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[294] Messrs. Gilchrist, Fairbanks, Hartridge, Moody, Wilson, Buckman, and Allsop, all Northern men. Only two mills hereabouts have escaped. The owner of one of these claimed British protection, and hoisted the red ensign.

At noon, we anchored off Jacksonville, less than a hundred yards from the wharf. Our reception was anything but enthusiastic. Several large squads of men collected on the wharves, but evinced no manifestations of joy; in short, “they looked as if they could not help it.” Several pow-wows and confabs were held by the scribes, who at last came to the conclusion to “turn Union” and make the best of it; conclusions that were much facilitated by the yawning mouths of our big, black “babies,” (eleven-inch Dahlgrens.) Capt. Stevens communicated with the shore, and at one P. M. commenced landing the Fourth New-Hampshire regiment, Col. Whipple, in the launches and cutters, to take possession of and occupy the town. This was accomplished quietly and rapidly, and in less than two hours pickets were posted and quarters selected from the deserted houses and stores.

This city was one of the most flourishing in the South, and the most important commercial town in Florida. It is located on the northern bank of the river, twenty-five miles from its mouth, and contains, in all, three thousand inhabitants. Of these, at least one half are, or were, originally “Yankees;” and, excepting a few valetudinarians, were all engaged in mercantile pursuits. Many having grown wealthy, and adopted this as their home, have joined in the secession movement and become the most violent of rebels. Others anxious to leave in the beginning of the troubles, but unwilling to relinquish so much valuable property, remained to protect it, hoping for a speedy solution of the unhappy difficulties. These men, few in number, are the loyal men of Florida. By far the majority, however, are avaricious Yankees, mercenary tories, who, clinging to the side that happens uppermost, no matter which it may be, ask only for trade, showing us a slight preference, because we pay in gold instead of shinplasters. I have had unlimited opportunities of observation and conversation, and do not believe there are ten reliable Union men in the town. When accused of “secesh” sympathies, they reply, in extenuation, that it was compulsory, and that they will join us if we will protect them from the guerrillas and soldiery who are bent upon burning the “Yankee town.” One of the most prominent Union men now was packing beef for the C. S. A. one week ago. Versatile people!

Of four hundred families that were here ten days since, not more than seventy remain. The rest fled into the interior, carrying all their portable property with them. The young ladies still here are quite entertaining to the “gold bands,” and the children and “niggers” are much interested in “de sogers,” but the men generally are sullen and unsociable. An improvement, however, is noticeable, and I hope to give a better account of them ere long.

We have learned since our arrival that the confederate gunboat, that was being built here, was burned last Sunday morning. She was being constructed by contract, of live oak; was one hundred and fifty feet long, and twenty-seven feet beam, resembling very much our new gunboats. The planking outside was nearly completed, and in a few weeks she would have been launched. The engines, which were also destroyed, were built here especially for her. In order to raise funds for the prosecution of the work, they were obliged to issue promissory notes, value twenty-five and fifty cents, which were circulated as currency in large quantities, and called “Gunboat money.” Another variety of shinplasters was issued by the confederate packing-house — an institution conducted by Col. Titus, of Kansas notoriety, and a “Union man” previously alluded to. The denominations were five, ten, fifteen, and twenty-five cents.

The “Judson House,” one of the largest hotels in the State, built, owned, and occupied by Northern men, was burned by the guerrillas, an independent association of gentlemanly scoundrels, numbering nearly sixty, on Tuesday night In the afternoon, Major Hopkins, commanding the battalion stationed here, assured the proprietor that his property was safe; but his authority was not regarded by the bandits, who are the terror of the people. To the credit of the rebel soldiers, it is said they refrained from all such acts.

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