Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
he could less well afford to have his men killed and wounded.  Grant, again finding that he could not force Lee out of his position, also again moved by the left flank, steadily approaching Richmond and dragging Lee with him.  The Northern loss had already reached the frightful total of 37,335 men; the Confederate loss was less, but enormous.  Amid the bloodshed, however, Grant scented success.  On May 26 he wrote:  “Lee’s army is really whipped....  Our men feel that they have gained the morale over the enemy....  I may be mistaken, but I feel that our success over Lee’s army is already assured.”  He even gratified the President by again disregarding all precedent in Virginian campaigns, and saying that the promptness with which reinforcements had been forwarded had contributed largely to the promising situation!  But almost immediately after this the North shuddered at the enormous and profitless carnage at Cold Harbor.  Concurrently with all this bloodshed, there also took place the famous and ill-starred movement of General Butler upon Richmond, which ended in securely shutting up him and his forces at Bermuda Hundred, “as in a bottle strongly corked.”

Such was the Virginian situation early in June.  By a series of most bloody battles, no one of which had been a real victory, Grant had come before the defenses of Richmond, nearly where McClellan had already been.  And now, like McClellan, he proposed to move around to the southward and invest the city.  It must be confessed that in all this there was nothing visible to the inexperienced vision of the citizens at home which made much brighter in their eyes the prestige of Mr. Lincoln’s war policy.  Nor could they see, as that summer of the presidential campaign came and went, that any really great change or improvement was effected.

On the other hand, there took place in July what is sometimes lightly called General Early’s raid against Washington.  In fact, it was a genuine and very serious campaign, wherein that general was within a few hours of capturing the city.  Issuing out of that Shenandoah Valley whence, as from a cave of horrors rather than one of the loveliest valleys in the world, so much of terror and mischief had so often burst out against the North, Early, with 17,000 veteran troops, moved straight and fast upon the national capital.  On the evening of July 10 Mr. Lincoln rode out to his summer quarters at the Soldiers’ Home.  But the Confederate troops were within a few miles, and Mr. Stanton insisted that he should come back.  The next day the Confederates advanced along the Seventh Street road, in full expectation of marching into the city with little opposition.  There was brisk artillery firing, and Mr. Lincoln, who had driven out to the scene of action, actually came under fire; an officer was struck down within a few feet of him.

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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