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[239] flag is kept in such rapid motion that the eye of the inexpert can scarcely follow, and his wonder is increased by being told that the reader, of whom he can not see the slightest indication with his naked eye, is ten or twelve miles away. An ordinary message of a few lines is despatched in ten minutes; a whole page of foolscap occupies about thirty minutes in its transmission. Officers who have long worked together, and are intimately acquainted with each other's abbreviations and peculiar expressions, can improve upon even this speed.

The distance, also, through which signals can be transmitted without an intermediate station is surprising. Last spring, Captain Leonard, chief signal-officer of the Fourth corps, sent despatches regularly from Ringgold to Summerville, on Lookout Mountain, a distance of eighteen miles. Lieutenant William Reynolds, formerly of the Tenth corps, signalled from the deck of a gun-boat twenty miles into Port Royal harbor. N. Daniels was sent by the Secretary of War to Maryland Heights to give information of the enemy's movements, and he succeeded in sending messages rapidly over the extraordinary distance of twenty-four miles--from the Heights to Sugar-loaf Mountain--four miles from Frederick. But these instances require remarkably favorable conditions of the atmosphere, locality, &c. Ordinarily messages are not sent a greater distance than six or eight miles. Last night, a despatch was sent from General Schofield's headquarters to Lost Mountain, a distance of six miles, and returned to General Hooker's quarters, directly over which it had passed going out, and a message returned to General Schofield in twenty minutes from the time the inquiry left him. General Hooker is one mile from General Schofield, and directly between him and the mountain, but an intervening forest prevents direct communication.

Not even the flag-men themselves have the slightest knowledge of the import of the message they are sending; not a General in the army is let into the secret, unless he comes humbly as a student; nor can the signal-officers themselves read the message sent to them unless they have first had the countersign or key, given out daily.

in the field, four miles South of Marietta, July 4, 1862.
Marietta is ours; the valiant secesh who boastingly proclaimed that they would continue to hold the city at all hazards, have ignominiously abandoned their works around the Kenesaw, and at the present writing the “detested Yanks” are cooking “sow-belly” in the “Valley City.” As predicted in my last, Sherman has again outflanked Johnston, and as a natural consequence he has — retreated. On Friday last, Hooker's and Schofield's corps moved to the right some two miles, and the same night Morgan L. Smith's division of the Fifteenth corps was withdrawn from our left and placed in position on our right, which made our right flank about four miles from the Chattahoochee river. Johnston at once saw that he was completely outgeneralled, and on Friday afternoon Hardee's and Polk's corps began their retreat to the river, throwing out a strong skirmish line in our front, to keep up appearances. Notwithstanding their utmost caution, the rumbling of their artillery and the rattling of their wagon-trains was plainly heard by our advanced line of skirmishers and by them reported along our lines.

On Saturday night, about ten o'clock, Hood's corps, which was detailed to cover Johnston's retreat, began the retrogade movement, and, at midnight, our pickets reported that the rebels had evacuated their works, and the only force in occupation was a slight skirmish line. This good news was subsequently verified by our skirmishers along the line, and at 3.30 on Sunday morning, “solitary horsemen” orderlies, were busily engaged in carrying orders to the various corps, division, and brigade commanders, to prepare to move immediately. A little after daylight, the Fourth, Fourteenth, Twentieth and Fifteenth corps took up their march for Marietta, and, after a running skirmish with Wheeler's cavalry and the rebel pickets, of whom it captured about one thousand, including prisoners and deserters, our forces entered the city about nine o'clock A. M. Immediately on arrival, a provost guard, detailed from the First division of the Fifteenth corps, was placed around the city to prevent the soldiers from pillaging; but, with few exceptions, there was little to plunder, for most of the inhabitants had fled in pursuit of that myth — the “last ditch.” Marietta, in the language of countrymen living some two or three miles from it, “was a right smart place for an up-country town,” and before the breaking out of the rebellion, must have been a place of considerable business. It is prettily situated in a valley in the rear of the Kenesaw Mountain, to which there is a pleasant drive through a series of the most enchanting groves — such as wood-nymphs were wont to sport in, if there is any truth to be placed in the mythological annals of the Romans. In the centre of the town is a small park, at the corners of which are the “town-pumps” --not pumps either, for they are almost unknown in this country — but deep wells, from which the water is raised by means of a rope and windlass. It boasts, or to speak more properly, did boast, of a large hotel, on the piazzas of which, I have no doubt, chivalry in days of yore were wont to dilate at length on the beastly Yanks, while smoking cigars and moistening their labial organs with mint juleps. The ancient grandeur of the hotel and mine host have both departed, and in place of the gorgeous furniture there was nothing to be seen but a few old benches and piles of straw, which told too plainly that it had been used as a hospital. Near-by was a carpenter shop, at the door of which was a large pile of unplaned pine coffins, while at a short distance reposed a cemetery, in which

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