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[227] mud is from a foot to eighteen inches deep. It was upon that portion of the bank which faces north that Gillmore intended to place his batteries, from thirty-four hundred to sixteen hundred yards from the fort; but after having landed the materials for their construction and armament near the lighthouse, the whole had to be dragged across the swamp in order to protect them against the fire of the enemy. The site chosen for the batteries most distant from the landing was separated by two miles and a half from the latter place. It became necessary not only to drag over this entire distance the gabions, the fascines, the timber for platforms, the gun-carriages, the cannon, and the mortars which were to constitute the armament of the batteries, but to construct beforehand a causeway for the conveyance of all this heavy material across the swamp, the ground of which had about the consistency and elasticity of gelatine. This preparatory labor consumed a vast quantity of stumps of trees and brushwood. After it was completed, the Federal soldiers had another task to perform which was equally difficult. Every night, after having assisted in landing the material on a dangerous shore up to their waists in water, they harnessed themselves to heavy carts loaded with a portion of the armament, dragged them through the deep sand and along a narrow causeway, more than sixteen hundred yards long. At times one might see two hundred and fifty men striving with great difficulty to move one of these heavy vehicles, sometimes lighted by the uncertain rays of the moon, which gave a false appearance of firmness to the smooth surface of the mud, sometimes bending under the gusts of wind which caused the sea to roar along the beach, lashing their faces with the salt foam.

This work was prosecuted while the fleet, as we have remarked, was visiting all the principal points on the coast. The necessity of effecting all the landings at high tide, and during calm weather, and of erecting batteries and bringing up the materials only under cover of night, caused great delay in their completion. The Forty-sixth New York, however, which was the first to land, was soon reinforced; Colonel Terry, who acquired so much distinction at a later period by the capture of Fort Fisher, had joined it with the Seventh Connecticut, a few other companies of volunteers

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