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[549] They both fell into the hands of the enemy. General Hoke, distinguished by brilliant service on other fields, had been ordered down to support the garrison, and under the directions of General Bragg, commanding the department, had advanced to attack the investing force, but a reconnaissance convinced them both that his command was too weak to effect the object. The other forts, of necessity, fell with the main work, Fisher, and were abandoned. Hoke, with his small force retiring through Wilmington after destroying the public vessels and property, to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy, slowly fell back, fighting at several points, and seeking to find in the separation of the vastly superior army which was following him an opportunity to attack a force the number of which should not greatly exceed his own, finally made a junction with General Johnston, then opposing Sherman's advance through North Carolina.

The fixed purpose of General Grant's campaign of 1864 was the capture of Richmond, the Confederate capital. For this he had assembled the large army with which he crossed the Rapidan and fought the numerous battles between there and the James River. For this he had moved against Petersburg, the capture of which in itself was not an object so important as to have justified the effort made to that end. It was only valuable because it was on the line of communication with the more southern states, and offered another approach to Richmond. In his attack upon Petersburg it will be seen from the events already described that he adopted neither of the two plans which were open to him: the one, the concentration of all his efforts to break the line covering Petersburg; the other, to move his army round it and seize the Weldon and Southside railroads, so as to cut off the supplies of Lee's army and compel the evacuation of both Petersburg and Richmond. Had there been approximate equality between his army and that of Lee, he could not wisely have ventured upon the latter movement against a soldier so able as his antagonist; the vast numerical superiority of Grant's army might well have induced him to invite Lee to meet him in the open field. He did, however, neither the one nor the other, but something of both.

In the opening of the campaign of 1865 he continued, as he had done in 1864, to extend his line to the left, seeking, after having gained the Weldon Railroad, to reach still farther to that connecting Petersburg with Richmond and Danville Railroad. Lee, with a well-deserved confidence in his troops and his usual intrepidity, drew from his lines of defense men enough to enable him for a long time to defeat the enemy in

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