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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 36: operations of the South Atlantic Squadron under Rear-Admiral Dahlgren, 1863.--operations in Charleston harbor, etc. (search)
the greatest bravery was displayed in its performance; yet engineers often become so absorbed in some favorite plan, which seems to promise all they desire, that they overlook other points which are the real keys to the situation. So it was at Sebastopol: all the best Russian, French and English engineers had overlooked the hill on which the Malakoff Tower stood, until the great Todelben appeared, and with his practiced eye discovered that to be the key. If either the French or the English had seized it, Sebastopol would not have stood a day before the fire of the allied batteries. Four months had now passed since the first attack on Charleston, and many hundreds of heavy shells had been fired, without any great advance of the Federal forces toward their objective point; and this not from any want of skill in the naval or military commanders, but from the fact that the authorities at Washington did not have a comprehensive idea of what was required to carry out so great a work, and