BALTIMORE, March 24. – Four deserters arrived by the Old Point boat to-day, from the rebel army, all citizens of Eastern States who were made prisoners by the rebels last May, at Cedar Keys, Florida, where they had gone with the schooner Slug, to load with timber, which was confiscated. The schooner was loaded with cotton, but she was subsequently burnt to escape a Federal cruiser.
The four men were obliged to enlist in the 2d Florida regiment, last January. The regiment was ordered to Richmond, where they arrived the day after the battle of Bull Run. They were finally sent to Yorktown. They state that Mcgruder’s [sic] force around Yorktown is composed of about a dozen regiments, and that he has not over 4,000 effective fighting men. But at Great Bethel and other points through the peninsula he has not less than fifteen thousand men. – There are some heavy guns near Yorktown.
During the last few weeks these forces have been engaged in building casemates, but not of a very formidable character.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 29, 1862, p. 4