Defence and Fall of the Spanish Fort. 217
the exact locality of our positions. To gain time, and by a show of confidence and boldness, to make the enemy cautious, I resolved to attack him before daylight the next morning. Lieutenant- Colonel R. L. Lyndsay, with five hundred and fifty men, in gallant style charged his lines, surprised and drove in his skirmishers, cap- turing a few prisoners and a large number of arms and accoutre- ments, and was only recalled after the enemy was revealed in a heavy and extended order of battle.
Our object seemed to be accomplished, for it was not until late in the evening that he advanced, feeling his way cautiously, and, making no assault, invested our defences.
My scouts had reported two corps d'armee in front of us (the Thirteenth and Sixteenth), Major-General Canby commanding. From information derived from the prisoners, and from drawings and maps captured with one of the engineers of the Sixteenth corps, I estimated the force to be not less than 20,000 muskets strong perhaps much larger.
On his first advance he succeeded at some points in pushing his skirmishers to within two hundred yards; on the center and right he was driven back. Our artillery fire was reserved until his light batteries came well up, when it was suddenly opened, and it ap- peared to be with decided effect. On the left the ground was more favorable to the enemy, and to this fact and the want of works may be ascribed the nearness with which he was enabled to establish himself. On the right and center he was held at bay to the very close of the operations, nor did he at any time gain any decided advantages without severe contests and heavy losses. He sat down before us and developed rapidly a system of regular approaches by parallels. He gradually converted his advanced lines into heavy works, and after the first week displayed an ex- ceedingly large armament of artillery. The absolute necessity of first completing our lines and the smallness of my force, prevented the attempt to meet his approaches by any system of advance. There was a great deficiency of tools. Spades, axes, and every available instrument that could be of service in any way were kept busy night and day from the commencement to the close. In the first days of the investment (the third I believe) Thomas' brigade of Alabama Reserves was relieved by Holtzclaw's and Ector's brigades, both together exceeding Thomas' by about one