is supplied with fifteen days provisions, while the vessels remaining at the Inlet are stored with food for the entire fleet to last about sixty days. The day is beautiful, with a few light clouds floating through the sky. We have a head wind, but not a strong one. It is expected that the lodgment will take place to-morrow. The water over which we are sailing is shoal and the winds of the past week have stirred up the sand from the bottom until the sound about us is streaked with alternate stripes of blue and muddy water. The vessels at the inlet are more than hull down, although our progress is very slow. We hold our course through a serpentine channel, which makes navigation tedious and difficult. The latter part of our passage of the sound has been through a more direct course, scarcely deviating from due north. The mainland of North-Carolina appears more distinctly to the west of us. The low swampy shores, covered with reeds near the water, can be seen with the aid of a good glass, while the cypress trees further in seem to grow out of a mirror. A few isolated houses rise out of the water at intervals, which our pilot, who has navigated the sound off and on during the past sixteen years, informs me are seine-houses, used during the shad and herring seasons by the fishermen of the mainland. No other indications of life are visible. Those inter-minable swamps along the shore can shelter nothing higher in the scale of being than lizards, toads, and snakes, and perhaps runaway negroes. A country with such a seaboard can be fit only for a puerile and purposeless race. But to-morrow will decide whether spongy-shored Carolina or sterile, rocky-coasted New-England produces the better men. At sundown this evening, the signal to come to anchor was displayed from the flag-ship, and our anchors were dropped in about two fathoms water, and within ten miles of the southern point of Roanoke Island, which, after to-morrow, must acknowledge allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. The marshes of Roanoke are within about seven miles of us to-night, and a sharp look-out is kept up by our gunboat flotilla. The bright moonlight, however, will do more toward keeping off prowlers who may desire to approach us than the utmost vigilance of our picket-boats. A dark night is a powerful ally of spies and other vermin. At dawn to-morrow we move forward, and expect in two hours to be at Roanoke Island. The precise point of attack is scarcely indicated yet, but will be determined by the presence of the enemy's batteries. Such craft, as may appear with hostile intent, will first be disposed of, and the batteries will next be attended to. The channel, through which we pass, is at some points so narrow, that a musket can do execution on the opposite shore. At other points it approaches the shore very closely. At no point in the channel are our vessels at any time beyond easy range of batteries erected on the mainland. We expect hot work, or batteries totally evacuated. The favorite mode of warfare of the sons of chivalry will probably blossom forth here in true Southern exuberance, namely, the masked battery.
February 6.The signal to weigh anchor was hoisted at the mast-head of the flag-ship, at eight o'clock this morning; the weather being dark, and the horizon filled with heavy clouds. The fleet was soon in motion. The gunboats are a considerable distance in advance of us. Our progress is slow and careful, as the water shoals considerably. The low marshy shore of the mainland, as we approach the entrance to Croatan Sound, is clearly seen through a glass, and the white-barked cypress trees distinguished from the general darkness of the forest. At intervals, tall, blasted trees, with forking branches, can be seen towering above the ordinary height of the more vital trees, like the spectres of a past growth of forest trees, much taller than the woods that now cover these swamps. A low point to the east of us has the remains of a lighthouse on it, but its warning eye is dimmed by the vandalism that characterizes every act of the Southern rebels. About north of us, the southern extremity of Roanoke marshes looms through the rainy atmosphere, by which we are now surrounded (eleven A. M.) Our progress is entirely arrested by the storm for about a quarter of an hour, but there goes the clang of the bell, to “start her.” A mile or two further on, we anchor for the night, the weather not permitting an attempt to pass through Roanoke Inlet without extreme danger.
on board the S. R. Spaulding, Croatan Sound, N. C., Feb. 7.The small tugs, J. P. Levy, Champion and Alert, acted last night as picket-boats to the fleet, occupying positions a mile beyond the most advanced of our vessels. The quiet of the expedition up to this time, having rendered your correspondent anxious for an incident, he could not resist the temptation to accompany the officers in command. On board the Levy, Capt. Wm. Cutting, (of New-York,) was in command, accompanied by Lieut. Fearing, also of Gen. Burnside's staff, and several members of the signal corps. Lieut. Anderson, accompanied by Lieut. Flager, was in command of the Champion, and the Alert was under Lieuts. Reno and Leydig. The duties required of these officers were to lie at anchor off the entrance of Croatan Sound, and to keep a sharp look-out for hostile craft from within. Precautions were observed not to be caught by any venturesome vessels, such as dropping the anchor with a buoy attached, in order to be ready to slip cable and run within the line of the gunboats. All lights were carefully concealed, and every thing that would tend to betray our presence, completely shaded. The early part of the night was clear, affording a good view of the inlet, the lighthouse, (without a light,) and the marshes at the entrance. The low western shore of the island was obscured by fog, which increased about midnight, until everything was enveloped in a veil impenetrable beyond two boats' length. Should