It's May 3rd, 1864 -- Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General George Meade plan to move the 120,000 man Army of the Potomac is underway. They will move the Union War Machine under the cover of darkness, cross the Rapidan River far EAST of the Confederate Left Flank and make an end-run around to the Confederate Rear before Lee has a chance to react. It is a good plan except for three faulty assumptions: Assuming they can keep the movements of a massive army a secret, assuming that Lee's troops will take over 30-hours to move out of their defenses, and assuming that they can move their army quickly through the fabled WILDERNESS.
"The foe that held his guarded hills -- Must speed to woods afar;
For the scheme that was nursed by the Culpepper hearth -- With the slowly-smoked cigar—
The scheme that smouldered through winter long -- Now bursts into act—into war—
The resolute scheme of a heart as calm -- As the Cyclone’s core."
-- Herman Melville: The Armies of the Wilderness - First Appearance in "Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War" (1866), page 107
"Whatever happens, there will be no turning back."
-- Lt.Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
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