Doc. 29 1/2.-the Burnside expedition.A correspondent of the New-York Commercial Advertiser gives the following minute account of the voyage of the fleet from Hampton Roads, Va., to its destination:
on board steamer Cossack, January 13.At half-past 9 o'clock on Saturday night, January eleventh, an order to steam up and get away as speedily as possible came on board the Cossack, and in twenty minutes the anchor was up and the wheels moving. Such promptness is highly creditable to Capt. Bennett, for of all the vessels of the fleet at Fortress Monroe the Cossack is the first to move. This trip she is not encumbered with two lumbering tows, but “walks the waters” with the freedom of a sea-bird. In two hours we have made Cape Charles lightship, which is twenty-five miles from Fortress-Monroe, and here we get our bay pilot, having brought a coast pilot from New-York. Our destination is gradually becoming more defined, and it is freely spoken of that Pamlico Sound is to be the scene of our operations. Ten or twelve gunboats that quietly left Fortress Monroe at intervals during the past week are said to have made Hatteras Inlet and the military station there the rendezvous. The sealed orders are at last opened, and we know that we are to pass through Hatteras Inlet. The passage through Hampton Roads was illumined by the rays of the moon, but as we approached the lightship off Cape Charles, we seemed to be pursued by a dense fog, which soon after-wards enveloped us in a damp embrace. The position of the moon was indicated by a lighter shade in the fog to the west of us. As the steamer travelled by the course laid down in the chart, and having plenty of sea-room, the incident of a fog was no impediment to her progress. At midnight no sounds were heard on board except those peculiar to the first voyages of landsmen. Some of our Westmoreland County (Pa.) volunteers were sensibly affected by the motion of the steamer, which, although scarcely more than a gentle rising and sinking, caused many to rush to the side and indulge in powerful efforts to remove their boots by way of the oesophagus. Their slumbers were suddenly disturbed by a strong feeling of nausea, and the universal remedy of the taffrail was resorted to several  times before sleep could again visit their eyes. The prevalence of this uncomfortable sensation soon deprived the ship of the guard detailed from the regiment to pace the decks, and when the relief was sounded no relief guard was forthcoming — they were leaning over the ship's side gazing with intense interest into the deep and dark waters of the Atlantic. Morning came. Sunday morning, but with little to distinguish it from the other days in the week. It was as foggy as on Saturday, and the ship's decks had the same coat of dirt on them that they have borne since the embarkation of the Pennsylvanians. At half-past 10 we lay to about three quarters of an hour, as the soundings gave less depth and there was some indication of the fog breaking away. About half-past 11 the little flag-ship Picket, with our General on board, came dancing along over the rolling sea, when the Pennsylvanians aroused themselves from the depression of sea-sickness to give three rousing cheers for our gallant chief. The fog blew off, and for half an hour left the white sand fully exposed to our view. The low white sand beach extended as far as the eye could reach, and at intervals the ribs of a half-imbedded hulk protruded, a fit monument to the achievements of ocean on this terrible coast. A straggling rail-fence runs along this bank about a mile from the beach, and a farm-house with out-houses is distinctly visible, although the first indication of vegetation is nowhere to be seen. The white rollers break on this beach for miles, running along the receding shore with the speed of locomotives. We are soon again enveloped in fog, and the Picket has fallen astern and disappeared. The beach is obscured and soon entirely invisible. The lead is thrown over every few minutes and the cautious pilot paces the deck with a sharp eye ahead. The fog again blows off, and shows that the steamer Northerner, with the Twenty-first Massachusetts on board, has got ahead of us in the fog. No other craft is in sight. The low beach of Hatteras island stretches along and exhibits a recent wreck, high and dry, and the tent of some wrecker, who is engaged in dismantling her, close at hand. Her masts and upper deck are gone, but her bowsprit and jib-boom still remain. The woods of Hatteras island are now visible in clumps, and one solitary tree, apparently miles from any others of its kind, raises its broad top amid a waste of sand. Another cloud of fog is approaching, and the Northerner, the beach, and the woods are again invisible. The steamer's whistle and bell are plied with energy, as we are closing on the Northerner, and must warn her of our presence. The fog has again cleared away, and Hatteras lighthouse is visible about ten miles south and west of us. This light is one hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea, and can be seen at night at a distance of eighteen miles. The Northerner, the only one of our fleet visible, is abreast of us, and both steamers have the Union Jack flying at the foretopmast, the signal for a pilot. We are yet fifteen miles from the inlet, and can hardly make it before night sets in. It is therefore determined to lay off and on until morning, as no pilot appears. The great point of danger in approaching the inlet is a shoal that extends several miles below the cape. As our steamer passed Cape Hatteras lighthouse, it became evident that to run down to the inlet against a head-wind would be impossible before dark, and Capt. Bennett determined to put back far enough to enable him to make the inlet at high tide the next morning. The sun was setting through a band of clear sky just above the horizon as our craft went about. The sky and water met in the west, at the Hatteras shoals, and the breakers as they arose in clouds of spray were distinctly pictured on the angry sky. Although the wind was a light soft southern wind, there was a heavy swell which made our good craft roll and pitch until the mirror suspended in the state-room described an angle of twenty degrees with the wall. In the smoothest weather there is a swell about Cape Hatteras which is always dangerous. The light here is the same that Com. Barron ordered to be extinguished, while he was in possession of the works at the inlet. It is to be hoped that before he leaves Fort Warren he will be made to atone for that and other treacherous acts. The moon and stars shone brightly as we slowly steamed northward and westward. About seven o'clock we met the little steamer Picket, with Gen. Burnside on board, steaming bravely on towards the light. We hailed her as she passed, describing a circle in the air with her masts, and informed her we were too late to pass the bar that night, and kept on our way. The rollers broke on the sandy beach with a sullen murmur, and heaved up clouds of spray that glittered in the bright moonlight. To the eastward of us rolled the broad Atlantic, unbroken by an obstacle for thousands of miles. The steamer rose and fell on the swell and creaked through every timber as a cross-sea with the force of ten thousand sledge-hammers would strike her abeam and send her guard under on the opposite side. She soon righted herself, and pouring a sheet of water from her side, plunged forward to struggle with the next hill of water. We held this course until half-past 11, calculating that against a head-wind, which was gradually increasing, we would regain the lighthouse by daylight. As we went about we got into the trough of the sea and rolled with a wheel out of water half the time, bringing the strain on one side or the other as we lurched from side to side. Those who escaped from seasickness during the early part of the passage were now brought to the rail, but as the duties of a faithful correspondent do not admit of indulgence in this weakness, the writer, perhaps through the power of the press, which even Neptune seems to acknowledge, maintained that equilibrium necessary to fully transcribe all he sees and hears. At five minutes past seven on Monday morning,  as the sun arose from the waste of waters to the east of us, we were abreast the lighthouse and in the roughest part of the sea off Cape Hatteras. The wind, which freshened during the night, was now hushed into a gentle and warm south wind. The sea ran pretty high nevertheless, and our craft showed her sea qualities in rising like a waterfowl over the swells. Between us and the land the sea broke in sheets of spray over Diamond shoal, and inside the shoal were five of our fleet of steamers that lay off and on during the night, and took the inner course in the morning. Keeping well out to sea, we passed the southern extremity of the shoal, and had a clear course to the inlet. As we approached the bar just outside the inlet, the steamer S. R. Spaulding which left Fortress Monroe for Port Royal, and brought Com. Goldsborough to Hatteras, came steaming along in company with our vessels. A small side-wheel tug, with a gun mounted fore and aft, came through the inlet with a pilot to conduct us over the bar. A dark cloud which had been coming down from the north-east as we approached now passed over us, and was followed by a squall which sent the spray from the breakers on the bar flying about in clouds. The captain of the tug hailed us and asked: “What water do you draw?” Our captain answered: “Eight feet.” The pilot shouted: “There is too much sea on the bar for you.” At this time the Spaulding headed for the breakers, and was soon enveloped in a cloud of spray. Our captain remarked, “If she can pass, so can we,” and with that, our ship's head was put in the same direction. With some anxiety we watched the progress of the Spaulding, which was uninterrupted, and we were soon in the breakers, the spray from which flew over our hurricane deck, drenching everything and everybody; but we were the first of the transport fleet to pass through the inlet, which is not more than three hundred yards wide. The little Picket, which was taken in tow by a large steamer in the morning, had been cast loose, and came in next on her own hook. The other vessels came as they arrived; but eleven or twelve, that arrived too late, anchored outside to leeward of the land, and one, the City of New-York, after trying twice to cross the bar, during one of which efforts she grounded but soon got off, was at last compelled to anchor just outside the breakers. As we steamed down the coast from the cape to the inlet, a distance of about twelve miles in a south-east direction from the cape, we saw the earth-works of Fort Hatteras and the blue uniforms of our troops, who seemed to be busily engaged on the works. As we came nearer the inlet, the quarters of the soldiers occupying Fort Clark were visible, with a tall flag-staff bearing the Stars and Stripes high on the “sacred soil.” Soon Fort Clark became visible, and a line of teams and loaded wagons going toward the Fort. The boys came running towards the beach to get a good view of us. The gunboats recently arrived from Fortress Monroe were anchored inside the northern hook, formed by the sandy termination of Hatteras island, and the larger number of our vessels that gained the inside of the inlet anchored east and north of the entrance, while many dropped their anchors in the inlet itself. The tide setting out fast, and the wind from the north-east, made a heavy strain on our cables, to ease which some of our vessels were obliged to keep their wheels gently in motion. A more forlorn-looking region cannot well be conceived of, than the country (if two sand-spits approaching each other can be so called) about the inlet. For miles in each direction, the sandy ridge is not more than three quarters of a mile wide; but anything that can give us the shelter we now enjoy we regard with delight, for the wind that sweeps over us now must make the sea outside anything but desirable.on board the Cossack, Hatteras Inlet, January 14.A gale from the north-east prevailed all day. At noon it was varied by a smart shower, which we hoped would knock down the sea and wind up the gale, but we were disappointed. The wind continued increasing in fury instead of diminishing. We have been watching with painful interest the steamer City of New-York, which is aground in the breakers outside the inlet, and with the glass we can see the breakers making a dash over her stern. There are evidently some of the crew on board, for a signal of distress was shown this morning at the same time her foremast was being cut away, carrying the maintopmast with it as it fell. Her funnel was either cut away or broken by the heaving of the vessel still later, and at night she looked as much like a total wreck as anything of the kind. Our captain has expressed a willingness to go to their aid, but he has no orders, and has six or seven hundred lives aboard, which would all be risked by going out. The lower spit of the island, on which Fort Hatteras stands, is almost submerged, and the fortifications look like an island instead of a part of the beach. The works here are nearly in the same condition as when taken. The guns have been mounted, and some slight repairs made in the works. A steam-engine works two condensers for making fresh water from salt water, which is the only water this region supplies. The principal supply comes from the North, regular shipments being made by every steamer from Baltimore. The barracks occupied by the troops are those erected by the North-Carolinians previous to the surrender of the forts. A large gun brought here by the rebels, and which was cast last spring by the Tredegar Works in Richmond, has been mounted on the beach, on a circular platform, by our men, and is a formidable-looking weapon. It commands the inlet and the sound to a distance of three or four miles. Two companies of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, and a company of regulars, garrison the forts at the inlet. The Ninth New-York, Col.  Hawkins, and the remaining companies of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, are encamped four or five miles further north on the island, at Camp Winfield and Camp Wool. A battery is in course of construction near the camps, which is nearly ready to receive its armament. Brig.-Gen. Williams is in command of this post.January 15.The prospect for a better day is promising this morning. The wind, which changed to northeast during the night, has fallen to a gentle breeze, but there is a high tide which rushes through the inlet like a mill-race. I enclose a chapter of incidents which have had a somewhat depressing influence on the spirits of officers and men in the division, but all are too much engaged to be seriously affected by them. Although the crew of the City of New-York have been saved from a terrible fate, the worst fears for the vessel and cargo have received confirmation. There is a probability of saving the rifles and some shells; in fact, some of the latter have been taken off by the boats of the George Peabody. The remains of Col. Allen, and the surgeon of the New-Jersey regiment, have been recovered. They were washed ashore by the tide, this afternoon. A consultation was held to-day by Gens. Burnside, Foster, Reno, Parke, and Williams, the result of which is preparation for an advance, probably toward Roanoke Island, on which the rebels are known to be encamped in considerable force, and the possession of which is desirable, as it will cut off communication between Pamlico and Albermale Sounds. Eight gunboats have been stationed about three miles to the north-west of the inlet, as a picket-guard against a night attack from rebel gunboats from the mainland. The Cossack is the most advanced toward this point, of the transport fleet, and such precautions as placing blankets over the windows through which lights may be visible, have been resorted to. In more exposed positions lights are prohibited. Your correspondent's state-room is on the side nearest the advanced gunboats, but as the room is lighted from a deck-light in the ceiling of the room, the precaution of concealing the light is not resorted to. As the weather will now admit of vessels leaving their anchorage, it is anticipated that shots will be exchanged to-night, with some rebel boat that may attempt to make a reconnoissance. There are known to be six or seven gunboats on the sound, but whether they will dare to show themselves is doubtful. Our boats will probably advance until they discover their haunts, and then sharp work is anticipated.Hatteras Inlet, January 15.Next to the interest with which the ebbing of a human life is watched, is that with which a noble ship, that is thumping her life out, is regarded. The propeller City of New-York has just foundered within sight of over thirty vessels of all kinds, and not one able to stretch forth a hand to aid her in her terrible necessity. Throughout the whole of yesterday she was watched with anxious eyes from the decks of an entire fleet, and all the probabilities of her condition canvassed, while the imagination, in the absence of facts, was left to picture the state of her crew, as being attended by all the horrors which sympathy with them could inspire. Providentially her crew were saved, but after what terrible sufferings, physical and mental, and what a depth of despair, is best understood when it is known that they spent the whole of Tuesday and Tuesday night lashed to the rigging to prevent being washed off by the sea, which made a clean breach over her every few minutes, and that all her boats but one, which could not be launched safely in the foaming surf about her, had been destroyed; another having been taken away by the first officer and four of the crew, shortly after she grounded. heroism of two mechanics. To the heroism of two men is chiefly due the salvation of the crew. The captain, and the officers remaining on board, would take no action in relation to lowering the last remaining one of the five ship's boats, when William H. Beach, and his brother, Charles A. Beach, both mechanics from Newark, N. J., determined, as a last resort, to launch the yawl, and make an effort to gain the fleet, whence they expected assistance. Having done this successfully, they asked the captain and pilot to accompany them, but they declining, the second engineer, William Miller, of Nashville, Tenn., Hugh McCabe, of Providence, R. I., fireman, and George Mason, of Staten Island, (the colored steward of the vessel,) resolved to accompany them. They pulled over the bar with the flowing tide, and gave notice to several vessels of the fleet, from which were immediately sent surf and other boats to their aid, and thus the crew were saved. From various sources I have compiled the history of the vessel, her cargo, her voyage here, and the catastrophe in which it terminated. The City of New York was a six hundred ton propeller, built by Mr. Cope, of Hoboken, for the Philadelphia and Boston line about ten years ago, and rated A2. Her engine was a double cylinder, three hundred and fifty horse-power, made by Hogg & Delamater, of New-York, and was in excellent condition. About two years ago she was chartered by the Government for the coast survey, when she was plated with three eighth inch iron. She drew about sixteen feet of water, and was built very sharp. She was offered to the Government not long ago for sixty thousand dollars, but she was considered to be of too deep draft for service. The steamer left New-York at ten A. M., on Tuesday, the seventh inst., with a cargo consisting of eight hundred uncharged sixty-four pounder shells, sixty cases of rifles, four hundred barrels of cannon-powder, some barrels of cartridges, and rifle-powder in tin cases, a supply of Sibley tents, mattresses, blankets and cots, and large stores of baled hay and oats. She arrived at Fortress Monroe  on Thursday, at eleven o'clock and thirty minutes A. M. She left Fortress Monroe at noon, on Saturday, with sealed orders, and when outside the Chesapeake her steam-valve broke, by which the vessel lost two hours while repairing it. She arrived off Cape Hatteras lighthouse at half-past 10 on Sunday morning, where she anchored, preferring to await the next morning in order to have a whole day to cross Hatteras shoals and make the inlet, and to avoid the fogs that prevailed all Sunday. Next morning she started to cross the shoals, and in doing so struck fifteen times in about twenty minutes. The frame-work about her screw was bent so as to infringe upon the fans of the screw, which jarred the packing from the shaft, and through the opening she leaked considerably. Her damage at this point was not of a serious character, but the captain came to anchor with a signal for a pilot flying. No pilot arriving, and several of the vessels of the fleet having passed her toward the inlet, the captain thought it just as safe to try to make the inlet as to lie there. He accordingly steamed forward, and as he approached the bar was met by the pilot's tug from inside. The tug turned as if to lead the way, and told the pilot of the City of New York that he was in the right channel and might go ahead, when the steamer immediately struck. The pilot on the tug repeated his injunctions to keep ahead, notwithstanding he was informed the vessel had struck. All head-way soon ceased, when an effort was made to stretch a hawser from the steamer to the tug, which failed of any beneficial result. The tug then went through the inlet, as the people on the steamer supposed, to send a more powerful vessel to haul her off, but no assistance came. At this point the first officer lowered a boat from the davits, and putting two sets of oars in her, four of the crew followed, and they put off to a schooner anchored outside the breakers. The steamer grounded on the bar just outside the inlet, where the sea broke completely over her stern. About her the sea was a sheet of foaming breakers. Every sea lifted her up, and when its force was expended, she came down with a shock which embedded her still deeper in the sand. In a short time the two boats housed on her deck were stove in by the sea, and when an attempt was made to launch her life-boat it filled with water, and the painter breaking, it drifted to sea. But one boat now remained, which those on the wreck were fearful of launching, believing that it also would be lost. The S. R. Spaulding at this time passed out to sea through the inlet on her way to Port Royal, and was hailed from the wreck, but no attention was paid to their call, and with terror in their hearts the sufferers turned to the prospect of spending the night in their perilous position. During the night the wind increased to a gale and the steamer was leaking rapidly. The pumps were kept working by the steam which was kept up till ten o'clock on Tuesday morning, when the fires were extinguished by the rising water in the ship. At this time the ensign was hoisted with the union down — a signal of distress; but no assistance was sent. The foremast of the steamer was now cut away, and in falling it carried away the main-topmast. This eased the vessel somewhat, but still she thumped heavily on the sand, and her smoke-stack was afterwards cut away, but with little benefit, as the sea was now breaking through in several places. The crew now tied life-preservers about them, lashed themselves to the rigging to prevent being washed overboard, and prepared to spend the night on board, awaiting the momentary breaking up of the vessel. About three o'clock in the morning the sea began to lift the deck from the hull with every surge. At eight o'clock it was resolved to launch the remaining boat, and the five men above named got in, and pulling through the surf to the fleet, succeeded in communicating the condition of the wreck to the nearest vessels, which at once sent off their boats to take the sufferers from the wreck. The pilot of the tug reported at headquarters that the vessel was in no danger, and would live through it, and that the crew had abandoned her and gone on board the schooner outside. This probably explains the reason why no aid was sent to the vessel. The men who were taken off the wreck had eaten nothing during the twenty-four hours previous, and, exhausted with the cold sea which drenched them with spray from the breakers, and the almost superhuman efforts to retain their positions on the surging wreck for nearly twenty hours, required to be supported after reaching the vessels to which they were taken. Dozens of willing hands were extended to them, and their wet clothes were at once changed for dry and comfortable apparel. As soon as the sealed orders, under which they sailed from Fortress Monroe, were opened, it became the subject of general comment why a vessel drawing sixteen feet should be sent through an inlet in which the present depth is not more than thirteen feet. This may become a subject of future investigation. The pilot of the tug sent out to conduct the vessels over the bar asked of each captain the draft of his vessel as she approached, with this single exception. I subjoin a list of the officers of the City of New York, and the places of their residence. Captain, Joseph W. Nye, of Falmouth, Mass. First officer, J. G. Rogers, of New-York. Second officer, Ward Eldridge, of Falmouth, Mass. Chief engineer, Reuben Carpenter, of Milton on the Hudson, N. Y. Second engineer, William Miller, of Nashville, Tenn. Third engineer, A. Sherman. Coast pilot, J. T. Horton. Stevedore, Mr. Bassett. Purser, Mr. Smith, in charge of stores. Mechanics in the employment of the coast division: John Dye and brother, master masons; William H. Beach, wagon-maker, and Charles A.  Beach, forger, of Newark, N. J. The last two were the men who launched the last boat. The steam gunboat Zouave, Capt. Wm. Hunt, of the coast division, sank this morning at her anchorage. She was used as a transport, and had on board a portion of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts volunteers, who were removed, however, before the vesssel went down. Her cargo consisted of the camp equipage of the Twenty-fifth, and ordnance and subsistence stores for the expedition. A large portion of the stores are of a character not to be damaged by water, and will therefore be saved. It is supposed, that in the gale of Tuesday night, during which all the vessels anchored inside the inlet, sheered in every direction by the conflicting wind and tide, she ran foul of a sunken wreck, and was stove in. She lies at present in about eighteen or twenty feet water, and several tugs are engaged in removing her cargo. She will be got up in a short time. The Zouave was formerly a North River freight-boat, and was known as the Marshal Ney. She was bought by the Government, reconstructed, and changed into a gunboat. She behaved very well on the voyage down, having made on the Chesapeake four miles an hour with a barque and a schooner in tow. In addition to the other casualties, which have attended the coast division, is one of an extremely painful character. Col. J. W. Allen, and Surgeon F. S. Weller, of the Ninth New-Jersey volunteers, were drowned by the oversetting of a small-boat in the breakers at the inlet, this morning. Col. Allen left the ship Ann E. Thompson, on which his regiment was transported to this point, accompanied by the surgeon of the regiment, to report at the headquarters of Gen. Burnside, on board the Picket. The boat was manned by sailors from the ship. The Ann E. Thompson is one of the vessels which anchored outside the inlet, on Monday evening, and in order to reach the General's ship, it was necessary to pull over the bar and through the inlet. The boat succeeded in reaching the Picket, and Col. Allen made his report; but as he was returning through the inlet, the boat was upset, and himself and the Surgeon were drowned. The sailors clung to the boat until assistance arrived. It is supposed, that the Colonel and the Surgeon, being encumbered with overcoats, swords and top-boots, went down immediately. I have not yet heard of the recovery of the bodies. A sketch of the life of Col. Allen has already been published in the Commercial Advertiser, in connection with the organization of the coast division.Hatteras Inlet, January 16, 8 P. M.The day has been too windy for small boats to be out, and consequently but very little intercourse between the vessels of the fleet has taken place. The anchorage within the inlet is of the worst character, giving but little room for vessels to swing with the tide. Our craft, the Cossack, in addition to being aground twice to-day, yesterday swung round on the jib-boom of a brigantine, which ground to powder four or five of the after state-rooms. The fine steamer Louisiana, of Baltimore, chartered temporarily for the transportation of the Sixth New-Hampshire volunteers to this point, grounded on Tuesday, with her troops on board. The soldiers were removed to another vessel, but the steamer was not relieved. She has the appearance of being “hogged” --the sailor's name for breaking in the middle, indicated by a depression of both ends of the vessel. She is reported as being in this condition, to-day. The steamer has been on the line from Baltimore to Norfolk, but was in dock when chartered for the coast division. She is eight hundred tons capacity, draws eight feet water, and was built about nine years ago in Baltimore. (See Lloyds'.) Her engine was built by Reader, of Baltimore, and has a beam-engine of three hundred and fifty horse power, the cost of which was thirty-five thousand dollars. The estimated value of the vessel is about sixty-five thousand dollars. She was magnificently fitted up when running as a passenger-boat. A schooner, to the east of us, which was loaded with stores for the expedition, has gone down just astern of us. The water is flush with her deck. She is probably swung on one of the sunken wrecks, which are very numerous in this sound. If we do not leave this soon, every vessel in the fleet will be disabled or sunk by the combined agency of wind, tide and shoal. But there is a prospect that we will escape across what is called the bulkhead, to-morrow, into deeper water. The bulkhead is a bar inside the inlet, similar to that outside, but the water is so shallow, that bales of hay, from the wrecked City of New-York, ground on it from one ebb-tide until the next flood. It forms a barrier against the sea from the sound, hence its name. On Saturday we move in the direction of Roanoke Island, where the rebels are believed to be five thousand strong. Our picket-boats report having seen four or five secession gunboats making a reconnoissance last night, but they kept well out of the range. A member of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania regiment died this morning, of pleuro-pneumonia, and was buried in the sand on the beach. His name was James Conway, of company D, and he resided in Lower Marion, Pa.on board U. S. Steamer Cossack, Hatteras Inlet, January 17.No movement has yet taken place here. The wind continues fresh from the south-east, enabling some of our vessels outside the inlet, to come over the bar. The schooner Scout, with a portion of the Fifty-first Pennsylvania on board, under Lieut.-Colonel Bell, came in this forenoon, after having been blown into the Gulf Stream, and getting below Cape Lookout, fifty-nine miles south of her destination. The supply of water on board was sufficient only for a day and a half, at the end of which time it was supposed she would have reached this point. She left Fortress Monroe  at eleven o'clock Saturday night, and was consequently five days and a half at sea, and the greater portion of the time the men and crew were on a short allowance of water. No coffee could be made on board, on account of the scarcity of water, and the suffering of the troops was severe. Many cases of delirium resulted from this state of affairs, as the rations consisted chiefly of salt beef and pork. The schooner experienced a succession of severe gales, adding seasickness, to a general extent, to the suffering from want of water. The Suwanee, steam gunboat, which had been disabled at Annapolis, by blowing out her steamchest, arrived to-day, and will be added to the armed squadron attached to the fleet. Two of the regiments stationed at this post, the Ninth New-York, Col. Hawkins, and the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, Col.----, are to be relieved by the Sixth New-Hampshire, Col. Converse, and the Fifty-third New-York, Col. d'epineuil, and will join the forces of the expedition. The Sixth New-Hampshire has already been transferred, and the Fifty-third New-York will be transferred in a day or two. The steamer Louisiana is still aground. But little anxiety is felt here about the enemy's gunboats. They give our bull-dogs a very wide berth. The chief anxiety is on account of the indifferent anchorage within the inlet. Almost every day some additional vessel is aground, if not permanently, at least for a short time. Our good craft has touched bottom several times within the last two days, once only with danger of remaining aground. By the aid of a few tons of Pennsylvania volunteers, who were made to go from side to side of the vessel, to rock her, and by backing the engine, she was rescued from the impending danger. Many conjectures are expressed in relation to the object in the economy of nature of the sand-banks that make an inlet to Pamlico Sound a necessity, but all end in the opinion that they were intended as a wholesome and final test for human patience. The man who endures, without losing his temper, the million unexpected and improbable casualties that must attend whatever enterprise he engages in here, deserves to be canonized among the most patient of his race. How the people who formerly inhabited this region managed to maintain anything more than vegetative existence is a miracle. One can readily understand how the cardinal doctrine of the wrecker becomes an article of faith, to doubt which is a wicked heresy, by enduring the privations of this region for a single day. Next to wrecking, piloting vessels through the tortuous ramifications of the sand-bars of Pamlico Sound is the legitimate profession of the biped mollusca of this region, and when you think you have settled with your pilot and given him a gratuity in the way of sail-cloth, or rope, there is a final request for a small piece of salt pork, as he has just lost a barrel by damage from sea-water. Natural philosophers argue the existence of certain animals from the natural productions of different regions and at different periods of the earth's formation; by the same rule, although no trace of the species is to be found at present in the neighborhood of Hatteras Inlet, the existence of the wrecker is established by the remains of innumerable wrecks. No other animal can exist on this coast.Hatteras Inlet, January 19.We are still awaiting the order to advance into the enemy's country, and as the promulgation of that order is dependent on results yet to be attained, the time of our departure is problematical. It is laid down as an axiom that doubtful things are always uncertain. The author must have been connected with some great military and naval expedition to have been so impressed with this truth as to declare it axiomatically. We are still within Hatteras Inlet, and each day of delay adds one if not two to the list of our disasters. Night before last the gunboat Suwanee arrived here and anchored almost on the bar. Before long she was aground. Yesterday she partly billed and is now unfit for service. The gunboat Ranger also went aground. The steamer Cossack was aground from Saturday morning until Sunday morning. The gunboat Stars and Stripes was aground yesterday, but succeeded in getting over the swash into deep water. A large ship grounded on the bar outside the inlet, but subsequently got off. A tug that swung foul of the Brant Island shoal lightship, which is anchored here, having been captured from the rebels, had her guard and gangway crushed into her cabin, showing her timbers to be rotten. A grand mistake seems to have been made in the selection of vessels for the expedition. A very large proportion of the vessels of the fleet have been aground and several have been lost through their great draft. The vessels draw too much for the waters in which they are intended to operate. It is even said that the figures on the stem and stern of some of our vessels have been altered in order to secure their sale to the Government. To-day I have noticed for the first time since we left Annapolis something peculiar in the day. The Pennsylvanians were singing hymns at various intervals, and referring to my dates, I perceived it was Sunday. But from no other external indication could I infer that a Sabbath had shed its benign influence on the bleak desolation about me. I went ashore and found Capt. Belger, of the Seventh Rhode Island battery, landing his horses from the George Peabody. The trembling creatures were led to the gangway of the steamer, and after attaching a rope about thirty feet long to their necks, were pushed over into the water; the end of the rope being secured to the stern of a small boat, they were thus led ashore. They were entirely under water when thrown over, and came up snorting and puffing, but invariably striking out by instinct for the beach. Capt. Belger's battery will be left here a short time, as there is no immediate service required  of it, and the Peabody will be required as a transport for infantry. These forts, the scene of Gen. Butler's exploit, are nearly in the condition in which they were found by our forces. Fort Hatteras, the nearest to the inlet, is the most important. It is a circular work, riveted with wooden piles, and the sand of which it is composed is double sodded. Four or five of the guns are yet unmounted. Within the circular work are protecting bastions of earth, and a large bomb-proof magazine occupies the centre. The barracks within the work accommodate one company, and are occupied at present by company C, First United States artillery, under Capt. Morris. Fort Clark is a much smaller work, and is occupied by company B, Forty-eighth Pennsylvania volunteers, under the command of Capt. James Wren. The post is under the command of Brigadier-Gen. Thomas Williams, with the following staff: Assistant Adjutant-General, Lieutenant C. Cook; Brigade Quartermaster, Lieut. H. E. Elliott; Commissary of Subsistence, Capt. John Clark; Lieut. G. C. DeKay, A. D.C.; Lieut. J. C. Biddle, A. D.C.; Brigade Surgeon, Dr. T. H. Bache, son of Professor Bache, of Philadelphia. The sand-spit on which the forts are erected still bears traces of the bombardment in the form of fragments of bomb-shells and unexploded shells, with a few solid sixty-four-pound shot. The camps further up the island are being entrenched with skilfully constructed earthworks, which will prevent all possibility of a recurrence of such affairs as cutting off regiments, as in the case of the Twentieth Indiana. This affair has been magnified into an undue importance by the newspaper correspondents, who, in the absence of sensation in the humdrum life at Hatteras Inlet, have spread rather extensively on this trifling affair. The truth of the matter is, that the terrible execution by the shells of the Monticello was a joke practised on the credulity of these sensationists, and the only mortality resulting from her fire was the killing of an inoffensive inhabitant of the island. Not one rebel was killed. The Ninth New-York alone will be relieved at this post by the Sixth New-Hampshire. The Forty-eighth Pennsylvania will not be relieved, as was stated in a previous letter, but will continue to form a portion of the command of Gen. Williams.Hatteras Inlet, January 20.The chief object of interest at present, is the difficulty in getting vessels over the bulkhead or swash, within the inlet. Our vessels are nearly all too deep to pass, except at the top of the tide, and even then it is necessary to remove troops, stores and coal, and to blow the water out of the boilers. When the vessels are lightened to the utmost possible degree, they are taken in tow by the light-draft tugs, and at high tide are, with a great deal of difficulty, worked over. An operation that should have been completed before our arrival here, was not commenced until to-day. Soundings are being taken on the bar, and the channel indicated by barrel buoys, on which lights are to be placed at night. We have just received intelligence of the wreck of the steamer Pocahontas, which was loaded with the horses of the Fourth Rhode Island regiment, of the First battalion Fifth Rhode Island, and the horses of the staff-officers of several regiments, in all one hundred and twenty-three horses. Seventeen horses were brought to the shore, and ninety-six were lost. No lives were lost. The vessel was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the country. She was built over thirty years ago, and ran from Baltimore to points below, on the Chesapeake Bay. She was chartered by the Government for the present trip only. She was disabled by one of her flues giving out while at sea, and was run ashore about fifteen miles north of Cape Hatteras. The vessel was run ashore on Friday, and the crew, with the horses, did not arrive here until Sunday, after two days travel in the heavy sands of this region. Propellers and steam-tugs are being sent out to remove the troops and stores from the heavy ships, three or four of which have been anchored off the beach since Monday, the thirteenth. Their draft is too great to admit of them being brought inside, even unloaded, and they will probably be sent back to New York. They can be seen rolling and tossing with the heavy sea that the east and south-east winds of the past two days have driven on the coast. Albert H. Tucker, of Milford, Mass., a private of company B, Twenty-fifth Massachusetts volunteers, died to-day of pleurisy, and will be buried to-morrow, on the beach. The chaplain of the regiment intends reading the funeral services over the deceased, at which the company to which he belonged, are to be present. Two soldiers of the Twenty-first Massachusetts died of small-pox, and were buried at sea, owing to the infectious character of the disease. Col. Allen, of the New-Jersey Ninth, left the Ann E. Thompson, accompanied by Surg. Weller, of the regiment, the captain and second mate of the ship, with a crew of ten or twelve sailors and soldiers, in a surf-boat, to report to Gen. Burnside. They were returning to the ship, and when in the breakers outside the inlet, a heavy sea broke over the bow of the boat, filling her with water, and washing the crew back toward the stern of the boat. The Surgeon was trampled into the bottom by the men, who were forced back by the water, and was drowned in the boat. Their oars were washed away, and the boat was thus at the mercy of the breakers, which soon upset her. The Colonel and the second mate of the ship, whose name is James Taylor, were both drowned when the boat capsized; and all hands would certainly have perished, but for the proximity of the tug Patuxent, Captain Jeremiah Bennett, whose pilot, James McIntyre, of Philadelphia, launched the boats of the steamer, which picked up the captain of the ship and the boat's crew. The remains of Colonel Allen and Surgeon Weller will be sent North in the Spaulding, which is daily expected to arrive from Port Royal. Hatteras Inlet, January 21.We feel somewhat encouraged to-day, in the brightening prospect for soon getting over the bar into deep water. Gen. Burnside has been disappointed in the arrival of four or five tugs, chartered at Annapolis, which have not yet made their appearance. This loss has been partially supplied by three tugs, which were sent from Philadelphia, with orders to proceed to Port Royal, but which were compelled, by stress of weather, to put back to this point, after going within about a hundred miles of their destination. Their experience of the rough sea outside, has rendered them unfit for service, except in smooth water, and they are therefore compelled to remain here, where their presence is of great value to the expedition. The steamers are the Phenix, the Patuxent, and the Pilot Boy. Gen. Burnside has kept them constantly employed in conducting vessels.over the shoals, outside and inside. The vessels of the naval fleet, formerly a portion of the North-Atlantic blockading squadron, under Flag-Officer Goldsborough, have been over the swash, and in deep water, with few exceptions, the last two days. The veteran declares his readiness to go into action in ten minutes, should the enemy have the temerity to appear. The delay at present, is occasioned by the difficulty in getting the transports over the shoal water. The vessels of the naval fleet have been selected with a full knowledge of the depth of water in the waters to be navigated, and the maximum draft has been limited to eight feet. But little difficulty has been experienced in getting these vessels over, but the movements of the entire expedition are hampered by the depth of water required for our transports. The first of the large transports has just got over the swash, by the high tide of to-night, after having been aground three days between the floodtides. The steamer Cossack, after having been lightened of everything that increased her depth, even to blowing the water out of her boilers, succeeded, at eleven o'clock this evening, in gaining water beyond the swash, ten feet deep. The discharge of heavy guns this afternoon, in the direction of the deep waters of the sound, attracted some attention at the headquarters of the fleet, and it is said to have been occasioned by the proximity of two rebel gunboats. They were chased by three or four of our most advanced gunboats, but they soon showed their heels. Two or three thirty-two-pound shot were sent after them, but they were beyond range, and in a short time entirely out of sight. They must have considerable anxiety in relation to the force now collected at this point, to venture so near in order to gratify curiosity. The floating battery (canal — boat) Grapeshot, which was being towed to this point by the steamer New-Brunswick, became disabled off Cape Hatteras, and was cut loose. She had no stores on board, and her crew were removed to the steamer.Hatteras Inlet, January 22.Our hopes of a speedy movement are steadily increasing. Several additional vessels were brought over the swash last night, although the night was dark as a starless and foggy night can be. This morning several others were brought over, and they continue to come. The time of our advance is even becoming defined, and it may take place within forty-eight hours. A strong north-east wind is blowing, the effect of which is to increase the water over the bulkhead, as it arrests the passage of the water through the inlets above this point, and consequently forces more through Hatteras Inlet. We are now about two miles from the anchorage ground at the inlet, in a north and easterly direction. Communication with the beach is exceedingly difficult, from the strong tide which rushes in from the sea.Hatteras Inlet, January 28.The underground railroad seems to be the favorite mode of communication with the enemy. We daily hear of arrivals by this line, the ramifications of which seem to be as diverse as the stories told by the passengers. Confidence in the sagacity of General Burnside leads me to believe, however, that he will not be governed to any great extent, by the reports of highly imaginative travellers by the North Star. There are at present forty-five or fifty contrabands who have succeeded in escaping from thraldom and have reached this point by, according to their own reports, the most hairbreadth escapes and by positive interpositions of Providence. They are quartered outside of Fort Hatteras, in a wooden building bearing the sign of “Hotel d'afrique,” in well-painted German characters. About a week ago five or six arrived in a small boat, in a condition to warrant a belief in their highly embellished story. They were gaunt from hunger, exhausted by fatigue, and in rags. They escaped from the northern counties of North-Carolina, about two months ago, and spent five or six weeks in the woods, living on roots and herbs, after which they succeeded in stealing a boat, in which they descended Roanoke Sound on the eastern side of Roanoke Island. As they passed the island they were hailed by the sentinels, and, pretending to stop rowing, allowed their boat to drift past with the tide until they were at some distance from the sentries. They then struck boldly out, when several shots were fired at them, none of which struck them. They reported the island literally covered with rebels. Yesterday another arrival of two negroes from the region of Roanoke, reports the island deserted, the rebels having established themselves on the mainland across Croatan Sound, where they have erected masked batteries. A knowledge of the position of Roanoke Island, and the sands on both sides, would indicate some truth in this last report. From past experience the North-Carolinians must know the great risk attending the strengthening of an island from  which, in case of defeat, they cannot retreat. It is quite reasonable to suppose that they have abandoned the island for the mainland, where their communication with the source of their supplies is unbroken. The value of a position on the mainland is equal to one on the island, as but one of the sounds is navigable by vessels of more than four feet, and that is Croatan Sound, between the island and the mainland. The sound, where the character of the shore on the mainland side admits of fortification, is two miles wide, divided in the middle by a shoal on each side of which there is a channel. The shores are generally flat, and at the entrance to the sound from the south, the mainland is marshy to a distance of several miles from the water. Batteries on the available shore must certainly prove formidable, and must be reduced before our troops can be landed. That such batteries exist is the general belief here, as it is understood that positive information of the destination of the expedition to this point has been communicated to the enemy from Washington. It is difficult to form, even at this place, and in this stage of our progress, any reliable opinion as to our destination. Our departure for the point of attack has not been accelerated by the gale which prevailed throughout to-day and last night, and promises to hold out all night — unless it will increase the depth of water at this point, which it is supposed to do by those who are familiar with the effect of the wind on the water of the sound. It is classified by experienced men as a fierce gale, and nothing but the shallow water of the sound saved some of our vessels. The wind blows the tops of the waves off, and frets the water into thousands of wavelets, which break in spray that is carried along like drifting snow. Our vessels are compelled to pay out their cables in order to relieve the strain on the anchors. The Guide had a signal of distress flying to-day, and this evening, about nine o'clock, she fired three minute-guns, as further signals, She was answered from several tugs by blue-lights, and one tug immediately put off to her assistance. I have not yet learned the cause of her making signals of distress. She has been aground since last night, and may have bilged. The naval squadron attached to Gen. Burnside's Coast division, is under the command of Flag-Officer L. M. Goldsborough, who is also the commander-in-chief of the North-Atlantic blockading squadron. Subjoined is the organization of the naval squadron: Flag-Officer, L. M. Goldsborough, of Washington, Commander-in-chief. Chief of the Staff, Commander A. L. Case, of Newburgh, N. Y. Staff Medical Officer, Assistant Surgeon S. C. Jones. Signal Officer, H. G. B. Fisher, of Boston. Secretary to Flag-Officer, Henry Van Brunt, of New-York. Clerk to Flag-Officer, E. C. Meeker. Second Clerk to Flag-Officer, S. C. Rowan. vessels of the Squadron. Flag-Ship, Philadelphia, steam gunboat, Acting Master S. Reynolds. Lieutenant, E. L. Haines, of Philadelphia. Chief Engineer, Chas. A. Norris, of Washington. Assistants, Chas. R. Joyce and A. J. Hopkins, of Washington. Acting Purser, T. Thornton. Steam gunboat Stars and Stripes, Lieut. Commanding R. Worden. Steam gunboat Valley City, Lieut. Commanding J. C. Chaplin. Steam Gunboat Underwriter, Lieut. Commanding W. V. Jeffers. Steam gunboat Hetzel, Lieut. Commanding H. K. Davenport. Steam gunboat Delaware, Lieut. Commanding S. P. Quackenbush. Steam gunboat Shawsheen, Acting Master T. G. Woodward. Steam gunboat Lockwood, Acting Master G. L. Graves. Steam gunboat Ceres, Acting Master J. McDiarmid. Steam gunboat Morse, Acting Master Peter Hayes. Steam gunboat Whitehead, Acting Master Chas. A. French. Steam gunboat Virginia. Steam gunboat Louisiana, Lieut. Commanding A. Murray. Steam gunboat Henry Brincker, Acting Master Commanding John E. Geddings. Steam gunboat General Putnam, Lieut. Commanding----MoCook. Steam gunboat Hunchback, Acting lieut. Commanding E. R. Calhoun. Steam gunboat Southfield, Volunteer Lieut. Commanding C. F. W. Beam. Steam gunboat Young America. Steam gunboat Commodore Barney, Acting Lieut. Commanding R. D. Renshaw. Steam gunboat Commodore Perry, Acting Lieut. Commanding Charles W. Fluster. Sailing gunboat J. N. Seymour. Sailing gunboat Granite, Acting Master Commanding Ephraim Boomer. Sailing gunboat Jenny Lind.Picket.
--N. Y. Commercial.