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[136] respect did it differ from that of the humblest subordinate on his staff. There was a flooring of plank, a deal table for maps and writing materials, a wooden chair or two, and, in the inner division, a camp bed and an iron washstand: this was the provision made for the general of the armies. During the day the hut was little occupied, except when writing was to be done by one of the staff; for Grant wrote few letters himself, only the despatches to the government and orders for the commanders of armies. Once or twice a week he went to Meade or Butler's front, and sometimes visited the hospitals or fortifications at City Point; but the roads were in miserable condition, the horses sank up to their bellies in mud, and there was little pleasure in any exercise.

Most of the time was spent around a huge wood fire kept up in the centre of the encampment, immediately in front of Grant's own hut. Here a number of rough seats were placed, and two or three officers were almost always to be found. The weather was cold, but wrapped in the overcoat of a private soldier, Grant liked to form one of the group around this fire. The telegraph was close at hand, and despatches were brought him instantly: to this point came messages from Meade, and Butler, and Sherman, and Sheridan, and Thomas, and Canby, and Stanton, and Halleck, and the President; and after reading them, the general-in-chief usually stepped at once into his hut and wrote his reply; he then rejoined the circle around the fire, and often told the contents of the message he had received, as well as of that he sent. On such occasions he rarely consulted any one. Sometimes, of

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