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"You are right," the Doctor responded, "there is a long stretch of mud, and it was that mud which partly led to the failure at the time of the first attack. The storming force was compelled to wade through it, and many of the men perished. The fire of the Chinese was more severe than had been expected, and the ships of the fleet were badly injured. But when the attack was made the following year, the muddy belt was much narrower, and the sailors passed through it very quickly, and were at the walls of the fort before the Chinese were ready for them.