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 This relation between the many and the few, what-ever objections may be urged to it in time of peace, is no disadvantange in the conduct of a war. The Confederate Congress had passed in April a very strong and sweeping conscription-law, which included every able-bodied man between eighteen and thirty-five, and it was everywhere enforced by a powerful public sentiment: so that early in June their army began to be steadily recruited from this source. The work upon the defences around Richmond, which had been planned some time before, was prosecuted as rapidly as possible. The destruction of the Merrimac opened the James River to our gunboats, but not until the Confederates had had time to protect Richmond against a naval attack. On the 15th of May, a fleet of five of our gunboats, under Captain John Rodgers, steamed up the James, running aground several times, but meeting no artificial impediments till they came to Ward's Bluff, about eight miles from Richmond, where they encountered a heavy battery, called Fort Darling, and two separate barriers, formed of piles, steamers, and sail-vessels. The stream was here very narrow, being only twice as wide as the Galena, the leading gunboat, was long. The banks of the river were lined with rifle-pits, from which sharpshooters annoyed the men at the guns and rendered a removal of the obstructions impossible. The battery was on a bluff one hundred and fifty feet high, bristling with guns of long range and heavy calibre, the shot from which fell with crushinng weight; upon our
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