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[645] composure and confidence which to many natures is not only inscrutable but absolutely repelling, but which, nevertheless, was the especial quality which enabled him to succeed. He pushed his army through such a month of ceaseless and seemingly resultless battle as the world has hardly ever seen; dealing, however, as he knew, the blows from which his antagonist would never recover. In the Wilderness the rebellion received its death stroke. It lingered months afterwards, and all the skill and strength of the nation and its soldiers were required to push the blade to the heart, but the iron entered in May, 1864. But for just this terrific strife, just this persistent attack, just this bloody wage, the result would have been deferred or different.

But the rebels felt that this commander could neither be deterred nor avoided; that no skill nor fortitude could elude or withstand the man who wielded such weapons with such unintermitting power. They lost not only force, but heart, in the Wilderness campaign. When the month of war was over and the smoke had cleared away, the nation failed to perceive the actual result, and the government, though determined, was not sanguine. The enemy, too, was still desperate. The rebels, indeed, always hated more bitterly and more passionately than their opponents. As they wished to separate forever, they cared neither to spare nor propitiate those with whom they fought; while the national forces, desiring to bring about the old Union, always spared their adversary when he was down, and constantly strove to propitiate even while injuring; did not regard a rebel as a personal foe, but a misguided countryman;

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May, 1864 AD (1)
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