them, and they had only to feel the position of an army just advancing into the Wilderness
An open country, where he could see the enemy's lines, and the advantages or disadvantages of his own position, might have enabled Grant
, with his skilful manoeuvres and grand tactics and tenacity, to achieve a victory on the first field, which he was determined to achieve somewhere.
The obscurity of the field, and Grant
's practical mind, which in a campaign was full of resources for great occasions or small, are shown by an' incident at his headquarters.
A rebel shell struck quite near to himself and Meade
as they were conversing together, furrowing the ground and bursting at some distance.
Though the shell came unpleasantly near, Grant
neither started nor spoke, but he put it to some use. Drawing from his pocket a small compass, he calculated the course of the shell, and in a few minutes he had some artillery posted to silence the rebel battery which had thrown it. The guns thus posted and pointed soon silenced the unseen battery, and Grant
, inquiring the elevation of the guns, calculated the position and distance of the enemy's line, and acted promptly on the result.
Not content to fight, as it were, in the dark, where he could not strike a decisive blow, Grant
had recourse to a flank movement, which, in his progress towards Richmond
, soon became famous.
Severing his communications at the Rapidan
, he moved the army to Spottsylvania
, for the purpose of placing it between Lee
's army and the rebel capital, or forcing him to accept battle on a different field.