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[121] sharpshooters, but to the cross fire of two rebel batteries. The telegraph wires had been cut, and the feet of his horse became entangled. Babcock was obliged to dismount and free them, while the officers at the rear looked on in suspense, and thought how many campaigns depended on the life that now was endangered. But the chief and his aide-de-camp rode on, till Grant could clearly discern the rebel line, the condition of the country, the course of the stream, and the nature of the banks.

The rebels were evidently in force north of the creek, with strong defences. Their entrenched line extended far beyond the point at which it had been supposed to turn to the north, and when the national army advanced, Lee had simply moved out and occupied the works already prepared. The contemplated movement was thus impracticable. The rebel position could perhaps be carried, but only with extreme difficulty and loss of life; a loss which the advantage to be gained would not compensate; while in the event of repulse, disaster might be grave, stretched out as the army was, with its flanks six miles apart, and the creek dividing Warren's corps. Any serious rebuff or loss was especially to be deprecated at this crisis; the Presidential election was only ten days off, and the enemies of the nation at the North were certain to exaggerate every mishap. Success at the polls was just now even more important than a victory in the field, and it would have been most unwise to risk greatly on this occasion.

Accordingly, when Grant returned from the bridge, he gave orders to suspend the movement.

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Butler Grant (2)
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