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uous fighting have thus resulted with the loss to the enemy of over thirty guns and eight thousand prisoners. Our losses have been frightful; I do not like to estimate them. Those of the enemy fully as great. Our work is not over, but we have the prestige of success, which is everything, and I trust our final success will be assured. I have not time to write much. God's blessing be with you and the dear children! Pray earnestly for our success. Spottsylvania Court House battle-field, May 15, 9 P. M. A lull in the roar of battle enables me to write you a few lines. It has been raining hard, both yesterday and to-day, putting the roads in such condition as to compel both armies to keep still—a rest that the men on both sides were glad to have. I do not see the papers, and therefore cannot tell how true their accounts are, and I have not time to give you any details. I think we have gained decided advantages over the enemy; nevertheless, he confronts us still, and, owing to
ary of War, for safe keeping, as it shows I am not utterly ignored written to the War Department, speaking in complimentary terms of my services, and asking I be made a major general in the regular army. I told him I was obliged to him for his good opinion, but that I asked and expected nothing from the Government, and that I did not myself attach any importance to being in the regular army, so long as I held an equal rank in the volunteer service. What the result will be I cannot tell. May 16, 9 A. M. The weather still continues unfavorable for military operations, so, unless the enemy attack us, we shall probably remain quiet to-day. Our cavalry, under Sheridan, have been heard from. He was sent to get in the enemy's rear, destroy their communications and supplies, fight their cavalry, and when his forage was exhausted, make his way to Butler, General Benjamin F. Butler, commanding the Army of the James. on the James River. He reports having executed his orders, and i
I am sorry you will not change your opinion of Grant. I think you expect too much of him. I don't think he is a very magnanimous man, but I believe he is above any littleness, and whatever injustice is done me, and it is idle to deny that my position is a very unjust one, I believe is not intentional on his part, but arises from the force of circumstances, and from that weakness inherent in human nature which compels a man to look to his own interests. Headquarters army of the Potomac, May 24, 9 A. M., 1864. We have manoeuvered the enemy away from their strong position on the Po, near Spottsylvania Court House, and now have compelled them to fall back from the North Anna River, which they tried to hold. Yesterday Warren and Hancock both had engagements with them, and were successful. We undoubtedly have the morale over them, and will eventually, I think, compel them to go into Richmond; after that, nous verrons. I am writing this letter in the House of God, used for gene
ng to collect some trophies from our recent battle-fields to send you for your fair. Headquarters army of the Potomac, 9 P. M., June 9, 1864. I fully enter into all your feelings of annoyance at the manner in which I have been treated, but I do not see that I can do anything but bear patiently till it pleases God to let the truth be known and matters set right. I have noticed what you say about the Inquirer, but, as you observe, it is no worse than the other papers. Even Coppee, in the June number of his magazine, shows he, too, is demoralized, he having a flaming editorial notice of the wonderful genius of Grant. Now, to tell the truth, the latter has greatly disappointed me, and since this campaign I really begin to think I am something of a general. I don't know whether you saw an article in the Inquirer of the 2d inst. on me, which the writer intended to be very complimentary. For article mentioned, see Appendix P. At the close of it he refers to an eventful occasion
June 21st (search for this): chapter 6
pute, he not being willing to admit his men would not advance; at the same time it was evident to all no progress was being made. In this manner, after a delay of five hours, finding it impossible to get an advance, the thing was given up and Burnside ordered to withdraw. In the meantime the enemy, seeing we did not come forward, rallied, and massing on the point held by our troops, drove them back, with confusion and the loss of a number of prisoners. Siege and assaults of Petersburg, June 21–July 29, 1864. Federal loss—killed, wounded, and missing—5,316 (O. R.). Battle of July 30, 1864 (explosion of mine). Federal loss—killed, wounded, and missing—4,008 (O. R.). The affair was very badly managed by Burnside, and has produced a great deal of irritation and bad feeling, and I have applied to have him relieved. In one of my despatches I asked if the difficulty was the refusal of his officers and men to obey his orders to advance, and I said I wanted to know the truth, an
adquarters army of the Potomac, March 20, 1864. I have received a letter from Gibbon which has worried me a great deal. It is now evident that Butterfield, either intentionally or otherwise, misconstrued something that I said to him on the 2d of July into instructions to prepare an order to withdraw the army. To-be-sure, this order was never issued; it is also certain I never intended it to be prepared, much less issued. Nevertheless, the fact that he did prepare it, and, as he will swearril 6, 1864. General Grant returned yesterday, and I have seen him to-day. Nothing new or important has transpired. General Hunt has been up to Washington and before the committee. He says, after questioning him about the famous order of July 2, and his telling them he never heard of it, and from his position and relations with me would certainly have heard of it, they went to work and in the most pettifogging way, by a cross-examination, tried to get him to admit such an order might ha
d of writing you a few words which I could not well communicate in any other way. Your fight at Gettysburg met with universal approbation of all military men here. You handled your troops in that battle as well, if not better, than any general has handled his army during the war. You brought all your forces into action at the right time and place, which no commander of the Army of the Potomac has done before. You may well be proud of that battle. The President's order of proclamation of July 4th showed how much he appreciated your success. And now a few words in regard to subsequent events. You should not have been surprised or vexed at the President's disappointment at the escape of Lee's army. He had examined into all the details of sending you reinforcements to satisfy himself that every man who could possibly be spared from other places had been sent to your army. He thought that Lee's defeat was so certain that he felt no little impatience at his unexpected escape. I have
July 30th (search for this): chapter 6
Don't you remember, when we were at West Point, meeting his wife, who was at the hotel? He was then in Texas, and she was expecting him home. She was a tall good-natured woman, and was quite civil to us. I don't believe the bill to cut off the heads of generals will either pass the Senate or be approved by the President. By-the-by, I see the Senate, on motion of Mr. Anthony, of Rhode Island, has directed the Committee on the Conduct of the War to enquire into the Mine fiasco on the 30th of July, and that Burnside has already been summoned to testify. This is a most ill advised step on the part of Burnside and his friends, and can only result in making public the incompetency of that officer. I would, of course, rather not have to appear again before this committee, because they are prejudiced and biased against me, and their examinations are not conducted with fairness. Still, I shall not shrink from the contest. Grant is still in Washington, though expected back to-morrow
July 31st (search for this): chapter 6
about this; treat it with contempt. It cannot be remedied, and we should be resigned. I don't believe the truth ever will be known, and I have a great contempt for History. Only let the war be finished, and I returned to you and the dear children, and I will be satisfied. Our casualties have been quite insignificant in comparison with the results. I don't believe in all the operations since we commenced on the 29th that we have lost as many men as we did on that unfortunate day, the 31st July, the day of the Petersburg mine. Headquarters army of the Potomac, Burksville, Va., April 12, 1865. Your indignation at the exaggerated praise given to certain officers, and the ignoring of others, is quite natural. Still, I do not see how this evil is to be remedied, so long as our people and press are constituted as they are now. I have the consciousness that I have fully performed my duty, and have done my full share of the brilliant work just completed; but if the press is determ
August 19th (search for this): chapter 6
rs. George G. Meade:Headquarters army of the Potomac, November 25, 1864. On my return from my visit to General Grant, I found your letter of the 23d inst. General Grant told me that, as soon as he spoke to the President, the President acknowledged the justice of his statements, and said he had hesitated when appointing Sheridan on the very ground of its seeming injustice to me, and he at once, at General Grant's suggestion, ordered the Secretary to make out my appointment, to date from August 19th, the day of the capture of the Weldon Railroad, thus making me rank Sheridan and placing me fourth in rank in the regular army. Grant virtually acknowledged that my theory of Sheridan's appointment was the correct one, and that without doubt, had the matter been suggested at the time, I would have been appointed a few days in advance. As justice is thus finally done me, I am satisfied—indeed, I question, if left to me, whether I should have desired my appointment announced in the way
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