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[154] with the great roar of the reserves as the skirmishers chance at any point to be driven in; and if, by reason of superior force, these reserves fall back to the main force, then every nook and corner seems full of sound. The batteries open their terrible voices, and their shells sing horribly while winging their flight, and their dull explosion speaks plainly of death.; their canister and grape go crashing through the trees, rifles ring, the muskets roar, and the din is terrific. Then the slackening of the fire denotes the withdrawing of the one party, and the more distant picketfiring that the work is accomplished. The silence becomes almost painful after such a scene as this, and no one can conceive of the effect who has not experienced it; it cannot be described. The occasional firing of the pickets, which shows that the new lines are established, actually occasions a sense of relief. The movements of the mind under such circumstances are sudden and strong. It awaits with intense anxiety the opening of the contest, it rises with the din of battle, it sinks with the lull which follows it, and finds itself in fit condition to sympathize most deeply with the torn and bleeding ones that are fast being borne to the rear. When the cursed nature of this rebellion flashes on the mind, and the case of those whose homes are thus made desolate becomes our own, and the instinctive utterance of the soil is for vengeance, the mind works most rapidly under the influence of such scenes as these, and one has time for such reflections even on the battle-field.

When the ground is clear, then the time for the working parties has arrived, and as this is the description of a real scene, let me premise that the works were to reach through the centre of a large open farm of at least three hundred acres, surrounded by woods, one side of it being occupied by rebel pickets. These had been driven back as I have described.

The line of the works was selected, and at the word of command three thousand men, with axes, spades, and picks, stepped out into the open field from their cover in the woods; in almost as short a time as it takes to tell it, the fence-rails which surrounded and divided three hundred acres into convenient farm-lots were on the shoulders of the men, and on the way to the intended line of works. In a few moments more a long line of crib-work stretches over the slopes of the hill, as if another anaconda fold had been twisted around the rebels. Then, as for a time, the ditches deepen, the crib fills up, the dirt is packed on the outer side, the bushes and all points of concealment are cleared from the front, and the centre divisions of our army had taken a long stride towards the rebel works. The siege-guns are brought up and placed in commanding positions. A log house furnishes the hewn and seasoned timber for the platforms, and the plantation of a Southern lord has been thus speedily transferred into one of Uncle Sam's strongholds, where the Stars and Stripes float proudly. Thus had the whole army worked itself up into the very teeth of the rebel works, and rested there on Thursday night, the twenty-eighth, expecting a general engagement at any moment.

Soon after daylight on Friday morning, the army was startled by rapid and long-continued explosions, similar to musketry, but much louder, The conviction flashed across my mind that the rebels were blowing up their loose ammunition and leaving. The dense smoke arising in the direction of Corinth strengthened this belief, and soon the whole army was advancing on a grand reconnoissance. The distance through the woods was short, and in a few minutes shouts arose from the rebel lines, which told that our army was in the enemy's trenches. Regiment after regiment pressed on, and passing through extensive camps just vacated, soon reached Corinth and found half of it in flames. Beauregard and Bragg had left the afternoon before, and the rearguard had passed out of the town before daylight, leaving enough stragglers to commit many acts of vandalism, at the expense of private property. They burned churches and other public buildings, private goods, and stores and dwellings, and choked up half the wells in town. In the camps immediately around the town, there were few evidences of hasty retreat, but on the right-flank where Price and Van Dorn were encamped, the destruction of baggage and stores was very great, showing precipitate flight. Portions of the army were immediately put in pursuit, but the results are not yet generally known. Gen. Pope is in advance, and has crossed Tennessee River. Gen. Thomas's army moved by way of Farmington, and is to-day encamped in Price and Van Dorn's late positions.

It seems that it was the slow and careful approach of Gen. Halleck which caused the retreat. They would doubtless have remained had we attacked their positions without first securing our rear, but they could not stand a siege. Their position was a most commanding one and well protected.

It would have cost us dear to take the place, and thousands of Northern homes would have been desolate to-day, had the enemy remained. Most who have had an opportunity of studying the whole movement, agree that the retreat of the rebels will prove nearly as disastrous to their cause as a defeat would have been, and though it appears from papers found in the deserted camp, that the rebels have depots of supplies at Okolona, Columbus and Grenada, still it seems impossible for them to long subsist a large force any — where in the State, when once Mobile is in our possession, and the Mississippi is opened. Both of these events must happen soon.

Divided into small bodies, they may trouble us for some time, but the rebel cause seems fast failing in the West and South, and this forced retreat will scarcely help their failing fortunes. The daylight of peace seems breaking through the clouds of war.

As Cincinnatians are interested in those who represent her in the field, I cannot close without speaking a word in praise of our Brigadier-General

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