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[618] they might occasion infinite trouble and cost before they could be subdued.

This was the spur and incitement of Grant's terrible energy. It was not the mere pursuit of a routed foe, but the accomplishment of a great strategical and political object that he was aiming at, and there were plenty of difficulties in his path. Lee had the shorter road and fewer impediments. He had the wonderful impetus of flight, with the chance of safety and something like success before him as his prize. He, besides, was moving towards supplies, while Grant must leave his base, and rebuild a railroad in order to provision his army. There was every military chance, when Lee fled from Petersburg, that he would succeed in eluding his pursuer.1 Accordingly he ordered supplies from Danville to meet him, and by daylight on the 3rd of April his advance was sixteen miles on the road to Amelia.

And now came a contest between the wits and genius of the two commanders. For the first time they were pitted against each other, absolutely out. side of works, and in the open field. Lee no longer had elaborate fortifications to protect his army, but only the breastworks that he threw up along the road, in the intervals of flight. Grant, on the other hand, could with difficulty concentrate his superior numbers while in motion, and they were therefore at times an absolute encumbrance, crowding the roads in each other's way, and exposed, if separated, to a sudden blow from the enemy. Lee had only a single

1 ‘The intention was to take the direction of Danville, and turn to our advantage the good line for resistance offered by the Dan and Staunton rivers. The activity of the Federal cavalry and the want of supplies compelled a different course.’—Four Years with General Lee.

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