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[83] on him, to which he replied with vigor. The Federal shots went wild and neither of the boats and none of the men were hurt. As the Sampson and her two unarmored companions came back up the river, the enemy was able to get a better range and several rifled shells were sent through her, hurting no one, however, and doing no serious damage.

Immense crowds gathered upon the docks at Savannah during this naval affair, and the boats were vociferously welcomed as they returned from their adventurous mission. General Lee at once reported that, ‘If the enemy succeed in removing the obstacles in Wall's cut and Wilmington narrows, there is nothing to prevent their reaching the Savannah river, and we have nothing afloat that can contend against them. The communication between Savannah and Fort Pulaski will then be cut off.’ He added, ‘To-day I have caused to be sunk in Wilmington narrows the floating dock of the city. I hope this passage at least will be effectually obstructed.’ Since early in December the Forty-sixth New York regiment had been quietly at work landing ordnance and implements and constructing batteries along the north side of Tybee. Later the Federal engineering force was considerably increased, and put under command of Gen. A. H. Terry. The work of constructing the earthworks was done by the Federals at night and with great caution. ‘The positions selected for the five advanced batteries,’ General Gillmore has written, ‘were artificially screened from the view of the fort by almost imperceptible changes, made little by little each night, in the condition and distribution of the brushwood and bushes in front of them.’ As an outpost the Federals put a hulk in Warsaw sound, which also obstructed the passage, and stationed a force upon it, from which detachments were sent out on scouting expeditions.

Another Federal force, operating from Daufuskie island on the South Carolina side, removed the obstructions

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