This last point was perhaps best expressed by an Iowa infantryman who wrote that one look at a "frowning fort" on the edge of town "made us glad the rebels had concluded to evacuate. . . (7)"
Within a few days, however, it became apparent that the "stronghold of Camden" was something less than impregnable. As Steele's engineers inspected and mapped the Confederate fortifications they found a number of alarming and hitherto unsuspected problems. The redoubts had been situated with a keen awareness of the value of high ground but with little apparent understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of fixed fortifications. The five strongpoints simply were too small, too few in number, and too far apart to defend Camden effectively. None of the redoubts could have been taken without a bitter and perhaps bloody fight, but as a group they were inadequate to the task at hand. Moreover, the almost complete absence of infantry trenches encircling the town and connecting the redoubts deprived the bulk of the defenders of the protection normally enjoyed by a fortified garrison. To make matters even worse, despite exaggerated early reports that vast fields of fire had been cleared away, Federal engineers discovered that in places attacking troops could approach dangerously close to the redoubts without leaving the cover afforded by the "fresh green forests" surrounding the town (8)."