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Horses that carried the orders of the General-in-chief: waiting on Grant at Bethesda church, June, 1864. Crack horses were a first requisite for Grant's staff, escort, and couriers. This photograph shows several at Bethseda Church, the little Virginia meeting-house where the staff had halted the day before Cold Harbor. The staff consisted of fourteen officers only, and was not larger than that of some division commanders. Brigadier-General John A. Rawlins was the chief. Grant's instructions to his staff showed the value that he placed upon celerity and the overcoming of delays in communicating orders. He urged his officers to discuss his orders with him freely whenever it was possible in the course of an engagement or battle, to learn his views as fully as possible, and in great emergencies, where there was no time to communicate with headquarters, to act on their own initiative along the lines laid down by him without his specific orders. The result was an eager, confident, hard-riding staff that stopped at no danger, whether to horse or man. What was even more important, its members did not hesitate to assume responsibility.

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S. S. Grant (3)
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