previous next
[70] fluous any reference to Roman stoicism. With the spring he girded himself to meet his future conqueror, Grant, in campaigns which proved that, although he himself could be finally crushed by weight of numbers, he was nevertheless the greater master of the art of war. Grant's army was nearly twice as large as that of Lee, but this superiority was almost neutralized by the fact that he was taking the offensive in the tangled region known as the Wilderness. The fighting throughout May and June, 1864, literally defies description. Grant at last had to cease maneuvering and to fight his way out to a junction with Butler on the James. He would attack time and again with superb energy, only to be thrown back with heavy losses. Lee used his advantage of fighting on interior lines and his greater knowledge of the country, and so prevented any effective advance on Richmond. Finally, after the terrible slaughter at Cold Harbor, he forced Grant to cease hammering. Yet, after all, the Federal commander was not outfought. He had to submit to the delay involved in taking Petersburg before he could take Richmond, but the fall of the Confederate capital was inevitable, since his own losses could be made up and Lee's could not.

On June 18, 1864, Lee's forces joined in the defense of Petersburg, and Grant was soon entrenching himself for the siege of the town. The war had entered upon its final stage, as Lee clearly perceived. The siege lasted until the end of March, 1865, Grant's ample supplies rendering his victory certain, despite the fact that when he tested the fighting quality of his adversaries he found it unimpaired. In one sense it was sheer irony to give Lee, in February, 1865, the commander-ship-in-chief of the Confederate armies; yet the act was the outward sign of a spiritual fact, since, after all, he was and had long been the true Southern commander, and never more so than when he bore privation with his troops in the wintry trenches around Petersburg.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
G. W. C. Lee (6)
Ulysses Simpson Grant (5)
Benjamin Franklin Butler (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March, 1865 AD (1)
February, 1865 AD (1)
June 18th, 1864 AD (1)
June, 1864 AD (1)
May, 1864 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: