Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 309
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 309
 
 
word which Dana sent to Stanton. Grant rode by and in spite of the darkness was recognized. The men burst into cheers, swung their hats, clapped their hands, threw up their arms and greeted their general as a comrade, so pleased were they that he was leading them on to Richmond instead of ordering them to fall back to the camp which they had just abandoned.  10
  The Confederate soldiers, believing in their invincibility on their own soil, thought that Grant, like the other Federal generals, would give it up and fall back; and Lee at one time held the opinion that he was retiring on Fredericksburg. But the Confederate general was too sagacious to base his plans entirely on one supposition; surmising that Grant might move to Spottsylvania, he sent thither a portion of his force, which, having the shorter and easier line of march, arrived earlier than the Union Army, and took up a position across the path of their approach. The armies soon came in contact and fighting began. On May 11 Grant sent his celebrated despatch to Halleck: “We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting.… I … propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” 1 After a furious battle next day at the Salient—the so-called “bloody angle”—there was a lull, owing principally to the heavy and constant rains, which made the roads deep with mud and impassable. It is true, however, that the Union Army needed rest and that Grant was desirous of reënforcements to fill the gaps in his ranks caused by his heavy losses. In these battles at Spottsylvania he was almost invariably the attacking party; again and again he assailed the Confederates in front, where their intrenchments, defended by rifled muskets and artillery throughout, quadrupled their strength. It has been said that the hurling of his men
 
Note 1. O. R., XXXVI, Pt. 1, 13. [back]
 

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