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If he failed, he meant to transfer his whole army to the
southern side of the James, using Butler's column to cover the movement,
and attack from that quarter. At the same time, General Sigel was to
organize his army into two expeditions, one under General Crook in the
Kanawha Valley, and the other commanded by himself in the Shenandoah
Valley. The object of this campaign was to cut the Central Railroad and
the Virginia and Tennessee Road. Since the bulk of Lee's supplies were
received over these lines, the success of the plan would inflict a
mortal blow upon the Confederate army.

The Army of the Potomac began moving, May 3d, at midnight. The advance
was in two columns. The right, including Warren's and Sedgwick's Corps,
crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford, and the left, Hancock's Corps,
made the passage at Ely's Ford, six miles below. On the following night,
the bivouac was between the Rapidan and Chancellorsville.


THE BATTLES IN THE WILDERNESS.

Reading Grant's purpose, Lee determined to attack him in the dense,
wooded country known as the Wilderness, where it would be impossible for
the Union commander to use his artillery. Acting promptly, a furious
assault was made and the Confederates attained considerable success. The
ground was unfavorable for the Unionists, but Grant did not shrink. His
line was five miles long and mostly within the woods, where he could use
neither cavalry nor artillery with effect; but he made his attack with
such vehemence that after several hours of terrific fighting he drove
the flying Confederates back almost to the headquarters of Lee, where
Longstreet saved the army from overthrow and re-established the line.


WOUNDING OF GENERAL LONGSTREET.

Before noon the next day, Longstreet forced Hancock's left to the Brock
Road and determined to seize the latter. Had he done so, another
disastrous defeat would have been added to those suffered by the Army of
the Potomac at the hands of Lee. Longstreet was in high spirits and
determined to lead the movement in person. While riding forward, he met
General Jenkins, who was also exultant over what seemed certain success.
The two stopped to shake hands, and when doing so, they and their
escorts were mistaken by a body of Confederate troops for Union cavalry
and fired upon. Longstreet waved his hand and shouted to the men to stop
firing. They did so, but Jenkins had already been killed and Longstreet
himself was shot in the throat. He fell from his saddle and lay beside
the body of Jenkins. He was believed to be dead, but, showing signs of
life, was placed on a litter and carried to the rear, the soldiers
cheering as he was borne past. The reader will recall the strange
wounding of Stonewall Jackson, under almost similar circumstances, by
his own men. Longstreet recovered in time to take a leading part in the
closing incidents of the war.

This occurrence caused a feeling akin to dismay in the Confederate
ranks, and defeated the movement that was about to be undertaken.
General Lee was so disturbed that he placed himself at the head of a
Texas brigade, with the resolve to lead it in a charge that should be
decisive, but his men would not permit, and compelled him to resume his
place at the rear.

Grant's position was too strong to be carried and Lee was equally
secure. Meanwhile Grant carefully hunted for a weak spot in his enemy's
line, and decided that Spottsylvania Court-House was the place, and
thither he marched his army on the night of May 7th.

While this movement was in progress, Sheridan and his cavalry made a
dash toward Richmond in the effort to cut Lee's communications. The
vigilant Stuart intercepted them at Yellow Tavern, within seven miles of
the city, and compelled Sheridan to return, but in the fighting Stuart
received a wound from which he died the next day.

When Grant's advance reached Spottsylvania Court-House, the Confederates
were in possession, and repulsed the attempt to drive them out. While
the preparations for renewing the battle were going on, General Sedgwick
was struck in the head by a Confederate sharpshooter and instantly
killed.


GRANT'S REPULSE AT COLD HARBOR.

A series of flank movements followed, with fierce fighting, in which the
Union loss was great. Reinforcements were sent to Grant, and nothing
could deter his resolution to drive Lee to the wall. At Cold Harbor, on
June 3d, however, the Union commander received one of the most bloody
repulses of the war, suffering a loss of ten thousand in the space of
less than half an hour, and his losses from the Rapidan to the
Chickahominy--whither he moved his army--equaled the whole number of men
in Lee's army. The latter was within the defenses of Richmond, of which
the centre was Cold Harbor. Having much shorter lines, the Confederates
were able to anticipate the movements of the Army of the Potomac and
present a defiant front at all times.

Meanwhile matters had gone wrong in the Shenandoah Valley. On the 15th
of May, Sigel was utterly routed by Breckinridge. The Union officer
failed so badly that he was superseded by Hunter, who made just as
wretched a failure. The 15,000 troops under Breckinridge were sent to
reinforce Lee, when, had Sigel and Hunter done their duty, this force
would have been compelled to stay in the Shenandoah Valley.

Another movement that was meant to help Grant materially was that of
Butler, who was to threaten Richmond by water, while Grant and Meade
were assailing the city in front. But Butler was outgeneraled by
Beauregard, who succeeded in "bottling him up," as Grant expressed it,
at Bermuda Hundred, a peninsula formed by the James, twenty miles below
Richmond. There Butler was held helpless, while Beauregard sent a small
part of his meagre force to reinforce Lee.

[Illustration: GENERAL LEE DASHES TO THE FRONT TO LEAD THE TEXANS'
CHARGE.]

The terrible repulse which Grant received at Cold Harbor convinced him
that it was only throwing away life to persist in the campaign against
Richmond by the "overland" route. With characteristic decision, he
decided to move his army to the front of Petersburg and thus shut off
Lee's communication with the South. Holding his position in front of the
Confederate leader until June 12th, Grant crossed the Chickahominy and
advanced to City Point. Passing the James on pontoon-bridges, he marched
toward Petersburg, where the army arrived on the 15th. The next day the
Army of the Potomac was south of the James. Petersburg was immediately
attacked, but the defenders repelled every assault. The next day, Lee's
whole army entered the breastworks of the town. After repeated attacks
by the Unionists, Grant saw the impossibility of capturing Petersburg
by direct attack and he began its siege. Several times the Confederates
made sallies against threatening movements and drove the Federals from
the positions that had been gained at no little loss of life.

Early in July, Grant consented to allow Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasant, of
a Pennsylvania regiment belonging to Burnside's corps, to run a mine
under one of the approaches to the enemy's intrenchments before
Petersburg. It was believed, apparently with reason, that the explosion
would open a gap in the line through which the Federals might make a
dash and capture the town before the defenders could rally from their
confusion.

The mine was laid and four tons of powder were fired at daylight on the
morning of July 30th. A cavity was opened by the stupendous explosion,
200 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. Instantly, the Union
batteries opened on those of the enemy, silenced them, and the
assaulting column charged. The dreadful mistake was made by the men of
halting in the cavity for shelter. The troops sent to their help also
stopped and huddled together, seeing which the terrified gunners ran
back to their abandoned pieces and opened upon the disorganized mass in
the pit. The slaughter continued until the Confederate officers sickened
at the sight and ordered it stopped. The horrible business resulted in
the loss of nearly 1,000 prisoners and 3,000 killed and wounded.


GENERAL EARLY'S RAIDS.

Since the entire Army of the Potomac was in front of Petersburg, the
Confederates took advantage of the opportunity to give Washington
another scare, in the hope, also, of compelling Grant to withdraw a
considerable body of troops from before Richmond. General Early was sent
thither with 8,000 men by General Lee, with orders to attack the
Federals in the valley. Sigel, whose great forte was that of retreating,
fell back before the advance of Early, crossed the Potomac, and took
position on Maryland Heights. Early moved up the Monocacy into Maryland,
causing great alarm in Washington. The President called upon
Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts for militia with which to
repel the invasion. They were placed under the command of General Lew
Wallace, who was defeated at Monocacy Junction, July 9th. Early attacked
Rockville, fourteen miles west of Washington, and Colonel Harry Gilmor,
himself a citizen of Baltimore, cut the communications between that city
and Philadelphia. He captured a railway train, and among his prisoners
was General Franklin, who was wounded and on his way north. The loose
watch kept over the captives allowed them to escape.

Early was in high feather over his success, and his cavalry appeared in
front of Washington, July 11th, and exchanged shots with Fort Stevens;
but a spirited attack drove them off, and they crossed the Potomac at
Edward's Ferry, and passed to the western side of the Shenandoah. Early
made his headquarters at Winchester and repelled several assaults upon
him.

The Confederate leader had been so successful that he soon made a second
raid. He crossed the Potomac, July 29th, and, entering Pennsylvania,
reached Chambersburg, from which a ransom of $200,000 in gold was
demanded. It not being forthcoming, the city was fired, and the
invaders, after some hard fighting, succeeded in getting back to the
southern shore of the Potomac.


SHERIDAN IN THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY.

These raids were so exasperating that Grant, who could not give them his
personal attention, determined to put an effectual stop to them.



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