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[490] Some of the flying fragments of wood inflicted slight wounds upon two of the privates serving the piece, but in a short time the gallant fellows were able to return to their posts.

A Flag of truce.

At four o'clock, just as Lieutenant Flagler was about to discharge his mortars, and the men stood by to fire their fuses, a white flag was waved behind the sand-bag traverse at the S. E. angle of the ramparts. The signal being observed at all three batteries, the order was given to cease firing, and Lieut. Hill's white handkerchief, tied to a bit of stick, was raised in response. The rebel flag then passed along the rampart, disappeared for a few moments, and was then seen coming through the sally-port, followed by quite a procession. First came two officers in uniform, then the flag, two sergeants, two corporals, and a number of privates marching in two files, unarmed. The band of dejected men moved slowly toward the ruined chimney of the Eliason house, which stands about midway from the Prouty battery to the Fort, and Capt. Bell, giving our makeshift-flag to a little sailor-boy of Capt. Caswell's party, went out to meet them, accompanied by Lieut. Hill of Gen. Parke's staff, and Lieut. Prouty, all three begrimed with dust and powder-smoke. The usual civilities having been exchanged, Capt. Guion of the garrison stated that he was charged with a proposal from Col. White for a suspension of hostilities. Capt. Pell inquired for what purpose, and was told that it was in relation to the surrender of the Fort and garrison. Lieut. Hill was at once despatched for Gen. Parke, and after his arrival a truce was agreed upon until the next morning. Communication was at once opened with Gen. Burnside, who still remained on the Alice Price, and Gen. Parke passed the night on board.

A conference was held between the two Generals, Commodore Rockwood and Col. White, at which the same terms as first proposed by Gen. Parke were offered and accepted, and the articles were duly signed. Gen. Parke agreed to hold the garrison as prisoners of war, on parole not to reenlist until duly exchanged; the officers to retain their side-arms, and officers and men to have the privilege of saving their private effects.

the surrender.

At nine o'clock the garrison marched out by companies, stacked arms on the glacis, and remained in line until our troops approached. The Generals meanwhile had gone to our outposts to bring up the five companies on guard, which happened to be the Fifth Rhode Island battalion. The new colors of the battalion, presented by the ladies of Providence, had only reached camp the night before, and had not yet been taken from their cases. At Major Wright's request, this was done by Gen. Burnside himself, who, unfurling the beautiful flags, handed them to Major Wright, who in his turn placed them in the custody of the color-sergeant. Line was then formed, and the battalion breaking into column, the two Generals placed themselves at the head, Capt. Biggs and Capt. Morris followed, and then came Major Wright and the battalion. The procession moved up to the Fort, around the foot of the glacis to the sally-port, and halted on the slope with the color in front, as the rebel garrison filed over the drawbridge, into the. Fort. Not a word was uttered by the Rhode Islanders, not a jeer or a scoff escaped their lips as the captive companies moved past their line. I have heard Burnside since declare that he felt proud of his men that in the hour of triumph they should have deported themselves with such magnanimity. How different would have been the case if the other party had been victorious we may infer from the conduct of our enemy on numerous occasions, now become a part of history.

Col. White, who all throughout the negotiations had borne himself with scrupulous good breeding, had invited Gen. Burnside to enter the Fort and wait in his quarters for his men to arrive; but our noble commander declined, remarking in polite terms that he could never go beneath the flag which was then flying at mast-head. The garrison being all within the walls, the Fifth battalion marched around the Fort, the companies being stationed on guard in turn until the circuit of the works was made.

The rebel Flag lowered.

It was now past ten o'clock, and the time for the great event of all had arrived. Over at Beaufort could be seen the wharves and houses thronged with spectators; and away up Core Sound were numerous small craft in plain sight, hovering on the edge of the grand picture which was presented on this bright and beautiful April morning. The squadron of gunboats, with steam up and colors flying, lay off and on outside the bar, ready to fight or salute, as might be necessary. At a quarter-past ten o'clock a squad of men from the garrison, detailed by Col. White for the purpose, cast loose the halliards and hauled down the rebel flag. Ten minutes later four of the Rhode Island boys hoisted the American ensign, the glorious Stars and Stripes, to the mast-head, and a great cheer broke from our men, which was caught up and echoed by the sailors on ship-board, and even the citizens over the harbor, in Beaufort, whose loud shout came to us on the breeze. Not much time passed before the roar of a cannon was heard off to seaward, and then gun after gun thundered from the squadron until the whole national salute had been given. Then came congratulations and hand-shakings between the generals and their officers, and between brothers in arms of every grade; and every eye was moist, every voice cheery, and every face beaming with pleasure. Except, alas! except within the walls, where four hundred American citizens, traitors to their country, prisoners of war shut up in the fortress which had been shattered about their heads, had no tongue to cheer for that country's glory, no heart to swell in joy at her triumph.

The flag of the rebel garrison of Fort Macon

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Parke (5)
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