Numbers 2. Report of Captain J. W. Pearson, C. S. Army, Osceola Rangers.
TAMPA BAY, FLA., July 2, 1862.
DEAR SIR: I now have the honor to report to you a spirited little battle between my command and a Federal gunboat, commanded by Captain Drake, in which God has given us a victory:
On Monday morning, June 30, the bunboat hove in sight in the bay, and after sounding and maneuvering to get a favorable position came to anchor, turned her broadside to us and opened her ports, and then started a launch, with a lieutenant and 20 men, bearing a flag of truce, toward our shore. I immediately manned one of my boats with 18 men and met them int he bay, determined that they should not land on my shore, and on meeting the boat the lieutenant in command reported he had been sent by Captain Drake to demand an unconditional surrender of the town. My reply to him was that we did not understand the meaning of the word surrender; there was no such letter in our book; we cont' surrender. He then said they would commence shelling the town at 6 o'clock, and I told him to pith in. We then gave three hearty cheers for the Southern Confederacy and the Federal boat crew said nothing. Each party then returned to their respective places to prepare for action. I had a part of my ammunition, &c., moved 1 mile in the rear and placed a guard over the. In the mean time the women and children moved out a mile or so, and at 6 o'clock they promptly open fire on us with heavy shell and shot, and after two shots from them we opened from our batteries, consisting of three 24-pounder cannon. Both partied then kept up a regular fire until 7 p. m., about one hour, when they lowered their flag and ceased to fire. We fired three guns after they stopped. We fired twenty-two shots and they fired twenty. They struck our batteries several times. They threw rifle shot and 11-inch shell. this we know, as we now have one of these shells in our yard that did not explode. They lay out of the range of our guns (the vessel) by from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 miles from our batteries, but we put our guns up to the utmost capacity. It is said by outsiders who were close lookers-on that we struck their vessel.
I am proud to say that my men behaved handsomely on the occasion, though some of them had never before fired a cannon. I had them drilled in ten minutes so they were as old veterans, and I would here mention the name of Captain Gettis in the highest terms. He took command of one of the batteries manned by a green squad of my men who had never fired a cannon before, his own company having left a few days previous for Tennessee. Captain Gettis acted with that cool firmness which characterizes the man in all his various spheres at the bar and legislative councils; and I would also remark here that the citizens behaved handsomely, showing loyalty to the backbone.
as I before remarked, the firing ceased at 7 p. m., each party remaining on the field ready to renew the conflict at daylight.
The next morning at daylight I repaired to my batteries, but the vessel seemed to be repairing damages or fixing something and did not get ready for action until about 10 a. m., at which time she opened fire on us with heavy shell and shot and kept it up until 12 o'clock-two hours. We kept our ground, but did not fire in consequence of their being out of the range of our guns and ammunition too scarce to be wasted foolishly.
At 12 o'clock they stopped firing, for dinner I supposed, and we