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Title: Our Standard-Bearer - The Life of General Uysses S. Grant
Author: Optic, Oliver, 1822-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  [Illustration: U.S.G FIRST IN WAR FIRST IN PEACE AND FIRST IN THE
  HEARTS OF HIS COUNTRYMEN]



                        =OUR STANDARD-BEARER;=


                      =GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT:=

_HIS YOUTH, HIS MANHOOD, HIS CAMPAIGNS, AND HIS EMINENT SERVICES IN THE
         RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NATION HIS SWORD HAS REDEEMED:_


                          AS SEEN AND RELATED

                    BY CAPTAIN BERNARD GALLIGASKEN,

                            _COSMOPOLITAN_,


                            AND WRITTEN OUT

                           BY OLIVER OPTIC.


                      ILLUSTRATED BY THOMAS NAST.


                                BOSTON:
                           LEE AND SHEPARD.
                                 1868.


      Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

                           WILLIAM T. ADAMS,

    In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
                            Massachusetts.


            Electrotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry,
                          No. 19 Spring Lane.



                                  TO

                       THE ILLUSTRIOUS SOLDIER,

                      _GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT,_

          PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FROM MARCH 4, 1869,

                             THE ONLY MAN

   WHO HAD THE MENTAL POWER, THE MORAL FORCE, THE MILITARY GENIUS TO
                               SUPPRESS

                         THE GREAT REBELLION,

                   THE MIGHTIEST THE WORLD EVER SAW;

                             THE MAN WHOM,

                             FIRST IN WAR,

                                  AND

                FIRST IN THE HEARTS OF HIS COUNTRYMEN,

                THE NATION WILL SOON ACKNOWLEDGE TO BE

                            FIRST IN PEACE,

                             =This Volume=

                  IS ADMIRINGLY AND ENTHUSIASTICALLY

                              DEDICATED.



PREFACE.


In this volume my friend Captain Galligasken has been permitted to tell
his story very much in his own way. As I fully and heartily indorse
his positions, fully and heartily share in his enthusiasm, my task has
consisted of nothing more than merely writing the book; and I assure
the reader that I have enjoyed quite as much as my friend the captain
the pleasant contemplation of the brilliant deeds of the illustrious
soldier. There is something positively inspiring in the following out
of such a career as that of General Grant; and when I declare that
the enthusiasm of Captain Galligasken is nothing more than just and
reasonable, I do it after a careful examination of the grounds on
which it is based; after a patient, but exceedingly agreeable, study
of the character of the man whom we have jointly eulogized; and after
instituting a critical comparison between the general and the mighty
men of the present and the past. I have twice read all that I have
written, and I find no occasion to add any qualifying words, and no
reason to moderate the warm enthusiasm of the captain.

As the candidate for the presidency of the dominant party in the land,
all of General Grant's sayings and doings will be subjected to the
closest scrutiny by his political opponents. All that he has said
and all that he has done will be remorselessly distorted by savage
critics. Partisan prejudice and partisan hatred will pursue him into
the privacies of life, as well as through every pathway and avenue of
his public career; but Captain Galligasken joins me in the confident
belief that no man has ever been held up to the gaze of the American
people who could stand the test better; hardly one who could stand it
as well. In his private life the general has been pure and guileless,
while in his public history he has been animated by the most noble and
exalted patriotism, ever willing to sacrifice all that he was and all
that he had for the cause in which he embarked.

The study of the illustrious hero's motives and character has been
exceedingly refreshing to me, as well as to my friend Captain
Galligasken, as we analyzed together the influences which guided him in
his eventful experience. We were unable to find any of those selfish
and belittling springs of action which rob great deeds of more than
half their glory. We could see in him a simplicity of character which
amazed us; a strength of mind, a singleness of heart, which caused us
to envy Sherman and Sheridan the possession of such a man's friendship.
Unlike most eminent men, whose very greatness has induced them to shake
off more or less of the traits of ordinary humanity, our illustrious
soldier is a lovable man--an attitude in which we are seldom permitted
to regard great men. He stands in violent contrast with the bombastic
heroes of all times--modest, gentle-hearted, and always approachable.
There is none of the frigid reserve in his manner which awes common
people in the contemplation of those exalted by mighty deeds or a lofty
position. Captain Galligasken says all this upon his honor as a soldier
and an historian; and from my own personal stand-point I cordially
indorse his opinion, which, in both instances, is derived from actual
experience.

Captain Galligasken was somewhat afraid of the politicians, and not a
little nervous at the possible manner those of the party to which he
never had the honor to belong might regard his enthusiasm. I have taken
the liberty to assure him that his enthusiasm is legitimate; that he
has never manifested it except on suitable occasions; that the fact
always specified in connection with the glowing eulogy amply justifies
his praise. I was willing to go farther, and to insist that it was
impossible for the politicians of his own or any other party to resist
the conclusions, or withhold the homage, after the facts were admitted.


And this matter of facts, the unclothed skeleton of reliable history
and biography, is a point on which my friend Captain Galligasken
is especially sensitive. Our library of reference in the agreeable
task we have jointly performed included all the works bearing on the
subject now extant in the country. We have used them liberally and
faithfully, and, animated by a desire to set forth "the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth" in regard to the illustrious
soldier, the Captain feels entirely confident that he has produced
a reliable history of all the important phases in his life. He has
plentifully besprinkled his pages with anecdotes, some of which have
never been related before, for they are the most telling illustrations
of individual character.

We jointly acknowledge our indebtedness to General Adam Badeau's
"Military History of Ulysses S. Grant," at once the most interesting
and exhaustive work on the subject which has yet been issued, and
which Captain Galligasken insists that every patriotic lover of the
truth should read; to "Ohio in the War;" to "Grant and his Campaigns,"
by Professor Coppée, who had peculiar facilities for the performance
of his task; to Howland's "Grant as a Soldier and a Statesman;"
to Swinton's "Army of the Potomac;" to General Shanks's "Personal
Recollections of Distinguished Generals;" and, in a less degree,
to other volumes. Captain Galligasken is especially desirous of
acknowledging his obligations to his friend Pollard, author of "The
Lost Cause,"--though he thinks Grant is the chief author of the _lost_
cause,--not only for the citations he has taken the liberty to make
from the book, but also for some of the heartiest laughs he ever had in
his life. We tender our personal thanks to those kind friends--whose
names we are not even permitted to mention--for facts, suggestions, and
anecdotes.

When our enterprising and discriminating publishers insisted upon just
this Life of General Grant,--which I should not have been willing
to undertake without the indispensable aid of my cheerful friend
the captain,--we gladly accepted the agreeable task; but I noticed
that Captain Galligasken appeared to be disturbed in his mind about
something. I asked him what it was. He replied by asking me what
possible excuse a humble individual like himself could offer for
inflicting upon the patient, much-enduring community another Life of
General Grant, who was even then more fortunate than a cat, for he had
more than "nine lives." I bade him tell the reason, and he did.

"Because I can't help it," he replied; "because I desire to have the
people of the United States see General Grant just as I see him. He has
been nominated by the National Republican party as its candidate for
the presidency, on a platform which every patriot, every Christian,
heartily indorses, and which is the sum total of the general's
political creed. I wish, if I can, to do something for his election;
and I am fully persuaded that all the people would vote for him if
they understood the man. I am no politician, never held an office, and
never expect to hold one; but I believe in Grant above and beyond all
party considerations. I respect, admire, and love the man. I glory in
his past, and I am confident of his future. I honestly, sincerely, and
heartily believe every word we have written. Nothing but the election
of Grant can save the nation from the infamy of practical repudiation,
from the distractions which have shaken the land since the close of the
Rebellion, if not from another civil war and the ultimate dissolution
of the Union. I hope the people will read our book, think well, and be
as enthusiastic as I am."

It affords me very great pleasure, again and finally, to be able to
indorse my friend Captain Galligasken. He is sincere; and before my
readers condemn his enthusiasm, I beg to inquire how they can escape
his conclusions. All we ask is a fair hearing, and we are confident
that the people who sustained Grant through the war will enable him
to finish in the presidential chair the glorious work he began on the
battle-fields of the republic.


                                                          OLIVER OPTIC.


  HARRISON SQUARE, MASS.,
      July 11, 1868.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER I.

                                                                   PAGE

  Wherein Captain Galligasken modestly disparages himself,
  and sets forth with becoming Enthusiasm the
  Virtues of the illustrious Soldier whose Life he insists
  upon writing.                                                     15

  CHAPTER II.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken delineates the early History
  of the illustrious Soldier, and deduces therefrom the
  Presages of future Greatness.                                     26

  CHAPTER III.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken "talks Horse," and illustrates
  the Subject with some Anecdotes from the Life
  of the illustrious Soldier.                                       36

  CHAPTER IV.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  to West Point, and dilates admiringly upon the
  many excellent Traits of Character which the Hero
  exhibited there.                                                  46

  CHAPTER V.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken accompanies the illustrious
  Soldier to Mexico, and glowingly dilates upon the
  gallant Achievements of our Arms from Palo Alto to
  Monterey.                                                         56

  CHAPTER VI.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken marches with the illustrious
  Soldier to the Halls of the Montezumas, and
  glowingly describes the brilliant Campaign in Mexico.             66

  CHAPTER VII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken goes with the illustrious
  Soldier to the Farm near St. Louis, and observes his
  Career through various Misfortunes, till he is included
  in the Firm of Grant & Sons.                                      76

  CHAPTER VIII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken discourses upon the breaking
  out of the Rebellion, and describes the noble and
  modest Behavior of the illustrious Soldier.                       86

  CHAPTER IX.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken has Something to say about
  Citizen Soldiers, and follows the illustrious Soldier into
  the Field in Missouri.                                            96

  CHAPTER X.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken relates a pleasing Anecdote
  of the illustrious Soldier, and shows how and why
  he captured Paducah.                                             106

  CHAPTER XI.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken describes the Battle of Belmont,
  and further illustrates the military Qualities of
  the illustrious Soldier, as exhibited in that fierce Fight.      117

  CHAPTER XII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken rehearses the persistent
  Efforts of the illustrious Soldier to obtain Permission
  to attack Fort Henry, and follows him to the Capture
  of that important Position.                                      128

  CHAPTER XIII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken states the Results of the
  Victory at Fort Henry, and attends the illustrious
  Soldier in the Investment of Fort Donelson.                      138

  CHAPTER XIV.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  to the Victory at Fort Donelson, and points out the
  Nature and Extent of that splendid Achievement.                  148

  CHAPTER XV.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  through the Period of his temporary Disgrace and
  triumphant Vindication to the opening Scenes at Shiloh.          158

  CHAPTER XVI.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken views the illustrious Soldier
  in the Battle of Shiloh, and corrects some popular Errors
  in regard to that savage Fight.                                  170

  CHAPTER XVII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken finishes the Battle of Shiloh,
  and sympathizes with the illustrious Soldier in his
  unmerited Disgrace while he is waiting, waiting, before
  Corinth.                                                         180

  CHAPTER XVIII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken treats of the Corinth Campaign,
  and admiringly calls Attention to the splendid
  Abilities of the illustrious Soldier as a District Commander.    191

  CHAPTER XIX.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken shows how six Months
  were spent around Vicksburg by the illustrious Soldier,
  and how the President rather liked the Man, and
  thought he would try him a little longer.                        201

  CHAPTER XX.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken illustrates the Temperance
  Principles of the illustrious Soldier, and proceeds with
  him on his conquering Path to the Capital of Mississippi.        211

  CHAPTER XXI.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  through the Campaign in Mississippi to the Siege
  and Surrender of Vicksburg.                                      223

  CHAPTER XXII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken sums up the magnificent
  Results of the Capture of Vicksburg, and starts with
  the illustrious Soldier for Chattanooga, after his Appointment
  to the Command of the combined Armies
  of the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Ohio.                  234

  CHAPTER XXIII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken details the Means by which
  the illustrious Soldier relieved the Army of the Cumberland,
  and traces his Career to the glorious Victory
  of Chattanooga.                                                  246

  CHAPTER XXIV.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken has Something more to say
  about the glorious Campaign of Chattanooga, and illustrates
  some of the personal Characteristics of the
  illustrious Soldier.                                             259

  CHAPTER XXV.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  to Washington, where, after enduring many Hardships,
  he is commissioned Lieutenant General in the
  Army of the United States.                                       272

  CHAPTER XXVI.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken has Something to say
  about the illustrious Soldier's Views of Strategy, and
  follows him across the Rapidan into The Wilderness.              284

  CHAPTER XXVII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the Campaign of
  the Army of the Potomac, and the illustrious Soldier
  announces that he shall fight it out on that Line, if it
  takes all Summer.                                                296

  CHAPTER XXVIII.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken describes in brief Detail
  the Siege of Petersburg and Richmond, and attends
  the illustrious Soldier to the End of the Campaign at
  Appomattox Court House.                                          310

  CHAPTER XXIX.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken has a few Words to say
  about Lee's Surrender, and demonstrates to his own
  and his Reader's entire Satisfaction, that the illustrious
  Soldier is not an accidental Hero.                               323

  CHAPTER XXX.

  Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
  in his Career after the War, relates several Anecdotes
  of him, and respectfully invites the whole World
  to MATCH HIM.                                                    337



                        =Our Standard-Bearer;=

                                OR, THE

                   LIFE OF GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT.



CHAPTER I.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken modestly disparages himself, and sets
    forth with becoming Enthusiasm the Virtues of the illustrious
    Soldier whose Life he insists upon writing._


Who am I? It makes not the least difference who I am. If I shine at
all in this veritable history,--which I honestly confess I have not
the slightest desire to do,--it will be only in the reflected radiance
of that great name which has become a household word in the home of
every loyal citizen, north and south, of this mighty Republic; a name
that will shine with transcendent lustre as his fame rings along down
the grand procession of the ages, growing brighter and more glorious
the farther it is removed from the petty jealousies of contemporaneous
heroes, statesmen, and chroniclers.

What am I? It does not make the least difference what I am. I am to
chronicle the deeds of that illustrious soldier, the providential man
of the Great Rebellion, who beat down the strongholds of Treason by
the force of his mighty will, and by a combination of moral and mental
qualifications which have been united in no other man, either in the
present or the past.

What was Washington? God bless him! A wise and prudent statesman, a
devoted patriot, the savior of the new-born nationality.

What was Napoleon? The greatest soldier of the century which ended with
the battle of Waterloo.

What was Andrew Jackson? The patriot statesman, who had a will of his
own.

What were Cæsar, Wellington, Marlborough, Scott? All strong men, great
soldiers, devoted patriots.

What is the Great Captain, the illustrious hero of the Modern Republic?
He is all these men united into one. He has held within the grasp of
his mighty thought larger armies than any other general who is worthy
to be mentioned in comparison with him, controlling their movements,
and harmonizing their action throughout a territory vastly larger than
that comprised in the battle-grounds of Europe for a century.

Washington was great in spite of repeated defeats. Grant is great
through a long line of brilliant successes. Napoleon won victories,
and then clothed himself in the scarlet robes of an emperor, seated
himself on a throne, and made his country's glory only the lever of
his own glory. Grant won victories not less brilliant, and then
modestly smoked his cigar on the grand level of the people, diffidently
accepting any such honors as a grateful people thrust upon him.

As I yield the tribute of admiring homage to Washington that he put
the Satan of sovereign power behind him when he was tempted with the
glittering bait, I am amazed that Grant, the very idol of a million
veteran soldiers, permitted his sword to rest in its scabbard while his
recreant superior, by the accident of the assassin's bullet, dared to
thwart the will of the people whose ballots had elevated him to power.
I can almost worship him for his forbearance under the keenest insults
to which the sensitive soul of a true soldier can be subjected, that
he did not smite his cunning traducer, and did not even appeal to the
people.

Who am I? If I am seen at all in this true narrative of a sublime
life, I beg to be regarded as the most humble and least deserving of
Columbia's chosen sons, but standing, for the moment, on a pedestal,
and blushingly pointing to the historic canvas, whereon is delineated
the triumphal career of the Great Man of the nineteenth century; the
successful General, towering in lofty preëminence above every other
man, who in the days of darkness struck a blow for the redemption of
the nation; the fledged Statesman, who, without being a politician,
apprehended and vitalized the chosen policy of the sovereign people. I
am nothing; he is everything.

I am an enthusiast!

Is there nothing in The Man, sublimated by glorious deeds, elevated
by a conquering will far above his fellows, almost deified by the
highest development of godlike faculties,--is there nothing in The
Man to quicken the lazy flow in the veins of the beholder? Can I, who
marched from Belmont to Appomattox Court House, by the way of Donelson,
Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Spottsylvania, Petersburg, and Five Forks, who
have, since the collapse of the rebellion, gazed, in common with the
Senators and Representatives in Congress, the Governors of the states,
the President, and the heads of the departments of state, the sovereign
people, with friends and with foes of the regenerated country,--can I,
who have gazed with the most intense interest at the little two-story
brick building in the nation's capital, where smoked and labored the
genius of the war, to see what that one man would do, to hear what that
one man would say,--can I gaze and listen without realizing the throb
which heaves the mighty heart of the nation? I felt as they felt, that
there was only one man in the land. It mattered little what senators
and representatives enacted in the halls of Congress, if he did not
indorse it. It mattered little what the Nation's Accident vetoed, if
he but approved it. It was of little consequence what rebels north or
rebels south planned and plotted, if only this one man frowned upon
it. Reconstruction could flourish only in his smile. If a department
commander ambitiously or stupidly belied his war record, and attempted
to bolster up with this diplomacy the treason which he had put down
with his sword, the howl of the loyal millions was changed into a shout
of exultation, if the one man in the little two-story brick building in
Washington only nodded his disapproval of the course of the recreant.
That man has been the soul of the people's policy of reconstruction.
Conscious that he was its friend, it mattered not who was its enemy;
for foes could delay, but not defeat it.

Can I be unmoved while I look at The Man? When I behold a huge
steamship, the giant of the deep, threading its way through night and
storm over the pathless ocean, from continent to continent, herself
a miracle to the eye, I wonder. When I see the electric telegraph,
flashing a living thought from farthest east to farthest west, and even
along its buried channel in the depths of the storm-tossed ocean, I
wonder. Can I gaze unmoved upon the Man, the Fulton, the Morse, from
whose busy brain, lighted up by an inspiration from the Infinite, which
common men cannot even understand, came forth the grand conception of
these miracles of science?

I am an enthusiast. I cannot gaze at the spectacle of a nation rent
and shattered by the most stupendous treason that ever fouled historic
annals, restored to peace and unity, without a thrill of emotion.
I cannot follow our gallant armies in imagination now, as I did in
reality then, in their triumphal march from the gloom of Fredericksburg
and Chancellorsville to the glorious light and sunshine of Vicksburg
and Five Forks, from death at Bull Run, to life at Fort Donelson,
without having my heart leap with grateful enthusiasm.

In the ghastly midnight of disaster, when the nation's pulse almost
ceased to beat in dread and anxiety for the fearful issue, we had
men--hundreds of thousands, millions of men, the bravest and truest
soldiers that ever bore a musket. Thousands and tens of thousands of
them sleep beneath the bloody sod of Antietam, in the miry swamps
of the Chickahominy, and under the parching soil of the southern
savannas, where they sank to their rest with the field unconquered
above them. There they slumber, each of them a willing sacrifice, if
his death brought the nation but one hair's breadth nearer to the final
redemption, or could add one ray to the flood of light which the peace
they prayed for would shed upon the land beloved.

There was no lack of men, and pure patriots prayed for a leader. They
sighed for a Washington, a Napoleon, a Wellington, to guide their
swelling masses of ardent warriors from the gloom of disaster to the
brightness of victory. Chiefs, mighty in battle, pure in purpose,
skilful in device and execution, reared their banners successively at
the head of the valiant hosts, then drooped and fell, as the hot blast
of jealousy swept over them, or they became entangled in the silken
meshes of adulation. In none of these did the soldiers find their true
leader, though they fought fiercely and fell in horrid slaughter under
all of them.

It was only when the soul of the mustered hosts was fired by the
sublime fact of a worthy leader, and their muscles nerved by the will
of a mighty champion, that the thundering march of victory commenced,
and the triumphal car of the conqueror swept like a whirlwind through
the war-stricken South. Then treason trembled, tottered, few. Then
the infatuated leaders of rebellion wailed in terror, and fled from
the halter that dangled over their heads. Then the one man of the war
towered like a giant above his fellows. Then he stood forth as the
nation's savior, and a generous people placed the laurel on his brow.

I am an enthusiast as I review the history of my country from 1862
to the present time. I watched with McClellan in the oozy swamps of
Virginia, when he feared to risk his popularity by striking an avenging
stroke at the exposed foe, and I joined in singing the pæan of victory
with Grant after Five Forks, when the final blow had been given to the
rebellion. Therefore am I enthusiastic.

The people acknowledged the greatness of Grant's military genius, the
tremendous power of his will, and the unflinching earnestness of his
patriotism. Then, while salvos of artillery throughout the loyal land
proclaimed the victory to the astonished nations, we hailed Grant as
OUR STANDARD-BEARER.

If I am enthusiastic, so are the people, to their honor and glory be it
said. I shall only ask to be their mouthpiece, assured that I cannot
exceed their estimate of the hero. What he was in the storm of battle,
he is in the calm pursuits of peace. What he was among the soldiers,
he is among the citizens. As he possessed the unlimited confidence of
the "boys in blue," so has he the unlimited confidence of the people.
They are full of gratitude to him for the past, full of trust in him
for the present, and full of hope in him for the future. In a tone more
enthusiastic, and a voice more united than ever before since the days
of Washington, the people have declared that Grant shall still be
OUR STANDARD-BEARER, and I am more enthusiastic than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Presumptuous as it may be in one so humble and little deserving as I
am to intrude himself upon the public eye, I insist upon giving my
views of the life of General Grant. I claim to know all about the
distinguished subject of my story--which is no story at all, inasmuch
as every word of it, so far as it relates to the general, is only the
living truth, as I understand it. Even if my kind and courteous readers
should deem me a myth, I shall only have won the obscurity I covet, and
succeed in concentrating their attention upon the illustrious man whose
immortal name I reverently utter, and whose undying deeds I seek to
illustrate.

I wish to say in the beginning, that I hold it to be the sacred duty
of the historian to tell the truth; so far as in him lies. For this
reason I have taken the trouble, in this initial chapter of my work,
to explain at some length the grounds of my individual enthusiasm in
speaking and writing of the illustrious subject of this memoir. The
fact, and my view of the fact, are two essentially different things. I
shall state facts as I find them; and whatever view my indulgent reader
may entertain in regard to me and my views, I assure him, on the honor
of an historian, that all my statements are true, and worthy of the
utmost credit.

Others may not be willing to agree with me in all respects in
my estimate of particular events or incidents in the life of my
illustrious subject, though I am persuaded there can be no essential
difference in our view of the sum-total of the general--that he must
stand unchallenged as the greatest man and the greatest soldier of
the nineteenth century, if not of all time. A proper regard for the
sacred truth of history compels me to make this declaration, which I do
without the fear of a denial.

I have been very much pained to observe that my friend, Mr. Pollard,
author of "The Lost Cause," has arrived at an estimate of the merit
of our distinguished general, which is, in some respects, different
from my own. Perhaps my valued contemporary was unable to derive the
necessary inspiration from his subject to enable him to do full justice
to the shining abilities of some of the heroes who, unfortunately for
The Lost Cause, were on the other side of the unpleasant controversy.
Doubtless Mr. Pollard meant well; but it is painful to find that he
has, in some cases, exhibited symptoms of prejudice, especially towards
General Grant, who does not seem to be a favorite general with him.
I notice also on his pages a degree of partiality towards General
Lee which greatly astonishes me. After a careful examination of Mr.
Pollard's voluminous work, I am surprised and grieved to find that he
actually regards Lee, in the matter of soldier-like qualities and in
generalship, as the superior of Grant!

I confess my surprise at his singular position; but in view of the
fact that he is writing the history of "The Lost Cause"--lost, the
world acknowledges, through the active agency of General Grant,--I am
disposed to palliate, though not to excuse, my friend's departures
from the sacred line of historic truth. Mr. Lee is doubtless a very
amiable and kind-hearted gentleman, though we must protest against
his inhumanity to the Belle Island prisoners; but I object to any
comparison of him, as a general, with Grant. When Mr. Pollard shall
have time to go over the ground again, he will see his blunders, and,
being an honest man, he will have the hardihood to correct them. Then
"The Lost Cause" will be to him, as to the rest of mankind, a monument
of the folly and wickedness of those who engaged in it, a solemn
warning to traitors and conspirators, and the best panegyric of the
true hero of the war which a rebel pen could indite.

Though, as I said before, it makes no difference who or what I am,
it will be no more than courtesy for me to satisfy the reasonable
curiosity of my readers on these points, before I enter upon the
pleasant task before me. Though one of my ancestors, some ten
generations back, was born in the parish of Blarney, in the County of
Cork, Ireland, I was not born there. Sir Bernard Galligasken--whose
name, shorn of its aristocratic handle, I have the honor to bear--was
one of the earliest known, at the present time, of our stock,
and emigrated to Scotland, where he married one of the Grants of
Aberdeenshire. My more immediate progenitor came over in the Mayflower,
and landed on Plymouth Rock, for which, on this account, as well as
because I love the principles of those stalwart men of the olden time,
I have ever had the most profound veneration. Early in the present
century my parents removed from Eastern Massachusetts to the Great West.

I was born at Point Pleasant, Ohio, April 27, 1822. By a singular
coincidence (on my side) was born in the same town, and on the same
day, Hiram Ulysses Grant.



CHAPTER II.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken delineates the early History of the
    illustrious Soldier, and deduces therefrom the Presages of Future
    Greatness._


I respectfully subscribe myself a cosmopolitan, not in the sense that I
am a citizen of the world--God forbid! for I am too proud of my title
as an American citizen to share my nationality with any other realm
under the sun. I am cosmopolitan in the "everywhere" significance of
the term; and it has been a cause of sincere regret to me that I could
only be in one place at one time; but I ought to be content, since I
always happened to be in sight or hearing of the illustrious subject of
my feeble admiration.

Point Pleasant is a village on the Ohio, twenty-five miles above
Cincinnati, celebrated for nothing in particular, except being the
birthplace of General Grant, which, however, is glory enough for any
town; and passengers up and down the beautiful river, for generations
to come, will gaze with wondering interest at its spires, because there
first drew the breath of life the immortal man who has been and still
is Our Standard-Bearer.

Many people have a fanatical veneration for blood as such. I confess I
yield no allegiance to this sentiment, for I expect to be what I make
myself, rather than what I am made by my distinguished ancestor, Sir
Bernard Galligasken. But those who attach any weight to pedigree may
be reasonably gratified in the solid character of the progenitors of
General Grant. He came from the Grants of Aberdeenshire, in Scotland,
whose heraldic motto was, "_Stand fast, stand firm, stand sure!_"
which, by an astonishing prescience of the seers of the clan, seems
to have been invented expressly to describe the moral and mental
attributes of the illustrious soldier of our day.

Matthew Grant was a passenger in the Mary and John, and settled in
Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1630. The American citizen, whose pride
tempts him to look beyond the Pilgrim Fathers for glorious ancestors,
ought to have been born in England, where pride of birth bears its
legitimate fruit. Grant came in a direct line from one of these
worthies; but I never heard him congratulate himself even on this
fortunate and happy origin. Noah Grant, a descendant of the stout
Puritan, emigrated to Connecticut, and was a captain in the Old French
War. He was killed in battle, in 1756, having attained the rank of
captain. His son, also taking the patriarchal name, was belligerent
enough to have been killed in battle, for he was a soldier in the
revolutionary war from Lexington--where he served as a lieutenant--to
Yorktown, the last engagement of that seven years' strife. This
faithful soldier was the general's grandfather. He had a son named for
Mr. Chief Justice Jesse Root, of Connecticut, who was the father of Our
Standard-Bearer.

Jesse Root Grant was born in Pennsylvania, but when he was ten years
of age his parents removed to the Western Reserve of Ohio. He was
apprenticed to a tanner at Maysville, Kentucky, when he was sixteen,
and set up in business for himself at Ravenna, Ohio, when he was of
age; but severe illness compelled him to relinquish it for a time. In
1820 he settled at Point Pleasant, and married Miss Hannah Simpson.
Here, in a little one-story house, still in existence, was born the
subject of our story.

The house in which Peter the Great lived at Sardam while he worked at
ship-building is still preserved, enclosed within another, tableted
with inscriptions, and protected from the ravages of time for the
inspection of future ages. I wonder that some ardent patriot has not
already done a similar service to the little structure in which was
born a greater than Czar Peter, and one whose memory will be cherished
when the autocrat of the Russias is forgotten.

The house is a mere shanty, which was comfortable enough in its day,
with an extension in the rear, and with the chimney on the outside
of one end. It was a good enough house even for so great a man to be
born in, and compares very favorably with that in which Lincoln, his
co-laborer in the war, first drew the breath of life. It has become
historic now, and the people will always regard it with glowing
interest.

Grant's mother was a very pretty, but not pretentious, girl; a very
worthy, but not austere, matron. She was a member of the Methodist
church, with high views of Christian duty, especially in regard to her
children, whom she carefully trained and earnestly watched over in
their early years. Her influence as a noble Christian woman has had,
and is still to have, through her illustrious son, more weight and
broader expansion than she ever dreamed of in the days of her poverty
and toil.

A year after the birth of the first born, Jesse Grant, then a poor man,
though he afterwards accumulated a handsome property, removed from
Point Pleasant to Georgetown, Ohio, where he carried on his business
as a tanner; and as he tanned with nothing but oak bark, and did his
work in a superior manner, his reputation was excellent. I am hard on
leather myself, but my first pair of shoes was made of leather from the
tannery of J.R. Grant, and they wore like iron. It has been observed
that this leather, made up into thick boots, was more effectual than
any other when applied by the indignant owner to the purpose sometimes
necessary, though always disagreeable, of kicking an unmannerly and
ill-behaved ruffian out of doors. Though I have not had occasion to
test Mr. Grant's leather in this direction, I am a firm believer in its
virtue.

I cannot say that, as a baby, Ulysses had any fore-shadowings of the
brilliant destiny in store for him. It is quite possible that his
fond mother regarded him as a remarkable child, if the neighbors in
Georgetown did not. Certainly, in this instance, she was nearer right
than loving mothers usually are, and is entitled to much credit for
the justness of her view on this interesting subject. I am confident
that the infant Hercules displayed some of the energy of which has
distinguished his manhood--that he declined to be washed, and held
on to dangerous play-things, with greater tenacity than children of
tender years usually do. Still, the sacredness of historic truth does
not permit me to assume that he displayed any of the traits of a great
general, except the embryo of his mighty will, until he had attained
his second year, when the first decided _penchant_ for the roar of
artillery manifested itself on a small scale.

My friend Mr. Pollard alludes to the incident in his valuable work
on The Lost Cause, though, I am pained to observe, in a tone of
disparagement quite unworthy of him, as a "Yankee affectation." As he
seems to have no scruples in telling strange stories about Stonewall
Jackson, Jeb. Stuart, and other Southern worthies, I am compelled to
attribute this incredulity and ridicule to a foolish prejudice. Though
I happened to be present when the event occurred,--a cosmopolitan then,
as now,--I was in the arms of my maternal parent, and being only two
years old at the time, I am unable to vouch for its truth on my own
personal recollection; but the father of General Grant has confirmed it.

"Let me try the effect of a pistol report on the baby," said a young
man to the anxious parent in the street, on the fourth of July, where
great numbers of people were gathered.

"The child has never seen a pistol or a gun in his life," replied Mr.
Grant; "but you may try it."

The hand of the baby was placed on the trigger, and pressed there till
the lock sprang, and the pistol went off with a loud report. The future
commander-in-chief hardly moved or twitched a muscle.

"Fick it again! fick it again!" cried the child, pushing away the
weapon, and desiring to have the experiment repeated.

"That boy will make a general; he neither winked nor dodged," added the
inevitable bystander, a cosmopolitan like myself, who is ever at hand
on momentous occasions.

To me, the trait of character exhibited by the child is not so much the
type of a taste for the rattle of musketry and the odor of gunpowder as
of a higher manifestation of soldier-like qualities. After weary days
and long nights of the thunder of cannon at Donelson, when ordinary
generals would have been disgusted and disheartened by continued
failure, Grant persevered, not knowing that he had been beaten, and
in tones full of grand significance, though in speech more mature, he
repeats his order,--

"Fick it again! fick it again!"

When canal, and squadron, and repeated assaults had failed to reduce
Vicksburg, and friend and foe believed that the place was invulnerable,
Grant seemed to shout,--

"Fick it again! fick it again!"

When, after the terrible onslaught of the Union army at the Wilderness,
no advantage seemed to have been gained, and the time came when Grant's
predecessors had fled to recruit in a three months' respite, the heroic
leader only said, in substance,--

"Fick it again! fick it again!"

At Spottsylvania he hurled his army again at the rebel host, and then
fought battle after battle, never completely succeeding, but never
turning his eye or his thought from the object to be gained: he still
maintained his baby philosophy, and still issued the order of the day,
which was, practically,--

"Fick it again! fick it again!"

That celebrated telegram, sent to Secretary Stanton, which thrilled
the hearts of the waiting people as they listened for the tidings
of battle, and which was a most significant exponent of the man's
character and purpose, "I shall fight it out on this line, if it takes
all summer," was only another rendering of his childish exclamation,--

"Fick it again! fick it again!"

Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, Richmond, the Rebellion itself, were fully
and completely "ficked," in the end, by the carrying out of his policy.
It is an excellent rule, when a plan does not work in one way, to "fick"
it again.

Grant's father was too poor at this time to send him to school
steadily, for the boy was an industrious fellow, and had a degree of
skill and tact in the management of work that rendered him a very
useful assistant. He went to school three months in winter till he
was eleven, when even this meagre privilege was denied him, and his
subsequent means of education were very limited. But his opportunities
were fully improved, and he heartily devoted himself to the cultivation
of his mind. He was the original discoverer of the fact that there is
no such word as "can't" in the dictionary; and it appears never to have
been added to his vocabulary. Grant's dictionary was a capital one for
practical service; and if some of our generals had used this excellent
edition, their own fame and the country's glory would have been
thereby promoted.

It affords me very great pleasure to be able to testify, in the most
decided manner, that Grant was a patriot in his boyhood, as well as
in the later years of his life. As an American youth, he had a just
and proper reverence for the name of Washington, which is the symbol
of patriotism to our countrymen. Grant's cousin from Canada came to
live with his uncle for a time in Georgetown, and went to school
with the juvenile hero. This lad, though born under the shadow of
the Star-spangled Banner, had imbibed some pestilent notions from
the Canadians, and had the audacity to speak ill of the immortal
Washington. This was not the only time that Americans from Canada have
assailed their native land, nor was this the only time that Ulysses had
the honor of fighting the battle directly or indirectly against them.
On the present occasion, in spite of the oft-repeated admonition of his
pious mother to forgive his enemies and not to fight, he pitched into
the renegade and thrashed him soundly, as he deserved to be thrashed. I
never spoke ill of Washington, but I should esteem it a great honor to
have been thrashed by Ulysses S. Grant in such a cause; and doubtless
his cousin, if still living, and not a Canadian, is proud of his
whipping.

Grant appears not to have been a brilliant horse-trader, at least not
after the tactics of jockeys in general, though in this, as in all
other purposes, he carried his point. At the age of twelve his father
sent him to buy a certain horse--and it ought to be remarked that his
worthy sire seems to have had as much confidence in him at that time
as the sovereign people of the present day manifest in him. He was
instructed to offer fifty dollars for the animal; then fifty-five if
the first offer failed, with the limit at sixty. Ralston, the owner
of the horse, wished to know how much the youthful purchaser was
authorized by his father to give for the animal. Ulysses, with a degree
of candor which would have confounded an ordinary jockey, explained his
instructions in full, and of course the owner asked the maximum sum for
him.

Though the youth had "shown his hand," he was not the easy victim he
was supposed to be. He positively refused to give more than fifty
dollars for the horse, after he had seen and examined him. He had made
up his mind, and the horse was purchased for that sum. I think Grant
bought out the Rebellion in about the same way; for while he was ready
to pay "fifty-five," or even "sixty," for the prize of a nation's peace
and unity, the rebels came down at the "fifty."

Grant was a good boy, in the reasonable sense of the term, though
he did not die young. I never heard that he made any extravagant
pretensions to piety himself, or that any one ever made any for him,
though he attended church himself regularly, and had a profound respect
for religious worship. He was a sober, quiet little fellow, indulged
in no long speeches then any more than now. He was a youth of eminent
gravity, rather an old head on young shoulders, and I am only surprised
that neither his parents nor his instructors discovered in him the germ
of greatness. As the child is father to the man, all the records of
his early years concur in showing that he exhibited the same traits of
character then as now.

The phrenologist who examined Ulysses' "bumps," and declared that
"it would not be strange" if he became the President of the United
States, exhibited more intelligence than others within the ring; but I
am provoked with him that he did not state the case stronger; for if
there is anything at all in phrenology, the gentleman ought to have
been confident of this result. Any man _may_ become President, as the
stupendous accident of the present generation has shown, but every
man is not fit for the place. It is vastly better to be qualified
to fill the high position, than it is even to fill it. As Grant was
the providential man of the war, so shall he be the providential man
of the peace that follows it in the highest office within the gift
of the people. No accident can cheat him out of his destiny, which
he willingly accepts, more for the glory of the nation than of the
individual.



CHAPTER III.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken "talks Horse," and illustrates the
    Subject with some Anecdotes from the Life of the illustrious
    Soldier._


The horse is a noble animal, and it is by no means remarkable that
a bond of sympathy has been established between great men and good
horses. I have noticed that distinguished generals are always mounted
on splendid steeds--a fact of which painters and sculptors have
availed themselves in their delineations, on canvas or in marble, of
the heroes and mighty men of history. Bucephalus, the war-charger
of Alexander the Great, seems to be almost a part of the Macedonian
conqueror; Washington, in the various equestrian attitudes in which he
is presented to the admiring gaze of the people by the artist, appears
to gain power and dignity from the noble steed he rides; and scores
of lesser heroes, dismounted and detached from the horse, would, so
far as the eye is concerned, slip down from the pedestal of grandeur
to the level of common men. Though it is sometimes unfortunate that
the limner's idea of the man is better than of the horse, it will be
universally acknowledged that the gallant steed adds dignity and grace
to the hero.

Although it has not yet been the good fortune of the American people
to behold any worthy equestrian delineation of our illustrious soldier,
either on canvas or in marble, yet the popular ideal would represent
him as a sort of Centaur--half horse and half Grant. While I am by
no means willing to acknowledge that every man who "talks horse" is
necessarily a great man, it is undeniable that great military geniuses
have figured attractively and appropriately in intimate association
with this intelligent and noble animal. The inspired writers used the
horse to add grandeur and sublimity to their imagery, and St. John's
vision of Death on the Pale Horse thrills the soul by the boldness of
the equestrian attitude in which it places the grim destroyer.

The centaur which the American people idolize is not an unworthy
combination, and neither the man nor the horse loses by the
association. From the time the embryo hero could go alone--if there
ever was a time when he could not go alone--Grant fancied the horse;
Grant loved the horse; Grant conquered the horse.

Bucephalus was offered for sale to Philip by a Thessalian horse-jockey.
He was a glorious horse, but neither groom nor courtier could handle
him. So fierce was his untamed will, that the king ordered the jockey
to take him away; but Alexander, grieved at the thought of losing so
fine a steed, remonstrated with his father, who promised to buy him if
his son would ride him. Alexander did ride him, and the horse became
his war-charger in all his campaigns.

In his early and intimate association with the horse, young Grant
exhibited the force of his immense will, even more effectively than
his Macedonian prototype.

When children of seven "talk horse," they do so at a respectful
distance from the object of their admiration, with a lively
consciousness that the animal has teeth and heels. At this age Grant
demonstrated his enterprise by operating with a three-year-old colt.
I do not profess to be a great man, as I have before had occasion to
remark, or to possess any of the elements of greatness; but I do like
a horse, while I am free to say I should as soon think of teaching an
African lion to dance a hornpipe as to meddle with a three-year-old
colt. However good-natured the creature may be, he has an innate
independence of character, which makes him restive, and even vicious,
under restraint. I never break colts.

Georgetown, where we lived in those early days, was about seven miles
from the Ohio. One day Grant's father went to Ripley, a small town on
the river, and remained there all day. The juvenile centaur had an
idea on that occasion, which for a seven-year-old, may be regarded
as an emphatically brilliant one. On the place was a three-year-old
colt, which had been used under the saddle, but never attached to a
vehicle of any kind. It required some confidence on the part of the
youth to think of harnessing this unbroken animal; yet he not only
conceived the idea, but actually carried it out. He put the collar on
the three-year-old for the first time, attached him to a sled, and
hauled wood with him all day. At eight years of age he was the regular
teamster on his father's place. At ten he used to drive a span of
horses to Cincinnati, forty miles distant, and return with a freight of
passengers, but with no adult to direct or control him.

The pony trick at the circuses which travel over the country is not a
new thing; and when a call was made for a boy to ride the fractious
little beast, trained to throw the daring youngster who had the
hardihood to mount him, for the amusement of the gaping crowd, Ulysses
used to be a regular volunteer. I never offered my services, because I
had a proper respect for the unity of my corporeal frame. Grant, bent
on overcoming some new obstacle, was always on hand, and always as sure
to succeed as he was to undertake any difficult feat.

On one occasion a peculiarly vicious little rascal of a pony was
attached to one of these shows which exhibited in our town. Grant, as
usual, was the only youngster who had the pluck to venture upon the
difficult feat of riding him. He mounted the little villain, and away
he darted with the speed of the lightning, resorting to all manner of
mean tricks to dismount his bold rider. Round the ring he whirled,
flying rather than running, and increasing his efforts to unhorse
the determined youth, who sat as steadily as though he had been the
veritable, instead of the figurative, Centaur. Grant carried too many
guns for that pony.

A large monkey, included in the programme of the performance, was
next let loose, to assist in dismounting the rider. The little demon
sprang up behind the volunteer equestrian, and away dashed the pony at
redoubled speed. The intelligent but excited audience shouted with
laughter, but the youth was unmoved either by the pony, the monkey,
or the storming applause of the crowd. He could neither be bullied
nor coaxed from his position. Then the gentlemanly master of the ring
caused the monkey to mount the shoulders of the intrepid youngster, and
hold on at his hair. Away went the pony once more, and a new effort was
made to throw the unconquered young horseman. The crowd shouted and
roared with renewed energy as the scene became more ludicrous and more
exciting; but Grant's nerves were still steady, and his face still wore
its resolute, unmoved expression. As usual with those who attempt to
throw him, somebody besides Grant had to give in. He was too much for
pony, monkey, and ring-master combined.

I am well aware that I am enthusiastic; I have made full confession
of my enthusiasm, and I am not ashamed of it; but I cannot help
regarding this exciting incident as a type of events in the subsequent
career of that bold rider. When he mounted the pony to ride into Fort
Donelson, he was not to be shaken from his seat; he went in. That
same pony--after all sorts of vicious attempts to pitch him into the
Mississippi, or heave him over into the swamps--carried him safely
into Vicksburg, after almost as many turns around the ring and the
ring-master--one Pemberton on this occasion--as in the circus at
Georgetown.

On a still larger scale, with one Jefferson Davis as ring-master, he
was induced to mount the emblematic pony of the army of the Potomac,
an exceedingly well-trained steed, which, however, had succeeded in
throwing all his previous riders. Little Mac went round the ring very
handsomely, and so far as the pony was concerned, proved himself to be
master of the situation; but the monkey, which, in this case, appeared
to be his personal reputation, too dear to be risked upon any issue
short of absolute certainty, was too much for him, and he was unhorsed.
His immediate successors held on well for a brief period; but the
monkey of jealousy, insubordination, or vanity, very soon gave them a
wretched tumble, even before the crowd had ceased to applaud.

Grant had ridden too many horses to be overwhelmed by this pony. The
ring-master kept his eye on the daring rider, expecting soon to see him
pitched off by the pony, with the assistance of the monkey. He started
from the Wilderness one day, and every device was used to unseat him;
but he did not move a muscle when the ring-master cracked his whip, or
even when the monkey perched upon his shoulders. He fought it out on
_that_ line, and brought up at Appomattox Court House. The ring-master
gave up, and closed the performance.

Doubtless Grant would have made a capital circus-rider, for he appears
to have had a taste for daring feats with horses. At five years of age
he began to stand up on the bare backs of the horses as he rode them
to water to the White Oak River. When he was nine, he would stand on
one foot, with the horse at the top of his speed, only holding on by
the rein. A neighbor's boy was unfortunately killed in his attempts to
keep up with him, though he did not seek to imitate him in his circus
proclivities by standing on the back of the animal.

Grant was a perfect breaker of horses, for the independent, self-willed
creature soon learned that he had a master in the youth; but he would
do this kind of business only for his own amusement. He appears to have
had an instinctive nobility of character, which would not assimilate
with anything like the horse-jockey or the horse-trainer. Though he
had a remarkable tact, in his boyhood, for teaching a horse to pace,
he regarded it as degrading to follow the art as a calling. While he
was always willing to work, and had a just regard for the dignity of
labor, he was sensitive about engaging in anything of doubtful utility
or questionable respectability. A trick was resorted to by his father
to induce him to teach a neighbor's horse to pace: though, in a ride
of thirteen miles and back, he accomplished the feat, and returned
the animal to the owner a perfect pacer, he discovered the subterfuge
of which he had been made the victim, and he would never again train
another.

At the age of twelve the embryo hero was very small in stature, but he
seems to have indulged in big ideas even then. Mr. Grant had a contract
to build the Brown County jail, and the little fellow promised to haul
all the logs of which the structure was to be composed, if his father
would buy a certain large-sized horse, to which the youth had taken a
fancy. His father assented, but did not suppose the boy would be able
to endure the fatigue for more than a week, and hired a man to take his
place when he was worn out. But he did not wear out; he had a habit of
never wearing out, for he imparted the firmness and solidity of his
will to his slight frame. The hired man followed the team for a few
days, and then declared that the boy was more competent than himself to
handle the big horse.

That hired man reminds me of a certain general who followed Grant
around for a time, ready to take his place, or give it to another,
thinking the "big horse" was too much for his subordinate to manage,
and who finally took the field in person; but he was obliged to
acknowledge in the end, as the other hired man had, that Grant could
handle the "big horse" better than he could.

For some reason the men who were hewing the logs in the woods for the
jail did not go to work as usual one day, and there was no one to load
the timber for the enterprising youth. There was only the alternative
of returning to town without any logs, or of loading them himself. The
latter expedient would have been sufficiently impossible to deter an
ordinary boy from attempting the task. The sticks were very large and
heavy, and even the gang of men used levers and handspikes in loading
them. But here was Grant standing before Donelson or Vicksburg, with
this team,--before the logs, I should say,--and he had either to
do a miracle or return logless to his father. If there had been no
particular difficulty in the undertaking, perhaps he would not have
felt compelled to do it; as it was, he felt obliged to do it, if only
as an illustration of his character.

A tree had been felled on the spot, the trunk resting on the branches,
and the butt on the ground, forming a convenient inclined plane. The
big horse was hitched to the end of the timbers, and three of them
were successively "snaked" up on the trunk of the fallen tree, till
their ends were high enough to permit the wagon to be backed under
them. Taking a long chain, so as to enable the horse to work beyond the
vehicle, he whipped the end of it around each stick in turn, and hauled
it into the wagon, harnessed up again, and drove to the site of the
jail.

I maintain that this was a great achievement for a boy of twelve, very
small at that; and the people in the neighborhood talked about it as
such, just as they did, years after, about the capture of Vicksburg.
The youth had a great deal of engineering skill, and a quickness of
perception which enabled him to profit by every favorable circumstance
within his reach--a faculty which has contributed in no small degree
to his success as a great commander. He was a boy of expedients. The
accident of that felled tree, prompt as he was to profit by it, was by
no means essential to his success. It was certainly wise to use the
inclined plane, which he found ready for service; but if it had not
been there, Grant would have made one, or loaded the logs in some other
way. He would no more have gone off without them than he would have
returned from Vicksburg or Richmond without capturing the city.

There is a sort of _unexpectedness_ about Grant, which he began to
develop as a boy. He does just what the beholder does not anticipate,
surprises by sticking to anything, when, according to ordinary rules,
one ought to give up, or confounds by a course of action hitherto
unheard of. He holds on to the pony when he ought to be thrown; he
comes home with a load of logs when he ought to have come home empty;
he accomplishes many a feat in which he ought to have failed, according
to the every-day rules of life. He was fond of playing marbles, which
seems to be the only strictly boys' amusement in which he indulged.
He bet half a dozen marbles with a school-mate that he would jump
twenty-five feet at a single leap, selecting his own ground for the
feat. If I had been there, I should have taken that bet, for it seemed
as impossible for a little fellow like him to do it, as it did to
capture Vicksburg.

Grant went to a perpendicular bluff, having the requisite height, and
jumped down at one leap,--for if the terms of the wager had required
it, it would hardly have been convenient to make two leaps of it.
Though he went down to his middle in the mud below, he won the bet.
Doubtless he came out of the slough rather the worse for the leap, so
far as personal appearance was concerned, but his plight only assures
us that he looked before he leaped, as he always did, for hard pan, or
a solid rock, might have been trying even to his nerves, in a jump of
twenty-five feet.

In my opinion Lee was as much astonished to see Grant on the south side
of Richmond as the boy with whom he made the bet was to see him jump
perpendicularly instead of horizontally.



CHAPTER IV.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier to
    West Point, and dilates admiringly upon the many excellent Traits
    of Character which the Hero exhibited there._


Tanning, even with oak bark, and the strong stimulus of the paternal
example, had no charms to young Grant. Though it was a very honorable
and useful occupation, he was remorselessly opposed to it; not because
he was a dandy, and it soiled his hands, nor because he was fastidious,
and the odor was unpleasant, but because he had no taste for the trade.
It presented nothing but the dull routine of a mechanical employment,
with no difficulties to be overcome, and with no variety to enliven it.
Whenever his father suggested that they should grind bark, he would
start for the village without a word of reply, and hire a boy to take
his place in the tannery, while he earned the money to pay him in some
more congenial way.

Grant and his father appear to have agreed remarkably, notwithstanding
their dissimilarity of tastes on the subject of tanning. The giant
will was under judicious control, and was not exerted in opposition
to the paternal inclination. He seems to have been obedient to his
parents, even while his own wishes and tastes were in violent antipathy
to theirs. On one occasion, when there was a scarcity of hands in the
tannery, his father told him he must have his help in the beam-room.
He obeyed, and went to work, but not without renewedly expressing his
dislike of the business. He told his father that he would work at it,
if he wished him to do so, until he was of age, but not a day after
that time.

This important period was the turning-point in the career of the
young man, and the country is indebted to Mr. Grant for his judicious
handling of the difficulty before him. He did not blindly and wilfully
oppose the boy's inclination, even after he had voluntarily signified
his intention to be guided by his father's wishes, at the expense of
his own individual tastes. Perhaps, in my unbounded admiration for the
man, I am hasty in catching at analogies; but I cannot help seeing the
germ of another soldierly attribute in the disposition which young
Grant displayed on this occasion--the quality of obedience, without
which the soldier is nothing. Though possessed of a mighty will, Grant
has never been known to disobey the lawful commands of his superior,
however disagreeable they were to him.

Mr. Grant fully realized that it was time for his son to have some
definite views in regard to the future; and instead of compelling the
boy to bend his back over the beam in the tannery, against his settled
inclination, he simply replied to his complaint that he did not wish
him to follow the business if he did not like it, and could not choose
it as his permanent occupation. The worthy patriarch was prudent in
his treatment of the case, I repeat; and though I am not old enough to
entitle my words to be regarded as the oracles of a sage, I commend his
example to the attention of all ambitious parents who expect their sons
to become great generals or presidents.

The father asked the discontented youth what employment he thought he
would like. Ulysses evidently had not considered this grave matter in
all its bearings, for he was not prepared to mention the particular
calling which would suit him best, though he indicated three things,
each as dissimilar to the others as it could be.

He would like to be a farmer; a "down-the-river trader," or "to get
an education." It was not convenient to establish him as a tiller of
the soil; and his father apparently regarded being a "down-the-river
trader" as a disreputable occupation--probably as something akin to a
Yankee pedler who sells wooden nutmegs; and the money it would cost
to give him a liberal education could not readily be spared from the
tannery, which, in former days, kept the larger portion of its capital
soaking in the vats for months. But the question was a serious one, and
though it could not be realized at that time, the welfare of a great
nation, as well as the destiny of an unformed youth, rested upon the
issue.

Who shall say that an inspiration higher than his own thought did not
suggest to the anxious father the idea of sending his son to West
Point? It was a happy solution of the problem; and what was better
still, it suited the boy "first rate." The idea was promptly followed
up. Mr. Grant wrote to the Hon. Thomas L. Hamer, the representative
in Congress of the district in which he resided. The letter reached
the member only on the day before his term of office expired, when
his right to nominate a cadet to the Military Academy would cease.
Fortunately the mail was faithful to its sacred duty on this occasion,
and bore the missive to its destination in season to save Grant from
becoming a farmer or a "down-the-river trader," and in season to have
him appointed, not alone as a cadet, but as the savior of the nation;
for that nomination was the germ of the event which gave us the man
that crushed the Rebellion.

As I think of the condition of my country when the rising sun of
Grant's genius pointed him out to the people as the only fit leader
for the armies of the Union, I tremble to think of the results which
must have followed a single day's delay of that momentous letter! The
providential man was providentially guided to his brilliant destiny.

The bugbear of an examination for admission to West Point, though
it then included only reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic to
decimal fractions, had more terrors to the young aspirant for military
honors than the capers of a three-year-old colt. He was not prepared
by any special training for such an ordeal; and a young man, who had
previously been appointed by Mr. Hamer, had twice failed to pass, his
ill success keeping the place open for Grant. The opportunities of the
newly-appointed cadet had been very limited, and it would hardly have
been to his discredit if he had failed to come up to the requirements
of the institution. But he did not fail; with all his concentrated
energy of purpose guiding and strengthening him, he could not fail;
and on the 1st of July, 1839, at the age of seventeen, Grant was duly
admitted to the Military Academy to prepare himself for the glorious
future which God and his country had in store for him. And then

  "The great Ulysses reached his native shore,"

and entered upon the career of which we have not yet seen the full
fruition.

"What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet;" and
Grant by any other name would have fought and conquered just as well;
but it was only by a singular accident that the newspapers have had
the opportunity to make such a varied play upon the initials of his
name, which in themselves were sufficiently suggestive to excite the
attention of the specials as far back as the victory at Fort Donelson.
U.S. Grant demanding and insisting upon unconditional surrender after
a savage fight of three days was certainly a coincidence worthy of
remark. Perhaps, after the momentous and prolonged discussion in regard
to the baby's name soon after Grant was born, it was a great pity, when
one had been selected, that it did not "stick" to the end; but it was
doomed to be reconstructed, apparently that the initials might have a
suggestive and patriotic significance.

His father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother, discussed the
important matter, and he was called Hiram Ulysses. Hiram was his
grandfather's proposition, simply because it was a pretty name, in his
opinion. His mother's step-mother appears to have dabbled in classic
lore, and to have read the Odyssey. She had a warm admiration for the
hero of that remarkable tale, and insisted that the infant should
have the name of Ulysses. As in the eternal fitness of things, this
was an appropriate name, posterity will commend the taste, if not the
prescience, of the venerable lady.

In making the nomination, Mr. Hamer sent in the name of "Ulysses S.
Grant," confounding his name with that of the applicant's brother and
mother. While at West Point the interloping S. stood for Sidney. Grant
made two attempts to have the matter set right, but the Fates were
against him. It seemed to be foreordained that the United States and
himself should be so far synonymous as to be designated in the same
manner; and he accepted his "manifest destiny," only causing the S. to
stand for Simpson, in honor of his mother, instead of for Sidney.

Mr. Hamer, who had conferred so distinguished a favor upon Grant and
the nation in nominating him to a cadetship, did not live to realize
the magnitude of the service he had rendered to his country and the
applicant. In the Mexican war he went into the army himself, as did
not a few of the politicians of the country. He distinguished himself
at Monterey, but finally succumbed to the treacherous climate of the
low lands. Grant was his nurse and his friend in his final sickness,
and rendered to him the last kind offices of the living to the dead.
The illustrious soldier was always faithful in his friendships, never
forgetting a favor or forsaking a friend.

As there is "one glory of the sun, and another of the stars," it was
not appointed unto Grant to be everything that is grand in humanity.
Indeed, the very grandeur of the man consists in the harmonious
development of all his faculties, rather than in the striking
preëminence of a few, towering in lofty sublimity at the expense of
all the others. He is not lacking in any essential quality of a great
man, and his greatness is a combination of all the noble traits of
character, instead of the morbid development of a few. He was not a
great scholar. It was not his ambition or his destiny to be a Newton, a
Humboldt, a Milton, or an Irving. The elements of a brilliant scholar
would have shut him out from the distinction he has achieved.

Grant's previous intellectual training had not prepared him to rival
in scholarship those in his class who had been over the course before.
The district school in a country town had been the limit of his
advantages. The class which commenced the course with him was composed
of eighty-seven members, only thirty-nine of whom were graduated. The
routine and discipline of the institution are exacting and severe;
and it is very much to any young man's credit that he goes through at
all. The statistics show that the cadets fall out by the wayside, as
the lines draw taut upon them. A majority of Grant's class went by
the board, and No. 39--the lowest in rank who was graduated--seems to
have been a better fellow than forty-eight others who "caved in," some
of them, doubtless, from weakness of body, but most of them for the
want of pluck. But Grant was not the unhappy No. 39, who by contrast
appears in an unpleasant position at the foot of the class, though,
as I have shown, he was really a plucky fellow. Grant was graduated
the twenty-first in his class, which is certainly a very creditable
position.

I confess my surprise, when I consider the fact that Grant's
attainments, when he entered the Military Academy, were hardly up to
those of the ordinary second class in our grammar schools, while some
of his classmates were graduates of colleges, and most of them had
been over a part of the regular course before,--I confess my surprise
that he was not No. 39, instead of No. 21. In spite of the giant will,
and his developed pluck, it is a miracle that he was not of the number
of those who fell out of the class during the four years' course.
Certainly it is vastly more to his credit to have been able to graduate
at all, than for many of the happy score who stood above to win their
high rank. To have outdone eighteen of his companions in that unequal
race was worthy the energy and perseverance of the man.

He went through the entire course of his class, for no option was then
allowed to the cadets in the choice of studies. He exhibited himself
to the best advantage in the mathematics, and in the departments of
tactics and engineering obtained his highest marks in these branches,
thus early developing his military mind.

At West Point I had a warm admiration for Grant, though none of us were
wise enough to predict his brilliant future. I am astonished that we
did not, for the Grant of to-day was the Grant of West Point. He was
the same modest, anti-sensational, unenthusiastic being that he is now.
He was the boldest and apparently most reckless rider in the ring; but
he always came out right then as now. He was not a dandy in any sense
of the word; and though he appeared to have no regard for the elegance
of his attire, he was always scrupulously neat, and paid a proper
respect to the amenities of society in his personal appearance. He
effectually dodged that period in the life of a young man when dress is
the most important subject of consideration.

I could not help admiring the embryo general, for though he did not
court popularity, and seemed to be entirely indifferent to it, he was
one of the most popular of the cadets. The qualities of his mind and
heart were of the highest order, and no student was able to point to
a low or mean trait in his character. Bold, daring, and energetic,
without the slightest display, without even uttering a boast, or
exhibiting a particle of egotism, what wonder that he was the idol of
his fellow-students!

  "Methinks Ulysses strikes my wondering eyes!"

He never betrayed a trust reposed in him by friend or foe, was careful
of the rights of others, and his word was as good as his bond. He was
utterly forgetful of himself, never seeming to be conscious that he was
of any particular consequence to others. In a word, he was then, as he
is now, an honest, honorable man, true to himself, true to others. The
sum of human greatness in personal character can include nothing more.

I say that he was careful of the rights of others. While I shall have
occasion to demonstrate this trait in his character,--which is really
one of the most noble and beautiful that can adorn the human mind,--on
a larger scale in the course of this true narrative, let me say that
it was the foundation of his popularity at West Point. He was never
concerned in the disgraceful practice of "hazing," which can amuse only
a mean, low, and tyrannical character. When he went to West Point he
carried a letter of introduction to a cadet, who explained to him some
of the tricks of the institution played off upon new-comers. On the
first night a young gentleman entered his room and informed him that
it was customary to assign a lesson of twenty pages, to be committed
to memory while the student was nervous under the excitement of his
admission, to test his firmness and energy. Grant assured the assumed
officer that it was all right, turned over and went to sleep, while his
roommate labored all night over the bogus task.

Grant's initials suggested for him the name of "Uncle Sam" at West
Point; but his sober, steady demeanor, which gave him a sort of
my-uncle bearing and dignity, was quite as much implicated in the
nickname as the accidental letters that preceded his patronymic. He was
a good fellow, by the popular vote of his companions; and none but such
were entitled to the distinction of a nickname.

Having completed his four years' course, he was graduated in 1843,
at the age of twenty-one. He was appointed to the Fourth Regiment of
Infantry, with the brevet rank of second lieutenant.



CHAPTER V.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken accompanies the illustrious Soldier to
    Mexico, and glowingly dilates upon the gallant Achievements of our
    Arms from Palo Alto to Monterey._


My distinguished ancestor, Sir Bernard Galligasken, was a fighting
man, and was knighted for meritorious services in the loyal cause in
Ireland. My respected progenitors in the New World were engaged in the
French and Indian wars, and fought their way through the Revolution
with credit to themselves. I inherited the military taste; but I do
not mention this fact, or introduce the warlike record of my worthy
ancestors, to add one jot or tittle of glory to their fame or my own,
but simply to convince the reader that I have the soul to appreciate
the military prowess of the illustrious soldier in the cheering light
of whose brilliant deeds I am content to be ignored, eclipsed, obscured.

Grant's rank at the Military Academy consigned him to the infantry;
for the best scholars of the graduating class are assigned to the more
desirable arms of the service--the engineers, cavalry, artillery.
But to the soldier of such transcendent abilities as those of the
illustrious hero, it mattered but little to what branch he was sent.
His rising star was eventually to confound all the puerile distinctions
of particular arms, and to grasp them all in one comprehensive idea. He
was sent to the infantry, as if to place in his path more obstacles to
be overcome.

When those above him had been assigned to places in the army, all the
vacancies were filled, and Grant was added as a supernumerary officer
to the Fourth Infantry, with only brevet rank, there to wait till an
opening was made, in those "piping times of peace," by resignation
or death. His regiment was stationed in Jefferson Barracks, near St.
Louis. It was dull music here for ambitious young men, full of life,
and thirsting for distinction in their chosen profession; but Grant
had the happiness to soften the rigor of his captivity by a pleasant
episode. Frederick T. Dent, his classmate at the Military Academy, who
was also assigned to the Fourth Infantry, resided in the vicinity of
the barracks. The young officers were friends, and Grant was invited to
the house of Dent's family, where he won the esteem and respect which
have ever been accorded to him.

On the mind and heart of Miss Julia T. Dent, the sister of his
professional friend, he impressed himself even more strongly than upon
those of others. They were engaged; but it was not until five years
later that the happy parties were married.

After a residence of a year in the vicinity of St. Louis, Grant was
ordered with his regiment to Louisiana. In 1845, as the Mexican
imbroglio began to assume shape and form, the Fourth was ordered to
Corpus Christi to observe the movements of Mexican army concentrating
on the frontier. Here he was commissioned as a full second lieutenant
in the Seventh Regiment; but he was so strongly attached to the
officers of the Fourth that he asked permission of the War Department
to be retained in it; and his request was granted.

I am willing to confess, that, owing to my political predilections,
I had not much heart in the war that was then brewing; but I was a
soldier whose only duty is obedience. Grant, on the contrary, had no
such scruples. His political faith fully and heartily indorsed the war,
and he went into it calmly, resolutely, unflinchingly, and from a sense
of duty higher even than that of soldierly obedience. I honor a man who
has principles, and who has the courage to stand by them, even though
he has the misfortune to disagree with me.

Corpus Christi is situated at the mouth of the Rio Nueces, between
which and the Rio Grande was the disputed territory, nominally the bone
of contention between the United States and Mexico. General Taylor, in
command of about four thousand troops at Corpus Christi, was ordered
to advance to the Rio Grande. He accordingly posted himself opposite
Matamoras, having his base of supplies at Point Isabel, on the Gulf,
and erected defensive works to cover his army. Ampudia and Arista, the
Mexican commanders, signified that the advance of General Taylor into
the disputed territory was an act of war, and that hostilities would be
commenced.

Unfortunately for the Mexicans, they were commenced, and a body of
dragoons under Captain Thornton was surprised by an overwhelming
force of the enemy, and all of them killed, wounded, or captured.
Our blood was up then, and we had no disposition to discuss any fine
political points. All my scruples vanished, for the Mexicans had taken
the initiative in the conflict, and struck down American soldiers.
Their army crossed the Rio Grande, and Taylor, suspecting that Ampudia
intended to attack his base of supplies, hastened to the relief of
Point Isabel. Having reënforced the garrison, and assured himself of
its ability to hold the place, he prepared to return to Fort Brown.

During his absence the Mexicans crossed the river again, and attacked
the fort. General Taylor started early in the morning, admonished by
the sound of the guns at Fort Brown that assistance was needed there.
Lieutenant Grant was in the column, with his regiment. At noon we came
in sight of the Mexicans drawn up in order of battle at Palo Alto.
General Taylor immediately formed his line for the conflict, and for
the first time in thirty-one years an American army was drawn up before
a civilized foe. Lieutenant Grant was there--in the first battle of the
last half century, as he was in the last one.

Taylor formed his line half a mile from the enemy, and the battle
was fought mainly with artillery. Night gathered over the combatants
in the same relative position. While the Mexicans had been fearfully
slaughtered by the weight and range of the American guns, the loss on
our side was insignificant in comparison with theirs. The enemy retired
in the darkness, and we encamped on the field of battle.

Compared with the mighty actions of the late Rebellion, or even
with those which followed it in the Mexican war, Palo Alto was a
trivial affair, and I dwell upon it only as the occasion in which the
illustrious soldier first drew his sword in actual conflict, in which
he was first under the fire of an enemy. This was his baptismal battle,
and there is no difficulty in believing that he behaved like a true
soldier.

We slept upon the field, as we have slept upon many a field since, but
only to awake to another and fiercer battle the next day. The enemy
had taken up a strong position near Resaca de la Palma, three miles
from Fort Brown. Whatever may be said of the Mexicans, judged by the
measure of their success in the war of 1846, they were by no means a
contemptible foe. They were not deficient in military science, and
they stood their ground bravely, as the vast numbers of them slain in
the various battles fully attest. At Resaca they were well posted in a
ravine, with their flanks protected by an impenetrable jungle of scrub
oaks. The battle opened with artillery, but the enthusiasm of both
sides would not permit it to be continued at long range, and infantry
and cavalry made some handsome charges. The Mexicans fought with dogged
courage; but, in spite of this, and of the fact that they were three to
our one, they were utterly defeated and routed.

The Mexican artillery was handled by General La Vega, a brave and
skilful fellow, and did us much mischief. Taylor ordered Captain May,
of the dragoons, to charge upon this battery, which was so gallantly
done that the feat has passed into history. He was supported by the
infantry, and the entire Mexican line was shattered by the onslaught.
The demoralized foe fled in terror, leaving their guns and ammunition
on the field, a prey to our conquering arms. La Vega, who had no talent
for running away, was taken prisoner. When the night of the second
battle-day closed upon the scene, not a single Mexican soldier was to
be found on the east side of the Rio Grande.

General Taylor fought his battles thoroughly, and in this school of
conflict Lieutenant Grant took his first lessons in actual warfare.
His quaint criticism that the army of the Potomac "did not fight its
battles through" conveys a vivid impression of his views on this
important subject. After blood and treasure have been freely expended
to procure a military success, nothing can excuse the commander from
following out the results of victory to the utmost extent within his
means. This was the practice of "Old Rough and Ready" in the Mexican
war. He "fought his battles through," as Resaca, Monterey, and Buena
Vista fully testify, thus making a wise and economical use of the
resources intrusted to his keeping. Grant is a greater general than
Taylor ever was, and it would not be respectful to say that he followed
the example of the worthy veteran; but the experience of this period
doubtless assisted in the preparation of the man for the gigantic work
he was to accomplish eighteen years after.

Three months later in the year the army of General Taylor crossed
the Rio Grande, and marched upon Monterey. On the 20th of September
he appeared before the city with an army of six thousand men, to
attack a position strong in its natural and artificial defences,
and garrisoned by ten thousand troops. The conditions of successful
warfare, as usually recognized by prudent commanders, were nearly
reversed against the American army. Instead of having two or three to
one of the garrison in force, they were nearly outnumbered in this
numerical ratio. But the attack was promptly commenced, not by the
slow and tedious process of regular siege operations, but by a direct
assault, without wasting a single day. The battle opened on the morning
following the arrival of the troops, and continued with unabated spirit
during the day. Several fortified heights were carried before night,
and the soldiers rested only to renew the assault the next day.

The Bishop's Palace, a strongly-fortified position in the rear of the
town, and the last to yield, was gallantly carried by the force under
the brave General Worth. On the third day of the fight the lower city
was stormed with the most tremendous fury, the troops burrowing through
the stone walls of the houses in their progress, and the defenders of
the place were all driven within the citadel of the town before night
again settled down upon the unequal fight. Penned in by their furious
assailants, the Mexicans had no hope in continuing the resistance after
the misfortunes which overtook them. Ampudia, the general in command
of the city, submitted a proposition for terms which resulted in the
surrender and evacuation of the town.

Thus, in three days, Monterey, a city so strong in position, and
so well defended that its commander might have confidently defied
a besieging army of double the force of that which sat down before
its walls, was carried by repeated assaults. This was another of the
training fields of Lieutenant Grant. The walls of the houses within
the city were strongly built, affording ample defensive positions from
which the Mexican soldiers could safely annoy the Americans. From the
windows they fired down upon their assailants, disputing the possession
of each dwelling with the most dogged tenacity.

In the midst of this irregular strife, while the foe in the windows
were remorselessly shooting down the daring soldiers in the streets
below, the ammunition of the brigade to which Lieutenant Grant was
attached was nearly exhausted. It was an unpleasant position to be in,
without powder and ball to keep the enemy at bay; and it was therefore
necessary to send for a fresh supply, which could only be obtained by
traversing a distance of four miles. But who should be the messenger to
ride or walk beneath those death-dealing muskets in the windows, which
were showering storms of bullets at every blue-coat which appeared in
the streets below? The service was so fraught with peril, if not with
certain death, that the general in command was not willing to issue a
peremptory order for any one to undertake the mission. He called for a
volunteer.

It is hardly necessary to say that, while the brigade contained a
Grant, a volunteer for any desperate service would not be wanting. The
lieutenant stepped forward, and was despatched on the important errand
upon which nothing less than the safety of the command depended,
without considering the ultimate success of the movement in progress.
Grant was a bold rider, and full of expedients. He had been among the
Indians of the western country, and was willing in this emergency to
profit by one of their feats of horsemanship. Mounting a spirited
horse, he attached one of his feet to the back of the saddle, grasping
the animal's mane with the other, and permitting himself to hang
down by the horse's flanks, so that his body shielded the intrepid
equestrian from the bullets of the foe, who occupied the windows of
only one side of the street. Hanging to his steed in this perilous
attitude, he dashed off on his errand, at the highest speed of his
charger, passing in safety through the destructive fire. He succeeded
in bringing in a load of ammunition, guarded by a sufficient escort to
insure its safety.

The capture of Monterey was a splendid feat of our arms, however it
may have been cast into the shadow by the subsequent achievements of
our army in Mexico. History presents a record of but few parallel
victories, obtained in such a brief period, against all the
disadvantages of the enemy's strong position, and with such a great
disparity of numbers. The result was not because the Mexicans did not
fight bravely and persistently, for they held their ground while the
dead and wounded were piled high around them. The skilful officers
and the trained soldiers of warlike France, exulting in her military
prowess, won no such fields as Monterey and Buena Vista. While seven
thousand of the Mexican soldiers in the city were regulars, Taylor's
army was composed in part of raw volunteers, who had never snuffed the
smoke of battle.

  [Illustration: GRANT AS THE MESSENGER TO PROCURE AMMUNITION.

  Page 64.]

The Americans were brave, but they could hardly be more so than the
Mexicans, who had the additional stimulus of standing upon their own
soil, fighting for their native land. We cannot find the secret of
success in the superior bravery of our troops, and I can only attribute
it to the high character, the daring courage, and the matchless skill
of our officers. A few such tried and trusty spirits as Grant would
leaven any army, and render it capable of performing seeming miracles.

President Pierce, himself a general in the war with Mexico, as a
representative in Congress, years before, spoke and voted against the
appropriations for the Military Academy at West Point, being heartily
opposed to the institution. As a soldier in this brief and decisive
contest, he had an opportunity to behold the representatives of the
Academy in the storm of battle, and in the active operations of the
siege and the march. He saw that West Point fought out that bloody war,
and won that series of brilliant victories; and it is creditable to him
to have acknowledged his error in this matter, however unrepentant he
may be over other and more glaring blunders.

Soon after the battle of Monterey, Lieutenant Grant's regiment was sent
to Vera Cruz to swell the grand army which was to march directly to the
Halls of the Montezumas.



CHAPTER VI.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken marches with the illustrious Soldier
    to the Halls of the Montezumas, and glowingly describes the
    brilliant Campaign in Mexico._


General Winfield Scott was a great soldier, and his Mexican campaign
gave him a European reputation, chary as the critics of the old world
are in the bestowment of praise upon American celebrities. He was never
popular as an individual, for his qualities of mind and heart were not
of the winning sort. His military skill must stand unchallenged, and
his operations in Mexico will always attest his ability. A greater than
Scott arose to obscure and eclipse his fame as a commander; but if
the midday sun darkens the lustrous star, yet shall the star shine on
bright as ever, its light paled only by the mighty contrast.

Scott was a well-trained, a prudent, and a skilful soldier. Like
Taylor, he fought his battles thoroughly; and, after throwing out two
or three brilliant geniuses in the art of war, he compares favorably
with any of the great captains of ancient or modern times. He was
the peer of Wellington, Marlborough, and the galaxy of able generals
whom Napoleon gathered around him; and his fame as a soldier will be
cherished by the American people to their remotest posterity.

General Scott's bloody but brilliant and successful campaign was to
be the next training school of Lieutenant Grant; and to have been a
witness of the skilful strategy and the terrible fighting included
in that memorable march from Vera Cruz to Mexico was to obtain an
experience of war and an insight into its mysteries which could not
fail to be of incalculable value to the future chief of the armies
of the Union. Grant was twenty-five years of age when he landed at
Vera Cruz. Among the eager young officers whose souls were fired
with the military spirit, he was but a unit. As a second lieutenant,
however bravely and faithfully he discharged his duties, there was no
opportunity for him to attract attention beyond the limit of his own
brigade. He was training for the future rather than living for the
present.

Scott landed at the head of twelve thousand men to make the conquest of
Mexico. His first objective point was the famous Castle of San Juan de
Ulua, the dragon which guarded Vera Cruz, and lay in the path of the
little army to the capital. On the 12th of March, 1847, the investment
of the city was completed. Ten days later the batteries opened fire
upon the castle and city; and after four days of the most incessant
hammering, an assault by the besieging army was planned; but the
governor of the city proposed to surrender. In just twenty days after
the little army landed, the Stars and Stripes floated victoriously over
the city, and over the invulnerable castle.

The amazing rapidity with which the siege operations were carried
forward confounded the enemy. With the bitter experience of Monterey as
a specimen of the spirit of the assailants, they were not disposed to
go through the form of attempting to repel an assault. The dragon in
the path of the victorious army was demolished, and the road to Mexico
was open to the conquerors. Preparations were made immediately for the
grand march to the Halls of the Montezumas.

On the 1st of April Lieutenant Grant was appointed quartermaster of
the Fourth Regiment--a position requiring peculiar abilities in the
incumbent. He was selected for this important office because he was a
careful, substantial, and energetic person; and he continued to fill it
to the entire satisfaction of his superiors until the close of the war.

Early in April the advance was sent forward on the road to Jalapa.
Santa Anna, routed at Buena Vista, had gathered together another army
of fifteen thousand men, and intrenched himself in a strong position
on the heights of Cerro Gordo, effectually commanding the only passage
through the mountain gorges to the capital. Six days after the
appearance of the advance before this formidable position, Scott, with
the main army, arrived. The stronghold was immediately stormed, and
after a series of brilliant operations the position was carried. Three
thousand prisoners and forty-three bronze guns were captured, besides
seven standards and Santa Anna's private baggage.

Signor Jimen, in the official journal of Mexico, defended the
generalship of Santa Anna, and innocently attributed the terrible
defeat to "inevitable misfortune, the result of the tactics of the
invaders." The Mexicans were flanked by the passage of a portion of the
American forces through a ravine which had never before been crossed,
and which was deemed impassable. The "tactics" were doubtless the sore
trial of the Mexicans, and when I think of the material of which our
officers were composed, I am hardly supprised at the magnitude of their
achievements. Scott believed in councils of war, and had the benefit of
the united thought of his brilliant officers.

By this time, Grant, having been engaged in his fifth battle, was
almost a veteran; and in this daring warfare was the training process
carried on in his mind; in this arena of brilliant strategy was his
military education perfected, and his experience enriched by an
observation vouchsafed to only a few.

The army, having beaten down the obstacle at Cerro Gordo, continued
on its march towards the capital, occupying Jalapa and Castle Perote
on its way. At Puebla the little force was so reduced by sickness,
death, and the expiration of the term of volunteer enlistments, that
the veteran general no longer deemed it prudent to advance. His numbers
had dwindled down to five thousand; and he rested here, in the heart of
Mexico, with his handful of men, for three months, until reënforcements
swelled his army to eleven thousand--an insignificant force for the
conquest of the country.

About the middle of August this little army reached the vicinity of
the capital. The city of Mexico is situated on Lake Tezcuco, and is
approached over impassable marshes and lagoons by long causeways and
bridges. The nature of the country was favorable to an effective
defence of the place, especially as the Mexicans had at least four
times as many troops in service as their invaders. Located outside of
these causeways, and guarding the approaches of the city, were the
strongholds of Chapultepec and Churubusco, and the heavy batteries of
San Antonio and Contreras, all of them mounting about a hundred pieces
of artillery. They were surrounded by morasses, by headlong steeps
and rocks heaved into fantastic irregularities by volcanic action.
The Mexicans confidently relied upon these natural additions to the
strength of their works, and regarded their positions as impregnable.

Turning aside from the national road, by which he had marched to
Ayolata, and which here presented too many difficulties for the
remaining fifteen miles of his journey, Scott made a detour around Lake
Chalco, and approached the city from the south. On the 20th of August
the battery on the height of Contreras was captured by an impetuous
assault, which occupied but seventeen minutes. The garrison of San
Antonio evacuated their position, being cut off from the line of
defence by the fall of the supporting works.

Four miles nearer to the city of Mexico, and commanding the road,
frowned upon the invaders the strong fortification of Churubusco,
where the main body of the enemy's army had been concentrated for an
obstinate resistance; but on the same day the stronghold was battered
down, and the Mexicans were driven to their only remaining fortress of
Chapultepec. All day long Scott's gallant army had been fighting three
times their own numbers, lodged in what had been deemed impenetrable
works; but their arms were victorious at every point.

After a delay of more than two weeks in receiving and declining some
absurd terms for an armistice, offensive operations were resumed by
General Scott. The plain on which the city of Mexico is situated is
studded with volcanic heights, projecting up from the morasses and lava
fields. On one of these eminences, two miles from the city, stood the
strong castle of Chapultepec, its base one hundred and fifty feet above
the average level of the ground. It had a front of nine hundred feet,
which bristled with guns, manned by a picked force, commanded by one of
the ablest Mexican officers. This huge work stood, like another dragon,
to protect the entrance to the principal causeway leading to the city.
Behind it was a powder mill, called _El Molino del Rey_, which was
fortified and occupied by troops, and constituted the principal outer
defence of the castle. It was necessary that this position should be
first captured, and the duty was assigned to General Worth, of whose
command the Fourth Infantry formed a part.

The assault was a desperate one, and Worth lost one fourth of his
troops in the action, so obstinate was the defence by the Mexicans, who
had reached their "last ditch," and fought with corresponding valor.
The position was carried, and in the sharp battle Grant won his first
recorded laurel. "Captain Brooks and Lieutenant Grant, with a few men
of their respective regiments, by a handsome movement to the left,
turned the right flank of the enemy, and the barrier was carried.
Second Lieutenant Grant behaved with distinguished gallantry on the
13th and 14th." This is the language of the official report of Major
Francis Lee, commanding the Fourth Infantry at the time.

I have said that Grant had been appointed quartermaster of his
regiment. As the officer in charge of the baggage trains of the force,
well-established precedents permitted him to remain in charge of them
during the fierce conflict, and thus to escape the personal peril of
being under fire. It would not have been dishonorable, or an imputation
upon his courage, for him to do so; but to his honor and glory be it
said, that he never took advantage of his non-belligerent position.
He always joined his regiment when it was summoned to the strife,
and "behaved with distinguished gallantry" on all occasions. For his
conduct on this eventful day he was promoted to the rank of full first
lieutenant.

The Castle of Chapultepec was bombarded, and then carried by storm,
after the walls had been breached. In the complicated details of the
final attack the Fourth Infantry acted a worthy part. Grant assisted
in serving a howitzer, mounted on the top of a convent, by which
the enemy was considerably annoyed. It was a novel position for an
infantry officer; but this was not the first, and by no means the last,
time he was where he was least expected to be found--in front of the
enemy. Colonel Garland, commanding the First Brigade on this occasion,
officially says, "I must not omit to call attention to Lieutenant
Grant, of the Fourth Infantry, who acquitted himself most nobly upon
several occasions under my own observation."

The result of that gallant attack shows that all the officers behaved
well; so well that Grant and one other only are mentioned out of
the whole First Brigade, and the quality of the deeds which called
forth the generous compliment of his superior may be judged from this
fact. All had been brave to recklessness, all had been earnest and
persevering; but it was the nature of Grant, even then, to surpass the
bravest, the most earnest and persevering. In General Worth's report of
the battle, he also speaks in commendation of the gallant lieutenant.
For Grant's honorable mention he received the brevet rank of captain,
to date from the day of the battle of Chapultepec.

With this strong fortress fell the city of Mexico; and during the night
which followed its capture, the remains of the army of Santa Anna,
with the civil officers of the government, fled to a place of safety.
On the following morning, Scott and his gallant little army marched
into the capital. The American flag floated proudly over the walls of
the national capital, and Mexico was conquered; victory had constantly
perched upon our banners, and we stood in the Halls of the Montezumas,
where we were permitted to repose in peace after the battle summer
through which we had just passed.

Grant remained in the city of Mexico while the negotiations for peace
were in progress. As usual, he had a very spirited horse, for he never
rode any other when one could be obtained. A Mexican gentleman, with
whom he was on terms of friendly intimacy, desired to borrow this
animal for a ride. Grant feared that the worthy señor could not handle
the fiery steed; but it was not prudent to decline the request, for the
Spanish nature of the applicant would take offence, and misjudge his
motives in the refusal. The Mexican mounted the horse, but, when he had
ridden a short distance, was thrown off and instantly killed.

Long ago I came to the conclusion that it is not safe for any man to
attempt to ride Grant's horses, in a literal or a figurative sense.

Grant's mission in Mexico was finished. In that rapid and brilliant
campaign from Vera Cruz to the capital, he had practically learned
the lesson of war, and prepared himself for the great work he was to
accomplish at a later period of his life, when West Point was to be
divided between the opposing armies, when the most brilliant genius and
the most determined energy alone could win victories. The importance of
this season of actual duty in the field, in all the details of siege,
march, and garrison duty, can hardly be over-estimated. In the war of
the Great Rebellion he came into the field a trained soldier, with the
teachings of experience stored up for use in a broader sphere of action
than he or any of his companions in arms had yet dreamed of.

After the ratification of the treaty of peace between Mexico and the
United States, our forces evacuated Mexico, and Captain Grant was sent
to New York with his regiment, where its companies were detached and
sent to the forts on the northern frontier. Grant and his company were
first stationed at Detroit, and then transferred to Sacketts Harbor. In
1848 he was married to Miss Dent, in conformity with the engagement
made five years before, to which both had religiously adhered.

The treaty of peace with Mexico had given us California, and coincident
with the acquisition of the territory, gold was discovered there in
such quantities as to attract an immense immigration, and it was
necessary for the government to send out troops for the protection of
the swarming hosts, both from themselves and from the Indians. The
Fourth Infantry was sent to Oregon in 1851. The battalion in which
Grant served was stationed at Fort Dallas, where the illustrious
soldier obtained some further experience of Indian warfare.

He was separated from his family, and in this wild region shut out
from any employment worthy his nature, and apparently from all hope of
rising either as a citizen or a soldier. It would have been surprising
if Grant had not been discontented. He was a man of deeds, emphatically
a man of action; but there was nothing to be done worthy his ambition.

In 1853 he was promoted to a full captaincy; but this advancement
could not relieve him from the tedium of such a stupid life, and the
following year he resigned his commission, to enter upon a new and
untried career in civil life.



CHAPTER VII.

    _In which Captain Galligasken goes with the illustrious Soldier to
    the Farm near St. Louis, and observes his Career through various
    Misfortunes, till he is included in the Firm of Grant & Sons._


Captain Grant had been in the army eleven years. He was engaged in the
first and the last battle of the Mexican war; indeed, he had taken
part in every action of any importance, except Buena Vista. This was
his practical training for the great work of his life, developing his
faculties and storing his mind with an experience which was to bring
forth its rich fruits on the historic battle-fields of the Great
Rebellion.

In the wilds of the Pacific slope,--

        "In the continuous woods
  Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
  Save his own dashings,"--

the impatient soldier unbuckled his sword, and laid it aside. The
weapon was rusting in its scabbard, and the proud spirit which had worn
it honorably through a fierce war, waged upon a foreign soil, chafed
under the inaction to which it was condemned in that far-off region. It
was not the sphere for a great mind.

It is a notable fact, that when the bugle-blast of stern necessity
rallied the soldiers of the Republic around her banners, to save her
from destruction, some of the choicest spirits came out from the
walks of civil life, whither they had fled from the dulness of an
inactive life in the army. Such were Grant, Sherman, Burnside, Hooker,
McClellan, and many others.

At the age of thirty-two, after having been devoted exclusively to
military pursuits for fifteen years, Grant left the army to engage in
new and untried enterprises. This was an important step of his life,
but I humbly believe it was as necessary to the perfect development
of the man as any other which he had taken. It was an evidence of his
characteristic energy, and of the confidence he had in himself, which
was displayed in so remarkable a manner in the most trying days of the
Rebellion.

I am not disposed to magnify the deeds of the illustrious
soldier,--they need no such office at mine or any man's hands,--or to
praise his conduct in the glowing light of subsequent events; but I
maintain that the act of resigning his commission in the army required
no small degree of moral courage. The government had educated him at
its own expense, and provided for him during the term of his natural
life. If his had been the dull, stupid, inert character, this lot would
have satisfied him. He was placed out of the reach of want in the
present and the future; and the deaths and resignations in the army
would have materially improved his condition if he quietly submitted to
his fate.

His total pay as a captain of infantry amounted to nearly a thousand
dollars a year; and it was as sure as the rising and setting of the
sun. This was the certainty before him; and only a man of energetic
purposes, with great confidence in his own abilities, would have
turned from it to strike out a new path in the tangled maze of worldly
affairs. From his boyhood he had been absorbed in the pursuits of his
military career, and their practical application in the field and on
the march, with a limited knowledge of business; and I repeat that it
required no little moral courage to abandon the certainty and grapple
with the uncertainty.

I am aware that a different explanation of Grant's resignation has been
rumored through the country, and the vile slander that he had become
addicted to intemperate habits has been circulated over the land. It
has even been said that his resignation was prompted by a significant
warning from the War Department. I am amazed that such an idle
story should ever have obtained even a momentary credence. It is as
impossible that Grant could ever have been a drunkard as that he could
ever have been a coward. "He that ruleth his spirit is mightier than
he that taketh a city." Under all circumstances, in the fierce storm
of battle, as in the quiet of the social circle, he always maintained
the most perfect control of himself. If he ever used the intoxicating
cup to excess, he must have known it himself; and to know that he had a
dangerous habit was to conquer it.

Look at the inflexible will of the man, as displayed at Donelson and
Vicksburg! Look at him, meek and modest, in the midst of the storm
of applause that everywhere greeted him after his mission had been
accomplished! Look at him, calm and immovable, when, in the intricacies
of the Vicksburg campaign, he outsped the thought and the prudence of
his military compeers, and the impatient people began to howl even at
him! Could such a man be the slave of his own appetite? The man himself
is the best evidence of the falsity of the rumor.

I say I am amazed that this silly story should ever have been harbored
for a moment by any one, except an enemy of his country; but I am
still more amazed when I realize that this is the only blemish which
lukewarm friends and over-critical enemies have been able to cast upon
the character of the distinguished soldier. It is the prerogative of
greatness to be the mark of slander's poisoned arrows. Napoleon was
accused of crimes enough to banish him forever from the pale of human
sympathy; Wellington and Marlborough escaped not the blast of calumny;
Jefferson was charged with the most loathsome immoralities; and even
Washington was systematically traduced by over-zealous partisans. It
is a miracle, therefore, that Grant has only been held up to obloquy
for the one offence of intemperance, and that the most absurd and
improbable one which could possibly have been devised.

Grant retired from the army for the same reason that hundreds of others
have done so, in time of peace--because it did not afford a sufficient
scope for his talents and energy. He returned to St. Louis, where
the family of his wife resided. Mr. Dent gave his daughter, Mrs.
Grant, a farm at Gravois, about nine miles from the city, and on this
place Grant located himself with his family, consisting now of his
wife and two children. He built a house of hewn logs, working on the
structure with his own hands, thus drawing upon the experience he had
acquired in his youth. His native energy made him a hardworking man.
His domain included extensive timber lands, and he attempted to better
his condition by the sale of wood in the city of St. Louis. He was not
above his business, nor in any sense one of those dandy agriculturists
called "gentleman farmers." He employed men to chop the wood, but he
carted it to the city and sold it himself. He kept two teams, one of
which he drove himself, while his little son had inherited enough of
his father's horse nature to be competent to manage the other.

Grant was as thoroughly democratic in his manners as he was in his
politics. He wore an old felt hat, a seedy blouse coat, and prudently
tucked his trousers' legs into the tops of his boots. He appeared to
be--what he was--a simple, honest woodman. His habits were plain, and
he lived on the most economical scale; indeed, his means would not
permit him to live in any other manner. Those who had dealings with him
knew him as an honest, upright man, faithful in the discharge of all
obligations.

Grant always remembered and cherished his true friends. One day in
St. Louis, whither he had come with his team, he heard that Professor
Coppée, one of his classmates at West Point, was in the city. In his
homely rig, with the whip in his hand, he waited upon his early friend
at the hotel, where were also General Reynolds, General Buell, and
Major Chapman. The "honest woodman" was asked to step to the bar and
take a drink. "I will go in and look at you, for I never drink anything
myself," replied he.

If Grant ever drank anything, this would have been an occasion, when,
meeting old friends and classmates, after a separation of years, he
would have been little likely to decline the social glass. I was not
present on this occasion, but Professor Coppée publishes the incident
himself, and of course there can be no doubt of its truth. Other
officers, who were frequently with him, declared that he drank nothing
stronger than cold water; and, for my own part, I consider him eligible
to the office of Grand Worthy Patriarch of the National Division of the
Sons of Temperance, or any other position in which entire abstinence
from all that can intoxicate is the essential qualification.

But Grant was not a successful man as a farmer. His previous training
and experience did not fit him for this calling. It was not his sphere,
and it was no discredit to him that he was not successful in it. He
was not the man to lie supinely down and moan over his misfortunes. If
one expedient failed, he tried another, in his own affairs as well as
in those of the army. If a thing did not work right, it was his habit
to "fick" it again. In the neighboring city, to which he moved, he
resorted to several methods of eking out his failing subsistence. He
tried auctioneering; but, though he had the ability to "knock down"
a mighty rebellion, he was not equally fortunate in mere commercial
pursuits. He had not the skill to exaggerate, nor the oily tongue to
win the heart of a doubting customer.

He was an applicant for the position of engineer under the city
government, but his petition for appointment was "respectfully
declined." His efforts to establish a remunerative business as a real
estate agent were equally unfortunate. At the same time he hung out
his shingle as a "collector." At this period his fortunes were at dead
low tide, and not always did he know on one day where his subsistence
for the next was to come from. He seemed to be foraging in an enemy's
country, which had already been drained of its supplies. He was too
poor to hire an office, and an obliging young lawyer, not burdened with
clients, gave him desk room for the conducting of his scanty business.

But he had not much use even for desk room, and the number of his
customers did not wear out the patience of his accommodating host.
Grant was still out of his sphere; he had none of those mental
qualifications which fit a man to be a successful "dunner." With all
his pluck and persistence he could not worry a poor or a dishonest
debtor up to the point of payment. He failed in this; the tide ran
against him, and life became a bitter struggle. He obtained a place in
the custom-house, which he held for two months, when the collector, who
had given him the appointment, died, and he was obliged to leave. His
hour of triumph had not yet come.

While Fortune seems to have entirely deserted the illustrious soldier
in the civil walks of life, she had been more constant with his father,
who had become prosperous enough to extend his business to Galena,
Illinois, where he had established a branch leather store, conducted
by two of his sons. As the worthy sire was now in easy circumstances,
it seemed to be necessary to do something to redeem the failing
fortunes of his oldest son. I am willing to state, on my own individual
responsibility, that before he was invited to take a position in the
store, or a share in the business, at Galena, there was an anxious
inquiry by the prosperous father and sons into the capacity of Grant to
fill the position to which he was to be assigned. It was even somewhat
doubtful, at that time, whether the man who had the genius to control
the movements of a million soldiers, had the business ability to
entitle him to admission into the firm of "Grant & Sons."

The brilliant campaign in Mexico, gallant conduct at Monterey and
Chapultepec, and turning the enemy's right flank at El Molino del Rey,
hardly added much to the accomplishments of a suitor for the honors
of the leather trade. It was asked whether fifteen years' service in
the military had not disqualified him in some measure for mercantile
pursuits; whether the idleness to which he had been condemned after
the peace--idleness only as a civilian views it--had not impaired his
native energy, and robbed him of some of the force and skill which had
characterized his early years; whether he had not displayed so little
ability at "getting ahead" on his own hook, as to render him at least a
doubtful person to be associated with the prosperous firm.

It is as creditable to the good judgment as it is to the kindly
hearts of "Grant & Sons" that these considerations had no weight with
them, and in 1860 he was admitted as a partner to the firm. The end
of the night of misfortune and futile struggles had come, and the
dawn of a prosperous day opened upon the retired soldier. Grant took
kindly to his new occupation, and, in spite of his antecedents on
the battle-fields of Mexico, and his connection with so "nobby" an
institution as the regular army, he still continued to be a plain,
modest man. He devoted himself to the leather business with the same
energy that he devoted himself to the capture of Vicksburg. He was
regarded in this sphere as a sound, solid, common-sense man, with
excellent judgment.

He went to work in the leather trade as he did in the army, and in his
farming operation, with industry and perseverance. He was not a great
talker, but when he spoke he meant something. The solidity of his
character was apparent in the firm lines of his face, and he was a man
who produced an impression both by his words and his looks; and for
this reason he made a good salesman. He was but little known in Galena,
taking no pains to extend the circle of his acquaintance.

This was the position which Grant occupied at the breaking out of the
Rebellion. I am not a fatalist, but I do believe that Providence adapts
means to ends in the affairs of men. I am entirely satisfied that the
illustrious soldier needed his experience in the civil pursuits of life
to prepare him for the great mission whose successful accomplishment
gave him a wreath of glory brighter than ever adorned the brow of any
other mortal man. Even his misfortunes, and his struggles against the
cold current of poverty, were a necessary discipline and preparation
for the man. Without them he could not have been what he is, and what
he will yet become; for of all the atoms of experience is agglomerated
the character of the man.

Thus prepared by the brilliant campaign of Mexico, thus prepared by
the events of his civil life, and thus prepared by the discipline of
adversity, stood Grant in the leather store at Galena, when the thunder
of Sumter's guns struck upon his listening ears.



CHAPTER VIII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken discourses upon the breaking out of
    the Rebellion, and describes the noble and modest Behavior of the
    illustrious Soldier._


Until Treason opened its treacherous batteries on Fort Sumter, Grant
had been a Democrat. His sympathies, though he seldom expressed himself
on political topics, were with the conservative party. Abolition and
abolitionists, as such, had no place in his regard, and the Republican
party he viewed with all the disfavor of a sturdy Democrat. His father
had been a Democrat before him, and so far as he had any political
associations, they were of this faith.

In those months of dire forebodings, of anxious waiting, and of
fruitless attempts to patch up a compromise, which intervened
between the election of Lincoln in November and the breaking out of
hostilities, Grant had been in favor of conceding to the South all
its rights, even as they were interpreted by a Democrat who lived and
breathed and had his being in compromise. It cannot be said or thought
that the illustrious soldier embarked in an anti-slavery war. The
terrible conflict was precipitated by the madness of the South in
opening its guns upon a national fort.

For months the country had been waiting with breathless interest
for the issue of the political complications which grew out of the
secession of South Carolina and the states which followed her reckless
example. Patriots north and patriots south were not willing to believe
that the horrors of civil war were to be enacted in the land they
loved. Even the "fire-eaters" of the South, while they looked daggers,
used none. There was no spirit of prophecy in the country which foresaw
the stupendous conflict that ensued. Men hoped and believed that some
happy event would turn aside the impending storm. The South expected
that its noisy bluster and its parade of arms would intimidate the
North; and the cooler North thought that the hot blood of the South
would cool itself in the lapse of time. Both were mistaken.

The fiery Southrons ostentatiously made their preparations for a
conflict which they did not believe would take place, and the North, if
not unmoved, yet exercised a degree of forbearance which appeared like
indifference, in the face of this parade of hostile demonstrations.
The government was paralyzed by the unwonted situation; but it did
not raise a finger to disturb or check the hostile operations of the
rebels. The constitution and the laws were set at nought; forts,
arsenals, and dock-yards were seized; the nation's property was
plundered, and its honored flag insulted and trailed in the dust; but
the sword of justice still rested in its scabbard. Southern fanatics
howled, stormed, and blustered; yet the government only waited--waited
till the fiery zeal of the South appeared to be in danger of wasting
itself before the purposes of its leaders were accomplished.

It was necessary that something should be done to "fire the Southern
heart," and rekindle the enthusiasm of the people, which was waxing
cold under the forbearance of an insulted government. Fort Sumter
was bombarded; lines of batteries encircling the devoted work poured
in their rain of shot and shell, and battered down the walls of the
fortress, defended by only a handful of men. Skilful officers, educated
at the public expense to defend the government against which they were
now raising their parricidal hands, conducted the cowardly enterprise,
with the flower of Southern chivalry gathered in thousands under their
command, to a successful issue. The triumph was theirs, the glory and
the endless shame in one foul deed.

The South sang the pæan of victory, achieved with an odds of a hundred
to one in its favor, and the Southern heart was fired. By the same
deed another heart was fired. The North rose as one man to resent the
base outrage, the cowardly assault. The last moment when compromise
was possible, passed away with the report of the first gun aimed at
Sumter. That gun awoke the slumbering North, and in every peaceful
hamlet the drum-beat of preparation sounded, beginning on the St. Croix
and ending far west of the Mississippi. The news that the first blow
had been struck flashed through the land, silent between hope and fear,
and kindled an enthusiasm which had no bound or limit. Traitors north
and traitors south were marked men from that thrilling hour. There was
no voice but for the nation's honor and the nation's defence, in the
onslaught of a treacherous foe.

For years the military spirit in the people had been repressed and
discouraged. The soldier was regarded as an obsolete necessity, and the
profession of arms had become absolutely disreputable in many parts of
the country. Except here and there one who had served in the Mexican
war, and a superannuated veteran of 1812, there was not a soldier in
the land who had any experience of actual warfare. Half a century had
elapsed since the fact of war in their own midst had been realized by
the people, and all their traditions were of peace and prosperity.

But in spite of their peaceful antecedents, in spite of the seeming
indifference with which they had regarded the gathering storm, they
flew to arms. Without any concert of action, without any startling
proclamations to rouse their sleeping energies, they rallied beneath
the banner of the country, and the spectacle of a united North was
held up to the view of the astonished South. The proclamation of the
president calling for seventy-five thousand men--an unheard-of army
within our peaceful borders--immediately followed the tidings of the
shock of actual conflict. The government had come out of its lethargy
with the people, and both were in hearty sympathy.

To Galena came the tidings from Fort Sumter, and to Galena came the
proclamation of President Lincoln. We were thrilled by the treacherous
deed of those who were henceforth to be our foes. We were thrilled by
the note of preparation which sounded at the same time. Our hearts beat
the quickstep which was reverberating through the entire North, and
from the depths of our souls we thanked the patriot president for his
prompt and decided action. With an indignation which was characteristic
of the man, Captain Grant read the newspaper which contained the story
of the nation's dishonor. The lines which delineate on his face the
force of his will seemed to deepen as he realized the fact that the
first blow had actually been struck. In that cowardly army which had
rained shot and shell upon a little worn-out band of regular soldiers
for thirty-three hours were some of his classmates and companions in
arms on the bloody fields of Mexico. They had been friends, but now
they were enemies.

There was no halting or hesitation in the man. The blows which battered
down Sumter reached his great heart. His country was in peril, and
his patriotic soul responded to the call for her defence. He made no
noisy demonstrations, but calmly and resolutely fixed his purpose and
declared his intentions. There was no foam or fury in his manner;
nothing was said and nothing was done to create a sensation, though the
man who had won laurels in the hard-fought battles of Mexico might have
been excused, on such an occasion, for a little display or a little
pomposity; but that was not Grant. Actuated only by a sense of duty
to his country, and not at all by a desire to serve himself or to win
the honors of the profession he had first chosen, he was as gentle and
modest as the humblest civilian.

The soldier, especially the trained and experienced soldier, was a
mighty man in those days. The whole country was rising in arms, and
his influence was potent. The nation wanted him, and his profession,
maligned and treated with contempt before, suddenly elevated him above
the sphere of politicians and statesmen. Grant was a soldier, and the
fact that he was a graduate of West Point, and had seen service in
the field, made him a man to whom others looked up with respect and
admiration in the new dispensation which necessity preached to the
people.

I dwell with pride and pleasure upon the deportment of Captain Grant at
this exciting period. To me there was something sublime in his absolute
self-negation. His antecedents, his military record, entitled him to a
high position in the volunteer army which was then gathering. It would
not have been immodest for him to write to the governor of Illinois,
asking a position as a major general in the mustering host. He did
nothing of the kind; he asked for no position. He did not thrust his
rank in the regular army, which he had earned by hard fighting, into
the faces of civil or military officials. He claimed nothing.

"Uncle Sam has educated me for the army," said he to a friend. "Though
I have served him through one war, I do not feel that I have yet
repaid the debt. I am still ready to discharge my obligations. I shall
therefore buckle on my sword, and see Uncle Sam through this war, too."

The obligation could not be forgotten, for Grant never permitted the
remembrance of a favor to be obliterated from his heart; but high above
even this sacred duty was that which he owed to his stricken country,
then writhing in the gripe of the monster of Treason. The purpose
which gave to the United States the greatest commander the world has
ever seen was formed; but he did not blow a trumpet before him in the
streets of Galena, and say to the people, "Lo, here I am, a soldier
trained to arms and fit to be your chief. Behold me--a hero from
Monterey and Chapultepec. Make me your leader, and send me to battle at
the head of your men, and I will win great victories for you."

Not thus spoke Grant: save in the privacy of his narrow social circle,
he spoke not at all; and even when his mighty prowess and his brilliant
victories had made him famous, the people came to the shop windows of
Grant & Sons to ascertain which of the firm was so effectually tanning
rebel hides, so little was he known, and so little had he paraded
himself before the citizens of the place.

Though like him I had been to West Point; though like him I had seen
the glories of Palo Alto, Resaca, Monterey, and the fourteen battles
of Scott from Vera Cruz to Chapultepec; though like him I had retired
from the army,--I could not regard myself as of so little consequence
as he did. I felt that nothing less than the commission of a brigadier
would be a proper appreciation of my record and my profession. I am
sorry to be obliged to confess that I placed myself where the gaze of
the multitude might rest upon me; but alas! they did not see me. I was
not the providential man of the Great Rebellion, and the microscopes of
the people failed to bring me into view. But my own position enables
me to see more clearly that of the illustrious soldier of whose deeds I
am the admiring chronicler.

Grant exhibited no ambitious spirit--he was at work for the nation, not
for himself. He said nothing in public--the people of Galena hardly
knew the sound of his voice; but there, in the streets of his town,
he raised the standard of the loyal cause, and invited the hardy and
patriotic men of the place to rally for its defence. In less than a
week after the news from Fort Sumter had arrived, he was drilling a
company; but he did not claim even the rank to which he had risen in
the regular army, the cause, and not himself, being still uppermost in
his thought.

The company proposed to elect him to this highest office within their
gift. Doubtless he would have accepted the position, but a gentleman
with more ardent aspirations for military glory frankly acknowledged
his desire to obtain this place; and Grant declined the honor. He
stepped out of the way to accommodate another, but he consented to
go with the company to Springfield, the capital of Illinois. He was
accompanied on his journey by the Hon. E. B. Washburn, who introduced
him to Governor Yates. The chief magistrate did not appear at first to
be profoundly impressed by the captain, and did not take much notice of
him.

Grant was determined to use a laboring oar in the work before the
loyal country, and he wrote to the adjutant general of the army at
Washington. He did not apply for a position as brigadier, but simply
stated that he had been educated at the public expense at West Point;
and as the country was in peril, he considered it his duty to place
whatever skill and experience he had acquired at the disposal of
the government, offering his services in any capacity in which they
might be needed. This modest offer brought no response from the War
Department.

While Grant was waiting for the moving of the waters, he visited
Cincinnati, where McClellan, who had been appointed a major general
of volunteers by the governor of Ohio, was organizing his forces. The
"Little Napoleon" of the first years of the rebellion had served with
Grant in Mexico, and they had become acquainted there. Both were in
Worth's brigade at the siege of Vera Cruz, and both had been honorably
mentioned for gallant conduct at Chapultepec and El Molino del Rey.

Grant was seeking a position in which he could make himself useful to
the country. He twice called at the headquarters of General McClellan,
but failed to see him on either occasion. He thought it possible that
his old comrade in arms might offer him a place on his staff, which
appears to have been the highest aspiration of the great commander at
this time. Failing to see McClellan, he returned to Springfield.

While he was waiting at the capital, Governor Yates sent for him, and
wished to inquire whether he knew how many men belonged in a company,
how many companies in a regiment, and what officers were required in
such an organization--questions which seemed to have been especially
perplexing to the earnest and loyal chief magistrate of the state.
Grant assured him that he understood all about such matters; that
he had been educated at West Point, and had served eleven years in
the regular army. This straight-forward reply helped the governor out
of his annoying dilemma, and Grant was invited to take a seat at the
capital and officiate as adjutant general, in which capacity he served
for several weeks during the hurry of sending off the troops, rendering
the most valuable assistance from his familiarity with the details of
military organizations.

Though the future hero had made no parade of himself or his
accomplishments, several regiments desired to elect him as their
colonel; but for reasons of his own, which do not appear,--though I
suspect that his military prejudice against electing officers was the
strongest one,--he declined all these overtures. One who knew him
better than others suggested to the governor that he should appoint him
to some regiment, without previously consulting him. The suggestion was
acted upon, and Captain Grant was appointed colonel of the Twenty-first
Regiment of Infantry. The commission was promptly accepted, and Colonel
Grant hastened to Mattoon, where the regiment was in camp, and assumed
the command.



CHAPTER IX.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken has Something to say about Citizen
    Soldiers, and follows the illustrious Soldier into the Field in
    Missouri._


The "thinking bayonets" of the United States army, in a merely
disciplinary point of view, were not at first the best of material
of which to make soldiers. To a vastly greater extent than any other
armies which have been gathered since the foundations of the earth were
laid, they were composed of intelligent, educated men. They could read
and write, and were competent to do their own thinking, and to form
their own judgments. They had ideas of their own in regard to the war,
and the means of carrying it on.

The men in the ranks, as well as those with warrants and commissions
in their pockets, were, without many exceptions, the graduates of the
free schools which are the greatest glory of the nation. They read
the newspapers, the potent educators of the people. They were the
village politicians, the schoolmasters, the printers, the intelligent
mechanics, the merchants, ministers, lawyers, and doctors of the
country. There was no pursuit or profession in the land which was not
represented in the volunteer army.

All of them were thoroughly imbued with the spirit of our democratic
institutions. Each man in the rank and file of the grand army, as a
citizen, was the peer of the president, the governor of his state, or
of the mightiest man of the nation. Any infraction of their rights
they were ready to resent and resist. Regarded, therefore, as the
mere insensate humanity of which an army is composed, they were not
the most hopeful material. Blindly to obey without question, heavily
to be hampered with the details of what seemed to them needless
restrictions and regulations, meekly to ignore their own will, and
follow unchallenged the will of another, was a condition of life for
which their education and habits had not prepared them. They were
willing to fight to the death, but to become mere stupid machines,
moved by their officers, was at first hardly within the scope of their
democratic philosophy. Even while they acknowledged the necessity of
strict discipline, and advocated its enforcement, the details of the
daily routine pinched them severely.

The officers of the regular army were rigid disciplinarians. Those who
had been in the service had been accustomed to different and coarser
material than that which formed the volunteer army. Their men had never
had a voice in choosing their officers, whose responsibility was in
the direction of the War Department, and not at all in the direction
of the force they commanded. It had been their province to command, as
it had been that of their men to obey, not only on the battle-field,
but in all the minutiæ of the camp and the garrison. One of these
soldiers could be punished for neglecting to button his coat on parade,
or to clean the spot of rust from the barrel of his musket; for being
two inches short of the regulation step, or for a degree of variation
in the angle of his feet in the line. Men who had left the plough in
the furrow on the farm which they had paid for and owned, to fight the
battles of the republic, were at least impatient under such restraints.

Efficient regular officers, however popular they became on the field
of battle, were in perhaps a majority of instances exceedingly
obnoxious to the troops in camps of organization and discipline. With
the democratic ideas of the soldiers, with their republican notions
of equality, it was hardly possible that it should be otherwise;
for the transition of the citizen from his social rank in the city
and the village to the ranks of the army was a violent and radical
change to him. Doubtless, in many cases, these West Point officers
were martinets, and, "armed with a little brief authority," were
unnecessarily arbitrary and severe; but it was not these alone who were
stigmatized as "tyrants" and "oppressors."

Without discipline, even down to the minute details of which a
civilian can have no adequate conception or appreciation, an army is
inefficient, and in a measure useless. The regular officers justified
themselves before the enemy, if they did not sooner, not alone in the
merit of their fighting capacity, but in those obnoxious details of
discipline.

Grant was a regular army officer, a strict but prudent disciplinarian.
Several regiments desired to elect him as their colonel, which amply
vouches for his popularity before he had come into direct and intimate
contact with the volunteer force. There was magic in the idea of having
a commander who had not only received a regular military education,
but who had won a reputation on the field of battle. It was a guaranty
of the future welfare of the regiment. To maintain this respect, and
keep up this popularity during the actual enforcement of arbitrary and
disagreeable military regulations, was a vastly greater achievement.

The Twenty-first Illinois Infantry was a body of three months troops.
In this, even more than in many other regiments, the democratic ideas
of equality, so pernicious in a military organization, were prevalent
to such an extent that the colonel, whose place Grant had been
appointed to fill, could not manage it. Peculiar circumstances were
involved in the relations of the commander and the troops; and when
it is considered that the lesson of the necessity of discipline had
not yet been learned, it is hardly proper to blame either party. The
regiment was then in a demoralized condition, but it was composed of
splendid material, and its subsequent record proves that its men were
apt scholars in the school of discipline as well as in that of actual
conflict.

They were proud to have a regular army officer as their leader; but
when he made his appearance before them, his rather rusty clothes, and
plain, matter-of-fact manner, excited their ridicule. However they soon
stumbled against his iron will, and promptly realized that they had a
commander who had been in the habit of being obeyed, and who intended
to be in the present instance. He was not a showy man, and not one who
was disposed merely to play soldier. They saw that he meant fight, and
meant discipline.

Colonel Grant marched his regiment to Caseyville, where he drilled the
men for four weeks, transforming them from a mob into one of the best
disciplined bodies of troops in the country; indeed, the Twenty-first
became noted for its drill and discipline. It was no easy thing at
that time, when the private in the ranks regarded himself as the equal
of the colonel, and was unwilling, even in his military relations, to
sacrifice his own individual will,--it was no easy thing to bring order
and regularity out of the chaos of equality and confusion. But Grant
accomplished this, and more than this; and he did it so skilfully and
adroitly that no heads were broken, and no man was persuaded into the
belief that he was no longer an American citizen.

Grant has been nominated to the highest office in the gift of the
people--a position which will make him the peer of emperors and
kings; and it is important to deduce from his record the evidence of
his fitness for this splendid elevation. An iron will, unmodified by
other noble traits of character, is an element of weakness rather
than of strength, for a merely obstinate man at the helm of state
is a discordant and dangerous element. A strong will, sustained and
dignified by high aims and genuine principle, is a godlike attribute;
without true principle and high aims, it reduces the man to the vilest
brute level: it makes him a Nero or a Caligula.

I am filled with admiration when I think of the excellent manner
in which Grant managed this regiment, and raised it from disgrace
and inefficiency to honor and usefulness. I do not hazard much in
declaring, that, under the circumstances, it was one of his most
skilful achievements. Then he was without influence; there was none of
the magic in his name which time and victory have wreathed around it;
his reputation as an officer hardly equalled that of hundreds of others
around him. He took a disorganized, turbulent regiment, recruited it
in a few days up to the maximum standard, and, in spite of all the
disadvantages in the material and the surrounding circumstances, raised
it to the highest state of discipline. His prompt and perfect success
demonstrates his superior executive ability. He won the hearts of his
men, so that they reënlisted for three years. He had entire control
over them, and his influence was unbounded.

He was obliged to educate his command up to his ideas of discipline,
to exterminate their republican notions of equality, so far as they
interfered with complete military subordination, and to inspire their
bosoms with the true spirit of a patriot army. It does not appear
that he achieved this miracle by blind, injudicious severity. His
modesty and his firmness were yoked together to carry him through the
emergency. He used tact and skill, as well as force, in harmonizing
the discordant materials, and soon blended the whole in symmetrical
union, and welded himself to the mass by a bond of sympathy, a chain of
influence, which none of the accidents of hard service could break. To
me this marvellous influence which he obtained over his men, and which
he always obtained, however his numbers swelled, is one of the most
significant indications of his greatness.

The American people are no man-worshippers; I say it advisedly and
confidently. They are generous in their regard, and no earnest patriot
can ever want encouragement; but they judge men by the quality of
their services. They praise and applaud, perhaps extravagantly, when
a man does a noble deed; but they worship the deed rather than the
man. General McClellan was for a time the idol of the soldiers and the
idol of the people. They cheered and shouted for him, and hailed him
as their young Napoleon; but when he failed to answer their reasonable
expectations, they dropped him, and buried him forever and forever. So
would they have done with Grant, and Sherman, and Thomas, and Sheridan,
if they had failed them in the hour of trial; and so will they yet do,
if they are recreant to their high estate, or false to the principles
to which the people hold them.

No man has been more honored or praised in his sphere than Andrew
Johnson; and none has been more thoroughly detested, despised, and cast
out. It was not the man they worshipped; it was the principle of which
he was the representative. No man in all the country has a personal
influence which can save him from obloquy when he deserts his colors or
fails in his duty. Glory and honor to the people who faithfully cling
to their heroes and statesmen while they are true to their principles!
Glory and honor, also, to the people who sternly pull down and cast
out their heroes and statesmen, whatever high eminence they may have
gained, when they are recreant to the trust imposed in them! Thus
do our republican institutions operate, that no amount of personal
popularity can save the great man from his doom when he is guilty of
treachery or unjustifiable failure. They do not worship the man; if
they did, they would cling to him through his shame and infidelity.

Neither the soldiers nor the people blindly worship Grant. It always
has been, and still is, possible for him to fall. If he should prove
false to the principles of which an overwhelming majority of the people
hold him up as the representative, both soldiers and citizens would
remorselessly trample him under their feet, and forget that he had
ever been their idol. I say, then, that his remarkable popularity,
its steady blaze in the past, and its constant brightening, are the
best evidences of his solid abilities, of his unflinching devotion to
principle, of the purity of his patriotism.

I know what the people would do with him if he should fail them; but
in the light of his glorious record through a period of seven of the
most eventful years in the history of the country, I feel that it is
as impossible for him to be recreant in thought or in deed as it is
for the sun to cease shining. I dwell fondly on the early days of his
military career in the Rebellion, for then, before Fame had twined
his laurel, or success had inspired him, we find that every act he
performed, every order he issued, every movement he made, is fit to be
recorded in the temple of his fame. Those who are looking up to him, on
the dazzling height to which his genius and his high principle have
borne him, may be instructed by a review of his relations with the
Twenty-first Illinois Regiment. They may see the man there, as well as
at Vicksburg and Appomattox Court House.

Colonel Grant was drilling his men at Caseyville, when there was a
rumor that Quincy, on the Mississippi River, was in danger from the
guerrilla rebels of Missouri. He was ordered to the exposed point, and,
in the absence of transportation, marched his regiment one hundred and
twenty miles of the distance. From Quincy he was ordered over the river
into Missouri, for the protection of the Hannibal and St. Joseph's
Railroad; and Brigadier General Pope, then in command of the forces
in that section, stationed him at Mexico, forty miles north of the
Missouri River.

On the march to this place, the Twenty-first passed through a small
village whose principal establishment was a grocery, at which the
principal article on sale was whiskey. It was a melancholy fact that
many of the citizens now transformed into soldiers had acquired a
villanous habit of imbibing this fiery fluid, so destructive to good
discipline. Some of the troops stole out of the line, and filled their
canteens with the liquor at this shop, and, lacking discretion as well
as correct personal habits, were soon reeling from the effects of their
frequent potations. Without any violent demonstrations of indignation,
which many men would have deemed necessary on such an occasion, Colonel
Grant halted his regiment, as if to afford the men a brief rest.
Without giving any one an opportunity to suspect that anything was the
matter, he passed along the lines, and examined each canteen. Whenever
he detected the odor of whiskey, he coolly emptied the contents on the
ground, "without note or comment." The intoxicated ones he ordered
to be tied behind the wagons, and kept there till they were animated
by higher views of military discipline. Whiskey and all intoxicating
liquors were rigidly excluded from his camp.

Grant was always on time himself, and required promptness and
punctuality in all his officers. He never blustered, or seemed to be in
a hurry. He insisted that everything should be done at the appointed
time. One morning the colonel was walking about the camp, smoking
his pipe, when he discovered a company drawn up at roll call. It was
half an hour after the required time, and Grant quietly informed the
officer that it was no time to call the roll, and ordered him to send
his men immediately to their quarters. He was promptly obeyed, and
the delinquent was punished for his want of punctuality. The colonel
resumed his pipe and his walk, as though nothing had happened. This
quiet, undemonstrative way was effective, and the offence was not again
repeated.

Careful and particular in the minor details of duty, his regiment was
brought up to the highest degree of discipline; but it was quite as
much the manner as the substance which attracts attention.



CHAPTER X.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken relates a pleasing Anecdote of the
    illustrious Soldier, and shows how and why he captured Paducah._


Several regiments were engaged in Northern Missouri in guarding
railroads and repressing guerrillas, and it was necessary that they
should act in concert. Grant was the junior in rank of the other
colonels; but as they had a reasonable delicacy in issuing orders to
one who had been educated at West Point, and who had seen service on
the battle-field, the commander of the Twenty-first was appointed
acting brigadier.

In the latter part of July the chaplain of his regiment informed Grant
that he had been appointed a Brigadier General of Volunteers. He was
quite surprised at the intelligence, for he had made no application
for the promotion, either directly or through any of his friends. The
appointment was obtained by Mr. Washburn, who had introduced him to
Governor Yates. This gentleman exhibited a high appreciation of the
abilities of Grant, and it could not but be a happy thought to him,
in the light of subsequent events, that he had been instrumental in
bringing forward the illustrious soldier, though I doubt not that,
without the aid of any influence in his favor, he would in due time
have soared to his proper level.

As a regimental commander, Colonel Grant made his mark; for he always
did everything well. He was acting in this capacity in order to serve
his country, and not as a stepping-stone to future eminence. He
discharged his duties earnestly and faithfully in this comparatively
humble sphere, as though he had already reached the height of his
ambition. He gave his men an example of the most rigid simplicity of
manners. He rarely wore a uniform, except on parade, and was above
any vain show of "fuss and feathers." Nothing ever moved him so that
his emotion came to the surface, and when informed that he had been
appointed a brigadier, he was as undisturbed as though the matter did
not concern him.

In his regimental experience, where he was more directly and intimately
connected with the soldiers, he labored zealously to promote their
welfare, morally and spiritually, as well as in a military point
of view. He manifested a lively interest in the observance of the
ordinances of religion among the men. He encouraged the chaplain in
his efforts to keep the spirit of the gospel alive in the troops.
He insisted upon having divine services in his camp, and used his
influence to secure the attendance of all under his command. He
regularly attended worship himself, except when prevented by his duties
from being present.

One day, at the mess table of the regiment, when the officers were all
seated, Colonel Grant remarked that it was his custom, when at home, to
invite any clergyman, who was present in his house, to ask blessing at
the table, adding that a blessing was as much needed in the camp as at
home, and, if it was agreeable to the views of his officers, he would
like to have the chaplain ask a blessing every time they sat down to
eat.

The rebel General Jeff. Thompson, at the head of a horde of partisan
cutthroats, went through a portion of the State of Missouri where
Grant was located, committing petty outrages, and issuing absurd
proclamations, probably in imitation of Governor Gamble, who seemed
determined to fight out the battle with paper manifestoes. Grant, at
the head of a small force, marched in pursuit of the marauder.

It is said that Washington was utterly devoid of humor, and that he
was not known to have made more than one joke in his lifetime. When
Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, suggested that the standing army of
the United States should be limited to four thousand men, Washington
moved that no enemy should invade the country with a larger force than
four thousand. While it must be acknowledged that Grant is not a joker,
he is not without the element of humor in his composition. Some of his
punishments are ludicrous and amusing, though they are always judicious
and effective.

During the campaign in Missouri, while Grant was marching after
Jeff. Thompson, his advance consisted of a body of Indiana cavalry,
commanded by one Lieutenant Wickfield, a man of expedients, especially
when suggested by an empty stomach. At noon this force arrived at a
farm-house, which looked sufficiently thrifty to assure the campaigners
that its larder would supply wherewith to correct the vacuum which
prudent nature loathes. Wickfield, with two of his inferior officers,
dismounted and entered the dwelling.

Though the great country for which Grant was fighting had yet hardly
heard his name, he was sufficiently well known in this locality to
wield a powerful influence. Wickfield realized that the potent name of
the brigadier would be enough to induce the people to bring forward the
best the house afforded, and he had the impudence to declare that he
was Brigadier General Grant. The name was indeed a tower of strength,
and the best that the larder contained was set before the hungry
guests. They ate not merely all they wanted, but all they could, and
asked how much was to be paid for their entertainment. The farmer's
folks seemed to think it was a sufficient honor to have fed a live
brigadier, and they declined payment. The officers went on their way,
rejoicing in the plenty that filled their stomachs.

The main body of the army halted a few miles from this house, to rest
for a time; Grant rode forward, and came to the house in which the
officers of his advance had been so sumptuously regaled. He was not
so ethereal as to be above the necessity of eating; and, indulging in
a course of reasoning similar to that of Wickfield, he rode up to the
front gate of the house, and asked the occupants if they could prepare
him a dinner.

"No," responded the mistress of the house, in tones gruff and
unamiable; "General Grant and his staff have just been here and eaten
up everything in the house, except one pumpkin pie."

"Humph," said Grant, in his stoical manner, without exhibiting any
surprise at the singular intelligence. "What is your name?"

"Selvidge," answered the woman.

"Will you keep that pie till I send an officer for it?" added Grant,
throwing a half dollar to her.

"Yes, I will," she replied, picking up the money; and Grant rode off,
doubtless thinking that he did not realize any benefit from the dinner
which the brigadier and his staff had eaten, for he was probably
willing to believe that the impostor had not taken his name in vain.

That evening, when the force had gone into camp for the night, the
several regiments were ordered to appear on parade at half past six
o'clock, with particular instructions that every man should be present.
The order was a very unusual one, for dress parades on the march were
not required, and a decided sensation was created in the army. Some
thought the enemy were upon them, and various explanations of the
strange order were suggested, though none of them were correct. At the
appointed time the parade was formed, ten columns deep, and nearly
a quarter of a mile in length. The ordinary ceremonial of the dress
parade was punctiliously performed, and then the assistant adjutant
general read the following luminous order:--

                                      "HEADQUARTERS, ARMY IN THE FIELD.

    "_Special Order, No_. 112.

    "Lieutenant Wickfield, of the ---- Indiana Cavalry, having on this
    day eaten everything in Mrs. Selvidge's house, except one pumpkin
    pie, Lieutenant Wickfield is hereby ordered to return with an
    escort of one hundred cavalry, and eat that pie also.


                                                     U.S. GRANT,
                                       _Brigadier General Commanding_."

As no one, or any body of men, ever presumed to disobey an order of
General Grant, at seven o'clock Lieutenant Wickfield, with his escort
of one hundred men, filed out of the camp, amid the derisive cheers of
the entire army. The escort unite in their testimony that he consumed
the whole of the pie, and, so far as they were able to judge, are
willing to affirm that he enjoyed the treat, especially as sufficient
time had elapsed since his dinner to enable him to do so with impunity.

Grant's commission as a brigadier general reached him August 7, though
it was antedated May 17. In harmony with his antecedents thus far,
which placed him neither first nor last, he was the seventeenth on
a list of thirty-four original appointments in the grade to which
he was assigned. Though Mr. Washburn had been forward in procuring
his appointment, Grant was unanimously recommended by the Illinois
delegation in Congress--not one of whom he knew personally before the
commencement of the outbreak, and not one of whom had the slightest
idea of the magnificent grant they were making for the nation.

At the time of General Grant's appointment, the Western Department,
which included all the region between the Mississippi and the Rocky
Mountains, with the State of Illinois and such parts of Western
Kentucky and Tennessee as might be in possession of the national arms,
was under command of General Fremont. For his own convenience, the
chief of this department divided his territory into sub-districts;
and on the 1st of September Grant was ordered to the command of the
South-east Missouri District, including Western Kentucky and Tennessee.
On the 4th of the month he established his headquarters at Cairo.

General Grant was now in a position to make himself felt, and he began
to gaze out upon the broad field of Southern aggression before him. He
was on the actual dividing line between loyalty and rebellion, prepared
to defend the one and invade the other. Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky,
had made his sensational reply to the call for troops, that his state
would furnish none for the "wicked" purpose of subduing her sister
Southern States, and had issued his proclamation of neutrality, which
meant nothing but rebellion, as proved by the subsequent conduct of the
man. There could be no neutral state between the fiery South and the
indignant North.

Cairo was a point of the utmost importance to the loyal cause, as
a depot of supplies, as a gunboat rendezvous, and as a strategetic
position. The Mobile and Ohio Railroad extended through the western
part of Tennessee to the northern line of that state, where it diverged
into three branches, terminating respectively at Hickman, Columbus,
and Paducah, connecting these places with all the principal cities of
the South, each of which might form a base of operation for offensive
movements on the part of the rebels.

Neutrality in Kentucky meant rebellion. It was proclaimed in the
interests of the South, but it was not, and could not be, respected
by either party. It was first violated by the rebels, who failed to
sound the notes of indignation when Bishop General Polk marched his
army into the state and seized upon Hickman and Columbus. General Grant
had studied his maps faithfully, and fully comprehended the situation,
not only in its present but in its future significance. Polk was in
full march upon Paducah, the possession of which would give the rebels
the control of the navigation of the Ohio and the entrance of the
Tennessee, at the mouth of which the town is located.

Grant was wide awake, and a few days after he had established his
headquarters at Cairo he completed his hasty preparations for the
capture of Paducah, and started late in the evening with two regiments
and a light battery, with two gunboats--the naval force of his district
having also been placed under his direction. Arriving at his objective
point the next morning, he landed his force, and took possession of the
town, the rebels under Tilghman hastily evacuating the place while the
national troops were landing.

Paducah was a strong secession town. Recruiting officers from the rebel
army were enlisting its citizens to fight against the Union even when
Grant landed. The prompt movement was a necessity, and Grant made it
without the order of his superior officer, though he notified Fremont
of the purposes of the enemy, and asked his permission to check them;
but he started before this permission reached him. He also announced
his purpose to the legislature of Kentucky, then in session at
Frankfort, but neither did he wait for their permission. A few hours of
delay would have defeated the objects of the expedition. He was prompt,
and thus saved the West from the mortification and disaster of having
the Ohio closed.

The inhabitants of Paducah were in full sympathy with the Rebellion.
They believed in the neutrality of Kentucky, even while they harbored
and assisted in recruiting a rebel force in their midst. Grant issued a
proclamation, in which he informed them that he came not as an enemy,
but as their fellow-citizen, to respect and enforce the rights of all
loyal citizens. He declared that he had nothing to do with opinions,
and should deal only with armed rebellion, its aiders and abettors. He
could not help mingling a little of his quaint humor with the solid
declarations of the document; adding, that whenever it was manifest
the people of Paducah were able to defend themselves, maintain the
authority of the government, and protect the rights of loyal citizens,
he should withdraw the forces under his command. It was not their style
to defend themselves from rebels, or to maintain the authority of the
government, so that the necessity of withdrawing the force was not
realized.

Grant remained in the town only till noon. Having garrisoned the
position, he returned to Cairo, where Fremont's permission to capture
Paducah, if he felt strong enough, awaited him. He had already felt
his strength, however, and Bishop Polk had been effectually checkmated.
Grant immediately took possession of Smithland, at the mouth of the
Cumberland River; and though he was not in position to order a forward
movement himself, he seems to have been preparing the way for the
triumphal march of the Union armies, which ended only when the hordes
of treason laid down their arms at the feet of him who now opened the
gates of their wide domain.

It was of the highest importance that these places should be held,
and Grant placed General Charles F. Smith in command of the position,
with a brigade of the most reliable troops. This man was his _beau
idéal_ of a soldier, and the regular army officers regarded him as
one of its most able and accomplished veterans. It is said that he
had incurred the displeasure of General Scott, who neither forgave
nor forgot; otherwise he might have been assigned to the position
taken by McClellan. He was a stern and unyielding disciplinarian, with
little or none of the tact which had characterized Grant's treatment
of this difficult problem, and his severity soon embroiled him with
the volunteers. Politicians and newspapers cried him down, and his
sins were blazoned at the War Department. He was in imminent peril of
being sent in disgrace into the shade before he had fought a single
battle. But Grant understood him, and saved him; and "Paducah Smith" at
Fort Donelson, leading the fiercest charge, bareheaded and inspired,
justified himself and his steadfast friend. Grumblers and slanderers
were shamed and silenced.

Grant's wonderfully correct estimate of men has proved to be one of the
secrets of his success; and here, in the first year of the Rebellion,
and before he had been a week in command of this district, he began to
demonstrate in this direction not only his fidelity to a friend, but
his firmness in the good cause.



CHAPTER XI.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken describes the Battle of Belmont, and
    further illustrates the military Qualities of the illustrious
    Soldier, as exhibited in that fierce Fight._


With such a man as Smith at Paducah, placed there, and kept there, by
General Grant, the outlets of those great rivers, the Tennessee and
the Cumberland, which led down into the very heart of the Rebellion,
were safe. We looked to Grant--we, within the narrow sphere he then
occupied--for another movement, for some brilliant and well-conceived
operation, which would gladden the hearts and strengthen the arms of
the men of the loyal cause; but we looked in vain, for he was not the
commander of a department, and was held back by General Fremont. But
Grant was busy, and not a moment of his precious time was lost, however
it may have been turned aside from its highest usefulness. The hardy
and enthusiastic volunteers from the North-west were poured in upon him
until he had about twenty thousand. He employed himself in perfecting
their organization and improving their discipline.

Columbus, which had been fortified and held by Polk and Pillow, was
every day increasing its strength and importance. It had closed the
Mississippi, and every point in Grant's district was continually
menaced by it. He desired to "wipe it out," and applied to Fremont for
permission to do so, declaring that, with a little addition to his
present force, he would take the place. His application was not even
noticed, and the rebels were permitted to strengthen their works, and
afford all the aid they could to the turbulent hosts in Missouri.

In the mean time the rebel General Price had captured Lexington, but
abandoned his prize at the approach of Fremont, and retreated to the
south-western part of the state, where he remained, confronted by a
small force of national troops, gathering strength for another hostile
movement towards the north. Polk, who was in command of Columbus,
occasionally sent troops over the river to Belmont, on the opposite
bank, from which they marched to re-enforce Price. The safety of the
Union army before him required that this channel of communication
should be closed, or at least that the enemy in Missouri should be
prevented for a time from receiving further assistance.

General Grant was therefore ordered to make a movement which should
threaten Columbus, and thus compel Polk to retain his force.
Accordingly, he sent Colonel Oglesby towards the point he was to
menace, and also directed General Smith at Paducah to march towards
Columbus, and demonstrate in the rear of that place. The point to
be gained was simply to prevent reënforcements from being sent over
the river, for Grant was prohibited from making an attack upon the
threatened point.

Belmont was partially fortified. It was a camp for rebel troops, from
which they could conveniently be sent to coöperate with Price or Jeff.
Thompson, and a depot of supplies gathered up in Missouri and Arkansas,
where they could be readily sent over to Columbus. On the evening of
November 6, Grant started down the river with a fleet of steamers,
under the convoy of two gunboats, to demonstrate on a larger scale
against the enemy's stronghold. He had with him a force of thirty-one
hundred men, comprising five regiments of infantry, two squadrons of
cavalry, and a section of artillery. The movement was not intended
as an attack, even upon Belmont, at the beginning. His troops were
exceedingly raw, some of them having received their arms only two days
before.

The fleet continued down the river about ten miles, and Grant made a
feint of landing on the Kentucky side, remaining at the shore till the
next morning, to give color to the idea that, with Smith, he intended
to attack Columbus. But during the night he ascertained that Polk was
crossing large bodies of troops to Belmont, with the evident intention
of pursuing Oglesby. Then the intrepid general decided to "clean out"
the camp at Belmont. This was literally what he intended to do, and as
every man's success ought to be measured by his intentions, it is very
important that this fact should be fully comprehended. It is absurd to
suppose that a military man of Grant's experience proposed to take and
hold the place. He had every reason to believe the enemy had double
his force, and he knew that they were well provided with steamers and
gunboats, and could send over reënforcements rapidly; and he was also
aware that Belmont was covered by the guns of Columbus. Against this
odds, and under these circumstances, he could not for a moment have
entertained the idea of securing a permanent advantage. He contemplated
only a bold dash, which was sufficient to accomplish the object of the
expedition.

The little army was landed at Hunter's Point, three miles above the
rebel works, and just out of the range of the Columbus batteries. The
line was formed, and, with Grant in the advance with the skirmishers,
moved forward. It soon encountered the enemy, and drove them before
it. The action waxed warmer and warmer as the lines of national troops
advanced, and the contest became very severe. Grant still kept in
front, animating the soldiers by his heroic example, in utter contempt
of anything like danger. His horse was killed under him, and he was
in peril from first to last; but his gallant behavior stimulated the
civilian colonels under him, and they stood up squarely to the work
before them. Thus led, the raw soldiers from Illinois behaved like
veterans, and fought with the utmost desperation. The contest continued
for four hours, at the end of which time the Union troops had driven
the rebels foot by foot to their works; and then, charging through
the abatis which surrounded the fortifications, forced the beaten foe
to the river. Several hundred prisoners and all the rebel guns were
captured, and the camp broken up.

Grant had reached his objective point, and his success was thorough and
complete. He had accomplished all he proposed, and it only remained
for him to retire from the field, which was of course as much a part
of his original intention as was the attack. As the hour of prosperity
is often the most dangerous, so was the moment of victory the most
perilous to these gallant troops. Their success seemed to intoxicate
them, and instead of pursuing their advantage upon the rebel force,
sheltering themselves beneath the bluff of the river, they went about
plundering the deserted camp. Their colonels, no better disciplined,
indulged their vanity in making Union speeches.

General Grant discovered that the enemy was sending steamer loads
of troops across the river, to a point above the camp, to intercept
his retreat; and he was anxious to get back to his transports before
they arrived. He attempted to form his lines again, but the men were
too much disorganized to heed orders. The general then directed his
staff-officers to set fire to the camp, in order to check the plunder.
The smoke attracted the attention of the rebels at Columbus, who opened
fire upon the Unionists. Shot and shell brought them to a sense of
their duty; the line was formed, and they marched towards the steamers,
three miles distant.

The defeated rebels, under the bank of the river, having been
reënforced by the arrival of three regiments from Columbus, marched
to a point which enabled them to intercept the victorious army. An
officer, on discovering the fact, dashed furiously up to the cool
commander, and in a highly-excited tone cried, "We are surrounded!"

"Well, if that is so, we must cut our way out, as we cut our way in,"
replied Grant, apparently unmoved even by this tremendous circumstance.

His troops were brave men, but such a disaster as being surrounded
suggested to their inexperience only the alternative of surrender, and,
under many commanders, such a result must have been inevitable. What
paralyzes the soldier often produces the same effect upon the leader;
but Grant was not "demoralized." No apparent reverses could exhaust his
unconquerable pluck; he never despaired, and worked up a situation out
of which another could make nothing but defeat, until he brought forth
victory.

"We have whipped them once, and I think we can do it again," added
Grant, in the midst of the confusion which the unpleasant prospect
caused.

The troops discovered that Grant had no idea of surrendering, and
they gathered themselves up for a fresh onslaught. The confusion was
overcome, and the little army charged the enemy, who fought less
vigorously than earlier in the day, and were again forced behind the
bank of the river. But, as fresh troops were continually arriving from
Columbus, there was no time to be wasted, and Grant pressed on for
his transports. There was no unseemly haste, certainly nothing like a
rout, or even a defeat. Everything was done in as orderly a manner as
possible with undisciplined troops.

  [Illustration: GRANT'S ESCAPE.--Page 123.]

Grant superintended the execution of his own orders in the embarkation
of his force; and, when most of them were on board of the steamers, he
sent out a party to pick up the wounded. In the morning he had posted
a reserve in a suitable place for the protection of the fleet, and
as soon as the main body were secure on the decks of the transports,
Grant, attended by a single member of his staff, rode out to withdraw
this force. This guard, ignorant of the requirement of good discipline,
had withdrawn themselves, and the general found himself uncovered in
the presence of the advancing foe. Riding up on a hillock, he found
himself confronting the whole rebel force, now again increased by
fresh additions from the other side of the river. It was a time for an
ordinary man to put spurs to his steed; but Grant had an utter contempt
for danger. He stood still for a moment to examine the situation,
during which he was a shining mark for rebel sharp-shooters. He wore
a private's overcoat, the day being damp and chilly; and to this
circumstance alone can his miraculous escape be attributed.

He was looking for the party he had sent out in search of the wounded,
and realized that they had been cut off by the foe. Turning his horse,
he rode slowly back to the landing, so as not to excite the attention
of his uncomfortable neighbors, who were pouring a galling fire into
the transports. The steamers suffered so much from this destructive
hail of bullets, that they had cast off their fasts, and pushed away
from the bank, leaving the general behind in the midst of the foe.
Seeing how the thing was going, Grant put spurs to his horse, forcing
the steed on his haunches down the bank, just as one of the steamers
was swinging off from the shore. A plank was thrown out for him, up
which he trotted his horse, in the midst of a storm of rebel bullets.

The field being clear of national troops, the gunboats opened a fierce
fire upon the rebel ranks, now within fifty or sixty yards of the
shore, mowing them down with grape and canister in the most fearful
slaughter. The fire of the rebels was fortunately too high to inflict
any serious injury on the troops in the transports, and by five in the
afternoon they were out of range.

The next day Grant met, under a flag of truce, an old classmate from
West Point, then serving on General Polk's staff. He related his
personal experience at Belmont, stating that he had encountered the
rebel line when alone. The rebel officer expressed his surprise.

"Was that you?" exclaimed he. "We saw you. General Polk pointed you out
as a Yankee, and called upon the men to test their aim upon you; but
they were too busy in trying their skill upon the transports to heed
the suggestion."

I point with admiration to the conduct of General Grant during
that entire day. As an example of coolness and courage, he stands
unsurpassed, and even unrivalled. It was thrilling to behold him,
in the midst of the trials and discouragements of that hard-fought
field, the life and the soul of the whole affair. He was the only
trained soldier on the field, for even General McClernand, who was
daring enough to have had three horses shot under him, had no actual
experience of battle. His men, and especially his officers, were
undisciplined, and the whole affair rested upon his shoulders. But the
brave fellows followed his example, and the victory was made sure.

The material results of the battle were one hundred and seventy-five
prisoners, two guns carried off and four spiked on the field, and the
total destruction of the enemy's camp.

Of the force engaged, Grant had thirty-one hundred and fourteen men,
according to his official report. General Polk declared that, at the
beginning of the battle, Pillow had five regiments, a battery, and a
squadron of cavalry; and that five more regiments were sent across the
river during the fight. The rebel force, therefore, must have been
double that of the Unionists; and probably the disparity was still
greater.

My friend Mr. Pollard, with his usual cheerful assumption, called the
battle of Belmont a Confederate victory! Or, stating it a little more
mildly, a defeat in the beginning changed in the end to an overwhelming
victory! Did this amiable rebel ever hear of an army defeated by
an "overwhelming victory," carrying off their captured guns and
prisoners, embarking leisurely in their steamers, and retiring while
the victors were being mowed down in swaths? Grant lost four hundred
and eighty-five men in killed, wounded, and missing; while Mr. Pollard
demolishes his own "overwhelming victory" by acknowledging a rebel
loss of six hundred and forty-two, which was probably below the actual
number.

The moral results of the battle, which cannot be estimated in captured
guns and prisoners, were even more satisfactory. Belmont, as settling a
question of _prestige_, was the Bunker Hill of the Western soldiers. It
gave them confidence in themselves, and prepared the way for Donelson
and Shiloh. It prevented the forces of Jeff Thompson and Price from
being augmented.

The unmilitary conduct of some of the colonels, gallantly as they
fought, exposed them to merited rebuke. It is said that Grant himself
expected to be deprived of his command for fighting this battle, and
for not effecting his retreat more promptly, having been delayed, as
I have shown, by the want of proper support from these commanders of
regiments, who did not control, or attempt to control, the excesses
of the men. One of them, fearful that the same fate was in store for
him, waited upon Grant to ascertain the prospect. He obtained no
satisfaction, for the general thought the lesson ought to work in his
mind.

"Colonel ---- is afraid I will report his bad conduct," said Grant to
one of his friends, when the repentant and anxious officer had departed.

"Why don't you do it?" demanded the other. "He and the other colonels
are to blame for their disobedience, which had nearly involved you in a
disaster."

"These officers had never been under fire," replied the magnanimous
hero. "They did not understand how serious an affair it was, and they
will never forget the lesson they learned. I can judge from their
conduct in the action that they are made of the right stuff. It is
better that I should lose my position, if it must be, than that the
country should lose the services of five such gallant officers when
good men are scarce."

Grant did not lose his command; and the future justified the belief of
Grant, for three of the five colonels won an enviable distinction in
subsequent battles.

That was Grant! It was the imperilled nation, and not his own glory,
for which he was fighting.



CHAPTER XII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken rehearses the persistent Efforts of
    the illustrious Soldier to obtain Permission to attack Fort Henry,
    and follows him to the Capture of that important Position_.


General Grant gained no immediate credit for his brilliant action at
Belmont. The objects of the movement were not understood, and as the
victorious army did not retain the position it had won, the general
public regarded it as a defeat. The balance of injury was against the
rebels, and in favor of the national arms. Grant gained all, and more
than all, he intended. He had no occasion to be forgiven for Belmont.
It was his first battle in the Rebellion, and the first of the unbroken
line of victories he achieved which gladdened the heart of the nation
from time to time.

Grant was always generous, even to magnanimity. His report of the
battle bestows the warmest praise upon those who deserved it. There
was none of that petty, sixpenny jealousy in his composition which
belittled some other able generals, and which in a few instances
seriously interfered with the progress of the Union arms. He had no
occasion to decry others in order to magnify himself. He was willing
to let his fame take care of itself. He did everything for the
cause, nothing at all for himself. He was too magnanimous to mention
the indiscretions of the officers who, through lack of experience,
imperilled the day, for they were errors of the head, and not of the
heart.

A few days after the battle of Belmont, Fremont was superseded by
Halleck. The change did not injure the immediate prospects of Grant,
though for two months the general was employed only in organizing and
drilling troops, some of which were for service in his own district,
and some were intended for other parts of the department, and he
was permitted to make no forward movement. For the old name the new
commander substituted the District of Cairo, and changed its limits so
as to include the portion of Kentucky west of the Cumberland River.

During this period of comparative inaction, flags of truce frequently
passed between Cairo and Columbus, and interviews between the generals
in command of the posts took place. General Polk seems to have been
a very hospitable gentleman, and at the close of each conference
invariably brought out his wine to treat his guests. It was not unusual
to propose a toast, and on one occasion the bishop general offered one
which he declared all could drink. The glasses were filled,--Grant's
with water, of course,--and Polk gave, "To General Washington--" He
paused there, and the company raised their glasses to their lips, and
were in the act of honoring the great name, when the proposer of the
sentiment added--"the first rebel."

"That was scarcely fair, general," interposed Grant, who had nearly
finished his glass; "but I will be even with you some other time."

It would have been called a Yankee trick if it had been perpetrated
by any other than a chivalrous Southern soldier. Two weeks later,
another flag was sent down the river, and Grant accompanied it. When
the business of the interview was completed, Polk attended to the
rites of hospitality as usual. Grant turned the conversation into
the favorite channel of rebel politicians by introducing the subject
of state rights. The Southern officers were suffered to express
themselves fully on their pet theme, without any serious attempt to
controvert their positions. As he rose to take his departure, Grant
proposed, a sentiment in which he said all could agree--"Equal rights
to all--" He duplicated the pause which Polk had made on the previous
occasion, until the party had partially emptied their glasses, when he
added--"white and black."

"Now, general, I think I am even with you," continued Grant, in his
quiet, unimpressible manner; and the reverend general was obliged to
own that he had been flanked in his own manoeuvre.

Columbus was the western extreme of the rebel line of defence, which at
that time included nearly the whole length of the Potomac River in the
East. The enemy had built Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, and Fort
Donelson on the Cumberland, and occupied Bowling Green, near the centre
of the State of Kentucky. The line which included these points was the
boundary which actually separated the territories in possession of the
combatants. It was the strategic line of the rebels, on which they had
placed their defences, concentrated their armies, and gathered their
supplies, both for aggressive movements to the North, and to prevent a
Union force from penetrating to the South. Bowling Green, on a branch
of the Green River, was at the junction of the two lines of railroad
from Memphis and from Nashville. Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were near
the Memphis road, protecting it from Union raiders, and supplied by it
with men and provisions, as well as by the two rivers.

The Gibraltar of the West, as Columbus was called by the rebels,
mounted one hundred and forty guns, was abundantly supplied with men
and material, and its railway connections afforded every facility for
reënforcing it in case of necessity. It closed the Mississippi against
the Union steamers and gunboats.

Fort Henry, the first connecting link in the rebel line of defence,
was a strongly-built fortification on the right bank of the Tennessee,
mounting seventeen guns, and provided with accommodations for fifteen
thousand men.

Fort Donelson, on the left bank of the Cumberland, was a more elaborate
work, mounting forty guns, and with quarters for twenty thousand
troops. These two forts effectually closed the rivers on which they
were located, and were only twelve miles apart, so that they could
coöperate with each other in cases of emergency. A strong rebel army
at Bowling Green completed the defence, and an advance by land was as
impracticable as by water. The problem which the Western military
commanders were called upon to solve was, how to break through this
line.

The question seems to have worried Grant to no inconsiderable degree,
and he studied the matter attentively during the winter. In January,
by order of General Halleck, he sent out a heavy force under General
Smith, in the direction of Columbus, to aid a movement on the part of
General Thomas in another part of the state, and to examine the ground.
No fighting was done, and the soldiers suffered severely from cold;
but the object of the expedition was gained, for Thomas defeated the
rebels at Mill Springs, where the result would have been different if
reënforcements had been sent from this quarter to the enemy.

During the winter, the gunboat navy of the West was largely augmented
and improved, under the admirable supervision of Commodore Foote.
Ordinary river steamers were shorn of their top works, and their hulls
converted into iron-clad batteries, which promised to render efficient
service in operations on the navigable streams of the West. The brave
old salt was ably seconded by Halleck and by Grant, both in building
and in manning his fleet.

General Smith, on his return from the reconnoissance in force, reported
to Grant that the capture of Fort Henry was feasible. The general of
the district was ready at an early day to solve the problem of breaking
the rebel line of defence. He had kept his eye and his thought on this
operation; and while the movement was demanded by McClellan, then
general-in-chief, Halleck appears hardly to have turned his attention
in that direction; certainly he had taken no active measure to carry
out the purpose.

I am not willing to say that Grant at this time had devised a plan for
extended operations towards the South, but I am confident that he was
studying his maps and measuring the comparative resources of the two
armies long before his superiors had any definite ideas on the subject.
I firmly believe that to him belongs the conception of that grand
military movement which he so gloriously carried forward in person.

On the return of Smith from his expedition, Grant forwarded his report
to General Halleck, and a day later, by permission, visited the
headquarters of the commander of the department at St. Louis, in order
to obtain permission to attack Fort Henry. Halleck was one of the high
and mighty men, and his refusal was abrupt and sharp. Grant was no
orator. He proffered his request in the fewest words that would express
it; and he did not attempt to sustain his views by an argument. He was
wounded in his feelings by the curtness of his superior, and returned
to Cairo with the unpleasant impression that his commander regarded him
as a tyro, capable of perpetrating the grossest military blunder.

But Grant had Fort Henry on the brain, and, in spite of his repulse, he
could not be satisfied to leave with his superior the responsibility
of neglecting to improve what he regarded as a golden opportunity. In
the latter part of January he telegraphed to Halleck that, with his
permission, he would take and hold Fort Henry, establish and hold a
large camp there. A day later he followed up his application with a
letter, demonstrating the practicability of the proposed enterprise,
and showing the advantage to be gained by a prompt advance. His
application was warmly seconded by Flag-officer Foote; and this time
the desired permission was obtained. Grant was happy then; he had
overcome the coldness of Halleck, and it only remained for him to
justify his predictions.

Grant was on the most intimate terms of friendship with Foote, and
these two gallant and devoted men worked harmoniously together
to achieve a success. There was no bickering between them about
precedence, for both of them sought only to serve the cause in which
they had embarked. Halleck's detailed instructions arrived on the 1st
of February, and, in view of the experience of others, it is almost
a miracle that there was not a delay of a month, or at least of a
week. Grant was a prompt man, and in spite of all the precedents made
and provided for the occasion, he actually started from Cairo on the
day after his orders reached him. His force, embarked in transports,
consisted of seventeen thousand men, and Commodore Foote's squadron
was composed of seven gunboats, only four of which, however, were
iron-clads.

On the 4th of February the expedition arrived at the scene of
operations. Grant had given McClernand the advance, and this officer
landed his troops about eight miles below the fort. But the commanding
general did not quite comprehend the situation, and he was not the man
to work in the dark when light could be obtained. Going on board of
one of the gunboats, he directed its captain to steam up the river,
and under the guns of the fort, in order to draw its fire and test its
weight of metal. The rebels fired upon the daring intruder, and a
shot went through the steamer. The purpose of the general was gained,
and he returned to his forces below, reembarked them, and again landed
them just out of the reach of cannon shot, the range of which he had
practically demonstrated.

The enemy were fully alive to the peril which menaced them, and made
every preparation for a desperate resistance. Additional troops were
ordered up by the railroads, and reserves from Fort Donelson stationed
where they could be available. The Tennessee had overflowed its
banks, and the country for miles around was inundated. Fort Henry was
completely surrounded by water, and the movements of both armies were
made with difficulty. But Grant, no more dismayed by flood than by
fire, gave orders to post his troops so as to intercept any departures
or arrivals of the enemy.

Before the investment of the fort, intelligence of the anticipated
arrival of a large rebel force compelled Grant to hasten the attack,
and at eleven o'clock, on the 6th of February, the army marched towards
the rear of the fort, and the gunboats steamed up the river to engage
the batteries. The intrepid old sea-dog opened fire upon the works, and
in an hour and a half knocked them all to pieces, silencing every gun.
General Tilghman surrendered to Commodore Foote without conditions; but
only the commander, his staff, and sixty men were captured, the main
body of the rebel army having been sent to Fort Donelson.

The floods of water and the miry condition of the roads prevented
the army from reaching the rear of the fort in season to be of any
service. The cavalry was sent in pursuit of the fleeing rebels, but
they had gone too far to be overtaken. General Tilghman, it appeared,
did not share the confidence of his superiors in the invulnerableness
of his works, and early in the morning he had posted his entire
garrison, with the exception of a force sufficient to work his guns,
at some outworks two miles distant, and out of the reach of the shot
and shell from the gunboats, where they could be hastened to a place of
safety. Before the result of the battle with the gunboats was known,
these forces were sent away, and no different action on the part of the
Union general could have captured them.

The victory was a decided one, though the army was prevented from
sharing in the glory of capturing the fort. The result filled the
government of the Confederacy with dismay. One of its strong gates
had been battered down, and the Tennessee was open to the navigation
of those pestilent gunboats, which had already become the terror of
Rebeldom. Prompt to assure the leaders of the Confederacy of the
disaster which had overtaken them, Flag-officer Foote sent three of
his "pets" up the river, which proceeded as far as Florence, Alabama,
destroying the railroad bridge twenty-five miles above Fort Henry,
capturing large quantities of stores, and burning many steamers and
other boats.

The effect of this success was promptly realized in the sudden
evacuation of Bowling Green; and thus two of the rebel strongholds
were struck down by the same blow. But the full advantage of this
capture was not to be realized until the Union army was ready to move
in force towards the south. The victory was an easy one, very much to
the astonishment of the naval and the military officers in command.
Certainly the position was of importance enough for the Confederacy to
have staked more upon it than it did.

Grant's idea was triumphant, and he received the reward of his
persistent application to capture the fort, and ample compensation for
his harsh rebuff, in the consciousness that he had initiated one of the
grandest movements of the war--grand in its ultimate results, which his
far-seeing eye had already discovered, rather than in the present glory
of its accomplishment.



CHAPTER XIII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken states the Results of the Victory at
    Fort Henry, and attends the illustrious Soldier in the Investment
    of Fort Donelson_.


The capture of Fort Henry was as inspiring to the national troops as it
was discouraging to the rebels. General Grant telegraphed to Halleck
that he had taken Fort Henry, and he announced his intention to serve
Fort Donelson in the same way. Not a word had been said before about
the strong work on the Cumberland, and Grant had no instructions from
his superior on this point. Halleck made no reply to his despatch,
though he notified General Buell of the expected attack.

The idea of capturing Donelson was Grant's from its inception to
its culmination in the surrender. He had no definite information in
regard to the fort, but he formed his plan, not only to attack but
to capture it. It seems to have been written down in his mind from
the commencement that there was to be no failure. The flood and the
continued heavy rains delayed the movement, and the troops were obliged
to fight with the waters to save their scanty supplies.

General Halleck used every exertion to supply Grant with troops and
material, but he did not order the movement, or even express any hopes
or opinions in regard to it. He simply suffered it to proceed, yielding
all the assistance required of him; but it would have been curious
to know what he would have said if the enterprise had proved to be a
failure. Halleck sent minute orders in regard to the disposition of
Fort Henry, instructing Grant to hold it, intimating that he would send
picks and shovels to strengthen the work, and directed that the guns
should be changed so as to meet an attack from the land; but he does
not mention Donelson. He repeats his instructions very carefully on the
10th of the month, again kindly offers to send the picks and shovels,
and assures the rising hero that large reënforcements would soon join
him; but he is thoroughly non-committal on the subject of Fort Donelson.

For my own part, I am thankful that he was so; for I am convinced that
any man with a genius for war inferior to that of the illustrious
soldier would have been a marplot if he had meddled with the matter.
Grant was willing to take the responsibility; and doubtless the
singular silence of his superior suggested to him his fate in case of
failure.

Grant did not wait for any of the additional force promised; and
while the solemn autocrat in St. Louis was prating about picks and
shovels, and matters which a volunteer who had seen service for a week
understood as well as he, the bold brigadier in command hurried up
Commodore Foote, who was waiting for the gunboats he had sent up the
river. He was impatient to be on the move, and chafed like a leashed
tiger at the delay; for the news kept coming in that the rebels were
continually strengthening Donelson.

On the 11th the commodore started with his fleet for the Cumberland,
protecting transports conveying six regiments of troops and the
supplies for the entire force. On the same day McClernand, with the
advance, moved out a few miles towards the point of attack. The next
morning, Grant himself, with the main body of the army, consisting of
fifteen thousand strong, marched from Fort Henry, leaving twenty-five
hundred men in garrison there.

The roads were inundated, and it was impossible to transport tents and
baggage. But few wagons were taken, and the only food carried was in
the haversacks of the soldiers. In order to understand the difficulties
in the way of the gallant commander, it should be remembered that this
movement was made in the month of February. The country was flooded
with water, rendering the roads almost impassable, and requiring that
many streams should be bridged. But without tents or baggage, the
confident general moved on to do the mighty work before him. At noon he
arrived at his destination, and proceeded to post his troops. Grant's
information in regard to the fortress was so meagre and indefinite that
he could only promise to issue the necessary orders in the field. This
was the task now before him.

Fort Donelson was one of the most elaborately constructed systems of
works which yet frowned on the path of the Union army. It was built on
a group of hills, the highest of which were not less than a hundred
feet above the level of the river. It consisted of a nest of forts,
thrown around the principal one, mounting, with the addition of the
field guns of the batteries, sixty-five pieces. The country in which
it was situated was rough, and densely wooded. The approaches to the
works were rendered difficult by ingeniously-contrived abatis. Above
and below the fort was a stream, overflowing its banks, and protecting
the right and left of the rebel line. Water batteries on the river
effectually guarded the approaches in that direction. The fort was
garrisoned by twenty-one thousand men. For a week the rebels had
been at work, day and night, increasing its defences, and calling in
reënforcements from the vicinity.

Grant went to work with his usual promptness, and before night had
surrounded the fort, so far as the overflow of the streams would
permit. McClernand's division was on the right, Smith's on the left.
There were but three educated officers on the field--Grant, Smith, and
McPherson; all the rest of the force were volunteers, most of whom had
never seen a battle, and some had been in the service but a very brief
period.

The gunboats did not arrive the next day, as expected, but the time
was occupied in perfecting the investment of the place, and in
feeling of the enemy. Some smart skirmishes occurred, but nothing
of importance to either side resulted from them. A gallant attempt
was made by McClernand to capture a battery, but it failed. At night
Grant's line extended for three miles along a series of hills parallel
to the enemy's line. The reënforcements did not arrive, and Foote's
squadron was not heard from. The weather changed from heavy rain to
intense cold, and the thermometer fell nearly to zero. The troops
suffered fearfully from cold; for without tents, and without sufficient
clothing, they bivouacked in line of battle, sleeping, if they slept
at all, on their arms. The rebel pickets were within easy range, and
no fires could be built. Some of the raw troops had even thrown away
their blankets in the toilsome march through the mud. Before morning
a driving storm of hail and snow set in, horribly increasing the
sufferings of the troops.

What a terrible price was paid for the integrity of this blessed Union!
What an awful sacrifice for the liberty in which we now rejoice! I
tremble when I think of the horrors of that dreadful night, in the
snow, and the sleet, and the piercing cold, where the devoted patriots
lay under the fire of the enemy! All night long the rebel pickets
fired, and the groans of the wounded and the dying mingled with the
howls of the storm. All the horrors of war seemed to be blended
together in one discordant mass--hunger, cold, and all the torturing
agony of suspense and anxiety. From what I know of Grant, I am sure he
suffered the most, for the tortures of his men were his own; but peace
and freedom were the glittering prize for which he fought and endured
the bitter anguish of that horrid night. I wonder that even his iron
will did not yield in the presence of the calamities which were there
heaped upon him and his men; for he endured all that the humblest
soldier endured. Besides the burden they had to bear, he carried the
responsibility of the enterprise upon his shoulders; but he was as
confident as he was patient and self-sacrificing. For the glorious
cause in which he had embarked, he endured all which that awful period
had in store for him.

Glory, honor, and an immortal name to the man who had the fortitude to
endure the horrors of that terrible night! I am amazed as I view him,
the thinking power of the expedition, resolutely maintaining his bold
front through the accumulated miseries of that gloomy trial-hour! Think
of the man who had the hardihood to beleaguer a fortress garrisoned by
twenty-one thousand men with fifteen thousand, and to stand by them
confidently through such a storm and such a night! It was watching and
waiting for the morning. Conscious of his comparative weakness, Grant
sent a messenger to Fort Henry for the garrison which had been left
there.

In the gloom of the early morning came glad tidings to the anxious
commander, and to his suffering force. A gunboat was coming up the
river, and its presence heralded the approach of the fleet, with
reënforcements and with supplies for the half-famished men in the
line. Though abundant rations had been issued to the troops, they were
improvident, in their inexperience, both of food and clothing. The
warm, humid air of the preceding day had been oppressive to them, and
they had lightened their burden, reckless of the future. The sudden
change of the weather and the delay of the fleet subjected them to
terrible hardship. Many of the wounded and others were frozen to death
in the line.

General Lew Wallace and the garrison from Fort Henry, arrived, and
were immediately placed in the centre of the line of investment. The
transports came up to a point three miles below the fort, landed their
troops, who were added to the line encircling the fort, increasing
the besieging force to twenty-two thousand. During the entire day, an
irregular fire of sharp-shooters was kept up by the rebels, and at
times the artillery played briskly upon the national lines. This was on
the second day of the siege, Friday, the 14th of February.

Early in the afternoon, six gunboats, only four of which were protected
by armor, opened fire upon the fort, and continued to pour in shot and
shell for an hour and a half. The water batteries had the advantage of
a high position in this conflict, which enabled them to throw plunging
shot at the gunboats. Commodore Foote was severely wounded, fifty-four
of his men killed or wounded, two of his craft disabled, and the others
crippled by the vigorous fire of the rebels. Twenty guns had acted
upon the little squadron, which could use only twelve in reply. Two of
the iron-clads were drifting helplessly down the river, and the others
were so disabled that it was impossible to continue the action any
longer. Sorely against his will, the gallant commodore was compelled to
withdraw from the unequal contest. It was Grant's plan to take the fort
by storm on the land side, as soon as the result of the naval combat
warranted the step. As it failed, he was obliged to remain inactive. He
feared to attempt to carry the place by assault with untrained troops,
but he did not for a moment lose his confidence in the ultimate result.

Another night of freezing cold succeeded, and the snow and the sleet,
in unison with the rebel guns, pelted the patriot host. The sufferings
of the preceding night were repeated, and increased by the weakened
condition of the men. Grant felt for his suffering troops, but he
seemed to be insensible to cold and fatigue himself, even after the
long-continued strain of ceaseless action and sleepless nights upon
his frame. At two o'clock on the morning of Saturday he received a
note from Commodore Foote, who was disabled by his wound, soliciting
an interview with him on board of the flag-ship. Before daylight Grant
visited the St. Louis, and the flag-officer informed him that he should
be compelled to return to Cairo and refit his squadron, and suggested
that Grant should hold his line until the gunboats could return to his
assistance.

While this conference was in progress on board of the St. Louis,
the rebels massed their troops at the right of the Union line, and
made a tremendous sally upon the besiegers. The soldiers fought like
tigers for hours in this unequal strife. All of McClernand's division
was hotly engaged. A brigade which had been posted on the extreme
right, after bravely holding its ground against overwhelming odds,
fell back after suffering terribly. McClernand, sorely pressed, was
hardly holding his ground, and sent to Wallace in the centre for aid.
Messengers were hurried to the headquarters of General Grant, but he
was still on board of the flag-ship. Wallace was afraid to weaken the
centre without orders from his chief; but at last, when McClernand
declared that his flank was turned, and his whole division in peril
of being cut to pieces, he marched to his assistance, drove back the
rebels, and changed the fortunes of the day.

In his turn Wallace charged upon the rebel line; but he also was
forced back, and it seemed as though the enemy had massed nearly his
whole force on his left. The fighting was of the most determined and
desperate character, but no decided result to either side ensued. The
rebels were endeavoring to force their way through the Union line, but
they were defeated in their purpose, and the national troops still held
their position.

About nine o'clock, as Grant was returning from his anxious conference
with the naval commander, an aid gave him his first information of
the furious assault which had been made upon his line. Learning from
General Smith--who was in command of the left, and had not been
engaged--the situation on the right, he ordered him to make instant
preparations for an assault with his whole force. Sudden and startling
as the intelligence was to him, he was ready for the emergency, and
before he had visited the scene of action his plan was formed. His
splendid genius fathomed the truth, and he was prompt in his remedy.
Where other commanders in that trying moment would have summoned a
council of war, he stood boldly up and confronted the difficulty alone.
The gunboats had failed him, and there was no hope but in the army.

Leaving Smith, he dashed on to the scene of the severest conflict. The
rebels, disappointed in their attempt to break the Union line, were
slowly retiring. The prospect there was disheartening in the extreme.
The raw troops, bravely as they had fought, were in disorder. The
heavy loss of officers was severely felt, and confusion reigned in the
ranks. The men were discouraged, and, in a measure, demoralized. It
was Grant's mission to inspire them anew, and to bring order out of
confusion. It was reported to him that the rebels had come out with
knapsacks and haversacks to continue the battle for an indefinite
period.

"Are the haversacks filled?" asked Grant; and, upon examination of
some of the prisoners who had been taken, it was found that they were
supplied with rations for three days. "They mean to cut their way out,"
added Grant, "and have no idea of staying here to fight us. Whichever
party attacks first now will whip, and the rebels will have to be very
quick if they beat us."

Thus Grant rose above the presages of evil which surrounded him, and
thus breathed new confidence into the sinking hearts of his troops.
Thus he put far from him the evil omens of the hour, and, by his
vigorous measures and his personal presence, prepared to turn the
discouraging circumstances which environed him into the channel of
victory.

The rebels appear to have comprehended the situation in front of them;
for Pillow was so confident they had cut a path through the national
line, that he telegraphed to Nashville, "On the honor of a soldier, the
day is ours." He did not know what manner of man he was who commanded
the national forces.



CHAPTER XIV.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier to the
    Victory at Fort Donelson, and points out the Nature and Extent of
    that splendid Achievement_.


General Grant, having reassured his men on the right, dashed off to
the left again, where Smith and his fresh troops were preparing for
the assault. On their way he and his staff gladdened the hearts of the
soldiers by declaring that the attempt of the rebels in the morning was
not an ordinary sally; that they were becoming desperate, and desired
only to cut their way through the line to a place of safety. At this
stage of the battle, when a portion of the army was discouraged and
disheartened, this was certainly a bold assumption, but it had an
inspiring effect upon the men; they re-formed their lines, and moved
towards the front.

In the midst of these preparations Grant sent a request to Commodore
Foote to have all his gunboats appear before the enemy, declaring that
a terrible conflict during his absence had demoralized a portion of his
command. He added that, if the gunboats did not appear, the fact would
encourage the enemy, and still further dishearten his own troops, and
that he was obliged to order a charge "to save appearances." The naval
commander complied with the request so far as he was able, and sent two
of his squadrons up the river, where they demonstrated a little at long
range.

McClernand and Wallace were directed to renew the attack on the right
as soon as Smith charged upon the left. The latter, who had been
accused of secession tendencies during his temporary unpopularity
at Paducah, had now an opportunity to set himself right before the
country, and to overwhelm his defamers. He formed his line, and made
one of the most impetuous and gallant charges recorded during the war.
In front of him the rebel right had been reduced in force to mass the
troops for the assault in the morning, and before the equilibrium
could be restored, Smith forced the enemy's line, and, in the face of
a galling and destructive fire, made his way up the hill, over the
intrenchments, gaining full possession of the key to the fort.

On the right the troops of McClernand and Wallace, in spite of what
they had suffered in the morning, behaved handsomely, and drove the
rebels from the ground in front of them, regaining the guns which they
had lost in the morning. But the greatest advantage derived from their
heroic conduct was in keeping the enemy engaged, and thus preventing
them from reënforcing their right, where Smith was working out the real
solution of the problem of capturing the fort.

Night closed upon the hard-fought battle-field before the day was
won; but the advantage was clearly and decidedly with the national
troops. Smith still held the position he had won, and another half hour
of daylight would have enabled him to carry the entire works. Again
the suffering soldiers bivouacked on the frozen ground, which they
had so gallantly won from the enemy, spending the night in sleepless
anxiety, for the desperate fortunes of the foe tempted him to reckless
expedients. But the light of a brilliant victory was beginning to
dawn upon them, and hope rendered the hours less heavy, the cold and
weariness more endurable. Grant, who had watched and waited through the
long hours of the preceding night, without a moment of rest, and who,
by night and by day, had been straining every nerve for a fortnight,
slept a few hours in a negro cabin on the field, but ready at any
instant to answer the summons to battle.

Within the rebel camp the results of the day's operations had carried
dismay and despair. Floyd, who was the chief in command, called
together his officers for consultation. It was agreed that the
situation was hopeless, and that escape or surrender was the only
alternative. They discussed the feasibility of cutting their way out
of the fort; but, as such a reckless movement would involve the loss
of three fourths of the command, the more humane and prudent of this
remarkable conclave decided that it should not be undertaken. The
other alternative was surrender; but Floyd, who had stolen the public
property while holding his position of trust under the United States
government, and dreaded a halter if captured, declined in his own
person to be given up. He declared his intention to escape with the
Virginia troops he had brought with him, and he turned over the command
to Pillow, the next in rank. This gentleman decided to imitate the
example of Floyd, and passed it along to Buckner. They had solved the
problem to their own satisfaction, the two highest in command deserting
their troops, and escaping by a steamer up the river. Nothing better
could have been expected of Floyd, or even of Pillow, and both of them
were consistent with their treacherous natures. Buckner was a gentleman
and a soldier. After bravely defending his position to the best of his
ability, he was obliged to surrender, and he performed the disagreeable
duty like a man.

Buckner immediately sent a messenger to Grant, asking for terms of
surrender; but, while the negotiation was in progress, he permitted
Floyd and Pillow to sneak off with about three thousand of the troops,
amid the execrations of those who remained. Grant was ready to renew
the conflict when the white flag was raised on the battlements of the
fort. Buckner proposed an armistice till noon, which seemed to suggest
a very complicated arrangement of details in regard to terms. In reply,
Grant wrote a very brief note, acknowledging the receipt of the rebel
general's communication, and adding, "No terms except unconditional and
immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon
your works."

If General Buckner had never been formally introduced to General
Grant, this little note would have been a full-length photograph of
the man. The unfortunate rebel replied, accepting the terms, though
not without taking occasion to protest against them as ungenerous and
unchivalrous, and to remind the conqueror of "the brilliant success of
the Confederate arms yesterday." Grant, with a generous regard for the
feelings of Buckner, hastened to the headquarters of the latter, at
Dover. The two generals had been companions at West Point and in the
old army, and Grant displayed a tenderness for the sensitive nature of
the defeated soldier which is highly creditable to him. He assured him
he did not wish to subject him to any unnecessary mortification, but
while all public property must be yielded up, the officers would be
permitted to retain their side arms and their personal property.

They breakfasted together and talked over the affair, thus happily
ended for one, thus disastrously ended for the other. During the
interview which followed, Buckner alluded to the inferior force of his
adversary at the commencement of the siege.

"If I had been in command, you wouldn't have reached Fort Donelson so
easily," said he, with a natural desire to explain the cause of his
misfortune.

"If you had been in command, I should have waited for reënforcements,
and marched from Fort Henry in greater strength; for I knew that Pillow
would not come out of his works to fight, and I told my staff so,
though I believed he would fight behind his works."

Grant knew not only the men upon his own side, but those on the
other. He weighed and measured both Floyd and Pillow, and made his
calculations accordingly. He did nothing in the dark, bold and daring
as his movements were. He read human character with almost infallible
accuracy, and it appears that his splendid victory at Donelson was
gained as much by his knowledge of the men whom he had to fight, as by
his sudden and wonderful seizing of an advantage. He knew nothing of
the obstinate battle which had been fought while he was on board of the
gunboat, until he was informed of the fact after he came on shore. On
the instant he ordered Smith to prepare for an assault. He saw the weak
point of the enemy, as well as the disordered state of his own right.
Here was his stroke of genius. In that he conquered, for the assault he
ordered on the moment gave Smith the key to the fortress.

In this tremendous battle he exhibited the highest qualities of a man
and a soldier, and showed that he was equal to any position to which he
might be assigned. When the news of the fall of Fort Donelson reached
Washington, Secretary Stanton immediately recommended Grant's promotion
to the rank of major-general of volunteers. President Lincoln nominated
him to the Senate on the same day, and he was instantly confirmed. The
secretary of war seized eagerly upon the brilliant qualities of the
man who had worked out this victory, and held him up to the admiration
of the country, as he deserved to be held up, adding that "the true
organization of victory, and military combination to end this war,
were declared in a few words by General Grant's message to General
Buckner: '_I propose to move immediately on your works_'" And the noble
secretary clung to the successful general during the rest of the war.

Sixty-five guns and fifteen thousand prisoners were the spoils of
war to the victor at Fort Donelson--a whole army of captives, such as
the North had not known before. On the last day of the fight, Grant
had twenty-seven thousand men, and the rebels had above twenty-one
thousand, so that the disparity in numbers between the combatants was
by no means so great as that in position, which favored the rebels.

As the steamers with the rebel prisoners were about to start for the
Ohio River, Buckner, who was very proud of his soldiers, asked Grant
to go and see his own brigade. The victorious general accepted the
invitation, and the prisoners crowded around him, respectfully but
curiously anxious to see their captor. Buckner informed them that Grant
had treated them very handsomely, and begged them, if ever the fortunes
of war reversed the circumstances, to treat him, or any of his troops,
as kindly and magnanimously as he had used them. Grant has a large
heart, which I have several times before indicated in mentioning his
relations with his friends and benefactors. It is demonstrated even
more forcibly in his generous conduct to his enemies, or, rather, the
enemies of the loyal cause; for until envy and jealousy developed them,
it does not appear that he had any others.

The country rang with Grant's praise. A new light had loomed up in the
firmament of the war, and people hailed the glorious star. His initials
now meant "Unconditional Surrender"--the only terms which he could
offer to men in arms against their own country. The victory at Donelson
was the most important and the most suggestive one which had yet
gladdened the loyal heart. It was regarded as the beginning of a new
order of things; and well do I remember the confident prediction of one
who weighed Grant well, that he would yet be President of the United
States.

General Halleck appears to have been a stumbling-block in the path of
both Grant and Sherman. There was a dirty vein in his nature, which
contrasts strongly with the generosity and magnanimity of the hero of
Fort Donelson. While McCullum, Halleck's chief of staff, congratulated
him upon the splendid result of his "brilliant leadership," and others
high in command followed his example, Halleck himself sent no letter
of commendation to the conqueror, but telegraphed to Washington that
"Smith, by his coolness and bravery, when the battle was against
us, turned the tide and carried the enemy's outworks. Make him a
major-general. You can't get a better one. Honor _him_ for this
victory, and the whole country will applaud." Thus said Halleck.

Buckner congratulated Smith on his gallant charge, after the surrender.
"Yes, it was well done," he replied, "considering the smallness of the
force that did it. No congratulations are due to me. I simply obeyed
orders." Thus said Smith himself, with the ring of honor which swells
the heart of a true soldier. The government practically decided that
the victory belonged to General Ulysses S. Grant. He was promptly
confirmed as a major-general, and "the whole country applauded."

While the people rapturously shouted forth their joy at the signal
success of our arms at Forts Henry and Donelson, they hardly
comprehended the magnificent results of these victories. The strong
positions of the rebels at Bowling Green and Columbus were flanked,
and the enemy were compelled to evacuate them. The Gibraltar of the
West, strengthened with so much labor and expense, could no longer
be held, and its garrison was transferred to Island No. 10, down the
river, leaving the Mississippi open to the northern line of Arkansas.
The Tennessee and Cumberland rivers were also open, and the dreaded
gunboats penetrated to the interior of the Confederacy. Nashville fell,
and was speedily occupied by the national troops, while the rebel
armies and the rebel legislature fled to safer localities.

At this period in Grant's eventful history, while he was beating down
the rebel stronghold, General William T. Sherman stepped prominently
upon the stage. He had rendered efficient service to Grant, as a
subordinate of Halleck, in urging forward reënforcements, and after
the victory warmly congratulated him. Grant replied in a feeling
letter, in which he made use of this sentence, so characteristic of
the man's motives: "_I care nothing for promotion so long as our arms
are successful_, and no political appointments are made." They had
been together one year at West Point, Sherman being graduated three
years earlier than Grant; but in their mutual sympathy, appreciation,
and kindness at this trying period of the war, really commenced the
friendship of these two remarkable men. Before any brilliant lustre had
been shed upon the name of either, they were united by a bond which
no circumstances could weaken, and by an association so intimate and
tender as to become the solace of each in the hour of adversity. It was
certainly a poetical friendship, faithful and genuine, by which the
nation, as well as the individuals themselves, have been benefited.



CHAPTER XV.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
    through the Period of his temporary Disgrace and triumphant
    Vindication to the opening scenes at Shiloh._


The great strategic line of the rebels in the West had been broken;
all its strong places had been taken or evacuated; and the network of
railroads in Kentucky and Tennessee was in possession of the national
troops. The new line of defence was along the railroad extending from
Memphis on the Mississippi to Charleston on the Atlantic. As the
rebels had fought for Nashville at Fort Donelson, and lost it, so they
indicated their intention to fight for Memphis at Island No. 10.

It was of the utmost importance to the Confederacy that the new line
of defence should be held, in order to control one of the principal
means of communication with the Atlantic States, by which the army and
the people were to be supplied with food. This line included several
important railway junctions, from which roads extended down to New
Orleans and Mobile. From Chattanooga a road passed through Eastern
Tennessee, then in possession of the rebels, to Virginia, being the
most direct route to Richmond; and another went to Atlanta, where
lines diverged to the east, west, and south, by which all the southern
and eastern cities of the Confederacy were reached.

The new defensive line was established, and strengthened with all the
men and material which the resources of the Confederacy would admit.
The ablest and most experienced generals in its service were sent to
the command of the rebel armies there. The presence of both Albert
Sidney Johnston and Beauregard attested the importance with which the
rebel leaders regarded this line; for, driven from it, another move to
the south would drive them down to within two hundred miles of the Gulf
of Mexico. This line had now become the objective point of the Union
generals in the West.

On the day following the surrender of Fort Donelson, General Grant
issued his first order, taking command of the new military district
of West Tennessee, whose limits, however, were not defined in his
appointment by General Halleck. General Smith, whom Grant still
regarded as his "right-hand man," and whom he had already strongly
recommended for promotion to the rank of major general, was sent fifty
miles up the Cumberland, to occupy Clarksville. The timid counsels of
Halleck restrained and annoyed the commander of the new district. His
superior was constantly prating about the risk of a general battle, and
urging extreme caution.

General Buell, in command of the Department of the Ohio, who had
occupied Bowling Green, now moved forward and occupied Nashville. As
Grant's district limits had not been defined, he visited Nashville
for the purpose of consulting Buell in regard to this subject and the
disposition of the troops of the two armies.

In the mean time, by the order of General Halleck, Grant was engaged
in organizing an expedition to go up the Tennessee River, to attack
the rebel line of defence, and cut the communications at Corinth,
Mississippi--the junction of the Mobile and Ohio with the Memphis
and Charleston Railroads. While these preparations were in progress,
Halleck sent a growling complaint to Washington, which I cannot help
transcribing here, though more to show the excellent spirit of Grant
under the most terrible provocation, than to exhibit the littleness of
Halleck:--

"I have had no communication with General Grant for more than a week.
He left his command without my authority, and went to Nashville. His
army seems to be as much demoralized by the victory of Fort Donelson
as was that of the Potomac by the defeat of Bull Run. It is hard to
censure a successful general immediately after a victory; but I think
he richly deserves it. I can get no returns, no reports, no information
of any kind from him. Satisfied with his victory, he sits down and
enjoys it without any regard to the future. I am worn out and tired by
this neglect and inefficiency. C.F. Smith is almost the only officer
equal to the emergency."

Grant seems to have been better satisfied with his victory than Halleck
was.

Up to this time Grant had not received even a hint that his conduct
was not approved by his superior, and it is doubtful whether Halleck
meant that he should know it until the crushing blow fell upon the
head of the conqueror. His significant mention of General Smith in
his snarling, ill-natured communication to the general-in-chief at
Washington sufficiently indicates his purpose. The next day Grant
was ordered to place Major General Smith in command of the Tennessee
expedition, and remain at Fort Henry himself. He was shelved, and in
disgrace! With this order came the first indication he had received of
the cause of his superior's displeasure. "Why do you not obey my orders
to report strength and position of your command?" was the snapper at
the end of the despatch.

Grant replied that the order should be obeyed; that he was not aware
of having ever disobeyed an order from Halleck's headquarters. He had
certainly never intended such a thing. He had reported almost daily the
condition and position of his troops. In conclusion, he declared that
he would carry out all instructions to the extent of his ability.

To this Halleck replied, repeating some of the allegations of his
letter to the general-in-chief, declaring that his going to Nashville
was a matter of very serious complaint at Washington, and that he was
advised to _arrest_ Grant on his return! The hero defended himself from
the charges, showing conclusively that he had performed his whole duty.
He stated that he had done all he could to get returns of the strength
of his command; that every move was reported daily to the chief of
staff at St. Louis; that he had averaged more than one letter a day
since he left Cairo; and that his visit to Nashville was solely for
the good of the service, not to gratify any desire of his own. "I have
done my very best to obey orders, and to carry out the interests of the
service," he wrote. "If my course is not satisfactory, remove me at
once. _I do not wish in any way to impede the success of our arms._" In
conclusion, he asked to be relieved from further duty in the department.

Halleck continued to pour in repeated rebukes and censures, and Grant
reiterated his application to be relieved. Among other things, he
alleged that Grant had permitted marauding, in violation of the orders
issued to prevent such irregularities. The general replied by referring
his superior to his own orders to suppress marauding, and by pointing
out to him the fact that he had arrested and sent to St. Louis several
officers for the offence indicated.

Grant was under a shadow, so far as his military superiors were
concerned, though the people knew very little about the difficulty at
the time. He was in disgrace. The man whom the loyal nation was lauding
to the skies was actually tottering beneath the disapprobation of his
commanding officer. Halleck had based a portion of his severe censure
upon an anonymous letter! He appears to have been too willing to take
up a cause of complaint, though Grant had bitter enemies in those who
were jealous of his rising fame. It appears almost incredible that
Halleck, at such a time, when the hero's name was on every tongue,
should have preferred his severe charges and uttered his galling
reflections to the authorities at Washington, without having previously
investigated them, or even intimating to the subject of his displeasure
that he was suspected of misconduct.

It looks as though Halleck, after the strong representations--or,
rather, misrepresentations--he had made to Washington, expected a
peremptory order to remove Grant, and appoint Smith in his place.
It seems, if this was his desire and anticipation, that he had been
reckoning without his host. Perhaps, if he had not been a timid man, he
would have done the foul deed himself. Instead of the order wished for
came one of a different sort:--

                                           "HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, }
                                           ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE, }
                                           WASHINGTON, March 10, 1862.}

    "MAJOR GENERAL H.W. HALLECK, U.S.A.,
      _Commanding Department of the Mississippi_:

    "It has been reported that soon after the battle of Fort Donelson,
    Brigadier General Grant left his command without leave. By
    direction of the president, the secretary of war directs you to
    ascertain and report whether General Grant left his command at any
    time without proper authority, and if so, for how long; whether he
    has made to you proper reports and returns of his forces; whether
    he has committed any acts which were unauthorized, or not in
    accordance with military subordination or propriety, and if so,
    what.

                                        L. THOMAS, _Adjutant General_."


It was evident that before Grant could be sent into obscurity, even
for a time, a searching investigation into the conduct of the culprit
was to be had. The president and the secretary of war were not
willing blindly to consign the hero of Fort Donelson to obloquy and
disgrace. Mr. Stanton only a few days before had thrillingly defined
the "organization of victory," as set forth in the words of Grant;
and he was not prepared to have the author of that electric sentence
shoved out of the line of attack. He insisted upon knowing what wicked
deeds Grant had done, and Halleck had permission only to "ascertain and
report." He did "ascertain;" but as only five days intervene between
the date of the order and that of his reply, it is not probable that he
found it necessary to push his inquiries to any great extent. He did
"report," as follows:--

                         "HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,}
                                            ST. LOUIS, March 15, 1862.}

    "BRIGADIER GENERAL L. THOMAS,
    _Adjutant General of the Army, Washington_:

    "In accordance with your instructions of the 10th inst., I
    report that General Grant and several officers of high rank in
    his command, immediately after the battle of Fort Donelson, went
    to Nashville without my authority or knowledge. I am satisfied,
    however, from investigation, that General Grant did this from good
    intentions, and from a desire to subserve the public interests.
    Not being advised of General Buell's movements, and learning that
    General Buell had ordered Smith's division of his (Grant's) command
    to go to Nashville, he deemed it his duty to go there in person.
    During the absence of General Grant and a part of his general
    officers, numerous irregularities are said to have occurred at Fort
    Donelson. These were in violation of the orders issued by General
    Grant before leaving, and probably, under the circumstances, were
    unavoidable. General Grant has made the proper explanations, and
    has been directed to resume his command in the field; as he acted
    from a praiseworthy although mistaken zeal for the public service
    in going to Nashville and leaving his command, I respectfully
    recommend that no further notice be taken of it. There never has
    been any want of military subordination on the part of General
    Grant, and his failure to make returns of his forces has been
    explained, as resulting partly from the failure of colonels of
    regiments to report to him on their arrival, and partly from an
    interruption of telegraphic communication. All these irregularities
    have now been remedied.

                                        H.W. HALLECK, _Major General_."

But it did not take even five days for Halleck to arrive at the
conclusions set forth in this letter; for two days before its date
he declined to relieve Grant from his command. "Instead of relieving
you," he said, "I wish you, as soon as your new army is in the field,
to assume the immediate command, and lead it on to new victories." He
seems to have discovered, rather late in the day, that General Smith
was not "almost the only man equal to the emergency."

During this unpleasant period, while he was in disgrace at Fort Henry,
Grant conducted himself with signal prudence and discretion. He was
patient and submissive to authority. His replies, though sometimes
sharp and strong, are always dignified and manly. He was even
willing to be sacrificed for the good of the cause; and, while acting
as a sort of adjutant general to his own subordinate in rank, he
labored diligently in forwarding the preparations for the expedition
up the river. Though he had been virtually superseded by Smith, he
congratulated that officer upon his richly-deserved promotion, offering
him every assistance in his power--conduct in strong contrast with that
of others under analogous circumstances.

General Smith was the commandant at West Point while Grant was a cadet
in that institution. The former pupil had felt a peculiar awe for his
old commander, and acknowledged how unpleasant it was to give him
an order. But Smith, perceiving the embarrassment of his superior,
explained his position with becoming delicacy. "I am a subordinate now,
and I know a soldier's duty. I hope you will feel no awkwardness about
our new relations." Grant never had a more gallant or a more obedient
officer, though he was sixty years of age. The exposure he underwent at
Donelson brought on the dysentery, and he died at the camp up the river.

While Grant was under the shadow of Halleck's mighty displeasure, Smith
had gone up the river, and taken a position at Pittsburg Landing, only
twenty miles from Corinth, where the railroad from Mobile connected
with the Memphis and Charleston line. Grant hastened to this place, and
assumed the command of the forces. Injustice and petty tyranny had not
goaded him to a single act of disobedience, or tempted him to lay aside
the noble dignity of his bearing. He had conquered in the moral battle
which he fought with envy and malice, and returned to his command with
the laurel of this victory on his brow.

I see him now, dignified, but not triumphant, in his mien, manly
and resolute as ever, but with no tinge of vanity in his looks, his
words, or his manners. I see him now, as he received the hearty
congratulations of the true and trusty soldiers who were too noble to
be envious. He had endured a bitter trial, and the sympathy of a true
friend, like Sherman, was sweet to him. But not long could such a man
as Grant dally with private griefs or private joys. The cause he loved
was still in peril. The rebels were straining every nerve to counteract
the operations of the national army. At Corinth they were gathering
an overwhelming force to crush the army at Pittsburg Landing, and the
restored commander could not waste a moment. Promptly he examined into
the condition of his forces, and within an hour after his arrival
he issued orders for their immediate concentration, for they were
scattered about at several localities in the vicinity.

Grant, though relieved from disgrace, was still tethered by the will of
his tyrant at St. Louis, who continually hampered him with instructions
and prohibitions. His hands were tied; he was only a second in command.
He was forbidden to do anything which should bring on a general battle,
and was required merely to stand on the defensive. Though he was too
good a soldier to disobey his orders, either in the letter or in the
spirit, he chafed under the restraint. He had views of his own which he
desired to carry out. Every day the strength of the enemy at Corinth
was increasing, and Grant was not permitted to do anything until the
arrival of Buell, who was leisurely marching in that direction with
forty thousand men.

Grant arrived at Pittsburg Landing March 17; but he established his
headquarters at Savannah, nine miles below, in order to superintend
the organization of troops arriving from Missouri, and because this
point was more convenient for him to communicate with Buell. He visited
the army daily, and kept himself thoroughly acquainted with all the
details of the camp. But a question of rank having been raised at the
front, he decided, two days before the great battle, to remove his
headquarters to Pittsburg Landing, in order to obviate the difficulty.
As he was about to carry out his purpose, he received a message from
Buell, requesting him to remain at Savannah, where he should arrive on
the following day, April 4. It was of the utmost consequence that he
should see the commander of the army of the Cumberland at the earliest
possible moment, for there had been frequent skirmishes along the line,
and the period of actual operations could not be much longer delayed,
even to please the autocrat at St. Louis.

Grant, having made his arrangements to meet Buell at Savannah on the
6th of April, went up to the camp. He rode to the front with Sherman,
and both of them agreed that there was no danger of an immediate
attack, though there had been a heavy reconnoissance by the enemy. As
Grant was riding back to the Landing, his horse stumbled and fell,
throwing his rider beneath him, and severely injuring him. He suffered
great pain for several days, and was partially disabled for a week.

On Saturday, April 5, the cavalry of the rebels was very bold, but
still it was not believed that a battle was imminent. The advance
of Buell's army, in command of Nelson, arrived at Savannah on this
day, and was sent up the river by General Grant, to a position five
miles from Pittsburg Landing, on the other side of the Tennessee, in
readiness to reënforce the army at the front. Grant was all ready to
go to the scene of the expected battle, and only waited to keep his
engagement with Buell.



CHAPTER XVI.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken views the illustrious Soldier in the
    Battle of Shiloh, and corrects some popular Errors in regard to
    that savage Fight._


In approaching the battle of Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing, I find
myself coming to a point which envy, jealousy, and misrepresentation
have battered against with the utmost fury. No action of the war
has been so little understood, none so grossly misstated, none so
thoroughly and maliciously criticised. It was one of the severest,
if not the severest conflict of the whole war; but more doubt and
uncertainty seem to hang over it than over any other event connected
with the history of the national arms during the rebellion. There is no
good reason that its facts should be so grossly perverted, nor that any
of its details should be concealed, or apologized for.

Viewing General Grant as the central figure in this tremendous
conflict, every word he spoke was the right word, every movement he
made was the right one. I find nothing in his conduct that needs to
be excused, nothing to be explained, and nothing to be undone. As in
every other battle of the war in which he was engaged, he was heroic,
self-possessed, skilful, and, by his personal influence and exertions,
saved the hard-fought field on the first day. I do not mean to say
that no mistakes were made; only that Grant did not make them. It is
one of his crowning triumphs that he counteracted the errors of others,
that he saved the army from the full consequences of the blunders,
disobedience, and tardiness of subordinates, and of the partial
demoralization among the raw troops. I am only surprised that we were
not overwhelmed and driven into the Tennessee, instead of holding the
ground at the end of that awful fight, which began at daylight and
continued until night.

The national troops were posted on a line three miles in length,
extending from a creek on the right to another on the left, each of
which had overflowed its banks and effectually protected the flanks
of the army. The Union troops numbered at the beginning of the battle
thirty-three thousand men. At Crump's Landing, four miles distant, was
General Lew Wallace's division of five thousand more.

The rebel troops were reported by Beauregard to be over forty thousand;
but there were some discrepancies in his statements which render it
probable that he magnified the results of the first day by understating
his force. The forward movement of the Union army into the first
heart of the Confederacy had startled the rebel leaders, and they had
decided to make a gigantic effort to overwhelm the daring invaders.
For this purpose General A.S. Johnston, the most accomplished soldier
in the enemy's ranks, was sent to the scene of operations, with the
most reliable troops in their army. Beauregard, who, in spite of his
sensational style, was a very able soldier, whose name carried a
prestige no other rebel chief had won, was the leading spirit of the
battle, while Hardee, Bragg, and Polk, all educated military men, were
in command of divisions. On the other side, only Grant and Sherman were
trained soldiers.

The Confederacy was smarting under its overwhelming defeat at Donelson.
The boasted superiority of Southern soldiers had been disproved,
and, in addition to the necessity of saving the rebel cause from the
disaster of having its railway communications severed, lost honor and
lost prestige were to be recovered. Never was an army more thoroughly
stimulated to valor and desperation than that which was hurled upon the
national lines at Pittsburg Landing. A stirring appeal had been issued
by General Johnston, in which he inflamed the zeal of the soldiers to
the highest pitch, pointing out to them the bitter results of defeat,
all of which were fully realized in the ultimate issue. Everything
which could rouse the men to desperation in the approaching fight was
done with unsparing energy. Thus goaded to madness by the hopes and
fears of the future, the confident army of the Mississippi marched out
of Corinth, under Johnston, three days before the great battle.

The Union generals were on the alert, and during the three days that
the armies confronted each other there was much heavy skirmishing.
On the morning of Sunday, the first day of the battle, Prentiss,
in the centre of the line, sent out a regiment at three o'clock to
reconnoitre the position of the enemy. He had doubled his pickets on
Saturday, thus carefully guarding himself against the possibility of a
surprise. On Friday, the day on which he was injured by the fall of
his horse, Grant was at the front with Sherman, to make sure that every
preparation had been made to receive a sudden attack, though none was
yet expected.

At five o'clock in the morning the regiment Prentiss had sent out
engaged the advance pickets of the rebels, which Beauregard declares
was the commencement of the fight, when Johnston gave orders to begin
the movement. My excellent friend Mr. Pollard, in "The Lost Cause,"
says, "The magnificent army was moving forward to the deadly conflict;
but the enemy"--the national troops--"scarcely gave time to discuss the
question of attack, for soon after dawn he commenced a rapid fire on
the Confederate pickets."

Some envious, hypercritical Union men made the astonishing discovery
that Sherman, the old soldier, who had been skirmishing for three days
with the enemy, was surprised; but happily the rebels themselves have
not found it out to this day. If ever an army was wide awake at an
early hour in the morning, that army was Grant's at Shiloh. When the
enemy came, they found the nationals in force at the camps, and in
their advanced positions, and "in strong force along almost the entire
line," according to their own acknowledgment.

The onslaught was as fierce and terrible as the zeal of Johnston's
inflammatory appeal. The troops of Prentiss were raw and inexperienced;
they gave way, but formed again within their camp. Sherman's troops
were also new, and failed him in the critical moment, though it was
hardly to be wondered at that any troops should yield before that
impetuous assault of superior numbers. But the weak places in the line
were strengthened, and the ground was doggedly disputed, after the
recoil of the first tremendous shock. The battle raged with horrid fury
along the entire line.

Grant himself was at Savannah, in accordance with his engagement.
He was taking an early breakfast with his staff in order to be in
readiness to ride out and meet the commander of the army of the Ohio.
The scene of hostilities was nine miles distant, and the sound of the
booming guns reached his anxious ears. He wrote a hasty note to Buell,
informing him that the battle had begun, and that, instead of meeting
him, he must hasten up the river to join his forces.

Taking a steamer at the shore, he sped on his way to the scene of the
strife, only stopping a moment at Crump's Landing, to leave his orders
with General Lew Wallace, in anticipation of an emergency. Hurrying on,
he arrived at Pittsburg Landing at eight o'clock, and instantly dashed
to the front, as fast as horse could carry him. The condition of the
battle was not hopeful, but Grant went to work with his accustomed zeal
and energy. Messages were sent to Wallace and Nelson to hasten forward
their troops; wagon loads of ammunition were ordered up to the front,
stragglers and panic-stricken files of men were reorganized, and every
effort made to save the day.

Some six or eight thousand men were demoralized by the savageness of
the conflict; but in spite of this mortifying fact, the line remained
unbroken: indeed, only once during the day was it penetrated. Thinned
as it was by the misconduct of a fourth part of the troops, it
still permitted no opening for the enemy. The contest had become a
hand-to-hand fight, in which personal prowess and valor were to win
the day. It was only a question of pluck and endurance. Grant was
everywhere, encouraging the faithful, and stimulating the recreant.

Anxiously did the hard-pressed line wait the coming of the expected
reenforcements; but neither Nelson nor Wallace appeared in season to
render any efficient service. Step by step, inch by inch, the national
line was forced back, until darkness suspended the conflict. Johnston
had fallen; Beauregard was in command; and again and again did he hurl
his forces against the Union line: still it remained firm to the last,
and still it held the battle-field in spite of the ground it had lost.

My friend Pollard almost curses Beauregard for not striking the final
blow in this sharp battle; but doubtless that distinguished rebel knew
what he was about better than any civilian could teach him. He was fond
enough of display and sensation to finish up the battle if it had been
possible. He had found, after fighting the national forces from early
dawn, what it was made of, and, with the remotest hope of driving the
army of Grant into the river, he would not have given the order to
withdraw beyond the enemy's fire.

Though a portion of the army of the Tennessee misbehaved before the
enemy, it was not routed, nor, as an army, demoralized. Technically,
according to Sherman, it had gained the victory: it had certainly
repulsed the attack. It had not been driven into the river, and there
was no thought of surrender. No transports were sent for; no attempt to
bridge the river was made, in order to retreat and escape. The fiery
zeal, the mad enthusiasm, of the Confederates had carried them through
one of the severest fights of the war. The advantage, but not the
victory, was with them. It was a drawn battle.

As the conflict was suspended, Grant gave orders for his army to attack
on the following morning. Before Buell's main army was heard from, even
before Nelson's division had crossed the river, he had decided to renew
the fight at an early hour the next day, making the attack himself! It
was wicked for my friend Pollard to reproach his friend Beauregard for
not annihilating such a man; for not giving the finishing blow to an
army which was at that moment making its calculations to attack with
the next daylight.

After dark, in the midst of a pelting storm, almost worn out by the
heavy burdens of that day, and still suffering from the injuries he
had received by the fall of his horse, Grant went to the headquarters
of each general of division, assigned to him his position, and gave
him particular orders for the resumption of the battle at daylight.
At midnight he had completed his rounds, and returned to the Landing,
where he lay down upon the soaked ground, with his head on a stump for
a pillow, and slept soundly till morning. He was completely drenched
with the rain, but he was confident of the victory on the morrow, and
no discomfort was too great for him to endure in the holy cause in
which he had embarked.

While he slept, the two gunboats in the river kept up their fire over
his head, throwing shells into the rebel lines. It is a popular idea
that these gunboats saved the Union army from total destruction; that
without them the heroes of that hard-fought battle would have been
obliged to surrender, or be driven into the river. The men saved and
protected themselves by their strong right hands, though doubtless the
gunboats rendered considerable assistance. Even Pollard, who generally
has a proper respect for these terrible engines of war, says their fire
was terrific in sound, but did no damage.

A mile from the camp the wounded of the army lay in the agony of their
suffering. Nothing could be done for them, for they were within the
enemy's line. The exhausted troops slept on their arms, pelted by
the fierce tempest of the elements at night, as they had been by the
bullets of a savage foe through all the long day. They were safe, or
they could not have slept. Most of them had performed miracles of
valor, in strong contrast with the cowards who had fled.

Sherman had been wounded several times, and had three horses shot
under him. He had fought his own division and that of an inexperienced
general near him. His personal influence, backed up by his personal
heroism, had kept the line firm and united under the fierce onslaughts
of the enemy. Grant commended him on the battle-field for his noble
exertions, and there can be no doubt that, in the morning, Sherman had
saved the day.

At half past four in the afternoon, after the conflict had been raging
almost incessantly for twelve hours, it reached the culminating point
of its fierceness. Grant sat on his horse, calm, unmoved, and grand in
his thoughtful silence. The cannon roared fearfully on the left, and
seemed to be approaching nearer, as though the rebels were successful
in their attempt to flank the entire position, so as to cut off the
retreat of the nationals.

"Doesn't the prospect begin to look gloomy?" said an officer at his
side, just as another was killed within a few feet of him.

"Not at all," replied Grant, quietly. "They can't force our lines
around these batteries to-night--it is too late. Delay counts
everything with us. Tomorrow we shall attack them with fresh troops,
and drive them, of course."

During the night, Buell's divisions arrived, were ferried over the
river, and placed in line for the battle of the next day. It is almost
a pity that it can never be known what Grant would have done without
these reënforcements, though, for my own part, I am entirely satisfied
that the result would have been the same. I am quite sure that he had
impressed himself upon his officers and men in such a manner as to win
the victory by the plan he had laid down. His genius would have found a
way to overcome all obstacles, for his will was as resolute at night as
in the morning.

After the battle, General Buell, in a kindly way, indulged in some
criticisms on Grant's policy of fighting with the Tennessee in his rear.

"Where could you have retreated if you had been beaten, general?" asked
Buell.

"I didn't mean to be beaten," replied Grant.

"But suppose you had been beaten in spite of all your exertions."

"Well, there were all the transports to convey the remains of the
command across the river."

"But, general, your whole number of transports would not accommodate
more than ten thousand men, and you had thirty thousand engaged,"
persisted Buell.

"Well, if I had been beaten, transportation for ten thousand would have
been abundant for all there would have been left of us."

Such was the spirit of the man in the midst of the gigantic
difficulties which surrounded him. Demoralized troops, the tardiness of
his reënforcements, and the incapacity of some of his officers, failed
to overwhelm him. He rose above all obstacles, and looked confidently
to victory, even in the darkest hour of that desperate fight.

It ought to be added, in justice to our army, that "straggling" was
not confined to their ranks. The enemy suffered quite as much from
this evil, in spite of Johnston's stirring appeal. Bragg, in his
report, mentions the fact that the rebel ranks "were thinned by killed,
wounded, and stragglers, amounting in the whole to nearly one half our
force." The unparalleled length and severity of the contest may, to
some extent, explain this defection on both sides. But the result of
the day proved that, in pluck and endurance, the Northern army was the
equal, if not the superior, of its rival.



CHAPTER XVII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken finishes the Battle of Shiloh, and
    sympathizes with the illustrious Soldier in his unmerited Disgrace
    while he is waiting, waiting, before Corinth._


The rebels had no intimation of the arrival of Buell's army, and though
they had lost one half of their force in the battle of the first day,
they stood their ground. If my innocent friend Mr. Pollard really
believed that it only required a smart dash to finish the army of the
Union, he must severely censure Beauregard for not following up his
advantage, not knowing that Buell had effected a junction with the army
of the Tennessee. If Beauregard himself believed the sensational report
he wrote of the battle, he would have made haste to drive his beaten
foe into the river. He was an early riser on emergencies like this,
but he does not seem to have had any fears that Grant would attempt to
escape in his alleged broken and helpless condition!

The rebel general knew better than he wrote, and his actions speak
louder than his words. He had lost half his army, according to his own
confession, which was a much greater loss in proportion to the force
engaged than the national army sustained. He had been repeatedly
repulsed during the preceding day, and he was in no hurry to resume the
conflict.

The battle of Monday commenced on the left and centre by the advance
of Nelson's fresh troops. The rebels fought well, notwithstanding the
fatigues of the previous day, and gallantly disputed every inch of
ground. The scene of Sunday was repeated, with the results reversed.
Slowly and steadily the Confederates were forced back, until all the
lost ground had been recovered. General Buell was in the field, and
exhibited the most conspicuous gallantry and skill.

At two o'clock in the afternoon the repulse of the rebels was complete,
and they had been driven from the battle-field. Before dark they
were five miles from Grant's front line on Sunday morning. Towards
night a regiment of Union troops was hard pressed by the enemy, in
their efforts to capture a certain position which it was desirable to
possess. The rebels, intent upon holding the point, had brought a heavy
force to bear upon their assailants, and the regiment had begun to give
way. Grant saw the struggles of the overmatched Union men, and deemed
it of the highest importance to capture the position.

An Ohio regiment, marching across the field, attracted his attention.
He immediately halted it, and, leading the way himself, ordered the men
to charge in support of the overpowered force. They recognized Grant,
and shouting with enthusiasm, promptly obeyed the command. He led them
into the battle himself, more exposed in person than any private in
the ranks. The breaking line, seeing their general bringing assistance
to them in this impressive manner, close up their files, and with
thundering cheers the two regiments went into the fight, driving the
enemy before them, and securing the last position on the field.

The battle was ended, and the day was won. Grant, desirous of fighting
the battle "through," expressed his wishes to two of Buell's division
commanders; but they protested that their men were exhausted by their
long march, and were in no condition to pursue the fleeing host, and
Grant was reluctantly compelled to content himself with the finale he
had already achieved; though a portion of Sherman's command followed
the rebels a short distance on the road to Corinth.

The entire loss of the national army in this bloody fight, in killed,
wounded, and missing, was twelve thousand two hundred and seventeen.
This number included the loss in the army of the Ohio. Beauregard
reported his total loss at ten thousand seven hundred; but he made a
mistake in his footings somewhere. Both he and Bragg declare that the
rebels could put only twenty thousand of the force they reported on
Sunday into the field for the second day's battle, which leaves a like
number to be accounted for on the first day's engagement. His loss was
heavy on the second day. He must have had at least fifteen thousand
stragglers and deserters, according to his own statements, or his loss
was much greater than he reported.

According to General Sherman, who ought to be regarded as the highest
authority, the battle of Shiloh was fought for _prestige_. The rebels
had marched out of Corinth, three days before, with the finest army
they could gather, with the ablest and most experienced officers in
their service in command, to overwhelm the "Northern hordes." They had
fought with a pluck and persistency, nay, with a savage ferocity, which
certainly had not been equalled at that time, and has not since been
surpassed. They were met with a correspondent obstinacy on the part of
the national forces.

"It was a contest for manhood," says Sherman--"man to man, soldier to
soldier. We fought and held our ground, and therefore counted ourselves
victorious. From that time forward we had with us the prestige. The
battle was worth millions and millions to us by reason of the fact of
the courage displayed by the brave soldiers on that occasion; and from
that time to this, I have not heard of the first want of courage on the
part of our Northern soldiers."

Thus said Sherman; and what he said Grant felt, as he showed in every
movement he made. To have lost that battle would have been to lose
vastly more than the field on which it was fought, and the attendant
military advantages which it secured. The grand lesson which all our
commanders had to learn was taught in this tremendous battle--that,
where the two armies were so equally matched in the material of which
their soldiers were composed, and in the military skill which their
officers brought into the field, great victories were to be achieved
only by hard fighting.

I have often heard Grant called a "butcher." I have often heard it
revilingly said of him that he won his battles by mere brute force.
On my honor and conscience as a soldier and a student of the solemn
lessons of history, I believe that Grant, in the matter of the
expenditure of human life, was the most economical commander which
the War of the Rebellion produced. When he fought a battle, he won
a victory from the very first to the very last. He did not waste a
single precious life in all his campaigns. The manes of no slaughtered
hero can rise up against him, saying, "You sacrificed me in a vain and
foolish battle, wherein nothing was gained, but much was lost. By your
timidity and weakness, by your vacillation and penny-wise wisdom, you
gave that to the enemy for which I fought and died." Not thus can the
ghost of the murdered patriots reproach Grant.

If five thousand noble and brave men died to win Shiloh and the
prestige which lighted up our banners from that glorious day, they also
died to save twenty thousand who would have been sacrificed in a more
protracted struggle, without that inspiration of victory which blazed
along the path of the army to Vicksburg, to Atlanta and Chattanooga,
and which was borne from the West to the East with the glorious hero
who had kindled it in the souls of the soldiers.

In giving up the lives of thousands of willing heroes he saved the
lives of tens of thousands. This was true economy, and this was Grant's
policy, solemnly chosen, after a broad view of the situation and the
fullest consideration of the awful responsibility which rests upon the
commander of an army. I believe he covenanted with the nation, before
God, wisely and prudently to expend the blessed lives placed in his
keeping. He is a gentle and humane man, incapable of revelling in the
flow of blood. I repeat emphatically that every life lost beneath his
victorious banner was a life which purchased its share in the nation's
redemption and peace.

As I have said before, no battle has been more thoroughly
misrepresented than that of Shiloh. In spite of the heroic and masterly
operations of Grant, in spite of the success which crowned his arms, he
was systematically vilified and abused. My blood boils with indignation
as I think of it, that he, the brilliant soldier, the most successful
commander even then upon the arena of battle, should be foully and
basely maligned by his inferiors and his superiors. It is mortifying
to think that his stanch friend, but former political opponent, Mr.
Washburne, found it necessary to defend the hero of Fort Donelson and
Shiloh on the floor of Congress, though it is pleasant to know that he
did it effectually and enthusiastically--in just such a spirit as I
would have done it had I been there.

Grant was accused of bad generalship, of incompetency, of being a
butcher, a drunkard, and a sheep-stealer, for aught I know. His
generalship was certainly of a different order from that which had been
exhibited to the waiting nation by the commanders of the Union, who
marched, countermarched, felt of the enemy, and then retired to recruit
for three or six months, rarely fighting a battle, unless compelled to
do so by the pertinacity of the enemy. It was Grant's policy to attack,
and not wait to be attacked--his policy from the beginning to the end;
and with what success it was attended is known now if it was not then.

Cowards and poltroons who had deserted the ranks at Shiloh told
exaggerated tales of the misfortunes of the battle. They were
frightened and demoralized--Grant was not. Those who believed in
carrying on war as a game of chess is played stood aghast at the real
battle which the hero fought. But his mode of operations will appear so
decidedly advantageous in contrast with that which immediately followed
under the leadership of one who believed only in "brilliant strategy,"
in chess-board movements, that it is not necessary to dwell upon his
defence.

Kid-glove critics, civilian correspondents of newspapers, and the
advocates of the checker-board theory, howled because Grant established
his camp on the left, instead of the right, bank of the Tennessee--on
the same side as the enemy, instead of on the opposite side. Certainly
the eastern shore was the safe side; but the invincible conqueror went
down in Tennessee for the purpose of capturing Corinth, and breaking
the line of the rebel railroad communication, and he had no idea of
posting himself where he could not get at the enemy. He knew very
well that he was able to defend himself; and when he fought the great
battle, though the enemy brought it on, he fought it for the possession
of Corinth; and if he had had his own way, he would have taken Corinth
within a fortnight after Shiloh. The position was selected by General
C.F. Smith, the veteran soldier; it was indorsed and retained by Grant;
and the result fully justifies his course.

The personal habits of the hero were maliciously stated to be bad. It
was affirmed that he was a drunkard--that he was intoxicated in the
field. Mr. Washburne was able to say at that time, "There is no more
temperate man in the army than General Grant. He never indulges in the
use of intoxicating liquors at all. He is an example of courage, honor,
fortitude, activity, temperance, and modesty; for he is as modest as he
is brave and incorruptible."

I have before shown that Grant was not surprised--for if his army had
been surprised, the fault would have been as justly chargeable to him
as though he had been personally present on the ground. He had been
to the front himself the night before and examined the situation; he
had placed Sherman--the tried and the true as he knew him then--in the
most advanced position. Grant himself says, "As to the talk of our
being surprised, nothing could be more false. If the enemy had sent us
word where and when they would attack, we could not have been better
prepared."

It was undeniable that the brave general, the successful commander,
was again under a cloud. All the false rumors were in time disproved;
but if there had been no malignant, jealous enemies, dreading a total
eclipse of their own farthing candles in his department, the country
would have believed in Grant after Shiloh, as they did after Donelson.
An effort was made to relieve him entirely from command, and to
extinguish the star which was steadily rising.

General Halleck painfully went through the necessary form of thanking
Generals Grant and Buell for their conduct at Shiloh, and immediately
repaired to the scene of operations to take command of the united
armies of Grant and Buell in person, now called "The Grand Army of the
Tennessee." It was largely reënforced, and numbered one hundred and
twenty thousand men. It was divided into three corps, under Thomas,
Pope, and Buell, with McClernand in the reserve. Grant was nominally in
command of the Tennessee district; but his army was placed beyond his
control, and orders were transmitted to his subordinates without any
knowledge on his part of their purport.

Grant was second in command, without power or influence in the camp.
Halleck consoled him with a sarcastic bit of philosophy, declaring
that the second in command, in case the chief was killed, ought not to
be embarrassed with the immediate control of a body of troops. Grant
did not appreciate the situation, and evidently believed that there
was no danger of his superior's falling in battle. The man who had won
Donelson and Shiloh so heroically could not be winked entirely out of
sight, or doubtless he would not have been permitted to retain even a
complimentary position. Grant was practically in disgrace, and was so
regarded in the army. His situation was intensely disagreeable, and
nothing but his unselfish devotion to the cause prevented him from
retiring in disgust from the field where he was insultingly ignored.

The grand army of the Tennessee, under Halleck, felt its way, behind
a series of intrenchments, to a position in front of Corinth, using
up six weeks in a progress of fifteen miles. Probably Beauregard at
Corinth had seventy thousand men, though he stated his force as below
fifty. The grand army was evidently superior in numbers, and both
officers and men were anxious to strike a blow, confident of their
ability to annihilate the rebel army. It made our blood boil to see
these glorious opportunities slipping away from us. Halleck only waited
and waited for the rebels to come out and attack him; but Beauregard
had been educated up to the point of prudence by Grant, and he stuck
to his works as closely as Halleck did. In a word, while Grant was
shelved as a second in command, the farce of Manassas was repeated
to the satisfaction of the admiring rebels, and to the disgust and
mortification of the loyal people.

But Grant was not idle, cipher as he was in the army. He watched the
enemy, and found, with unerring skill, the weak point in their line
of intrenchments. He shared the general feeling of impatience which
pervaded the army, and ventured to suggest to General Halleck that an
assault at the point indicated, followed up by a general movement,
would be successful. Halleck scouted the idea, and crustily told Grant
that when his suggestions were wanted, they would be called for.

All this time Beauregard was studying up a plan to escape without the
knowledge of the besiegers. On the 30th of May, after the grand army
had been nearly two months rusting in inactivity, the cunning rebel
made a deceptive movement, and the mighty general, hoodwinked and
deceived, deeming an attack imminent, drew up in line of battle his
vast army, the largest ever gathered in the West, and made elaborate
preparations to defend himself. But not a gun opened upon him, not a
rebel was to be seen.

Beauregard, with wonderful skill and prudence, had fled from the toils
of the overwhelming force on his front, leaving his wooden guns on
the ramparts where they had confounded General Halleck. Corinth was
evacuated, and the wily rebel had saved his army! General Halleck
marched in triumph into Corinth!



CHAPTER XVIII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken treats of the Corinth Campaign,
    and admiringly calls Attention to the splendid Abilities of the
    illustrious Soldier as a District Commander._


During the quiet repose of the grand army of the Tennessee before
Corinth, events of vast importance had transpired in the West and
South. Island No. 10 had been captured by the indomitable flag-officer
Foote; New Orleans had been taken by the tremendous operations
of Farragut. In the East, Fort Pulaski had been battered down,
Fredericksburg captured; Fort Macon had fallen, following Burnside's
success in North Carolina; and Huntsville, Alabama, was occupied by
General Mitchell. McClellan had at last commenced a hopeful forward
movement with the army of the Potomac. With vast armies in the East
and in the West, with strong naval forces ascending and descending the
Mississippi towards its obstructed points, the national cause looked
exceedingly promising as the summer of 1862 opened. But the promise was
not realized. The summer sun glared on many a lost battle in the East,
though the conquest was uninterrupted in the West.

Halleck made no efficient pursuit of the enemy after they had
abandoned Corinth. Beauregard had been successfully hiding his weakness
from his prudent checker-board adversary, and, understanding his man,
outwitted him completely and handsomely. Grant had fought and won
Corinth, whether it was occupied in a week or in two months. He had
taught the vaunting rebels a lesson by which Halleck was too willing
to profit, as he peacefully pursued his siege operations till the 1st
of June. Buell was a prudent man, and he was sent out to catch the
retreating and demoralized foe. Pope had been despatched on the same
errand; but their united forces accomplished nothing. During this time,
Grant remained at Corinth. The grand army was then broken up, and Buell
sent in the direction of Chattanooga. From Shiloh the vast army marched
up the hill and then marched down again, in humble imitation of the
King of France in the nursery rhyme. Nothing was done except what Grant
had accomplished.

By the continued successes of the flotilla on the Mississippi, Memphis,
after a brilliant naval engagement, fell into the hands of the Union
force. Grant, as the commander of the Tennessee district, established
his headquarters at this city. Pope was ordered to Virginia, to
supersede Fremont, where he established his celebrated "headquarters in
the saddle."

McClellan had gradually felt his way down to the vicinity of Richmond,
when the rebels, out of patience with him, fell upon his forces, and
drove him to the shelter of the gunboats on the James, after his
glorious army had fought some of the most brilliant defensive battles
of the war. The country cried out against him for this delay, derided
his use of the pick and shovel, and unhorsed him because he neglected
his opportunities. While he was still resting from his hard-fought
but useless battles, the government removed him from his position of
general-in-chief, and assigned General Halleck to his place, probably
on account of his brilliant operations before Corinth, where he had
played through the farce of "regular approaches," though with none of
the tragic features which attended it before Richmond.

Halleck was now in power, and one of his first acts, even before he
left for Washington, was to offer the command of the army of the
Tennessee to Colonel Allen, a quartermaster. This gentleman, who was to
be promoted to the required rank, to enable him to accept the command,
had the good sense to decline it, and Grant was permitted to retain
his position. He was deprived of nearly his entire force, and left to
maintain a defensive position. He made his headquarters at Corinth,
protecting the railroad communications, and holding what had before
been gained. He spent the summer in this manner, though with enough to
do to keep him busy, for he was continually harassed and threatened by
the enemy under Van Dorn and Price.

Halleck, in his new capacity of general-in-chief, had his hands full in
attending to McClellan and Pope. Grant seems to have been forgotten,
and was thereby permitted to manage the affairs of his district without
being hampered with instructions. The North was in danger of invasion
in Maryland, rendered possible by the disastrous battles of Pope, and
in Ohio by the rebel army under General Bragg, who had out-generaled
the prudent and deliberate Buell. In these emergencies, Grant's men
were taken from him, till the smallness of his force afforded even him
no little anxiety.

Van Dorn, in command of the rebels in this section, ordered Price to
seize Iuka, which was done. Van Dorn himself was four days' march to
the south-west, threatening Corinth. Grant wished to overwhelm Price
at Iuka, without exposing Corinth to capture by Van Dorn. He sent out
two columns, one under Rosecrans and the other under Ord, to accomplish
this purpose. A sharp battle followed, but the intention to capture
Price's army failed, on account of a delay of one of the columns in
reaching the point of attack. The rebels escaped, and effected a
junction with Van Dorn.

Placing Rosecrans in command of Corinth, Grant established his
headquarters at Jackson, Tennessee, where he could better control
the affairs of his district. On the 2d of October, the rebels united
all their forces in this vicinity, and attacked Corinth, making a
good fight, and gaining decided advantages; but in the end they were
defeated, and the place saved. The force of the enemy was double that
of Rosecrans, who behaved with distinguished gallantry. The defensive
works which had been erected under Grant's direction proved to be of
immense service, and showed that the general who had been severely
criticised for neglecting them before knew when and where to use
them--knew when they were necessary, and where they were a hinderance.

Grant had marked out this campaign himself; and though the battle of
Corinth had been fought, and the rebels defeated, there was to be a
sequel to the affair. Reading the intention of the foe to attack his
strong place, he sent McPherson with a brigade to the assistance of
Rosecrans; but he arrived only in season to witness the conclusion
of the fight, being obliged to make a detour in order to effect his
junction. Grant, with his usual confidence in the success of his
combinations, had also sent Generals Ord and Hurlbut, each with a
brigade, to punish still further the audacious foe in his retreat.
He had notified Rosecrans of his plan, and directed him to follow
up the retreating enemy vigorously, as well to insure his complete
discomfiture, as to save either Ord or Hurlbut from being separately
overwhelmed by a superior force. But these two commanders had joined
their brigades, and Ord posted the whole so as to cover a bridge on the
Hatchie River.

Van Dorn's column pushed on, and its advance crossed the bridge, when
Ord's force attacked vigorously, and immediately routed it. A battery
of artillery and several hundred men were captured, and the advance
scattered, many of the rebels being drowned in their attempt to cross
the river. Ord held the bridge, but had not strength enough to attack
the entire rebel army, which he compelled to retrace its steps, and
seek another bridge six miles distant. Unfortunately, Ord was wounded
in the conflict, and Hurlbut, who succeeded to the command, did not
deem it prudent even to harass the fleeing rebels in the rear or on the
flanks.

Rosecrans permitted his men, weary after their two days' hard fight,
to rest till the next morning, when he started to obey Grant's order.
Then he mistook his road, marched eight miles in the wrong direction,
but he corrected his error, and marched towards the Hatchie. He was
behind time, having disregarded the order of Grant to march the day
before, arriving at the bridge, where the rebels had crossed, just as
the rear-guard was going over. Had he obeyed his orders, he would have
fallen on Van Dorn's rear, while his front was engaged with Ord; and
nothing could have saved the rebel army from total destruction. Grant
decided that the favorable moment had passed, and he ordered Rosecrans
back to his post.

These movements relieved West Tennessee from any further peril at
the present time. The rebels had been whipped at Iuka, at Corinth,
and at the Hatchie. All these movements and all these victories were
achieved under the direction of Grant. The success of these operations
was gratifying, though not all it would have been if the general had
selected his own subordinates, as he did subsequently in a wider
sphere. If Grant had any fault as a soldier in the field, it was the
result of the amiability of his character, which prompted him to save
the feelings of others, even at the expense of his own reputation. He
was not always obeyed, because he was not a stormy and demonstrative
man, because he did not bluster and put on airs. There was nothing
personally imposing or grand in him, and the officers of the army
estimated him too low--so low that some of them evaded his orders.

But Grant could be terribly severe, terribly just, when the emergencies
of the service demanded, when his devotion to the glorious cause he
had espoused required it. During his brief sojourn in Memphis, which
was the very hotbed of treason and treachery, he breathed the spirit
of loyalty to the government into the souls of the rebels, who did not
scruple to carry on war by divers underhand methods within the still
hostile city. No letters not examined by the provost marshal could be
carried out of town without subjecting the offender to arrest. Arms and
ammunition were prohibited from being taken out of the city, or carried
within it, on severe penalty. As these orders failed to suppress
the illicit traffic with foes outside of the lines, all passes were
refused, except to such as took the oath of allegiance, or parole. As
Confederate officers and soldiers found opportunities to communicate
with their families in Memphis, thereby obtaining important military
information, the families of all such were banished beyond the lines.
This order included the connections of other specified persons in the
Confederate government, and there was not much room left for rebel
sympathizers to operate.

As a check upon guerrillas, who were doing much mischief, Grant
authorized reprisals upon the personal property of those in the
vicinity who were in sympathy with the rebellion, to an extent
sufficient to remunerate the government for all losses by their
depredations. A bitter partisan organ, the Memphis Avalanche, which
published incendiary and treasonable articles, was promptly suppressed.
He took possession of unoccupied premises belonging to persons absent
and in arms against the government, rented them, and paid the proceeds
into the treasury of the United States. For the benefit of the fugitive
negroes, who crowded into his lines, he issued humane and just orders,
particularly defining the manner in which they should be employed and
paid. Persons from the South who were willing to bluster, but not to
fight, for the Confederacy, and hastened to Memphis to escape the
remorseless rebel conscription, were made liable to draft.

In dealing with the troops under his own command, Grant was just and
humane; but "bumming" and marauding on private account were prohibited.
When the soldiers, in some instances, disobeyed the strict orders on
this subject, the value of property taken or destroyed by them was
charged to the account of their regiment, and deducted from their pay,
if the offenders could not be discovered.

In dealing with civil affairs, in the multitudinous details which come
within the scope of a department commander, he displayed a decided
talent and ability to adjust the most difficult matters. He always knew
where he was, and what to do. For every difficulty he had a remedy; for
every infraction of law or discipline he had a check. In the management
of the trying affairs of a military district, which has so frequently
proved to be the severest demand upon the wisdom, skill, and patience
of the soldier holding it under martial law, he displayed the highest
order of ability. His judgment, tact, and discretion would have been
more than creditable in one who had spent a lifetime in the study and
practice of the principles of political economy, or who had served a
long apprenticeship as a magistrate. Without being a politician, he was
a statesman.

But Grant had hardly made his mark yet, and, except as the hero of
Donelson and Shiloh, he was scarcely known to the country, before which
he was soon to stand as the foremost man of his time. I watched Grant
at Memphis, I watched him at Corinth and at Jackson, as he controlled
the difficult details of his department, kept the rebel civilians in
subjection, and directed his forces to certain conquest, and I would
rather have been Ulysses S. Grant than my illustrious ancestor Sir
Bernard Galligasken, whose knightly prowess and whose glittering title
had early tickled my imagination. Even then I loved the man, and almost
adored him, as I realized that a brilliant destiny was in store for him.

As far back as May, 1862, when McClellan had only proved that he was
great as the organizer of an army,--and it must be conceded that he
has not since proved any more than this,--my excellent friend Mr.
Washburne, in his noble speech in Congress, deemed it expedient to use
these remarkable words: "Let no gentleman have any fears of General
Grant. _He is no candidate for the presidency._" Surely with only the
lustre of Donelson and Shiloh reflected upon him, he never thought of
aspiring to that magnificent position. Why was it necessary, when the
illustrious soldier had only taken a couple of steps towards fame, to
make this astounding declaration? Was it seen even then that he was
a probable or a possible candidate in the future? The noble-minded
and patriotic representative made this declaration to save Grant
from the persecution of the wire-pullers, whose friends, the possible
candidates, would be damaged by the appearance of a new aspirant, who,
with a fitness for the office, added thereto the merit of availability.
It was well for the politicians to take the bull by the horns, but they
might as well attempt to nullify the laws of nature as to defeat the
will of the people.

Grant had then no thought of being president. His modesty, if
nothing else, would have forbidden the aspiration. He was a pure
patriot then, as he is now; and the only consideration with him was
to suppress the rebellion. He never "pulled the wires," even for a
brigadier's commission, which was not above the ambition of thousands
of fourth-rate politicians. He was ready to serve the country in any
capacity, obeyed his orders, and quietly submitted to disgrace and
insult for the good of the cause. The people are not blind. They see
and know their man.



CHAPTER XIX.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken shows how six Months were spent around
    Vicksburg by the illustrious Soldier, and how the President rather
    liked the Man, and thought he would try him a little longer._


The second line of rebel defences had been broken. Memphis, Corinth,
and the towns on the Tennessee River, in Northern Alabama, connecting
links in the chain, were in possession of the national forces. But
Buell had failed in his expedition to East Tennessee. He had made no
impression upon Chattanooga; he had been beaten at Perrysville, and had
been superseded by Rosecrans.

After the departure of General Halleck from the West to act as
general-in-chief, Grant was left virtually in charge of the department
of the Tennessee, and discharged all the duties of that important
position. On the 16th of October, 1862, he was formally assigned to
the command, and near the close of the month issued his order to that
effect, and defined the limits of his jurisdiction. Very soon after,
he proposed to Halleck to commence a movement upon Vicksburg; and this
was the first mention which had been made by either of them of this
important point. But Grant meekly and modestly added that he was ready
to do with all his might whatever his superior, should order, and
_without criticism_, which, I humbly submit, was a magnificent position
for a man of his enlarged and comprehensive views to take, for most of
our generals believed they were nothing unless they were critical. He
was a grand exception, and we do not, in a single instance, outside of
the line of his duty, find him analyzing and carping at the operations
of others.

Vicksburg was now the objective point, for Halleck gave the commander
of the department of the Tennessee full power and permission to carry
out his own plans and purposes in his own way. From this time there
was no clashing between the two generals. They heartily supported each
other, as Grant had always been willing to do, and Halleck afforded
him every assistance and encouragement in his power. It is possible
that he had received a new revelation in regard to the abilities
of the hero of Donelson and Shiloh; that Grant's exhibition of his
skill in constructing earthworks at Corinth had won the heart of the
general-in-chief, or that his handsome strategic movements in the
operations which had included Iuka, Corinth, and the Hatchie had
demonstrated the fact that he was not a mere bull-dog thirsting for
blood, and without any perception of military tact and skill. It was
rather late for Halleck to learn this; but to his honor and glory let
it be said, that he no longer permitted himself to be a stumbling-block
in the path of his subordinate; that he fairly and squarely sustained
him in his grand enterprises.

From the beginning of the war the Confederacy had been fully alive
to the vital importance of the Mississippi River. From Columbus to
the Gulf it had been fortified and protected by every means which the
skill and resources of the South could afford. Forts Jackson and St.
Philip guarded its lower part, and covered New Orleans; though these
were nullified by the daring of Farragut, and the city fell early in
the war. But there were half a dozen other "Gibraltars" on its long
line--Columbus, Island No. 10, Fort Pillow, Memphis, Vicksburg, and
Port Hudson. Foote had used up Island No. 10, after the rebels were
compelled to evacuate Columbus. Fort Pillow and Memphis had yielded
before the persuasive force of the naval squadron, and only Vicksburg
and Port Hudson were left to dispute the passage of the great river.
Between these two points the enemy, depending almost wholly upon
Texas for its supplies of cattle, ferried them over, and by the line
of railroads from Vicksburg to Charleston, not yet approached by the
national arms, were enabled still to send food to all their armies in
the east and south.

Bold Farragut had passed the batteries at Port Hudson with his
squadron, and sailed up to Vicksburg, more than five hundred miles from
the Gulf. Here he had bombarded the strong works which protected the
city; but as they were planted on high bluffs, all the advantage was in
favor of the enemy, and the result was not a success. The troops which
accompanied him under General Williams attempted to open the canal,
which was to form a new bed for the river, and enable the fleet to
pass the city. But this scheme also failed, and though a part of the
squadron ran the gantlet of the batteries, and joined the naval force
above the city, the expedition was obliged to return to New Orleans to
escape the diseases incident to the climate.

About the 1st of November Grant initiated his movement in the direction
of Vicksburg. Commencing on the line of defence which had just been
wrested from the rebels, there was a railroad extending from Memphis
to Grenada. Fifty miles east of Memphis, from near La Grange, on the
railroad extending east and west, was another line to the south--the
Mississippi Central--which also went to Grenada, where the two roads
meeting extended to Jackson, forty miles east of Vicksburg, and thence
to New Orleans. Both of these roads crossed the Tallahatchie River,
a branch of the Yazoo, which flowed into the Mississippi a few miles
above Vicksburg. Grant's plan was to move down upon these lines of
railway, depending upon them in his rear for supplies.

Pemberton, who was in command of Vicksburg and the forces which were
covering it in the State of Mississippi, was holding the railroad,
and made the Tallahatchie River his line of defence. On the 4th
of November, Grant took possession of La Grange, near the Central
Railroad, driving the Confederate advance to Holly Springs, about
twenty miles farther south.

While Grant moved in this direction, Sherman started from Memphis, and
another force was moved out from Helena to coöperate with him. Grant
proceeded on the railroad, captured Holly Springs, and made it his
depot of supplies, placing it in charge of Colonel Murphy. Continuing
on his victorious path, the enemy abandoned Abbeville, and the line
of the Tallahatchie, without a battle, and were finally driven into
Grenada, with the Yallabusha River as their line of defence. Here the
commander proposed to hold the rebels, and send an army from Memphis
to make the direct attack upon Vicksburg. For this purpose Sherman was
sent back, with directions to organize the expedition, and procure the
coöperation of the squadron under Admiral Porter.

Sherman executed his orders with his usual decision. With one
hundred and twenty-seven steamers, and a flotilla of gunboats for
his protection, he went down the river, and debarked his force at
Johnston's Landing, near the mouth of the Yazoo.

In the mean time, Van Dorn fell upon Holly Springs, surprised the
garrison, and captured the place, with all the supplies which had been
accumulated for the support of the advancing army. Colonel Murphy,
in command, made no resistance whatever. By this sad and unexpected
blow, inflicted by the imbecility or treachery of a single officer,
the entire plan of the campaign was defeated. Grant, with his army,
was in the heart of the enemy's country. His communications were cut
in several places behind him; his base of supplies was lost, and his
stores destroyed. The success of the experiment of subsisting upon
the enemy had not been demonstrated then, and sorely chagrined and
disappointed, the progressive general was obliged to retrace his steps.
It was a bitter day to him. Murphy was promptly dismissed from the
army, without even the formality of a court martial.

Sherman, having no knowledge of the disaster which had crippled Grant,
attacked the enemy's positions, and gained some advantages; but the
rebels were reënforced by the withdrawal of the army in the rear of
Vicksburg, and he reëmbarked his forces, abandoning the attempt. At
this point General McClernand appeared, and superseded Sherman, who
then took command of one of the corps of the army of the Mississippi,
as it was from that time designated. The great bugbear of Grant's
military existence, "a political general," was thrown into his path,
and though this act of the president sorely grieved him, he made the
best of the circumstances.

His grand calculation had failed through the dastardly cowardice and
imbecility of Murphy; but Grant was still serene in his disappointment,
as he was in his triumphs, and immediately set himself at work to "fick
it again". He was conscious of the magnitude of the enterprise he had
undertaken, and of the difficulties which lay in his path. After all
the minor "Gibraltars" had melted away before the victorious arms of
the Union, Jeff. Davis declared that Vicksburg was _the_ Gibraltar of
the Mississippi. So thoroughly had it been fortified, with battery
behind battery, with every conceivable approach guarded, with the
heights for miles around the city bristling with guns, the president
of the Southern Confederacy was perfectly confident that the place was
invulnerable. Above and below the city the country was intersected with
bayous, lakes, and rivers, and the land so low that it hardly afforded
a foothold for an army. Every rood of high ground in the vicinity was
occupied by the rebels, and covered with defensive works.

Grant knew all this, and he made up his mind to capture Vicksburg.
Frowning heights studded with guns, fortifications overrunning with
obstinate soldiers, swamps and morasses, could not deter him. "I cannot
tell exactly when I shall take Vicksburg," he said, "but I mean to stay
here till I do, if it takes thirty years." This was the spirit of the
man. He had actually begun the job, and he was determined to carry it
through. Towards the close of the year 1862 he issued orders for the
reorganization of his army, having matured the system himself.

On the 1st of January, 1863, the president issued the Emancipation
Proclamation, taking that greatest and most decisive step of the war.
It was contrary to Grant's political antecedents, but he gave the
measure his hearty support. Many generals did otherwise, and opposed
in spirit, if not in fact, the policy of the government in using negro
troops. Grant issued an order in relation to this subject, directing
his subordinates to afford every facility for the organization of negro
regiments, requesting them "especially to exert themselves in carrying
out the policy of the administration, not only in organizing colored
regiments and rendering them efficient, but also in removing prejudice
against them."

Grant's force in the department of the Tennessee, in January, was one
hundred and thirty thousand men. Fifty thousand of these he sent down
the river into camp at Milliken's Bend and at Young's Point. Admiral
Porter coöperated with him, having a fleet of sixty vessels of all
classes. On the 29th of January he arrived at Young's Point himself,
and assumed the control of operations against Vicksburg, in spite of
a protest on the part of McClernand, who gave Grant a great deal of
trouble in one way and another.

Grant was then face to face with the great problem of the day, the
solution of which would cut the Confederacy in two, and separate the
east from the cattle plains of Texas, from which its armies were fed.
No point was accessible from which he could operate. There was not the
remotest possibility of making a successful attack in front of the
city. The point was to reach a position in the rear of the place, where
there was standing room to conduct siege operations.

The country was flooded with water, and the troops were frequently
inundated in their camps. The perils and difficulties of the
gigantic enterprise were patent to all; but the troops were mostly
veterans, and they worked with zeal and patience. The president had
considerable confidence in the Vicksburg canal, and, though Grant had
but little hope of its success, or little confidence in its value if
completed,--as the lower end of it was covered by rebel batteries,--he
labored patiently upon it for two months.

His next plan was to flank the water communications of Vicksburg by a
navigable course by Lake Providence, through a series of bayous and
rivers, to the Wachita, and thence to the Red River, by which a passage
could be obtained for light steamers to the Mississippi, four hundred
miles below. It was an immense undertaking, which nothing but American
enterprise would have considered, but which American enterprise would
have accomplished if it had been possible. It was not possible, and the
plan was abandoned.

A similar attempt was made on the east side of the Mississippi, but
rather as a means of entering the Yazoo to destroy the rebel steamers
which had gathered there, and to break up gunboats in process of
construction on its shores. There had formerly been a steamboat route
through Moon Lake, Yazoo Pass, the Coldwater and Tallahatchie Rivers,
to the Yazoo; but as the influx of water from the great river above
inundated the whole region annually, a strong levee had been built by
the state to protect the country, and the passage was thus closed.
This levee was cut through, and after the most incredible exertions in
removing obstructions placed in the stream by the rebels, and cutting
an opening through the overhanging branches, a fleet of light gunboats
and transports penetrated to the Yallabusha, where its farther progress
was interrupted by a battery called Fort Pemberton, which could neither
be battered down nor drowned out. With difficulty the expedition was
extricated from its perilous position, and though Grant had entertained
a hope from its first success that he should be able to transport his
troops and supplies by this route to the rear of Vicksburg, he was
compelled to abandon the idea.

Still another attempt was made to secure the position by entering
the Yazoo, which our gunboats held near its mouth, passing through
Steele's Bayou and several streams into the Big Sunflower, and thence
into the Yazoo again. This attempt was made in conjunction with the
Yazoo Pass movement, and while General Ross, in command of the military
expedition connected with it, was shut up in the swamp. General Grant
gave his personal attention to these enterprises; but all of them
were impracticable in their nature, and had to be abandoned. All the
troops and vessels were brought off in safety; and if nothing was
gained, nothing was lost, even in time, for the country was so flooded
with water, that operations, except in boats, were difficult, if not
impossible.

The nation had been watching these experiments with intense interest.
When they failed the people began to be impatient. Demands were made
for the removal of General Grant from his command. Again was he accused
of incompetency, of drunkenness. Not a success of any importance had
been obtained for the national cause since his own victories at Iuka
and Corinth. Even the president appeared to be dissatisfied, and Grant
knew that he was in imminent peril of being displaced. Some of his best
friends deserted him, and one of them voluntarily demanded his removal;
but the president replied, "I rather like the man. I think we'll
try him a little longer." But Grant was still confident of ultimate
success; he was approaching the mighty idea by which Vicksburg was to
be brought down.



CHAPTER XX.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken illustrates the Temperance Principles
    of the illustrious Soldier, and proceeds with him on his conquering
    Path to the Capital of Mississippi._


I do not account it a great misfortune to the country, certainly not
to Grant himself, that canal and side routes had failed; for success
by any of them could hardly have been achieved any sooner than by the
brilliant scheme finally adopted. But the people complained, the great
generals complained, the president complained. There was a general
murmur against Grant, and influence enough was brought to bear against
him to have overwhelmed any common man. I pause in astonishment and
wonder when I think that he did not turn in disgust from the grand
enterprise. The people, the generals, the politicians were maligning
him; even the good and patient president was dissatisfied, and put
him on probation, rather than strengthened public confidence in
him. Halleck, as generous now as he had been cynical before, mildly
expressed his confidence that Grant would do all that was possible to
open the Mississippi. Even the rebels, satisfied with the strength
of their Gibraltar, contemptuously dared their persistent foe, and
derided him for his failures. They jeeringly hoped he would not
attempt to disturb the natural features of the globe.

But Grant said never a word in his own defence; he only kept his eye on
the prize, and declared that he would yet take Vicksburg. He smoked his
cigar, studied his maps, listened to the reports of spies and others
who brought him information; but he deigned not a word of reply to the
slanders in the newspaper, or to those which were carried to the ears
of men in power. He neither authorized nor permitted any of his friends
to speak for him. He knew that truth was mighty, and must prevail; and
confident of the rectitude of his own motives, of the purity of his
own life, he could afford to let results, rather than windy harangues,
approve him and his conduct before the country. I marvel that he was
not overwhelmed, when I consider the weight of influence brought to
bear against him; that he had the moral courage to stand up before that
storm of obloquy and complaint. I cannot help adducing a few of the
evil traditions of the day, to show how cruelly he was abused.

A lady in Memphis lamented the drunken habits of General Grant,
declaring that she had seen him carousing with two boon companions, so
tipsy that he was obliged to steady himself by holding on to a chair;
that when he spoke to her, in answer to her petition, his speech was
thick and incoherent! She added that the general was ashamed to see
her the next day, and sent his surgeon to attend to her business. A
gentleman who listened to her statements immediately informed her that,
as one of the "boon companions" to whom she alluded, he had dined
with the general that day, had spent three hours in his presence, and
was with him when she entered. He was confident that Grant had drank
nothing stronger than Mississippi water, and that he was perfectly
sober and clear-headed during the interview.

A letter from a respectable and reliable Union man in the West was sent
to a newspaper office for publication, alleging that, on a certain
occasion, General Grant and his staff went from Cairo to Springfield in
the special car of the president of the Illinois Central Railroad, that
on the way all the party got drunk, and Grant was the drunkest of all.
It so happened that the president alluded to was present in the office
when the letter was received. He promptly pronounced it a malignant
falsehood. He had taken charge of the party himself, and provided the
special car, because it contained conveniences for eating, sleeping,
and working. Dinner was provided, and wine was served for such as used
it, but Grant drank tea only; to his certain knowledge, he tasted no
wine or liquor, and nobody was drunk on the car.

Grant, in the winter following the Corinth campaign, worn out with
watching, anxiety, and continued activity, lay sick at a hotel in
Memphis. His wife was with him, and was much concerned about the state
of his health. One morning she joined the ladies in the parlor, seeming
very much depressed. She said the surgeon had just been to see Mr.
Grant, as she called him, and declared that he would not be able to go
much farther if the patient did not stimulate. "And I cannot persuade
him to do so," she added. "He says he shall not die, and will not
taste a drop of liquor on any consideration." In less than a week he
was on his way to Vicksburg.

On board of the headquarters boat at Milliken's Bend, Grant was
studying his maps and plans in the ladies' cabin, wholly absorbed in
the mighty thought of planning a campaign. He heeded nothing that
transpired around him, and no one ventured to interrupt him. For hours
he sat in this thoughtful mood, and his friends feared that his mental
labors would overwhelm his physical frame. McPherson at last had the
temerity to speak to him, and presenting a glass of whiskey, invited
him to join the party in a few toasts, to shake off the burden upon his
mind.

"Mac, you know that your whiskey will not help me to think," he
replied, looking up with a smile. "Give me half a dozen of the best
cigars you can find, and if the ladies will excuse me for smoking, I
think by the time I have finished them, I shall have this job pretty
nearly planned."

He continued his labor; the lines on his face deepened again; the
company left him smoking and brooding over his maps and plans; but not
a drop of liquor passed his lips.

"I have some fine brandy on the boat," said a gentleman to him during
the operations at Vicksburg, when Grant seemed to be exhausted by his
cares and his labors; "I will send you a case or two of it."

"I am greatly obliged to you," replied the general; "but I do not use
the article. I have a big job on hand, and though I know I shall win, I
know I must do it with a cool head. Send the liquor you intend for me
to my hospital in the rear. I don't think a little will hurt the poor
fellows down there."

None for himself, strained in mind and muscle by cares and toils that
would have overcome any other man; but a blessed thought for the poor
wounded ones whom he had led to victory over the couch of pain and
death!

At a celebration of Washington's birthday before Vicksburg, the
company, of whom Grant was one, indulged freely in champagne, drinking
patriotic toasts, suggested by the day. The general pushed aside a
glass of the sparkling beverage intended for his use, and took up a
glass of Mississippi water.

"This suits the matter in hand," said he, glancing at the opaque fluid
in the glass. "Drink this toast: God gave us Lincoln and Liberty: let
us fight for both."

President Lincoln quaintly hinted his disbelief in the popular rumors
of Grant's intemperance, when, after the battle of Shiloh, he said, "I
wish all our generals would drink Grant's whiskey."

Before Vicksburg Grant stood alone. The government and the people
were more than doubtful of the result. McClernand, Hunter, Fremont,
and McClellan were mentioned as his successors. Senators and
representatives urged Grant's removal, and one of his corps commanders
was plotting for his place. Still he was struggling for success, while
friends wavered, and enemies cried out against him. To his heavy load
of cares and trials was added this heaviest burden of all--the dread
of being removed before he could carry out the great design which had
been born in his busy brain.

This great design set at nought all the formulæ of the military
schools, and was in violation of all the known laws of strategy;
but it was not a new idea. Long before canals and operations, in
accordance with the recognized rules of warfare, had been discarded
as impracticable, he had cherished it as a last resort. The military
engineers of the Confederacy were at least the equals, as scientific
men, of those of the Union. With every means and material in abundance,
they had fortified Vicksburg on the most approved plans, and, aided
by the immense natural advantages of the position, had succeeded in
building up a "Gibraltar" which could not be captured. To them the
issue was no less than the very existence of the Confederacy; for, cut
off from its supplies in Texas, its conquest was only a question of
time. These engineers made sure that they had not deceived themselves.
They piled up defences, and extended their batteries, until Gibraltar
and Sevastopol were beggared in their strength in comparison with
Vicksburg.

Doubtless, measured by the ordinary rules of military security, and by
the ability of any force governed by the recognized canons of warfare,
the Confederate engineers were fully justified in their perfect
confidence. All the communications behind Vicksburg were in their
hands. No base of supplies could be established below or in the rear
of the stronghold. Impenetrable swamps and morasses defended it above,
for they afforded no resting place whereon an army could stand. The
fortified heights of Walnut Hills frowned for miles above the submerged
lands on the Yazoo. The whole strength of the Rebellion was in the
rear of the city, and armies could be rushed in upon a hostile force
gathered there, by the railroads. To any other man than Grant it would
have been a hopeless task; but he set at nought the rules of war under
which Vicksburg was safe.

He announced his plan to his generals. They were startled. All opposed
it. He intended to march through a portion of Louisiana to a point
on the Mississippi, below Vicksburg, cross the river, and strike the
Gibraltar in the rear. The gunboats were to run by the batteries,
and assist in the operations below. The scheme was full of peril. To
transport the army below Vicksburg was to separate it from any base of
supplies; in short, to cut his own communications, to place himself in
just the situation which the rebels would have selected for him. He did
not call a council of war, and argue the question with his generals; he
simply made up his mind to do it. Sherman, Logan, McPherson, Wilson,
all opposed the plan when it came to their knowledge.

Sherman, his cherished friend, his indomitable supporter in whatever he
did, whether he agreed or not with his chief, declared that the only
way to take Vicksburg was by going back to Memphis, and following up
the movement which they had attempted the preceding autumn. But Grant
was confident that a backward movement would be fatal to himself, that
the country would not endure anything that looked like another reverse,
and he adhered to his own plan. Sherman then wrote out a formal paper,
setting forth the advantages of his own plan very ably, and in close
accord with all military rules, and sent it to Grant's chief of staff.
It was given to the general, and he read it carefully, and then put it
in his trousers pocket. As Sherman had requested in the paper, he made
no reply to the argument; in fact, never mentioned it. Weeks after,
when prominent men in the army gave Sherman the credit of the plan, he
stated these facts.

The disapproval of his ablest generals could not deter Grant from his
purpose. Even Sherman, as careful of the reputation of his chief as of
the glory of the cause he had espoused, failed to shake his inflexible
will. The army was marched and ferried from Milliken's Bend to De
Shroons' Landing, three or four miles below Grand Gulf. The gunboats,
with a fleet of barges laden with provisions for the troops, ran the
gantlet of the Vicksburg batteries with comparatively slight loss.
Such a bold movement appalled the crews of the transports, and only a
few of them were willing to undergo the exposure. But Grant appealed
to the army, wherein were to be found the representatives of every
trade and profession. And engineers, firemen, pilots, and deck hands
were superabundantly supplied. Through the rain of shot and shell they
passed, and the army and the navy were gathered together again in the
enemy's country. A new era in the campaign had been inaugurated.

Porter bombarded Grand Gulf without success, but he ran by its
batteries, and was in readiness to protect the transports, in which
the army was to be conveyed across the river. The troops were embarked,
and it was intended to proceed down the river until high ground should
be found for the landing. A negro gave information that a good road led
from Bruinsburg, ten miles below Grand Gulf, to the interior. At this
point, therefore, the troops were landed April 30. The army was in the
State of Mississippi, with only very scanty means of obtaining supplies
from above Vicksburg. Three days' rations were served out to the men,
upon which they were required to subsist for five days.

The movement was intended in the beginning as a surprise to the enemy,
and was fully proved to be such. There were two rebel armies to be
dealt with--that of Pemberton, in and around Vicksburg, and that of Joe
Johnston, at Jackson, the capital of the state, fifty miles distant.
The object was to get between these two forces, and prevent them from
effecting a junction. The national army was in hot haste, and Grant's
struggles to gain a moment of time are full of interest. Red tape was
cut, forms were dispensed with, and the meagre supplies of the army
were hurried forward with the utmost despatch.

On the 1st of May, Grant attacked and defeated the enemy at Port
Gibson, the first point which disputed his passage to the interior,
before reënforcements could be sent from Grand Gulf, capturing six guns
and six hundred and fifty prisoners.

While these operations were in progress, General Grant had organized
the celebrated raid of Grierson, which passed through the rebel country
from La Grange to Baton Rouge, spreading consternation on every side.
Sherman, who had not yet come down from Milliken's Bend, also made
a demonstration in favor of the movement at Haines's Bluff, which
prevented troops from being sent down to Grand Gulf.

In this desperate enterprise, hardly more than wagons enough to
transport the ammunition could be allowed. No tents or baggage could be
carried, but the men submitted without a murmur to the hardships and
privations incident to a hurried march in an enemy's country. Grant
stood on the same level in this respect as the humblest soldier. His
entire baggage for six days was a tooth-brush! He had neither a clean
shirt, an overcoat, nor a blanket; no horse, orderly, or camp chest. He
slept upon the ground, with no covering but the sky and the stars, and
lived on soldier's rations.

The battle for Grand Gulf and the base of supplies was fought at Port
Gibson. The place was evacuated, and Porter took possession of it. The
rebels were pursued to the Big Black River. The position was secure,
and Grant had time to breathe for a moment. He visited Grand Gulf,
went on board of a gunboat, borrowed a shirt, and sat up till midnight
writing despatches. He attended personally to all the details of the
campaign. He ordered Sherman to come forward, giving him the minutiæ of
rations to be brought.

It had been his purpose, up to this time, as it had been the
expectation of the government, that he would secure a position below
Vicksburg, open the river to Port Hudson, and coöperate with General
Banks in the reduction of that important point. After its capture,
with the Mississippi open to supply the two armies, they were to unite
and besiege Vicksburg. But he had made some progress, and was ready to
fight the battle on which the safety of the stronghold would depend. He
knew that Johnston was on his way to Jackson, and that reënforcements
were pouring into that place from the south. But Banks could not reach
Port Hudson till the 10th of May, and the delay would weaken the
national force while it strengthened that of the rebels. He decided
finally to pursue his own plan, and without any hesitation he pushed on
towards Jackson.

Cutting loose from his base of supplies, he marched into the interior,
subsisting his army on the country. Sherman, with his corps, had joined
him, but this veteran was fearful of the result of the audacious
movement. Grant did not inform the general-in-chief of his plan, and
the government was appalled at his boldness. Grant was alone, but he
was self-possessed and sanguine.

The governor of Mississippi was howling with rage, and begging the
"glorious patriots" to hurry to the defence of the state. Steadily the
grand army marched in two columns towards the capital. At Raymond a
sharp battle was fought, but the enemy was routed, and the victorious
column pursued them to Jackson, where the rebels were again defeated.
The capital was captured, the railroad destroyed, bridges, factories,
arsenals, everything which could be of service to the foe in the war
was blown up or burned. Grant, with his staff, rode into the town; his
son, then thirteen years old, galloped ahead of the column into the
capital.



CHAPTER XXI.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
    through the Campaign in Mississippi to the Siege and Surrender of
    Vicksburg._


I am continually prompted to pause in my narrative, and dilate upon
the splendid conceptions of Grant, as I see him marching triumphantly
over the strongholds of the Rebellion; but the grand facts themselves
are enough to overwhelm the imagination. Never was so bold a scheme
conceived on a scale so grand; never was one more brilliantly executed.
Behold the conqueror issuing his mandates from the State House of
the rebel capital of Mississippi! Sternly and resolutely he cuts
away the veins and arteries of the Rebellion itself, as he tears up
railroads and demolishes mills and public buildings. He is in the
very midst of the powers of treason, but he is not dismayed. Far away
from his supplies, the rebel stores feed the loyal troops. Dismay and
demoralization radiated from his headquarters; and, astounded as the
leaders of the Rebellion were, they failed to realize the full extent
of the disaster which had befallen them.

Grant had struck the heavy blow in this direction, and, gathering up
his forces, he retraced his steps, leaving ruin and desolation behind
him. He did not carry on the war on peace principles. Months before he
had solved the problem of subjugation. He had gone into the conflict
as others did, with an inadequate idea of the work to be accomplished,
believing that a few national victories would settle all the questions
at issue. But the war was to be a death-struggle. The rebels manifested
their hate and spite to a degree never before exhibited by any people.
They declared that they never would submit, and their deeds did not
belie their words. The question was not to be considered as settled
when the national government had demonstrated that it was the stronger
party of the two. The "last ditch," and a grave in the Gulf of Mexico,
was the howl of the Confederacy. The contest was to be continued not
only while large armies could be held together and subsisted, but by
guerrillas and partisans burrowing in the mountains after all hope and
all other resources had failed.

It was necessary to meet this view with one of corresponding severity.
Grant realized the situation. It was his purpose to destroy the
armies of the Rebellion, and all the material with which armies
could be supplied. He did his work thoroughly, but it was a work of
humanity, a saving of life and of treasure. He took a statesman's
view of the situation; his solution of the great problem was the only
one which could save the country, and which could confine the war
within a reasonable period of time. The rebels were courting a war of
extermination, but Grant's policy broke the spirit of the people, if
not of their leaders.

The victorious general slept in the house in Jackson which Johnston had
occupied the preceding night. While the army was at the capital, an
act of poetic justice was done, though in violation of orders. A number
of Union prisoners had been conveyed by railroad through Jackson some
time before. The cattle cars, in which they were transported, stopped
in front of the Confederate Hotel, and the thirsty captives begged of
its inmates "a cup of cold water only." It was refused, with scurrilous
jeers and revilings. These prisoners had been exchanged, and were now
in Grant's conquering army. They set fire to the hotel, and burned it
to the ground: the tables were turned, and the indignity was avenged.

Johnston retreated towards Canton, and sent despatches to Pemberton, in
which he suggested to him the necessity of cutting off Grant's supplies
from the Mississippi. Grant had already cut himself off from his base,
and was living upon the enemy. He also intimates that it is desirable
to "beat" Grant, if he was compelled to fall back for the want of
supplies. The rebel general was a long way behind the times, and, like
many others, had entirely mistaken his man. He moved over to the north,
intending to effect a junction with Pemberton; but the latter defeated
the plan by disobeying his orders.

Grant, having obtained accurate knowledge of Pemberton's position,
pushed forward to the battle, which was impending. Johnston was in his
rear, and it was necessary to use the utmost haste, in order to fight
them in detail. The enemy was strongly posted on Baker's Creek, the
left of the line resting on Champion's Hill, from which his artillery
commanded the plains below. The national forces, nearly exhausted by
hard marching, but still buoyant and uncomplaining, approached by three
roads, which converged at Edwards's Station.

As our gallant army approached, the rebels on the hill, seventy feet
above the plain, opened fire, with shot and shell, from its bald
summit, while a deadly fire of musketry blazed from the forest, in
which the foe was concealed. The hill was the key of the position, and
Hovey pushed on, forcing the enemy back, till he had captured eleven
guns and three hundred prisoners. But the rebels massed their men in
front of him, and drove him slowly and doggedly back, until the ground
gained was lost again.

This was the crisis of the battle; but Grant himself was on the hill,
in a position where he could see all that transpired. His plan always
was to take advantage of a favorable turn to repair the mischief of
an unfavorable one. He sent a brigade to restore the equilibrium, and
Hovey held his ground. McPherson had stationed a battery where it was
mowing down the rebels in swaths, and they made an attempt to capture
it, but were repulsed with severe loss. Logan was sweeping all before
him.

Again the foe drove Hovey, whose battalions were worn out by an
incessant fight of three hours, and were also out of ammunition. Grant
had been hurrying up McClernand all day; but still he did not appear.
The tide of battle seemed to have set against the national army; but
this was always the hour when its heroic commander was more than
himself. The delay of McClernand galled him, and deranged his plans,
but could not defeat him. He ordered McPherson to move on the enemy's
right flank, and the contest was renewed with redoubled vigor. Logan
marched upon the enemy's left. These dispositions, and a sharp attack,
broke the rebels, and they gave way the third time. Logan's movement
nearly to the rear of the rebel line, had startled Pemberton, and he
made haste to save his line of retreat. The Union troops pressed on,
and the bloody battle of Champion's Hill was won. It had lasted six
hours, and our loss was twenty-five hundred in killed, wounded, and
missing. The enemy lost thirty guns, and six thousand men in killed,
wounded, and prisoners. It was the severest battle of the campaign, and
reflects a brilliant lustre upon the national arms. So fierce was the
struggle, that the soldiers christened the bloody height, where so many
had fallen, the Hill of Death.

The pursuit of the fleeing rebels was continued until long after
dark, Grant and his staff being at the head of the column. In their
enthusiasm they outsped the advance of the army. Finding the situation
unsafe, they retraced their steps, and the victorious general slept
upon the porch of a house which was used as a rebel hospital, disturbed
only by the groans of the wounded and the dying within.

That night came to Grant the order of the general-in-chief, directing
him to return to the Mississippi, and coöperate with Banks against Port
Hudson. Of course it had been written without a knowledge of the facts.
The government had been alarmed at his temerity, and expected to hear
that he was crushed in the embrace of the rebel armies, which beset
him on both sides. But the campaign had been fought and won; and to
obey the letter of the order would have been to disobey its spirit. By
the boldness of his conception and the rapidity of his execution, he
had effectually prevented the junction of the armies of Pemberton and
Johnston.

Sherman left Jackson with his corps on the morning of the battle of
Champion's Hill, hurried forward by an order from Grant. He reached
Bolton the same day, and there heard of the victory. He was ordered to
cross the Big Black at Bridgeport, either to turn the enemy's flank or
to move up on Haines's Bluff, as circumstances might dictate, for by
this time it was desirable to establish a base of supplies.

The main column pushed on towards Vicksburg, and found the
rebels posted on a bridge over the Big Black. They had a line of
intrenchments, defended by a garrison of four thousand men, with
twenty guns. As soon as the pursuing army came up with this formidable
obstacle in its path, the line was formed, and a heavy fire opened upon
the works, which were finally carried by storm. Our men fought bravely,
and the Confederate line broke and fled like sheep. In their terror the
rebels on the opposite side of the river set their end of the bridge
on fire, before half their force had crossed. The demoralized wretches
fled to the river, and attempted to escape by swimming. The fire of the
cannon was turned upon them, and the stream was crimsoned with their
blood. Seventeen hundred and fifty prisoners, eighteen guns, and five
standards were captured in this lively battle.

Bridging the river, Grant pushed on towards Vicksburg, uniting with
Sherman, who came by a more northerly route. The two generals rode
together to the farthest height, which looked down upon the Yazoo. The
high ground they had longed to possess had been reached, and it was to
them the promised land. They were elated at the prospect, and Sherman
acknowledged that, until this moment, he had not deemed the movement a
success.

In just twenty days Grant had marched over two hundred miles, fought
five distinct battles, captured eighty-eight pieces of ordnance, and
deprived the enemy of the services of thirteen thousand soldiers. He
had destroyed the railroad, captured Jackson and Grand Gulf. Never
was so brief a campaign productive of such successes. As Sherman
congratulated him upon the splendid results he had achieved, he quietly
smoked his cigar, but made no vain-glorious reply--no reply at all.

Vicksburg was immediately invested by a line which extended from the
river above to the river below the town. The coveted base of supplies
was obtained. Pemberton had thirty thousand men--a number fully equal
to that of the besiegers--with two hundred cannon. On the 18th of May
Johnston advised him that Vicksburg could not be held without Haines's
Bluff, and recommended him to save his troops by withdrawing; but
Pemberton decided, with the advice of his officers, to remain.

Grant's men were flushed with victory, and desired to storm the works.
They were permitted to do so as soon as the line of investment was
completed. A heavy attack was made all along the intrenchments, but it
was not crowned with success.

The people of Vicksburg were requested to leave the town by the
commander of the post: they declined to abandon their homes; but the
heavy rain of shot and shell from the national gunboats compelled them
to burrow in the sides of the hills for security, and families lived
for weeks in these caves. Pemberton hoped to receive assistance from
Johnston, who was organizing another army at Canton. The knowledge
of this fact prompted Grant to order another assault on the 21st of
May. His men were full of fight, and in this respect he was generally
ready to gratify them. The most elaborate preparations were made for
the great event, and as the prelude to the assault, the guns of the
batteries and of the fleet in the river rained a deluge of shot and
shell upon the city and its works. The thundering of guns shook the
solid earth, and the place was girt with fire. At ten o'clock, after
the bombardment had continued for several hours, the assault was made.
The entire army pushed forward, and, though prodigies of valor were
performed, the result was a failure. The strength of the works was
too great to be carried by storm; but the spirit of the soldiers was
unabated.

Grant was obliged not only to press forward the siege vigorously, but
to keep a lookout upon Johnston in his rear. He was reënforced, so that
by the middle of June he had seventy-five thousand troops, one half of
whom formed the line in the trenches, while the other half constituted
an army of observation, to watch the movements of the enemy in the
rear. Grant was untiring in his labors, and felt that he had the place
already. He had decided to save his men by regular siege operations.
But the glorious day was at hand.

On the morning of the 3d of July, a white flag was displayed on the
rebel works, and two officers came out, announcing that they were the
bearers of a sealed communication from General Pemberton to General
Grant. They were conducted to the most convenient headquarters, and the
commander of the Union army notified of the fact. Pemberton proposed
an armistice for the purpose of making terms for the surrender of
Vicksburg. He stated that he submitted the proposition in order to save
the effusion of blood, which must otherwise be shed to a frightful
extent, for he felt fully able to maintain his position for an
indefinite period.

General Grant replied, by letter, that the effusion of blood could
be ended at any time by the unconditional surrender of the city and
garrison. He complimented the endurance and courage of the defenders of
Vicksburg, and assured the rebel general that they should be treated
with respect as prisoners of war; but he had no other terms than
unconditional surrender.

General Bowen, the bearer of the letter, desired to see General Grant,
who promptly declined to meet him, but consented to see Pemberton
himself at three o'clock in the afternoon. The messengers returned to
the city, and hostilities were immediately resumed, and continued till
noon.

At three o'clock Pemberton, attended by his messengers of the morning,
came to the appointed place, in front of McPherson's line. The two
commanders met under the shade of a huge oak, within two hundred feet
of the rebel line. The works on both sides were crowded with unarmed
men, gazing eagerly at the unwonted scene between these lines. The
two high officers shook hands, and the other officers were formally
introduced to each other.

"General Grant, I meet you to inquire what terms of capitulation will
be allowed to me," said Pemberton.

"Those which have been expressed in my letter of this morning," replied
Grant.

"Unconditional surrender!" exclaimed Pemberton, haughtily.

"Unconditional surrender," added Grant, quietly.

"Never, so long as I have a man left," protested the rebel general.
"I will fight! If this is all, the conference may terminate, and
hostilities will be immediately resumed."

"Very well," answered Grant, quietly, as he turned away.

General Bowen proposed that two of the subordinates present should
confer together, and suggest terms. Grant did not object, but declined
to be bound by any agreement of his officers, reserving it to himself
to decide upon the terms. Smith and Bowen retired to consult together,
while Grant and Pemberton walked up and down under the tree, engaged in
conversation.

The subordinates returned to the tree, and Bowen proposed that the
Vicksburg garrison should march out with the honors of war, carrying
their muskets and field guns, but leaving their heavy artillery,
which it was not convenient for them to carry. Grant smiled at the
proposition, and declined it without any hesitation. It was finally
agreed that Grant should send his terms to Pemberton before ten o'clock
that night, and that hostilities should be suspended till that time.

Grant went to his quarters, and, for the first time, called together
a council of war--not to determine how an attack should be made, but
how a conquered foe should be surrendered. With the countenance of
all his officers but one, Grant submitted the terms, which were, that
the national troops should take possession of Vicksburg; the rebel
army should be paroled, the officers and men to retain their private
property, the troops to march out as soon as the necessary papers had
been signed.

After some slight variations the terms were accepted on the morning of
the 4th of July; and thus one of the most glorious events of the war
occurred on the anniversary of the national independence.



CHAPTER XXII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken sums up the magnificent Results of the
    Capture of Vicksburg, and starts with the illustrious Soldier for
    Chattanooga, after his Appointment to the Command of the combined
    Armies of the Tennessee, the Cumberland, and the Ohio._


Vicksburg had fallen! The nation was thrilled by the news. Grant's name
rang throughout the land. The loyal people blessed him for the mighty
deed he had done. The news flashed through the country, kindling up a
joyous excitement, such as had not been known since the commencement of
the war. The boasted stronghold of the rebels, the veritable Gibraltar
of the West, had crumbled and fallen. Possibilities became facts. The
decline of the Southern Confederacy had commenced.

Vicksburg had fallen! The news seemed too good to be true, and the
waiting patriots of the nation trembled lest the vision of peace which
it foreshadowed should be dissolved; but the telegraph flashed full
confirmation, and every loyal heart beat firmer and truer than ever
before.

Vicksburg had fallen! While the nation raised a pæan of grateful
thanksgiving for the victory, and hailed Grant as the mightiest man
of the Rebellion, the victorious general seemed hardly to be elated by
his brilliant success, or to be conscious that he had achieved anything
worthy of note. He smoked his cigar, calm and unmoved by the tempest of
applause which began to reach him from the far North. It was hard to
tell which was the more amazing--the magnitude of the victory or the
modesty of the victor.

On the 4th of July--hallowed anew by this crowning victory--the rebel
army marched out of the works it had so bravely defended, stacked
their arms, and laid down their colors, returning prisoners of war.
Thirty-one thousand six hundred men were surrendered to Grant,
including two thousand one hundred and fifty-three officers, fifteen of
whom were generals. One hundred and seventy-two cannons were captured
with the place. It was the largest capture of men and guns ever made,
not only in this war, but in the history of the world. Ulm surrendered
to Napoleon, with thirty thousand men and sixty guns; but this event
transcended the capitulation of Ulm, which Alison declares was a
spectacle unparalleled in modern warfare; more men, and nearly three
times as many guns, were taken at Vicksburg.

Grant and his staff, at the head of Logan's division, rode into the
city, where the rebel soldiers gazed curiously at their conqueror, but
manifested no disrespect; wherein they exhibited a more chivalrous
spirit than did their officers. The general rode to the headquarters
where the principal rebel officers were assembled. No one extended
to him any act of courtesy, or behaved with even common decency. As
no one came out to receive him, he dismounted, and walked up to the
porch where Pemberton and his high-toned generals sat. They saluted
him coldly, but no one proffered him a chair. By the grace of Grant
they wore their swords; but not even this fact spurred them up to the
simplest act of courtesy.

Pemberton himself was as crabbed and sour as a boor whose hen-coop
had been robbed. His manner was morose and ungentlemanly, and his
speech cold and curt. At last one of the party, with higher notions
of chivalry than his companions, brought a chair for Grant. The day
was hot and dusty, and the general asked for a glass of water. He was
rudely informed that he could find water in the house. He entered, and
searched the premises till a negro appeared, who supplied his want.
Returning to the porch, he found his seat had been taken; and, during
the rest of the interview, which lasted half an hour, he remained
standing, in the company of these conquered rebels, who kept their
seats in his presence!

In the light of this remarkable interview, I am inclined to believe
that my friend Pollard, who denounces Pemberton as an imbecile, was
more than half right in his estimate of the man; for no decent person,
under such circumstances, would have been guilty of such flagrant
discourtesy, as ridiculous as it was gross.

Grant was a Christian. He did not even resent this incivility. "If
thine enemy hunger, feed him." Grant did so, literally; for at this
interview Pemberton requested him to supply his garrison with rations.
He did not say, "Let the dead bury their dead," as less magnanimous
men than he might have done, after the contemptuous impoliteness of
the rebels. Grant immediately consented; but probably there was not
"chivalry" enough left in the bantam general to feel the heat of the
"coals of fire upon his head."

  [Illustration: GRANT AND PEMBERTON IN VICKSBURG.--Page 236.]

Grant notified Banks, at Port Hudson, of the capture of Vicksburg,
and offered to send him an army corps of "as good troops as ever trod
American soil; no better are found on any other." Four days after the
surrender, Port Hudson followed the example of Vicksburg. This event
virtually completed the conquest of treason in the West. The Father
of Waters rolled "unvexed to the sea," in the expressive language of
President Lincoln. To sum up the results, in the words of Pollard, who
is not particularly amiable at this point of his struggles through "The
Lost Cause,"--"It was the loss of one of the largest armies which the
Confederates had in the field; the decisive event of the Mississippi
Valley; and the severance of the Southern Confederacy."

Proudly would I linger over this auspicious event; but the illustrious
soldier had done his work, and the deed speaks for itself. His name was
written in the annals of his country, never more to be effaced, even if
he added not another laurel to his wreath of glory. He had practically
ended the war on the Mississippi. On the day before, the great battle
of Gettysburg culminated in victory, and the army of Lee was driven,
shattered and weakened, from Pennsylvania. The tidings of these two
great events spread through the land together, and created universal
joy. Almost for the first time in two years, the loyal cause looked
really hopeful. The Rebellion had been struck heavily in the East and
in the West.

President Lincoln manifested his high appreciation of the conduct of
Grant in the following characteristic letter:--

                         "EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, July 13, 1863.

    "MAJOR GENERAL GRANT.

    "My dear General: I do not remember that you and I ever met
    personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the
    almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say
    a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg,
    I thought you should do what you finally did--march the troops
    across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go
    below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you
    knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition and the like
    could succeed. When you got below, and took Port Gibson, Grand
    Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and
    join General Banks; and when you turned northward, east of the Big
    Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal
    acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong.

                                                           A. LINCOLN."

Halleck was almost as magnanimous as the president, and sent Grant a
very handsome letter of congratulation.

For the brilliant campaign of Vicksburg, Grant was made a major-general
in the regular army. He promptly recommended Sherman and McPherson for
promotion to the rank of brigadier-general in the regular army, setting
forth, in solid, compact arguments, the merits of these distinguished
generals. These promotions were promptly made, as well as others which
Grant suggested.

Sherman was sent out with a strong force to drive Johnston from the
state, which he did most effectually, capturing Jackson a second time
in his operations. On his return, the army of the Mississippi was
broken up, and sent to Banks, Schofield, and Burnside. But Grant had no
opportunity to rest upon his laurels; indeed, he wanted none. He gave
his attention to the multiplicity of topics imposed upon him by the
needs of his department. He threw all the weight of his position and
influence into the task of raising and organizing negro troops. It was
his intention to use them to garrison the posts on the river, believing
that they would make good heavy artillerists.

He was among the first to acknowledge the value of this class of
troops, and to award to them the praise which their valor in the
field merited. He went farther than this; for he proposed to protect
them from the operation of the savage policy of the rebels in regard
to them. He intimated to General Dick Taylor that if he hung black
soldiers he should retaliate; but the rebel general repudiated any such
policy.

He discussed the question of trade with the enemy with Secretary Chase,
and defended his views in opposition to it with dignity and ability.
The duties of his department required a degree of statesmanship in
their handling which he was found to possess; and the affairs of his
jurisdiction were skilfully and prudently administered.

Previous to the separation of the grand army which had achieved
the conquest of Vicksburg, Grant had proposed, and even urged, an
expedition for the capture of Mobile by the way of Lake Pontchartrain.
But the general-in-chief deemed it best to "clean up" the territory
which had been conquered, by driving out the rebel forces from Western
Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. The president declared that the
enterprise was "tempting," but recent events in Mexico rendered him
desirous of establishing the national authority in Texas, so that no
foreign foe could secure a foothold there; and he left the project for
Halleck to dispose of. Grant felt that the Union was losing a splendid
opportunity, for he had no doubt that a blow struck by the Vicksburg
veterans at Mobile, before the rebels recovered from the shock of
present disasters, would be entirely successful. He had the force, and
only desired a couple of gunboats to cover his landing. Probably, if he
had been permitted to undertake the venture, he would have succeeded,
and the war would have been curtailed at least one year. Judging from
analogy, and from the skill and spirit of the man, I am confident he
would have make a success of it. I cannot conceive of such a thing as
Grant's failing in anything. He might have been temporarily checked and
turned back--once, twice, thrice; but he was absolutely sure to carry
his point in the end. "Mr. Grant was a very obstinate man," as his good
lady remarked.

While Sherman was driving Johnston out of Mississippi, Grant sent
supplies of food and medicine to the enemy's sick at Raymond. If any
man ever demonstrated the true spirit of Christianity, though without
any display, Grant did so in his treatment of his own and his country's
enemies.

The Thirteenth Corps had been sent down to assist in the expedition up
the Red River and into Texas. Grant was anxious to see Banks, in order
to arrange a plan by which he might coöperate with him, and he went
to New Orleans. While there he was severely injured by being thrown
from his horse at a review. The animal was a strange one to him, and
was frightened by a locomotive, and rushing against a vehicle, dragged
his rider off. He was confined to his bed, and compelled to lie "flat
on his back" for twenty days. As soon as he was able to be moved,
he returned to Vicksburg, but was obliged to keep his bed until the
latter part of September, though he attended to all the business of his
department.

During the summer Rosecrans had been operating in Tennessee and
Northern Georgia, and had obtained possession of Chattanooga--the most
important position between Richmond and the Mississippi. Bragg was
manoeuvring to cut him off from Nashville, his base of supplies.
Grant started large reënforcements, including Sherman's command,
to the threatened point. On the 20th of September, Rosecrans was
defeated, before any of Grant's army reached him, in the heavy battle
of Chickamauga, and compelled to retire to Chattanooga. His army was
saved only by the address and bravery of General Thomas, who held his
position in the face of an immensely superior force. A delay of ten
days in the delivery of Halleck's order to Grant prevented the latter
from sending troops in season to be of service.

Early in October Grant was directed, as soon as he was in condition to
take the field,--for he was then able to move only on crutches,--to
repair to Cairo, and report by telegraph. The order reached him at
Columbus, and the next day, feeble as he was, he started for the point
indicated, with his staff and headquarters. On his arrival he was
instructed to meet an officer of the War Department in Louisville,
Kentucky, to receive further orders. He started immediately by
railroad, but at Indianapolis he met the secretary of war himself--Mr.
Stanton.

A new command, called forth by the emergency, had been created for
General Grant--"The military division of the Mississippi," including
all the territory south of the Ohio between the Alleghanies and
the Mississippi, with the exception of that occupied by Banks. It
comprised, besides his own department of the Tennessee, those of the
Cumberland, under Rosecrans, and the Ohio, under Burnside, all of which
were now placed under his command. Grant had suggested this step a year
before, in order to insure harmonious operations.

The secretary of war also carried two other orders with him, one
continuing Rosecrans in his command of the army of the Cumberland,
and the other removing him, and putting General Thomas in his place.
Grant was permitted to make his choice between the two, and without
hesitation he preferred the latter. Mr. Stanton accompanied the
commander of the new division to Louisville, where it was rumored that
Rosecrans was actually preparing to abandon Chattanooga, so closely
was he pressed by the rebels, and harassed by the cutting off of his
supplies. Grant, by order of the secretary, immediately assumed his
command, telegraphing his order to Rosecrans, and assigning Thomas to
the army of the Cumberland. He immediately took measures to prevent
the apprehended calamity, desiring Thomas to hold Chattanooga at all
hazards. The hero who had saved the entire army at Chickamauga replied
at once in those memorable words which have been so often quoted, "I
will hold the town till we starve."

East Tennessee, that home of the tried and trusty patriots, who had
been so long neglected, and who had suffered untold misery, had been
occupied by the national troops, and was now held by Burnside. Its
safety depended upon the operations in progress at Chattanooga, which
was the key-point of the system of railroads radiating to the east and
south. It was absolutely necessary for the success of the national
arms to hold this place, not only on account of its immense strategic
importance, but because nearly all the people of the mountain region in
which it is situated were loyal.

When Vicksburg fell, Bragg had been strengthened by the arrival of
the troops which had been operating under Johnston in Grant's rear.
But Rosecrans had out-generaled Bragg by getting to the southward of
him, and threatening his supplies, thus compelling him to abandon
Chattanooga. Having been largely reënforced, the rebel general had
beaten Rosecrans at Chickamauga, and driven him into Chattanooga,
where he had fortified himself, with the intention of holding the
position.

Three miles from the Tennessee was Missionary Ridge, a range of hills
four hundred feet high, which Bragg made haste to occupy. West of the
town was Lookout Mountain, twenty-two hundred feet high, and three
miles distant. Under this mountain extended the Nashville Railroad,
by which the national army received its supplies. Rosecrans deemed it
necessary to abandon this commanding height, which Bragg instantly
seized. Planting his batteries upon it, he effectually held the country
around it, and entirely cut off all supplies for Chattanooga, except
such as could be sent by the mountain passes over sixty miles of rugged
roads. Bragg drew his lines around the place from the river above to
the river below.

Rosecrans's situation became desperate, for it was practically
impossible to supply his troops by the mountain roads. The army was
put on half rations, and three thousand sick and wounded were dying
for the want of proper nourishment and medicines. Fodder for the
horses and mules could not be obtained, and ten thousand of them
died. All the artillery horses were sent round through the mountains
to Bridgeport, but one third of them perished on the way. In case of
retreat, it would be necessary to abandon the artillery, for the want
of animals to draw it. To add to the perils of the situation, the
ammunition was nearly exhausted. Short of clothing, short of tents,
short of food, the condition of the army was deplorable in the extreme.
Heavy rains deluged the earth, and the sufferings of the men were
intense. It is not to be wondered at that Rosecrans was prepared to
resort to so mild an expedient as abandoning the place. Bragg was
waiting for starvation, cold, and intense suffering to fight his battle
for him. He was unwilling to sacrifice a soldier in an assault, when
Chattanooga was sure to fall under the weight of its own miseries. Only
in Andersonville and on Belle Island were the sufferings of the troops
surpassed.

Such was the terrible condition of the army of the Cumberland when
Grant started for the field of action.



CHAPTER XXIII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken details the Means by which the
    illustrious Soldier relieved the Army of the Cumberland, and traces
    his Career to the glorious Victory of Chattanooga_.


The stoutest heart would have been appalled at the situation in
and around Chattanooga. Rosecrans had failed, and the army of the
Cumberland was "bottled up" in the town. Grant, still feeble, and
unable to move without his crutches, was ordered to extricate the force
from its desperate dilemma; and not only to do this, but to save the
place itself. One less resolute than he, or equally resolute, but less
patriotic and devoted to the loyal cause, might well have exclaimed, "I
pray thee have me excused!" Disabled as he was, he might have pointed
to his crutches, and let them speak for him. They were not only a good
excuse, but a good reason for not going upon such a perilous errand.

Could he have been borne at the head of the victorious veterans of
Vicksburg, and gone into the beleaguered and starved town to the
musical tramp of a large army, it would have looked more hopeful.
But this could not be. Sherman had been started from Memphis with a
heavy force--the army of the Tennessee--to assist Rosecrans, and
he was still struggling through the country, beset with trials and
difficulties. Not with this faithful friend and this tried army could
the crippled general march into Chattanooga.

On the 20th of October, Grant started with only his staff for the
imperilled point, and arrived at Nashville the same night. Even
on his route, invalid as he was, he worked at the solution of
the problem which had been given him to solve. He telegraphed to
Burnside, foreshadowing his plans, and directing the operations of
his subordinate. He requested Admiral Porter to send gunboats up the
Tennessee to insure Sherman's safety, and to facilitate the passage of
his supplies. To Thomas, in Chattanooga, he suggested the opening of
the road to Bridgeport. Without having visited the scene of operations,
he knew all about it, and was ready to grapple with the mighty
difficulty.

At Bridgeport, on the Tennessee, the general and his party took horses
for Chattanooga. The roads were rifted and torn up by the deluge of
rains which had poured down the mountain sides. Here and there the
highway was but a narrow shelf on the steep mountain side, and the
region was strewed with the wrecks of wagons, and the bodies of animals
which had died on the route, or had been killed by being precipitated
over the steep bluffs. At many points the roads were not in condition
to admit of the passage of the party on horseback, and the animals were
led over them; Grant, still a cripple, was borne in the arms of his
companions.

Thus journeyed the great commander to the front, issuing his mandates
for the government of these armies, ordering up supplies, and
indicating the means of forwarding them. I say, enthusiastically, that
the spectacle of a man in his crippled condition, undertaking such an
herculean task, controlling the minutest details, and moving forward
confidently to retrieve the most desperate situation which the whole
war presented, is sublime. I cannot fully express my admiration with
any other term.

It was dark, and the rain poured in torrents, when Grant reached
Chattanooga. If he had not quailed at the prospect before, well might
he then. The rebels, in greatly superior force, hemmed in the town,
save on the north, where the ragged mountain steeps beyond the river
were almost as forbidding as the closed-up lines of the enemy. The
officers and men were sad, weary, and almost hopeless. Their supplies
were nearly exhausted, and there was little hope either in a battle
or a retreat. To this scene of his future labors, the disabled and
worn-out commander was introduced on his arrival. He did not despair;
he was the messenger of hope and ultimate triumph.

On the night of his arrival he requested that Sherman should be placed
in command of the army of the Tennessee, and his wish was granted.
Hooker's command from the army of the Potomac had been sent down to
act with the army of the Cumberland, and was now at Bridgeport. The
question of supplies was the first which engaged Grant's attention.
Except the town of Chattanooga, the rebels held all the country south
of the Tennessee, and frequently invaded the northern shore in cavalry
raids, cutting off the Union supplies. A pontoon bridge was stretched
across the river at Brown's Ferry, the boats, each carrying thirty men,
being silently floated down the river unobserved by the rebel pickets.
The operation was conducted in the night, and, being a complete
success, a footing was gained on the south bank of the river below the
town.

The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad crossed the Tennessee at
Bridgeport, where Hooker, with the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, was
located, and came up to Chattanooga through Lookout Valley, on the
south side of the stream, which, being in the hands of the enemy,
had cut off the supplies. Hooker was ordered to cross the river, and
follow the railroad up to the valley. At Wauhatchie he encountered the
rebels, but drove them before him, and reached a point within a mile
of the new pontoon bridge on the night of the 28th of October. He was
fiercely attacked by Longstreet, but successfully repelled the assault,
and Lookout Valley was virtually captured. By this movement a direct
road to Bridgeport, to which the railroad from Nashville was in working
order, was opened in five days after the arrival of Grant.

Only a week before, Jeff. Davis himself had stood upon the summit
of Lookout Mountain, and gazed down upon the Union army shut up in
Chattanooga, absolutely sure that in a brief period, without striking
a blow, it must surrender to Bragg. The tables were suddenly turned
by the matchless skill of Grant. The ammunition and stores poured in
upon the desponding army, now reënforced by two corps, and hope and
joy supplanted fear and despair. The hungry men were once more fed on
full rations, horses were promptly brought up, and the army of the
Cumberland was ready to become the assailants again. The rebels were
confounded by the sudden change in the situation before them.

Grant arranged the details of conveying supplies to Burnside, five
hundred miles up the Cumberland, and thence by wagons, one hundred
farther, to Knoxville. He repeatedly urged upon this gallant soldier
the imperative necessity of holding East Tennessee, though the
government had some doubts in regard to his ability to do so. Grant was
only waiting for the arrival of Sherman, with the army of Tennessee,
to attack the enemy; but until then he could do nothing. Bragg, to
better his own prospects, sent Longstreet, with twenty thousand men and
eighty guns, into East Tennessee, and great anxiety was manifested for
the safety of Burnside's command. The rebels held the railroad from
Chattanooga nearly up to Knoxville, and Grant's force was insufficient
to enable him to render any direct aid. Burnside was sorely pressed
by the foe, but maintained himself nobly. Grant frequently sent him
hopeful messages, and assured himself that East Tennessee would be held.

On the night of the 14th of November, Sherman reported in Chattanooga
to his commander. The plan of the great battle which was to relieve
Burnside, and compel the enemy "to take to the mountain passes by every
available road," had already been formed. The operations were delayed
by savage storms, which raised the river, and damaged the pontoon
bridges, employed to their utmost capacity in crossing Sherman's
troops; but on the 23d the line was formed for the assault.

On the 20th, Grant had received a letter from Bragg, suggesting that if
there were any non-combatants in Chattanooga, prudence would suggest
their early withdrawal; but this was only a trick, which did not
deceive Grant; and two days later he obtained information that Bragg
was preparing to evacuate his position on Missionary Ridge.

Thomas's line, composed of the army of the Cumberland, was drawn up
in front of the town. Just before it were the rebel pickets in close
proximity to those of the national army; indeed, both drew water from a
creek which was the dividing line between them. Grant occasionally rode
out to this stream to observe the position of the enemy. One day he saw
a party of soldiers drawing water. As they wore blue coats, he supposed
they belonged to his own force, and he asked them to whose command they
belonged.

"To Longstreet's corps," replied one of them.

"What are you doing in those coats then?" demanded Grant, unmoved, when
almost any other general officer would have decamped in a hurry, for
fear an accident might happen.

"O, all our corps wear blue!" added the rebel spokesman.

Grant had forgotten this fact, and the rebels scrambled up their own
side of the stream, little suspicious that they had been conversing
with the commander of the united national armies.

The guns in battery along the line opened fire, and the enemy's works
on the long range of hills, replied to the vigorous salute. The line of
Thomas's army moved forward, and the grand spectacle commenced. It was
a magnificent sight, and we who beheld it can never forget the gleam of
those twenty thousand bayonets, as the column pressed steadily on. The
enemy believed it was only a holiday pageant, and their pickets leaned
on their muskets, and watched the brilliant movement. A few shots from
the skirmishers scattered these spectators, and the battle commenced.
The army of the Cumberland was intent upon wiping out the stain of
Chickamauga, and charged impetuously upon the line of rifle-pits
before them, capturing them, and carrying Orchard Knoll, a hill of
considerable importance for future operations. The enemy had been
driven back a mile, and the nationals halted, and fortified the ground
they had captured.

On the right was Hooker, occupying Lookout Valley, above which frowned
the heights of Lookout Mountain, bristling with rebel cannon. On the
creek, in the middle of the valley, extended the line of Confederate
pickets; but there was no approach to the mountain on this side. Hooker
sent a column round its base to a road which conducted, by a zigzag
route, to the summit. The enemy's pickets were captured, and Lookout
Creek bridged.

Hooker's troops fought with the utmost bravery, and demonstrated that
Eastern soldiers, when well led, were fully the equals of those of the
West. They swept everything before them in the fierce struggle that
followed. The Union batteries opened, and the rebels replied from the
steeps of the mountain, drawing down, as it seemed, the thunder and
the lightning from the clouds above, till the hills trembled in the
commotion. The column under General Geary, passing through a piece of
woods, reached the road which led to the heights above. It was a steep
path, and every accessible place was occupied by troops and guns for
its defence. But the column dashed up the precipitous slopes, beating
down all opposition, capturing guns and men on their way. Onward and
upward, in the literal sense of the words, they swept, penetrating the
clouds, which soon hid them from the view of those below. Hooker's
battle in the clouds was a complete success, and Lookout Mountain was
captured. Two thousand prisoners were taken, and the victors in this
remarkable contest rested from their labors on the summit. They had
"gone up," in the highest sense of the phrase, and the rebels also, in
another sense.

Hooker on the right, and Thomas in the centre, had carried out their
portion in the grand programme of the battle; so also had Sherman on
the left. The enemy had been deceived into the belief that his whole
force was to operate in the vicinity of Lookout Mountain, while it was
cautiously moved to a concealed position up the river, and in the rear
of the town. One hundred and sixteen pontoons were conveyed over the
land, and launched in the North Chickamauga Creek, five miles above the
mouth of a stream with the same name on the south side of the river. On
the night before the grand battle, these boats were loaded with men,
and floated down the creek and the Tennessee, until they reached a
point immediately below South Chickamauga Creek, where the bridge was
to be built over the river for the passage of Sherman's army. All the
citizens in the vicinity had been put under guard, so that the enemy
might not learn what was in progress.

The boats landed on the south side of the river, the troops
disembarked, the enemy's outpost was captured, and a position secured
for the beginning of the pontoon bridge. Troops were crossed in boats
continually. At noon the bridge was completed; the army crossed, and
Sherman commenced the march upon the enemy's positions on the left. The
troops were pushed up the hill, and soon gained a commanding eminence,
which was immediately fortified, and guns were dragged up for its
defence. The rebels opened with artillery upon the unexpected foe, but
Sherman was already in possession. A sharp engagement ensued with the
infantry, but the enemy soon withdrew, and the northern portion of
Missionary Ridge was carried.

The morning of the next day dawned clear and cold, revealing the two
armies prepared for the final struggle, in which one was eager to
engage, and which the other could not avoid. The rebels were still
strongly intrenched on Missionary Ridge, whose summit had an extent of
seven miles. Grant took position with his staff on Orchard Knoll, where
he could command a view of the entire battle-field. Plainly to be seen
on the heights above him were the headquarters of the rebel general.

In accordance with his orders, Sherman began the attack on the left,
and closely pressed the Confederate position. Bragg saw his lines
yielding, and sent reenforcements from the centre, precisely as
Grant intended he should do. Sherman secured a position at the first
onslaught, and the battle around him was waged with the most tremendous
fury by both sides; but no further advantage was gained. On the right,
Hooker was working his way around the rebel flank, and Grant, having
been assured that he was in position to do his part of the work,
directed Thomas to move forward in the centre, the rebel general having
weakened this portion of his line to strengthen his right flank.

The four divisions of the army of the Cumberland, one of which was
commanded by Sheridan, made a charge, captured the enemy's rifle-pits
at the foot of the Ridge, and took one thousand prisoners. Thirty guns
immediately opened upon them with grape and canister, cutting them
down in awful slaughter; but it delayed not their march. Steadily
they pushed their way towards the crest of the ridge, and, halfway
up, encountered another line of rifle-pits, which they charged upon
and carried with the same impetuous fury which had marked their first
assault.

Grant and Thomas, on the knoll below, watched the fearful fighting, as
the column mounted the hill. A portion of it was momentarily checked
and turned by the savage fire poured in upon it. Thomas turned to Grant
and said, with some hesitation, which revealed the emotion he struggled
to conceal in the presence of his chief,--

"General, I--I'm--I'm--afraid they won't get _up_."

Grant looked steadfastly at the column, waiting half a minute before he
made any reply; then, coolly taking the cigar he was smoking from his
mouth, he brushed away the ashes before he answered,--

"O, give them time, general," and quietly returned the cigar to his
mouth.

They only wanted a few moments more, and gathering up their energies,
the men pressed forward with redoubled zeal, and gained the summit of
the Ridge. With furious cheers they threw themselves upon the rebel
works, and carried them almost instantly. The foe was overwhelmed
in his strongest position, which, as Bragg said himself, "a line of
skirmishers ought to have maintained against any assaulting force."
Whole regiments threw down their arms, and others fled in hot haste
down the eastern slope. The artillery was captured, and turned upon
other portions of the rebel position. The Confederate line was
sundered, and the enemy were thoroughly beaten in forty-five minutes
after the order to charge had been given on the plain below.

In the moment of victory Grant appeared upon the Ridge, and, passing
along with his head uncovered, received the unanimous applause of the
soldiers. They were in a transport of ecstasy over the victory they
had won, and gathered around him with volleys of cheers, grasping his
hands, and embracing his legs. I wonder not at their enthusiasm, for
these men were of the army of the Cumberland, who had been "bottled up"
in Chattanooga, to starve and die: and while they hailed the victorious
general as the author of the triumph they had achieved, they also
hailed him as their own deliverer. He coolly but not insensibly
received their grateful plaudits. Without pausing to indulge in any
self-glorification, he made the dispositions to complete the victory
and pursue the fleeing host of rebels.

  [Illustration: GRANT AND THE SOLDIERS AT MISSIONARY RIDGE.

  Page 256.]

The victory was thorough and entire. All the rebel positions had been
captured. Forty guns, seven thousand small arms, and six thousand
prisoners were taken--the heaviest spoils of any battle fought in
the field during the war. The loss of the Union army, in killed,
wounded, and missing, was fifty-six hundred and sixteen. The rebel
loss in killed and wounded was much less, for they fought with all the
advantages of a secure position.

Grant had sixty thousand men, Bragg forty-five thousand; but the
elevated situation, and the elaborate intrenchments in which they
fought, ought to have rendered them equivalent to twice that force, as
the rebel general practically admitted.

The pursuit of the enemy was vigorously followed up, railroads were
destroyed, and immense quantities of stores and rations captured, which
the rebels could ill afford to lose. Bragg had been entirely confident
of his ability to hold his position, and at one time, just before
Thomas's troops reached the crest of the hill, he was congratulating
his troops upon the victory they had won. While he was thus engaged,
the army of the Cumberland broke through his line, and compelled him to
run for his life.

During this fierce battle, Phil Sheridan first attracted the attention
of Grant, by his bold and daring conduct, no less than by his skilful
movements; though the great cavalryman did not know of his good fortune
for months. He had simply been "spotted" for future use.

The battle of Chattanooga was ended in a glorious victory for
the Union, and one of the saddest defeats of the war to the
Confederates--one which put my friend Pollard into "fits," causing him
to declare that "the day was shamefully lost."



CHAPTER XXIV.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken has something more to say about the
    glorious Campaign of Chattanooga, and illustrates some of the
    personal Characteristics of the illustrious Soldier_.


In one month from the time of his arrival at Chattanooga, Grant had
swept the rebels from the positions they occupied--had achieved a
success which the enemy had believed was impossible. A woman, whose
home was on the plateau of Missionary Ridge, said to one of our
officers, after the battle had been fought, "Before you all came up
here, I asked General Bragg, 'What are you going to do with me?' He
replied, 'Lord, madam, the Yankees will never dare to come up here.'
But it was not fifteen minutes before you were all around here."

I have not the slightest doubt that Bragg was as confident of his
safety up to the moment his line was broken as he was of his own
existence. Relying on the immense natural advantages of his position,
which had been fortified to the extent of human skill, he believed
it was as impossible to move his army as it was to move the mountain
itself. And it was not a merely blind confidence; for if a man ever had
occasion to congratulate himself upon the security of his troops, Bragg
had.

Grant's plan for the battle, which was strictly followed out, from
beginning to end, in all its details, was a masterpiece of military
skill and combination. Without this the brilliant, daring, and resolute
assault must have ended in total failure. But it is equally certain
that the splendid plan would have failed without the gallant fighting.
In fact, Grant commanded both armies on that day, for Bragg was obliged
to follow out the results of Grant's combinations.

The battle had continued for three days, extending over an area
thirteen miles in length, to say nothing of its perpendicular ascent.
Two of the three subordinate commanders who directed operations under
him were of his own choosing; and Hooker, without being selected by
him, was a man after his own heart, so far, at least, as his promptness
and his fighting inclinations were concerned. Yet it is marvellous that
nothing went wrong on those eventful days; that all minor difficulties
were overcome, and the operations brought into such glorious harmony;
but this is as much due to Grant's genius and foresight as the plan
itself. He had skilfully and prudently weighed the conditions of
success, and while the men fought well, and the generals obeyed their
orders, there was no chance for failure.

Even General Halleck, who had no partiality for the hero, and no
confidence in him which had not been secured by Grant's wonderful
successes, became enthusiastic over this battle. "Considering the
strength of the rebel position and the difficulty of storming his
intrenchments," said the careful general-in-chief, "the battle of
Chattanooga must be considered as one of _the_ _most remarkable in
history_. Not only did the officers and men exhibit great skill and
daring in their operations in the field, but the highest praise is
also due to the commanding general for his admirable dispositions for
dislodging the enemy from a position apparently impregnable. Moreover,
by turning his right flank and throwing him back upon Ringgold and
Dalton, Sherman's forces were interposed between Bragg and Longstreet,
so as to prevent any possibility of their forming a junction."

Halleck was a cautious man, and in no danger of exaggerating the merits
of Grant's deeds, so that the non-military public may receive his
opinion without any grains of allowance. In the theory of warfare, in
his complete knowledge and appreciation of the principles of strategy,
however he may have failed in the practical application of the science
in the field, the general-in-chief had no superior. He was a writer
of no little celebrity, before the war, on military subjects, and is
amply competent to pronounce a safe opinion. When a man of his calibre,
therefore, steps out of the sphere of the Rebellion for a comparison,
and pronounces the battle of Chattanooga "one of the most remarkable in
history," the general public, unlearned in the mysteries of military
science, may justifiably deduce from his statement the belief that
General Grant is one of the most remarkable soldiers the world has ever
seen.

History is but little more than a record of wars, battles, and sieges.
The characters who figure the most extensively in its chronicles are
the warriors of all ages. How stands Grant among them? He has captured
more guns and more prisoners than any general in the whole history of
the world! The campaign and siege of Vicksburg is without a parallel in
the annals of any nation under the sun! Until the American Rebellion
Napoleon was the greatest general the world had ever seen. Grant has
paled even his star; for Grant has no Waterloo, no disastrous retreat,
like that from Russia, in his record.

Not alone in the grandeur of his position as a military genius is Grant
great. In his sterling goodness, in his modesty, in his magnanimity,
in his perception of character, in his quiet winning way, in his
sublime confidence in himself, in his Christian forbearance, in his
absolute self-negation, and in his unselfish love of country, he is a
great man, even without the laurel of victory upon his brow. When I
see him, crippled in body, weakened and physically broken down by long
confinement to his bed, hastening on his crutches to the most desperate
scene which the annals of this terrible war present; hurrying with
the laurel of Vicksburg and Donelson on his brow, without a thought
that he was imperilling his splendid reputation in an almost hopeless
venture; speeding through tempest and desolation, not at the head
of his war-worn and victorious veterans, but alone, to a stricken,
half-starved, beleaguered position, from whose overlooking environments
the cunning foe was gazing down, while they waited for famine and death
to do their certain work; when I see him thus staking his all,--for his
all, in a worldly sense, was his brilliant fame,--sacrificing ease,
comfort, health, exposing his very life, to save the army, to save
Chattanooga, to save the cause,--I cannot but ask, What other man has
done so much? What other man could, or would?

One of his biographers has said that Grant went to Chattanooga with the
reënforcements for which Rosecrans had vainly pleaded; that he went
with two armies to the relief of the town. There was time enough, after
Grant arrived, to have fought half a dozen battles before even the
moral support of either of these forces was available for the relief of
the army of the Cumberland. Sherman was struggling through a hostile
country, battling with swollen rivers, broken roads, and the storms
and tempests of November, a hundred miles away. Hooker was not in a
position to lift a finger till the genius of Grant opened the way for
his movement. Bragg might have swooped down from his mountain holds and
stormed the intrenchments with an overwhelming force at any hour of the
day or the night. We only wondered that he did not do it. But he held
Lookout Valley, held the river, held the railroad above and below the
town, and nothing but his perfect assurance that neither Hooker nor
Sherman could get into Chattanooga before the garrison would be starved
out prevented him from doing so. No! Grant fought the rebels alone
during those five days--the darkest and most perilous in his career. If
he had been beaten in the end, if Chattanooga had fallen before either
of the two armies arrived, he would still have been entitled to the
credit of his most heroic and self-sacrificing conduct.

I repeat, it is not alone the brilliant lustre of his military deeds
which calls forth our admiration: his patriotism, his unselfish
devotion to the cause, entitle him to the highest place in the regards
of the American people.

Occasionally, in the current newspapers of the day, during the
Rebellion, we read the astounding statement that General Fitzfizzle was
under fire; that a shell exploded on the side of the river where he
was; that his staff besought him not to expose his precious person to
the deadly projectiles of the enemy. We are sensationally informed that
General Fitzfizzle told his officers to retire to a safe place if they
were afraid. General Fitzfizzle had evidently screwed his courage up to
the sticking point, and during the long period of three whole minutes
he was exposed to the bullets of the enemy--until, indeed, his presence
was elsewhere required. We tender to General Fitzfizzle the homage of
our grateful admiration. We feel that he was a brave man, for he has
exposed his _corpus_ to the bullet of the foe. But what has he done
for three minutes more than Private McMullen and Corporal Mullinstock
have done during the entire battle? Is it heralded in the newspapers
that by an effort he has exhibited the mere brute courage which has
distinguished thousands of humble privates whose names will never be
printed?

It does not appear from any record that Grant ever uttered a
sensational remark on the field. The terrible earnestness of the man
admitted of no side talk, no silly affectation, no ridiculous farce
which could point a paragraph in the papers. He was always in the
battle, and always a part of the battle. He chose the position best
suited to his purpose for observing the movements of the contending
armies. It mattered not whether it was exposed to the enemy's fire
or not; he never considered that question. I am not aware that he
ever recklessly exposed himself without need, and certainly he never
sought a place of safety during the battle. It does not appear that he
considered the question of personal safety at all. He was where his
presence was required, without regard to peril.

At Belmont he was with the skirmishers in the front line of battle, the
first to go on the field, and the last to leave it. At Shiloh he led
charge after charge, and was in the thickest of the fight. Hundreds of
men behind him, and all around him, fell. He never required an escort,
but rode, with his staff, into the hottest of the fight. So continually
exposed was he, that the whole army wondered he was not killed. At
Ringgold, in the pursuit of Bragg's fleeing army, he rode for half a
mile, at a moderate trot, through a storm of shot and shell. He was not
thinking of danger--only of the enemy's positions. He was studying the
battle, in that moment which would have tried the souls of common men.
There was no consciousness at any time on his face that he was doing
"a big thing." He was simply in earnest, completely absorbed in the
progress of the battle. Where necessity required him to go, he went; if
there was a direct road, by that; if not, over the fields, through the
woods, swimming his horse through any stream that lay in his path.

He did everything with all his might, as if in literal obedience to
the Scripture injunction; and though not physically a powerful man, he
seemed to be superior to fatigue, hunger, cold, and all the ills to
which human flesh is subject. He would ride from breakfast time till
two o'clock the next morning without tasting food, and continue this
severe exertion until his work was finished--till victory had crowned
his operations. He could wear out his staff, who were compelled to
attend him, but he did not wear out himself. He was an earnest man, and
through the might of his earnestness, he conquered all obstacles, and
triumphed over every disadvantage. It was not luck, it was not good
fortune, that gave him the battle; it was genius, fortified by hard,
persistent labor. If he beat down greater obstacles than any other man,
it was because he studied deeper, worked harder, and fought longer than
any other.

Grant's task was not yet finished. Burnside was still in peril, a
hundred miles away. Granger was sent forward to his assistance, but
his movements were too laggard to satisfy the impatience of the heroic
chief, and Sherman was started on the war path to supersede him. The
army of the Ohio had been hemmed in at Knoxville, and its situation
was hazardous in the extreme, though Burnside was fully equal to the
emergency. He had only twelve days' provisions left, but he manfully
stood his ground. Grant had given him the most effectual relief in
driving Bragg away from the valley.

At the time of sending Sherman up the Tennessee, Grant forwarded a
despatch in duplicate to Kingston, one copy of which was for Burnside,
and the other was intended for, and fell into the hands of, the enemy.
Longstreet received his copy; but, before it fell into his hands, he
learned that Bragg had fallen back. He therefore determined to attack
Knoxville without delay. Fort Sanders, the principal defence of the
place, was assaulted, and a fierce struggle ensued, but the rebels were
defeated.

After the battle, Longstreet received the despatch which Grant had
written for his edification. Finding that Sherman was in the vicinity,
he had not a moment to lose, and started in full retreat for Virginia.
Burnside and Sherman conferred together in regard to the situation.
Longstreet was pursued, but the force was insufficient, and the chase
was abandoned. Burnside did not fully appreciate the situation, and
sent Sherman back to Chattanooga, retaining only Granger's command.
Longstreet was a very able general, and took prompt advantage of
the mistake of his antagonist. Finding nothing but a small cavalry
force behind him, he turned, defeated it, and marched back into East
Tennessee, establishing himself at Russellville for the winter, where
the country afforded abundant supplies. If Grant's orders to Burnside
had been fully apprehended and carried out, this mortifying result
could not have transpired. But the winter had set in, and military
operations in that mountain region were impracticable.

The termination of the event was simply mortifying: it in no way
affected the grand result of the Chattanooga campaign, which had been
victorious in all its details. On the 10th of December, after the enemy
had been driven from his strongholds, Grant issued his congratulatory
order to the three armies under his command, which has such a ring of
true steel in it, that I cannot help holding it up to the admiration
of my sympathizing reader.

                               "HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE }
                                           MISSISSIPPI, IN THE FIELD, }
                                   CHATTANOOGA, TENN., Dec. 10, 1863. }

    "The general commanding takes this opportunity of returning his
    sincere thanks and congratulations to the brave armies of the
    Cumberland, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and their comrades from the
    Potomac, for the recent splendid and decisive successes achieved
    over the enemy. In a short time you have recovered from him the
    control of the Tennessee River from Bridgeport to Knoxville. You
    dislodged him from his great stronghold upon Lookout Mountain,
    drove him from Chattanooga Valley, wrested from his determined
    grasp the possession of Missionary Ridge, repelled, with heavy
    loss to him, his repeated assaults upon Knoxville, forcing him to
    raise the siege there, driving him at all points, utterly routed
    and discomfited, beyond the limits of the state. By your noble
    heroism and determined courage you have most effectually defeated
    the plans of the enemy for regaining possession of the States of
    Kentucky and Tennessee. You have secured positions from which
    no rebellious power can drive or dislodge you. For all this the
    general commanding thanks you collectively and individually. The
    loyal people of the United States thank and bless you. Their hopes
    and prayers for your success against this unholy Rebellion are with
    you daily. Their faith in you will not be in vain. Their hopes will
    not be blasted. Their prayers to Almighty God will be answered.
    You will yet go to other fields of strife; and, with the invincible
    bravery and unflinching loyalty to justice and right which have
    characterized you in the past, you will prove that no enemy can
    withstand you, and that no defences, however formidable, can check
    your onward march.

                                 By order of Major General U.S. GRANT."

This came from the "silent man," who simply never talks without having
something to say; but his pen speaks and reveals the man in all the
towering grandeur of his lofty patriotism and sublime devotion. In
this paper he tells the soldiers what they have done, not what he has
done himself. President Lincoln promptly congratulated the general,
and all under his command, on the decisive victory, and expressed his
profoundest gratitude for the skill, courage, and perseverance with
which the work had been accomplished.

Soon after the assembling of Congress, while the brilliant events I
have written down were still fresh in the minds of the people, both
houses passed a resolution to this effect: "That the thanks of Congress
be, and they are hereby, presented to Major General Ulysses S. Grant,
and through him to the officers and soldiers who have fought under his
command during this Rebellion, for their gallantry and good conduct in
the battles in which they have been engaged; and that the President of
the United States be requested to cause a gold medal to be struck, with
suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be presented to Major
General Grant."

These victories were so important, and had such a decided influence
upon the destinies of the nation, that the hearts of the people were
filled with gratitude. The president appointed a day of thanksgiving,
and Grant was renewedly hailed as the savior of the country.

He was not dazzled by the elevated position he had achieved. Not a
vain-glorious remark escaped his lips; not a particle of vanity was
apparent in his looks or his manner. Neither the victories he had
won, nor the spontaneous homage of the people, turned his thought
from the cause to himself. Early in December, as soon as the campaign
was fairly closed, and in the very despatch in which he announced the
final results, he renewed his proposition for an expedition against
Mobile. He does not ask to go home and receive the plaudits of his
fellow-citizens; he does not hint at a moment of respite to enjoy the
laurels he had won; he does not even require time to rest his weary
frame, and recover entirely from his injuries. He is ready to organize
immediately an attack upon Mobile. He mentions his route, and proposes
to take it or invest it before the end of the next month. He was still
in earnest, but the government were not prepared to authorize the
movement.

Burnside had been superseded at Knoxville by Foster, and Grant visited
his headquarters to prepare for a movement against Longstreet as
soon as the season would permit. Foster was soon relieved at his own
request, on account of an old wound, and General Schofield, at Grant's
request, was appointed in his place. Sherman was sent to Vicksburg,
where he organized the celebrated Meridian expedition, and early in
February it started. The rebels were driven out of Mississippi, and its
whole railroad system was destroyed or deranged so that it was useless
to the Confederacy. The army marched four hundred miles in less than a
month, fed upon the country, and returned in better condition than when
it started.

In January Grant obtained permission of the War Department to visit St.
Louis, where his son was dangerously sick. He travelled without show
or parade, and few, if any, found out who he was. At the hotel, on his
arrival, he registered his name as "U.S. Grant, Chattanooga;" but the
news of his coming soon spread, and he was tendered a public reception
and dinner. His son being much better, he accepted the invitation.
His speech at the dinner was a line and a half in length. In the
evening he was serenaded, and his speech was two lines and a half in
length. He had never made a speech, and never intended to do so. The
multitude shouted for a speech. "Tell them you can fight for them, but
cannot talk to them--do tell them this," pleaded an earnest friend
at his side. "I must get some one else to say that for me," replied
the general. Of Grant's "silence," I shall have the honor to speak in
another place.

During the winter, Grant attended to all the vast details of his large
department, and put everything in condition for an early renewal of
the contest in the spring, and on the 3d of March he was ordered to
Washington.



CHAPTER XXV.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier
    to Washington, where, after enduring many Hardships, he is
    commissioned Lieutenant General in the Army of the United States._


Grant was not ignorant of the occasion of his summons to Washington.
While he had been busily engaged with the duties of his department,
the people had been heaping honors upon him. Associations of all
kinds, learned and philanthropic, made him an honorary member of their
bodies. Ohio and New York voted him thanks in their legislatures.
Gifts of every description poured in upon him--cigars and cigar cases,
revolvers, books, canes, and other articles, sufficient in number to
enable him to establish a private museum, if he had had any taste for
"the show business." None of these articles gave him so much pleasure
as a brier-wood cigar case, cut out with a pocket knife by a poor
soldier, and modestly sent to him as a token of the maker's veneration
and regard. A great many babies were named after him at this time,
though in this respect it is doubtful whether he ever rivalled his
immediate associate on the presidential ticket, the Hon. Schuyler
Colfax, who has probably had more babies named after him than any other
living man.

It was not safe to speak ill of Grant, so warmly was his name nestled
in the hearts of the people; and no one desired to do so except the
immediate friends of a few disappointed aspirants for fame on the
battle-field. The leather dealer of Galena had actually become the most
famous man in America. Only a short time before he went to Washington,
he had been honored in the highest degree in St. Louis by the very
men to whose back doors he had hauled wood only four years before!
The city that "respectfully declined" his petition to be appointed an
engineer was eager to give him a public reception, and did yield him
all the honors within its power. In three years, by the might of his
brilliant genius, he had lifted himself from obscurity to a position
which challenged the gaze of the whole nation. But his had not been the
struggle of ambition--only the promptings of patriotic duty. A score of
more ambitious generals, fighting for a name among men, had risen and
fallen during this time.

While this tempest of applause was sounding through the land, Grant
was devoting all his energies to the work he had in hand, claiming
no honors, asking for no preferments. But a grateful people were
not satisfied. Grant was no higher in rank than others; he was in
no way distinguished on the roll of the army from those whom he had
outrivalled in the career of arms. Just before he had been called
to Washington, the bill reviving the grade of lieutenant general in
the army had passed both houses of Congress, and had been approved
by the president. It was then the highest rank known in our country.
The office had been created for Washington, and had been filled by
him for the year preceding his death. It was then discontinued, and
only conferred by brevet upon Scott in 1855. As Grant rose far above
any other general in the lustre of his achievements, it was eminently
proper that the distinction should be conferred upon him. He did not
ask it, he did not even suggest it or hint at it.

Just before he started for Washington, he sent particular instructions
to Sherman, who was then returning from his Meridian expedition,
directing him to have his army in readiness for a movement upon Atlanta
in the spring, which he expected to conduct in person. With these
orders he sent a private letter to his devoted friend, which is too
perfect an exponent of the man to be omitted:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    "DEAR SHERMAN: The bill reviving the grade of lieutenant general
    in the army has become a law, and my name has been sent to the
    Senate for the place. I now receive orders to report at Washington
    immediately, _in person_, which indicates a confirmation, or a
    likelihood of confirmation. I start in the morning to comply with
    the order.

    "Whilst I have been eminently successful in this war, in at least
    gaining the confidence of the public, no one feels more than I how
    much of this success is due to the energy, skill, and harmonious
    putting forth of that energy and skill, of those whom it has been
    my good fortune to have occupying subordinate positions under me.

    "There are many officers to whom these remarks are applicable in a
    greater or less degree, proportionate to their ability as soldiers;
    but what I want is, to express my thanks to you and McPherson, as
    the men to whom, above all others, I feel indebted for whatever I
    have had of success.

    "How far your advice and assistance have been of help to me, you
    know. How far your execution of whatever has been given to you to
    do entitles you to the reward I am receiving, you cannot know as
    well as I.

    "I feel all the gratitude this letter would express, giving it the
    most flattering construction.

    "The word _you_ I use in the plural, intending it for McPherson
    also. I should write to him, and will some day; but, starting in
    the morning, I do not know that I shall find time just now.

                             Your friend,
                                          U.S. GRANT, _Major General_."

I doubt whether a brighter illustration of pure magnanimity can be
found in the annals of great men throughout all time and all nations
than the spirit manifested by Grant in this letter. I regard him as
more truly great in this exhibition of an excellent tone of mind than
in even the glorious victories he won; for the most brilliant conquest
in the field, without a noble spirit in the hero, only confers partial
greatness. I have before said, in speaking of Grant as we saw him at
West Point, that he was careful of the rights of others--the sublimest
interpretation of the golden rule of Jesus Christ. At the moment when
we find the illustrious soldier called to the capital to receive the
real laurel he had nobly earned, he seems to pause and ask himself if
he is not going to take the reward which in part belongs to others. On
the night before he starts, he writes this splendid acknowledgment of
his indebtedness to the two veterans who had so devotedly sustained him
in his trying campaigns and in the actual shock of battle.

Sherman's letter in reply contains a tried soldier's estimate of
Grant. His language is carefully guarded from exaggeration, and I have
no hesitation in declaring that he might have made it even stronger,
without doing violence to the truth, even in the era of Chattanooga.
While I feel that my humble office as a chronicler of the events of a
sublime life is overshadowed when such a man as Sherman speaks, justice
to the reader compels me to insert the veteran's letter in my work, for
his words carry an influence even beyond the inherent truth he utters.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "DEAR GENERAL: I have your more than kind and characteristic letter
    of the 4th instant. I will send a copy to General McPherson at
    once. You do yourself injustice in assigning to us too large a
    share of the merits which have led to your high advancement. I know
    you approve the friendship I have ever professed to you, and will
    permit me to continue, as heretofore, to manifest it on all proper
    occasions.

    "You are now Washington's legitimate successor, and occupy a
    position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue, as
    heretofore, to be yourself,--simple, honest, and unpretending,--you
    will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends, and the
    homage of millions of human beings, that will award you a large
    share in securing to them and their descendants a government of law
    and stability.

    "I repeat, you do General McPherson and myself too much honor.
    At Belmont you manifested your traits, neither of us being near.
    At Donelson, also, you illustrated your whole character. I was
    not near, and General McPherson in too subordinate a capacity to
    influence you.

    "Until you had won Donelson, I confess I was almost cowed by the
    terrible array of anarchical elements that presented themselves at
    every point; but that admitted a ray of light I have followed since.

    "I believe you are as brave, patriotic, and just, as the great
    prototype, Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest as
    man should be. But the chief characteristic is the simple faith in
    success you have always manifested, which I can liken to nothing
    else than the faith a Christian has in his Savior.

    "This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when
    you have completed your preparations, you go into battle without
    hesitation, as at Chattanooga--no doubts, no reserves; and I tell
    you it was this that made us act with confidence. I knew, wherever
    I was, that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place, you
    would help me, if alive.

    "My only point of doubt was in your knowledge of grand strategy,
    and of books of science and history; but I confess your common
    sense seems to have supplied all these.

    "Now as to the future. Do not stay in Washington; come west; take
    to yourself the whole Mississippi Valley. Let us make it dead
    sure, and I tell you the Atlantic slopes and the Pacific shores
    will follow its destiny, as sure as the limbs of a tree live and
    die with the main trunk. We have done much, but still much remains.
    Time and time's influence are with us. We could almost afford to
    sit still and let these influences work.

    "Here lies the seat of the coming empire; and from the West,
    when our task is done, we will make short work of Charleston and
    Richmond, and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic.

                                           Your sincere friend,
                                                          W.T. SHERMAN.

With no trumpet blast to herald his coming, Grant went on his way to
Washington, travelling in haste, and mostly by special trains. He
courted and sought privacy; but when it was discovered at the railroad
stations that he was on the train, the people lustily cheered him, and
crowded forward to obtain a sight of the great man of whom all had
heard, but whom few had seen. He had never made a "progress" after any
of his victories. Even the president had never seen him. He was well
known to the soldiers, hardly at all to the civilians.

On his journey he received a telegram from General Halleck,
so magnanimous in its tone as to leave not a doubt that the
general-in-chief had been born into a new life. Grant was to displace
him, but Halleck behaved handsomely; and in his generous appreciation
of the illustrious soldier, I shall forever forget that he had ever
snubbed and disgraced a greater than himself. The despatch was as
follows: "The secretary of war directs me to say that your commission
as lieutenant general is signed, and will be delivered to you on your
arrival at the War Department. I sincerely congratulate you on this
recognition of your distinguished and meritorious services."

On his arrival at the capital of the nation, where he had never spent
more than a single day before, he proceeded quietly to Willard's with
his son, who accompanied him on the journey. Singular as it may seem,
he was not discovered. A vainer man than he would have been disgusted;
but Grant so far sympathized with the rebels that he only wished to
be "let alone." Without parade or ostentation, he went to the public
table to dinner. Here, unfortunately for him, but to the great delight
of the guests of the hotel, the secret came out. A member of Congress
who was at the table recognized him, and, rising, he announced, to
the dismay of Grant, we may well believe, "Gentlemen, the hero of
Vicksburg is among us!" The congressman proposed his health, and this
was the signal for the most enthusiastic cheering that ever greeted
a laurelled hero coming home from the conquest. Grant rose from his
chair, and merely bowed his acknowledgments, resuming his seat at the
earliest practicable moment; for such a situation was as much worse
than the bull-dog guns of Vicksburg as anything he could imagine. He
was really a modest man; his conduct was not a Uriah Heep's affectation
of humility. He was not insensible to the good opinion of the people,
but the extravagant manifestation of it which obtains with our
over-demonstrative countrymen was painfully embarrassing to him.

At Vicksburg Grant personally superintended the placing in position
of a number of heavy guns. While the soldiers were digging out the
embrasure, he stood on the top of the works, smoking his cigar, and
coolly whittling a stick--the general inherits the pure tendencies of
a New England Yankee from his ancestors. In this situation he was a
conspicuous mark for rebel sharp-shooters, but he staid there till the
guns were placed to his satisfaction, to the intense admiration of the
men, who delight in exhibitions of pluck. I am of the opinion, if Grant
had been whittling a stick when he was discovered and applauded at
Willard's, he would have cut his fingers; for he is never intimidated
except under the fire of a popular demonstration. I declare, upon my
honor as a soldier and an historian, that Grant is not indifferent to
the praise or blame of his fellow-citizens. I know that he is as keenly
sensitive as any man living, though his will enables him to control
his emotions. I have myself seen him under a fire of compliments,
and studied the expression of his face. He is simply modest, even to
diffidence. I never saw another man just like him in this respect.
There is nothing awkward or repulsive in his manner.

For my own part, I do not see how any man, whatever big thing he
has done, can stand still and take the most extravagant compliments
as a matter of course; and of all the great men I ever knew in
public life,--and I have known many,--I have been better satisfied
with Grant's conduct, in the hour of his triumph, than with that
of any other. I cannot describe his mien or manner, because it is
indescribable. Kind words move him, and I have seen the glow upon his
face, hardly perceptible, it is true, but still there, indicating true
greatness of soul, in that he was not "puffed up," or, even worse, was
not insensible.

Grant was beset with admirers; but when I consider the quality of a
large portion of the crowd which gathers in any public place within
the limits of the national capital,--the parasites and sycophants who
strive to sun themselves in the smile of a great man,--I cannot wonder
that Grant did not open his mouth to speak, even to thank the multitude
for their kind appreciation. They beset him behind and before; and a
man who could not make a speech on such an occasion was a miracle.
"Silence was golden." With great difficulty could he make his way
to his private room, where he sought shelter from the onslaught of
admirers.

In the evening he went to the White House, to attend President
Lincoln's levee. The enthusiasm of the people was tremendous. Poor
Grant was never in such a strait in his life. His particular horror
seems to have been completely realized on this occasion, and though
it was, doubtless, one of the proudest moments of his life, it was
at the same time one of the most harassing and discouraging; for the
unfortunate general was actually lifted from his feet, and compelled
to stand upon a sofa, where all in the room could see him. Cheer after
cheer shook the walls of the house, in which President Lincoln heartily
joined, standing by the side of the hero, and magnanimously sustaining
him in the hour of his greatest trial, as he had at Vicksburg and
Chattanooga. In the course of the evening, Grant escorted Mrs. Lincoln
around the East Room, and afterwards remarked that "this was his
warmest campaign during the whole war."

I heartily sympathize with the sorely-pestered conqueror in what to
other men would have been the realization of the acme of human bliss.
He blushed and struggled against the awful storm of applause, but he
did not do a single ridiculous thing. It was a time when almost any
man could have been forgiven for making a fool of himself; but Grant
had no vanity to triumph over him in the hour of temptation, and he
came out of it as clean and bright as he went in. What is true of him
on this specific occasion is equally true of him in all his career. He
was no more spoiled by prosperity than by adversity; and the former is
infinitely more destructive to public men than the latter. As my late
friend A. Ward said of G. Washington, U.S. Grant "never slopped over."

"I hope to get away from Washington soon, for I am tired of the show
business already," said the persecuted hero to a friend, as they
returned from the levee.

The show business! Shades of the over-flattered heroes of all time,
could it be possible that this man had reached an elevation so sublime
as to call the sweet savor of approbation by such a name! Others have
toiled and struggled for a lifetime to win such a recognition of their
greatness, but Grant wished to avoid it! The Rebellion was not yet
conquered. On the morrow he was to receive his commission as lieutenant
general, and all the armies of the United States were to be placed
under his command. He was an earnest man, and his whole being was
filled with a sense of the responsibility he was to assume. The destiny
of a nation seemed to be placed upon his shoulders; and what wonder was
it that he regarded mere applause as distasteful?

I almost tremble as I approach a scene which only the pencil of the
artist can fitly describe. In the chamber of the cabinet were gathered,
on the 9th of March, the president, the members of the cabinet, and
General Halleck, representing the government. General Grant, attended
by two members of his staff and his oldest son, was formally received
by the president, who addressed the illustrious soldier as follows:--

"General Grant: The nation's appreciation of what you have done, and
its reliance upon you for what remains in the existing great struggle,
are now presented with this commission, constituting you lieutenant
general in the army of the United States. With this high honor devolves
upon you, also, a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein
trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add,
that with what I here speak for the nation goes my own hearty personal
concurrence."

Lieutenant General Grant accepted the commission, and then read his
written reply:--

"Mr. President: I accept the commission with gratitude for the honor
conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought in so
many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor
not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the
responsibilities now devolving on me; and I know that if they are met,
it will be due to those armies, and, above all, to the favor of the
Providence which leads both nations and men."

At last the army of the United States, now numbering eight hundred
thousand men, had found its true leader, and Grant had found his true
position.



CHAPTER XXVI.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken has Something to say about the
    illustrious Soldier's Views of Strategy, and follows him across the
    Rapidan into The Wilderness._


The earnest man, now occupying the highest purely military office in
the United States, meant business; and on the day after he received
his commission, he paid a brief visit to the army of the Potomac,
in company with General Meade, then commanding it. The next morning
he started for the West, and was at Nashville when the order of the
president appointing him to the command of the armies of the United
States reached him. In a very brief, simple, and business-like order he
assumed the command, announcing that his headquarters would be in the
field, and with the army of the Potomac.

General Halleck, "at his own request," was relieved from command as
general-in-chief, and assigned to duty in Washington as chief of staff
of the army. Sherman was appointed to the military division of the
Mississippi,--the position made vacant by the elevation of Grant,--and
McPherson was placed in command of the army and the department of
the Tennessee, thus stepping into Sherman's place. Halleck was "let
down" as gently as possible, the order that promulgated these changes
including the president's approbation and thanks for the zealous manner
in which the late general-in-chief had performed his duties.

In this programme of appointments, of course, the lieutenant general
had been consulted; indeed, so far as the force in the field were
concerned, they were his assignments. Sherman and McPherson were placed
where they could be felt; they were Grant's most intimate friends, made
so by their zeal and devotion to the cause which he loved above every
other consideration.

Six days after he had assumed the command of the armies of the nation,
Grant arrived in Washington with his wife and his oldest son. He was
the central figure in the gigantic drama of the American Rebellion. The
eyes of the nation were fixed upon him, not alone of the loyal portion,
but the jeers and the taunts of the South indicated that the rebels
themselves had an interest in the movements of the hero who had wrested
from them the dominion of the western portion of the Confederacy.
Friend and foe on the other side of the broad ocean regarded him with
almost breathless attention, for now the name of Grant flashed over the
wires of another continent. His fame was as broad as the world itself.

Well might the lieutenant general have shrunk from the stupendous
task imposed upon him by the acceptance of his lofty position. He had
undertaken a duty which none had assumed but to fail--most miserably to
fail. The prospect before him would have been appalling to an ordinary
mind. Standing on the highest pinnacle of fame as a soldier, as
Sherman said, "Your reputation as a general is now far above that of
any man living," he stepped into the most difficult position that ever
a man filled. He was exposed to all the perils of political influence,
to all the darts of envy and malice behind him, as well as to all the
combinations of a skilful and desperate foe before him. It required no
little moral courage, after the failure of McClellan and Halleck, after
the almost uniform disasters which had beset the Eastern armies, to
undertake the hazardous task of bringing victory out of the elements
around him.

Grant was solemnly in earnest. He was inspired with one great
thought--the putting down of the Rebellion. His predecessors had
indulged in showy reviews; balls and parties had enlivened the tedium
of the waiting hours in the camp; and beauty's flashing eye had
gladdened the heart of the soldier. In accordance with the traditions
of the army, the ladies waited upon Lieutenant General Grant, and
suggested a ball as a fitting festivity in connection with the grand
review of the army of the Potomac which was proposed. Gently, but
firmly, he objected, and declared that "this thing must be stopped."
He was not opposed to reasonable pleasures at suitable times, but
he pointed out to them the condition of the country in the throes
of a death-struggle with treason, and insisted that it was no time
for festivities among the army officers. He spoke of the wounded and
the dying in the hospitals, and manifested such a simple and genuine
sensibility, that the ladies, who were true at heart, promptly
abandoned the project.

The grand review took place; yet it was not a holiday show, but a
means of acquainting the general with the material of the army which
was now to do the principal work in suppressing the Rebellion. It was
a splendid army which marched in column before him, and the heart of
the great commander was strengthened by the display, not of gilt and
feathers, but of numbers, of muscle, of courage.

Although in the spring of 1864 the Rebellion had been cut in two,
the sundered parts, like the fabled reptile, were still vital. The
Confederacy had been weakened, but by no means overpowered. Its
supplies of food had been greatly reduced, but still it maintained
large armies in the field. The South, nominally struggling for what it
was pleased to call liberty, was the most absolute despotism on the
face of the earth, and every energy and resource of the people, willing
or unwilling, was turned into the channel of its defence. "The cradle
and the grave were robbed" to recruit its armies.

Terrible reverses had befallen the rebel arms, and perhaps impaired
the faith of the Southern people in ultimate success; but their
spirit was not broken, and still they howled about the "last ditch."
Misfortune, instead of bringing thoughts of submission and peace,
brought desperation, a mad and fanatical zeal, like that of a band
of pirates who fight tenfold more savagely to escape the halter than
to win a prize. Ill success, so far from moderating the fury of the
rebel soldiers, transformed them into reckless zealots, more dangerous
than ever before in the path of an army of civilized men. This is not
a theory deduced from the insane protestations of rebel brawlers
and newspaper writers, but from the conduct of rebel soldiers on the
battle-field; a truth derived from The Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and
Petersburg, not from Jeff. Davis and his co-rebel declaimers.

The experience of three years of war had demonstrated that, man for
man, the North fought as well, at least, as the South. If at one time
pluck and persistency seemed to predominate at the South, the table
would be turned at another time. For every rebel victory there was
always more than one offset in national triumphs. While everything
worth holding in the West had fallen, Richmond maintained its bold
front. The army of the Potomac had been tilting at it from the day it
was organized; had repeatedly advanced, and as often been driven back.
Thus far the national arms had failed to reach Richmond.

While the rebel capital had been the objective point of the North, the
national capital had been the objective point of the South. Whenever
a Confederate army, flushed with success in Virginia, crossed the
Potomac, it was driven back. Lee in Pennsylvania was even more unlucky
than McClellan in Virginia. Chickahominy and Malvern were paralleled
by South Mountain and Antietam; Fredericksburg by Gettysburg. Between
Richmond and Washington, up to the time of Grant's appointment as
general-in-chief, the contest had been a "drawn game." Neither side
gained any permanent advantage. When the North rushed down to Richmond,
it was driven back, shattered and wasted. When the South swept around
Washington, it recoiled and went back, leaving its dead, wounded,
and prisoners behind. Up to this time the fighting material of both
armies was not only about equal, but in generalship and officers the
contending forces were well matched. The loyal nation was tired of this
marching back and forth, with nothing but the waste of battle to mark
the result, and the coming of Grant was hailed as the beginning of a
new era.

General Lee was the ablest soldier in the Southern Confederacy, and its
hope in the coming shock of battle rested on him. All the available
troops of the South were sent to him, and though he was outnumbered,
he had the advantage of position; he had "the inside track," which was
worth more to him, in a military point of view, than the disparity
in force was to Grant. Lee was not only strongly intrenched in his
position at the opening of the campaign, but he had been over the
ground between the Rapidan and the James time and again, till he knew
every foot of ground and every strategic point. Behind him were the
earthworks he had prepared in former campaigns, ready built for use.

This was the man, and this the situation, which Grant had to encounter;
and he sounded with a new significance the old cry, "On to Richmond!"
He agreed with those who came before him that the rebel capital must
be taken, and he intended to take it, not by a series of chess-board
movements, retiring when the enemy checkmated him, but by "persistent
hammering." He assigned to strategy its real value; but strategy had
been tried by the cunningest men in the army, and it had failed. Lee
was clear-headed, quick, cool, brave, adroit. He made blunders, but so
seldom that it was hardly worth while to wait for one.

Strategy, as I, Bernard Galligasken, understand it, is simply the
taking advantage of the enemy's mistakes and weak points, without
exposing yourself in a similar manner. Suppose two generals, in
command of opposing armies, to be absolutely perfect strategists, and
each incapable of making a mistake. With the forces equal in numbers,
pluck, and endurance, the first general taking position could hold
it, in theory, to the end of time. A reënforcement or a mistake alone
can change the conditions, and give the victory to either. If Lee
would kindly make a bad blunder, it would be easy to whip him; but
he profited by his own blunders as well as by those of his enemy. If
Grant would obligingly leave a weak point, Lee could drive him out of
Virginia.

Strategy and tactics were splendid qualities in Mexico, where the
officers of the two armies had been graduated from different military
institutions. There strategy overcame all odds, confounding the
Mexicans with its brilliant results. On the battle-fields of Virginia,
West Point fought on both sides, and the difference in weight and
mobility of brain gained victories.

Grant had solved this problem of strategy out of his own and the
experience of the unfortunate generals of the army of the Potomac.
He believed in strategy as fully and firmly as any general; but the
sad spectacle of the splendid army whose movements he was to direct
in the closing campaign, marching back, beaten, but undismayed, from
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Chickahominy, assured him that
strategy alone could not cut the gordian knot of rebel power.

After the fierce battles of Chattanooga, where skill and science
had done their perfect work, Grant was smoking his cigar at his
headquarters in Nashville, in company with Quartermaster General Meigs
and General W.F. Smith, who had greatly distinguished himself in the
engineering operations of the campaign just closed. Smith was pacing
the room, absorbed in his own thoughts, and lost to everything around
him.

"What are you thinking about, Baldy?" asked Meigs, breaking the silence
which had continued for some time.

General Smith was so intensely engaged in his meditations, that he did
not notice the question, and made no reply.

"Baldy is studying strategy," added Meigs, turning to Grant with a
laugh.

"I don't believe in strategy in the popular understanding of the term,"
said Grant, very seriously, as he removed the cigar from his lips. "I
use it to get as close as possible to the enemy with little loss."

"And what then?" asked Meigs.

"Then? 'Up, guards, and at them!'" answered Grant, with more fire than
usual.

His practice was an exemplification of his rule; but he believed that,
after strategy had done its utmost, there was, in this war of the
Rebellion, a deal of terrible fighting to be done. With this view Grant
placed himself where he could direct the movements of the army of the
Potomac. Long before he assumed his present office, he had studied
the problem, and he was now prepared to act vigorously and in earnest.
He purged the army of incompetent men, sternly banished all fancy work
from its lines, and gathered himself up for the mighty struggle.

Sheridan was called from the West, and placed in command of all his
cavalry. Meade, the hero of Gettysburg, was retained in command of
the army of the Potomac. Butler was sent to operate on the south side
of the James. Sigel commanded the force in the Shenandoah Valley,
which was to protect Washington from a rebel force approaching in
that direction. More important than all, Sherman, at the head of the
combined armies which Grant himself had commanded at Chattanooga, was
to move on Atlanta. Grant had harmonized the various divisions of the
army, so that they were no longer to pull "as in a balky team," but all
together.

Richmond was the objective point of the army of the Potomac, while
Atlanta--of vast importance to the rebels as a railroad centre, and
for its founderies, machine-shops, military magazines, and storehouses
for supplies--was the point to which the army of the Mississippi
was directed. Grant had planned both of these campaigns, and he had
thoroughly impressed it upon his subordinates that there was to be no
giving up when strategy failed, no turning back, and no conducting war
on peace principles. It was the rebel armies which constituted the
power of the Confederacy, and these were to be destroyed. When they
were used up, strategic points would lose their value.

Through the month of April the busy notes of preparation for the
strife were heard; men and material were gathered together, and nothing
was left undone which could add even its mite to the prospect of
success. Though the plan of the campaign was kept a profound secret
in the breasts of only a few, so that it might not, as often before,
be carried to the rebel leaders, yet the people were not blind to the
signs of the times. Great bodies of men, and vast supplies of provision
and ammunition, were moved to the front, and it was certain that
operations on a grand scale were about to be commenced.

Whatever attention Grant had before attracted,--and certainly he had
been the "observed of all observers,"--he was now regarded with the
most intense interest, which could not but be attended with a certain
painful anxiety. All these preparations had been sounded through the
land before during the three years of grievous solicitude. That grand
army had been ready to move before, with the petted, the trusted,
the victorious general at its head. But almost always the tidings of
disaster, or, at least, of turning back, came soon after. Was the
solemn tragedy to be repeated again? Were those marshalled hosts once
more to be forced back, and another great man to be hurled from his
high eminence? The people prayed for Grant, prayed for the army, prayed
for success. But they believed in their hero. So modest, so gentle, so
simple, he was a man to be trusted, and there was more of hope than of
fear in their souls. The general-in-chief, unlike his predecessor, had
gone into the field, and the people saw how earnest, how confident he
was. He made no parade, sounded no trumpet before him, and they felt
that God would bless such a man.

The army of the Potomac was on the north side of the Rapidan, while
on the south side was the rebel army. Grant's headquarters were at
Culpepper Court House. Just before the order was given to move across
the river, the president and the lieutenant general exchanged letters
which illustrate Grant's position, while his own exhibits the noble
manliness of his nature. I must give both.

       *       *       *       *       *

                        "EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, April 30, 1864.

    "LIEUTENANT GENERAL GRANT: Not expecting to see you before the
    spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire
    satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as
    I understand it. The particulars of your plan I neither know nor
    seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant, and, pleased with
    this, I wish not to obtrude any restraints or constraints upon you.
    While I am very anxious that any great disaster or capture of our
    own men may be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to
    escape your attention than they would be mine. If there be anything
    wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me
    know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God
    sustain you.

                           Yours very truly,
                                                           A. LINCOLN."


                                   "HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE U.S.,    }
                                     CULPEPPER C.H., VA., May 1, 1864.}

    "MR. PRESIDENT: Your very kind letter of yesterday is just
    received. The confidence you express for the future, and
    satisfaction for the past, in my military administration, is
    acknowledged with pride. It shall be my earnest endeavor that you
    and the country shall not be disappointed. From my first entry into
    the volunteer service of the country to the present day, I have
    never had cause of complaint, and have never expressed or implied
    a complaint against the administration or the secretary of war for
    throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting
    what appeared to be my duty. Indeed, since the promotion which
    placed me in command of all the armies, and in view of the great
    responsibility and importance of success, I have been astonished
    at the readiness with which everything asked for has been yielded,
    without even an explanation being asked. Should my success be less
    than I desire and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not
    with you.

                   Very truly your obedient servant,

                                     U.S. GRANT, _Lieutenant General_."

This reply, so characteristic of the man, is noble in itself, and
sublime in contrast with the views of some other generals. "The fault
is not with you." Not thus spoke others even before they had failed.

On the 3d of May, General Meade was ordered to cross the Rapidan, and
on the following day the passage was effected without opposition.
The army entered that desolate region called The Wilderness, and the
soldiers, borrowing speech from the Odyssey, might have exclaimed,--

  "We went, Ulysses (such was thy command),
  Through the lone thicket and the desert land."



CHAPTER XXVII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the Campaign of the Army of
    the Potomac, and the illustrious Soldier announces that he shall
    fight it out on that Line, if it takes all Summer_.


The river was safely crossed, and the anxiety which the lieutenant
general had felt in regard to this movement was removed. It was an
entire success. The army train consisted of four thousand wagons, and
it required no little accurate calculation to dispose of it with the
available roads, without subjecting any portion of it to the liability
of capture. Formed in single line, the procession of teams, allowing
forty feet to each, would extend about thirty miles, or nearly half way
to Richmond. It would require a man of great ability to conduct such
a train even ten miles, in a time of profound peace, without throwing
it into confusion. The nicest system and the closest coöperation were
necessary, in order to keep it in a place of safety, and to prevent
its movements from being impeded. Of course this train could not be
extended on a single line. It was a part of the calculation of the
commanding general to keep this immense procession in a place of
safety, and yet have it when and where it was wanted.

But the wagons were only a small part of Grant's solicitude. His army
was composed of about one hundred and thirty thousand men--equal to the
population of a large city. To have marched this vast body on a holiday
excursion from the Rapidan to the James, with no hostile foe to dispute
its passage, would be regarded as a stupendous undertaking even for
a skilful person. Wellington once observed that there were very few
generals in Europe who could march an army of a hundred thousand men
through Hyde Park gate without throwing them into confusion. But this
vast army on its southern march was to be kept well in hand, and all
its movements and positions known to one man. It was to be swung round,
marched and countermarched, as a child handles a toy. It required a man
of genius to control this cumbrous machine, independently of fighting
battles with it. In the hands of an incompetent man, its very numbers
would have been its greatest element of weakness.

Not only was Grant directing the movements of this vast army, but he
controlled another, hundreds of miles away, nearly as large, and a
dozen more of minor magnitude. Civilians who have never witnessed the
movements of an army on a large scale can have no adequate idea of the
skill required to handle its columns; but it is patent to many of the
knowing ones that some of our generals failed for the want of this very
ability to move in harmony such vast bodies of men. I gaze with wonder
and admiration at the ease and facility with which Grant carried in his
mind the details of such a stupendous organization, and moved its parts
as the mainspring moves all the wheels of a watch. A man with this
ability alone is a miracle of power.

It was the plan of the lieutenant general to flank the army of Lee, and
place his forces between the rebels and Richmond, though the success
of the campaign was by no means made to depend upon this movement. It
would compel the Confederates to abandon their elaborate intrenchments,
upon which they had labored for months, either to assault the moving
column or to fall back upon the capital. Lee did not allow himself to
be flanked, but, abandoning his works, attempted to cut through the
national line, while it was yet involved in the intricacies of The
Wilderness.

Grant had not intended to fight a battle in this unfavorable spot,
though he was ready at all times for the assault. The region was a
tangled thicket, where the artillery could not be effectually used,
and where it was impossible to manoeuvre an army. When he found his
subtle foe approaching in force, he made his dispositions for the
conflict. The battle commenced at noon, and raged with tremendous
fury till night. It was fought with reckless valor on both sides. The
rebels were repeatedly massed in heavy columns, and hurled against the
Union lines. The tide of battle surged to and fro till the darkness
interrupted the fierce strife. No decided advantage was gained on
either side, and the two armies, exhausted by the struggle, slept upon
their arms.

At dawn the next morning, May 6, the national line was again formed. It
was five miles in length, with Sedgwick, commanding the Sixth Corps, on
the right, Hancock, with the Second Corps, on the left, while Warren,
with the Fifth, and Burnside, with the Ninth Corps, were in the centre.
By the arrival of Longstreet, the rebels were reënforced, and Lee began
his "hammering" process on the right of the national line, which had
been directed to make a general attack. The awful tragedy of the day
before was repeated, and both lines at times swayed back and forth.
Hancock drove the force in front of him a mile and a half to the rear,
capturing many prisoners and five stands of colors; but the advantage
was soon lost. From morning till night again, with only an occasional
lull, the lines surged like the great waves of ocean--now broken and
scattered, but then mounting again with new vigor, and rolling on as
though death had no terrors, and life had no pains. Again the sun went
down on a field unwon by either contestant in the savage strife. Not a
particle of practical advantage was gained by Grant or Lee. The Union
army had fought on the defensive, and had repulsed the assault; so far
it had been successful. The rebel army had fought on the offensive,
intending to drive the national forces back upon the Rapidan, and break
up the campaign at the onset. In this it had failed. Furthermore, Grant
had succeeded in driving Lee out of his intrenchments.

The loss on both sides exceeded twenty thousand men. The Union loss was
much greater than that of the rebels, for the latter were familiar with
every foot of the wild region in which the battle was fought, and were
thus enabled to take advantage of what were the greatest obstacles in
the path of the national troops. The army of the Potomac had reached
a crisis in its progress when it had been the rule to retreat and
recruit. Indeed, Lee believed he had inflicted injury enough upon his
foe to compel him, according to the traditions of the past, to retire
and cover Washington. But to his amazement, not to say his horror, he
ascertained that Burnside and Sedgwick were in motion, not for the
Rapidan, but for Spottsylvania.

Throughout the loyal land, and, we may well believe, the homes of
treason also, the most intense anxiety for the result prevailed. The
faithful, north of the Potomac, had been educated by the experience
of three years to be prepared for disasters in Virginia, and a
splendidly-conducted retreat would not greatly have astonished, however
much it would have grieved and disappointed them, expecting, as they
did, better things of the new general-in-chief. Washington was in a
state of the most exciting anxiety and suspense, in which the president
and the officers of the War Department shared. Many sat up all night to
hear tidings from the bloody battle-field.

Grant, even more thoroughly in earnest than ever before, had given
orders, at the outposts of the city's defences, to arrest every man
fleeing from the battle-field, and to put in irons every officer who
"straggled." Among those who were thus ignominiously shackled were
_four colonels_. Of course these beggarly cowards brought tidings of
defeat and disaster, and it was feared in Washington, as it was hoped
in Richmond, that the grand army of the Potomac was again in retreat,
was again retracing its steps to a safe position on the Potomac.
Fear and suspense reigned, not only in the capital, but in all the
loyal land. Grant was the last hope of the people, and if he had
failed,--he who had beaten down Vicksburg, and scattered the foe at
Chattanooga,--the cause would be almost hopeless.

Grant forwarded no sensational despatches, but at the earliest
opportunity he sent a truthful statement of the results of his
operations. If all that had been hoped of the army was not achieved,
the news was satisfactory. The national forces at least held their own;
they were not retreating, as General Lee believed and had telegraphed
to Richmond. The nation breathed easier, especially when President
Lincoln declared by proclamation that "enough was known of the army
operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to
God." Additional troops were sent forward to fill up the fearful gaps
which had been made in the lines by the carnage of battle.

On Saturday, the lieutenant general, so far from being checked or
disheartened by his position, felt that he had the advantage of
the enemy, and coolly proceeded to carry out his original purpose
of flanking the rebel army. He commenced moving his forces to
Spottsylvania Court House, fifteen miles from The Wilderness; but the
thundering roll of that mighty wagon train was heard by Lee. It assured
him that a new movement was in progress, and he quickly discovered its
nature. Then commenced a race for the objective point of both. There
was considerable skirmishing during this day, but no heavy battle.

Both armies were moving in parallel lines for Spottsylvania Court
House, and on several occasions they jostled each other so as to
produce smart engagements; but there was no general battle. The
advance of the two armies reached their destination at the same time,
and the rebels immediately took possession of the strong earthworks
which had been previously constructed. Warren, in command of the Fifth
Corps, attacked at once; but the enemy was so well protected by his
intrenchment that the assault failed. But, reenforced in the afternoon,
the attack was repeated, and the foe was driven out of his works, the
nationals capturing fifteen hundred prisoners. During the day every
corps of the army had been engaged.

Monday was spent in strengthening the position and in preparation for
the fight, though there was much skirmishing going on all day. While
General Sedgwick was superintending the posting of the guns in front
of his corps, a bullet struck him in the face, and he fell, dying
immediately. He was a noble man, and a severe loss to the army. On this
day also was sent out Phil Sheridan, on that bold raid in which he
inflicted so much injury on the rebels, sweeping around Richmond, and
menacing its safety. On this expedition he encountered and fought the
most celebrated cavalryman of the rebel army,--General Stuart,--who was
mortally wounded in the action, and his forces routed.

On Tuesday the general attack upon the rebel line was made. The thunder
of five hundred cannons opened the battle, which raged through the long
day. Each of the opposing generals had almost uniformly divined the
purposes of the other, and there were no important mistakes on either
side to be taken advantage of. Both armies fought with the fury of
desperation, the rebels having the tremendous advantage of a line of
strong works to cover their operations. The front line of intrenchments
was captured, but the enemy had others behind it. Though two thousand
prisoners were taken, no decided advantage was gained, save that the
"hammering" the rebels had received made its due impression.

On Wednesday there was no general conflict, though so closely were
the two armies brought together, that frequent skirmishes could not
be avoided. On this day, Grant sent a hopeful despatch to Washington,
announcing the result of his operations thus far. It was the end of
the sixth day of continuous heavy fighting. He believed that the
enemy's loss had been greater than his own. He had taken five thousand
prisoners in battle, and had lost but few except "stragglers." At the
end of this communication he appended that thrilling sentence which has
so often been repeated as an eloquent interpretation of the character
and persistency of the man: "I PROPOSE TO FIGHT IT OUT ON THIS
LINE, IF IT TAKES ALL SUMMER."

My friend Pollard becomes particularly unamiable at this critical
passage in the history of "The Lost Cause," and declares that "Grant
was not shamed. The Moloch of the North had not yet been sated."
This romancing writer was dissatisfied with poor' Grant, because he
would not go back to the Rapidan. McClellan was a good fellow, in his
estimation, for he did not keep "hammering," and after he had fought
a drawn battle, like that at Antietam, he did not vex the chivalrous
Lee by running after him when he "retired." "Grant was not shamed,"
as McClellan used to be after he had fought a battle. Doubtless Grant
ought to have been "shamed," and gone back like a good boy, and not
have been so ridiculous as to propose to fight it out on that line, if
it took all summer. That "Moloch of the North" was an awful fellow,
bound to be "sated" only when the Rebellion fell through.

My dearly-beloved friend Pollard is also vexed at the generalship of
Grant, and prates about "the fierce and brutal consumption of human
life." I am inclined to think he believes in the checker-board theory
of carrying on war; but the sum total of Grant's sins was, that he did
not retreat, and give Lee time to recruit and strengthen his position.
My friend persistently forgets that these hard knocks in the end used
up the rebel army, and introduced him, as a writer, to his subject,
"The Lost Cause." Though the end does not always justify the means,
it did in this instance, fully and unequivocally. Though the national
army had in these six days lost thirty-five thousand men, in killed,
wounded, and missing, the destruction in the rebel ranks could not
have been greatly less, in spite of the advantages under which it was
engaged. If Grant had retired, and left Lee to recuperate the pluck
of his army by proclaiming his victory, and to recruit his exhausted
forces, the results of these tremendous battles would have been lost
to the loyal cause. As it was, they ground in upon the spirits of
the rebel army, and produced their proper share of the effect which
finally resulted in the overthrow of the Rebellion. Pollard knows very
well if Grant had turned back, the Confederacy would have obtained a
new lease of life; and he frets because the illustrious soldier would
not oblige Lee in this respect.

On Thursday, Hancock made a sudden attack, surprising the rebels,
capturing one entire division, two brigades of another, and thirty
guns, the number of prisoners being between three and four thousand.
This was a decided success. Generals Johnson and G.H. Stuart were
captured. Hancock extended his hand to Stuart, whom he had known
before, exclaiming, "How are you, Stuart?" But the rebel was haughty
and "airy," and replied, "I am General Stuart, of the Confederate army,
and under present circumstances I decline to take your hand." "Under
any other circumstances I should not have offered it," added Hancock,
with coolness and dignity.

The enemy made a desperate effort to recover what he had lost, and
the battle became general again; but no permanent advantage was
secured. Lee retired to his inner line of intrenchments, which he
had strengthened so that a direct assault was not practicable. For a
week, while the roads were rendered unfit for use by heavy rains, the
two armies confronted each other. Grant watched for an opportunity to
turn the enemy's position, but his wily foe as often discovered his
purpose. It was manifest that no brilliant results were to be achieved
at Spottsylvania, and Grant made up his mind to "fick it again." A
new flank movement was begun, and the lieutenant general safely moved
his army "on to Richmond," across the North Anna River, where its
passage was disputed by the rebels; but they were driven back, and the
nationals crossed the stream, posting themselves in a strong position.

In the mean time, Grant had changed his base of supplies from
Fredericksburg to White House, on the Pamunkey. Sheridan had returned
from his raid, and was rendering efficient service in protecting the
supplies with his cavalry, and in reconnoitring the positions of the
enemy. Lee, who had been over all this ground before, in the memorable
campaign with McClellan, and knew from experience what strong places
the region contained, was found to be even more securely placed than
before. Grant therefore decided not to attack him in his intrenchments,
but, under cover of a feint, recrossed the North Anna, marched along
its banks till he reached the Pamunkey, of which the former river is a
branch, crossing it near Hanover Court House, only sixteen miles from
Richmond.

The rebels still kept up with the movement, occupying their
intrenchments made to cover Richmond. They were posted on the
Chickahominy, which Grant was obliged to cross if he reached the
city. He decided to make the attempt to break the enemy's line at
Cold Harbor, where roads were available from White House and to the
rebel capital. The attack was made, and one of the severest battles
of the campaign followed. Sheridan had taken possession of the place,
and the enemy attempted to drive him out. The Sixth Corps went to his
assistance, and the spot was held. Two days later, four o'clock in the
morning, a general assault was made. The first line of the rebel works
was carried by Hancock, but he was forced back with heavy losses. The
conflict raged with unabated fury till half past one in the afternoon,
when the weary combatants rested from the strife. Grant fortified his
line, but it was impossible to carry the rebel strongholds.

The battle was fought on the third day of June. The enemy had
successfully repulsed the attack, and practically demonstrated that
the door of Richmond was not open in that direction. Grant was not
dismayed, nor even "shamed;" nor was the "Moloch of the North sated."
"On to Richmond" was still the beating of his heart, and still he
fought it out on this line. If nothing could be done, it would be
useless to stay in the swamps, where disease and death lurked for their
victims. Grant promptly decided to "fick it again," and commenced the
difficult movement of transporting his vast army to the south side of
the James.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken describes in brief Detail the Siege of
    Petersburg and Richmond, and attends the illustrious Soldier to the
    End of the Campaign at Appomattox Court House._


In my limited space, it would be impossible for me to do anything more
than indicate the principal movements of the army. The details are so
cumbrous and complicated that they would require a whole volume, and
they are not necessary to my purpose in illustrating the character of
General Grant.

Doubtless General Lee was aware of the movements of the Union army,
for a body of troops, numbering over a hundred thousand, could hardly
have been spirited through a hostile region without some tidings of its
operations reaching him. But the transfer was made so skilfully and
expeditiously that it was practically a surprise. Probably Lee expected
to find Grant battering away at his intrenchments at some point between
the Chickahominy and the James; but he must have been astonished when
he heard of him fifty-five miles distant, menacing his lines on the
south side of Richmond.

General Butler, with the army of the James, was at Bermuda Hundred, on
the river. He had been directed to capture Petersburg while it was
feebly defended. He had made the attempt, but it had failed. He had
strongly fortified his position, and kept a rebel force in front of
him, thus in part answering the ends for which he had been sent to the
south side.

General Lee, finding that Grant was menacing Richmond from a new
quarter, hurried his army through the city to confront him in his
new position. On the arrival of Grant at Butler's encampment, he
immediately sent out another force for the capture of Petersburg, which
was an exceedingly important point, covering the railroad connections
with the south. The rebels in the intrenchments in front of Butler
hastened to the defence of the exposed city, and the vacated works were
occupied by Union troops, but they were eventually driven back. The
army was drawn up around Petersburg, where the enemy was very strongly
intrenched in three lines of works. A vigorous and determined assault
was made, but without gaining anything more than a temporary advantage.
Burnside got near enough with his black brigades to throw a few shells
into Petersburg, but after a bloody conflict he was forced back. The
effort was faithfully made, and continued through three days; but the
works were invulnerable.

At this point Grant fixed his gripe upon the two cities of Richmond and
Petersburg. By his hard fighting he had secured favorable positions to
commence his siege operations, which were vigorously followed up till
the final event.

Phil Sheridan had been sent off on another raid to destroy the Virginia
Central Railroad, and to unite with Hunter, by whom Sigel had been
superseded, after his defeat by Breckinridge. He succeeded fully in the
first part of his purpose, but could not find Hunter, who had been sent
down through the Shenandoah Valley to strike Lynchburg. Twelve miles
from Staunton, he encountered Jones's command, fought, and defeated
it, taking fifteen hundred prisoners. Hunter united the expeditions of
Crook and Averill with his own, and marched upon Lynchburg; but Lee had
reënforced its garrison, and he was compelled to retreat, which he did
by the way of West Virginia, thus placing his troops out of the field
at a time when they were very much needed. This army had been relied
upon by Grant to keep back a rebel approach up the Shenandoah Valley
towards Washington, while he had coiled the army of the Potomac around
Lee's forces south of the James, so that there was no danger of the
main body again menacing the national capital.

It makes me even now groan in spirit to recall the failures of Grant's
subordinates who were removed from the immediate sphere of his
influence; but when I think how charitable the lieutenant general was
to them, it is not meet that I should complain. These short comings
were galling and vexatious to him, imperilling the mighty plans he
had so laboriously built up; but he behaved like a Christian in every
disappointment and trial.

Several cavalry raids were organized, which inflicted severe injuries
upon the enemy's communications south of Petersburg. The celebrated
mine was sprung on the 30th of July, which blew up one of the most
important of the rebel forts, involving a battery and the greater part
of a regiment in its destruction; but the result, which had promised
so well, realized nothing but disaster. As soon as Lee discovered that
Hunter was retreating through West Virginia, he sent Jubal Early,
with a picked force of twenty-five thousand men, down the Shenandoah
Valley, to threaten Washington, and to capture it, if practicable,
hoping thus to distract the attention of Grant, and cause him to relax
the "anaconda" gripe in which he held the rebel army. This army swept
fiercely down the valley, and driving the small Union force in the
vicinity before it, crossed the Potomac. Strong bodies of cavalry,
under Mosby, rushed through Maryland, plundering Hagerstown and
Frederick City, robbing the stores, and extorting money from the people
to save their houses from being burned. They destroyed a portion of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and threatened Baltimore and Washington.

General Wallace gathered a force of eight thousand men, and attempted
to dispute the passage of Early's army; but as the enemy were three to
his one, he was compelled to fall back, though he fought a sharp battle
before doing so. Washington and Baltimore were now greatly alarmed, and
the citizens were called to arms. The enemy came within five miles of
the capital. Grant sent the Sixth Corps, under Wright, and a portion
of the Nineteenth, which had just arrived from New Orleans, for its
protection. There was some heavy skirmishing near the capital, but the
rebels soon retired. Wright was ordered to follow them; and, having
overtaken Early, a smart engagement ensued, in which the enemy was
defeated.

The Shenandoah region gave the lieutenant general a great deal of
trouble. He found that Early had no intention of returning to Richmond,
but had established himself in the valley; was gathering the rich
harvests there, and sending large supplies to the rebel capital. He
visited Hunter in person, and gave him particular instructions to
follow Early, and to destroy all supplies; but finding Hunter willing
to be relieved, he soon after assigned Sheridan to the Middle Military
Division, which included all this section, and all the troops in
Washington and its vicinity. The bold cavalryman was not only the most
dashing officer in the army, but one of the best and most skilful
generals. He soon brought order and harmony out of the confusion and
complications which had so disturbed the general-in-chief. Grant
cautioned him at first to avoid a general engagement, fearful, in case
of defeat, of exposing Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the capital to new
incursions.

Sheridan was full of fight, and saw his way clearly to a national
victory; but he was too good a soldier to disobey his orders. Grant was
willing to give the desired permission, but, not fully understanding
the situation, or the views of his subordinate, he made a second visit
to the Middle Division, and had an interview with Sheridan at his
headquarters, near Harper's Ferry. High as his opinion had before been
of the dashing soldier, the lieutenant general seems to have received a
new revelation of his character and purposes on this occasion, as his
enlarged sphere brought out his capacities; and he found it necessary
to give him only that brief and singularly expressive order, "Go in!"
Grant adds that he never found it necessary to visit Sheridan again
before giving him orders.

Sheridan "went in"! He promptly attacked Early, fought him all day, and
beat him thoroughly. The enemy lost five guns, fifteen battle flags,
and five thousand prisoners. Not satisfied with this splendid result,
he pursued the defeated foe up the valley, till the latter made a
stand at Fisher's Hill. Here Sheridan "went in" again, routed Early,
drove him from his position, scattering portions of his force among
the mountains. Leisurely returning, he posted himself at Cedar Creek
to rest his troops after their hard marching and fighting. Here, while
Sheridan was absent at Winchester, his army was surprised and badly
beaten. The guns were captured, portions of the force routed, and the
whole compelled to retreat.

Sheridan was twenty miles from the scene of action; but hearing the
distant booming of the guns, he mounted his good horse, and dashed away
at a furious speed, and, in the midst of the rout, appeared upon the
lost field, his charger reeking with foam. Dashing along the broken
lines, then in retreat, he swung his hat in air, shouting furiously
to the troops, "Face the other way, boys! We are going back." The
stragglers began to rally at this startling presence on the field; and
pushing to the main body, he electrified the army with his glorious
spirit. "Boys, this would not have happened if I had been here," he
called; "we are going back." Dashing here and there like a meteor among
the troops, he re-formed the lines, and made his dispositions for a
renewal of the battle. Before the arrangements were quite completed the
rebels came down upon the lines again for a fresh and overwhelming
assault. This time the onslaught was boldly and successfully resisted;
and Sheridan, taking advantage of a momentary reeling of the enemy,
charged upon them with infantry and cavalry, broke their lines, and
thoroughly routed them. All that the rebels had was captured, including
the guns and camp equipage which they had taken in the morning.

Sheridan, by his personal presence, by his magnetic influence, and
by his unsurpassed military skill, had wrested victory from defeat.
The one man had fought the battle, and had won it. For his brilliant
achievement, he was made a major general in the regular army, in the
place of General McClellan, who resigned to go into politics. Grant
ordered one hundred guns to be fired from each of the armies around
Petersburg in honor of Sheridan's victory. "Turning what bade fair to
be a disaster into a glorious victory," said the lieutenant general,
"stamps Sheridan--what I have always thought him--one of the ablest of
generals."

Sheridan's victory also stamps Grant as the ablest of generals; for in
the selection of his pet he displayed a knowledge of human character
and a keen perception of the adaptation of means to ends, the want of
which had caused so many other generals to fail. My friend Pollard
is made especially mad by this episode in the Shenandoah Valley. He
is particularly disgusted with the singular story of "the sudden
apparition of General Sheridan on a black horse flecked with foam,"
though in the same chapter in which he alludes to the incident, he
tells a story himself which would have made Baron Munchausen tremble
for his reputation.

Sheridan's exploits in the valley, and his destruction of the rebel
supplies, put an end to Confederate operations in that quarter.
Washington was not menaced again, and the Sixth Corps was sent back
to Petersburg to resume its place in the line of investment. The army
of the Potomac was still battering away with its siege works at the
rebel fortifications. It had extended its line around Petersburg, and
destroyed twenty miles of the Weldon Railroad. There was no rest for
the troops in the trenches. Every day brought its labors and its battle
on a larger or a smaller scale. The sharp-shooters were picking off
any man who showed his head above the breastworks. It was ceaseless
toil and ceaseless vigilance. Grant was everywhere, on the watch for an
opportunity to take advantage of any favoring circumstances. The winter
came, and the lieutenant general did not desert the army to engage in
the festivities or the excitements of the capital. He still kept his
gaze firmly fixed on the prize which would end the Rebellion.

While the general-in-chief had been "hammering" away at the rebel
army in Virginia, Sherman, under his direction, had been striking
heavy blows at the South. He had fought and flanked his way down to
Atlanta, carrying dismay and desolation before his victorious banners.
The series of disasters which attended the operations of Johnston
caused his removal from the command, Hood taking his place. The "great
flanker" punished him even worse than his predecessor, and Hood went
into Tennessee, with an army of fifty thousand men, to overwhelm
Thomas; but this veteran almost wiped him out, and drove him to the
south, with the loss of half his force and more than half his guns and
munitions. Farragut thundered into Mobile Bay with his squadron, and,
having defeated or sunk the rebel fleet, captured all the forts which
covered Mobile. During the winter, Fort Fisher fell, and Wilmington
dropped quietly into the hands of the Union forces. To crown the
disasters of the Confederacy, Sherman made his grand march to the sea,
mowing a wide swath on his passage, and leaving desolation and ruin in
his path.

The Confederacy was on its last legs in the spring of 1865, though Lee
still held his lines at Petersburg and Richmond. Jeff. Davis was still
confident, though his general declared that he was no longer able to
make a good fight. Some attempts to negotiate a peace were made, but
they failed because the rebels still wanted terms which a conqueror
might have asked. Grant had long ago demonstrated that the Confederacy
was nothing but a "shell," and it had been broken in a hundred places.
Still the rebels held out wherever they had a foot of ground whereon
to stand. Still they prated about the "last ditch," and looked
confidently, even up to the time of the final disaster, to foreign
interference, or to some miraculous interposition of circumstances.

Sherman continued his march, captured Savannah, caused the evacuation
of Charleston, and occupied Columbia. Johnston was gathering an army in
North Carolina for the purpose of overwhelming him. Grant feared that
Lee would desert Richmond, and seek to join the forces of Johnston.
Indeed, he had been partly moved by this consideration in the selection
of the south side of the James as his field of operations. Richmond,
without the rebel army which for four long years had been defending it,
would be a showy, but not a substantial prize.

President Lincoln went down to City Point, and visited the national
army in its several positions, as well to inform himself practically
of the situation as to encourage the soldiers who had so long and so
valiantly struggled for the salvation of the nation. The preparations
for the final campaign were completed, and the army was to move on the
29th of March; but four days before this time arrived, Lee made his
last struggle to escape the gripe of Grant's anaconda, and to realize
the indefinite circumstance which was to clear up the horizon of
Southern prospects. He massed his troops, and made an impetuous assault
on Fort Steadman. The attack was so sudden and violent, that for the
moment it was a success, and the rebels were in full possession of the
redoubt. But the Union guns were immediately pointed at the work, and a
terrible fire poured in upon the enemy. The infantry charged upon the
rebels in the fort, now cut off from their retreat, and two thousand of
them were compelled to surrender. President Lincoln had been invited
to review the troops; but from a hill he was permitted to behold
the recapture of the fort, which suited him better, as a spectacle.
A general attack was ordered, and the Union line dashed gallantly
forward, capturing the enemy's picket line, which they were unable to
recover.

About this time Sherman, whose army was at Goldsboro', made a hasty
visit to City Point, where he had a consultation with the president,
Grant, Meade, and Sheridan, and plans were matured to prevent a
junction between Lee and Johnston. The lieutenant general's "hammering"
process was now bringing forth its proper fruit in the rebel ranks.
Deserters and stragglers from them were thicker than snow-flakes at
Christmas. They had learned what Grant was. They had found that he was
a fighting general, and they were not willing to be sacrificed to the
Moloch of the South, battling for what was already a "Lost Cause." It
was confidently believed that Lee was more intent upon the problem of
retiring with his army than on that of longer protecting Richmond. His
movement upon Fort Steadman was doubtless intended to facilitate his
escape.

Grant had no idea of permitting his wily foe to "retire." He was more
desirous of capturing the rebel army than of taking Richmond. On the
29th of March--the day appointed for the grand movement--Sheridan was
sent out to Dinwiddie Court House, south-west of Petersburg. The left
of the main army had been advanced so that Grant's line extended from
the Appomattox, below Petersburg, to Dinwiddie. Grant himself was at
Gravelly Run, between Sheridan and the left of the main body, watching
coolly, but with the most intense anxiety, the development of his
programme. Sheridan, in spite of the heavy rains which had rendered
the roads impassable for wagons, floundered through the mud with his
cavalry to Five Forks, where the enemy was in force. Warren, with the
Fifth Corps, extended his lines nearly up to the same point.

Sheridan "went in" with his usual impetuosity, and seized Five Forks.
The enemy made a desperate attack upon Warren, and forced him back for
a time, though he soon recovered from the shock and held his own. The
enemy then turned upon Sheridan, occupying an isolated position, and
compelled him slowly to fall back; and he retreated upon Dinwiddie,
instead of upon the main line, thus compelling the rebels in their
pursuit to extend their line--a piece of strategy which called forth
the warmest commendations of his commander. Grant, solicitous for his
safety, sent two divisions of the Fifth Corps to Sheridan, who with
this aid attacked the rebels on his front, and drove them back to Five
Forks again.

At this point the Confederates were in heavy force; but Sheridan made
his dispositions with remarkable skill, hurried up the Fifth Corps, and
with his cavalry executed a brilliant manoeuvre, by which the battle
was won, the rebels routed, and six thousand prisoners captured. By
this bold and skilful movement, so admirably executed by Sheridan, the
right of the rebel line was turned. In support of this operation on the
left, Grant ordered a heavy bombardment to be kept up during the entire
night of April 1, the day on which Sheridan had fought this decisive
action, and at four o'clock the next morning (Sunday) a combined
assault was made with perfect success, which was followed up till the
enemy broke from his lines, and fled from the lost field, following the
road along the south bank of the Appomattox.

Richmond and Petersburg were lost to the rebels!

No tidings of these terrific conflicts had reached Richmond. The people
still believed, as Jeff. Davis had taught them, that Richmond could
hold out for twenty years before any force operating against it. Lee
sent a message to the obstinate "president" of the Confederacy that
the battle was lost, and that the army must flee from its strongholds.
The despatch was handed to Davis while he was at church. He read it,
hastily rose, and went out. He was ghastly pale, and his face revealed
the disaster to all who saw it. He was alarmed for his personal safety,
and perhaps trembled in view of the halter that hung to the allegorical
"sour apple tree," which had been celebrated in song all over the
loyal land. Taking a train to the south, he left Richmond, which he
was to enter again only as an indicted traitor. That night the city
was evacuated in hot haste and set on fire by its late defenders,
disappointed and desperate at the grand finale of Rebellion. General
Weitzel entered and took possession the next morning. The flag of the
redeemed Union waved triumphantly over the capital of Virginia.

Grant was not looking after Richmond just now. I do not know that he
made any mention of the place in his documents, but in his despatch
to Sherman, on the 5th of April, he says, "Rebel armies are now the
only strategic points to strike at." Acting on this view, he ordered
the most vigorous pursuit of Lee. Sheridan was sent forward with his
cavalry, and the Sixth Corps, now temporarily under his command. He
continued to "hammer" whenever an opportunity offered. At Sailor's
Creek he struck the enemy a heavy blow, which resulted in the capture
of sixteen guns, four hundred wagons, and seven thousand prisoners.

The pursuit then became a hunt. Lee had lost his supplies, or had
been cut off from them. On his arrival at Amelia Court House, he was
compelled to halt, to rest his men, and gather up food for their
support from the country. This delay afforded the Union cavalry time to
get ahead of him and destroy the Danville Railroad, his chosen means of
retreat to effect a junction with Johnston.

The whole army of the Potomac was concentrated at Jettersville to
attack Lee at Amelia, but he had fled, now bent upon reaching the
mountains beyond Lynchburg. The pursuit was hurried up, Confederate
supply trains captured, and the enemy reduced to desperate straits.
Their sufferings were intensely severe, hundreds of them dropping with
sheer exhaustion, for the want of rest and food, while the majority
were no longer able to carry their muskets. Crossing the river, Lee had
dragged his weary way to Appomattox Court House. On the night of April
6, a number of his officers informally met, and agreed that surrender
was all that was left to the miserable army, worn out, starved, and
thinned by wholesale desertion. One of them informed Lee of their
conclusion; but whatever he thought, he did not adopt their suggestion.

The excellent Pollard does not hesitate to hint that Grant was a
"butcher;" but it is acknowledged that Lee had no hope of the campaign
in which he had engaged a week before, and had only persisted in
fighting to please Davis. He waived his own opinion, and fought those
bloody battles from Petersburg to Sailor's Creek, when he was satisfied
there was no hope. What was he but a "butcher"? Is he not responsible
for every life sacrificed at his order after he knew that the strife
was hopeless? Lee was a skilful soldier, and if we could wipe out the
fact that he was a traitor, that he fought against the government which
had educated him to support it, and which he had sworn to defend; if
we could forget that his influence might have removed the stains of
Andersonville, Belle Island, and other rebel prisons from the annals
of the miserable Confederacy; if he had ceased to shed blood when
his conscience assured him treason could no longer flourish upon the
sacrifice,--we might hold him up as a hero. As it is, he deserves the
infamy he has won.

It was left for Grant to obey the promptings of humanity--for the
"butcher" to make the overtures to stay the further useless flow of
blood.



CHAPTER XXIX.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken has a few Words to say about Lee's
    Surrender, and demonstrates, to his own and his Reader's entire
    Satisfaction, that the illustrious Soldier is not an accidental
    Hero._


If Grant had been the "butcher" which the rebels declared him to be,
if he had been less magnanimous than he was, he would have compelled
rather than "asked" the surrender of Lee's broken army. The Confederate
general knew that he was surrounded, and that he was utterly incapable
of fighting another general battle. Grant addressed the following
letter to him from Farmville:--

    "April 7, 1865.

    "GENERAL: The result of the last week must convince you
    of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the army
    of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and
    regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of
    any further effusion of blood by asking of you the surrender of
    that portion of the Confederate States army known as the army of
    Northern Virginia.

                                     U.S. GRANT, _Lieutenant General_."

Lee replied, in a note of the same date, that, though he did not
entertain the opinion expressed by Grant of the hopelessness of further
resistance, he reciprocated the desire to avoid the useless effusion
of blood, and asked what terms would be offered on condition of the
surrender of his army. Pollard makes Lee say that he was not _entirely_
of Grant's opinion of the hopelessness of further resistance. Pollard
admires and glorifies Lee, and aims to soften the affectation of
his letter, wherein he ignores the fact that his men were utterly
demoralized, starved, unarmed, and unable either to fight or to run.
That ridiculous Virginian pride which had sacrificed thousands of lives
after the cause of the South was known to be hopeless, was still in the
ascendency.

On the 8th Sheridan captured twenty-five guns, four trains of cars with
supplies, and a hospital train. Grant replied to Lee's disingenuous
note, and, pleading in the interests of peace and humanity, dealing
gently with the pride of the fallen Virginian, offered the most
liberal terms. Peace being his chief desire, he insisted only on one
condition--that the officers and men of the rebel army should, by the
surrender, be disqualified for taking up arms again until properly
exchanged. He proposed a meeting, to interchange views and regulate
terms, thus magnanimously taking upon himself the initiative in what
must be so disagreeable to the rebel general.

Lee promptly replied that he had not proposed to surrender--only to
ask the terms of Grant's proposition. "To be frank, I do not think
the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army," he
writes. How a Virginian gentleman, wedded to truth and honor, could
make such a statement as this, passes the belief of one who was brought
up to be faithful to the homely New England virtues. If the emergency
had not arisen, then, in the surrender, Lee was a traitor to the South,
as from the beginning he had been to the national government. But he
condescends to meet Grant. The lieutenant general declines to see Lee
to make a treaty of peace, but he explains that peace will come when
the South lays down its arms. On the 9th the rebels made a desperate
effort to break through the cavalry which surrounded them, and force
a way out of the net into which they had fallen. They were signally
defeated, and held in their position. This was the last struggle, and
the enemy was in the last corner of the "last ditch." A white flag soon
appears in front of the Confederate line. Lee has come to his senses at
last, and asks for an interview to arrange the terms of surrender. The
emergency has actually arisen at last.

The meeting took place in the house of Mr. Wilmer McLean. It was a
grand occasion, worthy the pen of the historian or the pencil of the
artist. The grand army of Northern Virginia had been "hammered" till
there was almost nothing left of it. Grant had stuck to it from the
Rapidan, thirteen months before, until only its shadow was now left,
and even that was dissolving before its conqueror.

Lee appeared dressed "more gayly" than usual, wearing the elegant
sword presented to him by his friends, strictly observing all the
requirements of courtesy. He was formal, precise, and still dignified,
notwithstanding the humiliating task he was called upon to perform.
Grant wore his ordinary uniform, but carried no sword. The terms of
the surrender were agreed upon, and signed by both parties. The rebels
were to be paroled, after marching out and stacking their arms. The
officers were to retain their side arms, private horses, and baggage.
Each officer and man was to be allowed to return to his home, not to be
disturbed by United States authority so long as he observed his parole,
and obeyed the laws in force where he resided.

The rebel general acknowledged the magnanimity of his conqueror in
giving him and his army such exceedingly favorable terms--terms which
finally saved all included in their provisions from the penalty
of treason. Even my friend Pollard begins to see that Grant is a
noble-minded, magnanimous man, and praises his conduct without stint
or measure. On the 12th the army of Northern Virginia appeared for
the last time on the stage as a body. They formed their last parade,
stacked their arms, and parked their artillery, to be taken possession
of by the Union troops. Grant was not present at this ceremonial, for
he was not a man to indulge in any exultation over his fallen foe, and
his delicacy was duly appreciated by the rebels. Pollard's testimony,
at this point, indicates a just apprehension of the illustrious
soldier; a candid recognition of those traits of character which I have
tried to exhibit throughout my work; and I cannot do better than quote
his words.

"Indeed, this Federal commander had, in the closing scenes of the
contest, behaved with a magnanimity and decorum that must ever be
remembered to his credit, even by those who disputed his reputation in
other respects, and denied his claims to great generalship. He had,
with remarkable facility, accorded honorable and liberal terms to the
vanquished army. He did nothing to dramatize the surrender; he made
no triumphal entry into Richmond; he avoided all those displays of
triumph so dear to the Northern heart; he spared everything that might
wound the feelings or imply the humiliation of a vanquished foe. There
were no indecent exultations, no 'sensations,' no shows; he received
the surrender of his adversary with every courteous recognition due
an honorable enemy, and conducted the closing scenes with as much
simplicity as possible."

Seven thousand five hundred rebels only appeared as the wreck of the
army of Northern Virginia, though eighteen thousand "stragglers,"
hammered out of the line by Grant's persistent pounding, came forward
and claimed the benefit of the surrender. After my courteous friend,
the author of The Lost Cause, has so kindly furnished me with material
for this biography, it pains me to be compelled to raise any further
objections to his veracity; but his arithmetic is sadly at fault. He
struggles earnestly to convey the impression that Grant, from the
Rapidan to Appomattox, was fighting a mere handful of men, which the
Union army outnumbered in the ratio of three or four to one; and some
of Grant's Northern enemies, or lukewarm friends, have been too willing
to use his figures. Pollard says Lee had thirty-three thousand, at both
Richmond and Petersburg, in the first months of 1865. He mentions
twenty-five thousand five hundred at the surrender, acknowledges that
five thousand were taken prisoners in the "shameful misfortune" at Five
Forks, and permits us to imply that about the same number were captured
at Sailor's Creek,--thus making up thirty-five thousand five hundred,
without counting the killed and wounded, though he says of Fort Gregg,
that only thirty of two hundred and fifty composing the garrison
survived the defence. Long before the fortunes of the day became
desperate in the extreme, Pollard groans over heavy losses and numerous
stragglers. Undoubtedly the national army did outnumber the rebels.
Either General Lee was no general, and was the stupidest fanatic that
even the Southern Confederacy contained, or he had at least fifty
thousand men under his command, which was by recognized military rules,
a fair proportion, fighting behind elaborate fortifications, to the
force of the national army. Thirty-three thousand men could not have
held his lines twenty-four hours. In my humble opinion, he had from
seventy-five to a hundred thousand men. I should cease to respect
him as a rebel if he had not, for it would have been inhumanity and
butchery for him to stand out with a less number.

Grant immediately sent the main body of the army to Burkville. Sherman
received the news of Lee's surrender, and Johnston proposed a meeting
to arrange terms for a capitulation. They were drawn up, but sent to
the capital for approval. The lieutenant general went immediately to
Washington. His mission in the field was ended. His name was on every
tongue as the greatest of conquerors. He had given the finishing
stroke to the greatest rebellion the world had ever seen. All over the
nation the people were rejoicing. Cannon thundered forth the joy of the
country, and the old flag was spread to the breeze, tenfold more dear
now that it waved again over a united nation.

Grant went on his way quietly to the national capital, with no pomp and
parade to announce the progress of the conqueror. He did not even go
to Richmond on his way--the city which had been a stumbling-block in
the path of the Union armies, now fallen by the might of his genius and
his persistency. So quietly did he travel, that it was hardly known he
had arrived. He hastened to the War Department, where the indefatigable
Stanton heartily congratulated him. The lieutenant general still meant
business, though it was now the details of peace instead of those
of war. On the morning of the assassination of President Lincoln he
attended a cabinet meeting. He suggested to the government that as the
war was practically ended, the enormous expenses of the army should be
immediately reduced. All drafting and recruiting in the loyal states
were suspended, and large reductions were proposed.

It was announced that Grant would attend the theatre in the evening
with the president; but having arrived on the day before, he was
anxious to see his family, and started for Trenton. Probably the
dagger which Booth flourished was intended for the lieutenant general;
but Providence had other work for him to do, and he was miraculously
spared. On receiving the tidings of the assassination, he returned
instantly to Washington, and attended the funeral of his steadfast
friend and supporter.

Sherman's arrangement with Johnston was promptly disapproved by the
government, and Grant went to Raleigh to smooth the way with his
veteran friend to close up this unpleasant business. The surrender was
received on the same terms that had been granted to Lee, and on this
basis all the remaining armies of the Rebellion laid down their arms.
Towards the last of May there was a grand review in Washington, which
occupied two days. The brave veterans marched before the chief officers
of the government and of the army; then doffed their blue uniform,
and became private citizens. This was the last act in the drama of
the Great Rebellion, exhibiting the crowning glory of our republic in
the facility with which legions of armed men lay aside their military
character, and resort to the peaceful occupations of the country.

The war was ended! The thought thrilled the people even more than the
fact of hostilities had in the beginning. The reflection was all the
more thrilling because the strife had ended in victory. It makes us
shudder to think of the condition of the country if it had ended in
defeat, if the unconquerable spirit of the North would ever have let
it end in such a calamity. The nation realized the blessing which was
born of the triumph of the national arms. I can conceive of such a
thing as the continuance of the war until both North and South were
ruined--until the nation crumbled to pieces by the weight of its own
miseries.

From such a fate I honestly, candidly, and conscientiously believe
Grant saved his country. There was no other man in all the land to
accomplish the work which he performed. There was not another general
who had the genius, the moral and mental attributes, for the stupendous
task. I earnestly and gratefully recognize the inestimable value of
the services even of those who failed to achieve what was expected and
required of them. Those gallant men who successively commanded the army
of the Potomac lacked some essential requisite in the sum total of
character which the emergency demanded. Grant possessed them all, in
such singular harmony that he alone could direct the army in the path
to victory. All others failed; he alone succeeded.

It is hardly necessary to analyze the means by which he succeeded in
his gigantic enterprise. Others turned back from the goal when their
strategy failed, when the rules of warfare failed in their application.
Grant used his strategy and his tactics to the utmost, and passed
them for all they were worth. When they were no longer available, he
"hammered" the enemy. When the old rules failed, he made new ones. He
was an art and a science unto himself.

I say Grant was the only man who could conquer the Rebellion; the only
one who had the elements of success in him. I, Bernard Galligasken, say
this, and I speak advisedly, knowing what I say. During the war, men
went from the ranks up to generals of division in a couple of years. If
any one had any military talent, he went up like a rocket, and, alas!
he often went down like one, when he had soared to the ethereal regions
whose air he could not breathe and live. Almost all who were heroes
in the first year of the war were laid on the shelf before it was half
finished. Corporals became colonels, and major generals disappeared
from the scene of strife. If there was a skilful and patriotic man
in the army, he was raised up; if there was an unskilful one, he was
pulled down, whatever height he had attained. The need of the nation
was desperate, and it could court or flatter no man who was not
successful. For three long years the army was hungry for a competent
leader, but found him not. The government longed for a mighty man, and
was always ready to give him all the honors and all the power it had,
without asking his politics, his religion, his antecedents, or even his
nationality. There was a chance for any man who had the needed ability;
the army, the people, the government, were ready to take him, when he
won his laurel, elevate him to the highest position, go down on their
knees before him, obey him, trust him, follow him. The path that Grant
trod was open to every soldier, and, indeed, to every civilian.

Where are McClellan, Fremont, Buell, Rosecrans, Pope, Hooker, Burnside?
I believe that the country owes them all a debt of gratitude for
what they did in the war, and ought to forgive them for what they
did not do. All of them were placed in positions to achieve the high
eminence which Grant reached. It is no discredit to them that they did
not succeed in them. I am not willing to believe that it was their
fault that they failed, even while each of them may justly be held
responsible for his own mistakes. I only wish to show that each of them
had, if not a fair chance, at least the same chance that Grant had;
certainly none of them was more maligned, none of them more savagely
treated by politicians and evil advisers in Washington. If some of them
were not trusted as long as Grant, it was only because they did not
exhibit abilities which gave the same promise of ultimate success.

Grant was no accidental hero. I have followed him through the struggles
of his brilliant career, and I declare upon my sacred honor as a
soldier and an historian, that never a success did he win which he did
not work for. Behold him at Donelson, threading his way, in the cold
blasts of that bitter storm, among his weary, freezing soldiers, day
after day and night after night, wresting victory from the opposing
elements! Could it have been an accident that he won that brilliant
victory, after the herculean labor he personally performed, after
the severe sufferings which he personally endured, after the savage
fighting in which he personally engaged? Was it an accident, that, in
the midst of disaster, he gave the startling order to charge upon the
enemy's strong works, and made fighting men out of soldiers demoralized
and defeated? Behold him in the Vicksburg campaign, standing up by the
might of his potent will, and against the advice of all his trusted
generals, cutting loose from his supplies, and fighting battle after
battle, till the foe was driven within his stronghold! Was this success
an accident? See him sleeping on the ground with his faithful soldiers,
with no covering but the stars; see him marching by day and watching
by night, attending to the minutest details of the commissary and the
quartermaster! Every success was wrung from opposing elements, and
carried through over the most stupendous obstacle. See him, partially
disabled, with his head pillowed upon a stump, in the pelting rain,
after the hard-fought day at Shiloh, exhausted by his superhuman
labors, stealing an hour of rest to keep him alive for the duties of
another day--see him, and declare that accidental heroes are not made
after this fashion! Go with him, crippled in body, and worn out with
suffering on a sick bed, to the gloom of defeat and starvation at
Chattanooga! Follow him as he moves about on his crutches through the
streets of that beleaguered town, bringing light out of darkness, joy
and victory out of misery and disaster. Not thus do accidental heroes
soar to sublime heights.

Accidental fortune is not thus constant. To the hero crowned with
success, as Grant is, only a lofty patriotism, a sublime devotion to
his country, and a splendid genius, can be constant. These desert him
never. These triumph over all obstacles, bearing their possessor to the
loftiest pinnacle of fame, and, better still, to the highest place in
the regards of a free and intelligent people, as they have borne Grant.
No accident, no combination of accidents, could have lifted him up, or
sustained him a single year.

In the selection of his subordinates Grant won half his success.
Cool, unbiassed judgment did its perfect work for him. His singleness
of purpose freed him from bias. He raised men up, or he threw them
down, only in the interests of the hallowed cause to which he gave
his whole mind and heart. No man ever lived, or ever will live, who
more entirely sunk himself in the work he had engaged to do. If any
high officer stood in the way of the success of the Union arms, he
was removed; for Grant always knew his man. He was wholly free from
personal prejudice and partiality. He elevated no man who was not fit
to be elevated. Of the prominent officers who stood the test of the
war, every one was either raised up by Grant, or stood approved by him.
Sherman and Sheridan were his _protégés_; Thomas owed his position as
an independent commander to him; Meade and Schofield have to thank him
for the high places they hold to-day. He selected them for the great
work they did; and while they, in a sense, built him up, he afforded
them the opportunity to which their ability entitled them. In building
up himself, he built them up; in saving the nation, they saved each
other, and won imperishable renown.

"The soldiers and sailors are not all for a sham hero, a creature
of fortuitous circumstances," said a noted political general at a
convention of which Wade Hampton and Forrest, ex-rebel generals, were
members, to say nothing of the Northern traitors who had stabbed
the government in the back during the whole course of the war. He
alluded to Grant, the nominee of the national party of the Union--our
Standard-Bearer in the contest which is to complete the victory won
on the Southern battle-fields. This same political general was a
brave man--as brave as any negro private whom his fellow-member in
the convention butchered at Fort Pillow; but he was the marplot of
Grant's Vicksburg campaign. Scores of brave men were slaughtered at
Champion's Hill by his criminal delay to obey his superior's orders. At
Shiloh, Sherman fought his division for him, because he did not know
how himself. The key to this sneer about the "creature of fortuitous
circumstances" is found in the fact that Grant removed from command the
author of the phrase at Vicksburg, for publishing a stupid, ridiculous,
and sensational order, wherein he arrogated to himself the principal
glory of the fighting at Vicksburg, whereas he was notoriously
dilatory, lax, and incompetent in the discharge of his duties. If
the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, permitted any "sham heroes" to be
inflicted upon our war-stricken nation, the author of this sentence was
the principal of them. It was Grant's chief glory that he conquered
in spite of such malignant obstacles in his path. But our glorious
Standard-Bearer needs no defence at my hands, and I humbly apologize
for bringing this viper of the New York Convention into my story.



CHAPTER XXX.

    _Wherein Captain Galligasken follows the illustrious Soldier in
    his Career after the War, relates several Anecdotes of him, and
    respectfully invites the whole World to_ MATCH HIM.


The war was ended, and far above every other man in the country,
civilian or soldier, stood General Grant. In this sublime attitude
he was still the same simple-hearted, plain, and unostentatious man.
The people, full of admiration and gratitude, rendered every honor
to the illustrious soldier which ingenuity could devise. Presents of
every description poured in upon him. Two valuable houses, richly
furnished, a library, and princely sums of money were given to him, and
gratefully received, as tokens of the people's regard. He made several
tours of pleasure and business, in which he was everywhere received
with the most tremendous demonstrations of applause. There could be
no mistaking his hold upon the people. They loved, admired, respected
him. But in the midst of these splendid ovations, he was still modest,
self-possessed, and dignified.

In 1865 Grant visited the Senate Chamber at Washington. He paid his
respects to the senators, and left the room. When he had gone, one of
the Democratic members declared that a great mistake had been made
in appointing Grant a lieutenant general, for there wasn't a second
lieutenant in the home-guard of his state who did not "cut a bigger
swell" than the man who had just left their presence! When he was
regarded as an available candidate for the presidency during the war,
he was approached on the subject by a zealous partisan. He declared
that there was only one political office which he desired. When the war
was over, he wanted to be elected mayor of Galena! If successful, he
intended to see to it that the sidewalk between his house and the depot
was put in better order. In one of his excursions in 1865, he visited
his former home at Galena. A magnificent reception welcomed him.
Triumphal arches greeted him in the streets, in which were blazoned
the victories he had won. In that which contained his house and the
sidewalk he condemned was one bearing the inscription, "General, the
sidewalk is built."

At Georgetown, where his childhood had been spent, and in whose streets
he had first smelt gunpowder as a baby, the whole town turned out to
see and to greet him with the homage due to the great conqueror. Here
he made one of his longest speeches, amounting to something like ten
lines! In Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, he was received as no
man ever had been before. At West Point, whither he had gone to pay
his grateful respects to his alma mater, Lieutenant General Scott, his
old commander in Mexico, presented him a copy of "Scott's Memoirs,"
inscribed, "From the oldest to the greatest General." If Scott's
opinion, as a military man, is worth anything to the sceptic, here was
his written indorsement of the preëminence of Grant.

Grant made no speeches. In this respect he has been an enigma to the
American people. He was a reticent man, in the fullest sense of the
word. For my own part, I should as soon think of condemning Abraham
Lincoln because he could not, or did not, turn back somersets on a
tight rope, as to complain of Grant because he could not, or did
not, make speeches. In this respect he does not differ from hundreds
of other great men. Washington and Jefferson were very indifferent
speech-makers. Napoleon wrote startling bulletins, but never
distinguished himself as an orator. Grant's congratulatory orders are
full of fire, and, better, full of sound common sense. His reports are
replete with wisdom simply expressed, and they are models of compact
narration.

I wish to go a step further. I fully believe that Grant's reticence
is one of the elements of his greatness. It is impossible for me to
think of him as a successful commander, if he had been a brawler,
or even a great talker. Most emphatically was his silence, his
reticence, "golden." I can point to not less than three generals, high
in position, who might have been successful if they had possessed a
talent for holding their tongues. But Grant has always said enough,
and, better still, done enough, to enable the people to ascertain his
opinions on great subjects before the country. His position during
the Rebellion, in regard to slavery, negro soldiers, and the general
conduct of the war, was not concealed. The people knew just how he
stood. His orders are open, unreserved; and no man's record more
thoroughly commits him to the people's policy than that of Grant.
He was one of the first to give effective aid to the government, in
enlisting and organizing negro troops--a subject so trying to the
nerves of many of the old army officers, that they were either dumb, or
arrayed in virtual opposition to the national policy.

During the troubles between the president and Congress, Grant made
no speeches, published no opinions on the disputed questions. The
president is the constitutional commander-in-chief of the army, and
in his purely military capacity, it would have been improper and
indelicate for Grant to meddle with the controversy. But who doubted
his sentiments? Congress practically gave him the execution of its plan
of reconstruction. It made laws, and depended upon him to carry them
out. It is enough to know that Congress confided implicitly in him, and
that he drew upon himself the hostility, and even the hatred, of the
president, by his manly and straight-forward course.

Grant's reticence was one of the elements of his success, I repeat.
He kept his plans to himself. Even his subordinate generals were not
often permitted to know them in advance of their execution. One of them
visited the lieutenant general, intent upon ascertaining the programme
of the chief.

"What are your plans, general, for the conduct of the campaign?" asked
the inquirer, not doubting that he had a perfect right to know.

"General, I have a fine horse out here; I want you to go and look at
him," replied Grant, leading the way out of the tent.

The inquirer was mortally offended at the coolness with which his
question was evaded. On another occasion, the editor of a leading
political journal, a young man of fine abilities, but having a rather
high estimate of his personal consequence, was presented to the
lieutenant general. In the course of the conversation, he attempted
to draw from the silent hero some political opinion in regard to the
South. Grant replied that they had some fine horses down south, and
made an enemy of the politician.

In his reticence there was a purpose; but his silence, so far as
speech-making is concerned, is the offspring of constitutional modesty.
He is not an off-hand speaker. George Francis Train can make a speech,
but Grant cannot. Andrew Johnson can talk in public, but even his best
friends have had abundant reason to wish that he could not. It is a
notable fact that the greatest orators have generally failed to reach
the highest positions of honor and trust. Webster, Clay, and Everett,
besides being great statesmen, were brilliant men in the forum; yet
all of them died without occupying the seat of the president. But
Grant is simply not an impromptu speaker. When the occasion requires,
he reads his speech, as greater orators than he are compelled to do.
Even Everett never spoke without careful preparation, and the elaborate
orations he delivered were generally in type before he declaimed them.
I have no fears that Grant will fall short of the expectations even
of the American people in this respect, when he has been elected to
the presidency; but I am equally confident that he will never become
a shame and a scandal to the nation on account of his vicious and
unconsidered addresses.

When the gold medal, which was voted by resolution of Congress to
Grant, after the campaign of Chattanooga, was finished, a committee
from the two houses went down to City Point in a special steamer to
present the elegant testimonial of the nation's gratitude to the
illustrious soldier. The members of the committee waited upon the
lieutenant general, and arranged with him that the formal ceremony
of the presentation should take place on board of the headquarters
steamer, where ample accommodations were made for the party who were
to witness the impressive scene. At the appointed time, the committee,
with a few invited guests, appeared. The lieutenant general was
attended by his staff, and a few other officers of the army, on duty
at the post. One of the most interesting features of the occasion was
the presence of General Grant's family, including his wife, his son,
and daughter. The youngest of the group was Master Jesse, a bright,
handsome lad of six summers, who attracted no inconsiderable degree of
attention, not only from his relation to the mighty man of the nation,
but on account of his personal attributes. The guests were gathered
together in the cabin of the steamer where the ceremony was to take
place. The spokesman of the committee stepped forward, and in a neat
and appropriate address presented the medal.

General Grant's time came then, and, as usual on all similar occasions,
he was greatly embarrassed. He could stand undisturbed while five
hundred cannons were thundering in his ears, but he seems to have been
afraid of the sound of his own voice. All present were curious to know
what he would say, and how he would say it, for he had never made
an impromptu speech. The general appeared to be slightly agitated as
soon as the congressman's speech had been concluded. He began to fumble
about his pockets, just as a school-boy does on the rostrum. He was
evidently looking for something, and he could not find it. The delay
became painful and awkward in the extreme, not only to the general,
but to his sympathizing audience; and little Jesse, his son, seemed to
suffer the most in this prolonged interval. At last his patience was
exhausted, and he cried out,--

"Father, why don't you say something?"

  [Illustration: "FATHER, WHY DON'T YOU SAY SOMETHING."--Page
  343.]

A burst of applause from the assembly greeted this speech, and it was
plain that Jesse had said the right word at the right time. Inheriting
some of his father's military genius, he had made a demonstration which
turned the attention of the company for the time from the embarrassed
general, who, taking advantage of the diversion, renewed the onslaught
upon his pockets, and brought forth the written paper for which he
had been searching. He then read his "impromptu" speech, which was a
simple expression of his thanks, set forth in solid phrase, for the
distinguished honor which had been conferred upon him. The assembly
were then invited to the spacious between-decks of the steamer, where a
substantial collation had been prepared for them; and Jesse was not the
least honored and petted of the party.

It is sometimes awkward and unpleasant for a man in public life to
be unable to make a speech, but experience has demonstrated that it
is often ten times more awkward and unpleasant to be able to make
one; and better than any other gift can we spare in an American
president that of off-hand-speech making. Grant is a thinking man, and
his thought is the father of his mighty deeds. His most expressive
speech was made to Sheridan: "Go in!" In the army it was the common
remark of the soldiers that Grant did not say much, but he kept up a
tremendous thinking. In his capacious brain there was room for all the
multiplied details of a vast army. His mind contained a map of the
theatre of operations, and he knew where everything and everybody was.
He understood how the battle was going miles away from his position. At
The Wilderness he stood under a tree with General Meade, whittling, as
he was wont to do when brooding in deep thought, smoking, of course, at
the same time. An aid dashed furiously up to the spot, and announced
that one of the corps holding an important position in the line had
broken, and been driven from the field. Meade was intensely agitated,
for the event indicated nothing but disaster. Grant smoked and whittled
as coolly as though there had been no hostile armies on the continent.

"Good God!" exclaimed Meade, as the details were enlarged upon by the
messenger.

Still Grant whittled and thought. A minute elapsed before he spoke, in
which he seemed to be consulting his mental map.

"I don't believe it," said he, at last, while the messenger of disaster
was still in his presence.

The sequel proved that Grant was right, and the messenger direct from
the scene was wrong. The battle had surged in upon the national line
for a moment, but there was no break, no defeat, no disaster. It
has been observed that Grant whittles two ways--from and towards his
body. When he is maturing a plan, solving a problem involved in his
operations, he whittles _towards_ himself, as if to concentrate within
him some invisible magnetism floating in the air around him. But when
his mind grasps the solution of the problem, when the plan is formed,
he instantly reverses the stick, and whittles _from_ himself. Perhaps
to the nation it does not make much difference which way he whittles,
while it is patent to the world that he whittled down the Rebellion.

In 1866 Grant was made a full general, the office having been created
especially for him. He was not a merely ornamental appendage of the
government, but used a laboring oar in his lofty position. He was
tender of the people's pockets, heavily drawn upon by the needs of the
war. He introduced reforms into the army, largely curtailing the public
expense, and exhibiting a spirit of economy which was very hopeful in
the people's candidate for the presidency.

The war was ended, and with it slavery and the tyranny of one section
over the other. The sword had done its work effectually, and the
statesman's task of reconstruction was to be completed--a task hardly
less difficult than putting down the Rebellion itself. Then commenced
the unfortunate conflict between the president and Congress. The
people, through their representatives, had adopted the present policy
of reconstruction, sustaining it by their voices, their votes, and
their influence. Grant believed in this system, and, so far as his
military position would permit, gave his energies to its support.
Congress, having full confidence in his integrity and his sound
judgment, conferred upon him extraordinary powers. As the commander of
all the armies while the South was held in military subjection, he had
the power to advance or to thwart the people's policy. He maintained
it with all his ability, and thus became the very life and soul of
the system. Stanton, the tried and true, in the cabinet, was a check
upon the president in his insane attempts to usurp the powers of the
legislative branch of the government, and to thwart the expressed will
of the people.

At last the president removed him, subject to the approval of Congress,
under the tenure of office act, and Grant was appointed secretary of
war _ad interim_. In the lieutenant general's letter to Stanton--his
constant friend and tried supporter during the war--he takes the
occasion to express his appreciation of the zeal, patriotism, firmness,
and ability with which the retiring officer had ever discharged his
duty as secretary of war, thus preventing any misunderstanding of his
position. In a private letter to the president the general protests
smartly and warmly against the removal of Stanton and of Sheridan, the
latter in command of the Fifth Military District. This letter was an
admirable paper, as plucky as it was cogent in its reasoning; but it
had no influence upon the stubborn will of the president. As secretary
of war, Grant signalized his brief term by acts of immense importance
in the reduction of expenses. On the reassembling of Congress, the
Senate declined to acquiesce in the removal of Stanton, and the
general immediately surrendered the office to its legal incumbent. It
appeared that the president had no intention of permitting the law of
Congress to take its course, but designed to disobey and disregard it.
He attempted to make Grant the cat's-paw of his vicious purposes; but
the sterling honesty and simple integrity of the illustrious soldier
carried him safely through the ordeal. From beginning to end, Grant
had resisted all overtures to indorse the president's policy. In the
grand "swinging round the circle" of the president, the general had the
humiliation of being one of the party, and was heartily ashamed of his
company; but in no other respect did he ever go with him or form one of
his party. In Grant's letters to "His Excellency," the writer was fully
justified before the country.

On the 20th of May, 1868, the National Republican Convention met at
Chicago to nominate candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency.
It was hardly necessary to nominate Grant, for he had already been
fixed upon by the people for their suffrages; but the convention, on
the first ballot, unanimously nominated him for this high office. The
news of this great event was carried to him at once. He was unmoved by
it, but asked immediately for the platform. This he carefully read, and
heartily indorsed. The honor conferred upon him so unanimously was the
most flattering compliment which had been bestowed upon any man since
the time of Washington; but he only asked to know what principles he
was expected to represent.

And now my delightful task is ended, though I shall never cease
to proclaim the admiration and gratitude with which I regard the
illustrious soldier on all proper occasions. As I look upon my poor
work, I feel that I have failed to do justice to the sublime subject of
my memoir. I cannot express all I feel. From Palo Alto to Appomattox I
have followed him in his grand career, and I hold him up as a soldier
confidently challenging the whole world,--

                              MATCH HIM!

In the elements of magnanimity, regard for the rights of others,
undeviating honor and truth, I say,--

                              MATCH HIM!

As the foremost man in putting down the Rebellion, first in war and
first in the hearts of his countrymen, I add,--

                              MATCH HIM!

As a man, cool, resolute, and unflinching in the discharge of every
duty, proving, by what he has done, what he is able to do in civil as
well as in military life, I say,--

                              MATCH HIM!

                   *       *       *       *       *


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                           THE YANKEE MIDDY;
                Or, The Adventures of a Naval Officer.
                     A SEQUEL TO "THE SAILOR BOY."

                                  V.
                             FIGHTING JOE;
                 Or, The Fortunes of a Staff Officer.
                  A SEQUEL TO "THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT."

                                  VI.
                            BRAVE OLD SALT;
                     Or, Life on the Quarter Deck.
                    A SEQUEL TO "THE YANKEE MIDDY."

                   *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's Notes
The punctuation, including accents, has not been changed. The usage of
hyphens has been standardised. The oe ligature has been expanded.

The following changes have been made:
    line 2400 The duplicate 'on' has been deleted.
    line 2464 compaign is now campaign.
    line 6007 immediaely is now immediately.
    line 6516 illict is now illicit.
    line 10544 contined is now continued.
    line 10784 hoplessness is now hopelessness.
    line 11585 subblime is now sublime.





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