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[469] immediately, and was ended toward noon on the following day. The approaches of the fort were difficult. It was protected on the west by a stream with steep banks, called a bayou; on the east by a swamp, which did not quite reach the edge of the water. The space comprised between the bayou and the swamp was only about a thousand metres in length. The position could only be approached through this plateau, for between the fort and the swamp there was a ravine which stretched down to the river, and which was difficult to cross. In front of this ravine the Confederates had fortified their right by means of an old causeway, which they had converted into a kind of breastwork, and by raising a second line of defences in the rear. Their cantonments were established in front of the fort, in the centre of the plateau, on an open ground interspersed with clusters of trees. They had also constructed a strong line of entrenchments a little beyond, seven hundred metres in length, the left of which rested upon the bayou, and was occupied by a battery of field artillery.

These outward works were too much extended for the number of the garrison; consequently, the latter did not seriously dispute the old causeway, which was swept by the fire of the gunboats. Whilst Morgan was investing the right of the enemy with three brigades — the fourth brigade of his corps, under General de Courcy, remaining at the point of disembarkation— and whilst Lindsay with the fifth was landing on the opposite side and ascending the river, so as to command its course above the fort, Sherman was obliged to make a large detour with his whole corps to get out of range of the enemy's fire, and present himself subsequently before the enemy's left, and that portion of the plateau where his cantonments were established. But, possessing little knowledge of the country, the head of Sherman's column entered the swamp we have mentioned above; on emerging from it with great difficulty, it was found that it would be necessary to march a distance of twelve kilometres to reach the enemy, and that this route would lead them in front of the bayou, of which he occupied the passes. Sherman retraced his steps; and under cover of night his whole corps, by following a road called River Road, which ran between the swamp and the Confederate positions, was deployed so as to complete the investment.

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T. W. Sherman (3)
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