Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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Military Progress


May and June 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, June 9, 1864.


From their leisurely and elaborately prepared intrenchments on the north bank of the Chickahominy, the rebels have for more than a week past been expending themselves in a series of desperate endeavors to cut Grant’s communications, or failing in that, to drive his intrenching lines or break through them. In each effort they have failed. On Wednesday of last week they lost valuable ground in the vicinity of Coal Harbor [sic]. After several futile attempts to retrieve their loss, they concentrated in a grand assault on Friday evening, but were beaten back with fearful slaughter. That they fought most gallantly is to be inferred from the dispatch of General Grant, characterizing the battles as one of “great fury.” In half an hour the work was done, and next morning the enemy’s left wing was found to have been withdrawn during the night. Sunday night the assault was renewed and again terminated in a bloody repulse, and on the night following was repeated with much worse results. On this occasion the Confederate troops several times returned to the onset, but as often had their lines cut to pieces and were mowed down in masses.

Meanwhile our forces are steadily wrenching advanced positions, fortifying them, and “digging towards the enemy’s intrenchments.”  Grant seems resolved to drive the rebels across the river at any cost, but beyond this step does not develop his precise plans.  He yields nothing.  He has no conception of retiring.  He clings to his adversary in an ever tightening grapple, accepts punishment without abating a jot of his resolution, and returns it with large interest and scanty pause.

Over thirty days have now passed since the Virginia campaign began, and the question whether it has thus far been successful cannot be hard to determine.  Grant set out for Richmond, and Lee gave battle to prevent him from going there.  Heretofore the rebels have stopped and turned back our Richmond-bound armies.  After many severe battles, our present General has not once fallen back, while the rebel chief has fallen back for some fifty miles to the defenses of his now beleaguered capital.  The Rapidan was passed May 4th, and during the 5th and 6th Lee desperately hurled his veterans in grand masses to break our advance and compel that withdrawing of our army for a repetition of which, through the force of habit, the country was looking.  From the Wilderness, Grant pushed on for Richmond, and has ever since strategically dictated to Lee the course he must pursue.  Lee has simply been forced to dance attendance on the progress of his unexpected master in the art of war.  In the battles that have taken place each side has claimed victory, but the general situation and results are incontestable.  Grant set out for Richmond and is before it with an undiminished army, and with daily increasing strength with abundant resources, communications perfect, reinforcements arriving, fortifications rising, and daily repelling the most furious efforts of his desperate adversary to loosen his foothold or evade his grasp.  This situation, after a battle march of fifty miles, tells the whole story.

The favorable aspect is greatly heightened when we recur to Sherman and Johnston in Georgia.  The victorious progress there would itself almost determine the issue of the war, unless some almost impossible reverse were to take the place of the series of successful movements and battles at the very core of the Confederacy.