distance to reach him in time, and the Fifth corps, being the nearest, had been dispatched instead.
A little before noon Colonel Babcock
arrived, with a verbal message from Grant
to the effect that Sheridan
was to have complete control of his own movement, that the responsibility would rest entirely with him; and that, if in his judgment, Warren
should not prove equal to the task assigned him, Sheridan
must not hesitate to relieve him and put another in command of the Fifth corps.
This message was the result of the experience of a year.
believed that disappointments and partial rebuffs had occurred again and again on both sides of the James
, originating in Warren
In this view he had been confirmed by several of the events of the present campaign; and he was not willing to risk a repetition of the experience.
The feelings of no man must be allowed to stand in the way of the interests of the country and the cause.
Still, he was loath to mortify an able and loyal subordinate, who, doubtless, did his best, although his best was not enough.
He hesitated some hours before sending this permission, which was, indeed, almost an invitation, to Sheridan
But when, on the morning of the 1st of April, he was fully aware of the inefficiency displayed in moving —disarranging all his plans, and disappointing all his expectations, and risking the success of the entire army—he gave the word.
It was Warren
's misfortune not to succeed in inspiring his superiors with confidence in the heartiness of his support.
He forgot that it was his duty to please them, not theirs to please him. He constantly criticised and changed, or sought to change,