friends comfortable and give them a warm reception, I had caused to be constructed three deep ditches across the road, the bottom of each chasm being armed with chevaux de frise
, and the intervals filled with mines.
Field guns to enfilade the gorge and batteries with cotton bales for epaulments, were rapidly built to maintain our supremacy in the coming fight.
After all, the Federal
battalions did not risk defeat by another course of charges, but contented themselves by burning up the cotton walls of the advanced open lunette.
This was one of the great events that ‘Old Father Time
’ placed back in his rear pocket, thinking perhaps that it was better to put an entire new play on the stage.
The only one graceful favor that General Pemberton
had the power to render was the consent he gave to a truce to bury the ‘braves’ who had fallen in the charges upon our lines.
The time was given and the dead were put out of sight.
They had lain thickly where they fell, so much so that the ground took the color of the Federal
‘'Tis pity, pity 'tis, 'tis true.’
The burning of the building in which was stored war material and provisions, was one of the most exciting events of the investure.
It rose to a point of being sublime, for it was a strife between puny man and the raging elements of nature on a grand scale, and added to this a first-class battle.
It rose from an incipient fire to a light sheet that blinded the eyes.
It showed the mastery of man over himself and nature.
The flashing of the Yankee
guns at quick intervals brightened the glare of the flaming buildings.
The rain of iron fell with a clang on the paved streets, startling the men who were running, laden with a burden of provisions or ammunition, from the burning commissary depot to a more safe place of deposit for the supplies.
Like a swaying pendulum, in automatic precision, the details ran to and fro amidst the squares that shot and shell made, indifferent to danger, only intent to obey the orders of the officers, and do the duty set before them.
The tempest of battle gathered force as the heat of the flames grew greater.
The heat scorched the devoted soldiers, the light increased until it was as the light of day, and the men showed only as dots on the field of conflict.
After awhile the blazing embers fell, the light grew grey and dark, then sank to a glimmer, leaving the starlight alone to relieve the gloom, made darker by contrast.
The worn men staggered to their wretched quarters in the trenches or sand hills, to suffer, to sleep the sleep of exhaustion, utterly indifferent to the blazing worlds overhead, the fluttering haze rising from the river, or the still