18 Miles from Richmond (May 29, 1864)

Just a short note from George Meade today. It is cautiously optimistic. General Grant was feeling even more confident. On May 26 he had written to Henry Halleck, ““Lee’s army is really whipped. The prisoners we now take show it, and the action of his army shows it unmistakably. A battle with them outside of intrenchments cannot be had. Our men feel that they have gained the morale over the enemy and attack with confidence. I may be mistaken, but I feel that our success over Lee’s army is already insured.”

We have crossed the Pamunkey, and are now within eighteen miles of Richmond. Lee has fallen back from the North Anna, and is somewhere between us and Richmond. We shall move forward to-day to feel for him. We are getting on very well, and I am in hopes will continue to manoeuvre till we compel Lee to retire into the defense of Richmond, when the grand decisive fight will come off, which I trust will bring the war to a close, and that it will be victory for us.

Meade’s correspondence taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 2, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), p. 199. Available via Google Books.

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