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[63] bombardment which developed the strength of the enemy and his own comparative weakness, he capitulated.

A much larger fleet of naval vessels and transports, carrying fifteen thousand men, appeared off the harbor of Port Royal, South Carolina, on November 4, 1861. This harbor is situated midway between the cities of Charleston and Savannah. It is a broad estuary, into which flow some two or three streams, the interlacing of which with creeks forms a group of numerous islands. The parish of which these are the greater part constituted the richest agricultural district in the state, its staples being sea-island cotton and rice. The principal defenses were Fort Walker, a strong earthwork on Hilton Head, and Fort Beauregard on Philip's Island. The attack was made by the enemy on the 7th, by a fleet consisting of eight steamers and a sloop-of-war in tow. Some of the steamers were of the first class, as the Wabash and the Susquehanna. The conflict continued for four hours, when the forts, because untenable, were abandoned.

In the early part of 1862 several reconnaissances were sent out from Port Royal, and subsequently an expedition visited Darien and Brunswick in Georgia, and Fernandina, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine in Florida. Its design was to take and keep under control this line of seacoast, especially in Georgia. Some small steamers and other vessels were captured, and some ports were occupied.

The system of coast defenses which was adopted and the preparations which had been at that time made by the government to resist these aggressions of the enemy should be stated. By reference to the topography of our coast it will be seen that, in the state of North Carolina, are Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, penetrating far into the interior, and then the Cape Fear River, connecting with the ocean by two channels, the southwest channel being defended by a small enclosed fort and a water battery. On the coast of South Carolina are Georgetown and Charleston harbors. A succession of islands extends along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, separated from the mainland by a channel which is navigable for vessels of moderate draft from Charleston to Fernandina, Florida. There are fewer assailable points on the Gulf than on the Atlantic. Pensacola, Mobile, and the mouth of the Mississippi were defended by works that had hitherto been regarded as sufficiently strong to repulse any naval attack that might be made upon them. Immediately after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, the work of improving the seacoast defense was begun and carried forward as rapidly as the limited means of the government would permit.

The work that was now done has been so summarily and satisfactorily

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