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NP: June 16, 1864 New York Herald: The Campaign In Virginia And The Southwest

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ken Perdue.

The Campaign in Virginia and the Southwest.

The greater part, if not the whole, of the Army of the Potomac is now on the south side of the James river. Part of it left its late position, by way of the White House, on transports, and the remainder, moving in two columns, turned the rebel right by passing the Chickahominy at Jones’ bridge and the Long bridge, and marched across Charles City county to the James river. This manœuvre has been performed with the greatest economy of resources and time. Commenced on Sunday night, it was to all appearance concluded on Tuesday, occupying only two days, and was of course accomplished without a battle. Such rapidity of movement, and the perfection of generalship that it implies, give the best possible augury of further success, the more especially as so high an authority assures us that the momentum of an army is to be found by multiplying the mass by the rapidity. With the magnificent Army of the Potomac going ahead as Grant now carries it, failure is impossible.

By this bold operation General Grant has suddenly lifted the war out of the little circle around Richmond, and enlarged the theatre of operations, to our very evident advantage. All those hard and unpleasant places on the Chickahominy and the elaborate works constructed with so much labor on the north and east of Richmond are rendered valueless, and the strategy breaks ground in “fresh fields and pastures new.” Grant is now in very positive possession of the only line of supply that was left to keep Lee’s army alive. Petersburg of course is his, and Fort Darling can offer no effectual resistance to this great fort taker. With the fall of Fort Darling the James river is open to our gunboats, and of course the time that Richmond can hold out is to be calculated in the time that it will take to open the river. It cannot stand twelve hours after the gunboats go up.

If General Lee had now so large and effective an army as he had last year, or could have such confidence in his army as he had then, he would at once become the assailant, and assume the offensive as an only, though desperate, chance of still holding Richmond. But he dare not try that chance, and he must retreat. Should he stay in Richmond his absolute destruction would be merely a question of time, and of a very short time too; but even retreat is now dangerous. He must retreat towards Danville and North Carolina, and may find the way beset with the unforeseen contingencies of Hunter, Crook, Averill, Sheridan and Kautz, while General Grant, with his main force, may anticipate him at almost any point on that line for a hundred miles.

From the Southwest we have news of the defeat of an inconsiderable force under General Sturgis by a large rebel force that has been in process of organization for some weeks now, and that had for its original object the destruction of General Sherman’s communications. Encouraged by their success with Sturgis, it is possible that the rebels may endeavor to carry out the original intention against Sherman, in which case they will probably be astonished before they get through. Sherman will show them how to hold a railroad. Sturgis has been superseded by General A. J. Smith, of Red river fame.

The victory over Sturgis amounts to very little, while General Grant’s movement has given the campaign a grand impulse. Richmond is practically taken; for it can no longer be held. Every forward movement made by Grant since he left the Rapidan has rendered some strong position of Lee’s untenable. By a forward movement he flanked Lee out of the position on the Rapidan; again out of the position at Spottsylvania, and out of a third on the South Anna; now he flanks him out of Coal Harbor and out of Richmond; and this is a great and definite success that the Richmond editors will probably understand and be able to see.1

Note: This newspaper article is used with the permission of NewsInHistory.com.  All rights reserved.


  1. New York Herald, June 16, 1864
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