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of the advantages gained by our arms. Instead of pausing for weeks or months to announce the victories, General GRANT steadily kept on, allowing nothing to interfere with his one first and patriotic purpose-the suppression of the rebellion. He lost no opportunity-he let slip no advantage, but, firmly and certainly as fate itself, pressed forward his victorious columns, in the West, the Southwest, on the Atlantic coast, and in Virginia.
LEE grew desperate, but was able to accomplish little. He promised great deeds, and Davis promised greater, while at the same moment he knew that the toils were gathering around him from which escape was impossible.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE NEW YEAR, 1865.
With the New Year came new victories. Fort Fisher fell, and Wilmington was no longer the artery to feed the heart of the rebellion. SHERMAN was on his second irresistible march. He was penetrating South Carolina. Charleston had dropped into our arms without the loss of a man, and the invincible army of the West was moving by rapid marches toward North Carolina and Virginia. LEE foresaw the end, but he was powerless. He did not dare to detach any large force from in front of GRANT. That General was watching for such å movement on the part of his adversary, and such a movement would insure the fall of Richmond. LEE was helpless. GRANT was his master, and the rebel chief tacitly acknowledged it. The spring campaign was at hand, and SHERMAN rapidly approached through North Carolina, driving JOHNSTON, his old opponent in Georgia, back at every step. Rebel affairs daily became more critical, yet what could LEE do but wait? When Grant saw proper to open the ball then LEE might be able to decide as to his course, not before. His army was composed of the best fighting material, and it numbered fully sixty thousand men, and
was protected by a line of fortifications of the most formidable nature. Would GRANT order an assault upon these works? This was what LEE desired; what he hoped for. The sequel will show that his hopes were vain, and that the man who had foiled him at every point during the battles of May, 1864, was once more to exhibit a strategy which would thwart all the genius of the rebel. lion, and bring the “Confederacy" tumbling in ruins about the heads of its supporters.
March, 1865, was destined to see all our armies in motion. CANBY was operating with a powerful force against Mobile, aided by the fleet; General WILSON with ten thousand picked cavalry moved from Eastport on an expedition through Alabama ; SHERMAN and SCHOFIELD were nearing the borders of Virginia from the South, and it now only remained for the Army of the Potomac to gird on its armor and strike the finishing blow to the rebellion. Conscious of his peril, LEE resolved to take the initiative, and by a bold stroke drive GRANT from his works.
THE ATTACK ON FORT STEADMAN. At half-past four A. M., March 25th, 1865, GORDON, at the head of three divisions, made a sudden rush upon Fort Steadman, overpowered the garrison, and took possession of the fort. But the rebel success was destined to be of more value to ourselves than it was to GORDON. With the dawn of day, General HARTRANFT charged the fort with his reserves, recaptured it with the bayonet, and took two thousand seven hundred prisoners. The rebel loss outside the work was fearful. The guns of all our adjacent forts were trained on the ground over wbich the enemy had to pass to regain their own lines. When they commenced their retreat, grape and canister, and round shot, and storms of bullets swept through their ranks, and in a brief space, three thousand rebels lay prone upon the earth in
the agonies of wounds and death. The experiment was a dear one, and it revealed to LEE the truth that our army was on the alert, and that all such attempts to break our lines would meet with the same terrible punishment. The entire loss to the enemy in that morning's work reached the enormous figure of six thousand men. It was a lesson to LEE which he profited by, and no further efforts were made to dislodge our army.
When this attack was made upon the right of our line, & portion of the troops who were used in it were brought from the front of the extreme right of our line at Hatcher's Run. In order to conceal their withdrawal, the pickets in that neighborhood made very bold demonstrations at that point. The capture of GORDON's men gave General GRANT a full key to the mystery, and he ordered an advance upon the extreme left at Hatcher's Run, which had been weakened by the withdrawal of GORDON. Our troops made a very successful advance, gained several strong positions, and extended their lines toward the South Side railroad, taking some important field-works, which they held. Our logs at Hatcher's Run was six hundred and ninety. The rebels lost three hundred and sixty-five prisoners, and their loss in killed and wounded, by estimate of General HUMPHREYS, was about sixteen hundred.
The Second Corps, which was more in the centre, was also ordered to attack and take advantage of the rebel discomfiture at Fort Steadman. It pushed forward in front of Fort Fisher and captured the enemy's intrenched picket line.
PRESIDENT LINCOLN ON THE FIELD. On the 24th of March, 1865, President LINCOLN arrived at General GRANT's headquarters, at City Point, and was warmly welcomed by the Lieutenant-General. On Saturday afternoon, the 25th, be visited the scene of the
morning's battle in company with Generals GRANT and MEADE. The day bad been fixed for a grand review, but the bloody events of the forenoon had decided that there should be none, and the President, cheered by the great victory just achieved, remarked, “This is better than a review."
COUNCIL OF WAR. On Tuesday, March 28th, President LINCOLN, Lieutenant-General GRANT, and Major-Generals MEADE, SHERMAN, SHERIDAN and ORD, held a Council of War on board the steamer River Queen, at City Point, and shortly thereafter, General SHERMAN was again under way to rejoin his army.
THE GRAND CAMPAIGN.-WEDNESDAY,
MARCH 29th. Movements of troops had been in progress for two or three days, their purpose being merely concentration and their disposition at proper points. These preliminary movements were simply the placing the arrow on the bow and tightening the string.
Early Wednesday morning the bow was bent and the arrow launched out. The march was commenced in that direction in which we have always found the enemy, and always found him ready to fight. The Second Corps, commencing its march at six o'clock A. M., passed outside our entrenchments, near Hatcher's Run, and advanced along the Vaughn road. Before noon, a new line of battle had been formed, the right of which rested on the extreme left of our former line. This position was taken without opposition, and the corps commenced entrenching. Tbis new line was formed front, or to the northwest of the Vaughn road, and its general direction was similar to that of the road.
The Fifth Corps, which had been massed in rear of the
Second, started at three and a half o'clock A. M., from a point near the Schenck House, or about one and a half miles from the old left of our line. They advanced over bye-roads across the country, so as to reach the Vaugbn road at a point further advanced than the Second Corps was to proceed. This arrangement obviated the necessity for two corps marching on the same road, and thus saved time. Hatcher's Run was crossed before striking the Vaughn road, which was entered at a point about five miles from Dinwiddie Court House. An advance was first made towards the latter place, General AYERS' Division up to this time taking the advance. After the head of the column had reached a point probably not more than three miles from Dinwiddie, a change of direction was ordered. One brigade of General AYERS' Division, under General Gwin, was posted near the Scott House, to cover the Vaughn road, and the remainder of the division being held back in reserve, GRIFFIN's Division was then placed in advance.
The column now left the Vaughn road at a point distant three or four miles from Dinwiddie Court House, and advanced northwardly up what is known as the Quaker road, in the direction of the Boydton Plank road, some three miles distant. Within something less than a mile from the Vaughn road, the troops crossed Gravelly Run, and ascending a slight bill beyond that stream, found & line of abandoned breastworks, from which the Rebel pickets had just retired. Here a skirmish line was thrown forward, and quite sharp firing commenced at once. The skirmish line crossing an open plantation was brought to, being near the farther side of it, by rebels posted on the edge of a tract of woods.
The First Brigade of General GRIFFIN's Division was now ordered forward to support the skirmishers. When arriving within short rifle range of the woods aforesaid, a