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[271] was rude, its rudeness had come of its strength. If the South was courtly, in its courtliness lay that strength which was the germ of generations. Such were the men. Equally mated in knowledge, these men were, when tested, to prove how skill overlaps knowledge and numbers both.

McClellan had made his attack on Richmond from the sea. Grant was resolved to make his main approach by land—taking the precaution, as a compromise, of sending Butler, with the army of the James, to move in support up the James river. With himself, however, the ‘On to Richmond’ was the idlest of cries. From first to last his own object was Lee's army. That army once crushed, Richmond must of necessity fall, and with Richmond, the Confederacy. Grant believed in giving hard blows and plenty of them. In hammering away at the army, his creed was to keep on hammering until nothing was left on the anvil. To do this kind of work needs men and guns. These the North lavished upon him with full hands. At the opening of the Wilderness campaign (May 4th), the odds were 120,000 men against 60,000; 200 guns against 350.

On May 4th Grant opened his campaign by attempting to turn the Confederate right. The new movement through the scrub oaks of the old Wilderness was foiled. Strategy for once proved too much for hard hitting. This was an ugly surprise for Grant, unused to checks. Giving himself no rest, however, the great Hammer of the North struck again and again, seasoning his blows with a little maneuvering. From May 4th to May 8th he learned the metal of our army in Virginia. From May 8th to 19th he wasted nearly two weeks and thousands of men in looking for a weak spot in Lee's army. Lee, meeting him at all points, exposed no weak spot. From out the checks and disappointments of Spottsylvania Court House, among which was the death of the gallant Sedgwick, sprang that grim vaunt, ‘I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.’

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