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 next day he re-entered New Orleans, having had but ten men wounded. The coast of Florida is particularly adapted for the establishment of salt-works, and the Confederate government, assuming the control of this branch of industry, had developed its resources to a great extent. The victualling of the armies, which consumed large quantities of meat from Texas, rendered the production of salt a question of capital importance; hence it is that we find the Union fleet constantly engaged in interfering with the production of this commodity. In a former, chapter we gave some account of the occupation of Depot Key, on the western coast of Florida. Two Federal vessels, the Sea-Horse and the Somerset, were at anchor before this place at the beginning of October, when it was ascertained that the Confederate garrison stationed opposite the island on the mainland, for the protection of immense salt-works, had been withdrawn. An expedition was immediately organized with a view to the destruction of these establishments. On the 6th of October about one hundred men were conveyed to the spot in eight launches; they accomplished the task assigned to them after a slight affair with some Confederate skirmishers, in which five or six of their number were wounded. During the autumn the Federal navy also destroyed the salt-works in the Bay of St. Andrews, those of St. Mark, near Cedar Keys, those of Tampa, and lastly those in the vicinity of Appalachicola. The last town was occupied by the Unionists, but constantly menaced by their adversaries, who starved them in it. The inhabitants themselves only existed by means of contraband trade with the rest of the country, which it had been found expedient to tolerate. The Confederates, becoming bolder from day to day, did not hesitate to fit out vessels, intended to run the blockade, in the river from which the town derived its name. The Federal steamer Somerset having reached this anchorage from Depot Key, her commander determined at last to oppose the fitting out of these vessels. He proceeded up the river with four launches carrying howitzers, and, after a trifling engagement with the enemy's partisans lying in ambush along the shore, he seized, on the 15th of October, a schooner loaded with cotton which was getting ready to sail.
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