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[140] their various duties. The secretaries and adjutants generally remained in camp, while the engineers were sent sometimes to Butler's lines, sometimes to Meade's. The other aides-de-camp were dispatched to more distant parts of the command; often one was with Sherman, another with Sheridan, and a third with Canby; and during actual movements in front of Petersburg and Richmond, Grant always had a representative with that army with which he himself was unable to be present.

The chief and his personal staff always messed together, and their plain table was shared by all the illustrious visitors whom duty, or curiosity, or interest, brought to the Headquarters of the army. A rude log cabin formed the dining-room, and a long deal table received the fare, never garnished with wine or spirits of any kind; coffee and tea at breakfast and supper, with water for the mid-day dinner, were the only drinks offered at these simple, soldiers' meals.

When night came, all the officers on duty at the Headquarters were accustomed to gather round the great camp fire, and the circle often numbered twenty or even thirty soldiers. Grant always joined it, with his cigar, and from six or seven o'clock till midnight, conversation was the sole amusement. The military situation in every quarter of the country was of course the absorbing theme; the latest news from Sheridan or Sherman, the condition of affairs inside of Richmond, the strength of the rebel armies, the exhaustion of the South; the information extracted from recent prisoners, or spies, or from the rebel newspapers.

From this the transition was easy to earlier

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William T. Sherman (2)
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