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[375] the exertions of W—— and myself. Above all, I am neither on guard or fatigue, therefore I have a chance to write a little. . . . . I hope A——is strong again, since you say he is coming out. If he feels fresh and energetic, he will be of a great deal of use. Amongst a set of exhausted persons, such as we are, a fresh man would be a great help. All the life is out of us,—out of me, at any rate.

They work us very hard. Up every morning at half past 3. Every man on duty every other day at the least. Every officer nearly as badly off. Yesterday I was on guard. Two days before that I was down at the landing for thirteen hours and a half, working for the ordnance officer, landing shot and shell, hauling guns, &c. To-morrow night we go into the trenches .... The men don't gain much in strength, of course. I have got up as high as twenty-five privates for duty, with only thirty-three sick, all told. But there I have stuck for five days past. I can't go any higher. A man will go on duty, be immediately set to work, and fall sick again. So it is, only worse, in the other companies. The sun is too much for any one.

Morris Island, August 17.

The fight has begun. Our batteries opened this morning about six o'clock. There had been a good deal of firing, indeed, ever since twelve, but all the guns had not opened. About the same time the Ironsides moved in with the Montauk and another monitor, the Montauk leading, and going in very close. A little later the other four followed, all but the Nantucket. She is off somewhere. There are six wooden boats in there too, half a mile or so astern of the monitors. The Ironsides was completely covered with smoke for a long time after she first went in. Her broadside of eleven-inch guns was throwing out flashes of fire and clouds of smoke almost as fast as if it was a line of muskets.

. . . . The work lately has been tremendous. Nearly all our regiment was at work last night; every man was, the day and night before; and half of them the day before that. I was on duty night before last hauling up a hundred-pounder. The tide was high and we had to drag it through the deep sand; and it took us five hours to get it up. I suppose it is pounding away now.

. . . . The men are getting better in spite of the work. I don't see how it is, but our sick-list is six less this morning than it was yesterday. We are gaining very satisfactorily. There are not more than thirty sick altogether.

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