opened the culminating battle of his ‘on to Richmond
’ campaign by direct roads.
's veterans had, by this time, all become skillful military engineers, and of their own impulse had thrown up lines of defense, abounding in salients whence heavy guns could send forth searching cross-fires, at short range, against every portion of an attacking enemy.
The infantry were well provided with loop-holes, and crevices between logs, from which to fire, also at short range, with deliberate aim. Hunger but made them fiercer combatants, and as Grant
's great host advanced, it was met all along the line by a furious fire from artillery and infantry that no body of soldiers, no matter how brave and determined, could long withstand.
's right with double line of battle, followed by supports.
His daring men, rushing forward, captured one of Lee
's salients, which Breckinridge
recovered, by a prompt fire of artillery, under which 3,000 of Hancock
's men fell upon the field.
The equally bold assaults upon Lee
's center and left met with the same fate, and within ten minutes the whole front of Grant
's line of assault was shattered, and his troops, in dismay, fled to cover.
At 9 o'clock Grant
ordered another attack.
refused to even give it to his men. Smith
, with the Eighteenth corps, writes, ‘That order I refused to obey.’
, chief of staff
of the Sixth corps, says that Grant
sent a second, and then a third order for renewed attack, and when it ‘came to corps headquarters, it was transmitted to the division headquarters, and to the brigades and the regiments without comment.
To move that army farther, except by regular approaches, was a simple and absolute impossibility, known to be such by every officer and man of the three corps engaged.
The order was obeyed by simply renewing the fire from the men as they lay in position.’
Unable to force his men to again attack Lee
's position, Grant
ordered the construction of regular approaches, as if he would lay siege to the Confederate
position, professing that he did this to keep Lee
from sending troops against Hunter
, who had now entered the Shenandoah valley and was advancing on Staunton
, there to meet an army coming from the westward, and follow out Grant
's orders to advance to Charlottesville
to destroy railways and canals—an expedition which came