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 On the morning of the 15th, the fleet, which had not ceased firing during the night, redoubled its fire on the land face. The sea was smooth, and the navy having become accurate from practice, by noon had destroyed every gun on that face except one Columbiad, which was somewhat protected by the angle formed by the northeast salient. The palisade had been practically destroyed as a defensive line and was so torn up that it actually afforded cover for the assailants. The harvest of wounded and dead was hourly increasing, and at that time I had not 1,200 effective men to defend the long line of works. The enemy were now preparing to assault, their skirmish lines were digging rifle pits close to our torpedo lines on the left, and their columns on the river shore were massing for the attack, while sharpshooters were firing upon every head that showed itself upon our front. Despite the imminent danger to the gunners, I ordered the two Napoleons at the central sally port and the Napoleon on the left to fire grape and canister upon the advancing skirmish line. They fearlessly obeyed, but at a sad sacrifice in killed and wounded. At the same time on the ocean side a column of sailors and marines, two thousand strong, were approaching, throwing up slight trenches to protect their advance. On these, we brought to bear our single heavy gun on the land face and the two guns on the mound. Shortly after noon, General Bragg sent Hagood's South Carolina brigade, consisting of four regiments and one battalion, about one thousand strong, under Colonel Graham, from Sugar Loaf by the river to reinforce the fort, landing them near Battery Buchanan. The fleet, seeing the steamer landing troops, directed a portion of their fire towards her, and although she was not struck and we believe no casualties occured, after landing a portion of the men (two of the regiments) ingloriously steamed off with the remainder. Never was there a more stupid blunder committed by a commanding general. If this fresh brigade had been sent to this point the night before, they could have reached the fort unobserved, could have been protected until needed, and could have easily repulsed the assault by the army on our left; but landed in view of the fleet they had to double quick over an open beach to the mound under a heavy fire. When they reached the fort, 350 in number, they were out of breath, disorganized, and more or less demoralized. They reached our front about thirty minutes before the attacking columns came like avalanches on our right and left. I sent them into an old commissary bomb-proof to recover breath.
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