detached rebel forces from joining the main rebel armies.
were considered strategic points which it was important to reach and hold, but Grant
's purpose was to reach and defeat the rebel armies, whether in front of those places, or wherever they might be made to give battle.
In them was the strength of the rebellion, and with their defeat it would be conquered.
's combined movements were made early in May, General Sherman
succeeding him in the immediate command of the western army, Grant
himself, as before stated, directing the campaign in Virginia
, General Meade
being in immediate command.
Cooperating with the army of the Potomac was a force under General Butler
, which moved up the James River
, and upon the operations of which Grant
relied for early success, and another under General Sigel
, which moved up the Shenandoah Valley.
Though General Meade
remained in immediate command of the army of the Potomac, it was unmistakably a satisfaction to the country that General Grant
was present to direct the campaign and to fight the battles.
The army too was inspired by his presence; for his previous success, his acknowledged ability, and his well-known perseverance, were an assurance of ultimate victory.
His unassuming, quiet, self-reliant manner, and his republican simplicity, also impressed the soldiers and won their respect.
For the Union
army was a democratic army, and essentially Anglo-Saxon
, or certainly not French enough to be long carried away by Napoleonic displays of military grandeur,