ever undertaken in the West
, and with the greatest army that had ever yet been assembled outside of Virginia
The war was now two years old; and in that time Grant
's career had embraced the doubtful affair of Belmont
, the capture of Fort Donaldson, the disastrous first day at Shiloh
, the battle of Ilka, in which Grant
did not fight at all, but by his slowness opened the way for Price
's retreat, after he had repulsed IRosecranz, the battle of Corinth
, won by Rosecranz
's absence, who, on his return, not only failed to follow up the beaten army of Van Dorn
, but allowed it to recruit and reorganize close by him, and when at last he did march against it, he moved (with overwhelming forces) so cautiously and slowly that by Christmas
he was only six days march from Corinth
, where his enemy had been almost destroyed three months before.
This unpardonable inaction, and the grave neglect to guard his depots, gave Van Dorn
the opportunity to pass behind him, destroy all the supplies of his army, and defeat his campaign.
Yet, after all this, Mr. Lincoln
recognized in Grant
the qualities essential for the successful leader of his armies; and he then reposed in him irrevocably his absolute confidence; and there it rested, through evil report and through good report, to the very end. What made him do it, no man can tell; but he did it, and the results are before us!
I will not dwell on the subsequent military operations of General Grant
They were on a grand scale.
He was never stinted in material nor in men. He would never move until his estimates were met, and they were enormous.
He soon found he could only defeat our armies by overwhelming them with much greater armies, and he had the force of will to compel his governernment to furnish him with such armaments as modern war has never seen.
We can almost believe the stories of Xerxes
and his Persian hosts, when we remember the blue lines and the blue masses which covered the flats beyond Young's Point
, surged and resurged against the works around Vicksburg
, burst over Bragg
's attenuated lines about Chattanooga
, and swarmed over the Potomac
in countless thousands to attempt and reattempt the deadly “on to Richmond
,” until, at last, two hundred thousand of them enveloped all that was left of the grand old army of Virginia, then reduced to eight thousand way-worn, starving, but desperate men, who only awaited the signal of their chief to charge upon the