about 20 had left the day before under the command of the post [commander], McKay. When the party arrived at the neck of land between the river on the west and the marsh on the east, pickets were posted to intercept all who might attempt to escape or to enter the town. Captain Crane, Second Florida Cavalry, which a small party, proceeded to the hotel and arrested some of the leading citizens, while the main body double-quicked to the battery at the mouth of the river. The surprise was to complete to allow any opposition to be made. A few who were near the river attempted to escape to the other side; 1 was shot dead, and 2 or 3 wounded, when those who had not escaped surrendered. The party which had landed at Gadsden's Point was now seen on the west bank of the river. It was judged best not to communicate with them before entering the town, as no opposition was expected, and we should lose time by so doing. That party now joined the main force at the old U. S. barracks.
Making our position secure from surprise by pickets of the Second Florida Cavalry, attention was turned to the public property in Tampa. The naval party under Captain Fales captured a sloop loaded with cotton, and also cotton on shore sufficient to make in all about 50 bales. The Confederate mail was secured and forwarded to General Woodbury. During Friday night a small party was sent to the west bank of the river to prevent a surprise from that quarter. Saturday the battery, consisting of three 24-pounders mounted on barbette carriages, and two field pieces, 6-pounders, were destroyed. The heavy guns were disabled, and the 6-pounders were brought away with us. The magazine and earthworks were destroyed by burning the timber revetments. The greater part of the ammunition and projectiles was thrown into the water, as well as some old muskets. A part of the property belonging to the light-house at Egmont Key was found and brought away. About $6,000 in Confederate money was secured, which I have forwarded to General Woodbury. The prisoners taken numbered 39, but 20 of them were released, for various reasons. Having secured all the property, it was decided to embark again Saturday p.m. One company of the Second U. S. Colored Troops was accordingly sent on board the gun-boat Honduras about noon. The remainder were delayed to wait for the return of the boats from the Honduras. As the leading ones entered the river and I was about to embark the remainder of the troops, a report came from the pickets that the enemy was collecting about 5 miles away to make a dash into Tampa. To provide for such a course the prisoners were put into the first boats and ordered to drop down the river to a proper distance from land. As the other boats came up they were loaded. Just as the last ones arrived a flag of truce came in, ostensibly to receive permission to take away the wife of McKay, the rebel commander. The picket returned in good order at the signal of firing a musket, and all were soon on board the boats. Some difficulty was found in navigating the channel, as it was quite dark before we left the river. We arrived on board the Honduras in Tampa Bay about 9 p.m., Saturday, May 7, 1864.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Second U. S. Colored Troops.
Captain H. W. BOWERS,
A. A. G.