I am persuaded that the whole southern part of Florida, except Bay Port and Tampa Bay, does not contain more than 200 troops, and these are scattered over a large surface of country. It is within our power to appropriate the immense droves of cattle now being collected on the headwaters of the Saint John's for the rebel Army. In the county of Brevard alone there are probably some 15,000 or 20,000 beef-cattle, all of which belong to us if we choose to take them. To do this I shall require no additional force, the enemy in front of Jacksonville being much reduced in number.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Captain W. L. M. BURGER,
MAY 6, 1864.-Affair at Tampa, Fla.
No. 1.-Brigadier General Daniel P. Woodbury, U. S. Army.
No. 2.-Colonel Stark Fellows, Second U. S. Colored Infantry.
No. 1. Report of Brigadier General Daniel P. Woodbury, U. S. Army.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF KEY WEST AND TORTUGAS,
Key West, Fla., May 12, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the temporary occupation of Tampa on the 6th and 7th instant; the capture of three 24-pounders, which were disabled by knocking off one trunnion from each, and of two iron 6-pounders, which were brought away. Twenty prisoners were brought away, of whom only 6 were soldiers. Of the little ammunition found the greater part was thrown into the water; the remainder was brought off. Ten good horses were sent by land to Fort Myers, in charge of Captain Green and a few picked men. Some old muskets and some other public property, not worth enumerating here, were brought away. The lens of the Egmont Key light could not be found.
The naval (50 men), landing with the army, forces captured a small sloop and about 50 bales of cotton.
There was no fort, no defenses against a land attack; but a single parapet near the water's edge to prevent approach by water. Behind this the guns were placed. The carriages and the log revetments around the guns were burnt.
We expected to find more public property, as Tampa has been a military post since the beginning of the rebellion until quite recently. We also expected to find more soldiers. A party of 30 or 40 soldiers detailed for crow-driving had left the place three days before our arrival. The place was completely surprised on the morning of the 6th.
Eighty men under Captain H. W. Bowers, assistant adjutant-general, landing 12 miles from the town on the west side of the harbor, took position at daylight on the banks of the Hillsborough River to prevent escape by water. About 200 men, under Colonel S. Fellows, landing 3 miles from the place on the south side of the harbor, advanced