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‘ [479] this movement, and get the forks of the road at J. M. Brooks before the enemy, so as to open the road to R. Boisseau. The enemy will probably retire towards the Five Forks, that being the direction of their main attack this day. Don't encumber yourself with anything that will impede your progress or prevent your moving in any direction across the country. Let me know when Griffin starts, and when you start. Acknowledge receipt.’

But Warren, as usual, was behindhand. He had many difficulties, doubtless, in the way of darkness, unfamiliar country, bad roads, tired and sleepy soldiers, but, above all, in the lack in his own nature of that intense, aggressive energy which overcomes just such difficulties.1 He was worried and confused

1 ‘Let us suppose the two divisions that General Grant directed to be moved by J. Boisseau's were expected to reach General Sheridan by midnight. The order which I received was written by General Meade, 10.15 P. M., five minutes after General Grant's to General Sheridan. It reached me 10.50 P. M., thirty-five minutes after being written. Supposing all possible dispatch used, twenty minutes at least would be required for me to make the necessary arrangements; twenty more would be required to carry my order to the divisions; twenty more minutes for them to transmit them to the brigades; and forty minutes at least for the troops to get ready to move; for it must be remembered that no bugles or drums could be used to sound calls or arouse the men. No general could make plans based on greater rapidity of execution than here allowed, and our experience rarely realized it on the most favorable occasions, while this was one of the least so. Summing up this interval of time, we have two hours to add to the time of General Grant's writing to General Sheridan. I venture to say it took nearly this time for the note itself to reach General Sheridan. Adding these two hours would make it at least twelve o'clock before my two divisions could move. They then had four miles to traverse, taking the White Oak road before reaching the crossing of Gravelly run, which would occupy till two A. M. They had then to strike the rear of the enemy opposed to General Sheridan. . . . To join General Sheridan by midnight, on this route, I finally had to capture or destroy whatever of this force was between me and General Sheridan. Any expectations more unreasonable could not have been formed.’—Warren's Report.

No lines could be written which would better explain the reasons of General Warren's failure than his own. Troops have often moved under just such circumstances as he describes, and with just such expedition as Grant demanded. The Fifth corps so moved, again and again, in this very campaign, but under a different commander.

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