Treachery of the rebels.
During the last few days there appeared a flag, purporting to be a sign of distress, on Hog Island
, opposite King's Landing
, on the James River
The matter, as soon as reported to Major C. Kleinz
, received due attention by an examination by the Major
in person, who, after satisfying himself of the existence of the flag, ordered Lieutenant James Smith
, of company A, to take a small boat and visit the island, to ascertain the object of the parties displaying the flag of truce.
took one man (and two contrabands to row the boat) with him, and started for the Island
When coming within two hundred yards of the east end of the island, he could distinguish a camp in a clump of trees, also a flag floating in the air; he then drifted his boat westward along the island, without being able to see any thing more than the white flag, which was constantly displayed in an inviting manner.
By the aid of a field-glass he could see every object about the houses, barns, and sheds, with the exception of a long tobacco warehouse, which is situated on lower ground, but, getting to a favorable position, he did distinguish three soldiers, partially concealed from view.
On a nearer approach and closer examination, he saw a man sitting on the stairway loading a musket.
Still, the white flag was displayed by a single person.
On getting within fifty yards of the shore the flag was taken down, and near the flag-bearer sixteen men suddenly made their appearance.
On Lieutenant Smith
asking the object of the flag of truce, they ordered him to land his boat, and immediately the rebel flag was hoisted over their heads.
, aware of their treacherous intent, headed his boat from the shore, encouraging the colored men to pull for their lives, and began to beat a hasty retreat.
As soon as the rebels saw the boat headed off they were ordered to fire; they did so, but their fire fell about six yards short of the boat; another squad about three times as large, from the tobacco warehouse, fired, but their fire went too high; a third as large, and from the same place, fired, filling the air round the little boat with bullets.
and his party escaped uninjured, owing to the precautionary preparation after the first fire, which was to stoop
down in the boat, and work her out, exposing nothing more than their arms and heads.
Many other shots were fired by small squads running along the shore to head the boat off, but injuring nothing.
As soon as Smith
got beyond the range of their pieces there was a black flag displayed for over an hour.
Lieutenant H. E. Whittlesey
, who first reported the appearance of traitors on the Island
, had seen signal lights on the Island
, on Jamestown Island
, and on the south bank of the James River
, both east and west of Hog Island