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1 Sappers and miners form a part of the Corps of Engineers. They are employed in building and repairing permanent fortifications, in raising field redoubts and batteries, in making gabions and fascines, in digging trenches and excavating galleries of mines during sieges, and also in forming bridges of rafts, boats, and pontoons. Their duties require higher qualities, mental and physical, than those of the common soldier. A sapper and miner must have a strong frame, a correct eye, steady nerves, and a certain amount of education. It may be well to add, for the benefit of civilians, that gabions are baskets made of twigs, which are filled with earth and used as screens against an enemy's fire; that fascines are bundles of twigs, fagots, and branches of trees which are used to fill up ditches, form parapets, &c.; and that pontoons are a kind of flat-bottomed boat carried along with an army for the purpose of making temporary bridges.
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