of war Vandalia
, with orders to rendezvous off Tybee Bar in the event of parting company.
This with the view of concealing the destination of the fleet.
At 1 A. M. of the 31st the breeze was fresh from the eastward, and the sea rough.
Owing to the set of the current and by getting too far to leeward, two of the transports struck lightly on Hatteras
shoals, when, with a view to their safety, they all steamed out to the eastward, causing some confusion.
After passing Hatteras
the course was shaped along the coast.
At noon on the 1st, a dull heavy sky and southeasterly wind, constantly increasing, gradually settled into a heavy gale.
In the afternoon, the flag-officer made signal that the vessels would take care of themselves.
As darkness settled over a stormy sea they were seen here and there under such storm sail as their commanding officers directed.
It was an anxious night; a furious gale swept the waters, and as many of the vessels were certainly indifferent sea boats, grave apprehensions arose as to their safety.
The gunboats behaved well, which had been doubted from their motions in rough water when in Hampton Roads
Throughout the night, which was very dark, the driven drops of rain struck the face roughly as pellets when keeping a look-out to windward, and phosphorescent animalculae lit up the sheet of foam that covered the rough sea. At 3 A. M. the wind, without abating in violence, hauled suddenly to the westward and the vessels felt more than ever the force of the sea. When broad daylight came, only one gunboat was in sight from the masthead of the flag-ship.
As the day advanced several others came in view and followed in her wake.
, and such other of the vessels as were properly fitted, were under sail and using steam as necessary to maintain position.
The wind was from the west and the vessels were ‘by the wind on the port tack,’ that is to say,