to know the circumstances attending the capture. Was any resistance made? If not, why did not the guard escape?
In reply to all which I have the honor respectfully to submit the following statement: No official report of the affair has reached me of course, the only commissioned officer of the guard having been taken prisoner. I learn, however, through sources entitled to credence, that no resistance whatever was attempted, and for the reason that protest against it was made by a portion of the citizens of the Key upon the ground that it would be hopeless, and could only result, by drawing the fire of the war vessel, in a useless destruction of property and shedding of blood-perhaps the blood of women and children. The guard did attempt to escape and was captured in the act. They embarked on
*Inclosed papers not of sufficient importance for publication.