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hands of the Government were stayed up by the willing hearts of the people.
As one instance of the desire to help, which was universally felt, we may mention the offer of Colonel F. B. Loomis, of New London, to garrison Fort Trumbull with citizen soldiers for one hundred days, at his own expense, thus releasing the veterans, by whom it was garrisoned, to go to the front.
The President replied to this offer as follows:
ΕικοστVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, May 12, 1864. MY DEAR Sır:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 28th April, in which you offer to replace the present garrison at Fort Trumbull with volunteers, which you propose to raise at your own ex pense. While it seems inexpedient at this time to accept this proposition, on account of the special duties now devolving upon the garrison mentioned, I cannot pass unnoticed such a meritorious instance of individual patriotism. Permit me, for the Government, to express my cordial thanks to you for this generous and public-spirited offer, which is worthy of note among the many called forth in these times of national trial. I am, very truly, your obedient servant,
A. LINCOLN. F. B. Loomis, Esq.
It was on Monday, the 2d of May, that the forward inarch of the army began, and the Rapidan was crossed without opposition on Tuesday and Wednesday, by the fords lying to the east of Lee's position. General Grant, recognizing the fact that the strength of the rebellion lay not in the fortifications of Richmond, but in the ranks of Lee's army, aimed to place himself upon the southern communications of that ariny, and by heavy blows to destroy it. And with the very commencement of this movement he forced Lee to leave the intrenched line behind which he had so long faced the gathering storm, and make haste to attack his foe before he had reached his rear. This he at once did, and on Thursday the battles of the Wilderness began. The character of the ground gave every advantage to the rebels. It was all overgrown with scrub pines, with but few roads leading through it
They knew the ground thoroughly, and their movements could be made unseen, while the dense woods made cayalry and artillery almost useless. Lee's first effort was to break through our lines between our centre under Warren and our left under Hancock, but by great exertions this was preyented, and night came without any substantial result. With the morning of Friday, General Grant assumed the offensive, and the tide of battle ebbed and flowed throughout the day. On our left, Hancock's successes in the morning were lost again by noon, but a heavy attack of the rebels upon him in the afternoon was successfully repulsed. On our right no material advantage of position was gained during the day ; but the death of General Wadsworth, who fell at the head of his men, was a heavy loss to us, and by a furious assault, just before night, the rebels succeeded in breaking our lines, capturing General Thomas Seymour, and many of his men. The lines were, however, speedily re-established. The result was on the whole favorable to General Grant, as the rebels had failed to thoroughly break his lines or disable him for the forward movement which, on Saturday night, after a day of skirmishing without any general engagement, he undertook, aiming at Spottsylvania CourtHouse. The rebels, however, becoming aware of his movement, moved likewise, and, having the shorter line, gained the position first, and held it against our attack during the hours of Sunday, our lines being formed about two miles and a half north of Spottsylvania. Monday was a day of skirmishing, sadly marked for us, however, by the death of General Sedgwick, who was in command of the Sixth Corps. Night found the two armies facing each other, each behind temporary breastworks, each watchful, each determined.
The news of the movement of the army was not made public until Friday morning. The vital importance of its results was everywhere felt. All eyes were at once intent upon those bloody fields, all ears eager for information of what was going on there; and the prayers of the whole people of the North went up to God, earnest, fer
vent, full of faith, that He would bless the righteous cause.
Official bulletins were given to the public of the results of the different days' operations as they slowly became kuown. And on Tuesday morning all hearts were thrilled with joy by the following official announcement from the President:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASBINGTON, May 9, 1864. To the Friends of Union and Liberty:
Edough is known of army operations, within the last five days, to claim our special gratitude to God. While what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to and reliance upon Him (without whom all effort is vain), I recommend that all patriots at their homes, in their places of public worship, and wherever they may be, unite in coinmon thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.
Accompanying this recommendation were published bulletins of the results up to Saturday, the retiring of the rebels from General Grant's front, and the march of our army towards Spottsylvania. The news spread great joy everywhere, and that night a crowd of several thousand people marched to the White House to serenade the President, who, being called for, came out and spoke as follows:
Fellow-CITIZENS :- I am very much obliged to you for the compliment of this call, though I apprehend it is owing more to the good news received to-day from the army, than to a desire to see me. I am indeed very grateful to the brave men who have been struggling with the enemy in the field, to their noble commanders who have directed them, and especially to our Maker. Our commanders are following up their victo ries resolutely and successfully. I think, without knowing the particu lars of the plans of General Grant, that what has been accomplished is of more importance than at first appears. I believe, I know (and am especially grateful to know) that General Grant has not been jostled in bis purposes, that he bas made all his points, and to-slay he is on his line as be purposed before he moved his armies. I will volunteer to say that I ain very glad at what has happened, but there is a great deal still to be done. While we are grateful to all the brave men and officers for the events of the past few days, we should, above all, be very grateful to Almighty God, who gives us victory.
There is enough yet before us requiring all loyal men and patriots to
perform their share of the labor and follow the example of the modest General at the head of our armies, and sink all personal consideration for the sake of the country. I commend you to keep yourselves in the same tranquil mood that is characteristic of that brave and loyal man. I have said more than I expected when I came before you. Repeating my thanks for this call, I bid you good-by.
While the movement of the Army of the Potomac was the chief point of interest, it was not the only one. On Wednesday, May 4th, General Butler having put his troops on board a fleet of transports, made a rapid move up the James River and occupied City Point and Bermuda Hundred, on both sides of the Appomattox River, across which pontoons were thrown-while General Kautz, at the head of a strong force of cavalry, left Suffolk upon a raid on the Petersburg and Weldon Railroad-which he succeeded in cutting by destroying some bridges. General Butler also succeeded in cutting the railroad between Petersburg and Richmond, so as to prevent for a time the sending of re-enforcements to General Lee from the forces that were south of Richmond under Beauregard.
General Grant, meantime, had not been content with merely pounding against Lee's front with men and with guns, of which he was now able to employ more than in the battles of the Wilderness. He also dispatched his cavalry under General Sheridan round the right flank of the rebels, on the 10th of May, which, reaching the railroads, made an immense destruction of supplies prepared for Lee's army, and of locomotives and cars for their transportation, and which, on the 11th, routed the rebel cav. alry under General Stuart, at Yellow Tavern, in which engagement Stuart was killed; and, pressing on yet nearer Richmond and over the first line of the works around the city, turned off to the east, and crossing the Chickahominy, reached Fortress Monroe with little loss, having inflicted great damage on the enemy.
The 10th and 11th of May were days of hard figliting for the Army of the Potomac, of heavy losses and partial successes for both sides, and of attacks met and re. pulsed, with the employment of all the resources of both armies ; and the dispatches which General Grant sent to Washington on the night of the 11th summed up the results as follows:
We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. The result to this time is much in our favor. Our losses have been heavy, as well as those of the enemy. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater. We have taken over five thousand prisoners in battle, while he has taken from us but few, except stragglers. I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer,
The early light of the next morning brought results yet more in our favor; for with the break of day, Hancock, now on our right, fell like a thunderbolt upon the rebel intrenchments, and stormed over them, capturing several thousand prisoners, including two generals, to gether with thirty or forty cannon, only eighteen of which, however, he was able to hold. For Lee, stung to the quick by this deadly blow, gathered all his forces to retake the position, and five desperate charges upon it du. ring the day covered the ground with dead and wounded, until, when the battle was over, nearly a thousand rebel dead lay within an acre or two of ground in front of the works. The utmost exertions of the rebels were in vain, however, and they sullenly withdrew to another position. A storm now set in and enforced quiet on both armies for several days. During this time General Butler moved forward towards Fort Darling, but on the 16th day of May he met with a heavy blow from the rebels, who took advantage of a fog to make a successful attack, driving him from the railroad and forcing him to return to his lines at Bermuda Hundred. General Sigel, too, who had marched down the Shenandoah Valley, was met by a superior force under General Imbden, and driven back with a loss of five guns. General Kautz, however, with his cavalry, having returned from his first successful raid, set out upon a second one towards the Dansille road, which he also succeeded in injuring to some extent.
The Government strained every nerve to send forward