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[380] engaged, and how, in the two battles, conditions were reversed. In the battles of Richmond, McClellan's army numbered 115,102 men, and, in this engagement, fought on the defensive Cold Harbor, next to Malvern Hill—the strongest position in his line. Lee's forces were 69,762, and in this, as in others of the Richmond battles, were the aggressors, yet he wrested this stronghold by one of the most daring assaults history records.

In the second battle of Cold Harbor conditions were reversed— Lee was behind the defenses, his army about 49,000. Grant was to attack with 140,000 men. He hurled his immense weight upon Lee, but with no effect, except to destroy his men. This leads up to the inquiry, ‘Was either the better soldier?’

The spring of 1863 found Lee's army at Fredericksburg watching his powerful antagonist across the Rappahannock. Longstreet had been detached for service near Suffolk, and the Army of Northern Virginia thus weakened.

Hooker had succeeded Burnside in command of the Army of the Potomac. New hopes inspired the Federal army. Hooker was jubilant; he announced to the world ‘the finest army on the planet’ was about to exterminate its enemies. So sure was he of this, he dispatched to General Hallock at Washington:

‘The rebel army is now the legitimate property of the Army of the Potomac.’

Rejecting Burnside's plan of direct assault, he divided his army of 132,000 men; 40,000 under Sedgwick crossed the Rappahannock on pontoons below Fredericksburg and threatened Lee's right; with the remainder Hooker crossed the upper fords and menaced the Confederate left.

Lee's army numbered 57,117. Matters to others than his master mind would have seemed gravely critical. Leaving Early with 9,000 muskets to hold his works behind Fredericksburg, with the remainder he moved out to give battle to Hooker.

Before developing the Federal battle line, for the protection of his flank and rear, he detached Wilcox with 6,000 men to guard the fords behind him.

Just as he struck Hooker's line, he detached Jackson with about 24,000 men, to place himself upon Hooker's right and rear.

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