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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
nger 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 failure, and so long as Lee remained unvanquished there was a show of reason in their contention. It was absolutely essential that Lee should be beaten and that the Confederacy should be overthrown, and to that end every 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 evening clothes. They told him they had been in the dark since the army began its movement, were greatly troubled,
management of all the administrative departments of the Ninth army corps: that the men were without rations and the animals without forage, that the artillery horses had not had their harness taken off for nine days, that their shoulders and backs were sore, and that a thousand new horses were wanted immediately to supply the waste. He closed his despatch with the statement 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 ther
ant himself, feeling doubtful of its success, had feared for a while that he might be obliged to go to the White House to make his crossing certain, that he meant to fight in that neighborhood if he had a fair chance, without running his head against heavy works, and that at any rate he would remain there over the next day to give time for the cavalry to break up the railroads and destroy the bridges over Little River and the South Anna. Notwithstanding the heavy fighting which began on May 30th, Dana took time, at Grant's special request, to call the Secretary of War's attention to the fact that at New Orleans, and perhaps elsewhere, a custom had grown up of paying commutation for fuel and quarters to officers lodged in the houses of rebels, and recommending that a general order should be issued prohibiting the practice everywhere within the limits of the rebellious States. In the same despatch Dana called attention to the serious mismanagement of all the administrative departmen
ject more fully, but it was not till the kind-hearted President was assured that both Dana and his escort were equipped for running away, if they found themselves confronted by a party which they could not fight successfully, that he dismissed them with, Good-night, and God bless you! At seven o'clock on the morning of May 7th they reached the Rappahannock, where they had breakfast. The same afternoon Dana reported to Grant at Piney Branch Church, and notwithstanding the heavy fighting of May 5th and 6th, in the almost impenetrable jungles of the Wilderness, he found the army moving slowly but successfully towards Spottsylvania Court-House. This of itself was a momentous fact, which he reported at once to Washington. Hitherto the Army of the Potomac, which now constituted Grant's main command and principal dependence, had not fought its battles through. It had had ample time to rest and recruit, and had been heavily reinforced. Its cavalry had been reorganized and placed under
fully, but it was not till the kind-hearted President was assured that both Dana and his escort were equipped for running away, if they found themselves confronted by a party which they could not fight successfully, that he dismissed them with, Good-night, and God bless you! At seven o'clock on the morning of May 7th they reached the Rappahannock, where they had breakfast. The same afternoon Dana reported to Grant at Piney Branch Church, and notwithstanding the heavy fighting of May 5th and 6th, in the almost impenetrable jungles of the Wilderness, he found the army moving slowly but successfully towards Spottsylvania Court-House. This of itself was a momentous fact, which he reported at once to Washington. Hitherto the Army of the Potomac, which now constituted Grant's main command and principal dependence, had not fought its battles through. It had had ample time to rest and recruit, and had been heavily reinforced. Its cavalry had been reorganized and placed under Sheridan.
his clothes, but the dangerous project still weighed heavily on the President's mind, and although the night was well advanced he sent for Dana again. They went over the subject more fully, but it was not till the kind-hearted President was assured that both Dana and his escort were equipped for running away, if they found themselves confronted by a party which they could not fight successfully, that he dismissed them with, Good-night, and God bless you! At seven o'clock on the morning of May 7th they reached the Rappahannock, where they had breakfast. The same afternoon Dana reported to Grant at Piney Branch Church, and notwithstanding the heavy fighting of May 5th and 6th, in the almost impenetrable jungles of the Wilderness, he found the army moving slowly but successfully towards Spottsylvania Court-House. This of itself was a momentous fact, which he reported at once to Washington. Hitherto the Army of the Potomac, which now constituted Grant's main command and principal d
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