He believed that by moving the whole line at the same time the greatest number of troops practicable would be brought against the armed forces of his enemy, and would prevent them from using the same force to resist the efforts of the Union
army, first at one point and then at another, and that, by continuously hammering against their armies, he would destroy both them and their sources of supply.
To carry out this idea, orders were given to the various commanders — on the 2d of April to Butler
; on the 4th, to Sherman
, and on the 9th, to Meade
In all these orders the same general ideas were expressed.
You will collect all the forces from your command that can be spared from garrison duty . . . to operate on the south side of James River, Richmond being your objective point.
It is my design, if the enemy keep quiet and allow me to take the initiative in the spring campaign, to work all the parts of the army together, and somewhat toward a common center. . . . You, I propose to move against Johnston's army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources.
Lee's army will be your objective point.
Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also.
Thus it will be seen that General Grant
's plan with reference to the movements of the Army of the Potomac was similar to that of Napoleon
in the Russian
campaign, while his plan in reference to the whole army much resembles the plan adopted by the Allies in their campaign against France
When these movements began, the situation was about as follows: In the possession of the Union
was all the territory north of a line beginning at Fortress Monroe
, following the Chesapeake Bay
to the Potomac River
, up that river to near