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[259] even one of the many actions of this vigorous campaign, which may have been heretofore misrepresented through ignorance or through passion, it would be counted as a service, however humble, to that army, whose just renown can never be too jealously guarded by the men who were steadfast to their colors.

That I should attempt a critical examination of that defence in detail, is manifestly impossible within the limits of an address, when it is remembered that, south of the Appomattox alone, thirteen pitched fights were delivered outside the works, beside numberless “affairs” on the part of the cavalry and small bodies of infantry, while each day was attended by a number of minor events, which, taken separately, appear to be of little historical importance, but, when combined, exerted no mean influence on the conduct of the campaign.

Nor, on the other hand, has the time yet come, in the opinion of many officers of sound and sober judment, for that larger treatment of my theme which would necessitate an impartial examination of the measure to which the military operations were shaped by considerations of a political character — in other words, the time has not yet come when one may use the fearless frankness of Napier, who justly reckons it the crowing proof of the genius of Wellington, that while resisting with gigantic vigor the fierceness of the French, he had at the same time to “sustain the weakness of three inefficient cabinets.”

I propose, therefore, to notice some of the leading events of the campaign in its unity, which will indicate the general conception of the defence of Petersburg, animated by no other feeling towards the many brave men and officers of the Army of the Potomac than one of hearty admiration for their courage and endurance, desirous, above all, that truth, so far as we can attain it now, shall be spoken with soldierly bluntness, and error be not perpetuated.

And at the very outset, it is not only pertinent, but essential to a proper appreciation of the conduct of affairs, that we should consider the morale of the two armies as they prepared to move into those vast lines of circumvallation and contravallation, destined to become more famous than Torres Vedras or those drawn by the genius of Turenne in the great wars of the Palatinate. The more so, that the most distinguished of Lee's foreign critics has declared that from the moment Grant sat down before the lines of Richmond, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia saw that the

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