in the difficult navigation (for vessels of heavy draft) of these intricate channels were indistinguishable, and the advance thereby postponed till a gentle northern breeze cleared the sky. But, as ebb-tide came at 11 A. M., and — the bar being safely passed — that was deemed the stage of water best fitted to the steering of those clumsy alligators — it is not probable that our plans were seriously deranged by this circumstance.
Let us improve this pause to glance at the scene, as it imprinted itself on the mind of an observer,1
scanning it through a powerful field-glass from the Coast Survey steam-boat Bibb
, lying in the Swash channel
, three miles below Sumter
We are, this moment, looking directly up into the harbor and the city, which lies in the vista beyond — its wharves and ships, houses and steeples, standing out in the background like a picture.
Steeples and roofs are crowded with spectators; the neighboring shores are lined with onlookers, just as when, now two years ago, less two days, the same spectators stood on the same coignes of vantage to see, in the same harbor, another bombardment, while another flag from that which now flaunts in our eyes, floated from the walls of Sumter.
We are facing Fort Sumter, and looking directly up the harbor.
We have, accordingly, Sullivan's island on our right, and Morris island on our left.
These two islands end each in curved points of land, and,