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[486] considered as very remarkable, yet each was followed by very decided, solid gains to the North. The first led to the evacuation of Nashville, Tennessee, and transferring the Union forces to the west of the Tennessee river; the last, followed speedily by the surrender of Port Hudson, virtually closed the Mississippi to the Confederacy and cut it in twain. Credit is due to General Grant for knowing where to direct his blows. Battles in which the greatest numbers are engaged, and most brilliant victories won, are not always followed by the best results to the fortunate side. When General Grant was assigned to duty as above stated, the Army of the Potomac, commanded by General Meade, lay in Culpepper county, Virginia, and, confronting it, across the Rapidan, was the Army of Northern Virginia. These armies had, with two exceptions, held the above positions since early in August following the battle of Gettysburg. The first was in October, when General Lee, although much reduced by detaching Longstreet South, crossed the Rapidan and advanced on Meade. The latter retired rapidly, not halting until he had crossed Bull Run. During this retreat of Meade a collision occurred at Bristoe Station between three of Hill's Brigades and the Fifth Corps, in which the former were worsted. General Lee returned to the Rapidan, and Meade to his old camp in Culpepper. The latter part of November (the second exception), Meade crossed the Rapidan below the Confederate right. General Lee changed front immediately, and moved rapidly to meet him. A slight skirmish occurred late in the afternoon. Next morning the Army of Northern Virginia took position in the rear of Mine run. The Union forces confronted it a week, retired at night, hurried back to the Rapidan, and recrossed into Culpepper without a battle but losing prisoners.

During the winter, while on the Rapidan, General Lee's troops --A. P. Hill's Corps — extended up the river as far as Liberty mills, six miles above Orange Court-House; Ewell's Corps on the right, below Clarke's Mountain, which was eight miles from Orange; Longstreet, after his return from East Tennessee, remained near Gordonsville, eight miles in rear. In general, while on the Rapidan, the troops were not regularly and well supplied with good and sufficient rations, nor was their clothing of the best; their morale was, nevertheless, excellent, and when spring came the camp was enlivened by the resuming of military exercises, drills, etc. In April, without any orders being given, there was a sending to the rear, by officers, of extra baggage, and a general but quiet preparation for the coming campaign, soon to be inaugurated early in May. There was at length

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