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[495] time and space; but the soul of war is a power unseen, bound up with the interests, convictions, passions of men. Now, so gloomy was the military outlook after the action on the Chickahominy, and to such a degree by consequence had the moral spring of the public mind become relaxed, that there was at this time great danger of a collapse of the war. The history of this conflict truthfully written will show this.1 Had not success elsewhere come to brighten the horizon, it would have been difficult to have raised new forces to recruit the Army of the Potomac, which, shaken in its structure, its valor quenched in blood, and thousands of its ablest officers killed and wounded, was the Army of the Potomac no more.

It would be interesting to institute a detailed comparison between the overland campaign towards Richmond and the campaign of Sherman towards Atlanta. These operations were parallel; but the conduct of the commanders was very different. General Sherman, rarely assaulting, treated each position taken up by Johnston as a fortress; and by intrenching in front of his opponent's works, he was able both to cover his own lines and gradually accumulate on a flank a force so menacing to his antagonist's communications as to compel him to abandon each successive stronghold. Thus, by repeated leaps in advance, and with comparatively little loss, he reached his goal, Atlanta.2

General Grant also effected turning movements of the same kind; but these were rarely undertaken until after a frightful sacrifice of life in the attempt to force a direct issue. Whatever adverse criticism history may make on this campaign will probably turn mainly on the question of the utility of these

1 The archives of the State Department, when one day made public, will show how deeply the Government was affected by the want of military success and to what resolutions the Executive had in consequence come.

2 General Johnston, whose very words, in conversation with the writer, are employed above, added a significant statement. He said he believed, at the beginning of the campaign, that he could beat Sherman; and, said he, ‘I know I should have beaten him, had he made such assaults on me as General Grant did on Lee.’

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