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[178] works, I do not think even our generals were prepared for the disclosures which the operations of the morning had made known to them. Instead of an outer work, to temporarily impede our approach, it was soon ascertained that we were directly in front of the rear of the fortification of the Fort itself. These works beginning on the Cumberland, at the southerly side of Dover, and the main fort, ran around on the top of the high ridges before us to the head of the back-water on the north, here and there with bastion-works of a formidable character, and at all points with formidable batteries sweeping the more available approaches. These ridges vary from one hundred and fifty to three hundred feet in height, and are covered with the most dense timber and under-growth, concealing, in a great measure, the character of the enemy's defences; the few balls which they were induced to occasionally favor us with, afforded, for the most part, our only clue as to the calibre of their guns.

During the night previous, Gen. Oglesby, in advancing along the ridge running toward the river above the Fort, and which formed our right wing, suddenly came upon a battery sweeping the road upon which he was advancing. The enemy, either not aware at the time of the vicinity of the force, or wishing it to advance still further, refrained from opening, and the General managed to withdraw his men without suffering anything worse than a bad scare. If the battery had given them the contents of their guns, the fire must have decimated the entire brigade. Some few guns were discharged by our men in the confusion of the moment, and the horse of a certain chaplain became frightened and began a flight which bid fair to land the non-combatant plump over the batteries. A few agonizing “Whoas,” and still more emphatic pulls, however, checked the rebellious tendencies of the beast, and the parson, I noticed, eschewed horses ever after.

This morning, Gen. O.'s brigade forced the enemy from this position, and subsequently from another, and advanced the right wing still farther toward the river. A subsequent movement completed the lines of circumvallation nearly to the river itself, and gave us a position rendering the arrival of any more reinforcements from Nashville hardly probable.

The operations of the day partook largely of the character of a series of reconnoissances. The artillery posted on the hill would send a ball across the valley on an enquiring errand, and in reply would get a solid ball or shell, which, lodging in close proximity to our artillerists, would be hunted up and examined, and inferences drawn as to the character of the batteries pitted against them. This practice resulted in no casualties on our side of importance, and revealed a good deal of imformation in regard to the position of their redoubts. The severest casualty of the morning was in the Seventh Illinois. In advancing down a road on a ridge connecting the two hills on which the opposing forces were drawn up, a battery of three guns, from the hill above, opened suddenly with grape and canister. Fortunately the battery had been discovered a moment before, and the men had to a great extent availed themselves of the protection of the neighboring trees, before the storm of iron hail was fairly among them. Your correspondent, who was advancing with the rest, has a very friendly recollection of a huge oak, but for whose protecting shelter the readers of the Democrat would probably have suffered the small loss of this imperfect narrative of subsequent scenes. Capt. Menkle, and many a brave fellow of the Seventh, dropped to the ground beneath this fire; but the regiment bravely advanced, scattered the skirmishers of the enemy lying in the valley, and maintained the position they were sent to occupy.

In the mean time Birge's sharpshooters were doing good execution both to the right and left of this position. In squads of skirmishers they crawled up the ravines of the ridge on which the batteries and the rifle-pits of the enemy were located, and lying concealed behind stumps and logs, wo to the unwary rebel who dared to show his head above the intrenchments. The continual crack of the Dimmick rifle could be heard from these ravines all day, and at last became a perfect terror to the enemy. Lying in this position these men, for half a day, completely silenced the battery which covered the road over which the Seventh had advanced in the morning. In vain attempt after attempt was made to man the guns, but hardly had the gunners grasped their swabs ere a score of bullets would drop them in their tracks. The enemy were not without their sharp-shooters, too, who would in turn attempt a response, but so vigilant were the Birges, that but few of their bullets did much harm. I have heard of but eight or ten casualties in the entire regiment.

Thus passed Thursday morning, Gen. McClernand gradually closing in toward the river on the right, and Gen. Smith slowly and surely completing his line of circumvallation on the left.

In the afternoon, Gen. McClernand determined to make a formidable assault of a redoubt of the enemy, fronting about the centre of his right wing. The redoubt was about the only one which could be distinctly seen by us, owing to the timber and undergrowth. At this point the ground was for the most part void of large timber, the barren extending even beyond the road on the ridge over which our troops passed. The batteries of this redoubt had got a very perfect range here, and gave our troops considerable uneasiness, by blazing away at them whenever they passed over the brow of the hill. Three regiments were detailed for the work — the Forty-eighth, Seventeenth, and Forty-ninth Illinois. They advanced in line of battle order, the Forty-ninth, Col. Morrison, on the right, the Seventeenth, under command of Major Smith, (both Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel being absent,) in the centre, and the Forty-eighth, Col. Hainey, on the left. Col. Morrison, as senior Colonel, led the attack. The advance was a most beautiful one. With skirmishers advanced in front, the three regiments swept down the hill, over a knoll, down a ravine, and


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