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[108] of flags and posts and field-glasses; and, above all, there was the companionship of his friend Robeson. Lieutenant Barstow at once obtained the detail. Singularly well fitted for his new position, he at once mastered all the minutiae of the secret art, and sailed in the early winter in a little schooner called the Colonel Patterly, with some dozen companions,—the entire corps of signal officers of the expedition,—--their destination hidden in a sealed packet which their skipper was forbidden to break until he should be many leagues from shore.

It is needless to narrate the storms, the gales, and the miseries of the expedition off those perilous and shifting sands of Hatteras in the depth of winter. When the majority of those tempest-tossed vessels, which the providence of God, and not the design of man, preserved from utter destruction, had at length assembled within the narrow sand-spit,—and men, recovering from the apprehension of their own danger, began to question as to the fate of their comrades,—the little coasting schooner containing that half-score of signal officers was nowhere to be seen. Great anxiety was felt for them, but it was not until a week had passed that the little craft at length cast anchor among her consorts. She had been driven out to sea by the violence of the wind, and had just beat back. The storm had not, however, chilled the spirits of her inmates, and it seemed as if they had come, not from the bleak ocean, but from some pleasant garden, to cheer their disheartened friends among the sands. Barstow's spirits were always buoyant, and he related the perils of the passage with as much gusto as though he were describing a yachting voyage. Though the mast might go by the board at any minute, he had still an eye for the ludicrous, and a cheeriness which nothing could discourage.

He was at once transferred to the flag-ship of Commodore Goldsborough, commanding the naval forces in the Sounds, to afford the means of communication between the land and naval forces,—--a distinction which shows how fully he had mastered his difficult art. Let him now speak for himself.

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Nathaniel Saltonstall Barstow (2)
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