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[82] as the sun arose from the waste of waters to the east of us, we were abreast the lighthouse and in the roughest part of the sea off Cape Hatteras. The wind, which freshened during the night, was now hushed into a gentle and warm south wind. The sea ran pretty high nevertheless, and our craft showed her sea qualities in rising like a waterfowl over the swells. Between us and the land the sea broke in sheets of spray over Diamond shoal, and inside the shoal were five of our fleet of steamers that lay off and on during the night, and took the inner course in the morning. Keeping well out to sea, we passed the southern extremity of the shoal, and had a clear course to the inlet. As we approached the bar just outside the inlet, the steamer S. R. Spaulding which left Fortress Monroe for Port Royal, and brought Com. Goldsborough to Hatteras, came steaming along in company with our vessels.

A small side-wheel tug, with a gun mounted fore and aft, came through the inlet with a pilot to conduct us over the bar. A dark cloud which had been coming down from the north-east as we approached now passed over us, and was followed by a squall which sent the spray from the breakers on the bar flying about in clouds. The captain of the tug hailed us and asked: “What water do you draw?” Our captain answered: “Eight feet.” The pilot shouted: “There is too much sea on the bar for you.” At this time the Spaulding headed for the breakers, and was soon enveloped in a cloud of spray. Our captain remarked, “If she can pass, so can we,” and with that, our ship's head was put in the same direction.

With some anxiety we watched the progress of the Spaulding, which was uninterrupted, and we were soon in the breakers, the spray from which flew over our hurricane deck, drenching everything and everybody; but we were the first of the transport fleet to pass through the inlet, which is not more than three hundred yards wide. The little Picket, which was taken in tow by a large steamer in the morning, had been cast loose, and came in next on her own hook. The other vessels came as they arrived; but eleven or twelve, that arrived too late, anchored outside to leeward of the land, and one, the City of New-York, after trying twice to cross the bar, during one of which efforts she grounded but soon got off, was at last compelled to anchor just outside the breakers.

As we steamed down the coast from the cape to the inlet, a distance of about twelve miles in a south-east direction from the cape, we saw the earth-works of Fort Hatteras and the blue uniforms of our troops, who seemed to be busily engaged on the works. As we came nearer the inlet, the quarters of the soldiers occupying Fort Clark were visible, with a tall flag-staff bearing the Stars and Stripes high on the “sacred soil.” Soon Fort Clark became visible, and a line of teams and loaded wagons going toward the Fort. The boys came running towards the beach to get a good view of us.

The gunboats recently arrived from Fortress Monroe were anchored inside the northern hook, formed by the sandy termination of Hatteras island, and the larger number of our vessels that gained the inside of the inlet anchored east and north of the entrance, while many dropped their anchors in the inlet itself. The tide setting out fast, and the wind from the north-east, made a heavy strain on our cables, to ease which some of our vessels were obliged to keep their wheels gently in motion.

A more forlorn-looking region cannot well be conceived of, than the country (if two sand-spits approaching each other can be so called) about the inlet. For miles in each direction, the sandy ridge is not more than three quarters of a mile wide; but anything that can give us the shelter we now enjoy we regard with delight, for the wind that sweeps over us now must make the sea outside anything but desirable.

on board the Cossack, Hatteras Inlet, January 14.
A gale from the north-east prevailed all day. At noon it was varied by a smart shower, which we hoped would knock down the sea and wind up the gale, but we were disappointed. The wind continued increasing in fury instead of diminishing. We have been watching with painful interest the steamer City of New-York, which is aground in the breakers outside the inlet, and with the glass we can see the breakers making a dash over her stern. There are evidently some of the crew on board, for a signal of distress was shown this morning at the same time her foremast was being cut away, carrying the maintopmast with it as it fell. Her funnel was either cut away or broken by the heaving of the vessel still later, and at night she looked as much like a total wreck as anything of the kind. Our captain has expressed a willingness to go to their aid, but he has no orders, and has six or seven hundred lives aboard, which would all be risked by going out. The lower spit of the island, on which Fort Hatteras stands, is almost submerged, and the fortifications look like an island instead of a part of the beach.

The works here are nearly in the same condition as when taken. The guns have been mounted, and some slight repairs made in the works. A steam-engine works two condensers for making fresh water from salt water, which is the only water this region supplies. The principal supply comes from the North, regular shipments being made by every steamer from Baltimore. The barracks occupied by the troops are those erected by the North-Carolinians previous to the surrender of the forts. A large gun brought here by the rebels, and which was cast last spring by the Tredegar Works in Richmond, has been mounted on the beach, on a circular platform, by our men, and is a formidable-looking weapon. It commands the inlet and the sound to a distance of three or four miles.

Two companies of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, and a company of regulars, garrison the forts at the inlet. The Ninth New-York, Col.


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