, when he sought to overwhelm Grant
's left in the extending movements, he invariably failed.
All that he ever accomplished in these operations was to annoy, and disturb, and injure his antagonist.
He never defeated Grant
's aim; he never drove him from a position; he never compelled him to withdraw.
Full, however, of the devices of a wily strategy, the rebel chief was often able to elude a force which he could not withstand; he fled with eminent success; and as a purely defensive fighter was probably never surpassed.
The national soldiers had a saying that Lee
knew how to feed a fight; he discovered the point where troops were most needed, and there he threw them constantly and continuously.
No one would probably have held off the national armies longer than he, and it is doubtful whether an offensive defence would have succeeded better against Grant
Elaborate, specious, elusive, not free from the besetting sin of the South
—a tendency to duplicity —but stubborn, valiant, and arrogant, Lee
was on the whole a fitting representative of a cause which, originating in treason, based on the enslavement of a race, and deriving its only chance of success from men who had been false to their military oaths, was, in reality, a rebellion against the rights of man, and a defiance of the instinct and judgment of the civilized world.
He fought with the splendid energy of that arch rebel who was expelled from heaven, and his downfall was as absolute.
To overthrow him and his desperate supporters, Grant
needed more help than he could get even from the government and his generals.
He needed soldiers with many of his own traits.
And as any man