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[99] up 1,517. The attack was a direct one, the situation of the work being such that no feint or diversion could be made. The guns of the enemy swept every foot of the ground our men marched over. When they left the ditch for the parapet they were met by the bayonet, and nearly every other missile and weapon that is used on such occasions. The gunners were driven from the curtain, and many of the garrison sought safety in the bomb-proof. The fort was within an ace of being ours; but we were driven back. There comes the old story that somebody failed to support the advance at the proper time; but here the responsibility ends.

This repulse caused a modification in the plan of operations. By possessing Wagner the works on Cumming's Point would have fallen of their own weight; whence it would be an easy matter to bombard Sumter. General Gillmore was now convinced that Wagner was too strong to be taken by assault, and could only be reduced by regular siege. As the guns of Sumter would be a great annoyance to the men in the trenches, commanding them by a plunging fire, he determined to destroy that fortress over the head of Wagner. This was contrary to the usual course of military engineering, but necessity compelled its adoption. The distance at which the breaching batteries had to be erected was unprecedented, and the task was pronounced impracticable. None but the boldest engineer would have undertaken the work. Beauregard assured his troops that Sumter could not be breached until after Wagner had been reduced; but Gillmore thought differently, and bent all his energies to make good the faith that was in him.

The engineers commenced work on the night of the 25th of July, and by the 16th of August the batteries were completed. They were eight in number — the nearest one being thirty-four hundred yards from Sumter, and the farthest forty-two hundred and thirty-five yards. Seven of these batteries bore the distinctive names of Brown, Rosecrans, Meade, Hayes, Reno, Stevens, and Strong, mounting the following guns, viz.: one three-hundred-pounder, six two-hundred-pounders, nine one-hundred-pounders, two eighty-four-pounder Whitworth, two thirty and four twenty-pounders; all Parrotts except two guns, and the whole of them rifled. Never before had such a weight of metal been directed against any fortress in one attack since the art of war began. Those who have not engaged in such operations can have only a faint idea of the labor and fatigue attending the construction of the batteries and mounting the guns. The three-hundred-pounder gave great trouble before it was got into position. It was transported more than a mile from

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Wagner (3)
Quincy A. Gillmore (2)
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