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[271] a volley first and then a concentrated fire on the workmen and drove back all who survived their deadly aim. During this time the flames were blazing from every quarter, and ladies and children were forced to flee from their cellars to escape death by fire, even at the risk of being stricken down by shells and bricks.

The horror of the occasion was heightened by the veil of fog, which obscured all objects fifty yards distant. About half an hour after the bombardment had ceased, the fog cleared away, leaving a picture which riveted every eye and sickened every heart. Mansions that for years had been the scenes of a boundless hospitality and domestic comfort, lay in ruins and smouldering ashes. Blackened walls and wrecked gardens were all that were left of numerous happy homes. The memory of those scenes will be hard to efface.

Defeated at every turn, the Federal commander abandoned his bridges for the time and began to cross in boats. He directed a destructive rifle fire against the Mississippians along the river bank, and also against those in the city. Colonel Fiser continued to dispute this passage, and many of the boats were forced to return to remove their dead and get others to take their places.

After a large force had been landed above and below, Colonel Fiser was ordered to rejoin the brigade in the city. The enemy soon formed line and dashed at the Mississippians, determined to drive them from their rifle pits and other places of shelter. They moved forward in splendid style, and perfect military order. Soon the advance was followed by a second and third line. It was a magnificent sight, which won the admiration of the Mississippians. There was no nervousness nor hesitation. They may have thought that all the troops in the city were killed, but, matters not, they were a fine body of men.

Barksdale's Brigade watched them from their hiding places and awaited their near approach. Suddenly, when within about seventy-five yards of our line, as if by common impulse, a volley rang out from the rifle pits on the cold air, which sounded almost like one gun, and hundreds fell dead in their tracks. The front line of the enemy, paralyzed and dismayed by the shock, fell back in confusion. In the meantime, the Mississippians were firing on them as they ran. It was a dreadful slaughter, which might have been considered a retaliation for the dreadful bombardment of two hours before. Quickly the second line advanced, firing as they came, and was met by a deadly aim from the Confederates. The column halted in front

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John C. Fiser (2)
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