Palmer's corps left me with the Fourth and Twentieth Corps to hold aline of works nearly five miles in length, approaching at some points to within 300 yards of the enemy's fortifications.
On the 3rd Major-General Stanely pushed forward a strong line of skirmishers and succeeded in carrying the enemy's picket-line on the whole corps' front, excepting on the extreme right of his line, where his men were met by a very destructive fire of musketry and canister-the enemy opened from at least twenty pieces of artillery. Our loss was about 30 killed and wounded, but we captured quite a number of prisoners, besides gaining considerable information regarding the positions of the enemy's troops and fortifications.
Both Stanley's and Williams' skirmishers again pressed those of the enemy during the afternoon of the 5th, with a view of diverting his attention from the movements of the Armies of the Tennessee and of the Ohio on our right. Palmer's corp,s which had been laced in position on the right of the Army of the Ohio by direction of Major-General Sherman, pushed out from along Olley's Creek and pressed close up to the enemy's works, capturing a strong line of rifle-pits vigorously defended. Our loss was considerable, but we took 150 prisoners and gained an advantageous position. At the close of the engagement the skirmishers of the enemy and our own were only thirty yards apart. Our main line was moved up to within 400 yards of that of the enemy.
On the morning of the 6th the enemy felt our line at various points from right to left, seemingly persistent in his efforts to find a weak point in the latter direction, on the line of Stanely's corps. From information gained by us through various sources more or less reliable, we learned the enemy had posted his militia, supported by one division of his veterans, on that part of his line immediately confronting the Fourth and Twentieth Corps, and that he used the balance of his army in extending his line to the left toward East Point, as our movements in the same direction threatened his possession of the railroads. Although this necessitated his holding a large extent of ground, he formed his troops on very advantageous ridges, strengthened by works of a most impregnable character, rendering an assault on our part unjustifiable from the useless sacrifice of life it would entail. While the enemy was busily engaged fortifying, our troops were not idle. Our position was also soon rendered impregnable to assault, and a constant shelling of the night. In the meanwhile supplies of rations and clothing were being rapidly accumulated at the front, and our men enjoyed a season of rest-such rest as is to be found in the trenches. On the 6th, Major General John M. Palmer having been relived from the command of the Fourteenth army Corps at his own request, Brigadier General R. W. Johnson, the senior division commander, took command of the corps.
On the 7th, under General Johnson's direction, the corps advanced upon the enemy's works in his front, and moving rapidly carried the first line of rifle-pits, capturing 172 prisoners and driving the enemy to their main works. The entire line of the Fourteenth Corps was then advanced and fortified. Our loss during the 6th and 7th in the Fourteenth Corps was 70 killed and 413 wounded, including 17 officers.
11 R R-VOL XXXVIII, PT I