brought the full intelligence.
listened calmly to the report, only now and then interrupting to ask a question.
When all was told, he rose, and without saying a word entered his tent, where a candle flickered on the table.
He invited no one to join him, but wrote a dispatch in sight of the officers outside, and gave it to an orderly.
Then, coming out to the fire again, he said, as calmly as if he were remarking, ‘it is a windy night,’—‘I have ordered an immediate assault along the lines.’
When it is remembered how often during the war these assaults had been made, and how often they were unsuccessful; in what light the country had come to regard attacks on fortified works; how possible repulse was even yet, and how disastrous repulse might be—with the army divided, and the cavalry and the Fifth corps miles away, the character and importance of the decision can be better appreciated.
felt that the hour and the opportunity had arrived; he had that intuitive sympathy with his soldiers which all great commanders share; he knew that they must be inspired by Sheridan
's victory as well as the rebels depressed; that this was the instant in which all things were possible; and he ordered the assault.
The dispatch was to Meade
, and in these words: