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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 both Meade and the administration at the time, end should 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
a Cincinnati newspaper had given currency to the report that General Meade, 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
wed great resolution and persistency, and tie prompt and unerring precision with which Lee interposed his army between him and Richmond, I need not analyze them day by day. They make it clear that Lee carefully avoided giving battle in the open, and that his army thenceforth fought mostly behind breastworks, while on the other hand Grant and his generals were becoming more and more cautious, and their men were more and more reluctant to attack the enemy when covered by intrenchments. By May 20th Sheridan with his cavalry had regained touch with the army, and thenceforth, till he was again detached, contributed greatly to the success of Grant's effective manoeuvres. Both officers and men approved their wisdom, and greatly preferred them to the smash-'em-up policy which, unfortunately, again became the cry a few days later. On the 26th Dana, after giving a detailed account of the day's operations, closed his despatch with these significant words: One of the most important r
did more: they gave me their innermost views of the campaign, its successes and its failures, concealing nothing and extenuating nothing. During this conversation they made it known to me, substantially as set forth in Dana's despatch of June 4th-7 P..A., that our infantry had begun regular siege approaches to the rebel works; that Sheridan had been ordered to destroy the railroad from Richmond through Gordonsville to Lynchburg, as an indispensable element in Grant's plan; that Grant expectedwn 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
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 preparatory arrangements for the movement of this army to Bermuda Hundred, and that-possibly the march may begin to-morrow night. From the sane despatch it appears that the correspondent of a Cincinnati newspaper had given currency to the report that General Meade, after
gn, 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 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 the
o 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 cont they did more: they gave me their innermost views of the campaign, its successes and its failures, concealing nothing and extenuating nothing. During this conversation they made it known to me, substantially as set forth in Dana's despatch of June 4th-7 P..A., that our infantry had begun regular siege approaches to the rebel works; that Sheridan had been ordered to destroy the railroad from Richmond through Gordonsville to Lynchburg, as an indispensable element in Grant's plan; that Grant exp
not to run his head against heavy works, if it could be avoided. Dana's despatches throw but little light upon the abandonment of this policy, and yet it is certain that it had not escaped his observation. He records the fact that the order to attack on the morning of the 2d had not been carried into effect, and that Grant, at 2 P. M., had postponed 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 account 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 enemy on the extreme right; but there was no coherence or co-operation between the various parts of the extended line. Indeed, singular as it may seem, none was provided for in the order of ba
that this lamentable condition of affairs was known to Grant, and ought to be known to the War Department also. On May 31st he noted the fact that the enemy was holding fast on the Cold Harbor road, that the cavalry could not finish the destruction of the railroad and bridges 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 march towards Cold Harbor till he had everything ready. On June 1st Dana reported that Sheridan, after heavy fighting, had male good his hold on Cold Harbor; that if Wright had been there to support him, they might have dispersed Lee's army; that both Grant and Meade were intensely disgusted with the failure of Wright and Warren; and finally that Meade says a radical change must be made, no matter how unpleasant it may be to make it, but I doubt whether he will really attempt to apply so extreme a remedy. This despatch, dated 5 P. M., praised Sheridan a
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
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