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[25]

Fifty-nine and a half tons of ordnance emplaced in vain These mortars of Battery No. 4 were ready to let loose a stream of fire upon Yorktown on the night of May 3d. But that very night the Confederate host secretly withdrew. The great weight of the projectiles these guns could throw was sufficient to crash through the deck of a battleship. For that reason such mortars were generally used for sea-coast fortifications. The projectiles weighed up to 770 pounds. At times, the big mortars were used for siege purposes, although their great weight--17,000 pounds--made them difficult to emplace in temporary works. For thirty days the Union artillerymen had toiled beneath the Virginia sun putting the seven gigantic weapons, seen on the left-hand page, into place. Their aggregate weight was 119,000 pounds, or fifty-nine and a half tons. By garrisoning Yorktown and forcing the Federals to place such huge batteries into position — labor like moles at these elaborate, costly, and tedious siege approaches--General Magruder delayed the Union army for a month, and gained precious time for General Lee to strengthen the defenses of the threatened Confederate capital, while Jackson in the Valley held off three more Federal armies by his brilliant maneuvering, and ultimately turned upon them and defeated two.

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