Home  »  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  »  Chapter IX

James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Chapter IX

  “IN a military point of view, thank Heaven! the ‘coming man,’ for whom we have so long been waiting, seems really to have come.” So Motley wrote; so thought the President, Congress and the people. By an act of February 29, Congress revived the grade of Lieutenant-General and authorized the President to place the General whom he should appoint to fill it in command of the armies of the United States under his direction and during his pleasure. It was understood on all sides that the man whom the nation’s representatives desired to honor and upon whom they wished to devolve the burden of military affairs was Grant. This action agreed entirely with Lincoln’s wish. From the first he would have been glad to have some general whom he could trust with the responsibility of military operations. Scott was too old; McClellan lacked the requisite ability; and Halleck, deficient in the same respect, lost all “nerve and pluck” after Pope’s disaster and became “little more,” so Lincoln said, “than a first-rate clerk.” 1 It was a welcome function for the President to send to the Senate the nomination of Grant as Lieutenant-General. This he did at once and the nomination was immediately confirmed.  1   Grant came to Washington and met Lincoln for the first time at a crowded reception in the White House. An appointment between the two was made for the next day (March 9), when in the presence of the Cabinet, General Halleck and three others, the President presented Grant with the commission of Lieutenant-General, saying, “With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under God, it will sustain you.” Grant replied, “I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon me; and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.” 2  2   Next day Grant was formally assigned to the command of the armies of the United States. Until his visit to Washington, he had intended to remain in the West, but he now saw that his place was with the Army of the Potomac. He went to the front and had a conference with Meade, in the course of which, after an interchange of views creditable to both, he decided that Meade should retain his present command. He then went to Nashville and discussed with Sherman, who succeeded him as chief of the Western army, the plan of operations in Tennessee and Georgia, returning on March 23 to Washington. He was now without question the most popular man in the United States. Both parties and all factions vied with one another in his praise. He had met with obstacles in working up to his present position and had suffered many hours of pain at the obloquy with which he had been pursued. But Vicksburg and Chattanooga were victories which not only bore down all detraction but invested with glory the general who had won them. It happens to but few men of action to receive during their lifetime such plaudits as Grant received in the winter and early spring of 1864; there was hardly a murmuring voice; few grudged him his success. His modest and unaffected bearing commanded respect for his character as his great deeds had won admiration for his military genius. It is striking to contrast this almost universal applause of Grant with the abuse of Lincoln by the Democrats, the sharp criticism of him by some of the radical Republicans and by others the damning him with faint praise.  3   Grant had the charm of simplicity of character and in common with Lincoln felt that he was one of the plain people and wished to keep in touch with them. But this merit in him was carried to excess. Too often was he unwilling to keep himself to himself—too often ready to lend his time in undesirable quarters—too often lacking the dignity and reserve reasonably to be expected of the commander of those half million soldiers to whom the nation looked for its salvation. Shortly before he began his May campaign, Richard H. Dana saw him in Willard’s Hotel, Washington, and described him as “a short, round-shouldered man in a very tarnished major-general’s uniform”; “nothing marked in his appearance”—“an ordinary scrubby-looking man with a slightly seedy look.” Dana expressed his astonishment “to see him talking and smoking in the lower entry of Willard’s, in that crowd, in such times—the generalissimo of our armies, on whom the destiny of the empire seemed to hang. But” he went on, “his face looks firm and hard, and his eye is clear and resolute, and he is certainly natural, and clear of all appearance of self-consciousness.” Impressed with Grant’s supremacy and his hold on the country, he broke out, “How war, how all great crises, bring us to the one-man power.” 3  4   “It was not until after both Gettysburg and Vicksburg,” wrote General Sherman, “that the war professionally began.” In 1864 and 1865, the campaigns and the battles were, as in the previous years, the events on which all else depended; but by this time the President and his generals had learned the lessons of war and begun to conduct it with professional skill.  5   The two salient features of Grant’s plan were the destruction or capture of Lee’s army by himself and his force of 122,000 and the crushing of Joseph E. Johnston by Sherman with his 99,000. From the nature of the situation, a collateral objective in the one case was Richmond, in the other, Atlanta. The winter and early spring had been spent largely in systematic and effective preparation. The people’s confidence in Grant was so great that many were sanguine that the war would be over by midsummer.  6   On the night of May 3 the Army of the Potomac began its advance by crossing the Rapidan without molestation and encamping next day in the Wilderness, 4 where Hooker had last year come to grief. Grant had no desire to fight a battle in this jungle; but Lee, who had watched him intently, permitted him to traverse the river unopposed, thinking that, when he halted in the dense thicket, every inch of which was known to the Confederate general and soldiers, the Lord had delivered him into their hands. Lee ordered at once the concentration of his army and with Napoleonic swiftness marched forward to dispute the advance of his enemy. On May 5, the forces came together in the Wilderness and a hot battle raged. The Confederates numerically were one-half the Union strength but their better knowledge of the battle ground and the little use that could be made of the Federal artillery, rendered it an equal contest; neither side gained an advantage.  7   Grant perceived that he must fight his way through the Wilderness and next day prepared to take the offensive; but Lee had likewise determined on attack. Both desiring the initiative, the battle was on at an early hour. It progressed with varying fortune; each force gained successes at different moments and at different parts of the line. At one time the Confederate right wing was driven back and disaster seemed imminent, when Longstreet came up and saved the day. A Texas brigade of Longstreet’s corps went forward to the charge, and Lee, who like his exemplar Washington was an eager warrior and loved the noise and excitement of battle, spurred onward his horse and, in his anxiety for the result, started to follow the Texans as they advanced in regular order. He was recognized, and from the entire line came the cry, “Go back, General Lee! go back!” This Confederate movement was stopped by the wounding of Longstreet by a shot from his own men, an accident similar to that by which Stonewall Jackson one year before had received his mortal hurt.  8   The fighting of these two days is called the battle of the Wilderness. Both generals claimed the advantage; both were disappointed in the result. Grant, who had expected that the passage of the Rapidan and the turning of the right of the Confederates would compel them to fall back, had hoped to march through the Wilderness unopposed, fight them in more open country and inflict upon them a heavy blow. Lee, in no way daunted because Grant had taken command in person of the Army of the Potomac, thought, undoubtedly, that his Western victories had been due more to his opponent’s lack of skill than to his own generalship, and had hoped to beat Grant as he had beaten McClellan, Pope, Burnside and Hooker, drive him back across the Rapidan and constrain him, like his predecessors, to abandon the campaign. Measured by casualties, the Confederates came the nearer to victory. The Union loss was 17,666; the Confederate certainly less, although an accurate report of it is lacking.  9   Next day Grant said to Meade, “Joe Johnston would have retreated after two such days’ punishment!” 5 In this remark was implied a wholesome respect for the redoubtable commander whom he had encountered for the first time. Neither general showed a disposition to attack, but Grant made arrangements to continue the movement by the left in a night march to Spottsylvania Court House. To James H. Wilson who, perturbed at the disaster to the Union right on the second day of the battle, had sought the General to bear information and seek comfort, he said, “It’s all right, Wilson; the army is moving toward Richmond!” 6 The troops set forth knowing of the slaughter of the past two days but unaware if they had been beaten or not, and when they came to the parting of the ways, the question uppermost in all minds was, would the orders be to turn northward and recross the river? But the command, File right, set the men’s faces towards Richmond, and Grant in their estimation was exalted. The soldiers sang and stepped forward with a brisker tread. “The spirits of men and officers are of the highest pitch of animation” was the word which Dana sent to Stanton. Grant rode by and in spite of the darkness was recognized. The men burst into cheers, swung their hats, clapped their hands, threw up their arms and greeted their general as a comrade, so pleased were they that he was leading them on to Richmond instead of ordering them to fall back to the camp which they had just abandoned.  10   The Confederate soldiers, believing in their invincibility on their own soil, thought that Grant, like the other Federal generals, would give it up and fall back; and Lee at one time held the opinion that he was retiring on Fredericksburg. But the Confederate general was too sagacious to base his plans entirely on one supposition; surmising that Grant might move to Spottsylvania, he sent thither a portion of his force, which, having the shorter and easier line of march, arrived earlier than the Union Army, and took up a position across the path of their approach. The armies soon came in contact and fighting began. On May 11 Grant sent his celebrated despatch to Halleck: “We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting.… I … propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” 7 After a furious battle next day at the Salient—the so-called “bloody angle”—there was a lull, owing principally to the heavy and constant rains, which made the roads deep with mud and impassable. It is true, however, that the Union Army needed rest and that Grant was desirous of reënforcements to fill the gaps in his ranks caused by his heavy losses. In these battles at Spottsylvania he was almost invariably the attacking party; again and again he assailed the Confederates in front, where their intrenchments, defended by rifled muskets and artillery throughout, quadrupled their strength. It has been said that the hurling of his men against Lee in chosen and fortified positions was unnecessary as the roads in number and direction lent themselves to the operation of turning either flank of the Confederate Army. “To assault ‘all along the line,’” wrote General Walker, “as was so often done in the summer of 1864, is the very abdication of leadership.” 8 But Grant was essentially an aggressive soldier, and an important feature of his plan of operations was, as he himself has stated it, “to hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources until by mere attrition, if in no other way,” the South should be subdued. 9  11   Before Spottsylvania an incident of the Wilderness fighting was repeated. Twice, when the Confederates were on the verge of disaster, Lee rode to the head of a column, intending to lead a charge which he thought might be necessary to save the day. On both occasions the soldiers refused to advance unless their general should go to the rear. Lee did not court danger and was bent on exposing himself in the one case only after his lines had been broken, and in the other when the struggle for the Salient demanded the utmost from general and men. Such incidents in Lee’s career did not happen until Grant came to direct the movements of the Army of the Potomac. 10  12   On May 19, Meade wrote to his wife, “We did not have the big battle which I expected yesterday, as, on advancing, we found the enemy so strongly intrenched that even Grant thought it useless to knock our heads against a brick wall, and directed a suspension of the attack.” 11  13   As a result of one month’s fighting, Grant had by June 2 advanced a considerable distance into Virginia, reaching the ground which one wing of McClellan’s army had occupied in May and June, 1862. He took up a position near the scene of Fitz-John Porter’s gallant fight of Gaines’s Mill and almost in sight of the spires of the Confederate capital. Lee, about six miles from the exterior fortifications of Richmond, held a position naturally strong, which by intrenchments he had made practically impregnable. On the supposition that flanking movements were impracticable, Grant, with unjustifiable precipitation, ordered an assault in front. This was made at 4:30 in the morning of June 3, and is known as the battle of Cold Harbor—the greatest blemish on his reputation as a general. The attack, which had at first been ordered for the afternoon of the 2d, was postponed till the morrow; this gave officers and men a chance to chew upon it, and both knew that the undertaking was hopeless. Horace Porter, one of Grant’s aides, related that when walking among the troops on staff duty the evening before the battle he noticed many soldiers of one of the regiments, designated for the assault, pinning on the backs of their coats slips of paper on which were written their names and home addresses so that their dead bodies might be recognized on the field and their fate be known to their families at the North.  14   The soldiers sprang promptly to the assault. The experience of Hancock’s corps, the Second, will suffice as an epitome of the action. In about twenty-two minutes its repulse was complete. It had “lost over 3000 of its bravest and best, both of officers and men.” 12 The total casualties in the Union Army were probably 7000. Grant regretted the attack. “No advantage whatever,” he wrote, “was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained.” 13 After the battle of Cold Harbor he determined to move to a point south of the James with his headquarters at City Point, and between June 12 and 16, had his army successfully transferred to the new position. “Up to this time,” wrote Meade on June 6, “our success has consisted only in compelling the enemy to draw in towards Richmond; our failure has been that we have not been able to overcome, destroy or bag his army.” 14  15   Grant’s loss from May 4 to June 12 in the campaign from the Rapidan to the James was 54,926, a number nearly equal to Lee’s whole army at the commencement of the Union advance; the Confederate loss is not known, but it was certainly very much less. Nor do the bare figures tell the whole story. To the total loss the flower of the Army of the Potomac contributed a disproportionate share. Fighting against odds of position and strategy, the high-spirited and capable officers were constantly in the thick of danger and the veterans of the rank and file were always at the front: they were the forlorn hope. The bounty-jumpers and mercenaries skulked to the rear. The morale of the soldiers was much lower than on the day when, in high spirits, they had crossed the Rapidan. Many officers lost confidence in Grant; the men said, “It is no use. No matter who is given us, we can’t whip Bobby Lee.” “I think,” wrote Meade, “Grant has had his eyes opened and is willing to admit now that Virginia and Lee’s army is not Tennessee and Bragg’s.” 15  16   In the judgment of many military critics Grant had not been equal to his opportunities, had not made the best use of his advantages, and had secured no gain commensurate with his loss. Yet the friends of McClellan who maintain that, as this commander reached the same ground near Richmond with comparatively little sacrifice of life, his campaign had the greater merit, miss the main point of the situation,—to wit, that the incessant hammering of Lee’s army was a necessary concomitant of success. They regard the capture of the Confederate capital as tantamount to the subjugation of the South; this error blinds them to the fact that Grant was supremely right in making Lee’s army his first objective and Richmond only his second. His strategy was superior to McClellan’s in that he grasped the aim of the war, and resolutely and grimly stuck to his purpose in spite of defeat and losses which would have dismayed any but the stoutest soul; and criticism of him is not sound unless it proves, as perhaps it does, that there might have been the same persistent fighting of the Army of Northern Virginia without so great a slaughter of Northern soldiers. The case is certainly stronger for Grant if we compare his work even thus far with the operations of Pope, Burnside and Hooker. As for Meade, his name is so gratefully associated with the magnificent victory of Gettysburg that our judgment leans in his favor and would fain rate his achievements at the highest; but it is difficult to discover anything that he did afterwards in independent command towards bringing the war to a close. If the final outcome be anticipated in order to compare Grant’s total losses to the day on which he received the surrender of Lee’s army, with the combined losses of the rest of the commanders of the Army of the Potomac, the result arrived at is that his aggregate was less than theirs whilst his was the great achievement. The military literature of the South directly and by implication breathes a constant tribute to the effectiveness of his plan. It must not, however, be forgotten that McClellan and Meade had weakened in some measure the power of resistance of the Army of Northern Virginia. 16  17     Sherman, whose headquarters had been at Chattanooga, began his advance on May 6. He was at the head of three armies: those of the Cumberland, the Tennessee and the Ohio, commanded respectively by Thomas, McPherson and Schofield and aggregating 99,000 men. Joseph E. Johnston was at Dalton, Georgia, strongly intrenched with a force of 53,000. The campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, which now commenced, is remarkable for the vigor and pertinacity of the attack, the skill and obstinacy of the defence. Two giants met. Sherman’s greater number corresponded to the greater difficulty of his task. For the invasion of the enemy’s territory, with a constantly lengthening line of supply and a consequent dwindling of the main force through detachments necessary to protect this line, an army twice as great as the enemy’s was required for accomplishing the object of the campaign, which was the destruction or the surrender of the opposing host. Johnston had not as able lieutenants as Sherman, and did not win from them as great a measure of devotion, nor had he in other respects a personnel equal to that of the Union commander, whose army, moreover, had derived confidence for the future from its victory at Chattanooga. Taking everything into consideration, the conditions of the contest were about even. Sherman’s work became easier, as will be seen, when he had as antagonist a commander of inferior parts. But it cannot be maintained with any show of reason that Johnston could have been driven constantly and steadily southward from position to position, by a general who did not possess a high order of ability. The more one studies this inch-by-inch struggle, the better will one realize that in the direction and supply of each of the opposing forces, there was a master mind, with the best of professional training, with the added advantage of three years of practical experience in warfare. The strife between the two was of the most honorable character even as it has been between all noble spirits who have fought to the end since Homer’s time. Either would have regarded the killing of the other as a happy fortune of war, though indeed he might have apostrophized his dead body as Mark Antony did Brutus’s; yet twenty-seven years later, when the victor in this campaign had succumbed to death, the magnanimous Johnston, though aged and feeble, travelled from Washington to New York to act as a pall-bearer and to grieve as a sincere mourner at his funeral. 17  18   By systematic flanking and fighting, Sherman drove Johnston to Cassville, where the Confederate at first decided to accept battle; but learning that two of his corps commanders did not approve his plan, he did not deem it wise to risk a battle with a force so much his superior while lacking the unanimous and sympathetic support of his lieutenants; he therefore retreated south of the Etowah river. Yet he was right in wishing to try the fortune of war at this time and in this comparatively open country, for in his retreat he had been picking up detachments and receiving reenforcements, while Sherman, although also reënforced, had less than his original army with him owing to the necessity of protecting the railroad in his rear, which was his only line of supply; in fact the two armies were now more nearly equal than at any other time during the campaign. Sherman had been eager for battle ever since the beginning of his advance, an eagerness shared by his men. Johnston’s continual avoidance of it, the proffered gage, increased their confidence, which had been high from the outset, and they went forward sure of victory, enduring with patience the privations and hardships of the march. All this while news of the operations in Virginia was furnished to both armies, the one hearing of Union victories in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania, the other that “Lee has whipped Grant” and “General Lee beat Grant again.”  19   On May 23 Sherman wrote from Kingston, “I am already within fifty miles of Atlanta and have added one hundred miles to my railroad communications, every mile of which is liable to attack by cavalry.” This despatch gives some idea of the labor attending the invasion of the enemy’s territory. The men needed not only marching and fighting qualities but the temper to endure with good grace the loss of many of the creature comforts of ordinary army life. Most of the baggage and tents had been left behind; a tent-fly was the shelter for brigade and division headquarters; but the food, consisting of meat, bread, coffee and sugar, was abundant and of good quality. All the supplies came over the single line of railroad running from Chattanooga to Atlanta, of which the track was torn up and the bridges burned by the Confederates, as they retreated. But the engineer corps in charge of the railway repairs were skilful and energetic, renewing bridges as if by magic, much to the amazement of Johnston’s men, who under the illusion that their destruction would cause great delays were always startled to hear the whistle of the locomotive bringing up the supply trains in the rear of the Union Army.  20   At Kingston Sherman was in a country which, as lieutenant of artillery, he had ridden over on horseback twenty years before. Apprised by his early recollections that Johnston’s position at Allatoona Pass was very strong and would be hard to force, he formed the design of turning it, and to that end left the railroad on May 25, made a circuit to the right and brought on the severe battle of New Hope Church, which accomplished his object, so that when he returned to the railroad he occupied it from Allatoona to Big Shanty in sight of Kenesaw Mountain. For some reason which is not altogether clear, Sherman now departed from his usual strategy and assaulted in front Johnston’s almost impregnable position at Kenesaw Mountain, an operation which is admittedly a flaw in this otherwise well-conceived and admirably executed campaign. There is a tradition in the Army of the Cumberland that the decision was spasmodic, adopted in a state of excited restlessness; but if this was indeed Sherman’s mood it did not preclude a careful preparation for the attack. Although he issued the orders on June 24, the onslaught was not actually made until three days later. The veteran soldiers entered upon the assault with great courage, but, soon discovering that one rifle in the trench was worth five in front of it, they were satisfied that the works could not be carried except by an immense sacrifice of life; with the consent of the division and corps commanders, they abandoned the attempt. Sherman’s loss was nearly 3000, Johnston’s 800.  21   The battle of Kenesaw Mountain brought to the surface the rooted difference between Sherman’s and Thomas’s characters and modes of operation. Sherman thought Thomas slow, with a disposition to act continually on the defensive when the nature of the campaign required that the Union Army should assail not defend. On the other hand the officers of the Army of the Cumberland for the most part believed that Sherman’s restlessness and impetuosity, which had got them into trouble at Kenesaw, would have led them to other disasters had he not been restrained by Thomas’s discretion and prudence. In this controversy the layman may hardly venture an opinion, but since the campaign was successful to the point which this account of it has now reached, and was eminently successful in its conclusion, he would like to believe that the differing gifts of Sherman and Thomas wrought together to advantage, and that the two men accomplished in their union, jarring though it was at times, what neither one alone would have done so completely and so well. 18  22     At the same time as these military operations, be it remembered, a political campaign was in progress; a President must be nominated and elected. The important question whether Lincoln should succeed himself could not be kept in abeyance even during the preceding year. He was in a measure held responsible for the military failures of 1862, for the disasters of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, so that many came to doubt whether he had the requisite ability and decision to carry on the great undertaking. But he came in for a share of the glory of Gettysburg and Vicksburg and thereafter was greatly strengthened in his political position. Yet the disaffection had been strong enough to seek a head and had found it in Chase, whose craving for the Presidency was exceedingly strong. Theoretically he might seem a formidable candidate. He was the representative of the radical Republicans and was regarded by them as the counterpoise to Lincoln, who, in his blows at slavery, had proceeded too slowly to suit them and was now arousing their antagonism in his policy for the reconstruction of the Union. Already successful in his management of the Treasury, Chase was in character and ability fit for the office of the President.  23   Lincoln had long known of Chase’s striving for the Presidency and, though at times this may have caused him some concern, his attitude towards it after the victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg is revealed in his remark of October, 1863, to his private secretary: “I have determined to shut my eyes, so far as possible, to everything of the sort. Mr. Chase makes a good Secretary and I shall keep him where he is. If he becomes President, all right. I hope we may never have a worse man.” 19  24   In various ways before the assembling of the national convention, the Union and Republican party pronounced in favor of Lincoln’s renomination. In spite of all that was urged against him by his opponents touching the manipulation by office-holders and politicians, there remains no doubt that the mass of citizens were lending aid to these movements. The President had gained the support of the plain people, of business men and of a goodly portion of the best intelligence of the country. Nothing in the study of popular sentiment can be more gratifying than this oneness of thought between farmers, small shop-keepers, salesmen, clerks, mechanics and the men who stood intellectually for the highest aspirations of the nation. Lowell wrote in the North American Review: “History will rank Mr. Lincoln among the most prudent of statesmen and the most successful of rulers. If we wish to appreciate him, we have only to conceive the inevitable chaos in which we should now be weltering had a weak man or an unwise one been chosen in his stead.” “Homely, honest, ungainly Lincoln,” wrote Asa Gray to Darwin, “is the representative man of the country.” 20  25   General Grant, after the battle of Chattanooga, might indeed have been a formidable candidate if he had not positively refused to give his would-be backers any encouragement for the use of his name. In connection with the attempt to bring Grant forward, Lincoln exhibited his usual shrewdness. “If he takes Richmond,” he said, “let him have it” [the nomination]. 21  26   Those were exciting days between May 3, when Grant crossed the Rapidan, and June 7, when the National Union or Republican convention met. “My hopes under God,” wrote Chase, “are almost wholly in Grant and his soldiers.” 22 So thought the North. The bloody work of the Virginia campaign went on. Welles’s record in his faithful Diary is a true index of public opinion. On May 17: “A painful suspense in military operations.… The intense anxiety is oppressive and almost unfits the mind for mental activity.” On June 2: “Great confidence is felt in Grant but the immense slaughter of our brave men chills and sickens us all.” On June 7: “We have had severe slaughter. Brave men have been killed and maimed most fearfully but Grant persists.” 23 Lincoln was very anxious and sad during the battles of the Wilderness. 24 On May 7, Welles wrote, “The President came into my room about 1 P.M., and told me he had slept none last night.” 25 As the campaign went on he grew sanguine. On June 15, after he must have realized the extent of the Cold Harbor disaster and after Grant had announced his purpose of crossing to the south side of the James, he telegraphed to Grant, “I begin to see it: you will succeed. God bless you all.” 26  27   The excellent and real progress of Sherman was not of a sufficiently striking character to distract the attention of the public mind, even in the Western States, whose sons made up his army, from the duel between Grant and Lee.  28   On June 7, Welles confided to his Diary, “The Convention to-day is the absorbing theme.” Lincoln was renominated, receiving all the votes except those of Missouri, which were given to Grant. As Lincoln explained the result, the Convention “concluded that it is not best to swop horses while crossing the stream.” 27  29
Note 1. J. Hay, I, 187. [back]
Note 2. N. & H., VIII, 341, 342. The remarks are abridged and in Grant’s reply a clause is transposed. [back]
Note 3. Adams’s Dana, II, 271. [back]
Note 4. “The Wilderness is a gently undulating tract of low ridges and swampy swales alternating, covered with a dense second growth of small pines intermixed with oaks, ash and walnut, and thick matted underbrush in patches almost impenetrable. It is from ten to twelve miles across in any direction. The main roads which traverse it and a few clearings, widely separated, let but little daylight into the dense, gloomy and monotonous woods. Once off the roads it is exceedingly difficult to manœuvre troops through this region and almost impossible to preserve their orderly formation or to keep them in any given direction when in motion.”—Hazard Stevens, Milt. Hist. Soc., IV, 187. [back]
Note 5. Theodore Lyman, Milt. Hist. Soc., IV, 171. [back]
Note 6. Under the Old Flag, I, 389. [back]
Note 7. O. R., XXXVI, Pt. 1, 13. [back]
Note 8. Walker’s Hancock, 193. [back]
Note 9. O. R., XXXVI., Pt. 1, 13. [back]
Note 10. On May 15, Meade wrote to his wife, “I think we have gained decided advantages over the enemy; nevertheless, he confronts us still and, owing to the strong position he occupies, and the works he is all the time throwing up, the task of overcoming him is a very difficult one, taxing all our energies.” General Meade, II, 195. [back]
Note 11. General Meade, II, 197. [back]
Note 12. XXXVI, Pt. i, 367. [back]
Note 13. Grant, II, 276. [back]
Note 14. Gen. Meade, II, 201. [back]
Note 15. Ibid., II, 201. [back]
Note 16. Authorities, O. R., XXXVI; IV; Humphreys; Gen. Meade, II; Charles H. Porter, Theodore Lyman, Hazard Stevens, Ropes, T. L. Livermore in Milt. Hist. Soc., IV; Wilson’s Dana; do. Under the Old Flag; do. W. F. Smith; do. Rawlins, M. S.; Alexander; T. L. Livermore; Longstreet; G. M. Dodge. [back]
Note 17. Sherman died Feb. 14, 1891; Johnston five weeks later of heart failure aggravated by a cold taken at Sherman’s funeral.  [back]
Note 18. O. R., XXXVII, Pts. 1, 4; IV [back]
Note 19. N. & H., VIII, 316; J. Hay, I, 108. [back]
Note 20. IV, 461. [back]
Note 21. N. & H., IX, 59. [back]
Note 22. Warden, 584. [back]
Note 23. Welles’s Diary, II, 33, 44, 46. [back]
Note 24. Carpenter, 30. [back]
Note 25. Welles’s Diary, II, 25. [back]
Note 26. Lincoln, C. W., II, 533. [back]
Note 27. Lect. 190, n. 1. [back]