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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/620

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may be best utilized; some of the men, previously detailed for just such an emergency, are engaged in throwing up earthworks, piling logs, stones, anything that can be utilized for barricades. The officer charged with that duty, if possible a skilled engineer, goes quickly from place to place, hurriedly indicating the lines of defense; these connecting the several buildings in such a manner as to enclose the entire command within lines of quite formidable intrenchments. All this time the troops, having taken possession of the houses, have poured an uninterrupted fire upon the assailants, obliging them to retire, or at least giving the diggers—or sappers, as they are called—time to complete their labor of defense. Surrounded by a force sufficiently large to make resistance in the field quite hopeless, we are at least in position to protract the struggle, and one capable of defense, except against an assault in overwhelming numbers, or against heavy artillery. The latter they are not provided with, or the measures we are taking might all go in the end

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for nothing. Several assaults are attempted during the day, but are easily repulsed with no small loss. The enemy at last withdraws, and we now see that he is busy throwing up intrenchments. Meanwhile, we have not been idle. To facilitate communication, and to enable us to concentrate our forces under cover, passageways have been constructed between the various buildings, inner partitions preventing free access from room to room within the houses have been broken through, and the debris, together with beds broken up, mattresses and 'any old thing 5 capable of arguing with a bullet, piled in the window embrasures, leaving loopholes here and there, as occasion offers, while galleries may be constructed with loopholes in the floor to fire downwards.

One of the most important matters to be attended to is the securing of as many good positions as possible, from which fire may be concentrated upon exposed points. In a regular siege the points of attack selected will always be those most exposed, on account of their project-