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OIL WELL AND OIL SPRING.
Near the Forks of Iłughes' River, in the Western part of our State, there is an Oil Well and an Oil Spring which are said to be great curiosities in their way. A correspondent of the Christian Advocate and Journal thus describes them :
This well was dug for salt, but it commenced blowing out oil, and continues its blowings, at intervals, up to the present time. Every fifth day it blows out about fourteen gallons of oil.
At the oil spring, vast quantities of oil are annually gathered, hy sinking pits in the earth thirty feet deep. The bed of oil lies parallel with the bed of the river, and is generally near five feet thick. The oil in its natural state adheres to sand, and can only be separated from it by washing the sand in water. The sand is washed by sinking a small pit as deep as the bed of oil; the pit soon fills with water, when men go into it, with broad hoes, and wash the sand by pulling it to them and pushing it from them. While this is done the oil loses its affinity for the sand, and it immediately rises to the top of the water; it is then gathered by a large ladle, and put into large cisterns or bogsheads, where it purifies itself; it is then put into barrels and sent to market. . Some pits, fifteen feet square, have yielded one hundred and thirty-five barrels of oil, but all are not alike rich. The oil is valuable for weakness in the breast, sprains, cuts, and bruises; it burns very well in lamps, and it may be used for dressing leather, instead of fish oil; but it makes the leather a little too porous.
WIND AND CURRENT CHARTS.
A silent work, of great importance and value, has been going on for a few years past, under the direction of Lieut. Maury, of the National Observatory at Washington, aided by the personal efforts of numerous shipmasters in recording and communicating to him the results of their observations whilst traversing the ocean. Already, by following the “ Sailing Directions” of Lieutenant Maury, the length and duration of various voyages have been shortened to a surprising extent; and more will yet be accomplished, as the science shall advance to perfection. Every day Lieut. Maury is making new achievements. One of the latest, as well as one of the greatest, is the well authenticated fact, that his investigations, aided as above, have already shortened the passage hence by sea to California, not less than forty days on an average. According to the abstracts of logs and other statistical information returned to his office, it appears that the average passage of sailing vessels bound from the At
atic to the Pacific ports of the United States, has been as follows, viz :
Average of those without the Wind and Current
Saving of time,
43 days. Nor does Lieut. Maury stop here. He is still investigating the subject, and hopes to point out routes hereafter, that will lead to a still further reduction in the average length of the passage:
The data and materials used in the construction of the Wind and Current Charts, have been collected without cost to the government. The undertaking is based upon the voluntary coöperation of American ship masters and owners, who, we trust, will not relax their efforts, until their new field of science shall have been fully explored. Not only to themselves, and preëminently to Lieut. Maury, but to the country and to science, will the benefit and the glory accrue.-N. Y. Observer.
There is perhaps nothing more baffling to pride than its meeting with contentment in an humble station; it is then like the wind wasting its strength where there is nothing to oppose it, or the waves spending their foam upon the smooth printless Band.
Man's rich with little were his judgment true;
The expedition of the Virginians against the Shawanoe Indians, in 1756, is an event of some importance and still more interest in the annals of the State. As yet, however, we have no proper and sufficiently satisfactory account of it before the public. Neither Marshall, Burk, the Campbells, father and son, nor Howison, have given us, in their respective works, any particulars of this border enterprise.Reliable data were probably not at their command. It is true the expedition proved abortive, and sufficiently mortifying to all concerned in it; yet composed as it was, with the exception of a small band of friendly Cherokees, entirely of Virginia troops, conducted by one of Virginia's border heroes, it well deserves something more than a mere passing notice in any work illustrative of the history of the Old Dominion. The publication of Morton's Diary in the Virginia Historical Register, for July, 1851, has, at length, shed some little light upon it, but hardly sufficient to dispel the darkness that has hitherto concealed it from our view. Indeed, the information it gives us is so imperfect that it has even led one of our best antiquaries to inquire whether
" the expedition to which this Diary refers, is the same with that styled the Sandy Creek expedition;"—a question which I have answered in the affirmative in the last number of the same work. But to complete the proof on this point, and to give a fuller account of this affair than has ever yet been submitted 10 the public, I shall now proceed to give an outline of this enterprise, drawn from an unpublished journal of the expedition, kept by Captain William Preston, one of the actors, and some other manuscript papers in my possession. These ancient witnesses will serve to place this whole affair in quite a different light from the traditionary accounts of Withers, and other writers; and fully corroborate the authority of Lieut. Morton's Diary.I ought, perhaps, to say here, that no man ever bore a fairer reputation than Captain, afterwards Colonel William Preston; he distinguished himself at the battle of Whitsell's Mills, in March, 1781, at the head of a regiment of frontier riflemen, and died at the close of the Revolution. His descendants are amongst the most talented and patriotic in our country.
The place of rendezvous was Fort Frederick, on the western bank of New River, and probably at or near the well known locality of Ingle’s Ferry. Maj. Andrew Lewis had the chief command, and under him were Captains William Preston, Peter Hog, (such was Captain Hog's orthography of his name, as original signatures of his prove; the name is modernized with the addition of a final e,) John Smith, Archibald Alexander, [Robert? ] Breckenridge, Woodson, and Overton, whose companies appear to have been already engaged in guarding the frontiers when called upon for this new service; together with the volunteer companies of Captains Montgomery and Dunlap, and Captain Paris, at the head of a party of friendly Cherokees. In the latter part of 1755, one hundred and thirty Chero
kee warriors had come to the assistance of the Virginians; whether all these were engaged in this enterprise does not distinctly appear, though all were ordered by Gov. Dinwiddie to join it; and Preston's Journal mentions that a detachment of forty was ordered out on a scouting excursion on one occasion during the expedition. Old Outacité, the Round 0, and the Yellow Bird were the war leaders of the party—the two latter having been commissioned Captains by Major Lewis. Col. David Stewart, of Augusta, accompanied the troops on this perilous adventure, and seems to have acted as commissary. The whole force, including the friendly Cherokees, amounted to 365 men, of whom 340 went upon the campaign, while Lieut. Tyler and some 24 men remained to garrison Fort Frederick, and protect the neighboring frontier-an indispensable service, as while the men were rendezvousing for the expedition, two persons were killed by the savages on Red Creek, within a few miles of Fort Frederick.
On Monday, the 9th February, 1750, Captain Preston, with his two Lieutenants, Audley Paul and David Robin. son, and twenty-five privates, left Fort Prince George, in pursuance of the orders of Major Lewis of the 4th of the same month, and marched for Fort Frederick, having under their charge a waggon load of 2000 lbs. of dried beef.They reached the place of rendezvous on the night of Wednesday, the 11th; and it is added, " Captain Hog's company is but a little behind us."' On Friday, the 13th, at noon, a general review of the troops took place by Maj. Lewis, at which, including the friendly Indians, about 340 men appeared-and among these were Captain Hog and his company. The next day Captain Dunlap, with his company of volunteers, 25 in number, arrived ; and these made up the complement. Several days were requisite to procure a sufficiency of horses, and to prepare pack-sad