length, opened fire one after another, the enemy followed them up successively with a vigorous though not at first very accurate fire from his barbette and casemate guns. Subsequent inquiry showed that he knew the exact position of only two of our batteries - Sherman and Burnside. These were established just above high-water mark, on low ground, void of bushes or undergrowth of any kind. During their construction no special attempt at concealment had been made after once securing good parapet cover by night work.
Great surprise and disappointment were expressed by all experienced officers present at the unsatisfactory results obtained with the 13-inch mortars. Although the platforms were excellent and remained for all useful purposes intact, and although the pieces were served with a fair degree of care and skill, not one-tenth of the shells thrown appeared to fall within the work - an estimate that was afterwards found to be rather over than under the correct proportion. Whether this inaccuracy is due to the fact that no cartridge-bags were furnished for the mortars, to inequalities in the strength of the powder, to defects inherent in the piece itself, or to these several causes combined, remains yet to be ascertained. It is suggested that the earnest attention of the proper department be directed to this subject.
By 1 o'clock in the afternoon (April 10) it became evident that the work would be breached, provided our breaching batteries did not become seriously disabled by the enemy's fire. By the aid of a powerful telescope it could be observed that the rifled projectiles were doing excellent service, that their penetration was deep and effective, and that the portion of the wall where the breach had been ordered was becoming rapidly honey-combed.
It also became evident before night, on account of the inefficiency of the mortar firing, that upon breaching alone ending perhaps in an assault, we must depend for the reduction of the work.
In order to increase the security of our advanced batteries a tolerably brisk fire against the barbette guns of the fort was kept up throughout the day. Probably from 15 to 20 per cent. of the metal thrown from the breaching batteries on the 10th was expended in this way.
As evening closed in, rendering objects indistinct, all the pieces ceased firing, with the exception of two 13-inch mortars, one 10-inch mortar, and one 30-pounder Parrott, which were served throughout the night at intervals of fifteen or twenty minutes for each piece. The object of this was to prevent repairs of the breach or the filling of the casemates in rear of it with sand bags or other material.
I extract as follows from my preliminary report to Brigadier-General Benham, dated April 12, 1861:
The only plainly perceptible result of this cannonade of ten and a half hours' duration (on the 10th), the breaching batteries having been served but nine and a half hours, was the commencement of a breach in the easterly half of the pan-coupe connecting the south and southeast faces, and in that portion of the southeast face spanned by the two casemates adjacent to the pan-coupe.
The breach had been ordered in this portion of the scarp so as to take in reverse, through the opening formed, the powder magazine, located in the angle formed by the gorge and the north face.
Two of the barbette guns of the fort had been disabled and three casemate guns silenced.
The enemy served both tiers of guns briskly throughout the day, but without injury to the materiell or personnel of our batteries.
* * * * * * *
On the morning of the 11th, a little after sunrise, our batteries again opened fire with decided effect, the fort returning a heavy and well-directed fire from its casemates and barbette guns. The breach was