who observed the attempt, said that he himself, when in a similar condition, had driven a team down a flight of steps in a court leading from one street to another in a northern city.
He declared that the descent seemed to him at the time only a gentle slope.
On a bright, balmy April afternoon, characteristic of that month in eastern Virginia
, we broke camp, moving through the town, passing the Marshall house
fell, and Suttles
's warehouse, whence Anthony Burns
, a few years before, fled from servitude; we embarked from a wharf east of the warehouse.
Our commander and his lieutenants sailed in a steamboat which bore our pieces and caissons, and convoyed a fore and aft schooner which carried the non-commissioned officers and privates, and on whose decks our horses were picketed from the galley to the forecastle.
In the hold where we slept were also hay and grain for our steeds, rations for the boys, and some ammunition.
Scarcely a ripple stirred the bosom of the Potomac
where in its course it skirts the old town.
Below the town, where Hunting Creek
enters, its waters are agitated by the contribution of those of that tributary.
Now on our right was Fort Lyons, whose embankment enclosed nine acres, whose guns commanded the water-route to the capital, and the contiguous land approaches.
On our left were the fortifications of the Maryland
On we sped by Vernon
's sacred banks, a passing glance at mansion and tomb being vouchsafed to us; by Aquia Creek
and old Fort Washington
, which we were destined more than once in our career to repass.
Passing upon our left Budd's Ferry, twenty-two miles below Alexandria
, where were quartered during the winter of 1861 the First and Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers, we pursued our course during the night down the historic river, ever widening in its path to the Chesapeake
Morning found us ploughing the waves of the bay, in a damp, misty atmosphere.
At daybreak there was a thin fog which in an hour was burned off by the sun; then followed a variable April morning, with sunshine and shower, the air being sufficiently clear to allow us to see upon the shore the peach blossoms which curiously, to our New England
eyes, were already unfolded upon thousands of branches.
At a point on the Virginia
shore below the mouth of the York
, perhaps one fourth of the distance from that river to Fortress Monroe