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What was the military situation when Grant assumed command?

1. The army of the Potomac, under General Meade, on the north bank of the Rapidan, confronted the army of Northern Virginia under General Lee, occupying the south bank of the Rapidan. General Burnside with the 9th corps joined the army of the Potomac on the 9th day of May 1864.

2. The army of the James, under Major General Butler, had its headquarters at Fortress Monroe.

3. The army of the Shenandoah,was under General Sigel, with headquarters at Winchester.

4. General Sherman's command consisted of the army of the Cumberland, under General Thomas; the army of the Tennessee under General McPherson; the army of the Ohio, under General Scofield;-in all about 100,000 men, and 254 guns. The aggregate national force of all arms was 970,710.

The following constituted the chief divisions of the forces, which, with smaller detachments, made up the aggregate:

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The campaign of 1864, opened with a movement of General Banks against General Kirby Smith on Red River. A large army left New Orleans, with which were to coöperate troops from Arkansas, under General Steele, and others under General A. J. Smith, with a large naval force under Admiral Porter. General Banks reached Alexandria on the 20th of March, 1864. It is proper to say that this expedition of General Banks was planned previous to General Grant's appointment to command. As General Banks' forces advanced towards Shreveport, a series of disasters occurred that ended in the failure of the expedition, with heavy loss of men and material. While this expedition was in progress, and in the absence of troops from the Mississippi, several raids were made by the rebel General Forrest.

On the 12th of April an attack was made upon Fort Pillow, by Morgan and Chalmers. This Fort is about seventy miles above Memphis on the Mississippi River. Its garrison consisted of about 600 men, of which nearly one-half were colored troops, under command of Major L. F. Booth. The attack was made in the morning, and the garrison gallantly held the Fort until the afternoon. Then the rebels, while sending a flag of truce, treacherously took advantage of it to get possession of a ravine, from which they could, with comparative safety, make a rush into the Fort. Immediately the flag was withdrawn, the rebels made a rush, and succeeded in getting into the Fort, and raised the cry of "no quarter." The Union troops threw down their arms and sought to escape by running down the bank. The scene which followed, the facts of which were abundantly proved before a committee of investigation ordered by Congress, constitutes one of those black pages in the history of the slaveholder's rebellion, and illustrates the barbarism of slavery.

"The rebels," say the committee, "commenced an indiscriminate slaughter-sparing neither age nor sex, white or black, soldier or civilian. The officers and men seemed to vie with each other in the devilish work. Men, women, and children were deliberately shot down and hacked to pieces with sabres. Children under ten years of age were murdered.

These fiends, nurtured to their work by the barbarities of the slave system, entered the hospitals and assassinated the sick, incapable of offering resistance, or escape. Everywhere was heard 'no quarter' -'kill the damned niggers.' Men were nailed to the floors and sides of buildings, and then the buildings set on fire!"

These facts, and others equally atrocious are deliberately stated by a committee of Congress who visited Fort Pillow and examined witnesses. The rebel reports seek to extenuate the atrocities, by declaring that the Fort was taken by storm, and that no quarter was given on either side-and that the rebels were exasperated by finding their slaves in arms against them. It was in reference to this massacre, and other barbarities perpetrated by the rebels, that Mr. Lincoln, at the Baltimore fair, declared that "retribution" should be had.

The campaign in Virginia opened on the 4th of May. By a simultaneous movement the army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan, and the army of the James took possession of City Point. The Rapidan was crossed without resistance, and the movement upon City Point took the enemy by surprise.

The whole country looked upon this campaign with the greatest solicitude. It was felt that it would be decisive. Three long, bloody years of indecisive fighting in Virginia and Maryland had gone, and now when Grant reached the camp, he found the two veteran and highly tempered armies, grimly and proudly confronting each other. These armies were not so disproportionate in strength; but Grant had this decisive advantage. The resources of the Confederates, both in men and material, were well nigh exhausted. The rebel recruits, as Grant said, "were made up of old men and boys. They robbed the school house and the grave to fill up their ranks."

The measures introduced and the laws passed by the Confederate Congress, indicated the extremity to which they were reduced. In January 1864, the Congress at Richmond enacted a law, that each person exempted from the draft, should devote himself and the labor he controlled to the production of provisions and supplies. That these should be contributed



for the use of the army; besides the tithes required by law, an additional tenth of all the bacon and pork produced; and the supplies should be sold for the army and the families of soldiers, at prices to be fixed by Congress.

Mr. Brown of Mississippi, proposed strengthening the slaveholders army, by declaring that every white male person residing in the Confederate States, and capable of bearing arms, should be in the military service. He proposed to take all; to make but one inquiry, "is he capable of bearing arms." The Confederates were reduced to such extremity that in February, the proposition was discussed of the employment of free negroes and slaves in their armies.

There also began to appear some indications of a wish for peace on the part of the Confederates. Mr. Leach of North Carolina, said in the Confederate Congress, "I am for peace, on the basis of the independence of the South, if it can be obtained, but, if not, I am for peace on the best terms we can get, short of subjugation," and others sympathized in these views.

A bill passed the Confederate Congress authorizing the employment of slaves as soldiers. It was upon the discussion of this bill, that Mr. Hunter of Virginia made these significant statements and admissions:

"When we left the old Government we thought we had got rid forever of the slavery agitation; but, to my surprise, I find that this (the Confederate) Government assumes the power to arm the slaves, which involves also the power of emancipation. This proposition, would be regarded as a confession of despair. If we are right in passing this measure, we were wrong in denying to the old Government the right to interfere with slavery and to emancipate slaves. If we offer the slaves their freedom as a boon, we confess that we are insincere and hypocritical in saying slavery was the best state for the negroes themselves. I believe that the arming and emancipating the slaves will be an abandonment of the contest."

He then said:

"To arm the negroes is to give them freedom. When they come out scarred from this conflict, they must be free.

Thus the necessities of the war, brought the United States and the rebels to a common ground, that of arming and emancipating the negroes.

There was no apparent diminution in the military resources of the North. Men swarmed in Northern towns and cities, and labor, though commanding high wages, could be readily obtained. Each army was in high spirits. Each could look upon the long lists of victories inscribed upon its battle-flags, and receive inspiration from the achievements of the past. While Lee and his army could look back with pride to the days when they drove McClellan to the shelter of his gunboats, and crushed Pope with overwhelming numbers-to the days when Burnside, with his decimated ranks, was driven back across the Rappahannock; while they could recall Chancellorville with its fearful slaughter, and recount the story of many a brilliant dash and charge; on the other hand, the Union army could recall with heroic pride their splendid fighting during all McClellan's campaign — the bloody day of Malvern Hill, the victories of South Mountain and Antietam, and the glorious three days fight and splendid triumph of Gettysburg. Each of these two armies had a proud record. Nearly everywhere outside of Virginia, the Union troops had been victorious. Every one felt that the army of Northern Virginia carried upon its standards the fate of the Confederacy, and now there came from the Valley of the Mississippi, the brilliant, and hitherto invincible hero of the Northwest, to test his genius and his fortunes against the great leader of the rebellion. Mr. Lincoln sent forth Grant upon this struggle, which all knew would be desperate, and hoped would be decisive, with strong confidence in his success; his last words to him were, "and now with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you."

The crisis evidently approached, and both armies nerved themselves for the struggle which was believed would be decisive. The army of the Potomac was under the immediate command of Meade, who, although not a brilliant, was a safe, a prudent, and a good soldier. It consisted at this time of three corps. The second under General Hancock; the

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