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[125] stroke had fallen. When the garrison marched out, Captain Davidson concealed the sheets containing all the dispatches intercepted during the siege between his cap and its lining, but lost them in after years, and was unable to respond to my desire to have their very language for this paper.

The Signal Corps headquarters in the city was a room in the court-house, and its station was the cupola of the same. The courthouse was set on the highest point of the town, and the cupola formed the most prominent feature of its river facade, except, perhaps, the soaring light spire and gold cross of the Catholic church, which was, I believe, never defaced by the fire of the enemy. Whether this was chance or intention is another study. I suspect Porter's Pats and Mikes didn't want to hurt it. Far otherwise with the Temple of Justice. The Federal papers say it was the general centre of their fire, and so say I, who was in it. The building and grounds were struck twenty-four times or more, and yet but one shell was fatal in its effects. That came at midnight, crushing through the roof, and, passing below to the marble pavement of the ground floor, exploded and flung two poor fellows against the wall with such mutilation that their mothers would not have known their dead darlings. They were Mississippi militiamen. Their comrades above suffered only less cruelly. The heavy shell passing through the court-room, which was packed with sleeping men, struck squarely a massive iron railing that inclosed the seats of the lawyers and witnesses, and scattered its fragments on every hand. Legs were broken, heads crushed-all manner of injury inflicted. This one shell killed and disabled fourteen men; and, by strange fatality, two more men of those who went out to bury the two first killed, lost their lives on their way to the graveyard. This inclosure, also — the beautiful City Cemetery — was riddled by the plunging shot. That was, doubtless, an accident of war. It was charged that the Federals did fire on the Marine Hospital, which was full of wounded men, and over which the yellow flag was hoisted. It was struck frequently, and wounded men wounded anew; but whether by aim or accident I do not know.

No history of the siege would be complete without some detailed allusion to the ceaseless generation of sensational reports within and without the city, both North and South. Considering the fertility of inventions then displayed, it is a wonder that the coming American novel has never come. There may have been something in the sulphurous atmosphere more favorable to the stimulation of genius than belongs to the ordinary environment. Munchausen was prosaic to the fellows who wrote and talked and were believed at that time.

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