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had to perform the remainder of the journey barefooted, by which his feet became terribly bruised and swollen.
Having crossed the Rappahannock they started for the Potomac, and had travelled but a short distance when they found themselves upon the margin of a deep swamp, through which they were compelled to wade in mud knee-deep for half a mile. They continued on their course until they came in sight of the Potomac.
They encountered a party of negroes unexpectedly, and were compelled to speak or be subjects of suspicion. They enquired for a boat to carry them across the river, announcing themselves to be Confederate officers, obtained a boat and found one of our vessels, which took them on board, thus ending their perilous and fatiguing journey, their bold, hazardous, and successful adventure from gloomy prison walls to liberty and life.
HOW A BLOCKADE RUNNER WAS CAUGHT.
THE following account of the manner in which a blockade runner was caught, is extracted from an English Magazine, and was probably written by an Englishman; who, with several others, was anxious for a safe passage from Nassau to Dixie.
Finding a steamer about to sail, he inquired of the Captain, “When do you start ?" The commander's voice sunk to a whisper, as he told me that at sunset every landsman must come on board, taking boat at some secluded jetty to avoid prying eyes; and using all reasonable caution, since Nassau teamed with Northern spies.
Half an hour after sunset he was to hoist a signal, which was to be replied to; and then the pilot would come off, and the steamer would stand out to sea.
“ After dark," muttered Pritchard, with an oath, “we may hope to get past that Yankee thief that hangs about the island. The Governor bade her keep at the distance of one marine league, but she's always sneaking innow for coal, now for bread, now because her engine is out of order; and the United States consul communicates with her every day. I tell you, shipmate, there isn't one of us that isn't dogged up and down by rascals in Federal hire. See there that mulatto hound has been after me these four days," pointing to a dark-comlexioned fellow, in the dress of a stevedore, who, on seeing himself observed, as he stood under the geranium hedge, lay down with well-feigned nonchalance, and lit his pipe.
I found a good deal of quiet bustle and suppressed excitement on board the Bonnybell. The fires were bunked up, the swarthy faces and red shirts of the engineer and his gang, were visible at the hatch of their Cyclopean den, getting a breath of the cool breeze before starting. Some brass guns, that had been hidden under fruit-baskets, hen-coops, and tarpaulins, were visible enough now: and beside them lay piled little heaps of round shot. The crew bustled to and fro, and the Captain was so busy, that he could but return a brief word and a nod to my greeting. The sky grew darker, and surrounding objects dimmer, every instant.
Before long the passengers arrived. Several Southern gentlemen, a few ladies and children, all making their way back from Europe, to their homes in Carolina and Virginia, by this dangerous route; and all in danger of imprisonment at least, if captured.
By the uncertain light, I could see that most of them were pale and nervous: but they talked in an undertone, among themselves, and did not appear anxious to converse with strangers.
“Get up steam !" By this time the hoarse roar of the escaping vapor grew loud and menacing, there was a fresh bustle on deck, and I heard the Captain give orders to stand by for slipping from the moorings, and to hoist the signal, as we only waited for the pilot.
“There they are, sleek and right--three red lights, and a green one,” murmured a tall Virginian, at my elbow; and looking up, I saw the colored lamps glimmer from the mast head. Instantly, they were answered by a similar signal from some window on shore.
“We'll soon see the pilot now,” said Pritchard, rubbing his hands in a cheery manner; "the signal's made and repeated. In ten minutes our man will be with us.
. Helloa !—boat ahoy !—what d'ye.want?”
“Bonney bell ahoy!" was the rejoinder, in a shrill, harsh voice, cautiously lowered for the occasion,-“pilot wants to come on board.” There was a stir, and a start of surprise, among
those on deck; and as a rope was thrown down to the boatmen, Captain Pritchard bent over the side, exclaming:
“You're uncommon quick, my hearty. If you've come from shore since the lights were hoisted, you must be own cousin to the flying Dutchman. Are you sure you're our pilot ?"
“I'm the pilot engaged by Colonel Jeremy Carter, of Spottsylvania, if that'll do," answered a very tall, bony, black-haired man, as he actively ascended the side. "Zack Foster's my name, and I know every inch about Charleston where I was raised."
While the Captain--reassured by the mention of Colonel Carter's name--gave hasty orders to cast off the cable and go ahead, I, in common with the rest of the passengers, and the unoccupied portion of the crew, looked with much interest at the new-comer. The latter was about forty years of age, long and lean of figure, with a hardy, sun-burned face. There was no mistaking the resolute air and daring of the man. His mouth was as firm as iron, though a little dry humor seemed to lurk about his lips, and I hardly liked the expression of his half-shut eyes, which had a lazy cunning in their dark glance. Still, though dressed in a black suit of shore-going clothes, and a swallow-tailed coat, of antiquated cut, there was something about Mr. Zack Foster that spoke the thorough-bred scaman.
He took no share in the proceedings, for his duty did not begin till we were clear of Nassau Roadstead; but yet he seemed impatient for the start, gnawing viciously at his quid, and drumming on the taffrail, with a finger that seemed as hard and brown as bronze.
It was an anxious time, when the Bonnybell, under a full head of steam, went darting out of the bay, her lookout straining their eyes to pierce the mist, and give warning to the helmsman of vessels ahead; while Pritchard walked to and fro, too fidgetty and eager to endure conversation, listening every instant for some sound that was to indicate that the Federal cruizer had taken the alarm. But on we went without check or hindrance, and all drew our breath more freely, as the lights of the town, began one by one to vanish, as if the sea had swallowed them, and the dark head-lands faded away into obscurity.
The American gunboat was neither seen nor felt; a circumstance which I did not the less regret, because I perceived, not only by the display of the cannon alluded to, but by the resolute demeanor of several of the crew, who stood grouped about a couple of uncovered arm-chests, that our pigmy foe would not have found an entirely unresisting prize.
One slight circumstance, hardly, as I thought worth mentioning, did occur before we had run half a mile to seaward. There came a long, faint hail, from so great a distance as to be hardly distinguishable, even by a sailor's practiced ear, but which was announced to be addressed to us.
“Some boat, perhaps, with a message for a passenger. The lubbers deserve rope's-ending for being so latecan I lie-to safely, do you think ?" said Pritchard to the pilot, irresolutely, and giving the word, “Slacken speed.” What the pilot answered I know not. I only caught the concluding phrase
“Yankee tricks; so Cap you'd best look sharp about
So Pritchard thought. He gave the word to go at full speed, and we heard no more about the matter.
The run was speedy and pleasant, over a dimpling summer sea, with no boisterous behavior on Neptune's part, to make even the lady passengers uneasy. We saw several vessels, but none of a hostile character; and the voyage was as agreeable and safe hitherto, as any yachting excursion in holiday waters. We were all disposed to be pleased, and the pilot, although a saturnine and morose personage, viewed through this rose