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 out of the positions at the Wilderness, before Spottsylvania, on the North Anna, and along the Pamunkey. Thus, by battles and marches, the army, in thirty days and thirty nights, reached the Chickahominy. Now, it will be observed that each of these turning movements, up to the Chickahominy, brought the army nearer at each leap to the objective of all its efforts, Richmond. But, once before the Chickahominy, the series of flanking operations was exhausted; for any additional move by the left would throw the army not towards, but away from Richmond. If, therefore, it was designed to push the advance by the line on which the army was now acting, and on which General Grant had declared he would ‘fight it out, if it took all summer,’ 1 it was absolutely necessary to force the passage of the Chickahominy. The result of the battle of Cold Harbor, fought on the 3d of May, was to show that this line could not be carried by a coup de main. But as the alternative was either to force a crossing of this stream or abandon that line of operations altogether, General Grant's first impulse after the disastrous upshot of the action at Cold Harbor, was to order the initiation of siege operations, with the view to carry the position by regular approaches. It was not long, however, before the unpromising aspect of the result that would follow even a successful issue on the Chickahominy gave pause to this purpose, and finally led to the adoption of an altogether new line of manoeuvre. In the discussion of the ‘overland route,’ with which the recital of this campaign opened, I have shown that any advance on that line ends in the siege of the uninvested fortifications of Richmond, within which the defending army, with all its lines of communication open, might remain indefinitely. It was no doubt from the perception of the altogether indecisive nature of this result that General Grant, after ten days passed along the Chickahominy, resolved to execute another
1 ‘I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.’—Dispatch of May 11, 1864.
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