War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 0770 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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Our skirmish line was about 500 yards distant from our main line, and at first consisted of shallow rifle-pits hurriedly dug in the night, and at intervals of from twenty to fifty paces apart. A few nights' work, however, added much to their strength, and in the course of ten days or a fortnight the pits were gradually connected and the whole became almost one continuous line of intrenchments, with head-logs and loop-holes to protect our sharpshooters and enable them to confine the enemy to his trenches. His line of skirmishers was, on an average, not much over 100 yards from ours, and in some places the space between the two lines did not exceed sixty paces in breadth. His main line was about 200 yards in rear of skirmishers. At one point on the line (in front of Deas' left and Brantly's right), being favored by the conformation of the ground, he established his skirmish line within sixty yards of ours, and erected on it an earth-work with embrasures for six guns. We had no guns upon my main line bearing directly upon this position, but a rifle battery on the line occupied by the troops of Loring's division, on my right, being situated favorably for the purpose, by a few well-directed shots on several occasions put a stop to labor on the work, and although it was eventually completed under cover of night, a wholesome dread of Featherston's Parrott guns and Deas' sharpshooters, I have no doubt, deterred the enemy from ever attempting to put more than one piece in position. With this, however, he threatened to do us much damage, and, but for the courage and skill of Deas' skirmishers, backed by the indomitable energy and perseverance of the officers in charge of the line, would doubtless have compelled us to retire to a position nearer our main line. The embrasure from which this piece was fired was so mantled, and the cannoneers so well protected, that it was almost impossible for our sharpshooters to do more than confine them to their works without it with damaging effect upon our rifle-pits, only sixty paces from its muzzle, frequently leveling the earth along the line for forty or fifty yards and literally covering our men in the pits with the debris. Our casualties from this source, however, were trifling. At night the men would work heroically and repair the damages of the day. After several days spent in this mode of annoying warfare, by concert of action among the sharpshooters of our line along the front and to the right and left of the piece in question, it was completely silenced and withdrawn from position. Similar instances of persevering skill and courage were manifested daily upon other portions of our line along Brantly's, Sharp's, and Manigault's front. In one instance Brantly's men, by rolling logs ahead of them and by digging zigzag trenches, approached so near the enemy's rifle-pits as to be able to throw hand-grenades over his breast-works, and on another occasion Sharp's pickets held their position against a line of battle after those on their right and left had given way. Firing between the parties on the two picket-lines was constant during the day, and not infrequently continued throughout the night. Our scouts, whenever the darkness of the night favored such operations, penetrated the enemy's picket-line and kept us well advised of all his important movements. During this time the main line was constantly being strengthened, the trenches were enlarged, the breastworks were made wider and stronger in every particular, while every available obstruction within the reach of the troops was resorted to and made use of the render the line as strong as possible. Abatis of