in this region is a narrow and shallow stream, fringed with a dense growth of heavy forest-trees, and bordered by low marshy bottom-lands, varying from half a mile to a mile in width. A heavy rain would swell the narrow rivulet into a broad and shallow flood, and the work of days would be swept away in a single night. When the waters were low, a child might ford it; when they were high, a horse and his rider might be drowned in it. The labors of our engineers were
Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither seaThe elements, too, seemed to have conspired against us. So rainy a season had never been known within the memory of man: the pitiless floods fell upon us without intermission. The petulant and rebel stream seemed to take a perverse pleasure in breaking the fetters with which patriot hands essayed to bind it. And then these rains turned the wretched narrow roads of the Peninsula into tracks of impassable and heart-breaking mire in which horses sank to their knees and wagons stuck hopelessly fast.1
Nor good dry land.