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Morris Island in summer 1863.

At ten o'clock on the night of July 28th, orders were issued to construct Battery Meade and Battery Rosecrans in the second parallel. The positions were laid out and work begun on them before midnight. Work progressed rather slowly, however, because the Confederate sharpshooters picked off every man who stuck his head above the parapet. Several men were wounded at a distance of thirteen hundred yards. Consequently all the work that required any exposure was done at night. Another cause of delay was the lack of earth; when trenches were dug more than three feet deep the spring tides flooded them. Besides, the work was frequently interrupted by finding dead bodies, either in coffins or wrapped in blankets only. On an old map Morris Island was called “Coffin land” ; it had been used as a quarantine burying-ground for Charleston. In spite of such discouragements, the men standing in front of the headquarters at the bottom of the page continued their labors. By August 17th the five immense Parrott guns stood ready to fire against Sumter. Thus the Federal army advanced, parallel by parallel, toward Battery Wagner at the end of Morris Island, until the final “flying — sap” took them up to its very walls, and it was carried by assault. But the defenders had other strings to their bow, as Gillmore's amphibious diggers discovered. Though now occupying the stronghold that commanded the harbor from the south, the Federals got no farther.

“ ‘Ware sharpshooters!’ ” --serving the Parrotts in battery Meade

Headquarters of the field officer of the second parallel


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