More than half a century has passed since the Civil War's close. Not many of the actors in it are left. It was one of the most tremendous upheavals in the life of any nation, and it was the greatest of all struggles, until the World War began, but scarcely any trace of partisan rancor or bitterness is left. So, it has become easier to write of it with a sense of fairness and detachment, and the lapse of time has made the perspective clear and sharp.
forces with all his old skill and resolution, but Grant had driven on and on. No matter what his losses the North always filled up his ranks again, and poured forward munitions and supplies in a vast and unbroken stream. A nation had summoned all its powers for a supreme effort to win, and Dick felt that the issue of the war was not now in doubt. The genius of Lee and the bravery of his devoted army could no longer save the South. The hammer strokes of Grant would surely crush it.
And then what? He had the deepest sympathy for these people of Virginia. What would become of them after the war? Defeat for the South meant nearer approach to destruction than any nation had suffered in generations. To him, born south of the Ohio River, and so closely united by blood with these people, victory as well as defeat had its pangs.
Warner and Pennington rose and announced that they would return to the regiment which was held in reserve in a little valley below, but Dick, their leave not having run out yet,