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[89] which, in case of defeat, they cannot retreat. It is quite reasonable to suppose that they have abandoned the island for the mainland, where their communication with the source of their supplies is unbroken. The value of a position on the mainland is equal to one on the island, as but one of the sounds is navigable by vessels of more than four feet, and that is Croatan Sound, between the island and the mainland.

The sound, where the character of the shore on the mainland side admits of fortification, is two miles wide, divided in the middle by a shoal on each side of which there is a channel. The shores are generally flat, and at the entrance to the sound from the south, the mainland is marshy to a distance of several miles from the water. Batteries on the available shore must certainly prove formidable, and must be reduced before our troops can be landed. That such batteries exist is the general belief here, as it is understood that positive information of the destination of the expedition to this point has been communicated to the enemy from Washington. It is difficult to form, even at this place, and in this stage of our progress, any reliable opinion as to our destination.

Our departure for the point of attack has not been accelerated by the gale which prevailed throughout to-day and last night, and promises to hold out all night — unless it will increase the depth of water at this point, which it is supposed to do by those who are familiar with the effect of the wind on the water of the sound. It is classified by experienced men as a fierce gale, and nothing but the shallow water of the sound saved some of our vessels. The wind blows the tops of the waves off, and frets the water into thousands of wavelets, which break in spray that is carried along like drifting snow. Our vessels are compelled to pay out their cables in order to relieve the strain on the anchors. The Guide had a signal of distress flying to-day, and this evening, about nine o'clock, she fired three minute-guns, as further signals, She was answered from several tugs by blue-lights, and one tug immediately put off to her assistance. I have not yet learned the cause of her making signals of distress. She has been aground since last night, and may have bilged.

The naval squadron attached to Gen. Burnside's Coast division, is under the command of Flag-Officer L. M. Goldsborough, who is also the commander-in-chief of the North-Atlantic blockading squadron. Subjoined is the organization of the naval squadron:

Flag-Officer, L. M. Goldsborough, of Washington, Commander-in-chief.

Chief of the Staff, Commander A. L. Case, of Newburgh, N. Y.

Staff Medical Officer, Assistant Surgeon S. C. Jones.

Signal Officer, H. G. B. Fisher, of Boston.

Secretary to Flag-Officer, Henry Van Brunt, of New-York.

Clerk to Flag-Officer, E. C. Meeker.

Second Clerk to Flag-Officer, S. C. Rowan.

vessels of the Squadron.

Flag-Ship, Philadelphia, steam gunboat, Acting Master S. Reynolds.

Lieutenant, E. L. Haines, of Philadelphia.

Chief Engineer, Chas. A. Norris, of Washington.

Assistants, Chas. R. Joyce and A. J. Hopkins, of Washington.

Acting Purser, T. Thornton.

Steam gunboat Stars and Stripes, Lieut. Commanding R. Worden.

Steam gunboat Valley City, Lieut. Commanding J. C. Chaplin.

Steam Gunboat Underwriter, Lieut. Commanding W. V. Jeffers.

Steam gunboat Hetzel, Lieut. Commanding H. K. Davenport.

Steam gunboat Delaware, Lieut. Commanding S. P. Quackenbush.

Steam gunboat Shawsheen, Acting Master T. G. Woodward.

Steam gunboat Lockwood, Acting Master G. L. Graves.

Steam gunboat Ceres, Acting Master J. McDiarmid.

Steam gunboat Morse, Acting Master Peter Hayes.

Steam gunboat Whitehead, Acting Master Chas. A. French.

Steam gunboat Virginia.

Steam gunboat Louisiana, Lieut. Commanding A. Murray.

Steam gunboat Henry Brincker, Acting Master Commanding John E. Geddings.

Steam gunboat General Putnam, Lieut. Commanding----MoCook.

Steam gunboat Hunchback, Acting lieut. Commanding E. R. Calhoun.

Steam gunboat Southfield, Volunteer Lieut. Commanding C. F. W. Beam.

Steam gunboat Young America.

Steam gunboat Commodore Barney, Acting Lieut. Commanding R. D. Renshaw.

Steam gunboat Commodore Perry, Acting Lieut. Commanding Charles W. Fluster.

Sailing gunboat J. N. Seymour.

Sailing gunboat Granite, Acting Master Commanding Ephraim Boomer.

Sailing gunboat Jenny Lind.

Picket.

--N. Y. Commercial.

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