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Grant's crossing of the Rapidan.

The campaign was as yet but a month old. General Grant crossed the Rapidan on the night of May 4 at the head of an army of 120,000 men of all arms, feeling confident that with this mighty force he could beat down all opposition to his straight march on Richmond. General Lee met him in the Wilderness with but 60,000 men, and that straight line was deflected to the left, and still again at Spotsylvania, where he had hoped to resume his direct march, and this left-flank ‘forward’ movement was continued until Cold Harbor was reached, but a few miles from Richmond, and here again he found the Confederate army disputing his further progress.

In these series of battles General Grant lost 55,000 men, or within 5,000 of as many as Lee had when the two armies met in the first battle of the campaign. These figures seem startling, but they are nevertheless official.

During the twelve days the two armies stood face to face at Cold Harbor, Lee was sparing no pains to strengthen his position in anticipation of another attack. But General Grant had changed his plans, and in the mean time was making preparations to extricate his army from the terrible predicament in which he had placed it.

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