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Tuesday, May 10.
The weather to-day was exceedingly unpropitious for active operations. Heavy showers of rain fell during the entire day, with short intermissions. But, notwithstanding this, the eagerness of our troops to advance was unabated, I might say increased, for at an early hour the news of General Grant's splendid victory over Lee spread from camp to camp, and along the whole line the shout of joy was carried until the valley rang with loud huzzas, to which frowning Rocky Face, that sternly gazed down upon us, gave back its echo. Never was more joy and enthusiasm manifested by an army, who momentarily expected to be led against the enemy's frowning fortifications and bristling guns, around which, with the aid of a glass, their cannoneers could be easily discerned.

Had the command been given to assault the works at that moment, when the spirits of the whole army were elated, no one can doubt the result. We would have had a repetition of Mission Ridge upon a larger scale, with, I fear, however, a very heavy loss. Generals Sherman and Thomas are slow to sacrifice life by direct assault, when the same results can be worked out by strategy.

At half-past 7, in the midst of a heavy rain shower, brisk skirmish fire was heard on Rocky Face, between Hooker's advance and the enemy. It lasted only fifteen minutes, when a lull of an hour followed.

At half-past 8, Davis's artillery awoke the enemy from their meditations upon Lee's discomfitures, by vigorous shelling, which drew forth no response for some time. Late in the afternoon a few guns opened from a point on Rocky Face, when Brydge's Illinois battery was moved into position, and opened upon the battery on the ridge. The third shot was effective, and was placed among the rebel guns, which were silenced for an hour.

At one o'clock it again opened upon Stanley's line of battle, exposed in the fields in the valleys. The Fifth Indiana battery took position, and, in conjunction with Brydge's, promptly silenced the fire from Rocky Face. For some time all was quiet; the rain poured down in torrents, as though Heaven had opened its flood-gates to deluge the earth. For half an hour together not a sound was heard, except the occasional witticism from a mirth-provoking soldier, and the reparte of his companions, interrupted by an occasional report of a rifle or cannon. Thus the skirmishing waged all day, and night found us still in our former position, with our front well protected by hastily constructed fortifications.

Battery C, First Ohio artillery, and Houghtalling's battery, of the Fourteenth corps, were ordered into an advanced position, early in the morning, by General Thomas, who personally went out under a brisk sharpshooters' fire, and pointed out the position to be taken, and the point upon which to direct their fire. These batteries did excellent work, and spread terror in the enemy's lines, the men comprising which could be distinctly seen, at each discharge of our guns, running in all directions.

The very faint responses to our fire to-day is unaccountable. Some are of the opinion that the enemy is retiring a large portion of his [29] force to confront and drive back McPherson. Others believe that the quiet was owing to the dispirited condition of the army over news from the Rapidan and Richmond. That the enemy cannot spare many troops from the front is evident, inasmuch as they have but two corps in our front.

The Twenty-third corps, which had been developing the enemy on the left of Rocky Face, this morning met the enemy in very heavy force, and retired to his position of yesterday, about one mile in the rear, where he held the enemy in check.

Yesterday a brigade of McCook's cavalry division, which has been making demonstrations for some days on Schofield's left, engaged two rebel brigades of infantry. The charge was led by Colonel La Grange, of the First Wisconsin cavalry, who, everybody agrees, is one of the bravest of the brave brigade commanders of cavalry. After frequent assaults upon the wall of rebel infantry, our cavalry was repulsed, Colonel La Grange captured, after two horses were shot under him, and a large portion of the command wounded or captured, including Captain Starr, of the Second Indiana, who escaped from his captors, and came in.

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George H. Thomas (4)
S. P. Lee (4)
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W. T. Sherman (2)
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