Towards each quarter of the theatre of war, where there was yet a possibility that a rebel force could be assembled, where rebel lines might still communicate, where rebel stores could be collected, or rebel arms be manufactured, Grant
directed a national force, so that at each point the enemy should be obliged to succumb; not only at the central and principal place, but also at the same time at every other spot where the rebellion might by any chance or effort come again to a head.
The success that Grant
sought he meant should be complete and universal.
Every rebel army should be outfought and outgeneralled; not only overpowered, and crushed, and exhausted, but there should be no loop-hole left, no opportunity of flight or distraction or diversion in any direction.
Wherever a rebel force found itself, it must find also an irresistible enemy in its front and rear; every rebel who was not killed must surrender; and that not because he was weary, or disheartened, or chose to yield, but because he must do so or die.
At this time again Grant
saw reason to apprehend a movement of Lee
, either to screen the withdrawal of the rebel army or to distract attention from operations elsewhere.
On the 22nd of February, he said to Parke
, who was in command of the army of the Potomac for a few days, in the absence of Meade
: ‘As there is a possibility of an attack from the enemy at any time, and especially an attempt to break your centre, extra vigilance should be kept up both by the pickets and the troops on the line.
Let commanders understand that no time is to be lost awaiting orders, if an attack is made, in bringing all their resources ’