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[24] again slowly and majestically in face of the earthworks at a distance not exceeding six hundred yards, delivering with accuracy and great dexterity their heavy broadsides. Having passed beyond the point which would admit of training the guns, again they turned, and heading into the harbor continued their broadsides. This was too much for troops not habituated to the use of heavy guns nor trained to war. Before the vessels entered, they saw in the cannon which they served what they fancied and believed a sufficient means to sink or destroy a fleet, and yet, with painful slowness and automaton-like regularity it swept around, delivering broadsides of shells with surprising rapidity, exploding them on the parapets and within their works, covering them up alive, as it were, in what they called their ‘sacred soil.’ Their guns were struck and broken or dismounted, guns' crews killed or wounded, and the mighty engines of yesterday seemed to have no potency to-day, wielded as they supposed deftly, but in reality clumsily. They saw the vessels were not impeded and did their will.

There is a force in the logic of war. Indisputably rude it is, yet more powerful than that of the bar, or even that of the pulpit; in undisciplined troops it addresses itself specially to what is equivocally called the ‘meanest comprehension.’

To the battering force in front, that passed along in grim procession, was added the enfilading fire, described by General Drayton as follows: ‘Besides this moving battery, the fort was enfiladed by the gunboats anchored to the north off the mouth of Fish Hall Creek, and another on an edge of the shoal to the south. This enfilading fire on so still a sea annoyed and damaged us excessively, particularly as we had no gun on either flank of the bastion to reply with, for the 32-pounder on the right flank was shattered by a round shot, and on the north flank, for want of a carriage, ’

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Percival Drayton (1)
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