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[254] Fort. He says it must be held for one month yet. To-day the firing has been unusually heavy, and, though only one or two casualties, it has resulted in considerable injury to us, in the way of dismounting guns. We have now only four guns fit for immediate service, though these are well protected by sand traverses, and probably will not be hurt at all. Besides, several others are only temporarily disabled, and to-night, when the firing ceases, they can be repaired. One company was sent out of the Fort last night, and to-night another goes. This will leave three to keep the old machine going. Our men act splendidly. No troops probably ever stood with so little concern and for so long a time such a terrific and constant shelling, and the more honor is due to them for such behavior when it is recollected that they do it without being allowed to reply. They have to sit quiet and take it the livelong day. You have no idea what a relief it is at night when the enemy stops pelting us; the feeling is delightful; we feel refreshed and rejoiced, and seem to breathe more freely an air that seems purer.

The eastern face of the Fort is very little injured so far, and the Fort is still tenable, though no one expects it to be held any length of time. The object of holding now is to get time to build or complete batteries on James's Island. Powder is being moved out as rapidly as possible. It is not impossible to save them, but it is probable that the guns will be blown up with the Fort when we evacuate. The Fort is so torn to pieces, and there is so much rubbish in it, that it would be a difficult job to get them out, and would require too much energy for we Confederates. It has come to our ears that the croakers have already opened their terrific battery, that never ceases firing. Every gun must be saved, say they, and the Fort must be defended, casemate by casemate, tier by tier, brick by brick! Build a bomb-proof, and get in it, and stay there and never give it up! I wish some of these boys would come down and give us a lift. It is said their battery never ceases firing, but I venture to say that if one of these same boys were to come down here and sit with us six hours, his battery would be completely silenced, and he would never open again, though he should live to the age of twice three score and ten.

One of Ripley's fancy aids-de-camp came down the other night with orders to Colonel Rhett to hold the Fort at all hazards, and was accidentally forced to remain in the Fort during next day; but he left here as soon as possible, the most disagreeably scared man you ever saw in your life, and I venture a prediction that he won't come back to this place any more.

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