There are few months in the calendar of centuries that will have a more conspicuous place in history than the month of May, 1864. It will be remembered on account of the momentous events which have taken place during the present military operations. It inaugurates one of the greatest campaigns of history. We who are in it are amazed, not by its magnitude merely, for there have been larger armies, heavier trains of artillery, greater preparations, in European warfare,--but we are overwhelmed by a succession of events unparalleled for rapidity. We cannot fully comprehend the amount of endurance, the persistency, the hard marching, the harder fighting, the unwearied, cheerful energy and effort which have carried the Army of the Potomac from the Rappahannock to the Chickahominy in thirty days, against the stubborn opposition of an army of almost equal numbers. There has not been a day of rest, scarcely an hour of quiet. Morning, noon, and midnight, the booming of cannon and the rattling of musketry have echoed unceasingly through the Wilderness, around the hillocks of Spottsylvania, along the banks of the North Anna, and among the groves of Bethesda Church and Coal Harbor.
A brief résumé of the campaign, thus far developed, is all that can be attempted in the space assigned me. I must pass by the efforts of individuals, as heroic and soul-stirring as those of the old Cavaliers renowned in story and song, where all the energies of life are centred in one moment,--the spirited advance of regiments, the onset of brigades; and the resistless charges of divisions. I can speak only of the movements of corps, without dwelling upon those scenes which stir the blood and fire the soul,--the hardihood, the endurance, the cool, collected, reserved force, abiding the time, the calm facing of death, the swift advance, the rush, the plunge into the thickest of the fight, where hundreds of cannon, where fifty thousand muskets, fill the air with iron hail and leaden rain!