U. S. S. TAHOMA,
Saint Mark's Bay, February 29, 1864.
Brigadier General D. P. WOODBURY, Key West, Fla.:
GENERAL: Your note of 26th instant has been received, and also the ammunition, coffee, and sugar; the latter will be useful to the loyal people here, the former not, as they only have the Mississippi rifle and shotguns. I will give it to them, however, and they may be enabled to put it to some use. If possible, I would suggest the advisability of sending them good muskets. I feel certain they would do good service with them. Already have I employed them to assist me on an expedition about 45 miles east of this point to destroy the largest salt-works in the Confederacy-395 kettles and 52 boilers, having capacity to make about 1,600 bushels daily.
Some few days since, I had them all called together and regularly organization, under regulations or laws which I prepared. They were former into two companies, each numbering about 80 men, elected a captain and 3 lieutenant for each. After they had organized I planned a raid on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, to strike the brigade over the Suwannee River. Its destruction will give a good deal of trouble in moving their supplies from Tallahassee to their forces confronting General Gillmore's army, between Lake City nd Baldwin.
I regret to say that I do not think any of them would be willing to enlist in the U. S. Army. They prefer to act independently. Their only objection to enlisting regularly is that they do not want to leave their homes, and they feat that they might be ordered away. Besides, almost every is married, and that would be a decided objection. Every day they are increasing they numbers; 300 men from General Joe Johnston's army are en route to join them, and I have taken every means to let it be known whenever I have had opportunity that this organization exists here. I have directed some of the most intelligent among them to go out among the people in the different counties and canvass for recruits. Since it is known by the authorities that I am assisting them have increased their force in this neighborhood quite largely, which takes so many men from their army that are fighting General Gillmore. If I had arms, bread, and shoes to give them, I am satisfied I could get 500 men together in three weeks, and could employ them destroying railroads, bridges, and manufactories of shot, shell, &c., all of which would do the rebels great injury. They (the refugees) are determined to hang together until they have driven every rebel soldier out of Florida. There is another company down on the Suwannee River whose captain I have seen. I have advised that company to come up here. They number 50 men.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. B. HARMONY,
Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Jacksonville, Fla., March 9, 1864.
Brigadier General J. W. TURNER,
Chief of Staff and Chief of Artillery, Dept. of the South:
GENERAL: I have the honor to request that the Harriet A. Weed may be sent here for duty in this river, or that some vessel of light