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[579] outright. It appears that some men had gone to the front of these troops, who were throwing up temporary breastworks, and built a fire. This, running through the parched shrubbery and undergrowth, soon spread through the entire plot of timber, causing a dense smoke. The rebels, relying on the smoke to conceal them until they could approach our busy troops, dashed noiselessly at them through the fiery barrier. Wholly off their guard against any such desperate feat on the part of the rebels, our men were thoroughly surprised, and captured ere they could make the slightest resistance.

headquarters, June 25--6 A. M.
The only fighting that took place yesterday was an attack made by the enemy on General Burnside's position. The enemy opened with a heavy fire of artillery, which was returned by our batteries, and the rebels, in making a charge, were driven back in confusion, upward of one hundred prisoners being taken.

This occurred about eight o'clock A. M., and the artillery firing was kept up for an hour, when all became quiet at that point. About the same time a battery opened in front of a hospital on the left of the Fifth corps, which the rebels seemed desirous of cleaning out; but they were deterred by our guns before any damage resulted.

Picket firing is still kept up along nearly the entire line, and in almost every hospital are a few victims of this species of warfare.

It is almost impossible to make a change in the skirmish line without some loss from the enemy's sharpshooters, and these lines have to be relieved always after dark on that account.

The engagement between the Sixth corps and the enemy for the possession of the railroad on Wednesday was quite severe, particularly in front of the Second division, commanded by General Wheaton.

Only a short distance of the railroad had been destroyed when the party were attacked by a heavy force of the enemy under General Anderson, supported by Wilcox's division. Captain Beatre, of the Third Vermont regiment, was in charge of the party that reached the road, and he fell back slowly while the skirmish line held the enemy in check. But a body of the enemy made a flank movement, expecting to turn the left flank of the line of battle.

They, however, did not penetrate far enough, although they succeeded in taking a number of the skirmishers prisoners, of the Fourth and Eleventh Vermont regiments, Vermont brigade. The enemy afterward advanced, and attempted to break through the line at several points, but were met with such a heavy fire from our forces that they were driven back every time with heavy loss.

They finally, at dark, gave up the effort, and retreated across the railroad bank, where they took up an advantageous position.

Our loss was very light in killed and wounded, while that of the enemy, it is supposed, was more than double ours. We lost quite a number of prisoners, but the figures cannot be as yet correctly given.

The railroad from City Point to Petersburg is being placed in order, and an engine and cars are already provided to put on the road as soon as it is in running condition. Supplies arrive at the front regularly, and the troops lack nothing in that respect, but they suffer somewhat from a scarcity of water.

June 25th--9 P. M.--Our pickets extend within a short distance of the Petersburg and Weldon railroad track. The enemy seem determined to make a serious fight for its possession. The damage done to the road by Wilson's cavalry is reported to be already repaired by them.

The general course of our line is now north and south, with turns to the west on the extreme right and left. The right and right-centre are close to Petersburg,the course of the line being such as to make the left-centre on a line vergent from the city. It is owing to this that, while it has been quiet in front of our left during the past forty-eight hours, desultory musketry firing and artillery have steadily continued along the front of General Smith and General Burnside. During the latter part of the afternoon, the artillery on both sides, on that part of the lines, has been active. A battery of thirty-two-pounder guns, on the right of Smith's position, threw shells into Petersburg every five minutes for two hours.

General Smith has been engaged all day in placing heavy guns and mortars in batteries at various points on the hills in the rear of his line. He expects to give a night entertainment with them. General Burnside is also locating some heavy pieces and mortars.

The other parts of our line were too distant from Petersburg and the rebel works on the west bank of the Appomattox for an effectual use of heavy pieces, and the bombardment will be opened from the right and right-centre alone.

The extraordinary heat continues, and with the air of dust in which this whole vicinity is enveloped makes active movements almost impracticable.

Captain Elder, of the First United States Artillery, Chief of Artillery of the Eighteenth corps, rode into the enemy's lines yesterday, by mistake, and was captured.

June 26--9. P. M.--At about ten o'clock last evening the enemy, mistaking the movements of our reliefs for an abandonment of our line, attempted to advance their picket-line in front of Potter's and Ledlie's divisions of the Ninth corps, and Turner's division on the left of Smith's line. From our line a heavy musketry and artillery fire was immediately opened upon them, that speedily checked their advance. The firing continued for about an hour, and sounded like a heavy engagement. Our casualties were very few.

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