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My Dear Brother :
As to matters and things in Florida, they are as they have always been, Indians plenty always coming, but none come, whilst the officer commanding flatters himself the war is just on the point of ending.
A short time ago a ship went ashore about sixty miles south of this, from New Orleans bound to Cowes, with a cargo of tobacco and Dutchmen (two hundred and odd). The latter went ashore, taking a tent and some beef and pork; but fortunately the steamboat that runs on the coast found them, and advised them to go aboard this vessel whilst she went in search of some wreckers (a species of pirates, who, for a high per cent, save portions of cargo and sometimes ship), who returned to her and luckily got her off the beach, it being calm ; but it seems that whilst the steamboat was gone, some Indians came down on the beach and stole the things they had put ashore. As soon as we learned this, Major Childs, who commands here, immediately fitted out an expedition to look into matters and things down in that section. An old Spaniard we have here informed us that in rear of where the vessel had gone ashore there was a fine lake, and in all likelihood the Indians lived on it. As the object was to get on this lake in small open boats, this we effected by going an inland passage for forty miles, then hauled our boats over a narrow strip of land into the sea, launched our boats, and, going about ten miles further, landed, and hauled our boats again into the unexplored lake. We were here six days, searching the islands and bays, and though we found evidences of a great number of Indians and canoes, we were able to discover but two fellows, who escaped us. We got, however, plenty of roasting ears, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, and other Indian things. A great many fields, amounting in all to upwards of thirty acres, in very fine cultivation indeed, having, beside what I've already mentioned, beans, pumpkins, tobacco, and rice. So you see that Indians know, beside the use of their legs and the rifle, that of the hoe. But a few days ago a vessel belonging to the Government, and loaded with supplies for this post, ran ashore about thirty miles north of us. I was sent up with thirty men, and though I was unable to save the vessel, I succeeded in bringing off about $1000 worth of provisions and property. . . . Your affectionate brother,
- William Sherman