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[212] railroad, four miles north of Marietta, their left on Lost Mountain, some six miles west of Kinesaw. Between these two formidable ridges the rebels have gradually been forced back from a triangle. with the apex toward us, until their line is but á faint crescent, their centre still being slightly advanced. Right, left and centre, their position is closely invested. Our troops have shed parallel after parallel, until the country in their rear is furrowed with rifle-pits and abattis, and scored with a labyrinth of roads.

The country is covered with primitive forests, and in very few places are there cleared spans sufficiently large to display the movements of a brigade. There is an abundance of scrubby undergrowth which hides everything a few yards distant from view, and when one inspects the difficulties, it seems hardly credible — though such is the case — that we have fully developed the enemy's position with two days skirmish enterprise.

For ten days we have had more or less rain, and toward the end of the period the water descended as it only can come down in a Southern latitude. The June rains that nearly drowned Rosecrans' army, in the advance on Tullahoma, were duplicated, and old campaigners speak of that watery siege with decreasing respect. The bad roads became impassable. Every body was drenched. The trees dropped the intercepted moisture in tears as big as walnuts. The count-less mules of the trains looked more than ever like the rodent tribe, which Norway has generaly implanted in every hemisphere, and teamsters became silent, because the dynamics of profanity were exhausted. Skirmishers shot at each other under compulsion. It did seem utterly superfluous to be wasting powder and ball on a melancholy, dripping human effigy, enveloped in pouches, pulling away at an unequal pipe, and despairingly stalking from one tree to another taking an involuntary bath. Skirmishing was not brisk these days. It was perhaps suspended from malice, for few men of average vindictiveness would shoot an enemy, while he was as clammy as a cod, and had a crawling rivulet trained down his back.

It is fortunate that by the time these incessant rains were upon us, we were fully established on the railroad. It would have been simply impossible to transport supplies via Kingston and Dallas. In fair weather that route was difficult and for the supply of an army as large as Sherman's, impracticable under the most propitious circumstances.

Fair weather dawned once more, day before yesterday morning, and with it renewed hostilities on the skirmish lines. Movements have been active ever since, the history of which is subjoined.

July 14 and 15.--On the fourteenth no fighting of importance took place, owing to the almost impassable roads. About noon, however, the Fourteenth and Fourth Corps advanced their lines slightly, which brought on very slight skirmishing, and continued all the afternoon The enemy responded to our fire with very little vigor, and gradually gave back. In front of the Fourth Corps, however, there were brief intervals when the skirmishing was quite spirited on both sides. Our artillery kept up a steady fire all the afternoon from the Fourth Corps, directed upon Pine Knob, a very high hill, which the enemy had heavily frotified, and upon which he had twenty pieces of cannon planted, very few of which opened in response to the vigorous salutes of Simonson's Fifth Indiana battery, attached to General Stanley's division. Simonson's battery, or at least one section of it, under command of Lieutenant Allison, opened at eleven o'clock from a commanding point to the west of the knob upon the enemy. The second shot fired exploded immediately in front of Generals Hardee, Johnston and Polk, who were standing together in consultation, and a fragment entered the breast of General Polk, passed through the body, causing instant death. Of this there is not the slightest doubt, as all prisoners and deserters taken in the afternoon agreed as to the manner in which the Reverend Lieutenant-General met a traitor's death.

Baird's division of the Fourteenth Corps, which was on Howard's left, skirmished all the afternoon with the enemy, whose line was crowded back steadily until dark. Johnson's division (now commanded by Brigadier-General King, during General Johnson's absence, from the effects of a late wound,) and Davis' division advanced their lines, but their efforts to find an enemy in their front failed, as the enemy had deserted that portion of the line entirely. Pine Knob rises out of a valley, and can easily be flanked. General Howard's corps pushed forward on the left toward the Marietta and Burnt Hickory Road, while a demonstration was made on the right by a portion of General Hooker's corps. Night found our line advanced between a half and three fourths of a mile.

On the morning of the fifteenth, it was discovered by General Newton, of the Second division, Fourth Corps, that the enemy had, during the night, evacuated the Knob, and, with his artillery and infantry, fallen back to his main line running nearly parallel with the Marietta and Burnt Hickory Road. This gave us possession of the above road, which was one of the objects of the demonstration, as well as the Knob, from which point an excellent view of the enemy's line could be had. It also afforded an excellent point from which to open signal communication between General Schofield, who was on the extreme right, the town of Big Shanty, where General Sherman's headquarters are situated, and General McPherson's command on the left. At eight A. M., Captain Leonard, Chief Signal Officer of the Fourth corps, established a station on the Knob, and immediately opened with Hooker and Schofield. Subsequently communication was opened with other portions of the line.

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