HDQRS. MIL. DEP'T, MIDDLE AND EAST FLORIDA,
Tallahassee, October 23, 1861.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: I have the honor to inclose a copy of the report of Major W. L. L. Bowen, announcing the capture of two sloops and their crews. I have submitted a like copy to Colonel W. S. Dilworth, Third Regiment Florida Volunteers, at Fernandina, who succeeded to the command upon General Grayson's death.
The vessels you notice sail under the "American colors, with papers from Key West, with license to engage in the fishery on the Florida coast, and supply the Key West market with the same." There is a feature in this case that induces me to inform the Department, after a consultation with his excellency the governor of Florida. It seems the smacks belong to a firm in Key West, known as William H. Wall & Co.,who I learn from a refugee here from the island are men good to the Southern cause. One of the firm, though a signer of the ordinance of secession, has taken the oath to the Federal side, but says it was done under duress. The refugee state he was a book-keeper for several years in the house of the Messrs. Wall & Co., the alleged owners of the smacks, and says in addition, that he is sure the firm has not only wished for the success of our struggle, but that they have aided with money. It has not been made known to any one here that they (the vessels) are true to the Confederacy; so in the absence of Colonel Dilworth at his post near Fernandina, I, acting as assistant adjutant-general during Lieutenant Wood's absence, most respectfully write the Department, that a delay of several days may not occur in this case, where doubts exist as to whether the smacks are prizes or not, it being said they belong to friends, yet sail under our enemy's flag. In the mean time I have written to Major Bowen, and said it would be well to keep his prisoners under guard until he can hear from higher authority. His excellency Governor Milton informs me that the crews are for the most part Spaniards, and may claim protection of that flag, and also that at Key West the Federal authorities force all persons, regardless of nationality, to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.
I respectfully inform you that in my letter to Colonel Dilworth I mentioned my intention of addressing you, to avoid delay.
I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE UPSHUR MAYO,
First Lieutenant, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS, FORT BROOKE,
Tampa, Fla., October 16, 1861.
Brigadier General JOHN B. GRAYSON,
Commanding Middle and East Florida:
DEAR SIR: After my complimentary regards, permit me to report for your orders 13 prisoners of war, captured under my command on the 10th and 11th of this month, being the crew of the sloops William Batty and Lyman Dudley, sailing under the American colors (Stars and Stripes), with papers from Key West, with license to engage in the fishery on the Florida coast, and supply the Key West market with the same. The sloops are of the first class, well rigged, and in good order. One measures 65 16/95 tons, their other 56 80/95 tons.