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[439] obliged to do so to prevent his vessel from running ashore. He had gone but a short distance further when the torpedo was exploded, and the gunboat blown out of the water and entirely demolished. Some forty or fifty were killed and drowned, and as many wounded. Only a few escaped. The first two officers alone were saved. The Paymaster and engineers have not been seen. The man who fired the torpedo ran, but was immediately shot. An officer and men from a steamer near them went on shore, found the wire connecting another torpedo, traced it, and soon came upon a spot in the bank covered by brush, but from which two men sprung as they approached the spot, and ran. They were immediately caught and carried on the flag-ship and put in irons. In the excavation where the men were concealed was found a galvanic battery, from which ran a small copper wire, as large as a knitting needle, around which was a covering of gutta percha. The wire ran along the shore to the river, a few inches under the surface, and was very nicely adjusted to the torpedo, which could not have been in the water over twenty-four hours.

The wounded and scalded men were brought on board the gunboat Mackinaw, and well cared for. At dusk a portion of the fleet dropped down the river a few miles to this place, in order to coal, and we came to anchor here in the early evening. The army steamer (flag of truce), New York, went up the river, and is probably at some point arranged upon between Commissioner Ould and Major Mulford, the exchange officers, for the transfer of the men now upon the steamer.

Below our present anchorage a few miles, is a place familiarly known as the “Hundreds,” and there some of the army steamers are now lying.

And so another evening, our second in the James, quietly follows the departing day. The sloping banks crowned with oak and beach, melt away in the darkness. We cannot see the steamers which lie only a few hundred feet from us, and friend and foe all alike, are hidden from the view. The stars look down upon us silently, and the river murmurs as peacefully as when the Indian princess was borne down upon its bosom in her birchen canoe. Perfect stillness and quiet pervade the region. But to us it is an ominous stillness — it is a stillness that we feel presaging the tumult. It is the calm before the coming storm — that storm, the first murmurings of whose voice we now listen for. Let us pray that its lightning and thunder may purge the land of traitors, and the atmosphere of treason, forever and forever.

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