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[562] to learn closer at hand the details of the morning attack at this point. (But a parenthesis here; “ride” is hardly the word to indicate the mode of approach to these hot fronts. He who ventured up was speedily admonished by whizzing missiles from sharp-eyed rebel tirailleurs of the prudence of dismounting and making his way up as modestly as might be, whether on foot, or still better, crawling on all fours.) It must have been nearly eight o'clock, for a long Virginia twilight was fading clean out, when from behind the rebel works words of command were audible, indicating an intention of immediate attack. In a moment the rebel line of battle emerged, and came down with a fierce yell on the front of Barlow's and Gibbon's divisions, and the left of Wright's corps. It was these very troops that in the morning had gone up through the inferno of rebel fire, and stormed and carried, for a time, their works, and it was with a savage joy they saw the moment come to pay the rebels back. It will give you a conception of the fearful odds at which this army works in these constant demands imposed upon it, of assaulting the enemy's works, when I say that in the few opportunities the rebels have given us of receiving their attack on our works, each man feels himself equal to three, and never asks any better than that the rebels should just come on. Our men had now this sweet revenge. Though twilight had deepened into night, the approaching rebel line defined itself sharply athwart the horizon, as it came over the crest, and as it did so, it was met by volley after volley of musketry, and a well-directed artillery fire, under which it shook and staggered, but closing up the gaps, still rushed forward. Portions of the line got up to our works, and at places the flash of the rebel rifles came over our parapets. A few even got upon our breastworks; but they either fell dead on the outside, or were dragged inside as prisoners. Some of these have just been brought into General Hancock's tent. They prove to be North Carolinians; say they are Beauregard's troops; that they were last at battle of Olustee, Florida, and that they were brought up to Lee's army but a few days ago. This is an additional proof of a fact of which we have just had much evidence; that is, that Lee has to-day been fighting his reinforcements. We have taken to-day men from Breckinridge's command, from Buckner's, from Beauregard, from North Carolina, from the defences of Savannah. And that, somehow or other, and in spite of the supposed depletion of the rebel army, Lee has been able to get together a still formidable force, we have to-day had the evidence of demonstration. Everywhere he has shown a development of line equal to our own, and though we have made the most vigorous efforts all along his front to break through, we have nowhere succeeded.

The repulse of the rebels in their night attack, both on the front of Hancock and of Wright, was most complete, and whatever may have been the purpose of Lee in this bold stroke it was signally foiled.

Cold Harbor, June 4, 1864.
There has been a constant fire along the lines all day. The skirmishers are so close that the losses on both sides are many. The Surgeon-in-Chief of the Sixth corps informed me that they had averaged six wounded an hour — about two hundred during the twenty-four hours. Probably the Second and Eighteenth have lost quite as many. The enemy have retired in part, from our right, and the losses in the Fifth and Ninth are less.

The breastworks and trenches are in some places not more than two hundred feet apart, so determinedly have we pressed upon the enemy — advancing our works a few paces every night. We have a half dozen lines of breast-works. If we should be driven from the front one, there are still several others from which we could fire upon the enemy. The men take their places at midnight, where they must stay till, under the cover of darkness, they can be relieved. There they sit — crouched, cramped. To raise their heads above the parapet is certain death. And so along the rebel lines there are loop-holes where keen-eyed men watch for the enemy. The soldiers on both sides delight to draw the fire of their opponents. They raise their hats a trifle — whiz — whiz — whiz — the bullets go around, or may be through it. The obstinacy of the rebels is matched by the persistence of our own men. It is not often in field operations — not siege — that opposing forces come in such close contact.

The foreign papers are full of the war in Denmark — a war in which, in the greatest battle fought, the loss was less than a thousand men placed hors de combat. How little the world knows of the magnitude of our own war! How little we ourselves know of it I Our skirmishes, even, of which we hardly take notice, are of greater moment than the battles, the accounts of which fill the foreign newspapers.

There was a slow cannonade in the morning, which gradually died away; but the infantry took it up, and so the Sabbath hours have been far from peaceful.

At sunset, there was the booming of distant cannon — heavy guns to the left of Richmond — whether from the gunboats, or from the rebel artillery in the defences, repulsing Sheridan, who has gone in that direction, we have no knowledge.

8:30 P. M.--The sun has gone down, and the darkness is stealing on. It is the usual hour for the ripple of musketry along the lines, and several nights we have had it — the rebels choosing it for attacking our advanced force.

We have had occasional shots from the artillery. There is one piece which hurls its shells far over our lines toward headquarters. Other than this, there is but little to break the silence.

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