This being a warm, sunny day, a small party of us thought we
would take a stroll up to the head of the island, a mile or two, and perhaps we
might find some traces or relics of Raleigh's expedition. Arriving at our
destination, we discovered a large, weather-beaten two-storied house, built at
some remote period, and surrounded by large live oak trees. We had not the slightest
doubt but that this was the house built by Lane and his party. Seeing a man standing
outside, whom we supposed was the gentlemanly proprietor of the ranche, we approached,
and saluting him very respectfully, inquired if he was in receipt of any recent
advices from Raleigh's expedition. He looked at us in utter astonishment and
said he knew nothing about it and reckoned there had been “no sich expedition
yere.” He said, “Burnside's expedition was yere,” and “reckoned that was about enough;”
he couldn't see the use of any more coming. We bade the gentleman good day and
left. In looking around for relics, Whipple picked up an old shoe heel. Here
was a prize surely, a veritable relic of Raleigh's party. Whipple put it in his
pocket, intending, as he said, to send it to the antiquarian society at
Worcester, and indulging in the hope that for presenting such a priceless relic,
they would at least vote him an honorary member of the society. Relics being
scarce, we went up to the shore where we could look up the Albemarle. The wind
was blowing gently down the sound, and the little rollers were breaking on the beach
at our feet. It was pretty warm; the water looked clear and really refreshing.
Some one proposed taking a dip. No sooner said than off came our clothes and in
we plunged. Egad! such a scrambling and floundering to get out is seldom seen.
It reminded me of a basket of lobsters turned into a tub of scalding water. The
water was ice cold, and I thought I should certainly freeze before getting out.
After getting on my clothes and getting warm, I certainly felt better for my
bath. It was agreed by all hands that February was the wrong season of the year
for out-door bathing. Whipple is despondent, his hopes are dashed. He came to
me and informed me that he had carefully inspected the shoe heel, and found it
put together with cut nails, which are a much more recent invention than
SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass.
Volunteer Infantry, p. 40