Defence of Spanish Fort. 123
were constantly knocked down upon us, bruising and crippling us ; squads of sharpshooters devoted their especial attention to our port holes or embrasures and poured a steady stream of bullets through them from early morn till dewy eve ; mining and counter-mining began, and I remember one gallant fellow along the line to the right of us crept one night with a detail of men down the ravine where the spring was, out beyond our skirmish pits, into the lines of the enemy's pickets, and finding the mouth of their mine, which occupied a rather advanced position, he captured the whole batch of miners and got back to our works without a shot or losing a man.
SOME FEDERAL COMPLIMENTS.
But the end came at last. We knew it was coming. We could feel it in the air. And then, too, certain ominous indica- tions came from the enemy. For several days we could see that they were preparing for something unusual. Suddenly one afternoon a most extraordinary fire opened upon us from three points, from the two ends of their line and from their center. It seemed to concentrate upon our battery. No doubt, we had done them mischief, and perhaps more mischief than the other forts, for our gunners had gained experience in a score of bat- tles ; but we were not prepared for such an especial compliment as this. They were shelling us with mortar shells, huge fifteen- inch bombs, so large that we could see them with the naked eye shortly after leaving the mortar's mouth ; see them as they arose up into the air, describe a graceful curve and then begin hurry- ing with vicious impetus down full upon our helpless heads.
They had six of those mortars, two at each point, moved, I suppose, from their ships, and from that time on, both day and night, those fearful things came down upon our heads. There was no shelter from these bombs — no defense from that fire. We had to stand and take it. Their force was terrible. They •would go six feet in the solid earth and exploding tear up a