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Chapter 19: Grant's overland campaign against Richmond Army of the Potomac Crosses the Rappahannock battles in the Wilderness Dana at scene of action despatches to Stanton advance to Cold Harbor abortive battles Crosses Chickahominy South of the James counter-movement against Washington The winter and spring of 1864, in Washington, constituted a most interesting period. While the Confederacy had received its death-blows at Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Missionary Ridge, the Mississippi had been opened and the Union army had established its sway over vast areas of the border States. Lincoln, although greatly encouraged, was far from happy. His re-election was near at hand, but by no means conceded. Many strong men, both in Congress and out of it, thought that he should step aside and allow a stronger one to take his place. His own cabinet contained two candidates, the Senate several, and the army one at least. The Democratic party had pronounced the war a fai
July 20th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 20
. He adds: As the object is to get possession of the railroad and enclose the enemy, fighting will not be sought for, though of course it will not be avoided. Once extended to the Appomattox, the railroad will be thoroughly destroyed as far south as practicable, then, if necessary, the Army of the Potomac may . . . move upon the Danville road, leaving its base of supplies here to be guarded by its fortifications and the forces of General Butler. Official Records, Dana to Stanton, July 20, 1864-5 P. M. This statement, it will be observed, is most important, as it clearly shows that Grant's plan on that day was to break up the Confederate railroads, and force his way by the left flank to the Appomattox River. It is a noteworthy fact that this remained his general plan to the end, and that Lee, for nearly ten months, or till his right flank was finally turned, beaten, and driven back at Five Forks, succeeded in defeating every movement and combination to carry it into effect
D. Appleton (search for this): chapter 20
ers, he held that officer primarily responsible for the useless loss of life, and criticised his generalship in unmeasured terms. It was in allusion to these attacks, and the absence of any provision whatever to make them successful, or even to take advantage of such success as chance might give to them, that the young but experienced Upton frankly confessed that there was no position in connection with that army to which he did not aspire. Life and letters of Major-General Emory Upton. D. Appleton & Co. It was in connection with the costly series of battles from the Pamunkey to the Chickahominy that the newspapers now joined in the flood of criticism, which, for the first time, was concentrated upon Grant rather than upon Meade. To those who took part in the campaign, it at once became a question of absorbing interest as to who was responsible for it all. After having attacked Lee's left flank in rear, I closed in upon the infantry, and for the first time in ten days found mysel
left flank in rear, I closed in upon the infantry, and for the first time in ten days found myself within reach of Grant's headquarters. Dana made his way to my bivouac on the evening of June 4th, and after dining with me on coffee, hardtack, roasted wheat, and fried bacon, told me the story of the marches and battles as he had learned it from personal observation. On the 7th, after conference with Grant, Meade, and Humphreys, I had conversations with Rawlins, Dana, Comstock, Porter, and Babcock, during which each gave me interesting details of what had taken place. On the afternoon of the 8th Dana and Rawlins came to my camp near Long Bridge and remained to dinner, during which they took me completely into their confidence. They not only told me the story of the marches and battles substantially as I have condensed it above, but they did more: they gave me their innermost views of the campaign, its successes and its failures, concealing nothing and extenuating nothing. During
, after the battle of the Wilderness, had favored the withdrawal of the army to the north side of the Rappahannock, and that Grant had prevented it. It also appears that Meade, incensed by this report, had that day caused the provost-guard to arrest the offender, and, after parading him through the camps with large placards on his breast and back inscribed Libeller of the press, had expelled him from the lines. On June 9th Dana reported the army as still at Cold Harbor, working under General Barnard's direction at a line of inner intrenchments to cover its withdrawal, which would probably take place the next night; that Meade was much troubled at the report that after the battle of the Wilderness he had counselled retreat; that this report was entirely untrue, and that Meade had not shown any weakness of that sort, nor had he once intimated a doubt as to the successful issue of the campaign. As this despatch was sent with Grant's knowledge and approval, it gave great comfort to bo
enemy's works with twelve regiments; the failure to support his movement; the transfer of Hancock's corps from the extreme right to a position between Wright and Burnside; his impetuous and successful assault of the enemy's works, and his capture of two generals, with eighteen cannon and many prisoners; the dissatisfaction of Gran of the fighting on the 3d, but it was all costly and abortive. The order of battle from left to right was Hancock, Wright, Smith, Warren (in single line), with Burnside massed in rear of his right wing. Sheridan with two divisions of cavalry was on the extreme left, while Wilson with one division was well beyond and behind the it would be difficult to make much by it, unless Hancock and Smith could also advance. Smith thought he could carry the work before him, but was not sanguine. Burnside also thought he could get through, but Warren, who was nearest him, did not seem to share this opinion. In this state of things General Grant ordered the attack
Benjamin Franklin Butler (search for this): chapter 20
ter doing all possible damage, to march to the James River and communicate with Butler. This was followed by the statement that General Hobart Ward is under arrest fbridges and rejoin before to-morrow night, that Smith, with reinforcements from Butler's army, was delayed at New Castle, and had been directed not to begin his marcht of Hancock near Botton's Bridge; that two officers of Grant's staff were with Butler, making preparatory arrangements for the movement of this army to Bermuda Hundrflank towards Fort Powhatan on the James. The next day he crossed the James to Butler's headquarters at Bermuda Hundred, and the day afterwards went to City Point. base of supplies here to be guarded by its fortifications and the forces of General Butler. Official Records, Dana to Stanton, July 20, 1864-5 P. M. This statemensunderstandings and controversies, the most important of which was between Generals Butler and W. F. Smith. Dana's despatches throw light upon them all. Having been
having attacked Lee's left flank in rear, I closed in upon the infantry, and for the first time in ten days found myself within reach of Grant's headquarters. Dana made his way to my bivouac on the evening of June 4th, and after dining with me on coffee, hardtack, roasted wheat, and fried bacon, told me the story of the marches and battles as he had learned it from personal observation. On the 7th, after conference with Grant, Meade, and Humphreys, I had conversations with Rawlins, Dana, Comstock, Porter, and Babcock, during which each gave me interesting details of what had taken place. On the afternoon of the 8th Dana and Rawlins came to my camp near Long Bridge and remained to dinner, during which they took me completely into their confidence. They not only told me the story of the marches and battles substantially as I have condensed it above, but they did more: they gave me their innermost views of the campaign, its successes and its failures, concealing nothing and extenuat
Crittenden (search for this): chapter 20
was due to his own reflections and good judgment, or to the weight of criticism and influence to which he had been subjected, must forever remain an unsettled question. Fortunately for the country, Grant was not a general to remain long idle or in doubt. On June 7th Dana reported, with many other details, that Sheridan had set out at 3 A. M. to destroy the railroads north and west of Richmond; that Grant is now nearly ready to strike for the James. Later the same day he reported that Crittenden had asked to be relieved because his division is not equal to his rank ; that certain transports were not clean enough for wounded soldiers; and that one of them was serving beef to wounded soldiers so fat and gristly that even the well could not eat it. On June 8th, at 4 P. M., Dana reported to Stanton, among other things, that two divisions of Warren's corps had taken position to the left of Hancock near Botton's Bridge; that two officers of Grant's staff were with Butler, making prep
ad no time for details, and hence they sent for Dana, who was found at a reception, but who made haslthough the night was well advanced he sent for Dana again. They went over the subject more fully, Grant and was in every way satisfactory to him, Dana had but little occasion to comment upon the leading officers. All of Dana's despatches, something over seventy in number, are set forth in the Offor till he had everything ready. On June 1st Dana reported that Sheridan, after heavy fighting, hd against heavy works, if it could be avoided. Dana's despatches throw but little light upon the abd myself within reach of Grant's headquarters. Dana made his way to my bivouac on the evening of Jut had taken place. On the afternoon of the 8th Dana and Rawlins came to my camp near Long Bridge ahad expelled him from the lines. On June 9th Dana reported the army as still at Cold Harbor, workh was between Generals Butler and W. F. Smith. Dana's despatches throw light upon them all. Having [23 more...]
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