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[504] from commanders were full of spirit. Ord declared that his troops would go into the enemy's lines ‘as a hot knife goes into melted butter,’ and Wright promised to ‘make the fur fly.’ ‘If the corps does half as well as I expect,’ he said, ‘we will have broken through the rebel lines in fifteen minutes from the word “go.” ’ When this was reported to Grant, he said: ‘I like the way Wright talks. It argues success. I heartily approve.’ Wright, indeed, had been full of confidence ever since the beginning of the movement. He was ready to assault at any time, and inspired not only his subordinates but his superiors with his own belief in victory. Meade, too, felt the influence of the hour, and was even more prompt than Grant designed, for he sent out orders to attack without forming assaulting columns, and at 9.50 P. M. Grant telegraphed to him: ‘I did not mean that attack should be made without assaulting columns, but that batteries should open on receipt of orders. They can feel out with skirmishers and sharpshooters if the enemy is leaving, and attack in their own way.’ He knew that under the influence of success both troops and commanders could be trusted. The sanguine talk all day had assured him of this, even before the news from Sheridan arrived.

To Ord he said at this time: ‘General Wright speaks with great confidence of his ability to go through the enemy's lines. I think, as you have such difficult ground to go over, your reserves had better be pushed well over to the right, so that they can help him, or go in with you, as may be required.’

The instructions to Meade were now made more

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Wright (4)
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