At 4 a.m. I relieved the fatigue party. The firing from our batteries was not as effective to-night. The enemy kept quiet, returning no fire. They have increased the strength of their rifle-pits. General Hagood was to-night relieved by Colonel Harrison.
Wednesday, 26th. The day began with the usual fire of the enemy. I think I noticed a new battery of the enemy about 900 yards off to our right, and in line with our rifle-pits and in continuation of theirs.
It appears to be in a clump of green trees over the marsh. They have worked hard during the night, notwithstanding our fire, and their line of rifle-pits begins to assume larger proportions. A detail of 100 men reported at 8 o'clock. I placed steps or treads in all of the gunchambers, which were not there before, and capable of holding 6 men in each. I also cast earth over the parapet and did what work I could within the parade, screened from the observation of the sharpshooters. In view of the enemy's mounting heavy Parrott guns in the battery I alluded to in the trees upon our right over the marsh, thereby enfilading our right and rear, it would, I think, be advisable to erect a traverse in rear of the hospital, for the work at this point appears to render such precautions necessary.
The enemy fired, as usual, until about 3.30 p.m., when they dropped mortar shells and fired continuously from their large and small Parrott guns and from a Wiard gun at the rate of from 5 to 7 shots a minute when at about 6.30, and before we had relieved or re-enforced the picket, they made a successful assault upon our rifle-pits carrying them in five minutes. Seventy odd of our men were captured and but few escaped. Their advance from their rifle-pits was heavy and quick. Their reserve showed themselves, but did not advance. My hand-barrows and twenty-three shovels were captured, having been left at the rifle-pits. The injury done to the covering of the bomb-proofs and parapets by the heavy, bombardment was slight, and repaired that night. I observed that the heavy bolts from the 200-pounder Parrott gun, when they struck our works full, did not penetrate far. Occasionally they would back or over the parapet. Colonel Harrison appeared anxious to recapture the pits, but was dissuaded from an attempt by a consultation with his officers.
Two thousand seven hundred sand-bags arrived to-day and were all filled and placed in position. The revetment of the slope of the bomb-proof of the hospital was finished with them; also that of the Magazine No. 3.
I find it almost impossible to obtain a given amount of work out of the fatigue parties. The men appear to be exhausted at the time they report for duty. Many sleep upon it, and slip away even under the immediate command of their officers. Their discipline is bad. I would advise a constant working party of 100 negroes to be kept at work at this fort-50 at night and 50 in the day. They may in the day-time, when not upon duty, be kept at the sand-hills between the batteries, with but little danger, comparatively.
Mr. Hyatt, an overseer, arrived to-day. I have kept the man Baker, who accompanied me to the battery, constantly at work overseeing the repairs in detached places.
I will allude to the extreme want of all police regulations here. The bomb-proofs are becoming quite unpleasant, and the premises in the neighborhood of the commissary building very offensive. An inspector-general would find great scope for the exercise of his duties. At 4 o'clock's I relieved the fatigue party.
Thursday, 27th, a detail of 100 men reported at 8 o'clock. More