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[438] quick glass detects a belfry, from the top of which some earnest worshipper of secession is hurriedly signalling, and telling undoubtedly of the strange fleet which is approaching him.

But now we, too, have reached the landing, and discover, retreating behind the house upon the knoll, a half dozen of the chivalry, who have evidently seen better times, or at least cannot see much worse, if we may judge from the variety and color of their uniform, if it be a uniform.

But we are crossing Harrison bar, and there in front of us, three miles further, is City Point, a place become famous since the a point of exchange for the Union and rebel prisoners. At the landing we can see the large steamer City of New York, the flag-of-truce boat, which makes its weekly or tri-weekly trips between Fortress Monroe and this place.

One by one the transports move up, and the soldiers jump off, until the shore is lined with boats and steamers. Baggage-wagons, caissons and limbers are soon ashore, and almost immediately the signal station on the bank is occupied, and the familiar signal flag displayed, ready for communication with any point. The flag-of-truce boat, with the white flag still flying, moves away from the landing; still there is not room for a tenth of the steamers and transports which are coming; faster and faster they gather, until the river all about the point is covered, and almost clogged with the accumulating vessels. The S. R. Spaulding passes, unable to land the two thousand men who cluster from stem to stern, below and aloft, like immense swarms of bees. The men who have landed have formed in line, and then goes marching along the dusty road on the river bank, a full regiment, route-step, arms at will, and bound Richmondward.

The iron-clads move in order to a point two miles above City Point; come to anchor. Admiral Lee, who has been upon the Tecumseh during the afternoon, takes the gunboat Mount Washington and returns to his own ship.

And now, after a day of intense excitement and thrilling interest, the sun slowly settles behind the thick, rich foliage, promising a night of rest — if it may be — to prepare for what the morrow may bring us to do.

But on the shore, on our right, and only a little way off, are three or four ladies grouped together beneath the intertwining trees, and earnestly engaged in discussing a very interesting matter. They are evidently occupants of the fine unique old mansion which stands on the bank immediately behind them. They must be talking about the strange vessels which they have come down to see, and we think we can guess what they are saying by the little girl with a blue dress, who is one of the company, and who turns toward us, and, shutting up her little hand, shakes it at us as though she would do — oh, what terrible things, if she could only bring that little white fist against these great iron turrets.

'Tis now midnight. The fleet is quietly at anchor, and a more beautiful sight one could scarcely behold. The army vessels, have their bow, and stem, and masthead light, varicolored; the men are clustered around their brightly blazing camp-fires on the shore and on the bank; and the scene looks like an illuminated garden in some wierd fantastic land.

And so we wait the morrow.

Curl's Neck, James river, Friday Evening, May 6.
This morning at six o'clock a flag-of-truce boat came down the river, and from it an officer went to see the Admiral, who was in the little steamboat Shawsheen. After remaining awhile the officer-messenger returned, and the flag of truce put back up the river. The fleet were gathered at City Point, two miles below; the army steamers were unloading their regiments, which were forming and marching away toward Richmond; and the region was all activity with the preparations for the movement of the day. It is therefore more than probable that the flag of truce was only a cover under which information might be obtained respecting the anticipated movement.

After breakfast the order was given to “get under way,” and soon we were off up the river. Just above our anchorage the west bank shoals off into the river, forming a sort of muddy, marshy point, around which we necessarily slowly steamed.

The steamboat New York, the regular Fortress Monroe and City Point boat, used for the exchange of prisoners, and which we last evening noted at the wharf with a large lot of unexchanged rebels on board, now passed us for the point of exchange, which now is not City Point, but some place above the river, chosen at the option of Admiral Lee.

On our right the bank now is low and marshy, yet with thick woods, while the opposite bank for a long distance is elevated twenty or twenty-five feet. It was on this side that the Union forces landed last evening, and every now and then we see upon this same bank the Union pickets, standing cautiously beneath the shadow of some majestic oak, or pacing their little beats.

At noon we arrived at a point about ten miles below Fort Darling, and a picket came down from the bank and said he had a contraband who wished to come on board. A boat was sent from our ship, being nearer than any other, and the man came on board, said he knew where the torpedoes were, and could find them. He was immediately sent to the Admiral, who, after questioning him, ordered the fleet to anchor, and the contraband was sent in a small gunboat up the river to find one of the torpedoes, which he stated was only a little way in advance of us. The gunboat Commodore Jones steamed up a little way, though her commander was advised not to by one of the officers of the fleet; yet his position was such at the moment that he was

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