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[220] him from planting torpedoes along the course of the river itself. This is the first time that we meet these powerful engines of defence, borrowed from the Russians, and which were soon destined to play so important a part in the war. Furnished with an explosive apparatus and fastened to an anchor, they floated on the surface; consequently, they were quickly discovered by the Federal launches employed in exploring the Savannah River, and fished up by them without receiving any injury; but the fear of encountering some of these torpedoes between two waters was no doubt the reason which prevented Dupont from going up the river with his gun-boats.

While he was fortifying himself at Venus Point, the month of February passed away without any other incident, except a trifling attempt on the part of some sailors upon a Confederate battery situated at Bear's Bluff, near North Edisto channel.

But Dupont was preparing an expedition which was to secure him the possession of some of the most important points on the coast of Florida, and which we shall find at work early in March.

The Atlantic coast, south of the mouths of the Savannah as far as the point where the peninsula of Florida commences, has the same configuration as at the north as far as Charleston. Between the continent and the open sea stretches a chain of islands of considerable size, and separated by numerous canals; the enormous volume of water which the rivers of Georgia discharge into the Atlantic has hollowed several bays, of great extent and depth, in this chain, dividing these islands into many groups. These groups and estuaries, beginning from the Savannah River, are the following: Tybee Island, a bay; then Warsaw Islands, a bay; then the Ossabaw Islands, a bay; then St. Catharine Islands, a bay; then Sapelo Islands, the mouths of the Altamaha; the islands and then the Bay of St. Simon; Jekyll Island, the Bay of St. Andrews; Cumberland Island, the Bay of St. Mary; Amelia Island, upon which stands the little town of Fernandina, terminus of the Cedar Keys Railway; and finally the Bay of Nassau. On the coast of Florida we find only small rivers, for their flow is limited by the breadth of the peninsula, and the soil is, moreover, so flat that the waters find no outlet to the sea. The fertile islands

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