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The draft was enforced, and no difficulty or disturbance occurred. Those inclined to positive resistance were, after all, few in number; and, as usual, the men who talked the loudest were laggard in action. But above all, at this crisis, the victory of Atlanta revived the drooping spirits of the nation and gave stamina to the government; and coming, as it did, the very day after McClellan's nomination, was a disastrous blow to the Democrats. Volunteering at once revived, and troops again began pouring into the armies.

Meanwhile, the country and even the government still believed that Washington was in danger. It has, however, already been seen that from the outset all of Grant's orders and plans had contemplated the complete protection of the capital. The route from the Rapidan had been selected with this view, and the expedition of Sigel was especially intended to close the avenue which the Shenandoah Valley would otherwise offer to the enemy. The movements of the Wilderness campaign, the constant retreat of Lee and the advance of Grant after every battle, had accomplished this purpose and effectually covered Washington; and up to the time of the crossing of the James there had been no apprehension in any quarter of an invasion of the North. Nor was the movement against Petersburg at all in contravention of the original design; for Hunter's campaign in the Shenandoah and Sheridan's co-operative march towards Charlottesville were conceived with the express object of destroying the rebel communications north of Richmond, and rendering it impossible for Lee to throw any large force in the direction of the Potomac.

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