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[349] take unto themselves the wings of the wind. The tidings found me serving a tour of guard duty on the entrenched line at Harrison's farm, east of Norfolk; but an eager petition to the colonel brought release, and long before dawn a trio of excited boys had reached Pig's Point and hired a boat with two stalwart oarsmen to convey them to an advantageous point of view. What hours of overwrought expectancy those were, while, with beating hearts and straining eyes, we waited for the onslaught of the marine monster upon her predestined victims! They seemed interminable. And yet the picture spread before our eyes was fair enough to fill the interval with interest. The fair expanse of sparkling water was barely ruffled by the morning breeze, and off to the north the Federal shipping lay at anchor, with the red embankments of Newport News and the gray battlements of Fortress Monroe and the Rip-Raps as background. The tall masts of the Congress and Cumberland stood out against the sky in bold relief, each cord of the complex rigging distinct in tracery, and the tiny bunting at their peaks dipping lazily at each undulation of the swinging hulls. Off Hampton bar there rose a forest of masts and smokestacks, among which the lofty spars of the Minnesota, the St. Lawrence and the Roanoke loomed grandly heavenward, while their great black sides dwarfed into insignificance the transports and smaller craft which lay around and about them. The scene was beautiful in its mere suggestion of repose; but off to the left, behind Day's Point, a thin line of smoke behind the trees hinted at elements of disturbance biding their time to brew a storm upon those peaceful waters, for there, like bloodhounds in leash, with beaks already turned towards their prey, with engines like angry hearts impatiently panting for the fray, were the lean racers of Tucker's squadron, on the lookout for the signal gun.

As time wore on all apprehension lest the enemy might have received notice of the impending attack, was dispelled by the continuing absence of stir on board their ships and within their lines on shore. Every movement on the former was plainly discernible through our field glasses, boats swinging alongside, or passing to and from the beach, while the sailors' ‘wash’ floated in the ropes of the vessels, and the men lounged idly about the decks. On the plains behind the bluff at Newport News drills were in progresss among the troops, and we could follow with distinctness the exercises of a battery of artillery going through the mimicry of war. It must have been about high noon when symptoms of alarm first made themselves manifest on board the ships lying nearest to our

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