Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/269

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Tin- /ttiff/,-* Of AV/

261

and that the fort never fired on the enemy unless they fired first. I replied that it should never occur again, and ordering a detachment to man the rifle in the Cumberland battery, opened fire on the block- ader. The astonished enemy slipped his cable and retreated as fast as possible, and from that day to the final attack no blockader an- chored within range of our guns, and no working party was ever molested, not even when hundreds were congregated together in constructing the mound.

When the Federal fleet appeared off the fort in December, 1864, I had built two faces to the works ; these were two thousand five hun- dred and eighty yards long, or about one and a half miles. The land face mounted twenty of the heaviest sea-coast guns, and was 682 yards long; the sea face with twenty-four equally heavy guns (including a lyo-pounder Blakeley rifle and i3O-pounder Armstrong rifle, both imported from England) was 1,898 yards in length.

The land face commenced about 100 feet from the river with a half bastion, originally Shepherd's Battery, which I had doubled in strength, and extended with a heavy curtain to a full bastion on the ocean side, where it joined the sea face. The work was built to with- stand the heaviest artillery fire. There was no moat with scarp and counter scarp, so essential for defence against storming parties, the shifting sands rendering its construction impossible with the material available. The outer slope was twenty feet high from the berme to the top of the parapet, at an angle of forty-five degrees, and was sodded with marsh grass, which grew luxuriantly. The parapet was not less than twenty-five feet thick, with an inclination of only one foot. The revetment was five feet nine inches high from the floor of the gun chambers, and these were some twelve feet or more from the interior plane. The guns were all mounted in barbette on Columbiad carriages; there was not a single casemated gun in the fort. Expe- rience had taught that casemates of timber and sand bags were a de- lusion and a snare against heavy projectiles; and there was no iron to construct others with. Between the gun chambers, containing one or two guns each, there were heavy traverses, exceeding in size any heretofore constructed, to protect from an enfilading fire. They ex- tended out some twelve feet on the parapet, and were twelve feet or more in height above the parapet, running back thirty feet or more. The gun chambers were reached from the rear by steps. In each traverse was an alternate magazine or bomb-proof, the latter venti-