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[285] numbers was to man the palisades, as in the first battle, or in their absence, being destroyed by the fleet, to man the top of the parapet and fire down upon the assaulting columns.

Notwithstanding the capture of a portion of the work and several hundred of the garrison, the Confederates were still undaunted, and seemed determined to recover the captured salient and gun chambers. We had retaken one of these in the charge led by Whiting, and since we had opened on their flank, we had shot down their standard bearers, and the Federal battle-flags had disappeared from our ramparts; we had become assailants and the enemy were on the defensive, and I felt confident that we would soon drive them out of the fort. Just as the tide of battle seemed to have turned in our favor, the remorseless fleet came to the rescue of the faltering Federals. Suddenly the bombardment, which had been confined to the sea face during the assaults, turned again on our land front, and with deadly precision. The iron-clads and frigates drove in our two Napoleons, killing and wounding nearly all the men at these guns, which had been doing effective service at the entrance to the sally port. They swept the recaptured gun chamber of its defenders, and their and 15-inch shells rolled down into the interior of the work, carrying death and destruction in their pathways. They drove from the parapets in front of the enemy all of my men except those so near that to have fired on them would have been slaughter to their own troops.

Nor was this all. We had now to contend with a column advancing around the rear of the left bastion by the river into the interior plane of the fort. It moved slowly and cautiously, apparently in column of companies and in close order. I met it with an effective infantry fire, my men using the remains of an old work as a breastwork, and taking advantage of every object that would offer cover, for we were now greatly outnumbered. The fire was so unexpected and so destructive, combined with the shells from Battery Buchanan, on the massed columns of the Federals, that they halted, when a quick advance would have overwhelmed us. Giving orders to dispute stubbornly any advance, I went rapidly down the seaface, and turned the two mound guns and two Columbiads on this column in the fort. Unfortunately these were the only ones available. I brought back with me to the front every man except a single detachment for each gun. On my return I found the fighting still continuing

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Harry Whiting (1)
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