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before Atlanta, August 16.
This is one of the most beautiful days that we have experienced since the feet of “our men in blue” first touched the rugged soil of Georgia. The dark, cloudy sky, the oppressive, damp atmosphere, and the drizzling rain for nearly a week, have disappeared, and we bask once more in the warm sun's rays, while a cool breeze, like the winds of our Northern autumn, stirs the green foliage of the trees and fans the sun-browned cheeks of the veterans who nestle in the trenches, or carelessly loll upon the ground behind the breastworks. All is quiet along the line; the skirmishers in their pits, musket in hand, keep a sharp lookout, but do not fire, as the enemy seems indisposed to break the stillness that all day has existed. Not a musket-crack have I heard to-day, and were it not for an occasional report from our cannon, and the rumbling of a passing army wagon, one would almost think we were at home in some cozy forest of a Sunday afternoon.

No material change has taken place in the line since last writing. Indeed, as far as I can learn, every regiment is in the same position. The Twenty-third corps is across the Sandtown road, and within three fourths of a mile of the railway, but unable to intercept the passage of trains by its artillery. Picket-firing in the daytime has become almost obsolete, and at night the men persist in keeping one another awake, and rendering the night hideous, by their rapid exchange of shots; artillery officers follow suit, and fire at random in the direction of the city — firing a building occasionally, and creating a general alarm among the few women and children who remain.

There has, for several days, been a truce upon the right between the pickets, who are close together, and able to join in conversation. Our soldiers treat them very civilly and the courtesy is returned. Both parties are so honorable that they will never violate the truce, and when the time comes for ending it, both sides seek their holes, and at once a brisk fusilade is begun between men who, perhaps, a moment before were exchanging coffee and tobacco, and clasping each other's hands. Several instances of honor on both sides have been stated to me. One day last week the rebel picket officer came up, and, cursing the pickets, ordered them to keep up the firing. They informed him that they were having a truce. “D — n your truce,” said he, “open on the scoundrels.” They all hesitated, when the officer seized a gun and fired upon our men. The rebels instantly sprang up, and, holding up both hands, to show their innocence, exclaimed, “Hold on, Yanks, it wasn't us, it was the Major; now get into your pits, as he says we must open fire.”

Another of many instances: Three rebels, being assured that they would be permitted to return, came over to exchange or “swap,” as they call it, and, while negotiations were pending, a picket officer came down, ordered the truce broken, and would not permit the rebels to return. They were sent to brigade headquarters by a sergeant, who explained the circumstance to the brigade commander, who, while he was no party to the truce, gave them permission to return to their own lines or their choice of remaining. After some consultation, and being assured that they would be treated as deserters from the enemy, they voluntarily elected not to return.

Desertions from the enemy are largely on the increase, notwithstanding the closeness with which the lines are drawn, and the difficulty of passing over under fire from both sides. The men, however, resort to various ingenious devices to get over to us. In my last I stated the circumstance of almost two hundred coming in on Friday night to Johnson's (Fourteenth) corps and Logan's. I have since learned that they were the remnants of the Forty-sixth and--Georgia regiments, who during a truce had arranged, through a commissioner sent over to our line, the terms of surrender. At a certain signal the two regiments, which composed the rebel pickets, were to open upon our pickets, firing high, and falling back until the rebel pickets were drawn away from their reserve; our men were to flank them and cut them off. The ruse worked to a charm. Our boys carried out the programme faithfully, and all those who were in the secret got in. Only one man in the line, who not having been informed of the scheme, ran back, was injured by our men, who also fired over the rebels. The whole thing was ingeniously planned and cleverly executed by the skilful diplomatists. This is but one of the many ruses resorted to to reach our line without being subject to the fire of their own comrades.

On Sunday, five ladies, whose appearance denoted a higher degree of refinement than the Georgia she-rebels we have been in the habit of encountering, presented themselves in broad daylight in front of Colonel Kirby's brigade, accompanied by a negro, whom they stated they had paid fifty dollars to escort them in. They were received and passed on up, through the usual channels, to headquarters. What disposition was made of them, I have not learned; but the fact that the pickets are so close together that they could not smuggle themselves through unknown to the enemy, looks suspicious. It is an old trick of Johnston's, which Hood may have repeated, to send through soldiers or citizens, with a story of what they have suffered, and schooled to make certain statements, with the view of deceiving us. This is a game that won't work. Thomas is too sharp to be deceived by any of Hood's professed Unionists.

There are floating rumors of raids having been made on our communications in the rear; but as the mail has arrived up regularly, they cannot have done much damage to the road. I believe, however, that there is a small body of rebel cavalry north of the Chattahoochee, operating with the guerrilla banditti, but we have a

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