On application to the captain of the steamer for a small boat to go to the wreck he refused to allow us to take it or man one for us. The wind was blowing very strong at the time, and the reason alleged for not proceeding farther was that it was not safe.
On the 13th day we met a small wrecking vessel bound down for Key West, containing the second lieutenant and 8 men aforesaid, who had abandoned the wreck and reported the horses still alive, but that the vessel was hourly expected to go to pieces.
On finding that any effort to prevail on the steamer to proceed to the wreck [was in vain] we turned back to Key West. I had taken on board the steamer 65 of my men to assist at the wreck when we started out, and drew two days' rations to last us till we reached our own stores. On the morning of the 15th I found that the vessel was short of water and nearly out of provisions, as I had been compelled after the exhaustion of our own rations to draw on the steamer's provisions, and that the steamer could not reach Key West under three days. Seeing a steamer at anchor some distance I signaled her, and on coming alongside proved to be the gunboat Sagamore, Lieutenant English commanding, and on a representation of our condition to him he took us off and again landed us at Key West, and the men went into quarters at Fort Taylor.
After taking on horses at Fortress Monroe and before running on the reef we lost 23 horses; with the exception of 3 they all died of pneumonia, which I believe to be occasioned by the bad ventilation of the ship. The ship was not properly loaded for carrying horses; being so high out of the water she rolled badly, and seriously chafed and bruised the horses. The tools for the stables, cleaning horses, and watering them the captain denied having, but on the wreck of the vessel I found that they were well provided.
After we left Fortress Monroe we were in a heavy storm, which lasted about three days. The horses suffered extremely for want of ventilation, and after some considerable inquiry I found that the vessel had one wind sail, which was new, and the captain disliked to put it up, but did do so, which very much improved the condition of the horses.
The wreck of the vessel could have been easily prevented by the most ordinary caution on the part of the watch and lookout. About 4 o'clock a.m. of the said ninth day the second mate of the ship came into the after cabin and announced to the captain that there was a revolving light over the starboard bow. The captain immediately went on deck and quickly returned, and he and the first mate examined the chart the determine what light it could be, and finally concluded it to be the Double-Headed Shot-Key light, and the second mate remarked he would go on deck and change the course of the vessel for that light, and went out of the cabin. At 5 o'clock a.m. I got up and dressed myself and went on deck at precisely 5.30 a.m., and as I got my head above the after cabin hatch I heard the cry of "Breakers! and then the second mate had just sprung to the wheel and was putting the vessel about, but it was too late, for the current set the vessel onto the reef. There was no storm and no high wind. The beacon and breakers had been in full sight for twenty minutes to some of my men who were forward, but did not know what they were.
The crew of the vessel were almost without exception strongly in favor of secession and were bold in their expressions of rebel sympathy. The second mate, who was on watch that morning, had expressed himself in favor of the rebel Government and hoped it would succeed. The man on the lookout was a secessionist and a "North Carolinian" by birth; he was either not performing his duty or he willfully allowed the