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 scarce had he disclosed his line of march, than Lee, with 50,000 of his braves, springs upon him and hurls him back, staggering and gory, through the tangled chapparal of the Wilderness, and from the fields of Spotsylvania; and though the redoubtable Grant writes to the Government on May 12th, ‘I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer,’ when we look over the field of Cold Harbor on June 3d, we see there, stretched in swaths and piled in reeking mounds 13,000 of his men,—the killed and wounded of his last assault ‘in the over-land campaign,’ and when Grant ordered his lines to attack again the flinty front of Lee, they stood immobile,—in silent protest against the vain attempt, and in silent eulogy of their sturdy foe. One summer month had been summer time enough for Grant along that impervious line; and there at Cold Harbor practically closed the sixth expedition aimed directly at the Confederate Capital—McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker and now Grant,—all being disastrously repulsed by the Army of Northern Virginia, and all but the first receiving their repulse by the army led by Lee. But Grant in some sort, veiled his reverses by immediately abandoning attack on the north side of the James, which he crossed in the middle of June,—attempting to capture Petersburg on the south side by a coup de main. But in this, after four days successive assaults which ended in vain carnage, he failed again; and almost simultaneously Hunter's invasion through the Valley was intercepted arid successfully repelled at Lynchburg by the swift and bold movements of Lee's greatest Lieutenant,—the ever-to-be-counted — on Jubal A. Early, who had been dispatched to meet him with a force not half his equal in numbers. And when midsummer came, Grant was glad to shelter his drooping banners behind entrenchments; Hunter was flying to the mountains of West Virginia, and detachments were hurrying from the Army of the Potomac to save Washington, which was trembling at the sound of Early's guns. In that wonderful campaign of Lee from the Wilderness to Petersburg, Grant had lost no less than 70,000 men in reaching a point which he might have gained by river approaches without the loss of one. Every man in the Army of Northern Virginia had more than stricken down a foeman; and final demonstration had been given to the fact that in field fight, Lee could not be matched in generalship, and that the Army of Northern Virginia was invincible. This fact the hard sense of Grant recognized; and though no commander who felt himself and his men to be the equals of their adversaries in manoeuvre and combat would ever come
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