firing all night and as I write at seven A. M., the whole line is firing on the centre; the firing indicates work. Cars are running all night, and every few minutes we hear the whistle of their locomotives. The movement of the Army of the Tennessee completely deceived them. They supposed it to be a cavalry raid, and were surprised to find an army on their right and rear. Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith has been assigned to the command of Gresham's division.
Battle of Peach-tree Creek.
July 22, 1864.The bloody campaign of Sherman has been marked by a signal proof of the unquenchable valor of his men; of their readiness to give battle at any moment; of their proof against surprise, and their tendency to whip the enemy under all circumstances and against the most discouraging odds. The tremendous rebel attack on our right, on the evening of the twentieth, was one of those rare instances in warfare where the elaborate plans of a commander for the destruction of his adversary succeed in every preliminary, yet fail totally in the fruition. Hood, whose reputation for doing desperate things has elevated him over the shoulders of a man beside whom he is a pigmy in nearly all the essentials of generalship, was to assume the offensive under the guidance of the dangerous Bragg. It was evident from the tone of their newspapers that something new was brewing. Our army was closing around Atlanta, practising, to some extent, one of its delicate Rank movements. “We will seduce the Yankee south of that difficult little stream, Peachtree creek,” planned the rebel conclave, “in such a way that his army will be divided. Of course he will intrench — he always does. But on the morning of the day we conclude to fight, we shall make feints on his left wing, and induce him to send several divisions to meet the battle we seem to offer. This done, of course, his right wing advances to close the gap, and to see if there is any impediment to its entry into Atlanta. His right shall advance about a mile, capturing some prisoners, to inform them that we have no body of troops within a mile and a half. At the same time, four fifths of our army shall be massed within a few hundred yards, cleverly under cover. We shall pounce upon the advancing and unprotected fraction of Sherman's Yankees, without a note of warning, cut it off from its bridges, and will roll it back upon the Chattahoochee. Our only fear is, that the enemy will not walk into the trap.” Singular to say, our army, step by step, fell into the rebel foils, without missing a link. They crossed Peach-tree creek at points where the rebels made a suspiciously feeble resistance. The whole army effected the crossing without serious loss, leaving a gap of three miles which the rebels refused to yield. When, on Wednesday morning, Hood made his feints against our left, Wood's and Stanley's divisions of the Fourth corps went to its support. The troops on the right, consisting of Hooker's and Palmer's corps and Newton's division of the Fourth corps alone remained on the right, and they were ordered to advance. With what extreme nicety we involved ourselves in the rebel snare I Newton and Hooker advanced from their trenches, captured some prisoners, and listened to their unanimous story that no considerable body of rebels were within a mile and a half. Could a bait be swallowed with more than this mathematical exactness? The signal was given, and like a storm the rebel host rushed upon our lines to complete their plan. How was miscarriage possible? They poured down in torrent-like columns upon our few devoted columns on the right — and in three or four hours were crushed, humiliated, and on some parts of the line routed. Perhaps, in perusing the details of the fight, your readers will ascertain without difficulty where they made their grand miscalculation. The attack, in that it was unexpected, was a surprise. But it did not find our troops without muskets in their hands, or beyond easy reach of their arms. I have not seen the time during this campaign when any portion of the army has not been in complete battle trim. It is useless to deny that there was a vast deal of danger in the tremendous attack. If successful, Sherman could no longer with his remaining forces carry on offensive operations with vigor; and if the rebel army, under Hood, could force him for a moment to relax his hold on its throat, it would be the highest victory they have dreamed of. Your telegrams have fully described the situation at the beginning of the fight. Briefly, McPherson's extreme left lay across the Augusta railroad, Schofield's and other forces joined him on the right. Then occurred an interval of three miles, covered by pickets from Newton's division; then the right wing, composed of troops already enumerated, who sustained the whole weight of the fight. The country in their front was broken and rolling, dense forests, fields of corn, barren ridges, marshy meadows, and deep-washed creeks being well jumbled together in the topography. Peach-tree creek is a narrow, sluggish stream, with sudden banks, fringed with brier patches and almost impassable undergrowth, and would be, without bridges, a fatal bar to the escape of a routed and pursued army. In the rear of Palmer,. Hooker, and Newton, there had been built over ten bridges, rendering speedy retreat feasible, provided access to the bridges was not denied. Newton's splendid division, which during the campaign has lost more heavily than any other in the army, held the left flank of the corps advancing from the north. The interval along which we had no force was picketed by three or four regiments of Newton's division, thus reducing his force in the trenches to less than----men. The impression that an attack was