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[230] the Capital of the Confederate States. To accomplish this cherished object, the new commander was promised all the men, the means and the munitions of war he should ask for.

On the 4th of May, 1863, when General Grant crossed the Rapidan river, his whole force amounted to 141,000 men, while that of General Lee amounted to 64,000, the odds being over two and a-quarter to one.

Any other commander except Robert E. Lee would have felt it prudent to retire before such odds, and watch for opportunities to strike his antagonist at exposed points, and select and fortify a strong position near Richmond. But General Lee was as bold and daring as he was skillful and prudent, and he knew the men he commanded were equal to any task that mortals could accomplish, and that they relied on him with unquestioning faith. They believed that whatever General Lee did was the very best that could be done; and they believed that whatever he set before them to do they could and they would do.

General Lee knew that with such men, the veterans of three years experience, he could confidentially calculate on defeating an army of more than two and one-fourth to one.

As soon as he learned that his adversary had crossed the river he broke his camp around Orange Courthouse and advanced into the Wilderness, and on the 5th gave battle to the enemy as soon as he came up with him, and General Grant, instead of following a retreating foe, found himself compelled to halt, concentrate his vast army, and deliver battle before he had crossed the river thirty-six hours.

After two days hard fighting, General Grant was no nearer Richmond than when it began, and he gave up the task of driving General Lee before him, and of defeating him in a pitched battle.

The 7th of May was passed in comparative quiet, the Confederates confidently awaiting the expected attack, which never came.

The two armies then rested about seventy-five miles northwest of Richmond, with the Confederate right and the Federal left flank nearest to Richmond, which lay to the southwest.

It will be seen that by moving by his left flank General Grant could pass around General Lee's right and place his army between his adversary and the Confederate capital.

On the afternoon and night of the 7th, General Grant began his first flank movement, and withdrew from the front of his adversary, and

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