Our boys then reached over the works at their leisure, and laying hold of the rebels by the collars, hauled them over as prisoners of war. Below the railroad, the rebel regiment which clambered out of the cut on the south side of the railroad did not prove so completely an entering wedge to clear our men from their works as its companion. That part of the Second division, however, and two brigades of the Fourth division were driven back from there twice, and twice they rallied and repulsed the rebels, and held their ground. It was a desperate struggle, a struggle for life; the men fought over the works hand to hand, with bayonet and with breech, with a determination which knew no yielding. Such was the spirit, in fact, with which they fought everywhere, and such fighting alone it was which saved the Seventeenth corps from being crushed, and the Fifteenth from being hopelessly broken asunder, and bringing irretrievable disaster upon the entire centre and left of the army. In a terrific charge upon the Second Regular battery, nearly every horse was shot, and all the pieces taken for the moment. The men, however, rendered it impossible for the rebels to draw them off, by a rapid fire from the sharp-shooters, and charging in turn they were all retaken. Battery A, First Illinois artillery, was at the railroad, two pieces below it and four above, and all were captured when the rebels charged over the bank upon them. The two below the railroad were retaken, but the remaining four were dragged out through a road-way, and conveyed away to the rebel lines before our columns could re-form. Battery H, First Illinois, commanded by Captain De Grass, twenty-pound Parrotts, were all taken and retaken. The Captain, though a mere beardless boy, clung to his guns to the last extremity, emptying the contents of his revolver upon the rebels, and only leaving them after he had assisted in spiking them with his own hand. All his horses were shot, one whole team, consisting of eight, falling in their traces, just as they had stood in line; and as the Captain looked upon the wreck and slaughter of his battery, he wept like a child. He had made the rebels pay a dear price for their brief possession, as one of the guns was burst by being charged with three loads of canister. As soon as he returned, and could unspike the guns, he gave the rebels a parting salute, which they would, no doubt, have been most willing to omit. The Seventeenth corps captured three stands of colors; the Sixteenth, four. The Thirteenth Iowa captured the colors of the Forty-fifth Alabama; the Eighty-first Ohio brought off another, and the Thirty-ninth Ohio a third. The number of prisoners taken I should estimate at about one thousand. The Fifteenth corps captured two regiments entire, and the Sixteenth and Seventeenth captured about four hundred and fifty more. Among these was Colonel Hardee, from which there straightway sprung a rumor that General Hardee was mortally wounded and had fallen into our hands, some even being prepared to say that they had seen his body in one of our hospitals, or, at least, had seen those who had. A Major and several other officers were also taken. While the attack was raging so furiously on the left, the rebels had despatched a strong body of men by a wide circuit, to surprise and attempt to retake the village of Decatur. This post was held by the Sixty-third Ohio, Thirty-fifth New Jersey, and Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, a brigade of the Sixteenth corps, and appears to have been attacked by twice its own number. Having taken the precaution to station men along the Decatur road, to prevent reinforcements from being sent out from the main army, the rebels assailed the town with great fury and carried it. Our forces were driven entirely out into the woods, but they speedily reformed, and charging in turn, dispossessed the rebels after a hard fight, in which they lost about three hundred men, and held the place against all opposition. There was some artillery employed on both sides, but how much or what sort I cannot learn. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, of the Sixty-third Ohio, was mortally wounded, and Adjutant Farr killed. The post could not have been considered as of any particular value to the rebels, except as a point for rendezvous for small parties to sally out upon our trains. The design of creating a diversion in our rear, no doubt, formed a principal reason for the attack. The rebels appear to have preconcerted a series of petty attacks upon our rear during the day, in order to harass and distract attention from the main business in front. A train of one hundred and twenty wagons, loaded with three days rations for the Army of the Tennessee, was attacked near Decatur, but escaped with the loss of no more than two or three wagons. A regiment, also stationed at the bridge at Roswell, was fired upon by a force of cavalry, but repulsed them and held the bridge. The right wing of the army was extended so far around toward the west side of Atlanta, that its operations could not be observed, and was so distant that even the sound of its cannon was not to be heard in presence of the uproar in our front, but signal-officers report that during the engagement in the afternoon, they were pouring into the devoted city a heavy fire from cannon, as the smoke could be seen rising up in thick clouds.
two miles North of Atlanta, Ga., August 1, 1864.There is little occurring in this grand army, at the present time, of particular interest. The Army of the Tennessee now occupies a strong position on our right wing, having been changed from the extreme left on the twenty-sixth. All day yesterday we could hear very distinctly the shrill whistle of the locomotives entering and departing from Atlanta. The cause of this extensive railroading we cannot fathom, although