Orders to carry out General Thomas' instructions were at once given verbally to Generals Wood and Newton, and written one sent to Brigadier-General Grose. (Colonel Grose has just received appointment as brigadier-general.) Each division commander was directed to strengthen his skirmish line, and all of them to push out together and co-operate one with the other. Captain Bridges was also directed to open our artillery on Atlanta at 4 p. m. 4.30 p. m., Grose's, Newton's, and Wood's a re-enforced skirmish lines advanced simultaneously. As soon as they started from their rifle-pits they met with a heavy musketry and artillery fire from the enemy. At least twenty guns were opened upon them firing principally canister. The enemy; line of skirmish pits was carried along the whole front of the corps, except in front of Gibson's brigade, of Wood's division. Gibson was very near the enemy's main works and forts, and he met with a destructive fire of musketry and canister. newton went within 100 yards of the start fort and took three lines of skirmish rifle-pits. Some time after skirmishers of Hazen's brigade had taken the enemy's line of rifle-pits, in front of the same, about sundown, the enemy sallied out of his works in strong force, and coming through the woods and striking their right flank drove them back a short distance, where they remained, holding their position until they were withdrawn, after dark, by order. Hazen's skirmishers advanced over the open field and took the enemy's pits, with a number of prisoners, in said open field, about three-fourths of a mile from our works, and about 100 yards from the enemy's main works. All of the rest of our skirmishers held the advance positions which they had gained. The reconnaissance demonstrated that three of Cheatham's brigades are in our front, and prisoners report that Cleburne's division is on Cheatham's right. There are also, in addition to these old troops, plenty of militia in the works The enemy's forts and works (of which they have two or three lines) are very strong. The enemy has plenty of artillery in position in our front. In one place they have a six-gun battery, all of which guns opened upon us. The enemy's right extends beyond the Augusta railroad. In the operations this evening we took 50 prisoners, about, and have lost in killed and wounded about 40 men; a small loss for the severe fire to which the men were exposed. Soon after the advance of our skirmish lines to-day the enemy was seen to re-enforce his main lines of works by sending up troops from their rear. It being deemed not prudent to leave our skirmish line so far out from our main works the skirmishers were withdrawn after dark to the position they occupied before the advance was made. The lines of this corps, from right to left noe stretch about four miles. We have not yet been ordered to occupy the new and interior lines that we constructed August 1. To-day clear and hot until 1 p. m.; then quite a shower; cleared up again at 3 p. m.
August 4.-8 a. m., received written instructions from Major-General Thomas to have persons on our lookout stations to-day to watch closely the movements of the enemy, and to hold the troops in readiness to take advantage of any opportunity to move on their intrenchments. General Sherman thinks his movements to-day will either force the enemy to attack him or place their communications in a critical condition. He (Thomas) further says: Martin's division of rebel cavalry is on the south of the railroad, about half way between Atlanta and Decatur, and Garrard had better send out a small scouting party to discover their whereabouts, with a view of