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[112] about the same distance towards the left, checked every effort of the enemy to advance upon Cemetery Hill according to his programme, or to move down the lines on either side of the Crater for some hours, and until an infantry force was collected to retake it. Each battery took in flank any advance upon the other, and the enemy was kept under shelter of the earth thrown up by the explosion. A somewhat similar position of batteries first checked the Yankee advance after the capture of Fort Harrison, Sept. 29th, 1864, and the Confederate assault on Fort Steadman on the 25th of March 1865 was discomfitted in the same way. Indeed the Federal intrenchments very frequently comprised a second line of redoubts, if not of infantry parapet, in rear of the first, and its very moral effect often prevented attempts upon the first which promised well.

Lest some of the statements of this article should be misunderstood to reflect in any way upon the Ordnance Bureau of the War Department, it is but just to close it, not only by disclaiming any such intention, but with the express statement that the energy, enterprise and intelligence which characterized the administration of this bureau were of the highest order, and that the results accomplished by it make a record of which its officers may well be proud. On assuming its duties at the commencement of the war, its admirable chief, General J. Gorgas, might well have hesitated at the task before him. The emergencies and demands of the war were already upon him, and the immense supplies which it became his duty to provide were of a character which the South had neither the factories nor the skilled workmen to produce. With scarcely a single assistant instructed in the peculiar and technical details which are the first elements of an ordnance officer's attainments, and without even an office organization for the transaction of business, the whole machinery of a department was to be organized, which, to illustrate with the history of a single article, should induce the formation of saltpetre from the atmosphere by slow chemical affinities; separate and refine it from impurities by most delicate processes; provide for it, and combine with it sulphur and charcoal in the dangerous operations of the powder manufactory; transport it safely to the arsenal and put it up in safe and convenient cartridges; transport it to the field of battle, and have it at hand where the particular gun to which it is adapted shall receive it ready for use at the moment it is required. And in addition to these operations, the same department, to prevent waste and loss, and to know and anticipate the wants of the army, must institute a system of reports and accounts, which shall not only keep its chief


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March 25th, 1865 AD (2)
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