high-sounding addresses, and lofty condescension, such as in its earlier days seemed to be the spirit of the headquarters of the army of the Potomac.
The soldiers had learned to judge of officers by their success, and not by brave words or brilliant promises; by their energy and activity, and not by a showy staff or excess of etiquette.
As the campaign progressed, he imparted to officers and men something of his own persistency and indomitable purpose, and thus carried them through terrible conflicts and trying emergencies, which, without his presence and direction, might have resulted in discouragement and defeat.
The advance from the Rapidan
's tenacity of purpose, and the battles illustrated his skill as a tactician.
They were the most obstinate contests of the war; for here was the flower of the rebel army under their ablest officers, fighting for their capital, and knowing that with their defeat the rebel Confederacy must go down in ignominy.
The campaign was vital to both the contestants; for, while defeat of the rebels was the death-blow to the rebellion, a defeat of the Union
army would have involved a similar fate to the western army, and could be retrieved only by still greater sacrifices of blood and treasure.
Nay, defeat now involved more than this, for a disloyal peace party at the North
, and foreign intervention, would have profited by such a disaster, and the rebel Confederacy would have become a recognized nation.
Fortunate for the country was it that it had such a man as Grant
to lead its principal armies at such a crisis,--a soldier of tried