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[194] line of the railroad, upon which it was dependent for its daily supplies. On the 20th of May, our advanced light troops reached the banks of Chickahominy River, about eight miles from Richmond.

Meanwhile, important events had been going on in the Southern Confederacy. The abandonment of Yorktown without waiting for an assault was the result of a determination on the part of the Southern leaders to transfer the scene of struggle and resistance from the Peninsula to the neighbor-hood of Richmond. The same policy which counselled a withdrawal from Yorktown required the giving up of Norfolk; for General Huger and his garrison of eighteen thousand men were wanted elsewhere. Orders were, accordingly, given him to evacuate the place, which he did early in May, after destroying a large amount of public property; and on the 10th of May Norfolk was taken possession of by our troops under General Wool.

But a more painful sacrifice yet was, exacted at the hands of the Confederates,--the sacrifice of the Merrimac, which had done them such substantial service, and of whose achievements they were so justly proud. About four o'clock on the morning of the 11th of May, a brilliant light was seen from Fortress Monroe, in the direction of Craney Island; and at half-past 4 an explosion was heard which shook the earth far and wide. This was caused by the blowing up of the Merrimac, which had been abandoned by her officers and crew and sot on fire. The reasons for destroying her were simply these: she was wholly unfitted for ocean navigation, and

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