Lee and Grant in the Wilderness.
Of the many officers of distinction in the Union
army, to independent and separate commands were intrusted, in the popular opinion of the North
, General Grant
was regarded as the most successful, and in abilities the ablest; and for services rendered rewarded, both by Congress and the President
, in a manner leaving no doubt as to the high appreciation in which they were held.
He was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general, and assigned, on the 10th of March, 1864, by President Lincoln
, to the command of the armies of the United States
This order placed, subject to his will, more armed men than any general of modern times ever commanded.
The object to be accomplished by this law of Congress, and order of the President
, concentrating the whole military power of the North
in one officer, was the speedy overthrow of the Southern Confederacy, and the subjugation of its people.
To effect this, Richmond
must be taken; but preliminary to this, the Army of Northern Virginia must be either destroyed or captured.
The annihilation of this army, the main support of the. Confederacy, was esteemed by General Grant
as his especial privilege, as it was his duty; and to facilitate this, he established his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac; so that, while giving a general supervision to other armies, he could personally control and direct the movements of this particular one, charged, in his opinion, with the highest mission.
The reputation of General Grant
, before serving in Virginia
, was due mostly to the capture of Fort Donelson
; and while, in a strictly military point of view, neither can be