Information came to our fleet that the rebel vessel Florida--one of those smart little steam craft which are so fond of running the blockade — was up the Apalachicola River, ready to sail out the next day.  The captain of the sailing bark Pursuit was despatched to capture, and went by night a little distance up the river. All was still and dark. There were no lights on the shore, and the rebels, if aground, were too fast asleep to hear the casting off anchor of the sloop, and the embarking of her crew in small boats. With muffled oars they proceeded swiftly up the stream, until, after running some two miles, they came in sight of the little town of Apalachicola, and the dark, black hull of the steamer lying near the wharf. Everything was quiet. Swiftly and surely, and so still that they could hear the night insects chirruping on the shore, the Union sailors in their little boats neared the steamer. A minute more and they were on her deck. The vessel, in its fancied security, was almost deserted, though laden with cotton and expecting to run the blockade in a day or two. Only the engineers were on board, and they were asleep till waked up by our men. Deeming it best to make the most of the new affair, these gallant engineers consented for a consideration of two hundred dollars--Federal, not confederate money — to sail the steamer out to the Federal fleet. She arrived out in safety with the Pursuit, and was sent to Key West as a Federal prize. There is reason to believe that the good cotton shippers of Apalachicola were both surprised and disgusted to find that their vessel and cargo had disappeared in a single night as mysteriously as Aladdin's palace. The Florida was a new merchant steamer built recently at Mystic, Connecticut, for the company of the parish of Atchalafaya.
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