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[112] were checked, and the attacks failed, he did not withdraw, discouraged or disconcerted, but held on still, and, with ready resources, changed his plan, but never abandoned his purpose. The battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor, were among the severest of the war, and the rebels fought with a desperation they had never before shown, and which they believed must triumph. But northern persistency, under the lead of Grant, was a match for southern fire and desperation. The army--of the Potomac was no longer to be shaken off or compelled to retire.

It is not to be supposed that the campaign plans of even the greatest military genius can be fully carried out in their details if opposed by an enemy of even ordinary skill and bravery. Grant was contending with the most skilful generals of the rebel Confederacy, and with their strongest army of veteran soldiers, animated with the belief that they were fighting the desperate battles which must decide the fate of the rebellion. He was forced to modify or wholly change his plans, but he never changed his purpose, which was, sooner or later, on one field or another, to defeat and destroy Lee's army. In changing his plans, he proved his abundant and ready resources, and, trusting to his subordinates for the skilful execution of skilfully laid plans, he did not hesitate to adopt some bold manoeuvres and unexpected movements. The withdrawal of the army from the closest contact with the rebels at Cold Harbor, and the flank movement made before their eyes, was a daring trial of a dangerous piece of tactics; but its boldness and admirable execution made it a complete success. It showed, in Grant, a perfect appreciation

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