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That night General Butler embarked his troops at Bermuda Hundred. He proceeded himself to City Point, and then for the first time Grant learned his intention to accompany the expedition. The general-in-chief had not designed nor desired to entrust the command of these forces to Butler; for, as repeatedly shown, although he was entirely satisfied with that officer's zeal and general ability, he was convinced that he lacked some quality essential in a commander in the field: whether the military coup d'oeil, or the judgment of a general, or the faculty of handling troops in the presence of the enemy, Grant did not pronounce; but he felt certain that the peculiar talent of a successful soldier was not possessed by the commander of the army of the James.

He therefore had directed him to place Weitzel in command of the expedition; and had in fact committed to Butler movements in support of those of Meade, which he intended should detain him at Bermuda Hundred. Nevertheless, he did not now forbid Butler to accompany Weitzel. It was difficult thus to affront a commander of so high rank, unless it was intended to relieve him entirely from command; and this Grant was not prepared to do, without consulting the government, which he knew would dislike, and perhaps forbid, the step. He fancied, besides, that Butler's object might be to witness the explosion of the powder-boat, in which he took great interest, rather than to direct the expedition itself; thus no disapproval of his purpose was indicated. It is certain, however, that it would have been better if Grant had frankly and peremptorily ordered Butler back to the army of the

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