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[10] knowledge of the location of some of our camps. Just then an indiscriminate mass of ammunition-wagons, which had been bearing shells to our outworks, under cover of the night, came rolling with great tumult into our field. The mules were stampeding, frightened by the enemy's heavy fire. All thought, for a moment, that the rebels were making a sortie, and that some of our field-batteries were taking a “safer position.” Then came the discovery of the reality, and much joking, but — just as many shells. For several hours the rebels fired two-minute guns. At last we got out of patience, and opened some heavy replies. After ten minutes--at about two A. M.--not another rebel shot was heard. Then deserters came in, declaring that the rear-guard of the foe had evacuated, and was pushing for Williamsburgh.

In two hours it was daylight. Lowe and General Heintzelman made a hurried balloon ascension, and confirmed the report of the deserters. Next Colonel Sam. Black, Sixty-second Pennsylvania, Colonel Gove, Twenty-second Massachusetts, and Captain Boughton, Thirteenth New-York, with their trench details, all led by General Jameson, general of the trenches, advanced as skirmishers, at their own risk, and clambered the parapets of Yorktown. Colonel Sam. Black and General Jameson were the first men in, and unfurled the Stars and Stripes upon the great waterangle, whose huge gun, now exploded, gave us so much trouble a week ago.

I think the Press brigade, as usual, was the next corps to enter the rebel lines.

By eight A. M. the whole army, east and west, was in hot pursuit of the retreating rebels. I learn thus much of the left wing, and am myself now writing in the Yorktown works, while Gen. Fitz-John Porter's division, from the right wing, is pouring through the gates and on beyond the fortresses, by the Williamsburgh river road. It is preceded by the McClellan dragoons and Sixth cavalry, with a large artillery force. It will not be surprising if we yet have a battle on the peninsula. It will surprise us if we do not make many prisoners, as the deserting stay-behinds report the enemy somewhat demoralized, and that many of the Irish and Kentucky soldiers have taken to the woods.

One hundred thousand men have occupied the whole line opposed to us. Eight thousand staid at Yorktown alone until two o'clock this morning, then left post haste, spiking all the guns which they could not remove, and burying percussion torpedoes in the various approaches and gateways. I had scarce entered the fort second from the river when a frightful explosion took place, where a group of men were standing in the quadrangle. One of the New-York Thirty-eighth (which regiment, Col. J. H. Ward, first occupied this strong-hold) men had trodden on the spring of an infernal rebel machine. Two soldiers were killed, I think, and others wounded. Just afterward the McClellan dragoons came on, leading the van of the army. They pressed up toward the main entrance of the rebel rifle-pit, (across the Williamsburgh road,) where we had already unearthed several sunken bombs and suspected others were concealed. I thought some casualty would occur, and watched the progress of the long column. The cavalry passed in by fours, and the last company had reached the gate when — another explosion, a dead horse, and badly mutilated rider. “Send for an ambulance.” “Lay the man by the roadside.” “Attention, company! Forward by fours!” Another explosion inside the great fortress, not five minutes since-and they are even now carrying a poor groaning fellow in front of the rebel tent in which I am writing.

Well, we have the works, the deserted town — a village of twenty houses — heaps of shot and shell, forty spiked guns in one work alone, and thirty-one more in the residual aggregate. Your correspondents have taken hasty outlines of the Yorktown intrenchments, and will try to send you them copied on an engineer's map of the lines, with our batteries and approaches carefully displayed. There is no humbug nor Quaker-gun business about these last-captured rebel works. Magruder has done his best with them, and has been a year in doing it. Our deathful and visible means for reducing the line have alone made the rebels abandon it without striking a blow-at no loss of life to an army which would, nevertheless, have possessed it at any loss. Unequalled by any previous rebel earthworks as are the walls of Yorktown, I do not believe their defenders could have endured three days of the general bombardment which was to have commenced so soon.

Writing, as you see, in haste to push on with the rest, I will this morning give you only the outline features of Yorktown. An immense earth wall, fifteen feet at the parapet and twenty at the base, completely invests the land boundaries of the place, reaching from the river-bank below to the river-shore above. This wall is eighteen feet in height, from the bottom of a ditch eleven feet high and twelve feet wide. It has transverses, bomb-proofs, etc., well distributed throughout. It is over a mile in total length, and Yorktown is forever henceforth a fortress, lacking only casemates to make it very secure. On the water side are three batteries, mounting plenty of heavy guns, of which only a dozen or so remain. High in the village are the old works of 1781. Through the plains on the southern approach deep gorges form natural moats; and across the York River lies Gloucester Point, with a scanty rear-guard just hurrying from its supporting works, and a yellow flag still fluttering from its hospital.

To conclude, for I must end and forward these hurried pages:

I. Will the rebels make a stand at an interior line of peninsula defences?

Deserters say they will not; that they are afraid of McDowell's advance, and are hastening to unite with their Gordonsville columns ; that the failure of Forts Jackson and St. Philip to sink our gunboats in the Mississippi has opened their eyes to the admirable shrewdness of McClellan in essaying the peninsula.

Per contra. Read the curious addresses which

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Jameson (2)
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