there, and ignited the powder, no one in the fort would have lived to tell the tale, for each brick would have been blown to atoms in a minute.
Every man in the garrison knew this.
On one occasion a shell struck the ventilator and exploded so near the magazine that the blast of the powder burst open the door, and filled it with smoke.
Lieutenant William Grimball
and several other men were in the magazine at the time.
Another day a shell from the fleet fell in the casement adjoining the shell-room, setting it on fire.
The explosion broke a hole in the partition wall between the rooms, and filled the shell room with so dense a smoke that it also was supposed to be on fire, and the piles of loaded shells were momentarily expected to prove the terrible fact by exploding singly or in concert.
At this critical moment when the nerves of the coolest men in the garrison were strung up to the highest pitch of excitement, and the hearts of the bravest beat quickly, Lieutenant Eldred Fickling
(then in command of company F.), was ordered to “take his company into the shell-room, and remove the shells and cartridges.”
This command was instantly obeyed, and the order executed without a second of hesitation.
Could a greater proof of courage or good discipline be imagined?
Living on the crater of a volcano that is rumbling and threatening to make an eruption at any instant is the only situation that can be compared to the position of the Regulars of the First Regiment, until the powder was shipped by night to Charleston
They could have rendered it perfectly harmless in a half hour's time, by flooding the magazine, and saturating the powder in the shells with water, but powder was too valuable in the Confederate States
to be thrown away, even when the lives of an entire regiment were at stake.
Night after night they were kept busy removing the cannon and ammunition from the fort, although they were quite aware of the fact that at any second the powder and the shells that they were handling might be exploded by the constant firing of the enemy, under which they worked.
All day working parties were steadily engaged in repairing the huge breaches made in the walls of the fort, by digging sand from the parade ground, and filling bags with it, that were used to stop the numerous gaps.
Moreover, the heat was intense; the walls having become a compact mass of mortar and bricks, there was no ventilation, whilst an August sun beamed down upon their heads.
The thermometer stood at 120 degrees during the day, in the broken casemates.
After the harassment and fatigue of night duty, the officers who were “relieved” would lie down to rest in these “quarters,” and when they arose from their