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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Portrait of Winfield Scott Hancock . . Frontispiece
"The Right" at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862 . . 63
Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863, Morning .... 84
Gettysburg .......... 109
"The Salient" at Spottsylvania 195
Reams's Station, August 25, 1864 264
Action of Boydton Road, October 27, 1864 .... 285
It has often been remarked that, as a war recedes further and further into distance, the popular mind more and more comes to attribute to one commanding character the whole glory of the achievements of the victorious army. Little by little the lesser figures fade out of the picture, until, to the common sight, the army becomes only the extension of one man, whose intellect and will did not merely control, but create, the forces which he moved with such effect. In this there is much of justice, for in many wars the successful leader, whom fame thus selects for immortality, actually did, by his genius, bring into existence all that was above the commonplace—was, in effect, his whole army, in all that compelled victory. He had, indeed, capable and efficient lieutenants to execute his plans and to lead the wings of his battle line; regiments, brigades, and divisions were officered by men who in many actions received deserved praise; while the rank and file were in their place brave, loyal, and enduring. Yet it still remains true that the general was the army, and the whole of it, in this sense: first, that had the army, good as it was, been given into the hands of a soldier less masterful, it would, in the situation existing, have been beaten; secondly, that had the commander been given an army far less fortunately composed and officered, he would, before the end, have shaped and tempered it until it was fit for victory.
But it is not alone in respect to wars where, in this high sense, the leader was his own army, and by himself achieved the triumph, that the popular mind passes through the change we have indicated, gradually losing sight of the subordinate characters of the contest, and finally attributing all merit to one man. The same result is often seen where its justice can fairly be impeached by the student of military history, and where it contradicts the best contemporary opinion of the army and the people concerned. Hardly more rapid is the transference of the virtues of the soldiery and the subordinate commanders to him who finally won the victory, in cases where sound criticism confirms the justice of the act, than in cases where it is known to the historical scholar, where it was well known to the people of the time, that great substantive portions of the work were performed by soldiers of original and independent genius, perhaps by men who long disputed the first rank. Nay, that result is scarcely less likely to be reached, even in instances where it