soil is sandy and filled with great quantities of sharp fragments of flint and granite, though it appears to be productive. The growth of timber is heavy, and the crops of corn are good and in advanced state of forwardness. The young ears are in some cases within a week's growth of “roasting” ears, and another fortnight of such beautiful combining of sunshine and rain as we are now having will put the army in the way of good living on the best of the country. All that can be found in the country through which we pass are women and children, with occasionally an .old man who skipped their draft, and very rarely one in the prime of life who has eluded it by keeping the woods. Scarcely more than half the houses are occupied by any one, and negroes are as rarely to be met with as in the North. At a house where some of our officers halted a few minutes, the women told them that several of their neighbors had gone to Atlanta to invest all their money in tobacco, intending to return at once and offer their supplies to our soldiers as they came up. They are sure of a good market and good pay, if only they are permitted to return, and the profits they will realize by selling tobacco bought cheap for “whitebacks,” at a very high price in “greenbacks,” can readily be imagined.
one mile North of Decatur, July 19, 1864.After the Twenty-third corps effected a junction with the command of General McPherson, on the evening of the seventeenth, the direction of the march was slightly changed, by the Twenty-third taking the main road to Decatur, and the left a parallel road about five miles east of the other. Early in the morning of the eighteenth, the order came to break camp and be on the march. The cavalry of the enemy still hovered about our vanguard, as on the day before, throwing up barricades of fence-rails across the roads, from behind which they offered a feeble resistance to our approach. The history of the day's operations was but a duplicate of the day before — a slow and cautious, but almost uninterrupted march forward, with a regiment or so deployed in front as skirmishers, who, when the rebel cavalry grew too audacious, and presumed to return their fire too long, halted a little, till a shot or two from the artillery could be lodged in the rebel lines, causing them invariably to run away at once. Very few, if any, were wounded, and they but slightly. About noon, the Twenty-third crossed Nance's Greek, at a point twelve miles north-east from Atlanta, and pushed steadily on, over a rather broken and uncultivated tract of country, abounding in pine thickets and scrub-oaks. Soon after noon, Garrard's cavalry, on the left of General McPherson, struck the Atlanta and Charleston Railroad, between Stone Mountain and Decatur, and was immediately followed by the infantry division of General M. L. Smith, which tore up the track so that the down train at three o'clock was obliged to return to Atlanta. General Sherman's, as well as General Schofield's headquarters, were pitched for the night, on a line of railroad which the rebels had begun to construct, from Decatur to Roswell Factory and Merritt's Paper Mills, on Soapes' creek, but had abandoned as soon as our forces gained possession of Marietta. July 19.--Every thing was again under way at an early hour, moving down the Decatur road. Unless General Joe Johnston made objections, it was intended to push the army through to Decatur that day--nine miles. Still our forces met no serious opposition, nor found any enemy in their front, save a small squad occasionally, as before, of fugacious cavalry. At Peach-tree creek, which afforded in its deep ravines good opportunity for stubborn resistance, it had been confidently expected the enemy would be found at last. But no. They still cling to Atlanta, and continue to look out of its front windows, in the vain hope that we will impale ourselves upon their formidable defences, while they slaughter us at will, and all the while we are marching steadily around for its back door. The Fifteenth corps led the advance of the Army of the Tennessee down the road, converging gradually toward Decatur, with the Eighth Missouri and Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry deployed in front as skirmishers; General Has-call's division took the front of the Twenty-third, with Colonel Swayne's brigade as skirmishers. Nothing but cavalry in front still Rebel papers of the eighteenth were brought in early in the day, announcing the removal of Johnston from command of the rebel army, and his supersedure by Hood. The men are not alarmed at all by the news of this change, but seem rather inclined to regard it as favorable to our progress. At a house by the road-side, seven miles from Atlanta, a woman was found who had just returned from marketing in Atlanta, and who reported the families as removing their furniture and valuables in great haste.--??At another house a young man was found who had just succedeed in evading the conscription from under age, and he reported that all heads of families had left the city to remove their negroes and property to a secure place, leaving their families to be brought away at the last hour. He stated also that the entire works around the city consisted of a rifle-pit encircling the city at the distance of a mile from the centre, and four pieces of artillery planted on every road coming into the city. About a mile above Decatur, the skirmish line was stopped by a rather sharp fire from the dismounted cavalry, and a section of the Nineteenth Ohio battery was brought up to their aid. A considerable group of rebels could be distinctly seen standing just in the edge of a piece of woods, and the gun was carefully sighted and the first shell dropped right in their