Ulysses Simpson Grant
ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
IN all human history, whenever a nation has been rent by internal convulsions, or threatened with destruction by foreign invasion, the occasion has always developed some great leader to command its armies, or restore peace between its embittered factions.
In tracing the lives of the men thus called to leadership, three facts constantly attract our notice. They are almost, without exception, of and from the people; rarely or never from the aristocratic class. Though intelligent and thoughtful men, they have usually led quiet and often obscure lives till called to their great duties, and not unseldom, neither they nor their friends were aware of the power which was held in reserve in them. And, finally, they have not been the men first selected by popular acclaim, for the work which they accomplish.
President Grant has been no exception to these general laws. He is a man of the people; though educated for the army and serving in it for some years in a subordinate capacity, his life lad been quiet and obscure, and neither he nor his friends were conscious of his possession of these rare faculties which he subsequently displayed. Moreover, in those days, when General McClellan was regarded as the "coming man," there seemed as little probability that this plain taciturn brigadier at the West, would become the general-in-chief of all our armies, and later, the President of the United States, as that the diminutive sub-lieutenant of the French army would become Emperor of France, and arbiter of the destinies of Europe.
President Grant is descended from Matthew Grant, a native of Plymouth, England, or its vicinity, who emigrated to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1680, and to Windsor, Connecticut, in 1636. His son and grandson, both named Samuel, settled in the adjacent town of Tolland. Noah, a son of the second Samuel, removed to Coventry, Connecticut, and two of his sons, Noah and Solomon, were officers (captain and lieutenant) in the Provincial army, in the old French war, and both were slain at Crown Point, or its vicinity, in 1756. Captain Noah Grant left a family in Coventry, and his eldest son, also Noah, entered the Continental army at the beginning of the Revolutionary war, as lieutenant 'of militia, and remained in it till its close, and, though in many battles, was never wounded. After the war he settled in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where his son, Jesse Root Grant, one of a numerous family, was born, in January, 1794. The father removed in 1799 to what is now Columbiana county, and in 1805 to Portage county, Ohio.
At the age of sixteen, Jesse was apprenticed to his half-brother, then living at Maysville, Kentucky, to learn the tanning business, and after serving his time, he set up for himself at Ravenna, Portage county, Ohio. Here several years of toil were followed by a severe and protracted illness from intermittent fever. In 1820 he removed to Point Pleasant, Ohio, twenty-five miles above Cincinnati, and the sate year married Miss Hannah. Simpson, of Clermont County, Ohio. Their eldest child, Ulysses Simpson Grant, or as he was christened, Hiram Ulysses Grant, was born at Point Pleasant, April 27, 1822.
His father, who is yet living, and then an enterprising and
self-reliant business man, was ready to enter upon any honest undertaking
which gave a promise of success. He continued his business as a tanner,
but did not confine himself exclusively to that, and whatever he undertook
prospered. The mother of the President is also still living, a woman of
sound judgment, marked and superior moral and mental traits and
endowments, a sincere and consistent Christian, whose steadiness,
firmness, and strength of character have impressed themselves indelibly
upon her children.
From the various incidents which his father, with a pardonable pride, relates of him, we find evidence of his possessing, even in childhood, the qualities of system, method, calculation, self-possession, and that cool imperturbable courage and persistency which have since marked his character. His judgment was beyond his years. Few boys in their twelfth year could have been trusted to go to a large city two hundred miles distant, and take a deposition to be used elsewhere in a lawsuit; and fewer still, at the same age, would have had the lodgment and mechanical tact to load upon a wagon a number of pieces of heavy timber a foot square, and fourteen feet long with no aid except that of a horse.
His self-possession and imperturbability were fairly illustrated in an incident which his father relates of him as occurring; when he was about twelve years old.
"He drove a pair of horses to Augusta; Kentucky, twelve miles from Georgetown, and was persuaded to remain over night, in order to bring back two young ladies, who would not be ready to leave until the next morning. The route lay across White Oak Creek. The Ohio river had been, rising in the night, and. the back water in the creek was so high, when they came to, cross it in returning, that the first thing they knew the horses were swimming, and the water was up to their own waists.. The ladies were terribly frightened, and began to scream. In the midst of the excitement, Ulysses, who was on a forward seat, looked back to the ladies, and with an air perfectly undisturbed, merely said: 'Don't speak--I will take you through safe."'
He was popular with his schoolfellows and the boys of his age, and though not a talker or boaster, not tyrannical or imperious, not quarrelsome or violent, he fell naturally into his place as a leader among the boys. He was not remarkable as a scholar, though fond of mathematics and maintaining a creditable position in his studies generally; For the rest, he was a manly, active, industrious boy, with a clear head, a kind heart, a well balanced judgment, fond of all outdoor sports and labors, and with a well knit frame and a constitution of great vitality and endurance.
Though always ready to work, he had a special dislike for the tanning business, and whenever called upon to do any work in connection with the tannery, he would find something else to 'do, and hire a boy to work there in his place. When he was a, little more than sixteen years of age, his father called upon him one day to work with him in the beam-room of the tannery. He obeyed, but expressed to his father the strong dislike he felt for the business, and his determination not to follow it after he came of age. His father replied that he did not wish him to work at it unless he was disposed to follow it in after life, and inquired what business he would like to enter :upon. He answered that he would like either to be a farmer, down-the-river: trader, or to get an education. The first, two avocations his father thought out of the question; as he was then situated, but inquired how he would like to go to the Military Academy at West Point. This suited the boy exactly, and the father hearing that there was a vacancy in his own Congressional District, then represented by the Hon. (afterward General) Thomas. S. Hamer, made application, and Ulysses was appointed immediately, and in the summer of 1839, was admitted; as a cadet in the Military Academy. The standard of admission at West Point was then very low, and he was below most of his eighty-seven classmates in scholarship. Several of them had graduated from college before entering the Academy, and all had enjoyed much better advantages than he, yet at the., end of the four years' course, only thirty-nine graduated, and among the Ulysses S. Grant stood twenty-first — midway of the class. He ranked high in mathematics and in all cavalry exercises, and had made good progress in engineering and fortification studies. His demerits were almost wholly of a trivial character, violations of some of the minor regulations of etiquette, in the buttoning of his coat, the tying of his cravat or shoes, or matters of that sort.
Dr. Coppee, now President of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who was at West Point with Grant, says of him : I remember him as a plain, common sense, straight-forward month quiet, rather of the old head on the young shoulders order, shunning notoriety; quite contented while others were fumbling taking to his military duties in a very businesslike manner, not a prominent man in the corps, but respected by all and very popular with his friends. The soubriquet of "Uncle Sam" was given him there, where every good fellow has a nickname, from these very qualities; indeed he was a very uncle-like sort of youth. He was then and always an excellent horseman, and his picture rises before me as I write, in the old torn-coat, obsolescent leather gig-top, loose riding pantaloons with spurs buckled over them, going with his clanging saber to the drill hall. He exhibited but little enthusiasm in any thing; his best standing was in the mathematical branches and their application to tactics and military engineering."
On his graduation in 1843, cadet Grant was assigned a position as brevet second lieutenant of the fourth regiment, United States Infantry, and joined his regiment in the autumn of that year, at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Missouri. He had a classmate, Frederick T. Dent, who was from St. Louis, and who had been assigned like himself to the fourth infantry. The two were warm friends, and Lieutenant Dent (now Brigadier-General Dent, on Gen. Sherman's staff) took his classmate to his own home, whenever they could obtain leave. Here he formed the acquaintance of the estimable lady, then Miss Maria Dent, whom five years subsequently be married. His stay at Jefferson Barracks was not long. In less than a year he was ordered to Camp Salubrity, Natchitoches, Louisiana, and a year later to the Mexican frontier, under the order for military occupation of Texas. There, on the 30th of September, 1845, he attained his commission as second lieutenant, and by special favor, was allowed to remain in the fourth infantry, though his appointment was originally made out (to the seventh. When the war with Mexico at last commenced, the fourth infantry formed, a part of General Zachary Taylor's army of occupation, and Lieutenant Grant took as active a part as his rank and position permitted, in the battles of Palo Alto, May 8, 1846,--Resaca de la Palma, May 9,--Monterey, September 21-23, where his gallant conduct received honorable mention from his commander, and in the siege of Vera Cruz, March 9-29, 1847. On the 1st of April, he was appointed quartermaster of the fourth infantry, preparatory to the hang and difficult march upon the city of Mexico, and he held this position from that time, to July 23, 1848, after the close of the Mexican war. But though his early experiences qualified him to fill this position with great ability, he did not, as by the army regulations he might, consider himself excused from service in the field. He was in nearly every battle of the campaign; at Cerro Gordo, April 17-18, 1847, at San Antonio, August 20, at Churubusco, the same day, at Molino del Rey, September 8, where his gallant and meritorious conduct procured him a brevet of first lieutenant, and the praise of his commander, at the storming of Chapultepec, September 13, where he won a brevet of captain and the encomiums of that stern old soldier General Worth, and at the assault and capture of the city of Mexico, September 13-18, 1847, where he obtained the more substantial honor of a promotion, two days later, to the first lieutenancy in his regiment. After the war, he was assigned to garrison duty at Sackett's Harbor, New York, for a year, then again made quartermaster of his regiment, which position he held for four years, to September 30, 1853. He had married in 1848, soon after his return from Mexico, and the next four years were passed in quiet garrison duty, at Sackett's Harbor, Detroit, Michigan, again at Sackett's Harbor, and at Fort Columbus, New York. But in 1852, he was assigned to duty at Benicia, California, and subsequently at Columbia Barracks, and at Fort Vancouver, Oregon, and Fort Humboldt, California. In August, 1853, he attained to a captaincy, and after another year's service on the Pacific slope, he resigned his commission, July 31, 1854 He was prompted to this step by several considerations. It was a time of peace, and the prospect of rapid promotion was slight, especially to a man who had, not thus far developed those brilliant qualities, which sometimes enable a man to mount rapidly, even in peace, the ladder of promotion; the pay of a captain in the regular army, especially with the great cost of every thing on the Pacific coast at that time, was not sufficient to furnish more than a bare support to a man with a family; he was liable to be assigned almost constantly, as he had been for two years already, to duty on frontier posts, where he could not take his family, and where the associations were unpleasant. He was now thirty-two years old, and if he was to be any thing more than a poor, army captain! it was time that he should make a beginning- Such are the reasons assigned by his family for this step which seemed for a time to be an unfortunate one. Shall we add another, which there is every reason for believing to be true, and which, rightly considered, does him honor? In the monotony and tedium of barrack and garrison life, and surrounded by rough associates, he had formed the habit, it is said, of drinking freely, and that habit was becoming so marked, that the War Department had thought it necessary to reprove him for it. By abandoning his associates and the associations in which he had been thrown on the Pacific coast, there was an opportunity for him to enter upon a new life, and to abstain thenceforward from this ruinous indulgence. He returned to the east, and having rejoined his family, who had remained at his father's, during his absence on the Pacific, he removed to the vicinity. of St. Louis, where his father-in-law had given his wife a small farm, and his father had stocked it, Captain Grant put in practice his resolution to abandon all intoxicating drinks, and labored zealously on his farm for four years. President Coppee speaks of having met him at St. Louis in his farmer's rig, whip in hand, and having enjoyed a very pleasant interview with him, at which Joseph J. Reynolds, Don Carlos Buell, and Major Chapman of the cavalry were also present. He adds, " If Grant had ever used spirits, as is' not unlikely, I distinctly remember that, upon the proposal being made to drink, Grant said, ' I will go in and look at you, for I never drink any thing; and the other officers who saw him frequently, afterward told me that he drank nothing but water."
But he was not destined to succeed as a farmer. He was industrious, steady, and economical, but it was all in vain. In 1858, he relinquished the farm and moved into St. Louis, and at first undertook the teal-estate business with a man named Boggs, but after few 'months' trial, finding that the business was not sufficient to support both families, he relinquished it to his partner and sought for something else. He next obtained a position in the custom house, but the death of the collector who appointed him, caused him to lose that in a few months. He had endeavored while on his farm to eke out his scanty income - by occasionally acting as collector,' as auctioneer, etc., but without any considerable success.
Meanwhile, his father had been prospering, and had, in connection with two of his younger sons, established a leather and harness store at Galena, Illinois. He now offered Ulysses a position and interest in this store,' which was gladly and thankfully accepted. For two years he continued in this business, which seemed better suited :to his tastes than the farm.
It is said, that up to this time he had been a Democrat in his political views. With his father's strong Whig and Republican sentiments, this hardly seems probable. It is more credible that, as he himself is reported to have said, he had not voted for years and had taken very little interest in national affairs. The education and general tone of feeling among the officers of the army, had made them, to a great extent, sympathizers with the South, pro-slavery in their views, and opposed to the Republicans, whom they regarded as, in some sort, the Abolitionists under a new name. How far Captain Grant shared these feelings, is uncertain.
One thing we know, he possessed that fine soldierly instinct of honor and loyalty, which was wanting in so many of his former comrades. When the Southern troops fired on the national flag at Sumter, he only knew that it was his country which' was assailed, and thenceforward there was no question of politics." On that morning of April 15, 1861," says a lady friend, who was in, his family, "he laid down the paper containing the account of the bombardment, walked round the counter, and drew on his coat, saying: `I am for the war to put down this _ wicked rebellion. The Government educated me for the army, and though I served faithfully through one war, I feel still a little in debt for my education, and am ready to discharge the, obligation.' "He went out into the streets of Galena, aided in organizing and drilling a. company of volunteers, with whom he marched to Springfield, the capital of the State. He had no ambition to serve as commander of this company, and hence declined their nomination of him for captain. Hon. E. B. Washburne, then member of Congress from the Galena District, and his firm friend, then and since, accompanied him to Springgeld, and introduced him to. Governor Yates, who at once offered him the position of adjutant-general, which he accepted, and filled very successfully, When the first quotas from Illinois had been organized, and mostly mustered into service, Adjutant-General Grant made a flying visit to his father at Covington, Kentucky, and while there, Governor Yates, finding that the colonel of the 21st Illinois volunteer regiment was entirely unfit for his position, removed him, and telegraphed Grant that he had appointed him to the vacancy. He was on his way to Springfield at that time, and immediately assumed command. In a short time they were under most admirable discipline, and an alarm occurring in regard to a Rebel attack upon Quincy, Illinois, he marched them thither on foot, a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, a 'feat at that time considered most extraordinary.
The first service to which the 21st Illinois was assigned, was to guard the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad. Several regiments having been ordered to this service, it was necessary that one of the regimental commanders should become acting brigadier-general, and control the whole, as no brigadier-general had been assigned to the command. For this office Grant, who, though the youngest colonel on the ground, was the only graduate of West Point, was selected, and took command at Mexico, Missouri, July 31, 1861. On the 9th of August, Colonel Grant was commissioned brigadier-general (his commission dating from the 17th of May), and sent with an adequate force to southern Missouri, where the rebel General Jeff. Thompson was threatening an advance. He visited Ironton, superintended the erection of fortifications there and at Marble creek, and, leaving a garrison in each place to defend it, hastened to Jefferson City, which was also threatened, and protected it from rebel attacks for ten days, when Thompson, having abandoned his purpose, General Grant left the Missouri capital to enter upon the command of the important district of Cairo.
It was while he was in southern Missouri, his biographers say, that he issued his famous special order concerning Mrs. Selvidge's pie. The incident, which illustrates somewhat ford-lily the quiet humor which is a marked characteristic of the president, was something like this In the rapid marches of his force in Southern. Missouri their rations were often scanty, and not very palatable, but the region was poor and sparsely settled, and, for the most; part, there was no chance of procuring food from the inhabitants of. the country through which they were passing. At length, however, they emerged into a better and more cultivated section, and Lieutenant Wickham, of an Indiana cavalry, regiment, who was in command of the advanced guard of eighty men, halted at a farmhouse of somewhat more comfortable appearance than any which they had passed, and entered the building with two second lieutenants. Pretending to be Brigadier-General Grant, he demanded food for himself and his staff. The family, whose loyalty was somewhat doubtful, alarmed at the idea of the Union general being on their premises, hastily; brought forward the best their house afforded, at the same time loudly protesting their attachment to the Union cause. The lieutenants ate their fill, and, offering to compensate their hosts, were told that there was nothing to pay; whereupon they went on their way, chuckling at their adroitness in getting so good a dinner for nothing. Soon after, General Grant, who had halted his; army for a short rest a few miles further back, 'came Up, and being rather favorably impressed with the Appearance of the farmhouse, rode up to the door and asked them if they would cook him a meal. The woman, who grudged the food already. furnished to the self-styled general and his staff, replied gruffly, "No General Grant and his staff have just been here, and eaten every thing in the house, except one pumpkin-pie."
"Ah !" said Grant; "what is your name ?"
"Selvidge," answered the woman.
Tossing her a half-dollar, the general asked, " Will you keep that. pie until I send an officer for it?"
"I will," said the woman.
The general and staff rode on, and soon a camping ground was selected, and the regiments were notified that there would be a grand parade at half-past six for orders. This was unusual, and neither officers nor men could imagine what was coming, The parade was formed, however; ten columns deep, and a quarter of a mile in length. After the usual review, the assistant adjutant-general read the following
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY IN THE FIELD. "Special Order, No. _____
"Lieutenant Wickham, of the Indiana Cavalry, having on this day eaten every thing in Mrs. Selvidge's house, at the crossing of the Ironton and Pocahontas and Black river and Cape. Girardeau roads, except one pumpkin pie, Lieutenant Wickham is hereby ordered to, return with an escort of one hundred cavalry, and eat that pie also.
U. S. GRANT,
The attempt to evade this order was useless, and at seven o'clock the lieutenant filed out of camp with his hundred men, amid the cheers of the whole army. The escort witnessed the eating of the pie, the whole of which the lieutenant succeeded in devouring, and returned to camp.
The post of Cairo, the headquarters of the district to the command of which General Grant was now ordered, was one, 'from its position, of great importance to the Union' cause. It commanded both the Ohio and the Upper Mississippi, and was the depot of supplies for an extensive region above, and subsequently below. Grant's command extended along the shores of the Mississippi as far as Cape Girardeau, and on the Ohio to the mouth of Green river, and included western Kentucky. That State, at this time, was trying: to maintain a neutral position, favoring neither the Union nor the rebels, a position which was as absurd. as it was soon found to be impossible.
The rebels were the first to cross the lines, and take possession of the important towns of Columbus and Hickman, on the Mississippi, and Bowling Green, on the Green river, all of which they fortified. General Grant was apprized of these violations of Kentucky's professed neutrality, and as they afforded him ample justification for occupying positions within the State, he quietly sent a body of troops, on the 6th of September, up the Ohio to Paducah, a town at the mouth of the Tennessee, and took possession of it at the time when the secessionists there were looking for the entry of the rebel troops, who were marching to occupy it. The rage of these enemies of the country can be better imagined than described. Rebel flags were flaunted in the faces of our troops, and they were told that they should not long retain possession of the town.
This did not, however, in the least disturb the equanimity of General Grant. He issued a proclamation to the inhabitants informing them of his reasons for taking possession of the town, and that he was prepared to defend the citizens against the enemy; and added, significantly, that he had nothing to do with opinions, but should deal only with armed rebellion, and its aiders and abettors.
On the 25th of September he dispatched a force to Smithland at the mouth of the Cumberland river, and took possession of that town also. The principal avenues through which the rebels had obtained supplies of food, clothing, arms, and ammunition, from the North, were thus effectually closed.
When General Grant was assigned to the command at Cairo, General McClernand's brigade and some other troops were added to his own brigade. Having taken possession of Paducah and Smithland, he now began to turn his attention to Columbus, Kentucky, an important position, held by the rebel Major-General Polk (a former bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church), with a force of twenty thousand men. He had nearly completed his arrangements for attacking this post, when the Government ordered him to send five of his regiments to St: Louis. This left him too weak to make the attack with any hope of success.
On the 16th of October, General Grant, having learned that the rebel General Jeff. Thompson was approaching Pilot Knob, Missouri, and evidently purposing an extensive raid through southeastern Missouri, ordered fifteen hundred men, under Colonel Plummer, then stationed at Cape Girardeau, to move towards Fredericktown, Missouri, by way of Jackson and Dallas, forming a junction at the latter place with Colonel Carlin, who had been ordered to move with three thousand men from another point, and, pursuing Thompson, to defeat and rout his force. The expeditions were successful. Thompson was found oh the 21st of October, not far from Dallas, on the Greenville road, and, after an action of two and a half hours, defeated and routed with very heavy loss. Colonel Plummer captured in this engagement fort-two prisoners and one twelve-pounder.
By this expedition, General Grant ascertained the position and strength of Jeff. Thompson's forces, and learned also that the rebels were concentrating a considerable force at Belmont, Missouri, nearly opposite Columbus, Kentucky, with' a view to blockade the Mississippi river, and to move speedily upon his position at Cairo. Having received orders to that effect from his superior officers, General Grant resolved to break up this camp, although aware that the rebels could be reinforced to almost any extent from Columbus, Kentucky.
On the evening of the 6th of November, General Grant embarked two brigades, in all about two thousand eight hundred and fifty men, under his own and General McClernand's command, on board river steamers, and moved down the Mississippi. He had previously detached small bodies of troops to threaten Columbus from different directions, and to deceive the rebels as to his intentions. The ruse was successful, and the force which he commanded in person reached the vicinity of Belmont, and landed before the enemy had comprehended their intention. The Union troops, disembarking with great promptness, marched rapidly towards the rebel camp, a distance of about two and a half miles, and, forcing their way through a dense abatis and other obstructions, charged through, the camp, capturing their camp equipage, artillery, and small-arms, and, burned the tents, blankets, etc. They also took a large number of prisoners. The rebel force at the camp was not far from 4000, but General Polk, learning of the attack, sent over as reinforcements eight regiments, or somewhat more than 4000 more troops, under the command of Generals Pillow and Cheat ham, and finally crossed the river himself and took command.
General Grant having accomplished all, and more than he expected, and being aware that Belmont was covered by the batteries at Columbus, and that heavy reinforcements could be readily sent from thence, made no attempt to hold the position, but withdrew in good order.. On their way to their transports, the: Union troops were confronted by the fresh rebel force under Polk's Command, and a severe battle ensued, during which a considerable number of the rebel prisoners made their escape; and there were heavy losses in killed and wounded on both sides, the Union loss amounting to nearly one hundred killed, and four hundred or five hundred wounded and missing, the larger part of whom were prisoners. What was the exact rebel loss has never transpired, but it is known to have been larger than this, the number of prisoners alone exceeding the total Union loss- The Union troops at length succeeded in reaching their transports and re-embarking, under the protection of the gunboats Tyler and Lexington, which had convoyed them, bringing with them two cannon which they had captured, and spiking two others, which they were obliged to abandon.
On the 20th of December, General Halleck, who was then in command of the western department, reorganized the districts of. his command, and enlarged the district of Cairo, including in it all the southern portion of Illinois, all of Kentucky west of the Cumberland river, and the southern counties of Missouri, and appointed Brigadier-General Grant commander of the new district. The large numbers of troops newly mustered in, which were pouring into the district, kept the commander and his subordinate officers very busy for five or six weeks in organizing; training, and distributing them to the points where their services were required- Desirous of testing the capacity and endurance of his raw troops, for the severe work which was before them, Brigadier-General Grant made, on the 14th of January, 1862, a reconnoissance in force into southeastern Missouri, which proved successful in all respects. He next, while keeping up a feint of attacking Columbus, Kentucky, prepared to co-operate with the gunboat flotilla, under the command of Flag Officer A. H. Foote, in an attack upon the two rebel forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, Forts Henry and Donelson. This attack was first suggested by that able officer, General: Charles F. Smith, who died shortly after the battle of Shiloh, but it was pressed upon General Halleck, then in command of the Department of the Mississippi, by General Grant, with such. pertinacity and earnestness, that it was finally ordered by that officer. The attack on Fort Henry, a small but strong work on the Tennessee river, was first in the order of time, and General Grant's part in it was delayed by the condition of the roads so much that General Tilghman, who was in command had time to send off most of his troops to Fort Donelson, and surrendered the remainder to Flag-officer Foote after a brief action, before General Grant reached the immediate vicinity of the fort.
Grant proceeded immediately to attack the much more considerable fortress of Donelson, on the Cumberland, which. here approaches within a few miles of the Tennessee. This fortress had a garrison of fifteen or sixteen thousand rebel troops, and was not a remarkably strong work, though from its position it was somewhat difficult to carry by assault. Grant had about 16,000 troops with him, most of whom had not been in any action, and the number was insufficient to invest so large a fort properly. He was reluctant, however, to await the coming of the gunboats, which had carried off the glory at Fort Henry, and hence commenced operations at once, and carried some of the outworks. The gunboats came up on the morning of the 14th (the Carondelet having arrived the previous day, and made a short assault, but without particular result), and went into action, while an attack was made by the troops on the landside. Unfortunately, the best gunboats were soon disabled, and Flag-officer Foote himself wounded, and they were compelled to withdraw; and the land attack was not simultaneous, or forcibly delivered. The assault upon, or siege of a fort, was new business to the national troops, and their commander had had but little experience in it; but he resolved to besiege the enemy. The next, morning, however, before the arrangements for the siege were fully completed, the rebels made a sortie, broke the Union line, and captured two batteries of artillery. The Union troops rallied, and retook most of their guns; but the conflict was of uncertain issue, and could have been easily turned in favor of either side, when General Grant, who had been coolly looking on, ordered General Charles F. Smith's division to charge the enemy. The order was obeyed with great spirit by the veteran officer, and General Grant followed it by ordering up Lew Wallace's division, which had broken in the morning, but which now charged bravely at the other end of the line. These divisions gained a position within the outer lines, of the fort; and Generals Pillow and Floyd, who were the senior rebel generals in command, were convinced that the fort would be captured, and insisted on making their escape. General Buckner protested, but in vain. They fled before daylight, taking a few troops with them; and Buckner, who had been at West Point with Grant, sent a flag of truce, on the morning of February 16th, to the Union headquarters, asking for an armistice, and the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation. Grant's answer has become historic, as it deserved. It was :—" No terms, other than unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." This brought the haughty Buckner to terms, and though protesting against " the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms," he surrendered at once; and 14,623 prisoners, and a large amount of materials of war, were delivered over to the Union general. This success was due mainly to three causes—the superior fighting qualities of Grant's force, though raw troops; the calmness and coolness of the general himself, which enabled him to discern the favorable moment for a bold and decisive stroke when the conflict was evenly poised; and the cowardice and Weakness of the rebel generals. As a siege, or a systematic action for the reduction of a fort, it would not bear criticism; and we doubt not the general himself is as fully aware of this, and would now criticise it as severely as any one else.
After the capture of Donelson, and the occupation of Clarks and Nashville by Buell's forces, General Grant came near lining into disfavor with General Halleck for trespassing upon General Buell's command. He was however speedily forgiven, and sent forward to the vicinity of Corinth, Mississippi, to select a camp for his army, and bring it up to a suitable point for giving battle to the rebels. There can be no question that Corinth should have been the place selected, and that, for two or three weeks, it might have been seized and held without difficulty. Failing in this, through manifold delays, the camp should have been on the north bank of the Tennessee. Instead of this, by some blunder it was located near the south bank of the river, at Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh Church, and the troops as they came up were allowed to choose their locations very much as they pleased; and though they were less than twenty miles from the enemy's camp, no patrols or pickets were maintained in the direction of the enemy, nor any breastworks erected; and all was ease and unconcern. General Grant's headquarters were at Savannah, six miles below, and the troops as they arrived were sent forward. Meantime, the rebels were at Corinth, under the command of the ablest general of their army, General Albert Sydney Johnston, and, having accumulated a large force, were ready to take the offensive. Grant had been promoted to be major-general of volunteers, dating from February 16th, 1862, the day of the surrender of Fort Donelson, and had been in command of the district of West Tennessee from March 5th; but he seems not to have had any provision of the magnitude of the coming battles, if indeed his easy victory at Fort Donelson, had not inspired him with a doubt whether there would be a battle at all. He evidently did not consider it imminent, for he had sent word to Buell that he need not hasten. It was to this picturesque, but decidedly unmilitary collection of camps, that the rebel general, A. AS. Johnston, one of the ablest soldiers of the present century, was approaching, with a force of over 40,000 men, on the 2d of April, 1862, and anticipating. as he had a right to do, an easy victory. he heavy rain and deep mud delayed him for three days within six or eight miles of the Union camp, but no one discovered his approach. On the morning of the 6th of April he attacked Prentiss's division; and though they made a gallant resistance, for men utterly surprised, they were soon broken, and many of them taken prisoners. Sherman's division held their ground firmly for a time, and finally, by falling back a short distance, obtained a better position, from which they were only partially pushed back during the day. Hurlburt's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions were partially broken, but fought sturdily, yet despairingly, through the day. The fugitives and deserters were numerous, and the whole force was driven back for nearly two and a half miles, till they only occupied about half a mile on the river bank. The outlook seemed a gloomy one, but the occasion was one which developed all the great qualities of Grant. On the field from ten o'clock, A. M., directing, with the utmost coolness and imperturbability, the movements of the troops—ordering the gathering of the scattered artillery, and massing it where it could be used most effectually upon the enemy--availing himself of the gunboats as soon as possible, to protect by their fire the position of his troops—noticing every thing that was transpiring, and yet to all human appearance the calmest and most self-possessed man on the field—his conduct during the battle merits only the highest praise. Toward the close of the day, an officer said to him, " Does not the prospect begin to look gloomy ?" " Not at all," was his quiet reply; "they can't force our lines around these batteries tonight—it is too late. Delay counts every thing with us. Tomorrow we shall attack them with fresh troops, and drive them, of course!" He was right. The enemy, exhausted, and suffering from the heavy fire of the batteries and gunboats, could not dislodge them that night; and during the night Lew. Wallace's division crossed the river, and Buell came up ready to cross. The contest of the next day, April 7th, though a sharp one, was in favor of the Union troops from the beginning, and by a little after noon the rebels, who had lost their commanding general the day before, were in full retreat.
The losses were about equal, and amounted in both armies, in killed, wounded, missing; and prisoners, to nearly 30,000. Grant's army held their positions and the rebels fell back; the former were therefore entitled to claim it as a victory, but it was a costly one. General Halleck now took the field in person, and under the pretence of making Grant his second in commands virtually took all command from him. This led to a coolness between the two, and Grant was for a tithe greatly depressed in spirits. He took part in the siege of Corinth, but was constantly hampered by the dilatoriness of his chief. After General Hal. leek was called to Washington as general-in-chief, Grant was in command of the Army of the Tennessee, but was unable to do much until September, Bragg and Buell being engaged in the race into Kentucky and back. He planned, however, the movements which resulted in the battle of Iuka, September 18 Where he commanded in person; and in the battles of Corinth; October 3d and 4th, which were fought by General Rostcrane; and in the battle of the Hatchie, October 5th, which was under his immediate direction: In the autumn he made his headquarters in Memphis, where he soon, by his stringent and decided orders, changed that state of affairs, which had led the rebels to say, that Memphis was more valuable to them in Union hands than in those of their own people.
The popular clamor throughout the country., and particularly in the West; was for the opening of the Mississippi. Vicksburg en the north, and Port Hudson on the south, blockaded all transit up or down this great river, so long the free channel of western produce and traffic. The efforts which had been made to break through these obstructions since the war commenced, had all failed, from the inherent strength of the fortifications the difficulty of assailing them effectually in front, and the strength of their garrisons. General Grant had turned his attention to the solution of this great problem, almost as soon. as the command of the Department of the Tennessee was assigned to him, in October, 1862. He was aware of the formidable character of the fortifications of Vicksburg, and that they had been, during 1862, strengthened by every method and device known to engineering skill. For ten miles and more, the eastern shore of the Mississippi, above and below the city, as well as all the adjacent heights, Chickasaw Bluffs, Walnut Bluffs, Haines' Bluff and the shores of the Yazoo, were covered with fortifications, and the rear of the city also. At many points, these stood tier above tier, and were capable of pouring a concentrated fire upon any object in the river, which it seemed as if. nothing built by human hands could resist. His first plan was to distribute his stores and supplies along the Mississippi Central railroad, and then moving rapidly down that road, ate sault and carry Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, and march thence swiftly upon the rear of Vicksburg, sending General W. T. Sherman from Memphis, with a considerable force to demonstrate simultaneously on Chickasaw Bluffs, at the north. west of the city.
This plan, which seemed the most feasible one, was defeated by the cowardice and treachery of Colonel Murphy, who, with a force of 1,000 men, was in command at Holly Springs, Mississippi, Grant's main depot of supplies, and surrendered without attempting any defence, on the 20th of December, 1862, to a rebel force slightly larger than his own. The rebels hastily destroyed the supplies, valued at $4,000,000, and evacuated the place. But Grant could not go on with his expedition, and unfortunately he was unable to apprise General Sherman, and prevent his departure; and after a succession of disastrous assaults upon the bluffs, finding that General Grant had failed to come to time, that general was obliged to withdraw with heavy losses. But Grant was not the man to give up an enterprise on which he had set his heart, in consequence of a single repulse. Renewing his stock of supplies, he next turned his attention to some plan, as yet he hardly knew what, for carrying the fortress, from the front. He moved his army to Young's Point, Louisiana, a, short distance above Vicksburg. He soon found that there was no hope of reaching the rear of the city by a movement from the east bank of the Mississippi above it. A line of hills, admirably adapted, and as admirably improved for defence, stretched from Vicksburg to Haines' Bluff on the Yazoo, twelve miles above the entrance of that stream into the Mississippi. The land in front of these hills is a deep marsh, neither land nor water. There remained then but two courses, either to enter the Yazoo above Haines' Bluff and coming down to the east of that fortified point, attack the city in rear, or finding some mode of passing or evading the batteries on the Mississippi, land some distance below, and approach it from the south. There was also a faint hope that by completing a canal, begun the previous summer, across the neck of land formed' by the bend of the Mississippi, and thus creating a new Channel for that river, the Union vessels might be able to pass below the city, but the fact that the lower end of the canal was exposed to the fire of some of the heaviest batteries, made this project less feasible, and the flood destroyed their works, and Partially filled the canal with silt and mud.
The attempts to gain the rear of the city by way of the Yazoo were equally unsuccessful, both through the Old Yazoo. Pass, and subsequently by amore circuitous route through Steele'. Bayou, Black Bayou, Dutch creek, Deer creek, Rolling Fork and Sunflower river; the rebels having planted earthworks and batteries at such points as to prevent progress by either.
Turning his attention then to the methods of reaching the Mississippi below Vicksburg, two routes were attempted on the west side of the river and both failed; one was by Lake Providence and the Tensas river, a tortuous route and only practicible for vessels of light draft; the other by way of certain, Louisiana bayous, through which in flood time it was possible to reach the Tensas, Red, and Mississippi rivers. Before the vessels Gould reach their destination, the water fell, and even the steamers of lightest draught could not get through. A small quantity of supplies was forwarded by the Lake Providence route, but nothing more. General Grant now determined to march his troops by land down the west side of the river as soon as the roads should be sufficiently dry, But it was necessary that a part of the gunboats and iron clads should be below Vicksburg, both in order to ferry the troops across the river and to engage the batteries at Grand Gulf, and a considerable amount of supplies must also be sent down by transports. These must all run past the terrible batteries of Vicksburg.
Admiral Porter undertook this heroic and daring expedition, and conducted it successfully, running past the batteries with five or six gunboats and sixteen or eighteen transports. in two divisions, on different nights. Two of the transports were burned, but none of the gunboats were seriously injured.
The overland march of the troops occupied thirty days, in traversing a distance of seventy miles, to Hard Times, a hamlet Louisiana nearly opposite Grand Gulf, The squadron were and Attacked Grand Gulf, but could not silence its batteries. That night both the squadron and transports ran past the batteries, and the troops marched ten miles farther, and were ferried over to Bruinsburg and marched rapidly from this point northeastward toward Port Gibson. The thirteenth and seventeenth corps encountered a considerable force of the enemy, whom they defeated after a sharp battle, and moved on to and across Bayou Pierre. The next day it was ascertained that Grand Gulf, which had been flanked by this movement, had been evacuated, and General Grant repaired thither with a small escort, and made arrangements to make it his base of supplies for a time. These arrangements occupied nearly a week. By his orders, as nearly as possible simultaneously with the landing of the two corps at Bruinsburg, General Sherman had made a strong demonstration upon Haines' Bluff and the Yazoo, and had thus attracted the attention of the rebels toward that quarter, where they believed the entire Union army were concentrated, and prevented them from opposing their landing below.
This being accomplished, Sherman's troops made all speed in marching to the rendezvous on the river, where the transports were in waiting to take them over to Grand Gulf.
Before leaving Young's Point, General Grant had also ordered an expedition by a competent cavalry force, under the command of Colonel, now General Benjamin H. Grierson, to start from Lagrange, at the junction of the Mississippi Central and Memphis and Charleston railroads, to follow the lines of the Mobile and Ohio and Mississippi Central railroads, and destroy as much of these, and the Meridian and Jackson railroad, as possible,—capturing and destroying also all stores, ammunition, locomotives, and railroad cars possible, in their route. This expedition was thoroughly successful, and reached Baton Rouge on the 1st of May, at the time Grant was fighting the battle of Port Gibson. Other raids were ordered about the same time from Middle Tennessee, which aided in breaking up the railroad communications and frustrating the plans of the rebels.
Our space does not allow us to go into details of the subsequent masterly movements by which, while apparently threatening an immediate attack on Vicksburg from the south, the garrison there, under the command. of General Pemberton, were prevented from forming a junction with General J. E. Johnston's troops, then in the vicinity of Jackson, nor of the battle of Raymond, the capture of Jackson, and the destruction of the property and manufactories of the rebel Government there; the rapid march westward, the severe battles of Champion Hill and of Black River bridge, and the eminently skilful management of the corps of Generals Sherman and McPherson. Suffice it to say, that General Grant interposed his army between the forces of Johnston and Pemberton, drove the former, broken and routed, northward, and compelled the latter to put himself and his defeated army as soon as possible within the defences of Vicksburg; and on the 18th the Union army sat down before Vicksburg, having completely invested it on the land side and opened communication with their squadron and transports by way of Walnut Bluffs, above the river. On the 19th of May, and again on the 22d, General Grant ordered assaults upon the beleaguered city, neither of which were successful, except in gaining some ground and expediting the subsequent regular approaches. The army now became satisfied that the stronghold Could only be captured by a systematic siege, and General Grant accordingly took all precautions to make that siege effective, and to prevent the rebel General Johnston from approaching With sufficient force to raise the siege. Day by day the parallels were brought nearer and nearer, and finally came so near that the rebels could not use their cannon, while the Union artillery from the adjacent hills, and from the squadron, constantly showered their iron hail upon the devoted city. The inhabitants and the rebel army dug caves in the bluffs, and endeavored to shelter themselves from the fiery storm, but these were often penetrated by the shells from the batteries, or blown up in the explosion of the forts. At length, on the third of July, General Grant was prepared to order an assault, which could not have failed of success, when overtures were made for a surrender, and the city. was delivered into the hands of the Union army on the 4th of July, 1863.
It is stated that at the interview between General Grant and General Pemberton, after shaking hands, and a short silence, General Pemberton said :
" General Grant, I meet you in order to arrange terms for the capitulation of the city of Vicksburg and its garrison. What terms do you demand ?"
" Unconditional surrender," replied General Grant. "Unconditional surrender!" said Pemberton. "Never, so long as I have a man left me 1 I will fight rather."
"Then, sir, you can continue the defence," replied Grant, "My army has never been in a better condition for the prosecution of the siege," ..
During this conversation, General Pemberton was greatly agitated, trembling with emotion from head to foot, while Grant was as calm and imperturbable as a May morning. After a somewhat protracted interview, during which General Grant, in consideration of the courage and tenacity of the garrison, explained the terms he was disposed to allow to them on their unconditional surrender, the two generals separated, an armistice having been declared till morning, when the question of surrender was to be finally determined. The same evening General Grant transmitted to General Pemberton, in writing, the propositions he had made during the afternoon for the disposal of the garrison should they surrender. These terms were very liberal, far more so than those usually acceded to a conquered garrison.
The rebel loss in this campaign had been very great, larger has often been experienced in the campaigns of modern times, and utterly without precedent in the previous history of his continent. The number of prisoners captured by the Union troops, from the landing at Bruinsburg to, and including the surrender of Vicksburg, was 34,620, including one lieutenant-general and nineteen major and brigadier-generals; and 11,800 men were killed, wounded, or deserters. There were also among the spoils of the campaign two hundred and eleven field-pieces, ninety siege guns, and 45,000 small arms. The Union losses had been 943 killed, 7,095 wounded, and 537 missing, making a total of casualties of 8,575, and of the wounded, nearly one half returned to duty within a month.
Having disposed of his prisoners at Vicksburg, General Grant dispatched General Sherman with an adequate force to Jackson, to defeat and break up Johnston's army, and destroy the rebel stores collected there, in both which enterprises he was successful.
During the long period of two and a quarter years since he had entered the army, General Grant had never sought or received a day's furlough. But after this great victory, and while the thanks of the President, the Cabinet, Congress, and the people, were lavished upon him without stint, he sought for a few days' rest with his family, and received it. His stay with them was brief, and he returned to his duties, descending the Missisippi—now, thanks to his skilful generalship, open to the navigation of all nations, from its mouth to the falls of St. Anthony New Orleans, to confer with General Banks relative to the operations of the autumn. While here, on the 4th of September he was seriously injured by being thrown from his horse while reviewing the troops of General Banks' department.
From these injuries he did not recover sufficiently to take the field, till late in October. Meantime, there had been hard fighting, as well as weary marches, and severe privations endured by the Army of' the Cumberland. General Rosecrans, moving forward in June, had driven General Bragg, not without considerable fighting, from Tullahoma, and through southern Tennessee, into and out of Chattanooga, and, throwing a small garrison into that town, had marched southward to intercept Bragg's further retreat, and compel him to fight. Bragg, meantime, strongly reinforced from the Army of Northern Virginia, had joined battle with him in the valley of Chickamauga creek, where on the 19th and 20th of September, 1862, was fought one of the great actions of the war. Though not absolutely defeated, Rosecrans had found it necessary to fall back to Chattanooga, which he held, though closely beleaguered by Bragg, who had compelled him to relinquish some of his most important communications, and drag his supplies over sixty miles of the worst mountain roads in the southwest. This measure was but temporary, however, and was about to be remedied, when he was relieved of the command, to which General Thomas was assigned. General Sherman, now in the command of the Army of the Tennessee, was ordered up to his support, and two corps sent from the Army of the Potomac, under Generals Hooker and Howard. This magnificent army was placed under General Grant's command, as the Military Division of the Mississippi, On Grant's arrival at Chattanooga, his first care was to open communications, and provide for full supplies for his soldiers, who had been on half rations for some time. Bragg, at this time, sent Longstreet's corps to Knoxville, to drive Burnside from east Tennessee, and unaware of Grant'slarge reinforcements, he proved true to his name, and on the 21st of November, 1863, sent this arrogant message to General Grant by flag of truce.
"Humanity would dictate the removal of all non-combatants from Chattanooga, as I am about to shell the city."
General Grant made no reply to the threat at the moment, but his answer was speedily returned, and proved so effectual, that Bragg gave up all idea of " shelling the city" from that time forward.
Sherman's Army of the Tennessee had been coming into the city and its vicinity, since the 15th of November, by roads which led to the rear, and hence had not been observed by Bragg's lookout; and on the evening of the 28d of November, lay concealed above Chattanooga, on the north bank, and ready for the crossing. Then followed that admirably planned combination of movements which reflected so much skill on Grant's strategic ability. General Thomas, with the Army of the Cumberland, marched out with all the order and stateliness of a grand review, and while the enemy looked on and wondered, seized Orchard Knob, their most advanced position, held and fortified it. Hooker, with his eastern troops, marching along the western flank of Lookout Mountain, suddenly climbed its steep sides, and rising from one elevation to another, drove the enemy up and over the crest of the mountain—the batteries echoing and reverberating among the mountains till, with the *alleys below obscured by clouds and smoke, which did not rise his own lofty position, he fought that battle above the clouds which has been so greatly celebrated; and Sherman advancing, destroyed the railway, and captured, with but slight effort, the most advanced post of the enemy at the northeast. Such was the work of November 24th; that of November 25th was more serious, but crowned with perfect success. Hooker, descending from the eastern and less precipitous slope of Lookout Mountain, some distance below Chattanooga,. pursued the flying rebels up to the crest of Mission Ridge, and drove them from Fort Bragg, the southernmost of their forts crossing the Ridge. Sherman, by persistent pounding and repeated assaults upon Fort Buckner, the northernmost of their forts, had succeeded in drawing a considerable portion of the garrison of the central fort, Fort Breckinridge, to the support of the Fort Buckner garrison, and when, at a little past three o'clock P. M., the signal guns sounded from Fort Wood, on Orchard Knob, the picked men of the Army of the Cumberland sprang to arms, climbed the precipitous sides of Mission Ridge, under a most terrific fire, swept through Fort Breckinridge, and drove the foe, pell mell, down the farther slope of the Ridge, and Sherman's men possessed themselves quietly of the fort, against which they had flung themselves so fiercely all day. No more brilliant action occurred during the war; and when it was followed by a prompt pursuit of the enemy, and by sending Sherman with his wearied, but always obedient and victorious troops, to. Knoxville, to compel Longstreet to raise the siege of that town, and to drive him among the mountains of western Virginia in midwinter, the admiration of the nation for Grant knew no bounds. The President but expressed the popular feeling, when he sent to the successful general the following telegraphic dispatch :
On the 17th of December, 1868, Congress by joint resolution tendered him the national gratitude and provided for the preparation of a gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be presented to him in token of the national sense of his services. The Legislatures of the loyal States vied with each other in their resolutions of thanks and in their grants of funds, etc., while many private individuals added their gifts. The Senate at the beginning of its session had confirmed, almost by acclamation, the rank of major-general in the regular army which had been bestowed upon him by the President in the summer, his commission dating from July 4, 1863.
The recipient of these numerous honors seemed in no wise" elated by them; he was as simple and unpretending in his manners, as reticent on all political topics, and as averse to any thing looking like display, as when he was a farmer at St. Louis, or a clerk at Galena.
There was yet much to be done to bring his army at Chattanooga into good condition. His communications with his bases at Nashville and Louisville must be repaired and strengthened, his men better fed, supplies accumulated at Chattanooga and Nashville, for the campaigns in the not distant future in Georgia.
In concert with his tried friend and trusty lieutenant, Sherman, he planned an expedition into the heart of the enemy's territory at Meridian, Mississippi, to be met by one from Memphis, down the Mobile and Ohio railroad, which, by thoroughly breaking their lines of communication, should cripple their movements in the future, and during the months of January, while General Orman was completing the details of this enterprise, he visited and inspected in person all the posts and stations of his widely extended command. The Meridian expedition. was but partial success, owing to the failure of the cavalry portion of it to co-operate effectively; but it seriously embarrassed the rebels in their subsequent operations.
While it was in progress, Major-General Grant was summoned to Washington, where he was called to assume new and still . higher responsibilities. Congress had resolved to revive the grade of lieutenant-general, which had been borne as a full rank only by General Washington (General Scott's title being only by brevet); and a law to that effect having been passed, the 'President at once conferred the rank upon Major-General Grant and the Senate confirmed it. The commission bore the date of March 2d, 1864, and on the 9th of that month the President delivered it to him in person, accompanied by a brief address expressive of his own pleasure in doing him such an honor, and a word of monition as to the great responsibilities which it would devolve upon him. On the 12th of March, the President, by official order, invested the lieutenant-general with the command of the armies of the United States; at the same time appointing, at Lieutenant-General Grant's instance, Major-General W. T. Sherman, commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi; General McPherson, commander of the Army of the Tennessee, and General Halleck, hitherto general in chief, chief of staff of the army, to reside in Washington.
The subsequent seven or eight weeks were busy ones for General Grant. The various commands of the army were to be visited, a simultaneous campaign for the two armies arranged with General Sherman, supplies collected and troops accumulated to a far greater extent than at any previous time; the, army corps to be strengthened and some of them reorganized, and all preparations made for a campaign which should end only with the war. The armies of the eastern division, which were to operate against the rebel General Lee, he proposed to command a person; those of the west were to be directed by MajorGeneral Sherman. His own especial command, as reorganize under his supervision. consisted of; first, the army of the Pot( mac, numbering in all 130,000 men, though at the commencement of the campaign, a part were not yet present; this was Commanded by General George G. Meade, an able and experienced officer, and its corps commanders were Hancock, Warren Sedgwick, and Burnside. It confronted Lee's army free the north side of the Rapidan. Second, the army of the Jame consisting of about 80,000 troops, under the command of Major- General Butler, with General Gillmore as a subordinate; this was in a position to strike either at Richmond or Petersburg Third, the army of the Shenandoah, under the command o Major-General Franz Sigel, then about 17,000 strong, but subs( quently increased by the addition of the nineteenth army corps from the Department of the Gulf. Besides these there was a strong cavalry force, under the command of the young but efficient general, Philip H. Sheridan. The forward movement was made on the 4th of May, 1864, and resulted in the bloody but indecisive battles of the Wilderness, May 5 and 6, 1864, a forward movement by the left flank to Spottsylvania, and a series of battles there, May 8-21, hardly more decisive, and not less bloody than the preceding; another flank movement to an across the North Anna, and two, days of hard fighting, May *1425; a recrossing of the North Anna, a flanking of the enemy and crossing of the Pamunkey, and the battle of Tolopotomoy
May 28 and 29, and of Bethesda church, May 30. 'Another at tempt to surprise the enemy by a flank movement, brought the armies face to face at Cold Harbor, one of the battleground 1862, but this time with the positions of the two armies reversed.
Finding himself unable to gain the flank of Lee's army--that general moving on interior and shorter lines, and though with an inferior force, being fully his equal in military strategy—Lieutenant-General Grant now took the resolution of throwing the Army of the Potomac south of the James, and assailing Petersburg and Richmond from that direction. His losses in - this month of battles had been frightful, nearly 60,000 men being hors du combat, either among the slain, wounded, or prisoners. He had inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, but they were not equal to his own, as their numbers were materially less; but, with that pertinacity and resolution which is so striking an element of his character, he would not relax his efforts in the least, and was determined to pound away upon his foes till he had ground them to powder. Crossing the James successfully, he commenced a series of assaults on Petersburg, but without any considerable success. The construction of siege lines around the city, to the east and south; the mining of one of its forts; demonstrations alternately toward the Weldon and the Southside railroads, followed; but with not much better result. His cavalry, under Sheridan, Wilson, and Kautz, were kept actively employed in raids upon the enemy's lines of communication. The army of the Shenandoah had made lamentable failures under Sigel and Hunter, and their adversary, Early, had descended into Maryland, threatened Baltimore and Washington, and only been driven from the vicinity of the capital, by the hurried advance of troops from the Army of the Potomac and the Department of the Gulf. The Government, always in terror of attacks upon the capital, clamored loudly for protection; but while General Grant would not farther weaken his force around Petersburg, he sent a man to command the Department of the Shenandoah, who was himself worth an army corps. General Sheridan, in a succession of well-planned and hard-fought battles, disposed of General Early, and subsequently raided through the whole Shenandoah and Luray valleys, laying them desolate, for the aid, shelter and support they had given to the bands of guerrillas. The autumn and early winter was consumed in attempts to cut the lines of communication from the west and southwest of Petersburg and Richmond, by which the rebel armies were supplied. The Virginia and Tennessee road was destroyed by Gillem and Stoneman; the Manassas and Lynchburg roads, the James River canal and the slack water navigation broken up, and the supplies in the warehouses destroyed by Sheridan; and at each effort along Hatcher's Run some ground was gained, and a nearer approach made to the only artery of communication which remained, the Southside railroad. This was accomplished at a heavy cost of life, but there was an advance which betokened the speedy corning of the end.
Meantime, Admiral Farragut had, in the grandest of naval battles, defeated the squadron and captured the forts which defended Mobile Bay; Sherman had, after a campaign of great severity, captured Atlanta, and partially destroyed it—had moved onward, with his vast columns, to the sea—had captured Savannah—and, turning northward, had swept, as with the besom of destruction, South Carolina, compelling the surrender of Charleston, and the other principal towns of South and North Carolina; the forts which had protected the harbor of Wilmington, North Carolina, had succumbed, on a second attack, to the prowess of Admiral Porter and General Terry—and Wilmington itself had fallen before Terry and Schofield; General Thomas had driven Hood out of Tennessee, with such terrible slaughter that he could not assemble another army.
All things portended the speedy collapse of this formidable rebellion. Grant now moved forward; and after some hard fighting, Sheridan, under his direction, carried the strong position of Five Forks, and drove those of the enemy who were not slain or captured, westward, where they could not aid in continuing the defence of Lee's already weakened lines. April 2d, 1865, the line of the Southside railroad was thoroughly broken; April 3d, the cities of Petersburg and Richmond were evacuated and surrendered. The flying rebel army, bereft of supplies, hungry and despairing, were pursued unremittingly; and on the 9th of April, General Lee surrendered to General Grant the remnant of the Army of Virginia. Then came the entrance into Richmond; the President's visit there; and the sad scene of the assassination of the President, whose fate General Grant only escaped by the providence of God, which called him suddenly to Philadelphia that night. The news of the proposed terms of capitulation offered to Johnston by General Sherman, coming just at this juncture, roused, on the part of the Government, such strong disapproval, that General Grant immediately went to Raleigh, and by wise and adroit management saved his friend from disgrace, and the country from any evils which might have resulted from Sherman's terms.
The speedy end of the war ensued, and General Grant's duties thenceforward were rather administrative than military. He made a tour through the Southern States in 1865, and subseqently flying visits to the northern cities. The gratitude of the people for his eminent services followed him. A residence was presented to him at Galena, another in Philadelphia, and another still in Washington. The merchants of New York raised a hundred thousand dollars as an indication of their sense of his great services to the country. On the 25th of July, 1866, Congress created the grade of fall general, hitherto unknown to our country, and stipulating that it should lapse after his death or resignation of it, conferred it upon him. In the summer of 1866, by express command of the President, General Grant accompanied him in his western tour; but he sought in vain to commit him to any approval of his cause and policy. Subsequently, in August; 1867, when Mr. Johnson's long and ill-disguised hatred of the Secretary of War broke out into hostility, and he demanded Mr. Stanton's resignation, on the refusal of that officer to resign, Mr. Johnson suspended him from office and appointed General Grant Secretary ad interim. The general accepted the position, managed the office wisely and well, and when the Senate decided that Mr. Stanton's removal was unjustifiable, surrendered it at once to the Secretary. This act excited Mr. Johnson's anger, and he sought, in a series of letters, but with his usual ill-success, to fasten upon the general charges of insincerity, inveracity, and treachery.
Having returned to the duties of his office as the Commanding General of the Armies of the United States, General Grant took no farther part in politics, and neither by word nor act showed any disposition to take sides in the impeachment trial of the President (Johnson) which followed. At the National Convention of the Republican party, held in Chicago, May 20th-22d, 18(8, General Grant was nominated for the Presidency, and Hon. Schuyler Colfax for the Vice-Presidency. His nomination was almost by acclamation. As lie had not previously been in any way active as a politician, and little was known definitely of his political views, we give for purposes of reference the platform adopted by the convention which nominated him, and his letter of acceptance.*
* REPUBLICAN PLATFORM.
The National Republican Part's of the United States, assembled in National Convention in the City of Chicago, on the 21st day of May, 1868, make the following Declaration of Principles.
1. We congratulate the country on the assured success of the Reconstruction policy of Congress, as evinced by the adoption, in the Majority o the States lately in rebellion, of Constitutions securing Equal Civil and the 5th of March. They were as follows : Secretary of State E. B. Washburne of Illinois; Secretary of the Treasury, A. T. Stewart of New York; Secretary of War, John M. Schofield of New York; Secretary of the Navy, Adolphe E. Borie of Pennsylvania; Secretary of the Interior, Jacob D. Cox of Ohio; Postmaster-General, John A. J. Creswell of Maryland; Attorney-General, E. Rockwood Hoar of Massachusetts frankly and honestly co-operate with us in restoring the peace of the country and reconstructing the Southern State governments upon the basis of Impartial Justice and Equal Rights, are received back into the communion of the loyal people; and we favor the removal of the disqualifications and restrictions imposed upon the late Rebels in the same measure as their spirit of loyalty will direct, and as may be consistent with the safety of' the loyal people.
Resolved, That we recognize the great principles laid down in the immortal Declaration of Independence, as the true foundation of democratic government; and we hail with gladness every effort toward making these principles a living reality on every inch of American soil.
In accepting the nomination, General Grant wrote the following letter:
Here began President Grant's administration, which was not without its troubles. Mr. Stewart, being an importer, was found to be constitutionally ineligible to the office of Secretary of the Treasury. The law which made him ineligible was one enacted many years since, and a strong effort was made to have it repealed. But this proved ineffectual, and on the 11th of March the name of George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts was substituted for that of Mr. Stewart.
Mr. Washburne's appointment was purely honorary, and designed to be temporary, so that an early successor was expected. Mr. Washburne's declining health precipitated a change, and the name of Hamilton Fish was sent in as his successor. On the same date the name of John A. Rawlins, late Grant's chief of staff was submitted as Secretary of War.
Three months later Mr. Boric, who found the duties of the Navy Department uncongenial, sent in his resignation, and on June 25th George M. Robeson of New Jersey was nominated as his successor. These changes did not place the Administration in good working order. Others took place during the year. Secretary Rawlins died on September 6th, and after an ad interim administration of his office by General Sherman, General Wm. W. Belknap of Iowa was appointed, November 1st, 1869. It was not until the succeeding year that the machinery of the Administration was fully adjusted and a definite policy began to be developed.
Several of the political leaders of the Republican party felt aggrieved that the President should have failed to recognize their claims to places in his Cabinet, and a marked coolness ensued. That he should have distrusted such men as advisers was quite natural. He had not been trained in their school. That he should have a strong preference for those who had grown up about him both in the army and private life, was quite as natural.
Of the former, he knew not whom to trust; of the latter, he knew precisely who were in accord with him. He deemed confidence an essential to constitutional advisement, just as it was a primary consideration in the army. That he was injudicious in some of these appointments, is possible; and he himself was subsequently satisfied that it would have been better to have selected those more familiar with their duties.
The charges of nepotism and favoritism which sprung from these two
causes, the President's preference for those whom he knew best, and his
neglect of the politicians, were greatly exaggerated and reiterated with
undeserved bitterness by those who "had nursed their wrath to keep it
warm." That he had erred in a few of these appointments even he.
himself now admits, but he has done, and is doing what he can to obviate
these blunders of his inexperience. That he was not induced by his regard
for friends or relatives to put as many bad men in office as any of his
predecessors, is, we believe, susceptible of proof; and when he
ascertained that he had been deceived, he took measures for the removal of
the offender, however warm may have been his friendship for him. His
experience and observation have taught him wisdom. He understands the
prominent leaders of political affairs much better than he did in 1868-9,
and he has also learned that a man may be proof against temptation in a
humble position, who will fall before it in a higher one. The wisdom thus
acquired is one of his best claims to future confidence.
Considering the military cast of his mind, it was scarcely expected that he could, without considerable administrative schooling, grasp and successfully handle all the great measures of State. But his instincts were known to be right. The country needed a guarantee of safety and rest, rather than brilliancy and unrest. We were to garner fruits, and not break up ground for new crops. After the excitement of war a breathing time was required. The nation felt that confidence could be reposed in Grant, and it has not been disappointed.
Like other Presidents he has not been free from faults, but these he has quickly corrected. Probably the most noticeable of' these was the policy of acquiring a foothold for our commerce in the Caribbean Sea, a policy as old as the country itself. The people forbade, and he hearkened promptly, and gracefully abandoned the scheme.
It has been a continual desire on his part to give to his administration the honor of a settlement of that vexatious case known popularly as the " Alabama Claims." At the outset lie was surrounded by many difficulties, not the least of which was the personal enmity, amounting to estrangement, which existed between Mr. Sumner, then Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, and Secretary Fish. Without harmony between these two officials no definite results could be reached. One or the other must be disposed of. Which ? became a momentous question. The Senate came to the President's relief, and Mr. Cameron was chosen Mr. Sumner's successor at the head of that important committee. Many deemed this action unwise. Mr. Sumner's personal qualifications for the position were, probably, superior to those of any other Senator, but the necessity for harmony between the Committee and the Secretary must override all other considerations. This treaty, if carried out in good faith, will be of great importance, not only for the benefits which will accrue to the nations concerned in it, but also for the influence it will exert upon all nations, as substituting the theory of amicable settlement of national differences for the arbitrament of arms and brute force.
Another success of the administration has been the constant and rapid reduction of the national debt. The people have been released from more than $330,000,000 of this burden since March 4th, 1869, and a consequent annual saving of interest for the future to the extent of more than $20,000,000. The work of reconstruction has been well nigh completed. Every Congressional district in the United States is now represented at Washington. Severe laws have been administered cautiously, yet with a firmness which has secured harmony in sections where discord once prevailed. The taxes have been greatly reduced the Congress just adjourned having effected a reduction amounting to over $51,000,000 annually. Economy has been enforced in every department of revenue, and defaulters have been ferreted out and brought to justice. The army and navy establishments have been reduced to a peace footing. A new and humane policy of dealing with the Indian tribes has been attempted, which secures the sanction of all philanthropists, and of the respective religious denominations, and bids fair to be far more successful than the old and corrupt method of force and chicanery.
But little has been accomplished in the way of civil service reform, for the reason that Congressmen are disinclined to give up their customary patronage; but the President has often expressed himself in favor of some method of appointment to office on the basis of such reform, and his advice has been so far regarded in many of the departments as to admit of competitive examinations and selection of the most worthy. His efforts in l s direction are creditable to him, and we may well hope thatthey will be continued with renewed zeal in the future, and that he may succeed in triumphing over the selfish opposition which the measure has heretofore encountered. The amnesty bill, and also the civil rights bill, failed against his wishes, though these measures, we have every reason to believe, are only postponed,
Altogether his administration has been fairly successful, and except with those whose anticipations were too exalted, such as was expected. The farmers, the mechanics, the manufacturers, the capitalists, all who are interested in the stability of public and industrial affairs, in the maintenance of our institutions, have had no occasion to repent of their choice.
The country has prospered. Our financial condition at home and abroad was never better. The Treasurer has been able to negotiate our bonds abroad without discount, and at five per cent. interest. We have had peace. In view of all this positive good, of President Grant's honesty, and sympathy with the masses, we may overlook the charges of favoritism, his distrust of politicians, who naturally hate where they cannot rule, and his alleged shortcomings.
The charge most desperately pressed against him, though with but slight attempt at proof, is that he has made vigorous efforts for his own re-election. It is perhaps desirable that there should be some change in the national constitution, which, while extending the Presidential term to six or possibly eight years, should prohibit a re-election at least till one term had intervened. This is as desirable for the incumbent of the Presidential office as fin. the people; for it would at once obviate the charge often unjustly made that the President was intriguing for his own re-election. As the constitution now stands it is too much to ask from human nature, that a President who is conscious of having served his country faithfully, and with fair success, should not desire a re-election; nor is this desire in itself reprehensible, unless accompanied, as it too often has the reputation of being, by intrigue for the accomplishment of its object. That President Grant desired a re-election was but natural; but that he has shaped his policy and distribution of offices to effect it, or attempted to do so by any corrupt means, is too foreign to his nature to be believed for a moment. That a great part of the Republican party desire his re-election is undoubtedly true, for though conventions may be packed, and their unanimity may be effected by the skilful management of political leaders, there is abundance of other evidence of that desire, wholly irrespective of these, a desire based upon a conviction that the prosperity of the country depends upon his re-election. This desire, too, is wholly irrespective of any effort on his part, or any alleged manipulations of his for the purpose of procuring it. If he is re-elected, it will be as truly as in the case of Lincoln in 1864, because the people have willed it, and not because he has set any machinery to work to accomplish that purpose.
In person President Grant is somewhat below the average height, with a tendency to corpulency; of great powers of endurance, and of uniformly good health. He is temperate, quiet, likes simple ways and simple food; abhors ostentation, can converse clearly, though not fluently, is no speech maker, preferring rather to listen. Ile is a great smoker, enjoys a game of billiards, and is fond of choice horses. As a friend he is firm, as an enemy he is not vindictive. Few men manifest less envy or jealousy. He bears complaint and even censure with resignation, and regards the promotion and advancement of those whom he deems worthy as paramount to all personal considerations. No man is quicker to correct abuses when he sees them, and though slow to believe an accusation against one whom he has trusted, lie acts decidedly when convinced. In the ordinary acceptation of that term, he is not a man of genius. Blunders he has made, but he rarely repeats them. In one word, he possesses a clear, well-balanced mind, every faculty of which is thoroughly practical, and such a combination is worth much more than genius.
At the National Republican Convention, held at Philadelphia, .June 5th and 6th, 1872, President Grant was renominated for the Presidency, receiving the unanimous votes of all the State delegations present. At the same convention, Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, was nominated for the Vice-Presidency, receiving on the first ballot 384 - votes to 314 1/2 for Mr. Colfax. The following platform was unanimously adopted:
The Republican party of the United States, assembled in National Convention in the City of Philadelphia, on the 5th and 6th days of June, 1872, again declares its faith, appeals to its history, and announces its position upon. the questions before the country:
I. During eleven years of supremacy it has accepted with grand courage the solemn duties of the time. It suppressed a gigantic rebellion, emancipated four millions of slaves, decreed the equal citizenship of all, and established universal suffrage. Exhibiting unparalleled magnanimity, it criminally punished no man for political offences, and warmly welcomed all who proved their loyalty by obeying the laws and dealing justly with their neighbors. It has steadily decreased, with a firm hand, the resultant disorders of a great war, and initiated a wise policy toward the Indians. The Pacific Railroad and similar vast enterprises have been generally aided and successfully conducted; the public lands freely given to actual settlers; immigration protected and encouraged. and a full acknowledgment of the naturalized citizens' rights secured from European powers. A uniform national currency has been provided; repudiation frowned down; the national credit sustained under most extraordinary burdens, and new bonds negotiated at lower rates; the revenues have been carefully collected and honestly applied. Despite the annual large reductions of rates of taxation, the public debt has been reduced during General Grant's presidency at the rate of $100,000,000 a year. A great financial crisis has been avoided. and peace and plenty prevail throughout the land. Menacing foreign difficulties have been peacefully and honorably compromised, and the honor and the power of the nation kept in high respect throughout the world. This glom,us record of the past is the party's best pledge for the future. We believe the people will not intrust the Government to any party or combination of men composed chiefly of those who have resisted every step of this beneficial progress.
II. Complete liberty and exact equality in the enjoyment of all civil, political and public rights should be established and effectually maintained throughout the Union, by efficient and appropriate State and Federal legislation. Neither the law nor its administration should admit of any discrimination in respect of citizens by reason of race, creed, color, or previous condition of servitude.
III. The recent amendments to the National Constitution should be cordially sustained, because they are right, not merely tolerated because they are law, and should be carried out according to their spirit by appropriate legislation, the enforcement of which can be safely trusted only to the party that secured those amendments.
IV. The National Government should seek to maintain an honorable peace with all nations, protecting its citizens everywhere, and sympathizing with all peoples who strive for greater liberty.
V. Any system of the Civil Service under which the subordinate positions of the Government are considered rewards for mere party zeal, is fatally demoralizing; and we, therefore, favor a reform of the system by laws which shall abolish the evils of patronage, and make honesty, efficiency and fidelity the essential qualifications for public position, without practically creating a life-tenure of office.
VI. We are opposed to further grants of the public lands to corporations arid monopolies, and demand that the national domain be set apart for free homes for the people.
VII. The annual revenues, after paying the current debts, should furnish a moderate balance for the reduction of the principal, and the revenue, except so much as may be derived from a tax on tobacco and liquors, be raised by duties upon importations, the duties of which should be so adjusted as to aid in securing remunerative wages to labor, and promote the industries, growth, and prosperity of the whole country.
VIII. We hold in undying honor the soldiers and sailors whose valor saved the Union; their pensions are a sacred debt of the nation, and the widows and orphans of those who died for their country are entitled to the care of a generous and grateful people. We favor such additional legislation as will extend the bounty of the Government to all our soldiers and sailors who were honorably discharged, and who in the line of duty became disabled, without regard to the length of service or the cause of such discharge.
IX. The doctrine of Great Britain and other European powers concerning allegiance—" Once a subject always a subject "----having at last through the effort of the Republican party, been abandoned, and the American idea of the individual's right to transfer his allegiance having been accepted by European nations, it is the duty of our Government to guard with jealous care the rights of adopted citizens against the assumptions of unauthorized claims by their former Governments; and we urge the continual and careful encouragement and protection of voluntary immigration.
X. The Franking Privilege ought to be abolished, and the way prepared for a speedy reduction in the rate of postage.
XI. Among the questions which press for attention is that which concerns the relations of capital and labor, and the Republican party recognize the dirty of so shaping legislation as to secure full protection, and the amplest field for capital, and for labor the creator of capital, the largest opportunities and a just share of the mutual profits of these two great servants of civilization.
XII. We hold that Congress and the President have only fulfilled an imperative duty in their measures for the suppression of violent and treasonable organizations in certain lately rebellious regions, and for the protection of the ballot-box, and therefore they are entitled to the thanks of the nation.
XIII. We denounce repudiation of the public debt in any form or disguise as a national crime. We witness with pride the reduction of the principal of the debt and of the rates of interest upon the balance, and confidently expect that our excellent national currency will be perfected by a speedy resumption of specie payments.
XIV. The Republican party is mindful of its obligations to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the cause of freedom. Their admission to wider fields of usefulness is received with satisfaction, and the honest demands of any class of citizens for additional rights should be treated with respectful consideration.
XV. We heartily approve the action of Congress in extending amnesty to those lately in rebellion, and rejoice in the growth of peace and fraternal feeling throughout the land.
XVI. The Republican party propose to respect the rights reserved by the people to themselves as carefully as the powers delegated by them to the State and to the Federal Government. It disapproves of the resort to unconstitutional laws for the purpose of removing evils by interference with rights not surrendered by the people to either the State or National Government.
XVII. It is the duty of the General Government to adopt such measures as will tend to encourage American commerce and shipbuilding.
XVIII. We believe that the modest patriotism, the earnest purpose, the sound judgment, the practical wisdom, the incorruptible integrity, and the illustrious services of Ulysses S. Grant have commended him to the heart of the American people, and with him at our head we start today upon a new march to victory.
The President of the Convention, Judge Settle, of North Carolina, addressed to President Grant a letter apprising hint of his nomination, in the following terms:
President Grant replied as follows, the same evening:
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