session of the island-city and the fleet depending on it 璐垫棌瀹濊礉鏉窞榫欏嚖 gave to the Spaniards. In the first months of the siege Victor[p. 319]鈥檚 engineers and artillerists had flattered themselves that something might be done to molest the place, if not to reduce it to surrender, by pushing batteries forward to the extreme front of the ground in their possession all around the harbour. Within the first weeks of his arrival in front of Cadiz, Victor made an attempt to push forward his posts along the high-road which crosses the broad salt-marshes of the Santi Petri. But the bogs and water-channels were found impracticable, and the Spanish works in front of the
bridge of Zuazo too strong to be attacked along the narrow causeway. The French drew back to Chiclana, which became the head quarters of the left wing of the blockading force, and where Ruffin鈥檚 division was permanently encamped. It was then thought that something might be accomplished further to the north, by working against the Arsenal of La Carraca,鏉窞澶滅敓娲诲幓鍝噷鎼? at the one end of the Spanish line, or the projecting castle of Puntales at the other. The struggle for the points of vantage from which Puntales could be battered formed the chief point of interest during the early months of the siege. The French, pushing down from the mainland on to the peninsula of the Trocadero, began to erect works on the ground most 鏉窞涓濊淇濆仴 favourable for attacking the fort of Matagorda, which had once more become the outermost bulwark of Cadiz.
There was a bitter fight over this work, which stands on the tidal flats below the Trocadero, surrounded by mud for one half of the day, and by water for the other. It will be remembered that Matagorda had been blown up at the time of the first arrival of the French before Cadiz. But after a few days of reflection the English and Spanish engineer officers in command of the defence grew uneasy as to the possibilities of mischief which might follow from the seizure of the ruined fort by the enemy. Their fears, as it afterwards turned out, were unnecessary. But they led to the reoccupation 鏉窞妗戞嬁棰勭害of Matagorda on February 22 by a detachment of British artillery, supported by a company of the 94th regiment. The front of the work facing toward the mainland was hastily repaired, and heavy guns 鏉窞涓濊 brought over the harbour from Cadiz were mounted on it. Moreover, it was arranged that it should be supported by a Spanish ship-of-the-line and some gunboats, as far as the mud banks permitted.
Victor took the 鏉窞澶滅綉鏉窞榫欏嚖缃?reoccupation of the fort as a challenge, and thought that the Allies must have good reasons for attaching so much importance to it. Accordingly he multiplied his batteries on the Trocadero, till he had got forty guns mounted in a dominating position, with which to overwhelm the garrison in their half-ruinous stronghold. There was a long and fierce artillery contest, but the French had the advantage both in the number of guns and in the concentric fire which they could pour upon the fort. The naval help promised to Matagorda proved of little assistance, partly owing to the impracticability of the mud flats when the