will calmly smoke his short pipe and speculate upon the chances of one bursting in some spot close by, which he has selected. One morning the rebels around this battery discovered a small lunette immediately in front. It had grown up in a single night. Twenty men lay concealed in this small trench. They were but a few yards from the dark muzzles of those threatening cannon. The rebels attempt to work the guns. All efforts are futile. When a rebel shows his head a small jet of white smoke curls slowly above the small semi-circle where our men are concealed. The rebel falls. In this way we render the once formidable battery useless. During the day it is quiet; at night they use it freely. All the old dodges are used freely practised. A man puts his hat on the end of a ramrod, and holds it above the pit. In a trice it is pierced with a dozen bullets. Another exposes his own person slightly, that an associate may get a “single fair pop at a rebel.” Great quantities of powder and lead are thrown away. About sunset every night, both sides endeavor to push out their respective skirmish lines. It frequently happens that both sides open with cannon and musketry, and keep up a continual uproar for half an hour. Already there have been two such occurrences, which, to those not upon the spot, would assume the magnitude of a fearful night attack. Barlow's and Gibbon's divisions, of the Second corps, are so near the enemy, great precautions are necessary to ward off a collision. Two nights ago there was a savage rattle of musketry and showers of grape and canister exchanged. Every one thought a bloody battle had been fought. Next morning I discovered that scarcely a dozen men had been struck. Bottom's bridge is not quite two miles from here. The rebels had cut the supporting timbers, but were driven away before they could complete their work of destruction upon the timbers of the bridge. A train of cars came to the station to-day from the White House. Near the river is a large saw-mill. A large quantity of lumber was here. It was loaded on the cars and carried off. The cavalry have gone on another raid. Whatever they undertake to do will be well done. June 9th, 1864.--There is nothing especially interesting to report to-day. On a part of the line picket firing has been kept up all day, while at other points it would seem as if by a mutual agreement this practice had ceased. Last evening a battery in Birney's division opened on a house on our left, which, according to a deserter who came in, was occupied by General Wilcox. Three shells went through it, causing the occupants to leave rather hastily. The fire was returned with very good aim, but without loss to us. The deserter says that Beauregard's troops are posted from Bottom's bridge all the way to the James River, watching for the appearance of our army in that direction. June 10 P. M.--The enemy are busy throwing up fortifications in the vicinity of Summer's and Bottom's bridge. The spires of Richmond are in view from the signal stations at these points, and their wagon trains can be seen moving within three or four miles of the city, where the road for a short distance is visible. Very little firing has taken place to-day. No change in position has been made within the past two days. Last evening as Colonel McAllister, of the Eleventh New Jersey volunteers, was riding along the line he was fired at by a rebel sharpshooter, notwithstanding there had been a tacit agreement that no picket firing should take place. The ball passed across the Colonel's breast and entered the head of his orderly, who was riding with him. The entire command was at once put under arms expecting an attack, but nothing further occurred. June 11 P. M.--Our lines are scarcely nearer the enemy than was their position in the case of the battle of Friday, more than a week ago. The troops on both sides, each behind their intrenchments, have kept up a desultory but useless fire, just sufficient to make it apparent that the respective works were not vacant. Both armies, in fact, have been enjoying the repose which was needed after the hard fighting and rapid marching of the three weeks campaigning from the banks of the Rapidan. To-day the silence is even more marked than before. The sound of a musket has scarcely been heard along the entire line. A few blurts of artillery, and the explosion of a shell or two over the trees, about the centre of the line, have been the only reminders this afternoon of the enemy's presence. From present indications it is not likely that there will be fighting for several days to come; but a storm is brewing, and may burst in a quarter least expected by the enemy. It is not proper at this time to say precisely how General Grant will attempt to discomfit the enemy. Yesterday a general order was issued by General Meade forbidding unauthorized communication with the enemy. The men on both sides have been holding intercourse with each other, for the interchange of newspapers and the barter of coffee and tobacco. In this way a great deal of mischief was likely to result, as information of vital importance is always apt to leak out. The opposing lines of rifle-pits, it must be borne in mind, are not one hundred yards distant, and in some parts of the line much closer. For any portion of the body to be exposed the penalty is certain wounding, if not death, but the men are utterly weary with loading and firing. They have kept up this skirmishing for days, and no visible advantage has been gained by either side. The fire gradually slackens. Officers become careless about urging the men to their work. A magnetic spell influences with equal power our own men and their mortal enemies. It is
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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