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[219] battery and was completely successful. This party captured three times their own number of the enemy under cover of our artillery; and the moral effect was still more important, for it inspired our troops with a bolder spirit and the enemy with increased caution. After this the enemy guarded carefully against sudden dashes; and though frequent combats at particular points took place, and a few more sorties were contemplated, none could be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of success.

I found by the 8th of April that all my artillery was about silenced; that the enemy had largely increased his; that his working parties, greatly reinforced at every point and carefully protected against sorties, were pushing forward at a rate that would bring them up to our main works; that the pressure upon my flanks, especially the left, was so heavy that it would take my whole force to resist it successfully; that his preparations of launches in the Bay of Minettee had assumed formidable proportions; and finally, that there was unusual activity and movements in his lines.

I determined to develop the situation; to discover as accurately as possible his strength and intentions, and to measure our ability for further defence. It was apparent from his superiority in heavy guns and numbers, and the nearness of his approach at several points, that unless extraordinary reinforcements could be had, the moment had at length arrived when I could no longer hold the position without imminent risk of losing the garrison.

Not an officer or man had taken any unbroken rest, except such as they could snatch while on duty in the main works. When there was no fighting there was digging, cutting, moving ammunition, taking down and putting up heavy guns, and repairing damages and extending the main lines.

Two weeks of constant work, night and day, with the musket and spade, failed to discourage, but could not fail to fatigue and jade the troops.

Just at sunset, therefore, all the batteries were ordered to open, and the skirmishers and parts even of the main line to keep up a a brisk fire, and all officers to observe the enemy closely, and to hold themselves in readiness for any contingency.

My artillery was soon disabled and silenced, and the fire from his advanced lines showed them to be filled with men-strong lines of battle.

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