correspondents have hinted, that Sherman will refrain, on Grant's account, from pushing Johnston to the wall. We have wrested every inch of territory we could from the enemy, and invested his position with the greatest possible celerity. If Johnston retreats to Atlanta, our army will probably halt north of the Chattahoochee river for a season of rest and preparation. Both are necessary, the former, perhaps, the more imperatively. Another retreat cannot but greatly demoralize the enemy. The rebel rank and file were promised a grand decisive battle here. It was with this explicit understanding that they retreated from Resaca and turned upon us at Kenesaw. But Sherman, the absurd fellow, wouldn't rush upon them in headlong assaults; consequently another retreat, with another congratulatory promissory order from Johnston, may be looked for. Would any body of men in the world, save the ignorant masses in the South, be gulled in this way for the twentieth time? The left has not advanced to-day, and the skirmishing has been light. There are indications that McPherson's corps will be transferred to the right, as the rebel position can be much more easily flanked on that wing. To-day we have had one of the briefest and severest engagements that have occurred since the Dallas affair, in which Wood and Johnston lost so heavily in a fatal attack upon a position which was impregnable. During the morning, and in fact up to three o'clock in the afternoon, quietude reigned along the whole line. The sharp music of the rifle was hushed and not a dozen shots per hour were heard upon the line, while the loud booming of the Rodmans, Parrotts, and Napoleons no longer echoed through the hills. “After a calm comes a storm,” and in this case it proved too true. Immediately in front of the Fourth Army Corps, was a long ridge on which the enemy had extensive fortifications, upon which were mounted three batteries, the fire of which had become very troublesome. Besides, it was an important position for us to possess. General Thomas ordered General Howard to assault this ridge to-day, and if possible to carry it. The General at once set about preparations to carry out his orders, and as all the details were left to his discretion, the General consulted his division commanders, and arranged the plan of attack. Placing all of his artillery in position where it could be most effective, strengthening the points of the line in front of the ridge, and giving instructions to his subordinate commanders that could not be misunderstood, the General despatched Colonel Fullerton, A. A. G., to give instructions to the commanders of batteries and superintend the execution of the orders. The Colonel placed a bugler in the centre of Newton's division, with others in either division on the right and left. Stanley on the right and Wood on. the left. The batteries of the corps were instructed to open simultaneously upon the enemy, and cannonade them for fifteen minutes, at the expiration of which time they were to cease firing, and the line was to advance. At a quarter before four P. M., the batteries opened, and then so vigorous was the cannonading that for fifteen minutes all other noise was swallowed up in the thunders that echoed through the sultry air, while from every hill and knob along the whole line, the volumes of smoke that arose, filled the valleys and shut out all opportunities of viewing the bloody carnage that so soon was to follow. At four o'clock the batteries quieted down, and instantly the bugle sounded the advance. It was taken up and repeated along the whole line, and in less than two minutes the line was in motion. The ground over which the advance was to be made was covered by large trees and very little undergrowth, so that a good view could be obtained of the line as it moved forward. All the brigades moved off together, with the regularity of veterans, and as they neared the rebel rifle-pits on the slope of the hill, behind which was posted a strong skirmish line, a destructive skirmish fire was opened upon the enemy, who, sheltered by his rifle-pits, suffered but little. On Stanley's front, over four hundred yards were the enemy driven, to these rifle-pits, when regiment after regiment reinforced our skirmishers — the Eighty-fourth Indiana and details — until it had assumed the proportions of a line of battle, when they advanced on the double-quick, drove the enemy from his pits, over some distance of ground, and into his main line of earthworks, where were massed heavy forces of the enemy. So formidable were the rebel works situate on the crest of the hill, and so numerous the guns that were mounted, and poured a raking fire into our line, that to attempt an assault upon it would be sheer madness. Consequently, Stanley held his position, over four hundred yards in advance of the starting-point, and fortified within seventy-five yards of the enemy's main works. Wood's and Heaton's positions, before the line was moved, were much nearer the rebel works than was Stanley's, yet they pushed their divisions forward under the deadly fire, drove the skirmishers from their rifle-pits,and advanced almost up to the rebel reserve, but were forced to fall back to the rifle-pits, where they also fortified, and held their position, within about fifty, yards of the enemy's works. The troops behaved with great gallantry, and in the charge I learn that not a regiment; faltered. All are deserving of equal praise for the spirit manifested, and the energy with which, they “moved on the enemy's works.” That all that was desired by the Commanding General was not accomplished was no fault of the men or the fearless brigade and division commanders who led them. No troops could have accomplished more under the circumstances. The brigades commanded by Whitaker, Kimball, Wagner, Kirby, Hazen, Harker and Gross, deserve honorable mention — that of Whitaker especially, which captured twenty-nine men and two commissioned
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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