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[114] military appointments for political considerations. His experience with McClernand's inefficiency, insubordination, and conceit, led him, upon Butler's failure, to regard the latter in a similar light. Subsequent events did not increase his confidence in Butler's military capacity, and with straightforward and soldierly frankness he expressed it. Butler's irrepressible nature did not accept this kindly, and, in a war of words, noticeable only because of his prominent political position, he gave vent to his feelings. But if Butler will rest his reputation on his earlier services, and on his expedition to New Orleans, and his able and effective administration of affairs in that rebellious city, no one more than Grant will award him the fullest credit.

Finding, upon trial, that it was too late to take the strong fortifications of Petersburg by assault, Grant determined to invest them, extending his lines to the north side of the James, and gradually on the south side of Petersburg. But while he undertook the siege of the rebel stronghold, he was so constantly active that he kept Lee's army on the defensive, and prevented him from sending any very large force to create a diversion. Lee, indeed, undertook one such diversion by sending Ewell down the valley of the Shenandoah, but Grant transferred a sufficient force to meet him, and, under the gallant lead of Sheridan, Ewell and his army were utterly defeated. The ease and rapidity with which he transferred his troops — a whole corps at once — from one point to another, across the James, and from one flank to the other, illustrated not only the increased mobility of the army, but Grant's skilful direction and vigorous activity.

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