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The siege of Charleston.

the Prospects for its reduction--Fort Sumter in a Damaged condition Gen Gilmore's Designs — a view from a Monitor's turret, &c., &c.

The only point upon which public attention in the United and Confederate States is chiefly directed is the line of works defending the city of Charleston. This concentrated interest arises chiefly from the fact that not a gun is to be heard in any other quarter of the Confederacy, and even a daily bombardment, though doing little damage to either party, is something by which the attention may be fixed in the present dearth of events. From our files of the latest Northern papers we make up an interesting account given by Yankee correspondents of the "progress of the siege"--if it may be said to be progressing at all. A letter in the Baltimore American, dated off Charleston, July 30th, says:

What are the Prospects?

In conversation with some of the officers from the Wabash, I find a very general confidence prevailing that within the next ten days the fall of Sumter would be consummated and that Charleston must soon after succumb.--They report everything as progressing satisfactorily, and the fall of Fort Wagner as one of the events of the next few days. The constant bombardment now progressing is, I learn mainly to conceal the erection, by Gen. Gilmore, of a masked battery within five hundred yards of Fort Wagner, and also to protect his troops in the operation. This new battery was expected to be ready to open on the enemy tomorrow, and its advent will be a grand fusillade from the monitors and the Ironsides. Fort Wagner is already a sightless mass of sand, and with the boring shell of Gen. Gilmore a strong effort will be made to penetrate its magazine and put a summary end to the vile concern.

Fort Sumter.

It is the general impression on all hands here that the rebels have evacuated all the casemates of Sumter, and intend to depend on her parapet guns entirely in the approaching assault. It is even said that her entire case mates are filled with sand bags, and that all her best guns have been crowded to the parapets If this is so it indicates that even the unsuccessful assault of April last must have been so terrible that there is an unwillingness to risk the fate of the fort to another square assault from the monitors.

The naval battery.

The naval battery, which is under the command of Capt. Foxhill A Parker, of the Wabash, to be manned by about three hundred blue jackets, will not be ready to open on the enemy probably for a week to come, and until it is finished nothing decisive may be looked for. We will have our daily bombardment — the monitors will go up before dinner, after dinner, and after tea, in squads of two or three, regularly relieved by the Ironsides, keeping the enemy closely packed away in his "rat holes" night and day during the sultry weather, giving him no opportunity to cook, or eat, or sleep, with any degree of comfort. The sailor boys are confident of success when they are ready, and will dash in with their usual vim.

The rebel works.

Wagner responds and will continue to respond with an occasional gun. Sumter about once in ten minutes throws a heavy rifle shot at the impenetrable armor of our iron clade, or hurls a shell in the direction of the land battery, and occasionally there is a report coming from the direction of James Island, showing that Gen. Gilmore is keeping close watch and ward over any flecking movements that may be attempted by the enemy. He is also assisted in this work by some of the smaller gunboats, and all was progressing well in that direction at last accounts.

As to the fall of Sumter soon after the fall of Wagner, no one seems to have the least doubt. Fort Wagner is undoubtedly the key of Charleston, as evinced by the indomitable defence made by the enemy with such terrible loss. There probably never was a fortification besieged with such frightful sacrifice of life to the besiegers as has been the case at Fort Wagner, and from the preparations making there is no doubt that bloodier times are yet in store for them.

The Providence Journal has a letter dated on board the iron clad Montauk, off Charleston, July 27, from which we make some extracts:

The strength of Earthworks.

The land batteries are daily continuing their practice upon Wagner, and it is almost impossible to tell of the results. Doubtless not much beyond harassing the enemy is accomplished, for the great sides of Wagner can receive many 30 pounders, and even 11 and 15 inch shot and shell, without being rendered useless. This war has certainly developed one fact which cannot fail to be of infinite importance hereafter.

It is the effectiveness of earth and sand batteries. A well constructed earthwork, with proper and sufficient ordnance, and well manned, can scarcely be taken. It seems, in fact, that the shot and shell thrown into it serve only to make it stronger, and if the fire be not incessant at night the men can repair the damage of the day, and such a work may hold out almost any time. I do not think there is a permanent fortification in the world which could have stood the fire to which Wagner was subjected on the 15th day of July.

The iron-clads at work.

Friday morning, the 24th, was another fines clear, mild morning. At 3½ o'clock all hands were called, and immediately we got under way. The attack was to be more general than usual, and the day's work was early commenced.

In the following order we proceeded up the channel: Weehawken, Ironsides, Montauk, Nantucket, Patapsco, and Catskill. At 5:32 A. M. the Montauk opened the engagement with a 11 inch shell, which fell on the extreme right of the fort. At the same time the batteries on shore opened the fire, and soon the conflict became general. The Montauk was lying not more than 900 yards from Wagner, the Ironsides 1,000 yards, and the other iron clads about 1,200 or 1,300 yards distant. At 6 o'clock a new feature in the fighting here took place, being nothing less than a shot from Moultrie.

Old Moultrie has been silent since we appeared off Charleston till now. But I presume the fealty to secession could not be restrained, and the occupants of Moultrie were anxious to show their desires to contribute their part toward driving away the Yankees. But their shot fell half a mile short, and they only tried it once more. Sumter, however, always ready, gave us some excellent shots, and continued to fire until the affair was over. Hardly a repetition of the fight of the 18th, yet it was a hotly contested engagement and a magnificent sight. But Wagner fired only once, and then during the remainder of the day was silent. We could not see a soul in the work, and it seemed almost deserted. But from Sumter and Gregg the shots came thick and fast.

The firing from the land batteries of Gen. Gilmore and the iron clads was excellent, and the big shells which tors their way through parapet and casemate and burst inside, threw up such great masses of dust and sand and earth that it seemed as though a volcano must be belching forth its black contents of its subterranean recesses.

The great hull of the Ironsides lay a splendid mark for their guns, but its sides were not scathed by a single shell. The firing from the Ironsides was beautiful, as it always has been. The report of the guns of its powerful broadside rent the air; the shot one after another tore through the sides of Wagner, while the thick, blue veil of smoke, which rose and floated away over the vessel, almost enveloping the black hull from view, formed a picture the magnificence of which one could not help estimating and appreciating even in the midst of battle.

New rebel works.

During the engagement we discovered a new sight which the few preceding days had created. Nothing less than two strong looking batteries on James Island, away over beyond the low land of Morris Island, and in the rear of Fort Johnson by a mile or more. They had already assumed formidable proportions, and the men in groups were working upon them with the greatest haste. They are, of course, for the purpose of flanking Wagner in the event of its being captured, and may, indeed, prove ugly customers. In a few days we expect to see the shot issuing from them.

Gilmore pushing on.

Certainly Gen. Gilmore is a persevering and industrious man. The fortifications which he is throwing up in his advanced position are already extensive, and assume even a formidable appearance. Even now they rival Wagner, and although not consisting of such a mass of earth as Wagner, yet I do not doubt they are equally strong, or at least nearly so. The morning shows the increase which the night has wrought.

His men are placing guns in position, and all the work necessary to make his fortifications strong, and offensive or defensive, is rapidly going on. A few days more must witness a bombardment from these works, which are now quiet.

More fighting.

Wednesday morning the Montauk moved once more into position off Wagner, and within 1,100 yards of it. The Catakill immediately followed and came into position about the same distance off. We could see but one gun upon Wagner, and this one the 10 inch gun from which we have heretofore received so much attention.

Prompt in its old business, it again greeted as this morning with a shot which came sufficiently near for quite a minute examination of its size and exterior. It passed over the turret and fell into the sea a hundred feet beyond of, throwing up a column of water high into she air. With an occasional shot at the Catskill we received most of its attention during the morning's work. Fort Gregg fired all the morning at the Catskill, and made some excellent practice.

This fort being as far again from the iron-clads as Fort Wagner, and situated upon the low lands of Cummings Point, fires at some disadvantage, yet the shots have been excellent during the week past, in which time it has scarcely been silent during the day. Fort Gregg is a small work compared with Wagner, and yet it is a strong one. It is the old original Cummings Point battery, strengthened and somewhat increased. Its sloping sides, covered with green turf, remind us of Wagner before loyal shot and shell had torn and burned it, and transformed its fine proportions into an almost shapeless mass.

Steadily we fired into Wagner till its guns were still and no living object was in view. Our half-barrels of grape had swept the fort, and gunners and sharpshooters were both invisible. Within a few days a new feature has shown itself in the firing from Wagner, it being nothing less than sharpshooters hidden behind the parapet in the casemates, and waiting to pick off any who may be seen upon the iron-clads.

The rifle barrels glisten upon the top of the parapet, and the little faint puff of smoke which issues from the rifles' muzzles and floats away tells us to look out, and, as we step behind the turret or pilot-house, the leaden messenger flies over or beside us, singing on its way, and chucks into the water near by. The firing is over, and from our excellent position we take a long look at the Secessio-Babylonio city and its surroundings. Sumter is firing, but we heed it not.

A view from a Monitor's turret.

On our right is the deserted summer resort, the Moultrie House. Close by it, Fort Moultrie, with the two blockade running wrecks, the Isaac P. Smith and the Minho, ashore on the beech before it. A little further to the left is quiet Moultrieville, and a little beyond it, toward the city, the beautiful green parapet and traverses of Battery Bee. Sumter now blocks the view. Above its frowning wall the "stars and bars" have given way to the new flag.

On the eastern face the line of new mason work from parapet to base, and which was repaired after the injury from the iron-clads in April last, is distinctly marked. The middle line of ports into which we looked and saw them load and fire is now filled up, and the lower tier of ports only is used. The line of cotton bales which last week hung over its walls is gone. The flash of their own guns set them on fire, and they were cut down.--Most of the cotton was saved, and is piled up behind Sumter, while some of it came floating down by us.

The rear of the fort has been to an extent protected by masses of stone and brick work on each corner. As you look, almost close to Fort Sumter and under it is Fort Gregg.--Nearer to us and immediately in front is Wagner, with its sides, though bearing some appearance of shape, yet torn and ragged. Over the low land of Morris Island, and on James Island beyond, are the two batteries which the hands of treason have recently built.

A little farther beyond and to the right is Fort Johnson, and to the right of that opens the harbor and city. The yellow walls of Castle Pinckney form a prominent object over the smooth surface of the water. A little to the left of Pinckney is the iron-clad middle ground battery, Fort Ripley, and I imagine it is not more comfortable below than the rebel prize Atlantis, for I see upon the top of it the white tents in which the officers and men probably live.

A little beyond and to the left is the city.--The green trees upon the battery look beautiful and inviting, and from under their sheltering foliage many of the fair residents of Charleston looked out upon the fight, praying in their hearts — anxious and palpitating hearts, let us hope — that the contemptible Yankees and their iron ships might never survive the terrible storm of shot and shell which rained so mercilessly upon them.

The streets, the houses, the churches, and spires of the city, are in plain view. Near to, and almost in range of Christ Church spire, a tall tower and look-out is rapidly going up. --The blockade runners are lying quietly at the wharves. We can see neither of the iron-clads, and, undoubtedly, they are trying to make a move in another direction to covert our attention from the fortifications. Away to the left on Morris Island busy hands are at work making strong the defences of the Union, loyalty, and good Government. It is an interesting picture.

Hardly a spot within the line of vision but what is familiar to our eyes, and yet destined to become in the swiftly-advancing days more memorable. The foot of the Government is firmly planted on this " sacred soil." Only a few steps forward, and the birthplace of treason is under its heel. The steps may be taken, slowly perhaps, but surely. We may witness repulses at first, but they shall be turned into successes.

The contest will be fierce, but will end in victory at last. Let us watch without criticising, and wait without murmuring. The stake is too great to admit a false move, the prize is too dear to fall from our grasp. With the fall of Charleston we may surely look, and soon for the last expiring breath of the rebellion.

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