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chments, and that at 7.20 P. M. he assaulted and carried the principal line before Petersburg. In the same despatch he tells us that he had ridden over the conquered lines with Grant, and found them to be more difficult even to take than was Missionary Ridge ; that none of Lee's army had reached Petersburg when Smith stormed it, but that they seemed to be there the morning afterwards, making arrangements to hold the west side of the Appomattox. He commends the pontoon — bridge built by Major Duane, nearly seven hundred yards long, as of the most admirable solidity. By the 19th it became evident that Smith's work was incomplete, and that the enemy had constructed an inner line covering Petersburg, which he meant to hold if possible. According to Dana, it was to meet this condition of affairs that Grant again ordered a general assault, which was, as usual, unsuccessful; that the fighting had not been equal to our previous fighting, owing to our heavy loss in superior officers ; t
d have put the discreditable rumor to rest forever. Dana's despatches show that he remained at Cold Harbor till the afternoon of June 12th with Grant; that the long halt of the army was at an end, and that the great movement by the left, apparently against Richmond, but really to cross the James River at Bermuda Hundred, was to begin that night. His last act before breaking camp that afternoon was to call the attention of the Secretary of War to the misconduct of Generals Ward, Owen, and Eustis, and to the fact that General Grant desired General Slocum, who was making war against a den of thieves at Vicksburg, should be left in command at that place. His first act after getting into camp that night four miles beyond Long Bridge was to report everything going on perfectly; ... troops moving rapidly; ... weather splendid. During the entire day of June 13th Dana appears to have been engaged in riding from point to point, for the purpose of watching and reporting the movement of th
the second and third days, had finally declared that no more assaults should be made, and that he would now maneuver. It also appeared that Sheridan's attempt to destroy the railroads north of Richmond had not been entirely successful, and that Ewell's corps had gone to Lynchburg. In his despatch of June 20th Dana says, Meade is ordered to devote himself to swinging his army around upon the south and southwest of Petersburg, with the view of cutting both the Weldon and Lynchburg railroads, ageneral 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. Lee's detachment of Ewell, also mentioned for the first time in that despatch, was an event of the greatest importance, for it not only put the seal to the defeat of Hunter at Lynchburg, but notified the government of a series of bold and energetic counter-movements down
U. S. Grant (search for this): chapter 20
f the government was placed at the disposal of Grant. The forward movement in Virginia began on Mation of the army itself had been controlled by Grant and was in every way satisfactory to him, Dananon and many prisoners; the dissatisfaction of Grant and Meade with Warren; the night transfer of Wnemy to withdraw towards Richmond, and enabled Grant to advance to Guiney's Station. From this pof an engineer who had come from the West with Grant and enjoyed his highest confidence. It was tha proper opportunity. It is also certain that Grant at once resumed his sounder practice of resorttled question. Fortunately for the country, Grant was not a general to remain long idle or in dothe railroads north and west of Richmond; that Grant is now nearly ready to strike for the James. to our heavy loss in superior officers ; that Grant, who was responsible for the first day's fightd, is most important, as it clearly shows that Grant's plan on that day was to break up the Confede[41 more...]
use. They describe in sufficient detail the operations of Hancock's corps on the right in the neighborhood of Corbin's Bridgents; the failure to support his movement; the transfer of Hancock's corps from the extreme right to a position between Wrighrform the part assigned to him, Wright, Smith, Warren, and Hancock had all been engaged and had suffered heavy loss; and thatostponed it on account of heat and dust and the fatigue of Hancock's men till 4 A. M. the next day. Dana gives a full acco and abortive. The order of battle from left to right was Hancock, Wright, Smith, Warren (in single line), with Burnside mases, and could see what was necessary to get through them. Hancock reported that in his front it could not be done. Wright wront, but it would be difficult to make much by it, unless Hancock and Smith could also advance. Smith thought he could carrisions of Warren's corps had taken position to the left of Hancock near Botton's Bridge; that two officers of Grant's staff w
terest 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 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 successe
l army south of the Chickahominy; then he means to destroy both of the railroads up to the North Anna before he moves from here; besides, he wishes to keep the enemy so engaged here that he can detach no troops to interfere with the operations of Hunter. Then marching against Lynchburg. In pursuance of the policy of crowding Lee south of the Chickahominy, Dana's later despatches of the same evening, aided by those of the next day, show that while Sheridan's orders did not reach him in timucceeded in defeating every movement and combination to carry it into effect. Lee's detachment of Ewell, also mentioned for the first time in that despatch, was an event of the greatest importance, for it not only put the seal to the defeat of Hunter at Lynchburg, but notified the government of a series of bold and energetic counter-movements down the valley of the Shenandoah against Washington, which were destined to completely paralyze Grant's aggressive plans, and compel the principal army
ad pronounced the war a failure, and so long as Lee remained unvanquished there was a show of reasohether it would not do so again. Grant had met Lee and had fought him two days without gaining a s his capacity to lead them successfully against Lee and his hitherto invincible veterans. I founof Warren and Wright to the left; the rumors of Lee's retirement; the prevalence of rain; the fatigm Fredericksburg to Richmond; the withdrawal of Lee's trains to Guiney's Station; a full statement nd tie prompt and unerring precision with which Lee interposed his army between him and Richmond, Ictory. Even our officers have ceased to regard Lee as an invincible military genius. On part of ts claimed to have gained substantial advantage, Lee still held fast to the battle-field. Fierce anefore reaching the Chickahominy to have crushed Lee's army by fair fighting and completed this workent and combination to carry it into effect. Lee's detachment of Ewell, also mentioned for the f[12 more...]
Abraham Lincoln (search for this): chapter 20
ted 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. Hisevery resource of the government was placed at the disposal of Grant. The forward movement in Virginia began on May 4th, with an effective force of one hundred and twenty thousand men, and only two days after that the desire of both Stanton and Lincoln for the fullest details of the marches and battles became irresistible. Grant, who was habitually reticent, had no time for details, and hence they sent for Dana, who was found at a reception, but who made haste to present himself, although in
Longstreet (search for this): chapter 20
asion to comment upon the leading officers. All of Dana's despatches, something over seventy in number, are set forth in the Official Records just as they were sent. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War, p. 189 et seq. Whenever necessary for the purposes of this narrative, I have quoted from them, but much the larger part of what I have said is drawn from other sources. In the third one of the series he reports the occupation of Spottsylvania Court-House by the cavalry; the arrival of Longstreet at that place with two divisions of infantry that had marched all night; Grant's order for Warren to attack them with the support of Sedgwick; the death of Sedgwick, and the failure of these two corps to attack as ordered. He also reported Grant's orders to detach Sheridan with the cavalry corps, to operate against Lee's communications, and, after doing all possible damage, to march to the James River and communicate with Butler. This was followed by the statement that General Hobart War
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