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[162] In an open field fight I believe we can whip them with any sort of showing, but when you come to regular operations requiring engineering skill, we can't compare with them. But the want of energy in this department, on our side, has surely been unpardonable. But I have already said too much on this subject, and I forbear. I have always thought that it was no part of private citizens, much less of officers, to keep constantly abusing our Generals because they happen to be unsuccessful. It is easy to say how a thing should have been done after one of two ways has failed, and it too often happens that we are unacquainted with the circumstances. The truth is, we are too much influenced in our opinions by disappointed hopes.

I have no fears for Charleston. Nothing that I have seen induces me to entertain them. I cannot express to you the pride I feel in and the love I entertain for the old city, the glorious mother of freedom.

The work is going on in the fort very rapidly. All the casemates of the two sides facing the Island are filled up with cotton bales and sand, and the engineer is now engaged in building traverses on the Battery and putting up sand-bags on the outside of the gorge, or the side of the fort through which the old Sally-Port came. The base of the sand-bags, extending out from the wall, will be twenty-four feet, out to the edge of the wharf, and they can be built up entirely to the top of the parapet. All the important guns have been moved out of the fort, and their places filled with dummies, or sham-guns, of the Brooke's pattern.

It is now 9 o'clock P. M. I was unable to finish my letter this morning. The enemy opened on us again about 4 o'clock this evening with the same 200-pound Parrott, at a distance of three and a-half miles, and I venture to say the world never witnessed better shooting. It is a rare thing they miss the Fort. We have not replied to-day, owing to the Brooke gun being slightly out of order. To-morrow we will feel them a little. The casualties today were three men wounded, two severely, and young Rice, of the signal corps, who was in college with me, was knocked down by a brick-bat. The only damage done was one gun-carriage disabled and a dummy dismounted.

Ever yours, &c.,

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R. S. Rice (1)
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