point of debarkation to its designated position in battery, was the tedious.
arduous task of 250 men, all performed under the cover of darkness: the men being forbidden to speak; their movements being directed by a whistle.
When a gun slipped, as it often would, off the planks and ‘skids’ supporting it, the utmost efforts were required to keep it from plunging straight down through the 12 feet of mud to the supporting clay, if no farther.
Thus were the remnant of February and the whole of March intently employed--Maj.-Gen. Hunter
, who had just succeeded1
to the command of the department, with Brig.-Gen. Benham
as district commander, visiting the works on Tybee island
, and finding nothing in them to improve.
At length, all was in readiness:2
36 10 to 13-inch mortars and heavy rifled guns being firmly planted in 11 batteries — the farthest two miles, the nearest less than a mile, from the doomed fort, with a depot and separate service magazine where they should be, and carefully considered orders given to regulate the firing.
And now the fort was summoned3
in due form by Gen. Hunter
--of course, to no purpose — whereupon, at 8 1/4 A. M., fire was deliberately opened and kept up till dark — the mortars throwing very few of their shells within the fort; but the rifled guns chipping and tearing away its masonwork, until it became evident that, unless our batteries should be disabled, the fort would soon be a ruin.
Five of the enemy's guns had already been silenced; while our widely scattered, low-lying, inconspicuous batteries had received no damage whatever.
During the ensuing night, four of our pieces were fired at intervals of 15 or 20 minutes each; and at sunrise4
our batteries opened afresh; and now the breach, already visible, was steadily and rapidly enlarged: casemate after casemate being opened, in spite of a heavy and well-directed fire from the fort; until, at 2 P. M., a white flag was displayed from its walls, and the siege was ended.
One only of our men had been killed, and no gun hit or otherwise