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down the river with his party in the cutter, retaining one prisoner as a pilot to show him where the ram Raleigh lay a wreck.
He hoped also to fall in with and destroy some of the Confederate vessels by setting fire to them.
Cushing found that there was nothing left of the Raleigh above water — like most of the Confederate rams, she had been destroyed in a panic.
As for the other iron-clad, the North Carolina, his prisoners had told him she was then at anchor off Wilmington under Captain Wm. T. Muse, but that little confidence was placed in her, and that she would not cross the bar. Cushing was also informed that the two torpedo-boats built at Wilmington had been destroyed some time previous in the great cotton fire.
As Cushing neared the forts, at the east bar of the river, a boat was seen and captured after a short chase.
It contained four soldiers and two civilians, who were taken into the cutter, and their own boat sent adrift.
On questioning his prisoners, Cushing found