near Petersburg, December 3, 1864.* * * I was at Colonel Pegram's quarters yesterday afternoon to hear Bishop Lay. His text was the importance of the Holy Ghost, and the sermon was a most excellent one. Everything continues quiet in our front. Eight Yankee deserters  have surrendered to my command since my return. Desertions from the enemy are of nightly occurrence. Night before last there was loud cheering all along the Yankee line, and our men responded to it with deafening yells. A deserter told us that it was reported that Schofield had captured twenty thousand Georgia militia, and that they had been ordered to cheer. He also stated that there was great dissatisfaction in the Yankee army, and that more men would desert if they could get a chance. The Sixty-first New York was relieved a few nights since by another regiment, as it was feared that the greater part of it would come over to us. They complain of too much work and drilling and an insufficiency of rations, the latter causing them to spend all their money with the sutlers. I am sorry to say that several of our men have also deserted. The whistle of the Yankee trains is distinctly heard from where we are, and their bands and drum corps are constantly playing and beating within our hearing. See above letter of December 6, in corroboration. * *
near Petersburg, December 6, 1864.* * *Another Yankee deserter came over to us last night and corroborates the previous statement that the Sixty-first New York regiment was relieved a few nights ago about midnight by the Second from the same State, as they were afraid all of the Sixty-first would come over to us. The deserter this morning is a Scotchman and a member of the Second regiment, which relieved the Sixty-first. The Second and Fifth Yankee corps are on this part of the line, the Second having relieved the Ninth, which has gone into winter quarters in the rear, so it is stated. It is a thing of daily occurrence to see a Yankee general riding along the picket line, as the pickets do not fire at each other now. We are damming back the water on my left so as to strengthen our position, and we will, when both dams are completed, have a large sheet of water near us. The men all along the lines are kept constantly at work, making alterations in some parts, and reviewing others, so as to make them stand the effects of the winter better.