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[205] was in progress, and was arrested by the night attack I have mentioned; but on the night of the thirty-first, the movement was successfully begun, and by five P. M. of June first his entire command had changed position in the face of the enemy, some two or three miles, with scarcely the loss of a man.

Early in the night of the thirty-first, Colonel Mersey's brigade was moved to the left, to relieve Jefferson C. Davis' division, which immediately moved to the left. The next day, all the line to the right was withdrawn toward the left, leaving Mersey as rear guard for McPherson's whole command. About noon the rebels had discovered the movement, and had moved into Dallas. Coming on without opposition, their cavalry had actually gained position in Mersey's rear, while infantry was closing in upon his right flank and front. Bending back the right, until the Eighty-first Ohio and part of the Sixty-sixth Illinois formed a line of battle facing all points of the compass except the North, and with the Twelfth Illinois deployed on the left as skirmishers, Colonel Mersey safely withdrew his isolated brigade at three o'clock, and received the congratulations of his commander for so skillful a withdrawal from what was a very perilous situation.

For two days there has been a calm. The enemy is apparently nonplused. They are hastily moving to their right, fearing a storm will burst upon them there.

I nearly forgot to chronicle a daring feat which came near being accomplished by Colonel Mersey's brigade on the thirty-first. At noon his brigade was ordered to move forward and assault the enemy's works directly in our front. The plan was to form two miles of skirmishers of the Sixty-sixth Illinois; support them by the Eighty-first Ohio, with a space of forty spaces between its right and left battalions, and it in turn to be followed by the Twelfth Illinois. Everything was ready, and at twelve noon the movement began. The column was formed behind our front line of works, and moved forward. The Sixty-sixth and Eighty-first passed over the breastworks under a brisk fire from the rebel skirmishers, who were close at hand. On went the Sixty-sixth, driving all before them, when they received a check from the main rebel line. The whole column was then halted, and lay there for ten minutes, almost within stone's throw of the rebel lines, yet without firing a shot, except an occasional one from the Sixty sixth's front line. The brigade had no support on either flank, and presented a front little longer than a regiment, while just at its left was a hill from which an enfilading fire could rake the whole brigade. Colonel Adams was getting impatient, and was just about to order “forward!” when the better judgment of somebody whose duty it was to direct affairs, ordered the brigade back.

The movement was begun under an apprehension that the rebels had vacated their works, and was abandoned as soon as it was found they were still there in force.

As soon as the rebels perceived this they poured forth the volleys which they were reserving for the advance, into the retiring column, but fortunately they aimed too high and but little harm was done. Lieutenant Van Lieu, Sixteenth Illinois, was severely wounded in this movement. His mother lives in Butler County, Ohio. The Sixty-sixth lost also Lieutenant Williamson, slightly wounded, besides a number of men killed and wounded.



Another account.

two miles South-West of Ackworth, Georgia, July 7.
In lack of events more stirring, such as battles and sieges and triumphal marches, I must write you of the incidents of march, the people, the country, etc. The army is no less prolific in interesting phases of human nature, no less characteristic and inimitable when on the march or in the camp, than when on the field of battle, or rushing valliantly into “the imminent deadly breach.” The common places of life find no places in history; the army is an institution by itself, isolated from the observation of men, except a few who relate only the graver passages in its history, passing over its comedy, its humor, its trivialities and its domestic doings and sayings, which, after all, occupy so great a portion of its time and form the best possible mirror of its moods and manners, and unless these are chronicled for the perusal of news-readers, there is great danger that they will fall into the error of regarding the army only as a great host of romantic and impossible heroes, performing always sublime things and making always fine speeches. There are some men here who remain the same queer and crooked geniuses that they were at home, and for aught that I can see, an army of fifty thousand men makes as many false passes at the enemy, hits foul, goes down on all fours, and performs as many erratic gyrations and tumblings as would a brace of trained pugilists pitted against each other on a field so unequal as this. Whole brigades rush headlong through thick woods, where they cannot see ten lengths of a musket in advance, and come suddenly on masked cannon, which are so close that to retreat is sure death, and only a part of them can hope to escape by falling flat on their faces, and remaining in that position for hours, till darkness comes to conceal their movements. While they lie there many of them are discovered by the rebel sharp-shooters and die helpless. Others are slaughtered by a cross fire from other batteries, and when at last the survivors are permitted to steal away under cover of the night, so many of their comrades lie stiff and stark in their places, that they look as if still skirmishing with the enemy — a battle-line of corpses.

Again, on a certain evening, each army is seized with a sudden delusion that the other is


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