battery was made to-day on the bank of the river near Jones' position, and was occupied by the four 3-inch rifles guns of Sloan's battery. These guns commanded the approaches up and down the river; also ranging across Hutchinson's Island toward the South Carolina shore. The supplies of food and forage in our trains being mostly exhausted, our troops were now subsisting upon fresh beef, coffee, and rice. Large quantities of the latter had been obtained upon the plantations in this vicinity, and a large rice mill on the Coleraine plantation, three miles up the river from my line, was kept constantly at work. Forage for our animals was obtained from rice straw and from the canebrakes. There was also tolerable grazing in the woods. An advanced line of pits for my skirmishers and sharpshooters was constructed to-night in the open field, within plain sight of all parts of the enemy's line and within good musket-range of it.
December 14, heavy and persistent artillery firing kept up all day from the enemy's batteries. The majority of their guns were 32-pounders; one was a 64-pounder, and there were a few light field pieces. Received to-day the official orders announcing the capture of Fort McAllister and our communication with the fleet. A small wagon train from my command was sent for supplies. At 10 a. m. one of the enemy's gun-boats came up on the high tide in Back River, the other side of Hutchinson's Island, fired several shots into Jones' camp, and withdrew. The practice was good, causing three or four casualties.
December 15, the usual artillery firing from the enemy. They expended an immense amount of ammunition in my front, averaging over 300 shots per day. No reply was made except by my sharpshooters, who were very active and accurate in their fire, causing much greater losses to the enemy than were produced among my troops by their artillery fire. My troops were kept well concealed, and it was impossible for the enemy to make any correct estimate of my force. Received to-day New York papers of the 10th, being our first Northern news since leaving Atlanta.
December 16, no change in position to-day. The usual sharpshooting from our side and artillery firing from the enemy was kept up. It having been decided to place some heavy guns in position on my line, a working party of 100 men from my Second Brigade was employed throughout the night constructing a strong lunette near the left of Barnum's line. The work was under the superintendence of Captain Schilling, topographical engineer on my staff. I had now two regiments of Jones' brigade, the Seventy-third Pennsylvania and One hundred and thirty-fourth New York Volunteers, both under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson, encamped on Hutchinson's Island, and so intrenched as to hold the upper part of it against any force the enemy might bring. At high tide daily the enemy's gun-boats moved up in Back River and shelled these regiments. The enemy's land batteries also turned their fire in that direction frequently. Very few casualties occurred.
December 17, the work on Fort Numbers 1 (that in the left of Barnum's line) progressed so far last night that my details were working inside of it to-day, being protected by the heavy parapet. This work was but 250 yards distant from the advance fort on the enemy's right and could be plainly seen by them. They expended both artillery and musketry fire on it all day, but without effect. At 11 a. m. a large mainly arrived for us and caused universal rejoicing, being our first during nearly six weeks. To-night working details from my First Brigade commenced constructing Fort Numbers 2, to be a large lunette for heavy guns in the