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[324] graves of that silent army by which our city is still begirt. You can hardly prolong your evening walk without coming upon fields, once like any others, but now touched with that mysterious meaning which speaks from every spot where for home and kindred men have fought and died.

Thus, at a critical moment when a trifling advance of McClellan's forces would have begun a siege of Richmond, Lee took command of the army marshalled for its defence. His first step was to overrule opinions tending to the retirement of our line. His next was to fortify that line, and to summon to his aid, for a great aggressive effort, all the forces that could be spared in Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas. In his comprehensive plan for the great day of battle now at hand was embraced that small but heroic band with which Jackson had just defeated three armies, filled the Federal Capital with alarm, and diverted from McClellan McDowell's powerful reinforcement.

The secrecy with which Lee knew how to wrap this movement was itself a presage of generalship. He not only concealed Jackson's rapid march, so that Shields and McDowell should not follow on his heels, but, by an actual movement by rail of Whiting's division to Charlottesville, he made McClellan believe that he was sending a strong detachment to the Valley. Then, with an army still inferior to its adversary by at least one-fourth, he burst upon McClellan's right wing. By Lee's wise and bold combination, the weaker army showed, at the point of attack, double the strength of the stronger. The Federal general saw his communications snatched from his control, his right wing, after an obstinate and bloody conflict, broken and put to flight, his whole army turning its back upon the goal of the campaign, and fighting now, as men fight on issues of life and death—not for Richmond—but for safety and a refuge place under the guns of the fleet.

I need not recall the valor, the sacrifices, the chequered fortunes, or the visible trophies of those seven days of heroic struggle. Whatever criticism may be passed upon the details of the several actions, the broad fact remains that, as their direct result, that moral ascendency, which is the real genius of victory, forsook the Federal and passed over to the Confederate camp. And Lee rose up, in the minds of friend and foe, to the full stature of a great and daring leader.

An act of vigor quickly showed how correctly he estimated the staggering effect of the mighty blow he had dealt. He hurried Jackson to Gordonsville to meet Pope's threatening force, and soon

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