What is Real Property Anyway?

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December. 1863

The question of property ruminates in your brain as your gaze wanders to a carved wooden signpost along the path leading to the wharf. It says "Home of the 47th Pennsylvania Regiment, Home of the Brave - 1863." Meanwhile, voices are coming from inside one of the buildings. "You will therefore render them every assistance in your power and protect them with your guns and all the force under your command, if necessary."3* A uniformed man has just finished reading a note. Seated around him are fifteen or so soldiers. "That was sent yesterday from Key West."
The speaker gestures to his left to a man seated. "With Enoch as a guide, Lt. Meyers of the 47th who arrived yesterday will head inland with fifteen men to the Myakka River and Horse Creek."
"Enoch, any comments? After the meeting feel free to ask him questions. He's been living here on the island for a couple years and knows the area. Enoch?"
Enoch Daniel stands. "The beginning of the month, December 2, I left for Key West to talk with Federal officers about raising a volunteer force from these parts. A few days ago, December 14, General Woodbury notified our commander in New Orleans of the prospects we have here of enlisting to our cause rebel deserters and draft evaders hiding out around Charlotte Harbor. We're in the process forming a group called the Florida Rangers. One of our bigger problems we need to deal with are the blockade runners - those smaller ships getting through at night with troop supplies. This area is big in cattle..." He's interrupted by a hand in the far corner.
"James Thompson?"
"Tell 'em what they can expect from the locals?"
"Good thought. There are essentially three types, the plantation workers raising crops and cattle for the Confederate troops as their contribution to the cause, the soldiers themselves and," pointing to himself, "Union sympathizers like me and James Thompson there. Of course then there are those hiding out in the back swamps avoiding either side."
Not long after that meeting, on Thursday, December 25, 1863, three-year island residents and refugee James Henry Thompson kissed his wife Sophire and three-year-old daughter Laura, and met up with Enoch Daniel and others loyal to the Union along with the island's reconnaissance force from the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry.

3* Theater Commander Theodorus Baily to Captain Baxter December 16, 1863.


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