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[240] ceased to render its cruel aid. Just as the gathering darkness and the yet longer and larger intervals of silence gave intimation that the exciting scene was nearly over, another startling incident woke anew the emotions of the time. Midway between the extinct beacon in the city and the lower batteries at Warrenton, a new glow of light, soft as the dawn, but rapidly blushing into deeper intensity, climbed gently toward the sky. “They are lighting another beacon,” shouted many voices; but again the speakers were mistaken. The light grew stronger every moment; it wanted the mellow, vivid, space-penetrating brilliancy of the beacon; above it rolled volumes of thick curling smoke; and more-the light, with slow and equal pace, was moving down the stream! There was no disguising the truth-one of our own boats was on fire. The white color of the smoke showed that among the fuel to the flame was cotton. The inference was plain; it was not a gunboat but a transport that was burning, for the latter, alone, were protected by bales of cotton. On floated the doomed vessel; her light doubtless exposed to the rebels' view the floating flat boats and barges; further firing, especially from the Warrenton batteries, was for a short time violently renewed.

The glow of the burning boat continued in sight until the beams of morning hid its glare. Before this, moreover, the solemn drama had reached its termination. The spectators reluctantly retired to their cabins, when nothing remained to engage the attention but the flaming wreck and scattering shots:

The distant and random gun,
That the foe was sullenly firing.

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Warrenton (Mississippi, United States) (4)

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