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[231] attempted, by a secret and quiet movement, to pass around General Lee's right flank under cover of darkness, and get between General Lee's army and Richmond. It will readily be seen that General Grant had a longer line to traverse to reach any point between his antagonist and Richmond than General Lee had to reach the same point. In military phrase, General Lee operated on the inner and shorter line, while Grant had the outer and longer line. But this advantage for the Confederate commander was counterbalanced by the fact that General Grant, by covering his movement with his cavalry and thin lines of infantry pressed close to the lines of his foes, and making the demonstrations as if an attack was imminent, could withdraw the great bulk of his army from the front, and get several hours the start before his real designs could be fathomed.

When General Grant, on the 7th day of May, began his flank movement his objective point was Spotsylvania Courthouse, which would place him in rear of Lee's right flank. General Lee on the night of the 7th discovered Grant's movement, and at once began to bring up his infantry by forced marches to support Stuart's cavalry, which was already in front of the marching columns of blue, making, as they always did, a gallant fight to delay them until the infantry came up. The division of General Anderson, of Hill's corps, reached the Courthouse on the morning of the 8th, and almost at the same moment the vanguard of the Federal army came upon the ground. The advance guards of the two armies at once grappled, and the Confederates drove back the enemy and seized upon the strategic points to hold them for the battle-ground.

While these advance guards were thus confronting each other at Spotsylvania Courthouse on the morning of the 8th, the remainder of the two armies, stretched back for ten miles, were hurrying up as fast as forced marches could bring them, and as division after division of the Federal army arrived it would swing round the left of their line as a pivot and form on the left of the troops already in line, while the Confederates would swing round the right flank and form on the right of their line.

Thus all that beautiful spring day the hostile armies were wheeling into line, and all day fierce combats and bloody skirmishes were going on between detachments and divisions as they struggled for coveted positions.

The artillery on either side as it came up would seize upon the


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