July 4.- 1 a. m., received copy of letter from Major-General Sherman, dated headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, Marietta, Ga., July 3, as follows:*
6 a. m., General Newton ordered to advance and to take up a position abreast of General Stanley, on his left (with an interval of about the distance a brigade would occupy between them), with one brigade deployed in two lines, and the rest of his division in column of regiments in the rear; and General Wood was ordered to take position with like formation, abreast and on left of General Newton, leaving an interval that a brigade would cover between his and General Newton's divisions. 9.15 a. m., ordered General Stanley to strengthen his line of skirmishers and go ahead and take the enemy's line of skirmish rifle-pits. At same time General Newton was ordered to push forward his skirmish line in conjunction with General Stanley, and General Wood to push forward in conjunction with General Newton. Major-General Sherman, we is at headquarters, says that this must be done at once; that there is nothing in front of us but skirmishers; he has examined the ground and knows there is nothing else there. 11 a. m., General Stanley reported that he was ready to advance his skirmish line. 11.15, Stanley's, Newton's, and Wood's skirmishers advanced; skirmishing very heavy. Stanley drove the enemy from part of the rifle-pits (skirmish rifle-pits) and occupied the same, and Wood drove them from like pits, but was not able to occupy them. Stanley at once advanced his main line to these rifle-pits that he took, and strengthened it by throwing up breast-works at once and advanced his pickets. The enemy tried to drive him back at one point, but did not succeed. 12.20 p. m., General Newton was directed to push up a brigade to support his skirmish line. 12.45 p. m., Generals Newton and Wood each directed to place two brigades in two lines in the advanced positions which they had gained, General Newton's right to connect with Stanley's left, and Wood's right with Newton's left. These dispositions were made without delay. We took nearly all of the enemy's skirmishers in front of General Stanley. Just in the front of our lines now can be seen the enemy's works. They are very strong and are full of troops. During the advance of our skirmishers the enemy opened fire upon them from two batteries placed in different parts of their line, one in front of Stanley's center and one in front of Newton's right. 1 p. m., General Garrard has connected with us on our left. The direction of our line now runs a little to the north of east. Stanley's right rests on the railroad and he faces south, while Newton and Wood face southeast. Stanley has one brigade in the rear of the left of his line as a reserve (the other two brigades in line), and Newton and Wood each have a reserve brigade in the rear of their lines. 5.15 p. m., instructed Generals Wood and Newton to hold their present positions if they did not think it advisable to attempt to occupy the enemy's rifle-pits in their fronts, and take those that they have not driven the enemy from, and after dark to push their skirmishers well out and have them dig rifle-pits for their protection. 6 p. m., received note from Brigadier-General Wood stating that his officers commanding skirmish line report that the enemy's skirmishers have been driven from their pits (though he does not occupy them) in his front, and that he has given orders to push out his skirmishers well after dark. 6.30 p. m., General
*For letter from Sherman to Thomas (here omitted) see Part IV.