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[224] Hayne's bluffs, I had been making requisitions on Mobile and other points through Generals Lee and Stevenson, for materials to secure the immense raft constructed across the Yazoo river, opposite the seige guns of Snyder's Bluff. The raft was about to give way from the pressures of at least 6,000 tons of drift wood accumulated on its upper side. In my anxiety to secure the raft I resolved upon a personal interview with General Stevenson, so ordering my horse, a rapid ride brought me to headquarters in the now famous city. The air was full of rumors of the great strength and scientific dispositions of the defenses of Vicksburg, and with faith I accepted the statement that no force could take the city.

About the middle watch of the night the belching of a cannon in one of the water batteries awoke the city from its easy slumbers. Officers and men rushed to the river front to gaze upon the yankee gun boats slowly steaming down the river; nearer they came with almost a death-like motion, slow, and in harmony with the black, lithe, sinuous gliding of the river.

The sparkle of the battle lights betokened the life that lay prone behind their iron-clad covering. Men stood behind that iron coat ready to drive the missiles of death into the Confederate batteries; stood ready as volunteers, and from a sense of honor to dare death in a combat for success.

There was no flickering among the veterans who manned the guns of the fated city. The artillerymen of the South, in the full glare of the red light of bonfires built in their rear, aimed their guns with the precision of parade practice, but it seemed with no effect, for boat after boat kept on with steady thud passing gun after gun that opened singly one after the other upon them

The effect of the firing on moving objects by single guns, proved itself, as it did in other instances, a failure, and confirmed the opinion that I had always held, that concentrated mass-firing is the only effective way to destroy iron-clad vessels of war.

If the engineer officer in charge of construction in Vicksburg had arranged his guns in groups, so that the fire could have been thrown to a common point, with a weight of metal that, united in its impingement, would have been irresistible, it would not have gone into history that men lived to run the batteries of Vicksburg.

After the duel between the portable marine batteries and the fixed shore heavy guns, there was nothing to do but seek consolation on the hard couch of a soldier or bewail the half-way manner of doing things customary in the Western Army of the Confederate States.

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