fire. Fragments of our own shell fly back to our trench, in one case inflicting a severe wound. The fort is as silent as a natural sand bank, which, indeed, it much resembles. All the outside revetments of the work, its lines and surfaces, are destroyed by our fire. It looms over the head of the sap, a huge, shapeless sand bluff.
The firing of the Ironsides is excellent. A United States flag is kept constantly at the head of the sap, that she may direct her fire so as not to endanger us. Her shell strike the sea face of the work just in advance of the flag, ricochet over the parapet, fall, explode very regularly, and search every part of the work that can possibly be reached by a mortar fire.
Standing between the fires, and within a few yards of the point of striking, the opportunity to observe the effect, in the sand, of these huge shells from the smooth-bore guns of the navy and the rifles of the army was perfect. The ricochet of the former was uniform, and landed nearly every one in the fort. That of the latter was irregular; most of them exploded when they struck, throwing up a great quantity of sand, which falls back in its place; hence inflicting no injury save what may come from the heavy jar.
The right branch of the sap has for some time passed the zone of torpedoes;* none were found between the sea face and the beach, but the plungers of a number can be seen in front of the south face of the work on our left.
In compliance with official instructions, the trenches have been widened and cleaned out, the reversed side and parapets sloped and formed into steps, and in every way fitted to hold the greatest number of troops, and to have the egress the easiest possible, preparatory to the assault which is ordered to take place at low tide to-morrow morning. This work, which was continued into the night, was in charge of Lieutenants Farrand and Adams.
Lieutenant McGuire had charge of the sap a portion of the day. He reports:
One sapper of the engineers was killed and 3 infantry wounded by the explosion of a torpedo.
The whole of the superior and the upper portion of the exterior slopes of the south face of Wagner were plainly see this night from the effect of the calcium light stationed at the left of the second parallel. The enemy's sharpshooters fired scattering shots, which is unusual from the night time. They also fired 1 mortar shell. Our sharpshooters replied with occasional shots, and our mortars fired ont he fort regularly but slowly.
The sap was this night in charge of Captain Walker, assisted by Captain Pratt. The former reports:
During this night a branch of the sap was rum to the ditch of the fort, striking it at the salient angle. The right branch was run parallel with the sea face of the fort, and nearly to the ditch of the sea flank in that direction. About 10 o'clock I passed over into the ditch of the fort, and examined it from the flanking guns on the sea flank to the flanking guns on the south front, for the purpose of giving accurate information to our storming party. I found on the sea face of the fort a formidable obstruction, in the shape of a fraise of sharp-pointed stakes, firmly planted in the counterscarp of the ditch, and presenting their points about 2 feet below the crest. Between the stakes a spear, or boarding-pike, was place, evidently with the intention of impaling our men upon their points. These spears I pulled out, and laid in the bottom of the ditch, to the number, I should say, of two hundred. I then run a flying sap along the crest of the glacis, throwing the earth level with the points of the fraise, thus providing means for the storming party to pass over them.
*See Note 5, p. 310.