An Excerpt from the Current Issue: Volume 31, #6
The North Anna Campaign
by J. Michael Miller
As 1864 opened yet another year of war, President Abraham Lincoln determined to challenge his most successful commander, Ulysses S. Grant, by elevating him to lieutenant general and command all of the Armies of the United States. Lincoln reasoned the war was turning now in favor of the Union, but the coming year would prove decisive in both bringing the conflict to a successful resolution and determining the future leadership of the United States with the upcoming Presidential election in the fall. Grant’s proven skill in defeating the enemy armies in the West would now be tested at a new level—that of grand strategy.
In his address to Congress on December 8, 1863, Lincoln had laid out his policy for ending the war and beginning the process of reconstruction. “We have the new reckoning. The crisis which threatened to divide the friends of the Union is past,” said the President. “In the midst of other cares, however important, we must not lose sight of the fact that the war power is still our main reliance. To that power alone can we look, yet for a time. . . . Hence our chiefest care must still be directed to the army and navy.”