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Closing operations in the James River. by Professor James Russell Soley, U. S. N. On the 31st of August, 1862, the James River flotilla, under Captain Charles Wilkes, was disbanded, the withdrawal of McClellan from the Peninsula having rendered its further continuance unnecessary. For a long time thereafter the greater part of the river was left in the undisturbed possession of the Confederates, who took the opportunity to fit out a squadron of considerable strength. The nucleus of this squadron was found in the gun-boats which had assisted the Merrimac in Hampton Roads, viz., the Patrick Henry, Beaufort, Raleigh, and Teazer. The Jamestown, which had also been in Tattnall's squadron, was sunk as an obstruction at Drewry's Bluff. Three other gun-boats, the Hampton and Nansemond, which had been built at Norfolk, and the Drewry, were added to the enemy's flotilla in the James. [See map, p. 494.] Little of importance happened on the river in 1863. In the adjoining waters of Ch