this he abandoned his chosen line of operations, and moved his army so as to secure a crossing to the south side of James River.
The struggle from the Wilderness to this point covered a period of over one month, during which time there had been an almost daily encounter of arms, and the Army of Northern Virginia had placed hors de combat, of the army under General Grant, a number exceeding the entire numerical strength, at the commencement of the campaign, of Lee's army, which, notwithstanding its own heavy losses and the reenforcements received by the enemy, still presented an impregnable front to its opponent.
By the report of the United States Secretary of War
had, on May 1, 1864, two days before he crossed the Rapidan
, 120,380 men, and in the Ninth Army Corps 20,780, or an aggregate with which he marched against Lee
To meet this vast force, Lee
had on the Rapidan
less than 50,000 men. By the same authority it appears that Grant
had a reserve upon which he could draw of 137,672.
had practically no reserve, for he was compelled to make detachments from his army for the protection of West Virginia
and other points, about equal to all the reenforcements which he received.
In the Southern Historical Papers
VI, page 144, upon the very reliable authority of the editor, there appears the following statement:
Grant says he lost, in the campaign from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor, 39,000 men; but Swinton puts his loss at over 60,000, and a careful examination of the figures will show that his real loss was nearer 100,000.
In other words, he lost about twice as many men as Lee had, in order to take a position which he could have taken at first without firing a gun or losing a man.
On June 12th the movement was commenced by Grant
for crossing the James River
Pontoon bridges were laid near Wilcox's Wharf for the passage of his army.
J. C. Pemberton
, who, after the fall of Vicksburg
, was left without a command corresponding to his rank of lieutenant general in the provisional army, in order that he might not stand idle, nobly resigned that commission and asked to be assigned to duty according to his rank in the regular army, which was that of lieutenant colonel.
He was accordingly directed to report to General Lee
for service with the Army of Northern Virginia.
Being a skillful artillerist, he was directed to find a position where he could place a mortar so as to throw shells on the enemy's bridge when it should be put into use. By a daring reconnaissance and exact calculation, he determined a point from which the desired effect might be produced by vertical fire over a wood.
At the proper moment he opened upon the bridge, and his expectations were verified by the shells falling on the troops harassingly.
This, his first service with the Army of Northern Virginia, was interrupted by the failure to send promptly a covering force to protect the mortar, the position of which was disclosed by its fire.
The injury it