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made himself master of the situation with regard to his new base of supplies. He was furthermore left entirely free as to the route by which he would attack Richmond, and be in full communication and co-operation with the column under General BUTLER. All this was accomplished within twenty-four days from the day when he struck tents at Culpepper Court House.
What enormous strides he made towards the heart of the rebellion within that brief period, and all by disembarrassing his movements of the necessity of looking back to one inflexible line of communications and one unchanging base of supplies. This was his simple strategy, though the execution of it was às brave and brilliant as its conception was bold and original. It was this same strategy that made the march from Bruinsburg to Vicksburg one unbroken series of victories. In that march, General GRANT at once cut himself loose from his base; but, with the forethought of a great general, he so directed his columns as to open another at Grand Gulf immediately after his first encounter with the enemy. Moving on toward Raymond, he made provision for still another by way of Warrenton, just below Vicksburg. But all the time he had his far-seeing vision fixed upon a third at the Yazoo river, above the beleaguered city, and that was his final base until Vicksburg fell. Just so he moved in this campaign, and the successes which made the month of May, 1863, forever illustrious in the American calendar, were rivalled in glory by those of the month of May, 1864.
By these masterly operations, General GRANT moved on regardless of his rear. He left nothing there for the enemy to attack. In one great particular he bad no impediments. His columns, if not literally in "light marching order,” were the next thing to it. Hence the ease with wbich be baffled his cunning adversárý, and rendered
all his elaborate and formidable field works just so much labor in vain.
Although General GRANT was always prompt to “move against the enemy's works" when it was necessary, he never undertook that costly operation when it was not. He had experience of the relative merits of the two modes of proceeding at Vicksburg, and he is a soldier upon whom experience is never lost.
It was remarked that his movement across the Pamunkey made him master of the situation. This was no idle repetition of a favorite phrase. He was master of the Peninsula without having uncovered Washington for a single hour, and without having created the necessity of leaving one-fourth of his army behind for the defence of that city. He had uncontrolled choice of a line of attack on Richmond on every, side but one. His cavalry had traversed the whole country, and knew all the roads and all the topography. He had communication with General BUTLER's force, and could unite the two armies whenever the occasion demanded. And finally, he could supply his troops by the Pamunkey or the James at his own option. These results were the achievements of a master band in the art of war.
This removal of the seat of war from the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to the very walls of Richmond, completed a cycle of two years in the history of the rebellion. Hanover, White House, Cold Harbor, Shady Grove Church, are names with wbich we were familiar on the 31st of May, 1862. Then, however, every stream, every swamp, every line of rifle pits, brougbt our forces to a halt, until days ran into weeks, and weeks into weary months of waiting. But now the great column moved irresistibly on, for at its head there was a skilful and active soldier, a man who knew no such word as halt after he was once in
motion, and who was appalled by no obstructions, and least of all by phantoms.
And so closed what will be hereafter called
THE GREAT BATTLE MONTH.
The great movement of the Army of the Potomac conmenced on Tuesday night, May 3d, 1864, when the Rapidan was crosssed without serious opposition. The telegraphic news which gave us the first intelligence of the advance of General GRANT, was bailed by the people as an omen of success, and from that time down, the same hopeful feeling was maintained, while the faith of the people in General GRANT and the gallant army of the Potomac was strengthened and moulded into a firm conviction of victory. From the very first movement made by General GRANT, he was successful throughout, all of which was due to his masterly generalship and the indomitable courage of his army. General LEE was forced to fall back from the strong positions which he held in front of our army during the fall and winter, and this was the first step in the grand tactics of General GRANT, which subsequently rendered all the rebel field fortifications and defences of no avail. The line which General LEE expected General GRANT to follow, the latter, by the most consummate skill, avoided; and the rebels had not only to endure the chagrin of all their labors and preparations going for nothing, but they saw, at the same time, the Army of the Potomac flanking them at every important position of their expected defence, and getting nearer and nearer to Richmond by every move.
But it was not only in Virginia that the month of May witnessed the greatest series of battles of a month recorded in bistory within the period. The gallant army under General SHERMAN, in the Southwest, was alike victorious from Buzzard's Roost Mountain, Dalton, and Resaca to Dallas, and it seemed highly probable that
General SHERMAN would reach Atlanta, Ga., about the same time that General GRANT would reach Richmond. Every thing looked favorable. Our army was in the best of spirits, while LEE's was despondent and whipped, and in no condition apparently to check our onward advance. Yet the events of
JUNE, 1864, Proved their tenacity and courage to be still unsubdued. The bloody battles around Cold Harbor were fought, in which many thousand men were killed and wounded on both sides. On the evening of the 4th of June, Lieutenant General GRANT telegraphed to the War Department “that about seven, P. M., of Friday, June 3d, the enemy suddenly attacked SMITH'S Brigade of GIBBONS’ Division. The battle lasted with great fury for half an hour, and the attack was unwaveringly repulsed. At six, P. M., WILSON, with his cavalry, fell upon the rear of a brigade of HETI's Division, which LEE had ordered around to his left, apparently with the intention of enveloping BURNSIDE. After a sharp but short conflict, Wilson drove them from their rifle pits in confusion. He took a few prisoners. He had previously fought with and routed GORDON'S Brigade of rebel cavalry. During these fights be lost several officers, among them Colonel PRESTON, First Vermont Cavalry, killed; Colonel BENJAMIN, Eighth New York Cavalry, seriously wounded. General STANNARD, serving in the Eighteenth Corps, was also severely wounded. Our entire loss in killed, wounded and missing during the three days operations around Cold Harbor did not exceed, according to the Adjutant-General's Report, seven thousand, five hundred. This morning, (Saturday, June 4th,) the enemy's left wing, in front of BURNSIDE, was found to bave been drawn in during the night."
Rendered desperate by the narrowing circle which GRANT was gradually drawing around them, the rebels
made repeated attacks upon our entrenchments, but in every instance they met with disastrous repulse. Meanwhile General GRANT was making arrangements for new dispositions, and his movements bewildered and annoyed the
enemy. His lines were extended to the Chickabominy, and White House was made the base of supplies for his army.
A NEW MOVEMENT.
On the night of the 12th of June, General GRANT withdrew his forces from LEE's front at Cold Harbor and Gaines' Mills. General Wm. F. SMITH'S Corps, the Eighteenth, marched to the White House, embarked on transports and went down the Pamunkey and York rivers, and up the James. The Sixth and Ninth Corps, under Major-Generals WRIGHT and BURNSIDE, crossed the Chickabominy at Jones' Bridge, while HANCOCK'S Second and WARREN'S Fifth Corps crossed at Long Bridge, whence they marched to the James river, crossing it at Powhatan Point. The great movement was carried out without a single failure, and without notice to the enemy, who waked up on the morning of June 13th, to find that the army which menaced them on the previous night had disappeared, and was already beyond the hope of successful pursuit.
A flank march is the most perilous of military operations. General MCCLELLAN executed his celebrated "change of base" harassed at every step, fighting by day and retreating by night, so that when his army upon the seventh day reached Harrison's Landing, fifteen thousand men who had crossed the Chickabominy were no longer in the ranks. Their corpses lay thick upon the route; their bleeding bodies were frequently left to the tender mercies of the enemy, and six thousand of them were captured and consigned to the horrors of a living death at Libby and Belle Isle. But to this startling movement of General GRANT,