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[579] any thing to mar the rest of our wearied soldiers.

Thursday--a fine morning, we start at eight A. M. Meet Butler's troops coming to our aid. They have eight regiments of colored infantry, two regiments of cavalry, and two batteries. We were glad to see them, (if they were black.) They make good-looking soldiers, and are well drilled. We are now at New-Kent Court-House. Halt for two or three hours, and then take the road to Williamsburgh. We have three men shot this day by bushwhackers. We camp for the night at a place called “Burnt ordinary,” ten miles from Williamsburgh.

Friday--boots and saddles at seven A. M. March to Williamsburgh, arrived at ten; an old city, with very fine old buildings, many covered with ivy. The place is under military rule, and in charge of a Provost-Marshal. I noticed two fine monuments, one, so old I could not decipher the inscription, but was told it was erected to the memory of the first Governor of Virginia; the other a tall marble column, over the remains of Lucien Minor, a law professor and an advocate of temperance; it was erected by the Sons of Temperance of the city of Williamsburgh.

Leaving this place, we come to Fort Magruder. It was here that McClellan had a big fight. The forces at this point are under the command of Colonel Spears. We do not stay here, but march on to Yorktown, where we arrive at four P. M. As we near this place the sight is beautiful. On mounting the hill, the York River comes into sight, leading out into the Chesapeake Bay. The scene is novel to many of our men, and they are struck with admiration as they see the many boats plying on the water. Yonder is a fleet of oyster-boats; here and there are anchored transports; those two grim-looking objects up the river are Uncle Sam's gunboats; moored out in the middle of the stream is an iron-clad; while hundreds of small boats flit about in all directions. While looking with all the eyes I had, bang! goes a gun from the fort. It is the evening gun and tells that the city of Yorktown is closed for the night to all not having the countersign; so I have to defer the pleasure of going there till the morning.

Saturday--a splendid morning, the birds carolling their pleasant notes, the sun very warm, making it perfect spring; the river is resplendent with the many different craft floating, with their white canvass and showy ensigns thrown to the breeze. I mount my horse and take a ride to the Fort. Yorktown is a fort naturally, but the labor of our forces has made it, I think, impregnable. Thirty-six pounders are placed all around it, with their ugly-looking mouths pointing in every direction. Inside are numerous guns of smaller calibre. There are many ladies living here feeling perfectly secure, and well they may.

On the outside of the town are numerous camps, mostly of colored troops. Look at those long rows of cabins, hundreds in number. I ask an old man what troops are stationed there; “That's Slabtown,” said he, “and those are negro huts.” So off I ride to see for myself a specimen of old Butler's negro emancipation settlements. The streets are laid out regularly, about four rods wide. Each cabin is about twelve by eighteen feet, and one story high. They are all built of pine slabs, and the roofs are of the same. They each have an alley between, of four feet. Many are whitewashed, and with neat fences round them. The interiors are generally neat and clean. The streets are kept swept, and every thing shows good discipline on the part of the authorities. It was a funny sight to see so many negroes together, for in the town there are between two thousand and three thousand. They are of all shades, from the darkest Ethiops to the fairest octoroons. Children are seen in great numbers, some as black as ebony, tumbling around without seeming to care or wish for any thing but sporting, in a state of almost nudity, while some are as white as any of our fair daughters of Michigan, with fine curly ringlets dancing around their chubby and pretty faces. These people have nearly all been slaves, and those that were born free say that they were no better till our forces gained possession. They work chiefly for the Government. Some fish and drag for oysters; some work at trades, and are very handy. They have their own stores, post-office, schools, church, in fact every thing that can be desired, and I must say I never saw a more contented set of people anywhere.

I think I have been long enough at Slabtown, and so will go and get some oysters. Well, I've been and got over a bushel, and have not taken an hour. As the tide was out, I picked them up with my hands; they are very plenty. After eating my oysters I went to bed and was aroused by an aid-de-camp of General Kilpatrick's, with orders to have a wagon loaded to go on the boat to Suffolk. I despatched it with three trusty men. I ascertained that a detachment of all the best horses of every command was going on some expedition of “Kill's.” He had been down to Fortress Monroe, in the morning, to see General Butler. After they had started I went to bed again and slept till morning.

Sunday--a cold morning. There are a quantity of troops, both black and white, leaving on the transports. After the bustle of their leaving, quiet reigned and every thing bore the appearance of the Sabbath. The negroes dressed in their best clothes, and taking their walks, looked very comfortable.

Monday--a military execution. On going into Yorktown this morning I saw an unusual stir and cleaning up. On inquiry, I found out a man was to be shot, and asking the particulars, was told the unfortunate man's name was Thomas Abrams, a private in the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth New-York volunteers. His crime was aiding the escape of one Boyle, of the New-York Mounted Rifles, from Fort Magruder, who was under sentence of death; also giving the said Boyle information of a proposed movement of

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