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 The firing of the musketry was continued from the end of the point by a small squad of soldiers, though the most of them seemed to have gone over to the other side of the peninsula to take part in the attempt to recapture the schooners with boats, which had utterly failed. It was now fairly light, the battle had been fought, and the boat expedition had done all and more than all it had been expected to accomplish.  
Christy had hardly expected to do anything more than obtain information that would enable the Bronx to capture the schooners, and nothing had been said about the steamer that had been found there. It appeared from the statement of Captain Lonley that the Havana was the property of his uncle Homer Passford; and doubtless he had chosen Cedar Keys as a safer place, at this stage of the war, to send out his cotton than the vicinity of his plantation.
302 Christy certainly had no desire to capture the property of his father's brother rather than that of any other Confederate planter, for he had had no knowledge of his operations in Florida. But he was quite as patriotic on his own side as his uncle was on the other side, and as it was his duty to take or destroy the goods of the enemy, he was not sorry he had been so fortunate, though he did regret that Homer Passford had been the principal sufferer from the visit of the Bronx to this coast.
The planter had now lost three schooners and one steamer loaded with cotton; but Christy was satisfied that this would not abate by one jot or tittle his interest in the cause he had espoused. The young man did not think of such a thing as punishing him for taking part in the rebellion, for he knew that Homer would be all the more earnest in his faith because he had been a financial martyr on account of his devotion to it.
The Havana, with one of the schooners on each side of her, was steaming slowly down the channel, and the Bronx was approaching at a distance of not more than three miles. For the first time since he obtained possession of the prizes, he had 303 an opportunity to look them over, and collect his thoughts. From the very beginning of the enterprise he had been extremely anxious in regard to the result.
His orders had been to obtain all the information he could in regard to the position of the vessels that were reported to be at this port, and to do anything the circumstances would permit without incurring too much risk. The adventure had been full of surprises from first to last. Something new and sometimes something strange had been continually exposed to him, and it looked to him just as though all the preparations to accomplish the result he had achieved had been made for his coming.
Before the boats went around into the bay, he had been satisfied with the finding and carrying off of the twelve-pounders. He had hardly expected to do anything more, and he knew that Captain Blowitt would be amused as well as pleased at this rather singular feat. The removal of the four field pieces had rendered the capture of the schooners possible and even easy, as it would not have been if the order of Captain Rowly to drag them over to the wharf could have been carried out.
304 The taking of the Havana had been rather a side incident, hardly connected with the rest of the affair. Everything had favored the young commander of the expedition, and he had made good use of his opportunities, though he had embraced some of them blindly, without being able to foresee the consequences of his action at the time it was taken. He had time now to review the events of the morning, and the result was in the highest degree pleasing to him.
On board of the two schooners the crew had put in an appearance; but when he inquired of the negroes he learned that the captains of the vessels were not on board. The mate of each was on deck, and they were the only white men. On the rail of the one on the port side sat the fat captain of the garrison of the place. Thus far he had said nothing, and he appeared to be sitting figuratively on the stool of repentance, for he had not been faithful to the trust reposed in him.
Dolly had said he had gone to visit a planter who had a daughter; but this statement did not appear to be true, for he had put in an appearance early, as the Havana was making fast to the first prize. He had left his men in the barrack to 305 sleep off their fatigue and apple jack after their unaccustomed labor in loading the steamer. He had not so much as posted a sentinel, who might have enabled him to defeat the invaders of the port, even with his diminished force. If Homer Passford had been on the spot, his faith in the Providence that watched over his holy cause might have been shaken.
"Good morning, Captain Rowly," said Christy cheerfully, as he walked up to the disconsolate captain. "I hope you are feeling quite well."
"Not very well; things are mixed," replied the fat officer, looking down upon the planks of the deck.
"Mixed, are they?" added Christy.
"I can't see how it all happened," mused the military gentleman.
"How what happened, Captain Rowly?" inquired Christy.
"All the vessels in the place captured, and carried off!" exclaimed the late commander of the garrison.
"I don't discover the least difficulty in explaining how it all happened. You were so very obliging as to allow your men to go to sleep in the 306 barrack without even posting a sentinel at the battery. That made the whole thing as easy as tumbling off a sawhorse," replied the leader of the expedition, without trying to irritate the repentant captain of the forces.
"And, like an infernal thieving Yankee, you went into the fort and stole the guns!" exclaimed Captain Rowly, beginning to boil with rage as he thought of his misfortune.
"Well, it did not occur to me that I ought to have waked you and told you what I was about before taking the guns.............
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