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[333] accomplished that I had designed north of Richmond. I therefore determined to continue to hold substantially the ground we then occupied, taking advantage of any favorable circumstances that might present themselves, until the cavalry could be sent to Charlottesville and Gordonsville, to effectually break up the railroad connection between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg; and, when the cavalry got well off, to move the army to the south side of the James river, by the enemy's right flank, where I felt I could cut off all his sources of supply except by the canal.

On the seventh, two divisions of cavalry, under General Sheridan, got off on the expedition against the Virginia Central railroad, with instructions to Hunter, whom I hoped he would meet near Charlottesville, to join his forces to Sheridan's, and after the work laid out for them was thoroughly done, to join the Army of the Potomac by the route laid down in Sheridan's instructions.

On the tenth of June, General Butler sent a force of infantry under General Gillmore, and cavalry under General Kautz, to capture Petersburg if possible, and destroy the railroad and common bridges across the Appomattox. The cavalry carried the works on the south side, and penetrated well toward the town, but were forced to retire. General Gillmore finding the works which he approached very strong, and deeming an assault impracticable, returned to Bermuda Hundred without attempting one.

Attaching great importance to the possession of Petersburg, I sent back to Bermuda Hundred and City Point General Smith's command by water, via the White House, to reach there in advance of the Army of the Potomac. This was for the express purpose of securing Petersburg before the enemy, becoming aware of our intention, could reinforce the place.

The movement from Cold Harbor commenced after dark on the evening of the twelfth; one division of cavalry, under General Wilson, and the Fifth corps crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, and moved out to White-Oak Swamp, to cover the crossings of the other corps. The advance corps reached James river, at Wilcox's landing and Charles City Courthouse, on the night of the thirteenth.

During three long years the Armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia had been confronting each other. In that time they had fought more desperate battles than it probably ever before fell to the lot of two armies to fight, without materially changing the vantage ground of either. The Southern press and people, with more shrewdness than was displayed in the North, finding that they had failed to capture Washington and march on to New York, as they had boasted they would do, assumed that they only defended their capital and Southern territory. Hence, Antietam, Gettysburg and all the other battles that had been fought, were by them set down as failures on our part, and victories for them. Their army believed this. It produced a morale which could only be overcome by desperate and continuous hard fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, and Cold Harbor, bloody and terrible as they were on our side, were even more damaging to the enemy, and so crippled him as to make him wary ever after of taking the offensive. His losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the fact that we were, save in the Wilderness, almost invariably the attacking party; and when he did attack it was in the open field. The details of these battles, which for endurance and bravery on the part of the soldiery have rarely been surpassed, are given in the report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate reports accompanying it.

During the campaign of forty-three days, from the Rapidan to the James river, the army had to be supplied from an ever-shifting base, by wagons, over narrow roads, through a densely-wooded country, with a lack of wharves at each new base from which to conveniently discharge vessels. Too much credit cannot therefore be awarded to the quartermaster and commissary departments for the zeal and efficiency displayed by them. Under the general supervision of the Chief Quartermaster, Brigadier-General R. Ingalls, the trains were made to occupy all the available roads between the army and our water base, and but little difficulty was experienced in protecting them.

The movement in the Kanawha and Shenandoah Valleys, under General Sigel, commenced on the first of May. General Crook, who had the immediate command of the Kanawha expedition, divided his forces into two columns, giving one, composed of cavalry, to General Averell. Whey crossed the mountains by separate routes. Averell struck the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, near Wytheville on the tenth, and proceeding to New river and Christiansburg, destroyed the road, several important bridges and depots, including New river bridge, forming a junction with Crook at Union on the fifteenth. General Sigel moved up the Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy at New Market on the fifteenth, and, after a severe engagement, was defeated with heavy loss, and retired behind Cedar Creek. Not regarding the operations of General Sigel as satisfactory, I asked his removal from command, and Major-General Hunter was appointed to supersede him. His instructions were embraced in the following despatches to Major-General H. W. Halleck, Chief of Staff of the army:

near Spotisylvania Court-House, Va., May 20, 1864.
* * * * *

The enemy are evidently relying for supplies greatly on such as are brought over the branch road running through Staunton. On the whole, therefore, I think it would be better for General Hunter to move in that direction; reach Staunton and Gordonsville or Charlottesville,

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