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Suffered for water.

We suffered much for water on our forced march that night, as we could not get a drop to allay our thirst. We arrived at the saltworks, completely fagged out, a little after sun — up the next morning. We surprised the men at the salt-works while at their breakfast, and seized them and their boats without opposition. After satisfying our thirst and partaking of breakfast we decided to rest that day and cross the sound in the captured boats that night. When night came on we entered our captured boats, pushed off, and hoisted sail, but having contrary winds we toiled all night, making twelve miles across Currituck sound. As we reached the shore after daylight a large schooner was seen bearing down upon us, but we were in shoal water and she could not approach us nearer than one hundred yards. We made a display of our twelve guns, and not knowing but that we were well armed, she sped on her way; the captain, however, leaning over the bulwark, hailed us through his speaking trumpet: “Boat, ahoy! Who is that on board?” One of our men, putting his hands to his mouth, shouted back: “A fishing party.” In a few minutes we were all ashore, lying down on the pine straw, within five miles, as we learned of Currituck Courthouse, N. C. We discovered a house half away, its occupants being only a woman and little children. Our Confederate uniforms were a sufficient introduction. She agreed at once to put us in communication with the “guerrillas,” and told us to remain where we were until she could find us a guide, and also voluntarily proposed, with the help of her neighbors, to cook us breakfast. She left us lying under the pines, some sleeping and others discussing the situation, while she went to find a guide for us and procure assistance in furnishing breakfast for ninety-four hungry men. Presently, the woman was seen dashing through the bushes in our direction, at full speed. She told us that a regiment of Federal cavalry had just passed her front gate on the hunt for us. She pointed out the direction of the Dismal Swamp, assuring us that we would be safe there, and to wait there until she could send us help. In a march of about half a mile we found the swamp and entered its profound solitude. We placed a sentinel on the outskirts [169] of the swamp to watch. After waiting several hours our sentinel appeared among us with a man in citizen's dress, armed with a shot gun and two navy-sixes in his belt. The woman had sent this man to us as a guide. He had been born and reared around the swamp, and was familiar with the grounds.



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Currituck Sound (North Carolina, United States) (1)

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