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[122] do not reason. The hand of Fate seems to rest upon them. Powerless to resist the tide of events, their only refuge is in the indulgence of a desperate hope, whose alternative is despair and madness.

There were, it is true, occasional breaks in the heavy monotone of time and things. One of these was the sinking of the gunboat “Cincinnati,” on May 26th. With notable audacity this vessel attempted to run suddenly upon and close with the batteries at the north end of the city, which were manned by a gallant command of Tennesseeans, and constituted the protection of the garrison's extreme left wing. As soon as she began steaming down the river, and even before she had passed the bend, the “Cincinnati” became the target of a concentrated and powerful cannonade, which was made none the less steady and effective by the Federals' own heavy fire. Before she reached the middle of the stream it was evident that her vitals were wounded. Reversing her course, she steamed heavily up the current, but only succeeded in running ashore on the west bank, a little above the extremity of the isthmus. Forty of her people had been killed or hurt. The glory of this victory was short-lived, seeing that the heavy rifled-guns of the steamer were promptly removed from her decks and remounted near the spot of the wreck. They were her avenging spirits; if not doing more damage, certainly causing more fear, by the intense and hideous hiss of their conical balls' passage and explosion than even the heaviest of the smooth-bore mortars effected.

A great fire broke out on the night of June 6th--the Federal accounts say caused by the explosion of their shells. There was nothing to do except to remove the articles of value from the houses within its range. A great crowd collected, notwithstanding the concentration of the mortar fire; and yet there were no remembered casualties. The whole block was burned, of course, and the wonder is only one.

On the 21st of June, a mine constructed in McPherson's front was sprung under that part of the Confederate line occupied by Hebert's Brigade of Louisianians-immediately under the Thirty-first Regiment, I believe. The mine was a failure, and the truthful chroniclers of the time report did more harm to the diggers than the under-dug. Hebert's men had their revenge, too, on the troops that had been moved up close to take advantage of the panic that did not ensue; among other things, rolling down on their heads bombs with fuses cut short, which barely had time to leave the Confederates' hands before they burst.

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