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The ceaseless labor went on day after day, month after month, heaping up defensive works, driving palisades, sounding the channels (for the treacherous sands of that inlet give new directien to the channel after every storm from the sea), protecting commerce, and the routine of the command, complicated as the great forwarding depot of the South; but he never ceased to warn Richmond that stationary fortifications alone could not accomplish the impossible task of holding the port; there must be a supporting force of troops to meet at once troops embarked by the enemy, as they would be out of reach of the guns of the fort, whether on Oak Island or near Fort Fisher. Meanwhile events were rapidly progressing elsewhere, and the sad story of repeated Confederate losses was growing familiar. The following remarkable letter from General Joseph E. Johnston deserves record here:
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