COMMENCEMENT OF THE GRAND CAMPAIGN --GENERAL BUTLER'S POSITION--SHERIDAN'S FIRST RAID --SHERMAN'S CAMPAIGN IN GEORGIA--SIEGE OF ATLANTA --DEATH OF GENERAL MCPHERSON--ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE ANDERSONVILLE --CAPTURE OF ATLANTA--GRAND MOVEMENT OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC--CROSSING THE RAPIDAN --ENTERING THE WILDERNESS--BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS --AFTER THE BATTLE--TELEGRAPH AND SIGNAL SERVICE --MOVEMENT BY THE LEFT FLANK.
THE armies were now all ready to move for the accomplishment of a single object. They were acting as a unit so far as such a thing was possible over such a vast field. Lee, with the capital of the Confederacy, was the main end to which all were working. Johnston, with Atlanta, was an important obstacle in the way of our accomplishing the result aimed at, and was therefore almost an independent objective. It was of less importance only because the capture of Johnston and his army would not produce so immediate and decisive a result in closing the rebellion as would the possession of Richmond, Lee and his army. All other troops were employed exclusively in support of these two movements. This was the plan; and I will now endeavor to give, as concisely as I can, the method of its execution, outlining first the operations of minor detached but co-operative columns.
As stated before, Banks failed to accomplish what he had been sent to do on the Red River, and eliminated the use of forty thousand veterans whose co-operation in the grand campaign had been expected--ten thousand with Sherman and thirty thousand against Mobile.
Sigel's record is almost equally brief. He moved out, it is true, according to programme; but just when I was hoping to hear of good work being done in the valley I received instead