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[319] capital. It was confronted by the Army of Northern Virginia, under Lee, numbering about 52,000 men of all arms.

The city of Richmond was Grant's objective, and he proposed to move upon it by the direct overland route, while Butler, moving from Fortress Monroe up the James, was to secure a point at its junction with the Appomattox from which to operate on the southern communications of Richmond. There was also to be made from the Valley of Virginia a co-operative move against the western communications of Richmond, while in Tennessee and elsewhere in the West, a heavy and continuous aggressive move was to be taken in order to keep reinforcements from Lee. The movement from Fortress Monroe was, however, the most important and immediately threatening diversion in the programme of the Virginia campaign, and, with something over thirty thousand men and a large naval armament, was entrusted to General B. F. Butler.

On the 4th of May Grant crossed the Rapidan and commenced his overland march. On the same day Butler commenced ascending the James. On the night of the 5th he debarked at Bermuda Hundred, the peninsula made by the confluence of the James and the Appomattox. Richmond and Petersburg are some twenty miles apart, and the point of Butler's debarkation was within three miles of the railroad and of the turnpike parallel to it, which were the direct communications between the two cities.

General Beauregard's troops in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida were much scattered over his extensive department, pending the development of the enemy's designs. The largest portion were under General Hoke, who had been dispatched upon certain offensive operations in Eastern North Carolina, devised by the authorities at Richmond prior to General Beauregard's assignment to command. Very few troops, other than local militia of an inferior military character, were under General Pickett, commanding at Petersburg. A division of some five thousand troops under General Robert Ransom was at Richmond, beyond the James, but not under General Beauregard's orders. It was to meet and delay Butler's assumed advance upon Petersburg, that Beauregard, still at Weldon, in North Carolina, pushed forward Hagood's brigade, which, from its locality, had railroad transportation, while he got the remainder of his force in hand, and drew reinforcements from points further South. The immediate danger to Richmond, apart from that to which Petersburg was subjected, aroused the apprehensions of the War Department to such an extent that Hagood's brigade was ordered by it to

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B. F. Butler (5)
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