The width, between the two steep, high, gravelly banks, cannot be less than 350 yards. Here is a pontoon bridge, and, near each end of it, on the top of the bank, a fort for its defence. Below it, too, lies a gunboat. Crossing this, we soon came to the Great Ben's, who received us very hospitably, and exhibited a torpedo and a variety of new projectiles, the virtues of which in the destruction of the human race I explained in pure Gallic to the Colonel. During dinner he said to me: “They spoiled a good mechanic when they made me a lawyer, and a good lawyer when they made me general.” He delivered a long exposition (which I translated) on the virtues of a huge powder-boat, which he would explode between Moultrie and Sumter, by clockwork, and not only flatten both forts, but Charleston into the bargain! De Chanal replied (citing examples) that no such result would follow and that the effect would be limited to a very small radius. “No effect!” cried B., suddenly bursting into French, “mais pourquoi non?” “Ah,” said De C., with his sharp French eye, “mais pourquoi si?” . . .
July 24, 1864The appearance of the sky is what the sailors term “greasy,” though whether that betokens rain or not I don't venture to guess. Mayhap we will have a storm, which indeed would serve to lay the dust, which already begins to return, in force. This drought has been in one respect beneficial: it has kept the soldiers from using surface water and forced them to dig wells, whence healthy water may be got. One well near this was productive of scientific results, as they got from it a quantity of shells which I shall send to Agassiz. All this country is underlain more or less by “marl beds,” which are old sea-bottoms