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[559] By them he could concentrate his army wherever force was required; but, by a well-developed and well-understood movement on our part, a great portion of these advantages were lost.

Thus, when General Grant assumed full command, he devised a scheme by which there should be an advance made from all the different military points. For the first time in the war, we had a commander-in-chief. The war of the Union was no longer to be fought by twenty different commanders, each acting upon his own responsibility, and without concert of action. The plan made by General Grant insured victory in the end. The great power of the loyal States was to be concentrated in one grand movement, which was to close in, compress, and annihilate the enemy. Never was a plan better devised; never, when we consider the magnitude of the enterprise and its successful termination, surpassed by the greatest military commander of the world. General Grant knew the officers whom he could trust, and they had confidence in him. The petty ambitions and jealousies which had existed through the war vanished.

The Army of the Potomac had advanced from the Rapidan towards Richmond on the 3d of May, and, after six weeks of daily fighting, driven Lee and the rebel army of Virginia within the fortifications of Richmond. Grant had crossed the James River, and, practically, laid siege to Richmond and Petersburg,—aided by the Army of the James, under the command of Major-General Butler.

In the mean time, Sherman, with his Army of the Tennessee and the Cumberland, had advanced towards Atlanta, and taken it, and was preparing for his grand march to the sea, through the State of Georgia to Savannah. The wisdom of General Grant's plan of the war is seen in this: that, by pressing the rebel forces under General Lee, and keeping them in daily activity, he made it impossible for the latter to spare enough of his force to prevent the advance of Sherman. Thus stood the loyal and the rebel forces on the 1st of July, 1864.

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