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[330] arms. But, in addition, Grant was directing against Richmond or its communications 30,000 men under Butler, 17,000 under Sigel and Crook, and a numerous and powerful fleet.

Let me give two examples of the extraordinary means at his disposal. He never went into camp but that, within an hour or two, every division was placed in telegraphic communication with his headquarters. Lee could only reach the several parts of his army by the aid of mounted couriers. But this is the most striking. On four several occasions Grant shifted his base by a simple mandate to Washington to lodge supplies at Fredericksburg, at Port Royal, at the White House, at City Point. Thus, his communications were absolutely invulnerable. With the boundless wealth at his control, he laid under contribution the resources of the commerce and manufactures of the world, and, combining all the agencies of destruction in the vast host under his command, fired now with something of his own smothered, but relentless passions, he hurled it in repeated and bloody assaults at the heart of the Confederacy.

The heart of the Confederacy was the Army of Northern Virginia.

Surely, heroic courage never faced a more tremendous crisis than Lee now met and mastered. Grant had crossed the Rapidan. No idea of retreat entered Lee's mind. He only waited to discover the purpose of the enemy. Then, with fierce energy, he hurled two corps at the heads of his columns, not even halting for Longstreet to come up. For two days that awful struggle raged in the dark and gruesome thickets of the Wilderness. Lee could not drive back his stubborn adversary, but he staggered and stunned and foiled him. Any previous commander of the Army of the Potomac would have retreated. Grant sullenly steals off by night to Spotsylvania.

But a lion is there in his path. The road to Richmond is blocked by Lee. Grant's determination to force a passage brings on one of the fiercest and most protracted struggles of the war. For four days out of twelve that raging fire-flood surges about the lines of Spotsylvania. The very forest is consumed by it. How can man withstand its fury? Only by that courage which in its contempt of death is a presage of immortality. On such a field the human spirit rises even in common men to transcendent heights of valor and self-sacrifice, the great soul of the commander moves through the wild chaos like some elemental force, and the terrible majesty of war veils its horrors.

Grant cannot take those lines. The solitary advantage won at the salient by his overwhelming masses does but display on an immortal

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