his nose and his tongue said, ‘There is inducement to re-enlist.’
During this month, March, 1864, Gen. U. S. Grant
, commander of the Union
armies, took up his headquarters with Gen. Meade
The whole army, soon after his arrival, passed in review before the renowned captain, Gen. Meade
being by his side, pointing out to the self-contained, silent soldier the various corps, and the commands of which they were composed.
It was an inspiring spectacle, the steady movement of the veteran corps of the Army of the Potomac, which were thenceforth to proceed from victory to victory, passing under the eyes of the captains of Vicksburg
At midnight, May 3-4, the Army of the Potomac broke camp.
The Fifth and Sixth Corps, forming the right, crossed at Germanna Ford.
It was a novel sight to see heavy trains crossing a bridge of canvas pontoons; but the driveway was as firm as that over the heavy wooden bateaux on which we had crossed in December.
The cavalry, under Sheridan
, and the Second Corps, Gen. Hancock
, crossed six miles below.
Before sundown, the army was in position in the Wilderness
This was the gold region Of old Virginia
, a country of low hills with underlying quartzite rock, the timber having been cut off to feed the smelting and reducing furnaces.
A thick and tangled second growth of pine and other trees had sprung up in the clay soil of this section.
It is a country very difficult in which to control the movements of a large army.
Artillery can be used to little advantage in this section, and, indeed, the battle of the Wilderness
(proper) was essentially an infantry engagement.
At six o'clock, Gen. Grant
ordered an advance the next morning; and early on the following day, the Confederates
also being in motion, the Fifth Corps and the advance of Lee
's army met, some 25,000 men being engaged; now the desperate campaign, which culminated in the battle at the North Anna
The Sixth Corps was soon in line; at intervals during the day, others of the opposing columns participated in the fight with much bravery, and with much loss of life.
Toward evening, there was a furious attack on the extreme right of our corps; our company