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Donelson because I knew the importance of the place to the enemy, and supposed he would reënforce it rapidly. I felt that 15,000 on the 8th would be more effective than 50,000 a month later." The talking generals did not like this, and Halleck immediately claimed the credit for Grant's achievements. Grant, as usual, said nothing, but “sawed wood,” while Stanton and Lincoln conceived a higher opinion of Halleck. Grant fared like the commonest soldier in his command, often sleeping on the ground with no covering, without overcoat or blanket, and at one time having as his entire baggage for several days nothing but his tooth-brush. Just after Donelson he arranged for the capture of Nashville, and a little latter Halleck and McClellan had him arrested on a charge of drunkenness. An inquiry by the War Department cleared Grant of the charge, and gave him another chance to work. He at once moved toward Pittsburg Landing, to wait for Buell, and then attack Johnston's army, which was fortifying itself there. Johnston, however, with superior forces attacked him before Buell came, and after the first day's fighting Grant, now reënforced, attacked in turn the next morning at Shiloh, and won. Halleck promptly gave credit to everybody except Grant, and took command of the army himself, while the stories of Grant's drunkenness were again industriously circulated. Lincoln then and after was frequently asked to remove him. “I can't spare that man; he fights," was one reply, and to another delegation he said he would like to know what brand of whiskey Grant used, that he might feed it to his other generals. Passing over other important work by Grant we come, in July 1863, to the act which practically made it certain that he was to be the main reliance of the President and the nation. Vicksburg, by its tremendously strong
. fortifications, and its position on the Mississippi, was of immeasurable importance. After having Sherman try an assault, and experimenting with canal schemes to get at the almost impregnable citadel, Grant finally decided to risk destruction by having the fleet take his army down the river in front of the batteries and land it below the fortifications, which gave the only opportunity for successful siege. This meant prompt victory or annihilation. The result was surrender on July 4. The total outcome of this campaign, to say nothing of the value of the Vicksburg position, was, according to Grant's official summaries, the occupation of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, a loss to the Confederates of 37,000 prisoners, 10,000 killed and wounded, many more missing, and arms and munitions for an army of 60,000 men, while the Federals lost in killed. wounded, and missing less than 8000. A series
of brilliant victories by Grant, with Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, and Hooker as lieutenants, very soon completed this work in the West.
Thus Lincoln found his soldier. On July 13 he wrote to him:
“MY DEAR GENERAL : I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you would do what you finally did — march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I that the Yazoo Pass expedition and the like could succeed. When you got below and took Fort Gibson, Grand Gulf, and the vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join General Banks, and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong.”
On the 27th of the same month Lincoln, explaining to Burnside why he could not give him certain information, remarked, “ General Grant is a copious worker and fighter, but a very meagre writer or telegrapher.” The country, however, was beginning to understand him, in spite of all wire-pulling, and there grew rapidly a demand for his command of all the forces. The difference between him and even so able a general as Rosecrans, a sort of second McClellan, not quite so slow, is gently hinted in the memoirs. Of this officer General Grant says: “He came into my car and we held a brief interview, in which he described very clearly the situation at Chattanooga, and made some very excellent suggestions as to what should be done. My only wonder was that he had not carried them out.” It will hardly be out of place to insert here Grants opinion of the President who, as soon as he once came to know his general, gave over the whole military conduct of the war to him. Grant says of Lincoln: “A man of great ability, pure patriotism, unselfish nature, full of forgiveness to his enemies, bearing malice toward none, he proved to be the man above all others for the struggle through which the nation had to pass to place itself among the greatest in the family of nations."
Another soldier who was coming to his proper place was General Sherman. He had first met Lincoln in March, 1861, when he was introduced by his brother John, who said, “Mr. President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just up from Louisiana ; he may give you some information
you want." “Ah," said Lincoln, “how are they getting along down there?”
They think they are getting along swimmingly - they are preparing for war.'
Oh, well,” replied the President, “I guess we'll manage to keep house.”
The young soldier was disgusted enough, and emphatically told his brother what he thought of politicians in general.
After Bull Run Sherman received a pleasanter impression of his chief. He saw him riding one day with Seward in an open hack and asked if they were going to his camps.
“ Yes,” said Lincoln; “ we heard that you had got over the big scare, and we thought we would come over and see the boys."
As always after a defeat, the President wanted to encourage everybody, and wished to address the soldiers. Sherman asked him to discourage cheering, noise, or other confusion, saying they had had enough of that before Bull Run to ruin any lot of fighting men.
Lincoln took the suggestion with good nature. He then made from his carriage what Sherman calls “one of the neatest, best, and most feeling addresses I ever listened to.” At one or two points the soldiers began to cheer. “Don't cheer, boys,” said Lincoln, “I confess I rather like it myself, but Colonel Sherman here says it is not military, and I guess we had better defer to his opinion.” In conclusion, he told the men that as he was their com