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[478] by regular approaches. Among the difficulties to be confronted was the narrowness of the neck of dry land along which those approaches must be carried: the fort covering the entire width of the island where it stood; whereas, at the point where we commenced to run our parallels, it is but a third, and at a point still nearer the fort, is but a tenth so wide. The faces of the fort were mutually defensive, and it was provided with a sluice-gate for retaining in its ditch the water admitted at the highest tides. The problem was complicated by the cross-fire from Sumter, Cumming's Point, and several heavy batteries on James island. Its garrison could at all times be readily supplied and reenforced from Charleston; while the besiegers were embarrassed, and their operations retarded, by the knowledge that they might at any moment be assailed without notice by a force of twice or thrice their strength, suddenly concentrated by railroad from the Rebel armies in any part of the Confederacy.

Within five days after the bloody repulse of the 18th, a row of inclined palisading had been stretched across the island, some 200 yards in advance of our front, with every added precaution against a sortie that experience suggested, a bomb-proof magazine constructed, and a first parallel opened, with 8 siege and field-guns and 10 siege mortars in position, beside three ‘Requa batteries’ of rifle-barrels, designed mainly for defensive service if needed. And now1 a second parallel was opened, 600 yards in advance of the first, in which heavy breaching batteries were established so soon as might be: their guns being trained partly upon Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg behind it, and partly upon Fort Sumter: fire being opened on the latter, at a distance of two miles, from two 8-inch and five 100-pounder rifled Parrotts. Meantime, a breaching battery of two 200-pounder rifled Parrotts and two 80-pounder Whitworths, likewise intended for Fort Sumter, had been established by Col. Serrell in the first parallel, which was manned by Admiral Dahlgren from the navy, under Captain Foxhall A. Parker; and which, in one week2 of service, made a decided change in the physiognomy of that obstinate structure. Com'r Geo. W. Rodgers, of the Catskill, was killed. Still other breaching batteries were simultaneously established on the left, 800 yards farther from Sumter, which participated in the bombardment of that fort, and contributed to its measurable success.

All these extensive and difficult works were of course pushed forward mainly under the cover of darkness, which did not cause an intermission of the enemy's fire, but materially interfered with the accuracy of his aim. The advancing over deep sand and mounting, under fire, of the great guns employed in these operations, was a most arduous labor, taxing the strength as well as patience and courage of all engaged.

Gen. Gillmore had long since3 resolved to establish a battery in the marsh westward of Morris island, at a point whence lie believed it practicable to reach the wharves and shipping of Charleston, and had directed Col. Serrell to make the requisite examinations.

1 July 23.

2 Aug. 17-23.

3 July 15.

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