And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864

And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864

And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864

And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May-June 1864

Synopsis

And Keep Moving On is the first book to see the Virginia campaign of spring 1864 as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee saw it: a single, massive operation stretching hundreds of miles. The story of the campaign is also the story of the demise of two great armies. The scale of casualties and human suffering that the campaign inflicted makes it unique in U.S. history. Mark Grimsley's study, however, is not just another battle book. Grimsley places the campaign in the political context of the 1864 presidential election; appraises the motivation of soldiers; appreciates the impact of the North's sea power advantage; questions conventional interpretations; and examines the interconnections among the major battles, subsidiary offensives, and raids.

Excerpt

“The art of war,” maintained Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, “is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.” By the spring of 1864, Grant had demonstrated that philosophy in a series of campaigns that marked him as the North’s preeminent commander. In gratitude, and with the expectation that he would win the war, President Abraham Lincoln placed him in charge of all Union forces. Of his own accord, Grant soon placed himself with the Army of the Potomac, the nation’s largest, most famous, and arguably least successful fighting force.

The hard luck that plagued this army stemmed primarily from the skill and élan of its opponent, the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Gen. Robert E. Lee. Although destined to be depicted as very different commanders—Grant the bludgeoner, Lee the master of maneuver—in reality the two commanders were almost identical in style. The art of war, as Grant expressed it, fit Lee’s approach as well as it did his own. Both men believed in seizing the initiative and attacking fast and hard. They were unafraid to mix things up. They could improvise. They would keep moving on. And above all, they would not concede defeat if they could possibly help it.

Grant’s presence with the Army of the Potomac, and Lee’s command of the Army of Northern Virginia, ensured that the spring campaign of 1864 would pit the CivilWar’s two most successful generals against one another in a duel that became legendary almost before it began. And because both men were such fierce champions of the offensive, the resulting encounter saw the most savage, sustained fighting of the entire war.

Indeed, the conflict had previously seen nothing like it. Apart from . . .

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