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[598] the many desperate combats of this bloody year, the Army of the Potomac lost only 25 and gained but 32 guns. Its losses of guns were mainly incurred at Reams's station; its gains were chiefly made at Spottsylvania.

Grant's conduct of this campaign was not satisfactory to the Confederate critics, who gave a decided preference to the strategy of McClellan. They hold that the former aimed only to overpower and crush by brute force — by the employment of overwhelming numbers — and by a lavish expenditure of blood. Doubtless, a great military genius, such as appears once in two or three centuries, might have achieved them at a smaller cost; as a timid, hesitating, purposeless commander would have failed to achieve them at all. The merit which may be fairly claimed for Grant is that of resolutely undertaking a very difficult and formidable task, and executing it to the best of his ability — at all events, doing it. That, when south of the James, he was just where the Rebels wished him not to be, they showed by desperate and hazardous efforts to draw him thence; and the proof was duplicated in the final collapse of the Rebellion. Other campaigns were more brilliant; but none contributed more positively and eminently to break the power of the Confederates than that which began on the Rapidan and ended in front of Petersburg and across the Weldon road.

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