War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0022 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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territory. Hence, Antietam, Gettysburg, and all other battles that had been fourth were by them set down as failures on our part and victories for them. Their army believed this. It produced a morale which could only be overcome by desperate and continuous hard fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, and cold Harbor, bloody and terrible as they were on our side, were even more damaging to the enemy, and so crippled him as to make him way ever after of taking the offensive. His losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the fact that we were, save in the Wilderness, almost invariably the attacking party, and when he did attack it was int he open field. The details of these battles, which for endurance and bravery on the report of the soldiery have rarely been surpassed, are given in the report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate reports accompanying it.* During the campaign of forty-three days, from the Rapidan to James River, the army had to be supplied from an ever-shifting base by wagons, over narrow roads, thorough a densely wooded country, with a last of wharves at each new base from which to conveniently discharge vessels. Too much credit cannot, therefore, be awarded to the quartermaster and commissary departments for the zeal and efficiency displayed by them. Under the general supervision of the chief of quartermaster, Brigadier General R. Ingalls, the trains were made to occupy all the available roads between the army and our water base, and but little difficulty was experienced in protecting them.

The movement in the Kanawha and Shenandoah Valleys, under General Sigel, commenced on the 1st of May. General Crook, who had the immediate command of the Kanawha expedition, divided his forces into two columns, giving one, composed of cavalry, to General Averell. They crossed the mountains by separate routes. Averell struck the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, near Witheville, on the 10th, and proceeding to New River and Christiansburg, destroyed the road, several important bridges and depots, including New River bridge, forming a junction with Crook at Union on the 15th. General Sigel moved up the Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy at New Market on the 15th, and after a severe engagement was defeated with heavy loss, and retired behind Cedar Creek. Not regarding the operations of General Sigel as satisfactory, I asked his removal from command, and Major-General Hunter was appointed to supersede him. His instructions were embraced in the following dispatches to Major General H. W. Halleck, Chief of Staff of the Army:

NEAR SPOTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, VA., May 20, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK:

* * * *

The enemy are evidently relying for supplies greatly on such as are brought over the branch road running through Staunton. On the whole, therefore, I think it would be better for General Hunter to move in that direction; reach Staunton and Gordonsville or Charlottesville, if he does not meet too much opposition. If he can hold at bay a force equal to his own, he will be doing good service.

* * * *

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

JERICHO FORD, VA., May 25, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK:

If Hunter can possibly get to Charlottesville and Lynchburg, he should do so, living on the country. The railroads and canal should be destroyed beyond possibility of repairs for weeks. Completing this he could find his way back to his original base, or from about Gordonsville join this army.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

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*See Vol. XXXVI, Part I.

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