Report on the Dismantling of Florida Lighthouses Upon the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1861

From: Florida Governor, State Governors' Incoming Correspondence, 1857-1888, Series S 577

Report on the Dismantling of Florida Lighthouses Upon the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1861

Transcript

at Cape Florida the Light being within the immediate protection of Key West and almost indispensable at this time to the enemys fleet, as well as knowing it to be useless for us to try and hold it, we determined to damage it so that it will be of no possible use to our enemies--

The Keepers at Cape Florida were armed, and instructed not to surrender the Light, only with their lives, the possession was gained however without any resistance, owing to the complete manner in which our plans were executed, we brought away the Lamps and Burners, and broke the Lens Glasses--

The seisure and surrender was made at midnight of the 21st August, while the two keepers were in the Tower, and the Iron door below bolted and locked on the inside-- one of the party being aquainted with the Keeper and knowing that he expected supplies from Key West daily, devised the plan to get them down by telling them he had news for them from Key West, which brought them both down, and as soon as the door was opened, we secured them as prisoners-- The party being Small, and having only a small Boat to return in, we concluded not to take them as prisoners, they professing to be strongly in favor of the South, although they had repeatedly before boasted that they would defend the Light to the last--