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In Their Own Words

June 17, 1864

Skirmish Described in Letter

From north of Marietta, Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry wrote his wife about the progress of the Atlanta Campaign:

“We advanced two miles day before yesterday, fighting our way; our brigade was in reserve and, towards evening, for about half an hour, was subjected to the sharpest artillery fire that I have experienced since Gettysburg. The noise of whizzing and exploding of shells, especially in the woods, is terrific, but compared to infantry its destructiveness is slight. I had two men wounded. The regiment having taken position near the enemy’s works, our troops put up breastworks; yesterday as the lines were pretty close together, there was a good deal of firing between the pickets and our artillery threw shells, but the dense woods in front prevented an accurate aim. Just at dark, the rebels opened a brisk discharge of shell upon one of our batteries; we were in line right behind this battery, and for a brief time the things burst around us with most uncomfortable vividness. A number exploded right over my line. Immediately after we went to the front, relieving another regiment. At daylight this morning, our pickets reported the rebels gone. I have just been over to the position they occupied; it is very strongly fortified. I conjecture that some movement upon the enemy’s right flank caused the evacuation. A portion of our army seems to be following up and we will doubtless move soon. We did move this morning after the above was written, and have advanced some miles and come to a halt Our artillery is busy throwing shells at the rebels and skirmishers not over half a mile in front of us, and we have come to a halt.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page