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[468] at their nearest approach, are separated by an interval of a mile, formed by the entrance to the harbor; and, just in the middle of this passage, and right between the two points of land, stands Fort Sumter, built on an artificial island made in midchannel. Both Morris and Sullivan's islands are scarcely removed above the level of the sea; which, indeed, would probably invade and cover them, were it not that the margin of the islands on their sea-frontage is marked by a continuous, narrow strip of low sand hills, some five or six feet in height. Behind the second ridge of the islands, are alternate salt marsh, sand, and clumps of wood of live-oak, palmetto, and tangled tropical undergrowths. The whole coast of South Carolina and Georgia consists of a labyrinth of islands and islets of this character, round which reedy creeks and rivers wind.

With Sullivan's island on our right, we run the eye up to its upper or north end, formed by Breach inlet. Guarding this point, is Breach inlet battery — a powerful sand-work, having a circular, dome-like, bomb-proof magazine in its center. It is, however, three miles from the entrance of the harbor, and will not be able to molest our ships on their passage. Its chief value has been to aid blockade-runners; as it covers Maffit's channel (the passage through which the great majority of these craft run in) from the approach of our blockaders. At present, it will serve to oppose our landing troops at Breach inlet, should the attempt be made. Coming down along the shore of Sullivan's island, from Breach inlet, we next reach Fort Beauregard, a powerful sand battery, mounting very heavy guns, and situated on the turn of the island a little right of the “Moultrie House” hotel, from which it is separated only by five intervening sea-shore houses. Next, to the right of the channel, up and opposite Fort Sumter, is Fort Moultrie, which has been prodigiously strengthened by the Rebel engineers, both in its means of offense and of defense. Looking up the harbor and still to the right, the eye takes in the extensive line of works, en cremaillaire, called the Redan, and which has been formed by throwing up intrenchments on the line of the breakwater erected some years ago by the United States Government, for the protection of that portion of the harbor. Beyond the Redan, up near the head of the harbor, on an island, appears Castle Pinckney, in the vista, looking like the Battery in New York City as seen from the seaentrance.

So far as the eye can see, we have now exhausted the fortifications on the right hand side of the harbor. It now remains briefly to glance at those that line the left-hand side. In the mean while, Fort Sumter rises up conspicuously before us in midchannel. We can see every brick in its walls. Two faces out of its five, and two angles only, come within sight from our point of view: namely, the south face, on which the sally-port and wharf are placed, and the eastern face. You are too familiar with the general features of this historic work to make any description necessary. It was, you know, pierced for two tiers of guns; but the lower embrasures had been filled in to strengthen it. From the top of the fort flown the barbette guns, which comprise all the heaviest portion of its armament. You can count distinctly each barbette gun-one, two, three, four, five on this; one, two, three, four on that; and so on all around; and it is easy to see that the ordinance is of the most formidable character. From a flag-staff on one of the angles of the fort, floats the Confederate flag; from a flag-staff on the opposite angle, floats the Palmetto flag.

Passing now to the left-hand side of the harbor, on James island, we first have the Wappoo battery, near Wappoo creek, effectually commanding the embouchure of Ashley river and the left side of the city. Next, coming down, we have Fort Johnson; and, between it and Castle Pinckney, on an artificial island raised by the Rebels, on the “middle ground,” is Fort Ripley. Coming down to Cumming's Point, directly opposite Moultrie, is the Cumming's Point battery, named by the Rebels Battery Bee, after the General of that name; south of Battery Bee, on Morris island, is Fort Wagner, a very extensive sand battery of the most powerful construction. Half way down Morris island, again, from Fort Wagner, is a new sand-work erected by the Rebels since I surveyed the ground from the blockading fleet, a fortnight ago. Finally, down at Lighthouse inlet, which divides Morris from Folly island, is another fortification, guarding against an attempt at a landing at that point. Such is the formidable panorama the eye takes in, in sweeping around the harbor and its approaches.

And now let the same observer depict for us the low, iron-backed turtles about to crawl up and try conclusions with these yawning craters of brick and stone and iron, so soon to burst into fierce and scathing eruption:

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