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[130] the besieged; but Grant was obliged to conduct his operations with a force only one-third greater than the garrison.1 Regular approaches were out of the question. Besides this, Grant's fundamental purpose was the destruction of Lee's army, not the capture of Petersburg or Richmond. The rebels took shelter behind their works, and therefore Grant besieged the works; but if the troops could be destroyed or captured, he was indifferent about the possession of either town. This made it far better for him to fight at the Weldon road or Peeble's farm, than at any point on the entrenched lines close to Petersburg. While he was running parallels, Lee might defy, or escape him; but by extending the investment, Grant forced the rebels to defend their lines of supply. In fact, he compelled Lee to become in some sort the attacking party, for the rebel general could not permit these extensions to go on without an effort to prevent them; and whenever he ventured out with a division or a corps, he was invariably repelled with loss.

But although after the first assaults in June, Grant constantly meant to complete his line to the Southside road, not all the separate extensions were designed in advance. The commander who adheres

1 It has been said that saps might have been run from the position held by Burnside at the time of the mine explosion, and that in a month the rebel line could have been stormed. But the point opposite Burnside was the very strongest position held by the enemy in front of Petersburg. Burnside was in a valley, while the rebels occupied a hill, the national mines running into the side of the hill at least thirty or forty feet, under the rebel batteries. Parallels here were impossible.

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