There were other soldiers, however, besides the chief and his two greatest subordinates, whose ability was conspicuous and whose aid was important.
, especially, were excellent commanders; men of the calibre and with many of the characteristics of Lee
; soldiers according to rule, and able to do elaborate and efficient service.
Any one of the three was admirable in defensive situations.
Meade at Gettysburg
in the Wilderness
, achieved a splendid fame; but no one of the three possessed in a high degree the talent of the initiative—of forcing the enemy to do his will.
No one of the three dared at critical moments to take a terrible aggressive responsibility.
Neither would have persisted as Grant
did at the Wilderness
Neither would have ventured as Grant
did at Vicksburg
Neither would have combined strategical dispositions as Grant
did during the last year of the war, or was capable of the accelerated and at the same time elaborate energy which inspired and accomplished the final assaults on Petersburg
and the evolutions of the subsequent pursuit, the movements which brought about the battle of Sailors' creek and extricated the troops at Farmville
and compelled the concentration which culminated at Appomattox court-house.
No one of the three ever rose to the conception that superlative courage in war is an economy of life in the end.
, indeed, always lacked sustained audacity.
He never, at least after Grant
commanded in his front, succeeded in anything that required that trait.
He thought more boldly than he acted.
He was driven back in the Wilderness
when he attacked in force; and in the policy which he so often essayed