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[243] which we pass, who are now strong advocates of the policy of laying everything waste and freeing the country from the operations of those miserable devils, cut-throats, and assassins, who, too cowardly to face the Union troops openly in their trenches, seek the night to perpetrate their hellish work.

The other night a train, loaded with valuable supplies, was burned by one of these gangs near Resaca. Our cavalry got on their track and captured nine of the scoundrels near Adairsville, some of whom had taken the amnesty oath.

When I speak of Federal deserters, I do not refer to men who desert to the enemy's lines. Cases of this kind are rare indeed. But still there are a class of skulkers who come under this title. They are cowardly fellows, who, having enlisted and obtained large bounties, disappear and hide away where they cannot be found, and soldiers who, having fought bravely at the front for many months, return home on furlough and neglect to report at its expiration. Almost daily large squads of the cowards and negligent veterans arrive under guard from the North, and are at once sent to the front, where the formula of a court-martial is usually dispensed with, and the men, indiscriminately, put on extra menial duty, such as burying the putrid remains of dead animals, removing filth from headquarters, and digging “gopher holes,” or rifle-pits, in advance of our lines. No discrimination seems to be made by Provost-Marshals, between the “bounty-jumpers” and the heroes of a dozen battles, who from the effect of too much stimulant, allow their furloughs to expire by a few days, and are arrested by the police and reported at the front as deserters. All are sent out under a fire where escape from death is almost an impossibility, with a guard in the rear, to shoot them if they falter in the work.

Isham's ford, Georgia, July 8, 1864.
On the evening .of the seventh of July, at eight o'clock, the Fourth corps opened up along its whole line “the most tremendous canonnade of the campaign,” expending over four hundred rounds of ammunition in half an hour. All this was directed against the rebels on the opposite side of the river, and was intended to draw their attention from an attempt which, through some misunderstanding, it was supposed General Schofield would make at that hour to cross the river above. All this time the Twenty-third corps lay quietly in camp four miles in reserve, wondering what it all meant, and asking in vain for information. The rebels did not vouchsafe even a single gun in reply; consequently the casualties in our lines were nothing. The next morning the Fourth corps was moved slightly up the river to support the Twenty-third in the operations of to-day.

This morning the Twenty-third corps broke camp at an early hour, and directed its march eastward, aiming to strike the river at Isham's Ford, eight miles above the railroad bridge. Headquarters moved out in advance, and riding at a rapid pace, with an old man, a resident of the country, as a guide, we emerged suddenly from the thick forest out upon the brink of the river bluffs. There lay the Chattahoochee, about one hundred and fifty feet below us, muddy and rapid from recent rains — in every respect an unclassical stream. Right here lives William Ulrich, said to be a good Union men, and a Pennsylvania German, whose honest heart was greatly delighted, perhaps, and perhaps not, at our sudden advent. Immediately the glasses of the Signal Corps were levelled at the opposite bank, but not a discovery could they make except a solitary man wandering in the bushes. Moving a little further down the bluff, a close reconnoissance with the glasses discovered on top of the opposite hill, just in the edge of a newly-harvested wheat-field, a single twelve-pound brass howitzer, with a few gunners walking about it; and close down to the river's edge, half a dozen rebel sharpshooters squatted under a large tree, just opposite the ford. We were about a mile below. The river here is about four hundred feet wide, and from crest to crest of the hills on either side of the river, between which the cannon must play, was about a third of a mile.

After reconnoitering the situation a short time, General Schofield rode away to the ford, which is just at the mouth of Soapes' Creek, to choose positions and make dispositions of the artillery. The Nineteenth Ohio and Twenty-second Indiana Batteries were, with the least possible noise and demonstration, planted so as to cover the ford and cross-fire the rebel gun, while a section of the Sixth Michigan was held in readiness to descend into the valley, a mile further down, at the proper time, and enfilade the sharpshooters on the opposite bank. All these pieces were under strict orders not to fire under any provocation, until they received positive orders. The solitary howitzer on the other side, bestowed upon them, at random, about half a dozen shots during the forenoon, and then remained quiet until the attack was made.

Meantime, and until late in the afternoon, the troops were slowly getting into shape, and the lumbering pontoon trains were coming up and parking on the hill, ready to go down into the valley when needed. A little before four, General Schofield sent orders to General Cox to have his skirmish line in readiness, and at that hour pass it rapidly across a few rods of corn-field which lay between the hill and the river, and if they drew the rebel fire, to open with his cannon and silence it.

As the hour approached, a small party of spectators posted themselves half-way down the hillside, a mile below the ford, and with glasses thrust out from behind convenient trees and fences, eagerly awaited the spectacle. The Captain of the rebel gun could be clearly seen on the distant hill, seeking comfort as best he could (it was the hotest day of the year), and reading a January number of the Chattanooga Rebel. The

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