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[456] conspired to produce unsatisfactory sensations, until, like a gleam of light, Sheridan, with his cheery manner and never-failing confidence, came riding up from Dinwiddie, to confer with Grant about ‘ending the matter.’ The general-in-chief was occupied at the moment in his tent, and Sheridan waited outside at the camp-fire with the staff. He was full of pluck, anxious for his orders, certain that the enemy would be beaten if an attack was made. His splendid talk roused every flagging spirit, and converted every man who dreamed of counselling return. The officers, who felt the influence of his magnetic manner and stirring words, and knew how apt Grant was to be affected by the temper of his subordinates, believing that those who expect success are almost certain to succeed; aware, too, how especially he appreciated the soldierly instinct as well as the judgment of Sheridan, urged the cavalry leader to repeat to the chief what he had said to them. Sheridan, however, was modest, and, after all his victories in the Valley, and the reputation they had won for him, was averse to obtruding his opinions on his superior. He thought it a soldier's duty to obey; to carry out the plans of his chief, not to suggest a course for him, at least without invitation. But those who had the right took the great trooper in to Grant, and urged the general to listen to his talk. Grant needed little urging either to listen or to act at this juncture. He saw at once that, with such a subordinate, advance was the safest course. He sympathized with his ardor for battle, and was confirmed in his own aggressive intentions; and Sheridan went back to Dinwiddie with orders to gain possession of Five Forks.

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