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Freedmen Colony at Pilot Town, St. Johns River, Florida
Letter of Dupont to Saxton
Nov 26, 1863
Flag Ship Wabash
Port Royal Harbor, S. C., Nov. 26th, 1863
Brigadier –
General R. Saxton, Beaufort, South Carolina:

General: I beg to call your attention to the colonies in the
Department of the South.,

There are presently sixty contrabands on North Island, near Georgetown.

There are nearly one hundred colonists on an island in the St. Johns River, under the protection of our gunboats,
but of this number there are a good many white persons, refugees. Commander Woodhgull of the
Cimerone, in his
last communication, writes as follows:

“The colony at Pilot Town now contains nearly one hundred men, women, and children, white and black, and the
number is gradually on the increase. Every fresh arrival brings the information that desertions are of daily
occurrence among the Florida troops.

As you are aware, there are no means of support for the people on the island save what is obtained from the vessels
in the river, and I am consequently compelled to furnish food to them.”

These colonists are all much in want of food and clothing, the latter of which is entirely out of my power to supply. I
have been doing the former out of my limited means from the gunboats. These poor people cannot be allowed to
starve. I should be glad to hear from you in reference to this matter at your earliest convenience.

I am, General, etc.

S. F. DuPont,

Rear Admiral.

"Pilot Town was given it’s name from the resident river pilots which is located on the Bratton Island and is on the St.
Johns River across from Mayport Mills.  This strategic location played an important part in guiding the Federalist
gunboats which patrolled the Atlantic Ocean and the dangerous sand bar.   Subsequently, a refugee colony was
established housing over 100 people who consisted of freedmen, slaves and white Federalist supporters."
Rear Admiral S. F. Dupont
U. S. Walbash
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