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William T. Sherman* 



NEW YORK - - - 1929 


' *** m 
<* m m v 




Thanks are due Messrs. D. Appleton & Company for their 
courtesy In permitting the use of seventeen maps which appear 
in this volume. These are taken from A Military History of 

Ulysses S* Grant f by Adam Badeau. 

Thanks are due also to the Review of Reviews Company 
for furnishing a photograph of General Grant which is a 
reproduction of one of Brady's pictures taken in 1863. 

"For the whole country it was to be the bitterest of all 
ordeals, an agony of struggle and a decision by blood; but for 
one party it was to be a war of hope. Should the South win, 
she must also lose must lose her place in the great Union 
which she had loved and fostered, and must in gaining inde- 
pendence destroy a nation. Should the North win, she would 
confirm a great hope and expectation, establish the Union, 
unify it in institutions, free it from interior contradictions of 
life and principle, set it in the way of consistent growth and 
unembarrassed greatness. The South fought for a principle, 
as the North did; it was this that was to give the war dignity, 
and supply the tragedy with a double motive. But the princi- 
ple for which the South fought meant standstill in the midst 
of change; it was conservative, not creative; it was against 
drift and destiny; it protected an impossible institution and a 
belated order of society; it withstood a creative and imperial 
idea, the idea of a united people and a single law of freedom. 
Overwhelming material superiority, it turned out, was with 
the North ; but she had also another and greater advantage : 
she was to fight for the Union and for the abiding peace, con- 
cord, and strength of a great nation," 

Woodrow Wilson. 


"I would like to see truthful history written. Such history 
will do full credit to the courage, endurance, and ability of the 
American citizen, no matter what section he hailed from, or 
in what rank he fought/* Ulysses S. Grant. 

THE greatest event in European history was the discovery of 
the New World : to-day it could only be rivalled by landing on 
a habitable planet. The greatest event in American history 
was the Civil War; greater than the Rebellion, because separa- 
tion from England was sooner or later inevitable. The man 
who most greatly influenced this war was Ulysses S* Grant; 
not because he was so clear-sighted a statesman as Lincoln, 
or so clever a tactician as Lee, but because he was the greatest 
strategist of his age, of the war, and, consequently, its greatest 

The greatness of great men is an heirloom which Is ever 
young; for it is the source of that historic spirit which gives 
character to a people, and which, when a people cease to 
follow it, leaves them bankrupt of moral strength* Thus, it 
seems to me that no earnest book on a great man, no matter 
how many may have been written, is altogether redundant; 
for greatness Is not a thing which can be weighed and meas- 
ured, but a force which flashing down the corridors of time 
reflects new possibilities from the ever-changing facets of 
human doings. What Grant was to the men and women of 
1865 is not necessarily what he is to the men and women of 
to-day; not because Grant has changed, but because civiliza- 
tion has changed and is changing. 

Because nothing human stands still, it has been the fate of 
most great men to lose their reality, to become separated from 
their mortal work, and to assume mythical or enigmatic forms. 
In this respect, I think that Grant has suffered his full share, 
and In this present age, in which elderly gentlemen are so 
deeply concerned in discovering peaceful platitudes whereon 
to found a Sunday-school universe, though Grant will never 


xii Preface 

be forgotten, his courage as a soldier and honesty as a citizen 
are apt to become fallow land In American history as it is 
cultivated to-day. Without courage and without honesty* a 
nation is no more than a swarm of cowardly thieves; even 
courageous vice is noble when compared to virtuous lethargy. 

Grant was not of the type of Alexander, Cesar, Frederick 
and Napoleon: he was a simple-minded man of vision, and 
one who for nearly forty years remained an obscure citizen of 
the Great Republic. It is for this reason that I have dedi- 
cated my book on his generalship to the Youth of America ; 
for I believe that the second greatest event in American 
history was the recent World War, which, cracking the Old 
World to its foundations* left the United States standing like 
a granite rock. 

The future of America rests with her youth; with the spirit 
of freedom and not with the spirit of tradition which is en- 
crusted on the bones of her mother Europe, To-day, in the 
United States there are, so I feel, many potential Grants; 
many simple-minded boys and girls of vision! humble and 
hard-working, filled with a determination to conquer whatever 
is their lot, and so gain that freedom which is the recompense 
of victory. To these there is no greater example than Grant 
their fellow countryman; not that they will attain to his fame* 
but, however obscurely they may live, by emulating what was 
great in him they may attain to some share of his greatness. 
If they can face failure as he faced it; if they can meet success 
as he met it, and remain human and unspoilt by defeat or 
victory as he did, then their noblest goal the greatness of 
their civilization is assured, 

Life after all is a conflict in peace as In war. Grant was 
not only a great general, but an honest man, a somewhat rare 
combination in the history of war* which should teach us not 
only how to conquer our enemies, but how to master ourselves* 
It is in this respect, I feel, that military history has been sadly 
squandered; it has led us Into realms of romance* or has 
pointed the way to future slaughter; yet seldom has It shown 
us how the greatness of war can be built into the goodness of 
peace. It is here that men like Alexander and Napoleon fail 

Preface xiii 

us, and others like Lee and Grant help us. The genius of 
the former is too distant from us ; the greatness of the latter 
sufficiently far and yet sufficiently near to make it at once 
attractive and graspable. 

Among the great soldiers of this second category, surely 
Grant is an example. From a hurfible worker, through perse- 
verance he rose to be a general-in-chief in the greatest war of 
his age, and was twice chosen by his countrymen as their 
President Such a romance as his staggers the Arabian 
Nights. It staggers them because it was not accomplished 
through any magic. Alexander was the son of a lung, and 
Napoleon was hurled onto the summit of European affairs by 
a volcanic revolution. The Civil War in America was not 
a revolution, and Grant lived and died a simple citizen. He 
was no despot who grasped "the skirts of happy chance" ; he 
was no slave become Calif, no Clovis shattering pots and 
proclaiming kingship by his sword. He was a great soldier, 
but above all he was a great American the epitome of his 
age. On his deathbed he wrote: C4 The war begot a spirit of 
independence and enterprise. The feeling now is, that a youth 
must cut loose from his old surroundings to enable him to 
get up in the world." And again: **The war has made us a 
nation of great power and Intelligence," 

In writing this book my object has been to examine what 
Grant accomplished as a soldier; to show that as such he has 
not been fully appreciated, and that as he looked upon war 
as a necessary evil so long as peace remains Imperfect, we also, 
after the greatest war in modern times, may find in his hon- 
esty and in his vision our direction towards creating a happier 
and less turbulent world. <c Let us have peace," he said: well 
then let us examine war. 

J. F. C F. 
Alder shot, 

May 5, 1929. 






Immensity of the Conflict Ethical and Economic 
Origins of the War Political Origins of the War 
Nature and Results of the War. 


Abraham Lincoln and the War Grand Strategy of 
the South Grand Strategy of the North The 
Soldier and the Politicians Conclusions and a Com- 


Theatre of War Strategy of the War Tactical 
Changes 17601860 Influence of the Rifle Tactics 
of the War Tactical Novelty and Generalship. 



Early Years Grant's First Command Battle of Bel- 
mont Strategy Taking Form Capture of Fort 
Henry Capture of Fort Donelson. 


Origins of the Battle Pittsburg Landing The Fed- 
eral Surprise Grant's Movements on April 6 
Grant's Failure to Pursue on the 7th. 


Occupation of Corinth Battles of luka and Corinth 
Naval Attack on Vicksburg Holly Springs and 
Chickasaw Bluff The Bayou Routes* 

xvi Contents 



Crossing the Mississippi The Rear Attack Cham- 
pion's Hill and the Big Black River Siege and Sur- 
render of Vicksburg. 


The Mobile Project Advance on Chattanooga 
Grant Takes Command A New Line of Supply and 
a plan The Battle The Mobile Project Renewed. 


The Experimental Period Grant's Common Sense 
Grants Personality Grant as Strategist Grant as 



Military and Political Situation 2864 *Stratcgica! 
Foundations of Grant's Plan Tactical Foundations 
of Grant's Plan. 

Orders for the Advance -Battle of the Wilderness 

Advance to Spottsylvania Battle of Spott&ylvanla, 

May 13-20 General Butler's Operations Sheridan *& 
Richmond Raid Manoeuvre to the North Anna- 
Manoeuvre to Totopotomoy Creek Battle of Cold 
Harbor, June 3. 


Crossing the James General Smith's Advance on 
Petersburg War on the Railways, 


Military and Political Situation Atlanta Campaign 
Sheridan's Campaign, August 7 to December i~ 
Sherman's March Through Georgia Thomas and 
the Battle of Nashville Political and Strategical Vic- 

Contents xvii 



The Grand Manoeuvre Lee's Problem and Difficul- 
ties Battle of Five Forks Fall of Petersburg and 
Richmond Pursuit and Surrender. 


The Creative Period Grant's Strategy Grant's 
Tactics Assaults and Losses Grant and Lee. 



The Spirit of Peace The Creative Power of War 
The Civil and the World Wars. 


Causes of Discord National Harmony Interna- 
tional Harmony. 

The Citizen The Man Discipline. 




in, LEE'S ORDER OF BATTLE, MAY, 1864 432 

iv. GRANT'S ORDER OF BATTLE, MAY, 1864 . . . 433 



INDEX ....*.... 439 



Map of the Theatre of War, 1861-65 20 

Operations in Kentucky and Tennessee 120 

West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi , . . . .130 

Operations against Vicksburg in 1862-63 134 

Campaign against Vicksburg in 1862-63 152 

Campaign of Chattanooga, 1863 - 170 

Battle of Chattanooga, November 23-25, 1863 . . . .176 

State of Virginia, 1861 210 

Operations North of James River, May and June, 1864 . . 226 

Operations in the Wilderness and around Spottsylvania Court 

House, May, 1864 256 

Operations around Richmond and Petersburg, 1864-65 . . 306 

Sherman's Campaign against Atlanta, 1864 314 

Sheridan's Operations in Valley of Virginia, 1864 , 320 

Sherman's Marches through Georgia and the Carolinas, 1864-65 326 

Operations between Atlanta and Nashville, 1864 * 332 

Battle of Five Porks and Assaults on Petersburg, April 1-2, 1865 350 

Campaign on the Appomattox, 1865 ..*. 356 


NO. *AG 

1 Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861 71 

2 Operations against Fort Donelson, February* 12-16, 1862 . 84 

3 Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862 101 

4 Operations against luka, September 19, 1862 . . . . 117 

5 Operations against Corinth, October 2-6, 1862 , . .119 

6 Battle of Champion's Hill, May 16, 1863 .... 149 

7 Grant's Grand Tactical Distribution, 1864 . . . .217 

8 Grant's Advance, May 5, 1864 ...... 233 

9 Battle of the Wilderness, 7 A.M., May 6, 1864 . . . 235 

10 Battle of Spottsylvania, May io 1864 . 245 

11 Upton's Assault, May 10, 1864 .,... 247 

12 Battle of Spottsylvania, May 12* 1864 249 

13 Hancock's Assault Formation, May 12, 1864 . .251 

14 Battle of Spottsylvania, May 20, 1864 . 259 

15 Advance to the North Anna, May 22, 1864 .... 265 

1 6 Operations on North Anna, May 23-26, 1864 , * 269 

17 Operations on Totopotomoy, May 30, 1864 .... 273 

1 8 Assault of II, VI, and XVIII Corps at Cold Harbor, June 

3 1864 279 

19 Suggested Tactics, June 3, 1864 ...... 281 

20 Battle of Five Forks, April I, 1865 *..... 349 


(All other titles are given in full) 






C. M. H. 






Ency. Brit 

Fiske gh Lee 









Alexander, E. P. 
Atkinson, C. F. 

Cox, J. D. 
Badeau, A. 

Battinc, C. 

Roman, A. 
Biglow, J. 
Boynton, H. V, 

Church, W. C 
Cist, H, M. 

Conger, A, L. 

Cox, J. D. 
Davis, Jefferson 

Fiske, J. 

Lee, F. 
Force, M. F. 

Ford, H. 
Formby, J. 
Fry, J. E, 
Grant, U. S. 
Greene, F. V, 
Henderson, G. F. R. 

Hosmer, J. K. 


The American Civil War (190$) 
Grant's Campaigns of 1864 and 

1865 (1908) 
Atlanta (1909) 
Military History of Ulysses S. 

Grant (1881) 
The Crisis of the Confederacy 

Battles and Leaders of the Civil 

War (1884-1888) 
Military Operations of General 

Beauregard (1883) 
The Campaign of Chancellors- 

ville (1910) 
Sherman's Historical Raid. The 

Memoirs in Light of the Rec- 

ords (1875) 
Cambridge Modern History, VII 

Ulysses S. Grant (1906) 

The Army of the Cumberland 

The Military Education of 

Grant as General (2921) 
Correspondance de Napole*on 

xer (1858-1869) 
The March to the Sea, Frank- 

lin and Nashville (1906) 
The Rise and Fall of the Con- 

federate Government (1881) 
Encyclopedia Britannica, nth 

The Mississippi Valley in the 

Civil War (1901) 
General Lee (1894) 
From Fort Henry to Corinth 


My Life and Works (1924.) 
The American Civil War (1910) 
Military Miscellanies (1899) 
Personal Memoirs (1885) 
The Mississippi (1909) 
Stonewall Jackson and the 

American Civil War (1898) 
The American Civil War (1913) 


Abbreviated Titles of Works 


M. H. S. Af. 


Nicolay & Hay 

N. &L 







Humphreys, A. A. 
Jones, J. B. 
Livcrmorc, W. R 
Longstrcct, J, 

Nicolay, J. G. 

Nicolay, J. G. r and 
Hay, J. 
Livermore, W R. 

Phisterer, P. 
Pond, G. E. 
Ropes, J. C, 
Schouler, J. 

Sherman, W. T. 
Sheridan, P, H. 

The Science of War Henderson, G. F. R. 
Sidney Johnston Johnston, W. P. 

S. H. S. 
Taylor, F. W. 


Wood 8c Edmonds 

Swinton, W. 
Taylor, F, W. 
Taylor, R. 

Wood, W, B., and 
Edmonds, J. E. 
Woodward, W. E, 


The Virginia Campaign of '64 

and *6s (1907) 
A Rebel War Clerk's Diary 


The Story of the Civil Wmr 

From Manawas to Appomattox 

Papers of the Military Histori- 

cal Society of Massachusetts 

The Outbreak of Rebellion 

Abraham Lincoln: A History 

Numbers and Losses In the Civil 
War in America (2900) 

Statistical Record?? of the Arm- 
ies of the United Slat?* (1901 ) 

The Shenandoah Valley in 1864 

The Story of the Civil War 

History of the United States 

Under the Constitution (i$8o* 

Memoirs of General W. T. 

Sherman (xBys) 
Personal Memoir* of P, H. 

Sheridan (x888) 
The Science of War (1^5) 
The Life of General Albert 

Sidney Johnston (xS79) 
Southern Historical Society Pa- 

pers (1876- 1909) 
Campaigns of the Army of the 

Potomac (x8Sa) 
The Principles of Scientific 

Management (xgxti) 
Destruction and Reconstruction, 

Personal Experiences of the 

Late War (xSyo) 
The ^ War of the Rebellion (Of- 

Udal Records), (xS$o-x$oot 
A History of the Civil Wr In 

the United State* 
Meet General Grant 




**C*est la volonte, le caractere, Fapplication et Faudace qui 
m'ont fait ce que je suis.** Napoleon. 

ON April 9, 1865, two of the most remarkable men in the his- 
tory of the United States of America met near Appomattox 
Court House. Lee, the aristocrat, was in full uniform, wear- 
ing embroidered gauntlets and carrying a burnished sword,* 
Grant, but a few years before an assistant in a leather store, 
without sword, appeared in the dress of a private soldier on 
which were stitched the straps of a lieutenant-general. Out- 
wardly these two men were as unlike as could be, Inwardly 
there was a link between them their generalship. 

In order to understand this word we must at once dismiss 
from our minds the popular illusion that generalship can be 
measured by victory or defeat; for there is something more 
subtle than this in the drama of war, namely, the art of those 
who wage it. There, on the battlefield, is no carefully pre- 
pared stage, yet the audience is immense, for on a few square 
miles of ground are the eyes of the nations fixed* Everywhere 
is there turmoil, or vacant spaces riddled with death, A gath- 
ering of things growing, moving, struggling, eluding the grasp, 
dissolving and then sprouting up again. Behind it all, the 
unceasing rumble of wheels, and the whisperings of intriguing 
officials; and in the centre of this tumult of fears, of hopes, 
and of things seen, suspected and unknown, stands a solitary 
figure the general-in-chief. 

"I consult no one but myself/ 1 said Napoleon, because in 
war there is no one else to whom a general can turn. The re- 
sponsibility of every action lies heavily upon him. He may 
seek the advice of others, but others cannot share his load. 
Their opinions may be good, bad, or indifferent, but the con- 
ditions in which they are fashioned can bear but a distant rela- 

2 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

tionship to those in which he Is labouring. His first quality 
is, therefore, fortitude. 

To this supreme virtue must he add many others; perse- 
verance which is akin to it, and determination which is but 
perseverance ensouled. He must be physically strong, men- 
tally alert, and morally unshakable. He must understand 
men, weapons and war, and above all this is his philosopher's 
stone he must understand himself, and see himself as his 
enemy sees him. Here I will quote from two men, Hender- 
son, the soldier, who possessed a natural wisdom for war, and 
Faraday, the chemist, who possessed an inborn instinct for 
essentials. I will quote from these two, because it is my wish 
to show that in generalship but a hair divides the great soldier 
from the great civilian. 

Henderson says, and he is considering the actions of Gen- 
eral Lee before the battle of Gettysburg: u \Var is more of a 
struggle between two human intelligences than between two 
masses of armed men; and the great general does not give 
his first attention to numbers, to armament, or to position* 
He looks beyond these, beyond his own troops* and across the 
enemy's lines, without stopping to estimate their strength or 
to examine the ground, until he comes to the quarters occu- 
pied by the enemy's leader; and then he puts himself in that 
leader's place, and with that officer's -eyes and mind he looks 
at the situation* . w ." * 

Faraday, contemplating philosophy and not war, which is 
largely barbarity, gives so complete a picture of true general- 
ship that it would be difficult to better It. ! le ; "The phi- 
losopher [the general] should be a man willing to listen to 
every suggestion, but determined to judge for himself. He 
should not be biased by appearances; have no favourite hy 
potheses; be of no school; and in doctrine have no master. 
He should not be a respecter of persons, but of things. Truth 
should be his primary object* If to these qualities be added 
industry, he may indeed hope to walk within the veil of the 
temple of nature" [war] s 

1 The Science of War, p. 283, 

* Scientific Method, F. W, Westtwty, p. 49. 

Introduction 3 

When applied to the soldier, it may seem to some a curi- 
ously inappropriate definition, because it runs counter to the 
jargon of the schools, their discipline, rules, maxims, unlim- 
ited offensives, pivots of manoeuvre, ad nauseam; most, if not 
all of which are completely out of date and inapplicable fifty 
years before they ruin themselves and their adherents on the 
battlefield. Professionalism has been and is still the curse of 
armies, because it rapidly petrifies, it is a thing of tradition, 
but not of fact. Of professional soldiership, as it was in his 
day, Marshal Saxe sarcastically remarks : "War is a science so 
obscure and imperfect, that, in general, no rules of conduct 
can be given to it which are reducible to absolute certainties ; 
custom and prejudice, confirmed by ignorance, are its sole 
foundation and support." 8 

It was because the Civil War in America was so unprofes- 
sional a conflict that it is so vastly interesting, and its general- 
ship so brilliant and instructive. In 1861, there were no gen- 
erals in the United States Army who, from the European 
standard, could be classed as professional soldiers. A few 
were true students of war, a very different thing, and many 
had behind them the rough and tumble experiences of warfare 
in Mexico and of skirmishes with Red Indians and Mormons 
these made them men and masters of men. When, a gener- 
ation after this war, so eminent a soldier as Field-Marshal 
Lord Wolseley could say that "had the United States been 
able, early in 1861, to put into the field, in addition to their 
volunteers, one Army Corps of regular troops, the war would 
have ended in a few months," 4 we are no longer left in doubt 
of the value of military professionalism in the World War of 
1914-1918, in which generalship all but vanished. One Euro- 
pean army corps in the continent of America, confronted by 
the riflemen of the South, would in a few weeks have met the 
fate of Braddock and his regulars on the Monongahela, or of 
Lord Percy and his Red Coats at Lexington* 

The greatest generals in history have always been more 
than mere professionals. Men who not only understood men 

8 Reveries upon the Art of War (English edition, 1757), p. iii. 
* Mender son (Introduction), p. x. 

4 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

as soldiers, but who understood their age. Men who ran 

counter to the professionalism of their day* and who, succeed* 
Ing, unfortunately created schools of war which rapidly solidi- 
fied and turned out pedants and pundits. The greatest were 
autocrats, men like Alexander, Ca&sar, Frederick and Napo- 
leon, who combined statesmanship with soldiership the 
knowledge of their day with the knowledge of war* To these 
few elect, the true Great Captains of history! in one direction 
was generalship simplified; for being autocrats they could con- 
centrate their minds on one objective the enemy and were 
not compelled to squander their thoughts on a hydra-headed 
host of misbegotten operations, the offspring of political inter- 
ference. Such men are their own government, and their own 

Such men can show us the greatness of war. They cam raise 
us to the sublimity of their art, but they can only vaguely teach 
us the common difficulties of generalship! because they are un- 
common men in uncommon circumstances. To understand these 
difficulties we must descend lower In the military hierarchy, 
selecting as examples more ordinary beings, as great perhaps 
in genius, but less free to give it play* 

When we turn to this second category, the general under 
political control, we find in almost all great wars and cer- 
tainly in the American Civil War, two major series of actions 
the defeat of the enemy, and the establishment of unity of 
command. "Men are nothing/ 1 said Napoleon, "it Is one man 
who matters, 11 Again, "Let only one command in war, 11 wrote 
Machiavelli, because "several minds weaken an army* 11 When 
the^truth of these sayings is realized, then arc the surest foun- 
dations of generalship established; and, as we shall tee t It was 
not until Lincoln grasped this truth, that the Great Rebellion 
passed from substance to shadow, 

Setting aside the autocrat, we see that the general i$ the 
true military instrument of government. He has the will to 
act* and, possessing the power, he must understand how to 
act. ^This he can never do unless the political nature of the 
war is known to him. In their turn, must the Government 
understand its military nature* This common understanding 

Introduction 5 

is what is called grand strategy, 5 the national fabric upon 
which the war picture grand tactics is woven. Grand 
strategy secures the political object by directing all war-like 
resources towards the winning of the war, whilst grand tactics 
accomplishes action by converging all means of waging war 
against the forces of the enemy. In spite of their military 
ignorance at the outbreak of the war, Lincoln learnt the mean- 
ing of the first, and Grant of the second* Yet, it was not 
until the spring of 1864, when the great statesman met the 
great soldier, that these two saw eye to eye, and the meaning 
of Napoleon's words: "An army is nothing without a head,' 1 
became manifest. 

Looking back on this war, the vastest civil conflict in mod- 
ern history, and considering how inadequately Federals and 
Confederates were prepared to meet it, it is a remarkable 
proof of the power of such turmoils, when compared to pro- 
fessional selection, to release military genius. No other war 
in modern times, not excepting the Revolutionary and Napo- 
leonic wars, produced such a galaxy of generals, and with few 
exceptions, the most notable being Lee f those of more marked 
ability were under forty-five years of age/ 

Youth is a tremendous asset to generalship. When in war 
old men command armies, republics rock and kingdoms totter, 
for war demands the audacity and energy of youth. In the 
Civil War, the ablest generals were men who had been edu- 
cated at West Point, and who had breathed the atmosphere 
of war in Mexico. Men of no formal school, no fixed doc- 
trine, and of no set ideas. Men who in many cases, notably 
Grant and Sherman, had left the army years before the war, 
and m place of being asphyxiated by mess life had gained inde- 
pendence in the struggle for existence. The cramping military 

5 Strategy, in all its forms, is a most perplexing word. Grand strategy. In 
my opinion, would be more comprehensible if called "political strategy," whilst 
strategy, as ordinarily understood, might be called "field strategy." 

e ln x8i, the average age of the following officers (Federals), Grant, Sher- 
man, Meade, Thomas, Rosecrans, Sheridan, Hancock, McClellan, McPherson, 
Burnside; (Confederates) Lee, "Stonewall** Jackson, Joseph Johnston, 


street. Hood, Early, Morgan, 'Beaurcgard, Stuart and Mosby, was 38,55 years* 
In the Napoleonic Wars the average age was much the same. Napoleon was 
of opinion that few generals of over 45 were fit for active command. At the 
date of the battle of Waterloo he was 46, and so was Wellington. 

6 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

discipline of European armies, fettered by worn-out tradi- 
tions, was unknown to them. The war found these men ignor- 
ant and unprepared, but seldom lacking in courage* They 
plunged Into errors in place of avoiding them, and were suffi- 
ciently young in mind to learn and profit by their mistakes, 
Grant is a wonderful example of this: of how a man of forty 
c^uld begin with a Belmont anil end with an Appomattox cam* 
paign. He was forever learning, anil though not endowed 
with outstanding genius, through sheer industry, perseverance 
and self-education he accomplished his end far more thor- 
oughly than many a more brilliant but less determined general 
would have done, 

In so strange a war as this one, a new war begotten of a 
new weapon the rifle old ideas and rigidity of system were 
out of place. Youth is flexible and adaptable, boldness is a 
characteristic of manhood* prudence of old age. Courage 
begets prestige the magnetism of generalship* Of Major 
General McDowell, a major in the ok! army* an historian 
writes that he "remembered the Major, but forgot the Gen- 
eral, and went into the thick of the fight. 1 * T In this instance 
(the first battle of Bull Run) it may have been wrong to do so* 
but it was because so many of the generals of this period could 
forget that they were generals* and at times could transform 
themselves into majors, that the courage of their men was so 
astonishing. When things went awry* Grant went to the 
front, and so did Lee. "Back, Genera! Lee ! * . to the rear, 
General Lee I 11 was frequently heard in the thickets of the 
Wilderness. This boldness was not only brave soldiership 
but good generalship, and had a few of the generals of the 
World War gone forward when their men were going back* 
many a reverse would have been avoided.* What action could 

7 F0rmby f p. 86. 

In March, 191$, when the British Armies north of St Quentio wert driven 
back in disorder, I am of opinion that the retreat could hive been flopped ai 
the river Somme, or east of Xt f had corps and divisional comnki&dm gone for- 
ward. As a witness of these events, I noticed, after the firtt two day of the 
battle, that the British line was dragged westwtrdi by its retiring headquarters 
rather than pushed westwards by the enemy, A little touth of Arrs f I met out 
divisional commander tip in front with hit men, and never have 1 teen troops 
more confident of being able to hold their position. 

Introduction 7 

have been more pregnant of victory than C. F. Smith's at Fort 
Donelson. "General Smith, on his horse, took position in the 
front and center of the line. Occasionally he turned in his 
saddle to see how the alignment was kept For the most part, 
however, he held his face steadily toward the enemy. He was, 
of course, a conspicuous object for the sharpshooters in the 
rifle-pits. The air around him twittered with minie bullets* 
Erect as if on review, he rode on, timing the gait of his horse 
with the movement of his colors. A soldier said: C I was 
nearly scared to death, but I saw the old man's white mustache 
over his shoulder, and went on/ " * Smith was Grant's in- 
structor at West Point, and he was fifty-five years old at this 

It was the personality of the American generals, more so 
than their knowledge, which stood them in such good stead, 
and In the end it is this undefinable quality, always prolific in 
a forming nation, and generally deficient In a formed one, 
which is one of the greatest assets of generalship. Discipline 
makes soldiers, but it is personality which makes, and sad to 
say sometimes unmakes, generals. Napoleon, one of the most 
astonishing personalities of any age, saw this clearly, for he 
says: u The personality of the general is indispensable, he Is 
the head, he is the all of an army. The Gauls were not con- 
quered by the Roman legions, but by Csar* It was not be- 
fore the Carthaginian soldiers that Rome was made to trem- 
ble, but before Hannibal. It was not the Macedonian phalanx 
which penetrated to India, but Alexander. It was not the 
French Army which reached the Weser and the Inn, it was 
Turenne. Prussia was not defended for seven years against 
the three most formidable European Powers by Prussian sol- 
diers, but by Frederick the Great" 10 To this list, as we shall 
see, may be added : It was not the valiant soldiers of the South 
who In 1864 stood like a wall between Grant and Richmond, 
but Lee* And it was not the gallant men of the North who 
drove Lee from the Rapidan to the Appomattox, but Grant 
Thus we see, that to appreciate the history of great battles, 
B. & L I P . 423. 

imts & $ainte~Hetine t Montholon, II, p. 90. 

8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

above all we must appreciate the personality of the generals 
who waged them, those men who wielded armies as their men 
wield weapons, and who imbued these living instruments with 
their determination to conquer. Yet, when an army is so 
lacking in organization, equipment, or training, that it cannot 
respond to the will of its general, all genius is in vain* 


"L'art de la guerre nVst que Fart d'augmenter let chances 
pour soi." Napoleon* 

Thus far I have dealt mainly with the moral forces of gen- 
eralship, and it will be seen from what I have said how capri- 
cious they are, and how largely chance enters into them* 
Whatever type of man we examine, it is obvious that we can- 
not change to any considerable extent his native intelligence, 
his sense of humour, his courage, prudence, etc*, etc. ; but we 
can Increase his knowledge through education, and improve 
his talents by practice. We cannot endow him with genius, 
but we can teach him to think logically* Whilst his natural 
abilities enable him to accomplish his aim with some degree of 
art, method of work will greatly assist him to attain artistic 
results with the least loss of energy, In other words, the 
method of science will be of Immense value to him. 

All arts are based on science, that Is on coordinated knowl- 
edge, though this does not mean that a scientist must conse- 
quently be an artist. But when a man does possess artistic 
ability, whether his art be war, music, electric lighting, garden- 
Ing, etc,, then, if he can simultaneously think scientifically, he 
will be in a position to economize his faculties, his forces, his 
time, and the material he Is making use of. 

A battle may be a work of art, like a picture; but from 
one battle It Is not possible to deduce a science of war, because, 
though actions can be compared with actions, with the battle 
itself there Is no comparison. Instead, let us take ten battles, a 
hundred battles, or a thousand battles, and analyze the gener- 
alship manifested In them; then by degrees we shall establish 
several thousands of comparisons* Many we shall trace to 

Introduction 9 

the native genius of the generals; but some we shall find crop- 
ping up In each battle fought when circumstances are fairly 
similar; also that a few are patent to all forms of fighting 
duels, skirmishes, combats, and battles between groups of 
armies. From these facts we can deduce certain generaliza- 
tions known as the principles of war. 

Taking all these facts, irrespective of their origin, we can 
assemble them under three major headings, namely, the in- 
struments of war, the methods of war and the conditions of 
wan The first includes armies, navies and, to-day, air forces; 
the second the rules, maxims and principles of war; and the 
third a multitude of circumstances political, financial, eco- 
nomic, ethical, geographical, etc* In all the instruments of 
war will be found three elements, namely, protection, offensive 
power and movement Protected mobility is strategy, and 
protected offensive power Is tactics. The object of the former 
is battle, not at any price but at the lowest cost; and of the 
latter the accomplishment of strategy, that is complete free- 
dom of movement, and this Is only possible when the enemy's 
strength is paralyzed, dissipated, or destroyed. 

The third category of facts, namely, conditions, in so far 
as they influenced the Civil War, I will deal with in Part I of 
this book. Meanwhile I will examine the second category, and 
I should like to ask the student, or reader, to bear with me a 
little if this subject appears a dull one, because it is the key 
which I Intend to use In unlocking the door of Grant's gen- 
eralship. Rules and maxims I will not discuss, for they come 
and go as weapons, means of protection and of movement 
change; but principles are fundamental, and these I will now 
attempt to explain* 

Expenditure of military force Is an art, and like all other 
arts it Is based on science* The science of war Is the knowl- 
edge of human conflict In all Its forms, whether the battle Is a 
fight between two men, or between two or more nations. 
Without this science warfare must largely remain In an al- 
chemical state, and be governed by chance and not by law. 
As force has to be expended, then the side which can best 
economize Its force Is the side which is more likely to win, or 

io The Generalship of Ulysses S* Grant 

to sustain unnecessary loss. Economy of force is, therefore, 
the governing law of wan Granted this law, the next ques- 
tion is to decide on the nature of force; and as an army is but 
a number of men, the forces of war must be sought in man 
himself. Human force is threefold: it is mental, moral and 
physical, and no one of these forms of force can be expended 
without influencing the remaining two. Economy in the ex- 
penditure of these constitutes the central problem of strategy 
and tactics. 

The expenditure of force presupposes pressure and resist- 
ance which govern the direction force eventually takes. In 
war each side must have an object which provisionally fixes the 
direction of military operations. In order to maintain this 
direction, pressure and resistance must be exerted- These two 
factors if correctly employed lead to an economical distribu- 
tion of force, and they should control the formulation of all 
plans of war. These three principles are, consequently* closely 
related to the mental sphere of force to the thoughts in the 
head of the general-in-chief out of which he evolves his plan. 

Before this plan can be transformed Into physical action, 
that is executed by the men themselves, the troops must not 
only be willing but determined to carry it out To do so their 
moral must balance their fear, consequently their determina* 
tion to act must be supported by moral endurance. Further, 
to economize this endurance, they should aim at surprising 
the enemy, that is demoralizing him. In the moral sphere of 
war we thus obtain three principles closely related to the for- 
mer ones. They may be called the principles of the determi- 
nation, endurance and demoralization of force (or surprise). 
It is in this moral sphere of war that the decisive battle Is 

To attack the enemy's determination to win, physical action 
must be brought Into play. Men must move, and movement 
depends on how far offensive action can be protected* Thus 
are obtained three physical principles of war, namely, those of 
mobility, security and the disorganization of force (or of* 
fensive action) . 

We thus obtain nine principles of war which govern the 

Introduction 1 1 

expenditure of force. Three are related to pressure, three to 
resistance, and three to the control of their resultants the 
direction of the operation, the determination of all ranks to 
attain the object in view, and movement towards the objective 

These nine principles, which are expressions of the law of 
economy of force, form the foundations of the science of war, 
without which the art of war is solely determined by individual 
predeliction, or chance. This science is expressed as an art 
through the instrument of war, the military organization at 
the command of the general-in-chief who, to act rightly, ex- 
pends its force by applying the principles of war according to 
the ever-changing conditions which surround him. These con- 
ditions can either assist or resist him, and by a correct, that 
is an economical, application of principles to conditions, he 
abstracts the highest assistance from all the forces which sur- 
round his army. For him to do so with true economy, it is 
necessary that the organization of his army should be suitable 
to the nature of the operation In hand. This suitability con- 
sists in power to develop protected offensive action in the least 
possible time and at the greatest possible speed. From these 
considerations we see that not only are strategy and tactics 
complimentary halves of the art of war, but that the geometric 
strategical ideas so favored in former days, such as interior 
and exterior lines, lines of operation, concentric and excentric 
attacks, etc n etc., are but details of the art which should be as 
"fluid" as any other art, and is so when it is based on a full 
understanding of the science of war in place of haphazard 

This system of analyzing war, condensed from my book 
The Foundations of the Science of fflar, I believe to be a 
useful one. It may not explain military genius, yet it does, so 
I think, explain the framework of this intuitive knowledge. 
General Lloyd, so it seems to me, gives the clearest definition 
of men of genius. He writes : "They see at once the cause, 
and Its effect, with the different combinations which unite 
them: they do not proceed by common rules, successively from 
one idea to another, by slow and languid steps, no : the whole, 

12 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

with all Its circumstances and various combinations. Is like a 

picture, all together present to their mind; these want no 
geometry: but an age produces few of this kind of men: and 
in the common run of generals, geometry and experience, will 
help them to avoid gross errors/ 1 ll 

I hope that my system will do likewise, when I apply it to 
the generalship of Grant* I do not intend to do so in a 
pedantic way, but I shall have the system In mind when I 
criticize his campaigns* When applied as a means of an- 
alyzing plans of operation, that Is the decisions arrived at by 
the general, I shall make use of the principles as follows, 
Those of concentration, distribution and direction as influ- 
enced by the determination of the general, I shall consider as 
appertaining more closely to strategy; and those of offensive 
action, security and mobility as Influenced by the endurance of 
the troops, as appertaining to tactics. Surprise, that is origi- 
nality in the generals and unexpected action as it Influences 
their men, I shall consider as being common to these two 
branches of the art of war. 

If the reader will carefully examine these principles, he will 
find that they are of universal application, that Is to say, they 
govern, so It seems to me, all forms of human activity* They 
are as applicable to work as to fighting, and t conversely, the 
methods of work, and particularly scientific management, are 
as important to fighting as to work* I know of no two books 
more useful In understanding the art of generalship than F. 
W. Taylor's The Principles of Scientific Management, and 
Henry Ford's My Life and Works. And because I feel that 
this Is so, I hope that this book of mine, In which is examined 
the activities of one of the greatest generals of the last cen- 
tury, may assist those who would become masters of work to 
distil from the turmoil of war the more excellent generalship 
of peace. This Is a use of military history which I believe to 
be original. 

w- History of tht Late War In Gtrm**y (1766), General I10yi f ! f p. 19. By 
"geometry* Lloyd means "method." 




U AT half-past four o'clock, on the morning of April I2th, 
1 86 1, while yet the lingering night lay upon the waters of the 
bay, leaving even the outline of Fort Sumter scarcely discern- 
ible, the assembled spectators saw a flash from the mortar 
battery near old Fort Johnson, on the south side of the har- 
bor, and an instant after a bombshell rose in a slow, high 
curve through the air, and fell upon the fort. n x The Rubicon 
was crossed, sixty years and more of argument, of political 
facts and fictions, of expedients and unworkable panaceas 
were, like a cobweb, swept aside by Captain George S, James's 
ten-inch shelL On April 14 the flag of the United States was 
hauled down, and Major Anderson surrendered the fort Ex- 
actly four years later this same officer raised the Stars and 
Stripes a to float once again over Its then peaceful ruins. 

During these four years, what do we see? A drama the 
like of which had never been witnessed before; a drama the 
United States is unlikely ever to look upon again, In fact, a 
unique event In the history of this turbulent world. During 
these four years the theatre of war was half the size of India ; 
the North enlisted nearly 3,000,000 men; 2,200 combats were 
fought, 149 being important engagements; 1,504 blockade 
runners were captured or destroyed; approximately half a 
million men were killed or died, and to the North alone the 
war cost some $4,750,000,000. These figures rightly make 
us pause and wonder; yet, In Europe, to so great a general as 
Moltke, this colossal conflict was but a matter of "two armed 
mobs chasing each other around the country, from which noth- 

p. 6a, 
2 The same flag* 


1 6 The Generalship of Ulysses S, Grant 

Ing could be learned." Such is the military eye of the doc- 
trinaire, the man who has soaked his brain in rules, and to 
whom all things warlike are to be measured on the bed of 
Procrustean regulations. 

This war was far otherwise. It was one of the most ex- 
traordinary of wars ever fought an epoch-making war in 
military and civil history, A war which foretold the coming 
of the World War of 1914-1918, the tactics of which would 
have been vastly modified had Moltke studied those of this 
Civil War. For forty years his school of thought obsessed 
European armies, rendering them all but impervious to the 
changing conditions introduced by science and industry. It 
was a war within a nation in which the North was fighting not 
a hostile army but a hostile people; and in which both sides 
were equally imbued with the justice of their cause. A war 
on the one side undertaken to establish national independence! 
and on the other to maintain national unity. A war which 
moved in the highest moral spheres; an epic to the South* 
stern duty to the North, for both, according to their ideals, 
were fighting for the ashes of the dead, and the Inheritance 
of those tmborn. For the North It could be no other than a 
war of conquest. It could end in no treaty, no argument! no 
terms, except unconditional surrender* or separation. In its 
toils were gripped not only the future of America but the fu- 
ture of Western Civilization; for the disruption of the United 
States would have resulted* rapidly, or slowly, in changing the 
entire political and economic structure of Europe. Looking 
back on this war, and remembering that the North was beset 
by many internal foes, that, as Ropes aptly remarks, "the 
poetry of war hardly entered into the mind of the Northern 
volunteer," * and that offensive warfare had to be carried 
over half a continent, the outstanding marvel is that the North 
ever won. Thus, it seems to me, to talk of armed mobs is 
puerile. Is this all that can be learnt from such conflicts as 
the Peloponnesian War, the Thirty Years* War* and this 
Civil War? We shall see. 

Ropes, Pt I, p* IQ& 

The Civil War 17 


The origin of all modern wars may be traced to economic 
causes, and in the last hundred years these causes find their 
source in the Industrial Revolution which, between 1760 and 
1860, refashioned the world. In the sixteenth century the 
feudal barons of the Plantagenets were steadily replaced by 
the economically minded nobility of the Tudors, and in the 
following century we see numbers of the more truculent mem- 
bers of the old military aristocracy emigrating to the then 
infant American Colonies. In 1775, the descendants of these 
settlers led the Rebellion, and no sooner had liberty been won 
than internal discord arose. As early as 1799, we find Wil- 
liam Cobbett writing in his Porcupine: 

tl The reader will do well to observe the point on which the 
Virginia politics turn. Virginia will either have majority in 
Congress or a separation of the States. . . . They [the 
States] can be held together by nothing but the Federal in- 
fluences of the middle States, and more particularly that of 
Pennsylvania. If, therefore, this Influence should decline in 
any considerable degree, a separation must inevitably take 
place, and happy will it be if it should come unaccompanied 
by a civil war, long, desolating, and bloody.** 4 

The fact was, that as early as the end of the eighteenth 
century the Industrial Revolution had begun to sift the Ameri- 
cans into traders and planters* The first were a rising plu- 
tocracy, the second an all but stationary aristocracy. The first 
rapidly devoted themselves to manufacturing, the second re- 
mained an agricultural community. Then, when to nurse their 
new-born industries, the North demanded protective tariffs, 
political swords were drawn, for the cotton monopoly of the 
South demanded free trade* In 1819, there were twenty-two 
States in the Union, and of these eleven were slave-holding 
and eleven free. Politically the two factions were equally 
divided, but should other States be created, as they must be, 
what then? 

4 Porcupine, X, p. 18$. 

1 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

We now come to the real cause of the war, the necessity of 
slavery to the existence of the patriarchal and agricultural 
society of the South. The squabble over the meaning of the 
Union, the interpretation of the Constitution, and the liberty 
of each State to decide upon its own government, were but the 
weapons whereby slavery could be maintained or abolished. 
Slavery was not a secondary issue as many suppose, but the 
main issue, confronted by a new world order, namely, the cul- 
ture of the Industrial Revolution. Here we are faced by two 
tangled sets of problems the ethical and the economic. 

Ethically, slavery cut the Southern States adrift from not 
only the rest of America but from the whole of Europe. 
Slavery was repugnant to the nineteenth century, and though 
the war was not fought to abolish slavery, but to put down 
resistance to the National Government, without slavery the 
war could not have taken place. Jefferson Davis, in his book, 
The Rise and Fait of the Confederate Government, maintains 
that the South was fighting for equality and not slavery. The 
whole mass of Secessionist literature contradicts this state- 
ment, and Alexander 1L Stephens, the Confederate Vice-Presi- 
dent, himself declared that slavery was the corner-stone of his 
government. 5 

Slavery in one way or another touched almost every meas- 
ure of legislation. Though it gave leisure to the ruling class 
of the South, namely, the slave-holders, it kept them conserva- 
tive and stagnant, for as J. B. McMaster writes in The Cam- 
bridge Modern History: "Wherever slavery was established, 
society took and kept a single and invariable form; industry 
had its fixed variety and pattern; life held to unalterable 
standards." 6 All immigrants went to the North, in the South 
there was no place for them. In the South the population re- 
mained practically stationary, no new markets being estab- 

He said: "Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite Met 
[viz., to that of all men being free and equal]; its foundations arc laid, its 
corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white 
man: that slavery, subordination to the superior race, Is hit natural and normal 
condition. Thus our new Government Is the first in the history of the "world 
based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral troth.** 

CM JI,, VII, p. 143. 

The Civil War 1 9 

lished, because the negro population supplied its own wants, 
and the poor whites were excessively poor. 

Though the economic influence of slavery must ultimately 
have led to an Assyrian indolence which would have rotted 
the South, its worse feature at this time was its brutalizing 
effect on human nature. Many Southerners realized this: 
Robert JE. Lee was against it, Thomas J. Jackson (Stonewall) 
did not like it, yet supported it on Biblical authority. Colonel 
Henderson, when discussing this subject, mitigates it. He 
points out that the lot of the slave was frequently a happy one, 
and preferable to that of thousands of the denizens of Euro- 
pean city slums, T He overlooks, however, the fact that per- 
sonal liberty is the highest human happiness in a free society 
in which imprisonment for life is the severest punishment 
except death. 

The slavery of poverty is an exceeding evil, but legalized 
slavery is diabolical, because no hope of redemption can exist. 
In my opinion, the Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plan~ 
tation in 1838-^, written by that noble woman, Fanny Kern- 
ble, is one of the saddest books in history. To read of a 
transaction like the following, described by Harriet Mar- 
tineau, 8 makes one wonder how it was that the whole Chris- 
tian world was not ranged against the South* Three beauti- 
ful girls, of the ages of fifteen, seventeen and eighteen, were 
left as orphans. An ancestress of their mother had been a 
slave, but they showed no perceptible mulatto tinge. Their 
uncle was about to take them back to his home in New Hamp- 
shire, when their father's debtors claimed that they should be 
entered on the inventory of his effects. The uncle remon- 
strated* He was a poor man, nevertheless he offered to re- 
deem them for more than they would fetch in the market for 
house or field labour* This offer was refused with scorn, and 
in the slave-market of New Orleans "they were sold, sep- 
arately, at high prices, for the vilest of purposes." Such acts 
as this, disgracing North and South alike, fostered the Aboti- 

T Henderson^ I, p. 90. 

* Quoted from American Social History, Allan Nevins, pp. 

20 The Generalship of Ulysses 8. Grant 

tionist Movement, which endowed the North with a crusading 
spirit. This precipitated the conflict. 


The shifting of the causes of a war from an economic to the 
political level is inevitable, for governments and not systems 
declare war. In the present instance this shifting began to 
take place in 1819, when the question of Missouri came before 
Congress. Should this Territory become a free or a slave 
State, this was the question? A compromise was arranged, 
Missouri was to enter the Union as a slave-holding State, and 
to compensate the balance Maine was to be a free State, 
Further still, slavery was to be prohibited from the extensive 
Louisiana Territory purchased from France in 1803* 

No sooner was this compromise agreed upon than the revo- 
lution in Spain and the European interference which followed 
it brought into the political arena the question of the future 
of the Spanish South American colonies. These had already 
been recognized by the United States as independent repub- 
lics. Fearful that some European Power might occupy them 
before the United States could set its house in order, the Mon- 
roe Doctrine was promulgated. This declaration politically 
separated the New World from the Old, 

Once safeguarded theoretically from outside pressure. Con- 
gress could devote the whole of its time to internal politics, 
and these took the form of the Tariff Act* known In the South 
as the "Tariff of Abominations*" When, In 1828, this Act 
became law, the ships in Charleston harbour flew their iags 
at half mast, and though, in 1832* the Act was amended, the 
following year ft was declared null and void by the Govern* 
ment of South Carolina, and no longer "binding on the State, 
Its officers or citizens/* Thus WES the spirit of secession born. 
^ Whilst these political quarrels were monopolizing atten- 
tion, Mexico abolished slavery, and* In 1836, Tacts revolted, 
was annexed by the United States and, In 1845, was admitted 
into the Union as a slave State. This led to the Mexican war 
of 1845-1848, which many Americans, Including Ulysses S. 

The Civil War 2 1 

Grant, considered an unrighteous undertaking. In his Per- 
sonal Memoirs he writes: a The Southern rebellion was largely 
the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals* 
are punished for their transgressions. We got our punish- 
ment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern 

The result of this war was that the United States came into 
possession of an immense area Including, in addition to Texas, 
the present States of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Ari- 
zona, Utah, with parts of Wyoming and Colorado. The 
question at once arose : should they remain free ? Whilst this 
problem was being debated, gold was discovered in California, 
and a rush to the goldfields followed. "The whole social con- 
dition of California was instantly changed* Labourers left 
their fields, tradesmen their shops* Seamen deserted their 
ships in every harbour . * . to send troops out here would be 
useless, for they would immediately desert' 5 1(> As the circum- 
stances were such that Congress could not establish a govern- 
ment for California, the people themselves drew up and rati- 
fied a Free-State constitution, and made formal application to 
be admitted into the Union. The South resisted this applica- 
tion. This resistance brought the question of slavery to the 
top in politics. The balance between free and slave-holding 
States could no longer be maintained, for in the great West 
and Northwest, slavery was in fact* if not in law, excluded, 
because these territories were mainly inhabited by Northern- 
ers and free immigrants. 

The disintegration of the Union had begun, for the South 
having segregated Itself through Slavery, was now faced by 
the alternatives of either submitting to the eventual abolition 
of slavery or to the setting aside of the Union* The ideal of 
those who originally drew up the Constitution was to establish 
a Union based on brotherhood* This ethical foundation was 
by now completely undermined, In place of brotherly affection 
between the States there were dissensions and hatred. "A 
Union which could only be maintained by force was a strange 

9 Grant. I, p. 56* 

i CMJtt., VII, pp. 400-401, 

22 The Generalship of Ulysses S, CJrant 

and obnoxious idea to the majority, . , According to his 
[the American citizen's] political creed his country was his 
native State, and such was the creed of the whole South . . 
in taking up arms 'they were not, in their opinion, rebels at 

all,' they were defending their States, . * ." " Slavery had 
in fact transformed them into a separate nation, ready to 
repel invasion and to resist conquest. 


The war was in every respect a desperate one, a war be- 
tween advancing civilization, the culture begotten by the 
French and Industrial Revolutions, and the older agrarian 
civilization which preceded these events* It was in fact a 
war between coal and muscle, a war between two tremendous 
ideals, on the one side a great free Republic stretching from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific^ developing the wealth of a conti- 
nent; on the other an Empire of Babylonian proportions, an 
immense feudal Arcadia "before which the Intellect, the 
power, the splendor, and the government of all preceding ages 
and nations should fade and wane. 11 lft Whilst the North was 
magnetized by the future, the South was hypnotized by the 
past. It was a contest between what had been and what 
should be. To attain either end a sacrifice was demanded 
the blood of half a million men to decide the course of 

This war was the first great conflict begotten of the Indus- 
trial Revolution, the second was the World War of 1914- 
1918; consequently, in the natural history of war these two 
stand in close relationship. Each sprang from economic 
causes; each was preceded by a period of intensive inventive- 
ness; each was fought with comparatively new weapons, and 
was largely a war of entrenchments* In each, sea-power 
strangled the industrially weaker side f which sought to make 
up for numerical inferiority by novelty in means of attack. 
Each was faced by a neutral world which Influenced Its grand 

11 Henderson, I, pp 96-99* 

12 Nicolay> p* xx. 

The Civil War 23 

strategy, and both were brought to a conclusion through 
financial chaos, and economic exhaustion as much as by force 
of arms. 

In the half century preceding the outbreak of the war, what 
do we see? Eli Whitney's cotton gin 13 transforming the 
South; Fulton's steamships plying the waters of the Hudson, 
Delaware, Ohio and Mississippi; railways developing apace 
between 1840-1850; the electric telegraph established in 1844, 
and McCormick's reaper conquering the prairies of the West. 

During the War these inventions were followed by others: 
The rifle, a comparatively new weapon, is used by both sides, 
its power Is known, but its tactics are not understood; hence 
entrenched battlefields and colossal slaughter. Late in the 
war a breech-loading rifle is adopted, even a maga^ine4oadmg 
rifle, and a machine gun is invented. Torpedoes, land mines, 
submarine mines, the telegraph, lamp and flag signalling, wire 
entanglements, are all used and developed; and newspaper 
boys, as in the World War, are frequently seen not only be- 
hind but on the battlefields themselves. In sea warfare a com- 
plete revolution is established: the Merrimac and the Monitor 
in one day render obsolete the wooden navies of the entire 
world; ramming replaces boarding, and In England Sir John 
Hay says: "The man who goes Into action in a wooden ship 
Is a fool, and the man who sends him there Is a villain. 1 ' The 
South, unable to rival the naval power of the North, turns to 
cunning, and seeks to fashion a submarine on the lines of 
Fulton's Nautilus. Though one Federal steamer, the Housa- 
tonic, is sunk by this strange vessel, hand driven by eight 
men, she proved a dangerous ally yet the idea Is there, an 
idea which in 1917 nearly changed the course of European 

Many other Inventions might be listed, but sufficient have 
been mentioned to show, not only the peculiar nature of this 
war, but Its close resemblance to the World War. Whilst the 
one was based on steam-power, and all this power includes, 
the other was based on oil-power and electrical power, the two 

u "Without the cotton gin, there can be hardly a doubt that the Civil War 
would not have happened." Woodward, p. 65. 

24 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

new sources of power largely developed during the fifty years 
which preceded 1914. Not only do these inventions link to- 
gether these two wars In structure, but their influence on the 
means of waging war is similar; for, both in 1865 and 1918, 
war is brought to an end by the collapse of the industrially and 
financially weaker side* 

The onslaughts of Lee in 1862-63, and of Grant in 1864-65, 
resulted in an attrition of man-power, but it was the moral 
attack of Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas, and the 
economic attack of the Federal navy and of Sheridan in Vir- 
ginia which brought the Confederacy to its knees. The South 
lost heart y prices soared, already in November 1863, bread 
riots became frequent, for flour was selling at over $100 the 
barrel. 1 * G. C. Eggleston writes that: "The householder 
must take his money to market in his basket, and bring his 
purchases home in his pocket-book." u After the World War, 
in Germany, conditions were similar* a man entering a res- 
taurant with a large leather bag was requested to leave it 
in the cloak-room, "In the cloak-room? 11 he exclaimed. 
"Never! Why, it is my purse, 11 

From these few incidents it will be seen how much the 
statesmen and soldiers of Europe might have learnt from this 
war, had they dismissed from their minds the idea that its 
main lesson was that of two armed mobs of men chasing each 
other round a continent* Had they learnt these lessons, then 
would they have discovered what this war meant to America* 
and, understanding this, should have been able to apply this 
knowledge, when, in 1919, the reconstruction of Europe con- 
fronted them* They would have learnt that no war is worth 
winning which leaves nations In turmoil! for they would then 
have understood the spirit of the words engraved on the 
plinth of General Sherman's statue at Washington "The le- 
gitimate object of war Is a more perfect peace*** 

The Rebellion of 1775 founded the American nation, but it 
was the Civil War which fashioned this nation Into one peo- 
ple. If the South had won, the Confederacy would in time 

** Jones, II, pp, 90, a&4, 

111 A Re fat'* RwaUtictions* Chap. IV* 

The Civil War 25 

have disintegrated, and North America to-day might be a 
European satrapy. 

The supreme value of this war, and it seems to me no other 
event could have accomplished it, was to manifest to the South 
that liberty is the foundation of fraternity and unity, and that 
her Empire was but a dream. To squeeze out the spirit of 
the first rebellion; to absorb the individual selfishness of 
North and South; to establish a united spirit of self-reliance 
and self-control; to test the endurance of the people, and to 
discover whether they were worthy of future greatness. 

Finally, not only did this war lead to the opening up of the 
vast unoccupied territories of the West, and so reveal to a 
united people the immensity of future prosperity, but it adver- 
tised to Europe and to the world, as nothing else could have 
done, the power of the United States, What this war was to 
America, so I believe, in spite of petty statesmanship and the 
lack of great men, the World War will one day be to Europe. 
Both were creative impulses shattering what was obsolete and 
releasing things new. 

Such are the two great stepping stones of our age, and un- 
less we set our feet firmly on the one we may slip on the other 
as we step forward to the conquest of destiny the unity of 
the world. 



a Hfi was beloved by his countrymen because he was the full 
embodiment of American life, American genius, American as- 
piration. ! No American statesman has equalled him in com- 
prehending, and interpreting the thought and will of the com- 
mon peoplel\ He had realized the republican ideal that every 
American boy is a possible American President; and he gave 
the national birthright a new lustre, when, from the steps of 
the White House, he said to a regiment of volunteers ^ 4 I am 
a living witness that any one of your children may look to 
come here as my father's child has. . . .' He lifted the 
Declaration of Independence from a political theory to a na- 
tional fact. He enforced the Constitution as the supreme law. 
It was under him that for the first time the American govern- 
ment attained full perfection in its twin ideals of union and lib- 
erty. . . . Commanding a million armed men, his sole ambi- 
tion was to vindicate the doctrine that the majority must rule, 
that there can be no appeal from the ballot to the bullet. * . * 
Above all, it was his great act of Emancipation that raised his 
administration to the plane of a grand historical landmark* 
and crowned his title of President with that of Liberator." ^ 

( This man, was Abraham Lincoln, the noblest democrat of 
modern times?^ A man of humble origin^ self-educated, human, 
alert, tolerant, and inflexibly honest. ("Let us have faith," he 
once said, "that right makes might, an3 in that jE^ith let us to 
the end dare to do our duty as we understand ltJ\ He saw 
clearly that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," and 
that the Government of the United States could not endure 
permanently "half slave and half free." Slavery he detested, 

VII, pp. 547-548. 


The Civil War 27 

hut he did not allow this personal feeling to obscure his policy, 
which was to save the Union no matter what it cost. 

In 1860, Lincoln was elected President, and was inaugu- 
rated as such on March 4, the following year. The difficulties 
which then confronted him were enormous; not only had South 
Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana 
and Texas withdrawn from the Union, but he had been placed 
in power by only 1,866,452 votes, his three opponents scoring 
2,813,741. This meant a divided political house, which if it 
fell must inevitably bring the Union to earth with it 

To accomplish his work, first he must keep in power; sec- 
ondly he must win the war, for not otherwise could the Union 
be re-established. He had no military experience beyond a 
few weeks campaigning against Red Indians in 1832; when, 
strangely enough, it is said that the oath of allegiance was ad- 
ministered to him by Jefferson Davis. He had at his disposal 
a microscopic navy, and a tiny army deprived of many of its 
best officers* Yet, though he knew nothing about war, he was 
possessed of a true military instinct, of which the following is 
an example. In 1863, a little before the Fredericksburg cam- 
paign opened, he said to General Hooker: "I would not take 
any risk of being entangled upon the river like an ox jumped 
half over a fence, and liable to be torn by dogs, front and rear, 
without a fair chance to gore one way or kick the other." 
And about Richmond: "If left to me, I would not go south of 
the Rappahannock upon Lee's moving north of it If you had 
Richmond invested to-day, you would not be able to take it in 
twenty days* * . . I think Lee's army, and not Richmond is 
your true objective point*' 1 

Lincoln had to form his policy in the following circum- 
stances: the North was in no measure united; the South was, 
and knowing the conditions which prevailed in the North, and 
knowing that the North must attack and continue to attack, 
these realizations, added to the inherent bravery of her 
Armies, endowed the Confederacy with an invincible spirit. 

European intervention (mainly French) was a standing 
menace until the spring of 1865. The British press (with the 
exception of the Spectator) voicing the opinions of the gov- 

4$ The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

erning classes of Great Britain, was unanimously against the 
North, and Mr. Gladstone went so far as to congratulate Jef- 
ferson Davis on having "made a nation." Napoleon III was 
antagonistic to the United States as a whole. A man of un- 
common vision, but of little balance, he considered that the 
progress of the United States was a menace to the Old World, 
and particularly so to French trade. His object apparently 
was to create a buffer state between Mexico and either or both 
parties in the Civil War. 2 No sooner had the War begun, 
than he began to interfere in Mexico. On June 10, 1863, 
Marshal Bazaine entered the city of Mexico, and, on April 10, 
the following year, Maximilian, Napoleon's protege, was 
crowned Emperor. 8 Though, to-day, this may seem a petty 
affair, it must be remembered that Metz and Sedan had yet to 
be fought, and that behind Napoleon III stood the shadow of 
his mighty uncle. 

Within the government of the North there was division if 
not sedition. No part of American liberty had been more 
jealously guarded than freedom of speech and freedom of the 
press. Men like Vallandigham openly anathematized the war, 
the North and Lincoln, and nothing could be kept secret from 
the newspapers, many of which were hostile. 

We see, therefore, that Lincoln's difficulties were legion. 
He had to work within a conservative government, influenced 
by a semi-hostile people and press, and an openly hostile Eu- 
rope. He had to maintain his grip on the loyal slave States, 
and simultaneously build up a navy and an army, and carry 
war into the Confederacy. Fortunately for him, Jefferson 
Davis, though a man of considerable military knowledge, 
never had any policy outside the hope of foreign intervention, 
"he drifted from the beginning to the end of the war." 4 
Under him strategy was overridden by political expedients; 
not only did he hope that cotton would pay for the war, but 
should the blockade become effective that European powers 
would intervene. "Cotton is king. . . * Europe cannot exist 

2 Formby, p. 245. 

*Schouler, VL, pp. 428-429. For French designs upon Texas, see Mahan's 
The Gulf and the Inland Waters, pp. 185-186. 
*JJ. & L. t I, p. no. 

The Civil War 29 

without it" was the dread obsession which smote the South 
with a palsy, and ruined the strategy of her generals. 


On both sides the political object of the war was clear. The 
South aimed at gaining recognition as an independent nation; 
the North at preventing this by compelling the South to re- 
enter the Union, and either abandon slavery, or accept com- 
pensation instead* 

There were three courses of action open to the South, 
namely : 

1 I ) To defeat the North, and win independence by force 
of arms. 

(2) To induce Europe to intervene, stop the war, and com- 
pel the North to recognize the independence of the 

(3) To tire the North out, and so compel the Union Gov- 
ernment to abandon the contest. 

The first was possible until Gettysburg and the fall of Vicks- 
burg; the second until the issue of Lincoln's Proclamation of 
Emancipation, and the third until September 1864, the date 
when Sherman and Sheridan, respectively, captured Atlanta 
and defeated Early in the Valley. 

President Davis, having no policy beyond hoped-for inter- 
vention, had no grand strategy beyond a rigid defensive, in- 
terrupted from time to time by attempts on the part of his 
generals to take advantage of the central position occupied by 
the Confederacy. As Grant sarcastically said: "On several 
occasions he came to the relief of the Union Army by means 
of his superior military genius" 5 

As President he was commander-in-chief de jure, but for 
him this was not sufficient; for, though he never commanded 
an army in the field, he assumed the position of commander 
de facto. General Beauregard writing of him says: "We 
needed for President either a military man of high order, or a 

Grant, II, p. 87. 

30 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

politician of the first-class without military pretensions. . . . 
The South did not fall crushed by the mere weight of the 
North ; but it was nibbled away on all sides and ends, because 
its executive had never gathered and wielded its great strength 
under the ready advantages that greatly reduced or neutral- 
ized its adversary's naked physical superiority. It is but an- 
other of the many proofs that . . . the passive defensive pol- 
icy may make a long agony, but can never win a war." 6 Nev- 
ertheless, it should not be forgotten, that in spite of his dicta- 
torial will, it is difficult to see who could have replaced him. 
A people who rebel nearly always demand a dictator. Lee 
could not have taken his place, and towards the close of the 
war he refused to do so. Among the politicians of the seceded 
States, probably there was not one who would have done bet- 
ter than Davis, certainly none who would have maintained the 
war to its bitter end. Further, it should not be forgotten, 
that in an amazingly short time he organized and put into the 
field a magnificent army; that, in spite of the blockade and 
the lack of factories, he supplied this army with arms and the 
munitions of war. Not until the very end did he abandon 
hope in victory, and even, when Lee surrendered to Grant, 
with a few gallant followers he headed off westwards to con- 
tinue the war. 

His indomitable will, his obstinacy and lack of political 
sense both sustained and ruined his cause. After Fredericks- 
burg, foreign intervention was possible; and after Cold Har- 
bor, a surrender on terms might have been acceptable to the 
North; but like a Viking he preferred to go down fighting his 
ship without a thought of the crew. So mighty was his will to 
win, that in the last lap of the war, in order to continue the 
conflict, he agreed to abandon slavery, that corner-stone of 
the Confederacy. Man-power failing, he proposed to enlist 
negroes and to grant them emancipation for military service, 
thereby admitting the fallacy of slavery as an institution of 
government, and the right of any single State to maintain it. 
"Under that admission the vital spirit of the Southern cause 
the preservation and perpetuation of slavery expired. . . . 

JB. er L.,I, p. 226. 

The Civil War 3 1 

Secession had been illogical from the first; its own conse- 
quences had now rendered it ridiculous." 7 Indeed, an extraor- 
dinary man, by instinct a tyrant, by fate a politician; and 
through combining these two without taking the field, thq most 
magnificent failure in the history of his country. 


Except for the question of slavery which cast its shadow 
over every event, the grand strategical problems which faced 
President Lincoln and the Union Government at the outbreak 
of the war were very similar to those which confronted the 
Allied Governments in 1914. The grand tactical idea of the 
North was to lay the entire Confederacy under siege, and 
slowly strangle it to death. Though this idea took form im- 
mediately after the capitulation of Fort Sumter, its full mean- 
ing was not understood until Grant became general-in-chief. 
Looking back on the war, we find that the following grand 
strategical problems faced Lincoln : 

1 i ) The blockade of the Confederacy. 

(2) The emancipation of the slaves. 
(3; The control of the army. 

(4) The recruiting of the army. 

The first of these four problems was strategically the most 
important, for unless the South was cut off from the outer 
world, the length of the war might become intolerable to the 
North. Sea-power, consequently, formed the foundations of 
Northern grand strategy, and Lincoln was not slow to see this, 
for on April 19, 1861, he proclaimed a blockade of the South- 
ern ports* Command of the sea was, however, purely theo- 
retical, for there were only forty steam-vessels in the navy, 
and none armoured ; twenty-four of were in commission 
and scattered over the seas, eight were useless, and eight were 
in dockyards without crews. All other ships were sailing- 
vessels. The total number of officers and men was 7,600. 
From this small beginning the Federal Navy expanded in a 

32 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

way which can be described only as magical. In 1865 it had 
In commission 671 ships, mostly steamers and many armour" 
plated, manned by 51,000 officers and men. 

The coast to be blockaded ran from Chesapeake Bay to the 
Mexican frontier, a distance of 3,500 miles, 8 and to this enor- 
mous stretch of water, must be added the Mississippi from 
New Orleans to Cairo. This river was, in fact, an inland 
western coast line. 

Besides blockade by sea and river, two further problems 
engaged the Federal Navy, namely, fortress attack, and com- 
merce destroying; the latter being the most difficult problem of 

The only offensive naval measure of importance adopted by 
the Confederacy was commerce raiding by a few auxiliary 
cruisers such as the Alabama and the Sumter. Blockade run- 
ning was not an offensive measure, but an economic manifesta- 
tion based on the calculation of profit and loss. "Thus the 
cotton exported by the blockade runners paid for all the im- 
ports of raw materials, etc. . * . This is the secret of effectual 
blockade running. It must pay. 

In England the blockade rekindled the spirit of the mer- 
chant adventurers of Tudor times, 10 for blockade running ap- 
pealed as a sport to English daring and greed for gain. Spe- 
cial blockade runners "low, flat, slim, grey-painted boats" of 
about 600 tons burden were built. These vessels mainly oper- 
ated from the Bermudas, Nassau in the Bahamas, and Ha- 

8 It must, however, be remembered that, excluding Norfolk, there were only 
nine harbours between Cape Charles and the Mississippi connected to the in- 
terior by railroads; these were Newbern, Beaufort, Savannah, Brunswick, Pen- 
sacola, New Orleans, Charleston, Wilmington and Mobile. The first six were 
closed before May i, 1862; Charleston in September, 1863; Mobile In August, 
1864, and Wilmington in January, 1865. According to Lieut-Col. George A. 
Bruce, all should have been captured, or closed, in x$&5. (See M.H.S.M., 
XIII, pp. 400-401,) Had this been done, the war would almost certainly have 
ended in the following year. 

9 Vice-Admiral Meurer in Marine Rundschau, April, 1927. Blockade running 
and its prevention have been inadequately dealt with by British and Ameri- 
can naval historians. The best works to consult are: Soley's, The Blockade and 
the Cruisers; Taylor's Running the Blockade and Captain Roberts* Never 
Caught. In a recent American work: History of Sea Power, by Stevens and 
Westcott, it is astonishing to find that the blockade during the Civil War is 
dismissed in a few sentences. 

10 See Running the Blockade* Taylor, p. 10, 

The Civil War 33 

vana, where they shipped their cargoes and contrabands, 
and returned with bales of cotton which by ordinary merchant- 
men were shipped to Liverpool and elsewhere. Three success- 
ful voyages generally paid for one total loss. The profits 
made were enormous, sufficient for the captains to receive 
1,000 a voyage, and the seamen 50 a head. The magni- 
tude of these operations is obvious when it is realized that 
"between October 26, 1864, and January, 1865, 8,632,000 
Ibs. of meat, 1,507,000 Ibs. of lead, 1,933,000 Ibs. of saltpetre, 
546,000 pairs of shoes, 316,000 pairs of blankets, half a mil- 
lion pounds of coffee, 69,000 rifles, and 43 cannon" were ob- 
tained by the Confederates through the port of Wilmington 
alone, "while cotton sufficient to pay for these purchases was 
exported." 1X 

When Wilmington fell, the Confederacy was strangled. 
Nor must it be overlooked that the economic-strategical effect 
of the blockade was really negligible until, as Admiral Meurer 
writes, "General Grant had succeeded in blockading the Mis- 
sissippi, thereby cutting off the Western States of Texas and 
Arkansas with their supplies of cattle and grain, from the 
Eastern cotton-producing area," Then, as he remarks, "the 
collapse of the Confederates was a matter of certainty." 12 

Once the blockade was established, anyhow in theory, the 
next problem was the reduction of the will of the South so as 
to compel the abandonment of the struggle, with its collateral 
to prevent the South imposing its will by armed force on the 
North before the blockade attained its full effect. This prob- 
lem may be examined under two headings the moral and the 
physical attacks. The first aimed at justifying the political 
morality of the North, and, simultaneously, undermining that 
of the South ; it centred on the question of emancipation. 

Had it been possible for Lincoln to issue his Proclamation 
of Emancipation the day after Fort Sumter surrendered, a 
moral foundation to the whole of his grand strategy would 
have been laid. But it was not possible : first, the North was 

11 C.M.H., VII, p. 557. The Richmond Dispatch of January 3, 1865, gives 
these figures to December 31, and mentions Charleston as well as Wilmington; 
but little could have entered Charleston as this port was all but closed. 

12 Marine Rundschau, April, 1927, and March, 1924. 

34 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

not ready for it, and, secondly, as he said himself: "I do not 
want to issue a document that the whole world will see must 
necessarily be inoperative like the pope's bull against the 
comet*" Nevertheless Lincoln had this problem in mind from 
the middle of 1861 to the middle of 1862; it was his trump 
card, and all he was waiting for was the right moment to 
play it. He realized its enormous strategical power : by liber- 
ating the negro, he placed him on the footing of a free-born 
citizen; consequently, he could enlist him, and if he did so, 
sooner or later the South would be compelled to do likewise; 
and immediately this happened, the Confederacy would be 
forced to throw down its cards and abandon the policy for 
which it was fighting. On July 13, 1862, he introduced this 
subject to Secretaries Seward and Welles, and "dwelt earnestly 
on the gravity, Importance and delicacy of the movement; said 
he had given It much thought, and had about come to the con- 
clusion that It was a military necessity, absolutely essential for 
the salvation of the nation, that we must free the slaves, or 
be ourselves subdued." * 8 Seward considered that emancipa- 
tion must be supported by military success, accordingly Lincoln 
drafted his Proclamation, and awaited victory. 

It was not until Lee was repulsed at the battle of Antletam 
(or Sharpsburg) on September 17-19, 1862, that Lincoln 
warned his country that an emancipation decree would be pub- 
lished unless the rebellion ceased. And, In spite of Burnslde's 
defeat at Fredericksburg, on December 13, this Proclamation 
was published on the first of the new year. As Colonel Liver- 
more says: "The ist of January, 1863, marks an era in the 
history of the United States of America, second only to the 
4th of July, I776." 14 

The effects of this Proclamation were immediate and stu- 
pendous: "The war now took a totally different turn. All 
hope of compromise was at an end. There was now no pos- 
sible outcome but the ruin of the nation or the conquest of 
the South." 15 Negro regiments were at once enrolled, and by 

i* C.M.H., VII, p. 589. 

14 Lwermore, Pt. Ill, Bk. I, p. 98. 

18 Livermore, Pt, III, Bk. I, p. xoo. 

The Civil War 35 

the end of the war 150,000 blacks had been enlisted in the 
Federal armies. In Great Britain the Proclamation was re- 
ceived with so much joy that fear of England recognizing the 
Confederacy began to vanish. In the North, emancipation 
was generally welcomed; nevertheless, large numbers of offi- 
cers and men openly declared that they would never have en- 
listed in a war for the abolition of slavery. In the South, the 
Proclamation was received with a feeling akin to terror. Gen- 
eral Lee declared: "that Major-General Hunter had armed 
slaves for the murder of their masters/' and Jefferson Davis 
issued a general order "that officers organizing negro soldiers 
should be subject, if captured, to execution as felons." 

The moral victory was thus won by the North, and in 
strategical effect it compensated for all the Confederate vic- 
tories of 1861-62. Except for France, world opinion was now 
behind the North. In the World War of 1914-1918, a some- 
what similar turning point was reached when the Germans 
most foolishly torpedoed the Lusitania. I will now examine 
the political relationships of the physical attack. 


It is not my intention to discuss the evolution of the oppos- 
ing armies, but only the influence of politics upon them. 

The military forces of the United States were organized in 
three categories of troops, namely, Regulars, Volunteers and 
Militiamen, of which, on the outbreak of the war, the first 
numbered some 16,000 officers and men for the most part 
scattered on police duty in the West. Under the Constitution, 
the President was ipso facto commander-in-chief ; and, after 
the Confederacy was established, Jefferson Davis assumed this 
responsibility in opposition to Lincoln* In the South, an en- 
tirely new army had to be created; in the North, the minute 
regular establishment had to be expanded. The Federal prob- 
lem was the more difficult, for as General Grant stated: the 
South "had a great advantage in having no army, but only a 
number of excellent officers, to create one." 16 On both sides 

10 Formby, p. 66* 

36 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the first task was not so much the enrolment of the men as the 
selection of suitable officers. Regardless of seniority, Davis 
chose as officers men he considered capable and energetic, and 
on the whole he made few mistakes. Lincoln, surrounded by 
interested politicians, and having no one but that fine old sol- 
dier Lieut.-Gen. Winfield Scott (then seventy-five years of 
age and quite out of his depth in this tremendous turmoil) to 
advise him* allowed some 600 junior regular officers to remain 
with their regiments, and filled many of the senior appoint- 
ments with volunteers. Not only was this a grand-strategical 
mistake of the first order, 17 for it split the army into two 
camps, the quarrels of which influenced the entire war, but it 
was aggravated by Lincoln failing to establish a full hierarchy 
of general officers generals, lieutenant-generals, etc. Until 
March, 1864, the highest grade was that of major-general, 
consequently subordination between officers of this^ rank was 
often in question, with the result that a lack of discipline is 
most noticeable among the higher commanders* 

In criticizing Lincoln, it must be remembered, however, that 
his position was a difficult one* The South, from first to last, 
was a military camp; the North, until the end of the war, was 
a house politically divided. When Grant took command of 
the 2 1st Illinois regiment, as he tells us himself, not only was 
this regiment quite undisciplined, but Springfield, its station, 
and the State of Illinois, were teeming with secessionists. Two 
democratic members of Congress from this State, McClernand 
and Logan, addressed his men. Grant was a little nervous, but 
as he says: "Logan followed in a speech he has hardly equalled 
since for force and eloquence. It breathed a loyalty and devo- 
tion to the Union which inspired my men to such a point that 
they would have volunteered to remain in the army as long as 
an enemy to the country continued to bear arms against it." 18 
Such men naturally were eager to serve their country, and 

i 7 lord Kitchener, the creator of the British New Armies IE 1914, has fre- 
quently been criticized for not building on the existing Territorial (Volunteer) 
Army. Had he done so he would have committed the identical error Lincoln 
committed in 1861. 

i* Grant, I, p. 246. 

The Civil War 37 

were of the greatest service to the Union. Can it be won- 
dered therefore, that Lincoln rewarded such men with high 
military appointments; for it would have been an insult to 
their class had he commissioned them as subalterns or 
captains. 19 

Until the date of the First Battle of Bull Run, or Manassas 
(July 21, 1861), the inherent faults in the Federal military 
system were hidden from view. This battle, in which the Con- 
federates were as disorganized by success as the Federals by 
defeat, revealed the total lack of ballast among the politicians 
at Washington* Tactically an insignificant affair, politically 
Bull Run was a decisive victory for President Davis. Like the 
jinn from out its bottle, the defence of Washington loomed 
out of the dust of McDowell's retreating army, to cast its 
shadow over every campaign in the eastern theatre of the war 
until the battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864). Hence- 
forth the slightest threat to Washington shook to its founda- 
tion the whole of the Federal strategy; and surely the most 
extraordinary instance of this was when, in March, 1862, the 
Merrimac appeared off Hampton Roads. Stanton, the Secre- 
tary of War, 20 at a Cabinet meeting presided over by Presi- 
dent Lincoln, said: u 'The Merrimac will change the whole 
character of the war; she will destroy, seriatim, every naval 
vessel ; she will lay all the cities on the seaboard under contri- 
bution. I shall immediately recall Burnside; Port Royal must 
be abandoned. I will notify the governors and municipal au- 
thorities in the North to take instant measures to protect 
their harbors !' He had no doubt he said, that the monster 
was at this moment on her way to Washington; and, looking 
out of the window, which commanded a view of the Potomac 
for many miles, 'Not unlikely, we shall have a shell or cannon- 
ball from one of her guns in the White House before we leave 
this room.' Mr. Seward, usually buoyant and self-reliant, 
overwhelmed with the intelligence, listened in responsive sym- 

19 Similar appointments took place in the British Army in the World War. 
Sir Eric Geddes, a civilian, not only attained the rank of major-general but also 
that of rear-admiral, a somewhat unique honour. 

20 Stanton was appointed Secretary of War in January, 1862. 

38 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

pathy to Stanton, and was greatly depressed as, Indeed, were 
all members*" 2I 

This unseemly panic Is an excellent example not only of the 
effect of a tactical novelty on the political mind, but of the lia- 
bility to hysteria in the Union Government from the first bat- 
tle of Bull Run onwards. At this time, McCIellan had filled 
the capital with generals; 22 but, as a general-Jn-chief, in place 
of endowing the Government with confidence, he depressed It. 
He held all politicians In the utmost contempt, and, apparently 
in retaliation, when, In March, 1862, he moved out to re- 
occupy Manassas, Lincoln seized the opportunity to relieve 
him of the supreme command of the Federal armies, the 
first intimation of this important change reached McCIellan 
through the newspapers* 

The origins of much of this friction may be traced to Mr. 
Stanton. 28 He had his good points, for he instilled a sense of 
discipline Into the army, and under his masterful hand negli- 
gence and corruption disappeared. Nevertheless, as Ropes 
says: he was "utterly Ignorant of military matters; despising 
from the bottom of his soul what Is known as military science; 
making no secret of his general distrust of educated officers; 
rarely, if ever, lending an intelligent support to any general in 
the service ; treating them all in the way in which the Commit- 
tee of Public Safety treated the generals of the First French 
Republic; arrogant, impatient, Irascible, Stanton was a terror 
and a marplot in the conduct of the war." M What between 
Lincoln's ignorance and at times high-handedness, 28 Stanton's 
Infernal temper and McCIellan's secrecy and exaggeration, the 
first great Federal campaign was utterly ruined. Jackson's 
dash down the valley causing a panic In Washington, Lincoln 
abandoned the idea of sending McDowell and his 40,000 men 

21 B. & I., I, p. 705. 

22 A newspaper gravely announced that "a boy throwing a stone at a dog in 
Pennsylvania Avenue had hit three brigadier-generals." 

28 He was so rude, that Lincoln, who knew him at the Bar before the war, 
would not act in the same cases with him. See also General Grant's opinion: 
Grant, II, pp. 53^537- 

24 Ropes, Pt I, p. 225. 

26 In March, 1862, without consulting McCIellan, Lincoln appointed McDowell, 
Sumner, Heintzelman and Keyea to command the Army Corps of the army of 
the Potomac. 

The Civil War 39 

to McClellan, who was In sight of the spires of Richmond; in 
place he ordered him to move on Front Royal. Thus was the 
Peninsula Campaign wrecked 2e by the sirens begotten of the 
battle of Bull Run, those unbalanced terrors of the political 
mind of the North. Similarly, when, in 1864, Grant stood 
on the identical ground occupied by McClellan in 1862, an- 
other Confederate raid down the valley nearly wrecked his 
plans. In my opinion, the first battle of Bull Run was of 
far greater value to the South than Fredericksburg and Chan- 
cellorsville together; it was a paralyzing victory. 

From the difficulties which arose between the Government 
and the Higher Command, difficulties which in the North were 
not overcome until in March, 1864, Grant was appointed gen- 
eral-in-chief, and in the South until, in January, 1865, when 
the ship of state was sinking, the Confederate Congress con- 
ferred upon Lee 2T practically supreme power, I will now turn 
to the political relationship between the Union Government 
and its army. 

On both sides the regimental organization was much the 
same. Battalions were of ten companies, on establishment 
600 to 800 strong, but normally averaging from 400 to 500 
men, and sometimes much less. A varying number made up 
a brigade, and in the Federal service divisions consisted of 
two or three brigades, and in the Confederate usually of four 

On April 29, 1861, President Davis set about to raise a 
volunteer army of 100,000 men; but, by the close of the year, 
volunteering was found insufficient, and was superseded by the 
Conscription Act which became law early in 1862. The pass- 
ing of this act by the centralized government at Richmond, 
though it proved beneficial to the army, struck a blow at the 
doctrine of State rights, and so was the first political step 
taken by Jefferson Davis in the undermining of his policy. In 

20 McDowell, a good strategist, considered it a "crushing blow." Further, he 
said: "It throws us all back, and from Richmond north we shall have all our 
large masses paralyzed, and shall have to repeat what we have just accom- 
plished." (18, W.R., p. 220.) 

27 Compare Alcibiades in the Peloponnesian War, and General Foch in the 
World War. In democratic countries Misfortune is dam of Unity of Command. 

40 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the summer of 1863, conscription led to a general disaffection, 
especially in North Carolina, and this unrest crystallized into 
what became known as the Peace Party. The following year 
threats to secede from the Confederacy took form, and had 
not the war ended in the spring of 1865, it is very doubtful 
whether the South would not have revolted against conscrip- 
tion and so have abandoned the war. 

The idea of compulsory service was even more repugnant 
to the North. Volunteering was resorted to, and within one 
year of the outbreak of the war 500,000 three-year volunteers 
were enrolled. At about the same time as the South adopted 
conscription, the Union Government, with a fatuity unrivalled 
In the history of war, stopped recruiting, and in place raised 
new units. Old salted regiments were allowed to waste away, 
and levies of nine-months recruits were accepted in their 
stead. These men on several occasions were more danger- 
ous to their own side than to the enemy. 28 

A resumption of enlistments was ordered in June, but all 
recruiting offices had been closed, and public enthusiasm, so 
necessary to recruiting, had vanished. Not being able to re- 
vive this excellent system which the Government had literally 
assassinated, on March 3, 1863, Congress passed a Conscrip- 
tion Law, which allowed, however, a commutation of $300 
for personal service. The result was a three days' riot in the 
city of New York, in which atrocities, equalling the worst 
committed during the French Revolution were perpetrated; 
$2,000,000 worth of property was destroyed, and some 1,000 
persons killed and wounded. These excesses at an end, the 
law was enforced. 

Though the men raised by this law fought well, generally 
speaking, they cannot be compared to the old volunteers, or 

28 During the Port Hudson operations, General Banks complaining to General 
Halleck about his nine months' men received the following reply: "The defection 
of your nine months' men on the field of battle was a most criminal military of- 
fence which should have been promptly and severely punished in order to prevent 
a repetition of it by other troops. When a column of attack is formed of doubtful 
troops the proper mode of curing the defection Is to place artillery in their 
rear loaded with grape and canister, in the hands of reliable men, with orders 
to fire at the first movement of disaffection." General Palfrey remarks: "This 
was excellent doctrine, but it came from a great distance." (M.HJ$M, f VIII, 
P- 50.) 

The Civil War 4I 

to the Confederate soldier of the same period, of whom Gen- 
eral Alexander -writes: "He was lean, sun-burned, and bearded; 
often barefoot and ragged. He had neither training nor disci- 
pline, except what he acquired in the field. He had only an- 
tiquated and inferior arms until he captured better ones in 
battle. He had not even military ambition, but he had an in- 
centive which was lacking to his opponents brave and loyal 
as they were he was fighting for his home." 


Such, in brief, was the grand-strategy of the war, that 
frame in which Grant eventually was called upon to shape his 
actions, and without a slight knowledge of this question it is 
not possible justly to appreciate his work. 

In the war there were three great turning points, namely, 
the first battle of Bull Run, the effects of which ultimately cul- 
minated in the establishment of unity of command; the cap- 
ture of Fort Donelson, which led to the surrender of Vicks- 
burg, and which evolved into Sherman's Atlanta campaign; 
lastly, the capture of Wilmington which led direct to Lee's 
surrender at Appomattox Court House. All three of these, in 
one way or another, were closely connected with Grant. 

Ultimately, the South was defeated by combined economic, 
moral and physical pressure, which bears close comparison to 
a similar combined attack made on the Central European 
Powers by the Allied Governments during the World War. 
The grand strategical methods of these two wars were identi- 
cal, but their results were very different; for, whilst in the 
American Civil War, the Confederacy was crushed physically, 
economically and morally, the Central Powers were never mor- 
ally defeated. The moral cause of the World War remained 
therefore alive in a horribly wounded body when the Armistice 
of November n, 1918, was agreed upon. The Treaty of 
Versailles in no way attempted to bind up these wounds end 
so establish the foundations of a healthy peace. Only such 
a peace could have justified four years of slaughter and de- 
struction. It was an inglorious war, opening with a breach 

42 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

of faith to Belgium, and closing with a breach of faith to the 
World, Not so the Civil War, which though it began as a re- 
bellion ended in establishing not only a united nation, but the 
most powerful and prosperous nation the World has as yet 
seen. Its end justified it. /' Thus it seems to me, that in spite 
of his many errors Lincoln must for ever find a permanent 
place in the temple of human history?) If not to be reckoned 
amongst the greatest of the grand strategists, there can be no 
doubt that he is numbered amongst the most successful, be- 
cause his goodness as a man eclipsed his errors as a strategist. 



IN 1861, the political theatre of the war, that is the whole of 
the United States, in extent some 3,000,000 square miles, was 
populated by 31,000,000 people, of whom 9,000,000 were in 
the seceded States, and of these 3,500,000 were slaves- The 
tactical theatre, that is the zone in which battles were fought, 
covered about a third of this area. It was bounded on the 
north by the rivers Missouri, Ohio and Potomac; on the east 
by the Atlantic; on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, and on 
the west by the western boundaries of Louisiana, Arkansas 
and Missouri. 

The political theatre was by nature divided into three geo- 
graphical areas : 

( i) From the Atlantic to the Alleghany (or Appalachian) 

From the Alleghany mountains to the Mississippi. 
From the Mississippi to the Mexican frontier and the 
Pacific ocean. 

Until 1864, the first was the stage of the great political 
operations, such as the Peninsula campaign, and those of An- 
tietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; in 
each of which the chief object was to %in world support by 
seizing either Richmond 1 or Washington, or by striking at 
Pennsylvania the key State of the North. The second was 
the great strategical arena, possessing a two-fold value : first, 
the Mississippi endowed it with vast political and commercial 
importance; secondly, by moving up the Tennessee river, the 
Alleghany range could be turned from the south, and the At- 

l The first capital of the Confederacy was Montgomery, Alabama. The gov- 
ernment moved to Richmond, 115 miles south of Washington, in June, vfi/Cir 


44 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

lantic area attacked in rear. The third, a vast stretch of 
country, was strategically a weakness to the North (e.g., the 
Arkansas operations and the Red River campaign) but of 
great value to the South as a reservoir of man-power, a source 
of supply, and a link with Mexico, which, being neutral, could 
not be blockaded by the Federal Navy. 

Throughout the war, the military objectives were three in 
number, namely, the protection of the respective capitals, their 
capture, and the destruction of the opposing army* All op- 
erations centred round these objects, and were influenced not 
only by the nature of the theatre of war, but particularly by 
its communications. 

In 1861, the United States was largely an undeveloped 
country, badly roaded, and east of the Mississippi extensively 
wooded. No European area of this date bears a close re- 
semblance to it. It was a country well suited for guerilla war- 
fare, as the War of Independence had proved, and a most dif- 
ficult one for organized armies with large baggage trains to 
operate in. Railways, being few, assumed the highest impor- 
tance in the eastern area, and an importance second only to the 
rivers in the central one. From the Atlantic shore three main 
railways ran westwards to the Mississippi, namely, from Bal- 
timore to St. Louis; from Washington, via Chattanooga to 
Memphis, and from Charleston and Savannah, via Atlanta, to 
Memphis and Vicksburg. From the Gulf another three rail- 
ways ran northwards: from Pensacola, via Atlanta, Chatta- 
nooga and Nashville, to Louisville; from Mobile, via Merid- 
ian, Corinth and Cairo, to St. Louis, and from New Orleans, 
via Jackson and Grenada, to Memphis. From the map of 
the theatre of war it will be seen that south of the Baltimore- 
Ohio railroad, the East is connected by rail to the West at 
only two points, namely Chattanooga and Atlanta, conse- 
quently these two towns were centres of the highest strategical 
value. Second to them, in the eastern area were Harpers 
Ferry, Lynchburg, Burksville Junction and Petersburg; and In 
the central area: Nashville, Corinth, Jackson (Mississippi) 
and Meridian. As we shall see, most of the great strategical 
operations of the war pivoted on these places. 

The Civil War 45 

Turning to the Alleghany mountains, we find that their 
strategical influence was prodigious. Not only does this range, 
which is 100 miles broad and 1,000 miles long (extending 
from New York to Alabama) separate the eastern from the 
central area, but it forms the watershed of two systems of 
rivers : those flowing into the Atlantic, and those flowing into 
the Mississippi. The former, namely, the Potomac, Rapidan, 
Rappahannock, James, and smaller rivers in between, form 
tactical obstacles for an army advancing from Washington on 
Richmond, or vice versa; the exception being the Shenandoah 
river, which rises near Staunton and joins the Potomac; at 
Harpers Ferry. The latter, the Ohio, Cumberland and Ten- 
nessee rivers are mainly of strategical importance, as water- 
ways running from the Alleghany area into the Mississippi, 
the main means of communication from the north to south, 
with its western water-ways the Red and the Arkansas rivers. 

The importance of the river systems in this war is clearly 
shown by the fact that six Federal armies were named after 
them those of the Potomac, James, Ohio, Cumberland, Ten- 
nessee and Mississippi. 

The value of the Mississippi to the North was three-fold: 

1 I ) It cut the Confederacy in two, severing the eastern 
States from the western. 

(2) It formed the main water-way from north to south, 
and, including the Ohio river, to as far as Pittsburg. 

(3) It protected the right flank and rear of any army op- 
erating from Nashville round the southern extremity 
of the Alleghany mountains. 

The great strategical centres on the Mississippi were : New 
Orleans near its mouth, the largest town in the Confederacy; 
then those cities at which the railways strike the river, namely, 
Vicksburg, Memphis and St. Louis, with Cairo, between the 
last two, where the Ohio river flows into it. 


Such was the geographical warp upon which the strategy of 
the war was woven. At first the design is not only obscure, 

46 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

but actually formless in the minds of the weavers. Objects 
exist, but how to transmute them into objectives, that is how 
to work out methodically the progress from the one to the 
other, is so tangled with ignorance and enthusiasm, so con- 
fused by political considerations and social longings, so per- 
plexed by the immensity of the work and the poverty of the 
means; that it is only after a full year of warfare the strate- 
gical woof begins to take form, and to present itself as a pic- 
ture to the struggling masses, to their governments, and to 
their generals : and still how vaguely. 

From the first, the blockade is appreciated, but how to com- 
bine the war on land so as to take advantage of, or to resist, 
the war at sea is not; because both sides, irrespective of their 
art, have no conception of a science of war whereon to found 
it. They press and they resist, they move this way and that, 
but pressure, and resistance, and movement beget no reasoned 
direction. Yet, at length, trial and error, those gropings in 
the dark, were by geography forced into line, and compelled 
to march forward according to a fixed strategical plan. This 
plan, as we shall see, was initiated by Grant, and, whatever 
may be his failings as a general, from the capture of Fort 
Donelson onwards, to him more than to any other man Is due 
the strategical and tactical successes which followed its sur- 

From the outset of the war the strategical difficulties of 
the North pivot on the following factors: though the South 
initiated the war, unlike most such cases, the strategy of the 
South was defensive; consequently the North was compelled 
to advance into its enemy's country in order to reduce it piece- 
meal, so that the very spirit of resistance might be pulverized. 
Logically this meant a war of offensive movement on the one 
side, and of defended positions combined with occasional sal- 
lies on the other. The deeper the North advanced into the 
South, the longer became its lines of communication, absorb- 
ing thousands of men in their protection who were faced not 
only by a hostile army but by a hostile nation in arms. Whilst 
the South fought the soldiers of the North, the North fought 
the people of the South, of which part was organized as regu- 

The Civil War 47 

lar formations, and part as guerilla bands ever ready to swarm 
round the flanks and rear of their enemy, perpetually stinging 
and blinding him like a cloud of hornets. Nothing is more 
terrible than partisan warfare, and every partisan war has 
been a long war in spite of the superiority in regular forma- 
tions of the invading side. La Vendee is an example of this, 
and a more recent one is the British war in South Africa 
(1899-1902), in which towards its close, over a quarter of a 
million of regular soldiers were employed to hunt down some 
twenty-five thousand mounted riflemen and it was the same 
In the German South-West African war against the Hereros. 
In short, the problem of partisan warfare is very similar to 
the maintenance of law and order during peace time it nor- 
mally takes ten or more policemen to catch an armed criminal, 
but seldom more than one armed criminal to do down a police- 

man. 2 

Whilst the Federal armies, as they advanced, dissolved in 
strength 3 continually dropping detachments to protect their 
lines of supply, 4 for the first half of the war the Confederate 
forces presented no rear to attack: "No rear had to be pro- 
tected," writes Grant. "All the troops in service could be 
brought to the front to contest every inch of ground threat- 
ened with invasion." 5 The one great strategical problem of 
the North was to manoeuvre in such a way as to create an 
enemy rear. This was accomplished from the West, the west- 
ern Federal forces moving southwards down the Mississippi, 
eastwards through Chattanooga, Atlanta to Savannah, and 
then northwards towards Richmond. A right flank wheel of 
over a thousand miles extending in time over three years; a 
strategical movement compared to which the German right 
flank wheel in 1914, however powerful, was child's play, 

2 In the famous Sidney Street "siege" in Londonsome twenty years ago a 
regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery, besides a large number of po- 
lice, were called out to capture three armed desperadoes. 

8 This is the great difficulty which hitherto has confronted British operations 
against the partisan hillmen of the North- West Frontiers of India. 

4 "It is safe to say that more than half the National array was engaged in 
guarding lines of supplies, or were on leave, sick in hospital or on detail whicfr 
prevented their bearing arms." (Grant; II, p. 505.) 

fi Grant, II, p. 50$, 

48 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Surely this wheel is one of the most amazing manoeuvres in 
military history* It was not until Sherman was holding 
Johnston in North Carolina, that the Confederates felt the 
full effect of this rear attack; which, by preventing Lee from 
being reinforced, enabled Grant to pound him to pieces, and 
prevent Johnston being succoured. Grant's pressure and 
Sherman's rear attack annulled the advantage hitherto pos- 
sessed by the Confederates of operating on interior lines, that 
is from a central position towards any point of the hostile cir- 


If geography is considered as the warp of strategy, then 
strategy may be considered as the weft of tactics, which com- 
pletes the web of war. To appreciate the tactical art of the 
Civil War, it is necessary to know a little about the tactical 
theories accepted by armies before its outbreak, for otherwise 
the employment of the weapons used in this war can not be 
criticized, and without criticism no true lessons are learnt. 

Throughout the history of the art of war, the tactics of the 
infantry attack have depended entirely upon whether cavalry 
action could or could not be developed from infantry action. 
In the days of Sparta, when practically no cavalry were used, 
infantry tactics were extremely simple : actions were in paral- 
lel order, one line of men advancing upon the other. If both 
lines were of equal length, victory was determined by endur- 
ance and skill at arms, the assault was the be-all and end-all of 
the attack. If one line were longer than the other, overlap- 
ping took place, the flanks of the longer line being unopposed 
washed round the flanks of the shorter, and pushed the shorter 
line inwards, when it became a mob which either broke and 
fled, or was slaughtered. Once cavalry are introduced we find 
that this arm is not only employed to protect the infantry 
flanks but to manoeuvre round the enemy's in order to strike 
him in rear, that is at his tactically weakest point. When 
this is possible, the infantry attack assumes quite another form. 

The Civil War 49 

It is launched not to destroy the enemy's resistance by an as- 
sault, but to hold him to his position; to compel him to rein- 
force his front, and so to deny to him the power of meeting 
the outflanking manoeuvres of the opposing cavalry, whose 
activity is developed from the holding power of the infantry 
with whom they are co-operating. 

Shortly before the days of Frederick the Great, tactics had 
reverted to the parallel order. He turned from mass attacks 
to battles of manoeuvre, his idea being to outflank his enemy's 
line. He made full use of his artillery to prepare the infantry 
attack, and of his infantry to hold the enemy's line, and to as- 
sault one of its flanks, whilst his cavalry, taking advantage of 
these operations, moved round towards the enemy's rear. 

During the Seven Years' War, 1756-1763, an old type of 
infantry soldier was reintroduced in America and Austria, 6 
namely, light infantry, who were able to prepare the way for 
the attacking lines and columns. Though, during this war, 
they proved their value, after it their use was forgotten; for 
the leading soldiers of this day were blinded by Frederick's 
superb manoeuvres, and sought for the secret of his successes 
in his drill. Few efforts were made by the military hierarchies 
to combine light infantry and infantry of the line, until the 
Wars of American Independence and of the French Revolu- 
tion once again accentuated the importance of the skirmisher, 
or natural-fighter. 

During the Napoleonic wars we see the increasing value of 
bullet-power in contradistinction to bayonet-power. Skirmish- 
ers were freely used, and in the British Army, trained by Sir 
John Moore, they attained to the highest state of tactical per- 
fection. 7 

Napoleon was not a great tactician, he invented no new sys- 
tem of attack, depending more on strategy than upon tactics 
for his victories. Nevertheless he understood clearly the ad- 
vantages of the holding attack. He himself said : "I attack so 
that the enemy will attack me," by which he meant: I make 

6 See my British Light Infantry in the Eighteenth Century. 

7 See my Sir John Moore's System of Training. 

50 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

use of a comparatively small force to attack In order to com- 
pel the enemy to defend himself, that is u to attack me." By 
pressing him I shall force him to draw on his reserves, and 
when all are drawn in his power to manoeuvre will be reduced 
to zero ; then my reserves and cavalry will possess full liberty 
of movement to operate against his flanks and rear. This was 
the famous defensive order of Napoleon which he maintains 
in the wisest tactical maxim ever laid down, namely: "The 
whole art of war consists in a w r ell-reasoned and extremely 
circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious at- 
tack." Further still, the growing value of fire-power was fully 
recognized by him. As he advanced in his career, more and 
more did he realize the power of artillery and its use to de- 
moralize an enemy before the infantry assault was launched. 
He says: "It is by fire and not by shock that battles are de- 
cided to-day. . . . The power of infantry lies in fire. , * * In 
siege warfare, as in the open field, it is the gun which plays 
the chief part, it has effected a complete revolution. It is with 
artillery that war is made." 8 

Though Wellington's tactics were different, they were based 
on a similar idea, but his defensive order was static in place 
of mobile. Instead of attacking, he took up a covered posi- 
tion, so to speak a natural trench line, and awaited attack. 
When the enemy was within fifty paces of him, his men rose, 
fired a volley or two, and, under cover of the smoke of their 
muskets, charged home with the bayonet. They attacked to 
destroy, and not to hold. Their attack was a true assault. 
These tactics succeeded again and again. Had Napoleon un- 
derstood the use of the howitzer as Frederick understood It 
they would never have succeeded, for Wellington's men would 
have been blown out of their covered positions long before the 
infantry attack developed. Succeeding as they did, they gave 
a totally false value to the assault. A retrogression in tactics 
set in, the idea of the attack pivoting on the bayonet in place 
of the bullet; and, as the war was left behind, and its personal 
experiences forgotten, infantry tactics once again crystallized 
round the idea of the assault. Lines of men closely supported 

* Corresp., XIV, 11,896. 

The Civil War 51 

by artillery advance in order to assault; they may or may not 
be preceded by skirmishers, but normally they are followed by 
other lines, not to support the first by fire, but to replace its 
casualties so that the assault may be carried out by a wall of 
men with bayonets lowered. Such was the tactical theory, 
Macedonian in form, of the year 1860. 


The fifty years which followed the battle of Waterloo are 
tactically most instructive. From the military point of view 
Napoleon might as well have never been born; for not only 
were his methods not understood by soldiers in general, but by 
Clausewitz in particular. No sooner had the Emperor been 
incarcerated in St. Helena than the rigid school of war, the 
men of the hoplite mind, returned to power. Nevertheless, in 
spite of their ponderous notions, the Industrial Revolution 
swept on. Invention followed invention, and amongst these 
were two of extreme tactical importance, namely, the percus- 
sion cap, invented in 1814, and the cylindro-conoidal bullet, 
invented ten years later. 

The rifle had long been known, but hitherto all rifles and 
muskets were fired by means of a flint and steel, and in rainy 
weather frequently misfired. The percussion cap signed the 
death warrant of the cavalry charge, and the conoidal bullet 
not only reduced the power of the infantry assault, but also 
revolutionized artillery tactics. In 1839, a percussion musket 
was issued to British infantry, and, In 1851, they were 
equipped with the Minie rifle, a weapon with a killing range 
of 1,000 yards. In 1815, cavalry, artillery and infantry were 
in close contact, and were operated by the general-in-chief as 
easily as a platoon is to-day. The guns were frequently placed 
in front of the infantry, and the cavalry close behind the foot- 
soldiers. All this was changed by the rifle. The cavalry can 
no longer attack infantry unless completely broken. The guns 
have to retire in rear of the infantry, and as the range of the 
rifle is increased so is the distance between them and the in- 
fantry they are supporting. Thus the old battle order, which 

52 The Generalship of Ulysses 3. Grant 

in idea had changed but little since the days of Gustavus Adol- 
phus, was completely thrown out of joint; yet few of these 
changes were even noticed, let alone understood, by the tac- 
ticians of Europe. In the Crimean War, British, French, Rus- 
sians and Turks fought as if everything was as it had been in 
the days of their fathers. Is it to be wondered at then that 
the soldiers of the United States, who, except for the Mexican 
War, had experienced no organized warfare since 1812-1815, 
failed to appreciate the tactics of the rifle and of the rifled 

In 1861, both sides were armed with a variety of muskets 
and rifles, and as late as the battle of Gettysburg we find 
smooth-bore muskets in the Confederate army. So little at 
first did the Confederate government realize the value of the 
percussion rifle, that it was not until May, 1861, that Major 
Huse was sent over to England to purchase 10,000 Enfield 
rifles. So small a number appears extraordinary, even 100,000 
would have been few enough. There seems to have been a 
fixed prejudice against this weapon, anyhow during the first 
year of the war. It is true that the South lacked copper and 
the means of making fulminate of mercury, but percussion 
caps are not a bulky cargo, and many hundreds of millions of 
them could easily be run into Wilmington, or some other port, 
by a single ship. In the North we find a similar prejudice 
against repeating rifles, for the older generals preferred muz- 
zle-loaders; they could not see that the difficulty of ammuni- 
tion supply, upon which their opposition was mainly based, 
was completely outbalanced by the enormous advantage of 
being able to load when in a prone position. 

The flint-lock musket had an effective range of about 100 
yards, the Minie rifle of between 300 and 400 yards, conse- 
quently in the defence this weapon could beat back an attack 
at these ranges. This was the secret of most of the failures 
in assaults attempted during this war. 

The original Confederate musket was .69 of an inch in 
calibre ; after Gettysburg these cumbersome weapons were re- 
placed by rifles of calibre .58 and .54. In the second year of 

The Civil War 53 

the war, the Federal cavalry began to receive breech-loading 
carbines and, later on, magazine rifles. Of the last mentioned 
weapon there were several kinds, such as the Spencer rifle 10 
with a tube magazine holding 7 rounds besides one in the 
breech; the Henry rifle, improved by Winchester, holding 17 
rounds, and the Colt rifle, a revolver fitted with a stock. In 
1864, the Spencer rifle was issued to the Federal cavalry, and 
before the end of the year to some of the Federal infantry as 
well. It was with reference to this weapon that the Confed- 
erates used to say: "Those confounded Yankees loaded up 
their guns in the morning, and shot all day." The effect of 
these weapons on the attacker was terrible, but in no way did 
it dislodge the idea of the assault On October 7, 1864, on 
the Darbytown Road, Field's division was easily repulsed by 
two Federal brigades armed with Spencer rifles. Again, on 
November 30, this same year, at Franklin, Tennessee, Case- 
ment's brigade with these rifles decided the battle with terrific 
slaughter. It was said that "never before in the history of 
war did a command, of the approximate strength of Case- 
ment's, in so short a period of time kill and wound as many 
men." Of the breech-loading rifle General Alexander writes : 
"There Is reason to believe that had the Federal infantry been 
armed from the first with even the breech-loaders available 
in 1 86 1 the war would have been terminated within a year/' u 
As regards artillery, Major John Bigelow informs us that: 

"The artillery had practically no regimental organization 
in either army. The pieces were muzzle-loading, and made of 
wrought or cast iron or brass. There was not a steel or a 
breech-loading piece in either army. 

"The principal varieties used are given in the following 
table : 

The magazine principle was not adopted by European armies until it was 
adapted to take cartridges of the size and shape considered suitable for mili- 
tary rifles. In 1863, the first mention of a machine gun Requa's (see Ency* 
Brit*, Edit u, XVII, p. 239) was made. This weapon was used in the trenches 
by General Gilraore before Fort Wagner. Catling guns are said to have been 
invented during this war. 

10 Invented in 1861. 

11 Alexander > p. 53. 

54 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


2O-pounder Parrott gun 4*500 Both armies 

xo-pounder Parrott gun 6.200 Both armies 

3-inch ordnance gun 4,180 Both armies 


12-pounder gun 1.660 Army of the 

Light 12-pounder gun 1.300 Both armies 


6-pounder gun 1.525 Army of North- 

ern Virginia 

12-pounder howitzer 1.075 Army of North- 

ern Virginia 

"In addition to the guns above mentioned there were In the 
Army of the Potomac a few 4*4 -inch 'ordnance 1 guns, and 
in the Army of Northern Virginia a few Whitworth 
guns. . . ."" 

The principal projectiles used were solid shot, percussion 
shell, shrapnel, grape and canister. A piece could be loaded 
and fired from two to three times a minute. 

The arms of the Federal cavalry were sword, revolver and 
the breech-loading carbine, or the Spencer magazine carbine* 
The Confederate cavalry were virtually mounted infantry. 


The men of the North and South were of the same stock; 
many coming from the same States, the same cities and even 
the same homes. In the North there were more foreigners, 
consequently the Federal armies were less homogeneous ; arti- 
sans and mechanics abounded, these men making abler gunners 
than the men of the South who, being accustomed to a free and 
out-of-doors life, excelled as infantry and cavalry. Though 

12 'BigelQw 3 p. 22. 

The Civil War 55 

working under disadvantageous circumstances, the Northern 
soldier steadily improved. "What we have got to do, 1 ' said 
Albert Sidney Johnston, "must be done quickly. The longer 
we leave them to fight the more difficult will they be to de- 
feat." 1S Of the Southern soldiers General Winfield Scott said : 
They u have elan, courage, woodcraft, consummate horseman- 
ship, endurance of pain equal to the Indians, but they will not 
submit to discipline. They will not take care of things or 
husband their resources. Where they are there is waste and 
destruction. If it could be done by one wild, desperate dash 
they would do It, but they cannot stand the waiting. . . . 
Men of the North on the other hand can wait; they can bear 
discipline; they can endure forever, Losses in battle are noth- 
ing to them. They will fight to the bitter end." u These 
words were spoken in February, 1862. 

At the beginning of the war discipline was not only indiffer- 
ent but almost non-existent on both sides. There were many 
reasons for this: Henderson attributes it to the "dogma of 
absolute equality," and because "the soldier was wont to regu- 
late his action rather by the opinion of his comrades or by his 
own judgment than by the voice of his superior." ls The 
Comte de Paris says much the same: The troops are brave, 
"but the bonds of subordination are weak in the extreme, . . . 
The will of the individual, capricious as popular majorities, 
plays far too large a part." ie With the result "In default of 
the mechanism which, in armies well organized communicates 
to every man controlling influences as rapidly as do the nerves 
in the human frame, there were constant failures to transform 
a first advantage into a decisive success." ir As the war ad- 
vanced discipline improved, and frequently passed into hero- 
ism. In the winter of 1863, when the little Army of the Ohio 
under General Burnside was shut up in Knoxville, the country 
was swept by a blizzard. "The half naked soldiers," writes 
General Cox, "hovered around their camp fires, some without 

* Confederate Veteran, III, p. 83. 

^A Diary from Dixie, Mrs. H. B, Chesnut, p. 182. 

18 The Campaign of Fredericksburg, G. F. R. Henderson, p. 18. 

* e Campagne du Potomac, pp. 144-145. 

17 Histoire de la Guerre Civile en Amerigue, I, pp. 343-344. 

56 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

coats, some without pantaloons, some with tattered blankets 
tied like petticoats about their waists. An officer passing 
among them . . . was greeted with the cheery response, 'It's 
pretty rough, General, but well see it through V " 1S 

March discipline remained, however, indifferent throughout 
the war, and especially in the Confederate army. At the bat- 
tle of Antietam, it is said that 20,000 Confederates were ab- 
sent from the ranks. 19 Straggling was due to two mam causes : 
the first, as General Taylor says, "when brought into the field 
the men were as ignorant of the art of marching as babes"; 20 
for they had never been trained to march. The second, more 
particularly so in the Confederate army, was lack of shoes, 
also falling out to plunder the Federal dead, who were nearly 
always better equipped. In May, 1862, Johnston wrote to 
Lee: "Stragglers cover the country, and Richmond is no doubt 
filled with the 'absent without leave' . . . The men are full 
of spirit when near the enemy, but at other times, to avoid 
restraint leave their regiments in crowds. To enable us to 
gather the whole army for battle would require a notice of 
several days." 21 When Sherman marched through Georgia, 
in 1864, he experienced the same difficulties: "In some bri- 
gades every regiment was made to keep its own rear guard to 
prevent straggling, and the brigade provost-guard marched in 
rear of all, arresting any who sought to leave the ranks, and 
reporting the regimental commander who allowed his men to 
scatter." 2 * 

Fraternizing, as may be expected, was common between the 
two armies, and by no means confined to the men. An amusing 
case of this is to be found in the correspondence between 
Averell and Fitzhugh Lee. Averell left with a surgeon attend- 
ing two wounded officers, a sack of coffee and a note: "Dear 
Fitz : Here's your coffee. How Is your horse ?" A few weeks 
after, Averell received a reply: "Your two officers are well 
enough to go home, where they ought to be. Send an ambu- 

** Atlanta, p. 16. 

19 The Science of War, p. 203. 

20 Taylor, pp. 36-37. 
21 14, W.R., p. 503. 
22 Cox, p. 41. 

The Civil War 57 

lance to Kelly's, and you can have them." Some time after- 
wards, President Lincoln visited the army, and seeing these 
notes he asked Averell, "Were you and General Lee friends ?" 
"Certainly, and always have been." "What would happen 
should you meet on the battlefield?" "One or both of us 
would be badly hurt or killed." After a pause Lincoln said 
with emotion : "Oh, my God, what a dreadful thing is a war 
like this, in which personal friends must slay each other, and 
die like fiends i" 2S 

From discipline I will turn to drill. The drill book in use 
in the United States Army was Hardens Tactics** Move- 
ments were few and simple, column formations were seldom 
used, except on the line of march, and for attack and defence 
eight companies were drawn up in line of battle in two ranks, 
and were covered by the remaining two companies extended In 
skirmishing order. When the line approached the enemy, the 
skirmishers joined in on its flanks, and took part in the assault. 
The Federal formations were generally deeper than those of 
their opponents, who frequently made the mistake of attack- 
ing with lines of too little depth and insufficiently supported. 
" Jackson and Hancock were probably the best infantry leaders 
in the two armies, but neither succeeded in originating any 
clever innovation in infantry tactics." m 

Generally speaking, the tactics of this war hinged on the 
bullet and the trench. From the very beginning the power of 
the first made Itself felt In a manner so unmistakable that 
there appeared to be no solution to It except by entrenching a 
front, or by delivering an attack with such a mass of men that 
some at least would live to reach the enemy's parapet. As- 
sault after assault failed, in fact, it has been calculated that 
less than one out of every eight assaults succeeded. "One 
rifle in the trench was worth five In front of it. The attacking 
columns saw little more before them than a thin and contin- 
uous sheet of flame issuing beneath the head-log of the para- 
pet, whilst they themselves marched uncovered against the un- 

pp. 73, 101, 131. 

* For drill and drill books, see The History of the United States Army, 
W. A. Ganoe. 
38 Battine, p. 4.15. 

58 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

seen foe." 2e The attacker was under the enormous disadvan- 
tage of having to fire standing, and of having to halt in order 
to reload after each volley. The defender had the advantage 
of resting his rifle on the parapet, and was frequently assisted 
by one or more men to load for him, handing him loaded rifles. 
Even on the defence there was little accuracy of fire at ranges 
over 400 yards, which is proved by the fact that two opposing 
forces, separated by not more than 500 yards, could wait for 
hours before engaging. 27 Nevertheless, the era of short-range 
weapons closed with the war. This was never fully realized, 
and though "it was generally impossible for the assailants 
from a distance to bring a converging enfilade fire to bear upon 
the point of a position selected for assault either with guns or 
rifles," 28 and overhead fire was difficult, fire was never ex- 
pected to drive an enemy out of his position unless it could be 
followed by a bayonet charge. The defender, realizing this, 
often reserved his fire until the attacking line emerged at close 
range from, its own smoke, when one volley was normally suffi- 
cient to throw it back in confusion. "A fire fight between at- 
tacking and defending infantry almost always ended in the 
success of the latter." 29 Colonel Henderson once asked a vet- 
eran of the war "whether men could be got to advance shoul- 
der to shoulder," and the answer he received was : "No, God 
don't make men who could stand that." 30 A Confederate gen- 
eral said: "Whoever saw a Confederate line advancing that 
was not as crooked as a ram's horn? Each tagged rebel 
yelling on his own hook, and aligning on himself." 31 

The solid shoulder-to-shoulder line had outgrown Its use- 
fulness, and as is often the case in war, the weaker side dis- 
covered this first. In 1864, though the Federals still relied on 
attacking in swarms of men, as happened again and again in 
the Wilderness campaign, the Confederates adopted small 
attack columns well protected by skirmishers. Successive lines 

26 Atlanta, p. 129. 
2 * Cist, p. 99. 

28 Battine, pp. 409-410. 

29 Battine, p. 410. 

80 The Science of War, p. 263. 
si The Science of War, pp. 263-64. 

The Civil War 59 

of skirmishers were introduced, which moved forward by suc- 
cessive rushes, and towards the end of the war many of the 
attacks carried out by both sides were tactically far in advance 
of anything witnessed either in the Sadowa campaign of 1866, 
or in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. 

As regards artillery tactics, though at the outset of the war 
each side possessed some technical knowledge of gunnery, 
tactical training was deficient. Besides, much of the theatre of 
war was unsuited to artillery. At the battle of Malvern Hill 
(July I, 1862) the Federal guns played a decisive part; they 
might equally well have done so at Gettysburg (July 1-3, 
1863) for Meade deployed a large number of pieces, but he 
made the common mistake of failing to concentrate their fire 
on the point of attack. The main difficulty was, however, not 
the selection of the target, but the maintenance of the bom- 
bardment during the crisis of the battle. Ricochet fire was 
impossible once the attackers began to close, and indirect lay- 
ing was never, as far as I know, attempted In a land battle. 82 

Generally speaking, battlefields unsuited to artillery fire 
were equally unsuited to cavalry attack. In the mounted arm 
the Confederates excelled* Not only were they a nation of 
horsemen, but their independent spirit suited them well to 
cavalry operations, and especially to mounted guerilla fight- 
ing. For the first two years of the war the Federal cavalry 
were indifferent, but, after Grant became commander-in-chief, 
under Sheridan's skilful leadership they became more than a 
match for their opponents. Both sides, however, failed again 
and again to combine cavalry action with infantry operations, 
because they did not fully recognize that the main duty of this 
arm was to reconnoitre and not to fight. Scarcely knowing 
how to employ them when battle was imminent, cavalry were 
despatched on raiding operations. Lee committed this mis- 
take at Gettysburg, and Grant, more excusably so, shortly after 

82 On April 18, 1862, indirect laying was used in the bombardment of Fort 
Jackson, "The schooners took position about 3,000 yards below the fort under 
cover of a wood on the right bank, and their mastheads were dressed with 
bushes, that they might not be distinguished from the trees. Though Fort Jack- 
son was invisible from their decks, yet its exact position had been ascertained 
by triangulation, and the fire of the mortar-boats was extremely accurate." 
frood and Edmonds, p. 475. 

60 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

he plunged into the Wilderness. If these raids had been di- 
rected against the immediate rear of the enemy's army, their 
tactical value might well have been incalculable. Instead, they 
were generally made against distant points on the enemy's 
line of communications, that is for strategical effect, and so 
lost much of their power; for though terrifying, they were 
too distant to influence the main operations. 

There was no important instance in this war, In which thou- 
sands of mounted men were used, of a cavalry charge succeed- 
ing against unbroken infantry. Cavalry frequently fought 
cavalry, for example, at Kelly's Ford, on April 17, 1863, but 
sabres were seldom crossed, for such mounted attacks as took 
place were normally carried out with the pistol under cover 
of dismounted carbine or rifle fire. 

Such were the tactics of the three arms, which in the earlier 
period of the war were seldom correctly combined, not^ so 
much because the men lacked skill or their generals tactical 
knowledge, but because one of the greatest difficulties of the 
war was the creation of an efficient staff. This took a long 
time to effect, and it was not until 1864 that experience pro- 
duced one, certainly on the Federal side, which left little to be 
desired This staff not only learnt how to handle with skill 
intricate combined operations, but to deal rapidly with the 
evacuation of enormous numbers of wounded and the replace- 
ment of ammunition. 83 This staff was assisted by an admir- 
able corps of signallers using telegraphic as well as flag and 
lamp signalling. "Lines of flag and torch communication/* 
writes Major Bigelow, "were often gotten up from one part 
of an army to another 20 or 30 miles long, and maintained 
day and night for months." ** 


Such were the main strategical and tactical conditions in 
which Grant was called upon to work and direct, whether as a 

83 At the battle of Gettysburg the Federal artillery fired some 50,000 rounds, 
and at Chickamauga, the Federal infantry fired 2,650,000 rounds as much as the 
Prussians fired in the whole of the Sadowa campaign. 

**Biffdow f p. 30. 

The Civil War 61 

subordinate general, or as general-in-chief. In April, 1861, 
It may be said, without seeking for effect, that tactics were 
mainly conspicuous through their absence. Four years later, 
the art of war had evolved at such a pace, that in military his- 
tory we find no war which bears any comparison to this one 
until the Russo-Japanese war of forty years later. The rifle 
bullet ruled the field, and in each battle its power created 
some new and unexpected situation. Because of the bullet, 
nearly every battlefield, after Shiloh, saw part or all of one 
side or the other entrenched, the trenches being protected by 
abattis and slashings. We find wire entanglements creeping 
In, and used with terrible effect by General Butler at Drury's 
Bluff in May, 1864. "The enemy in falling over the telegraph 
wire were slaughtered like partridges" ; M or as General Weit- 
zel, on whose front these entanglements were constructed, 
says : After his men "had twice repulsed the enemy with terri- 
ble slaughter, he being piled in heaps over the telegraph 
wire, they were ordered to fall back." On the other hand 
the Confederates spoke of "the wire as a devilish contrivance 
which none but a Yankee could devlse. n 8C Besides wire en- 
tanglements we find trench warfare begetting stationary obser- 
vation balloons, wooden wire-bound mortars, hand grenades, 
winged grenades and many forms of booby-traps; so many 
strange and new devices that with a little imagination we can 
easily transport ourselves from 1864-65 to 1914-15. 

Now I come to an Important point as regards generalship. 
Tactical and mechanical evolution moved so fast that every 
battle was In fact a new experiment Because of the rifle 
bullet, and all that this projectile created, no general could 
base his operations on really known, that is, fully tested out, 
quantities. Throughout the war he was surrounded by a 
tactical doubt, not the normal fog of war, but an uncertainty 
generated by the tactics he had been taught, and the tactics 
the rifle bullet was compelling him to adopt. This tactical 
doubt we must always bear In mind when we criticize the gen- 
eralship of this war. In the Napoleonic wars the tactics of the 

sB. & L, IV, p. 212. 

* B. & L., iv, p. 212. 

62 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

musket was known; in this Civil War the tactics of the rifle 
had to be discovered. If, as we now know, it was by no means 
fully understood by generals in 1914-1918, it seems to me then 
that many of the tactical errors committed by their forerun- 
ners in 1861-65 W *U> when we bear this fact in mind, become 
less glaring. 




IN the year 1858, In the streets of the city of St. Louis might 
sometimes be seen a man leading a horse and cart, a seller of 
faggots. The man was no longer young, about five feet eight 
Inches In height, though he looked shorter, for he stooped 
slightly, and when he drew up to off-load his wood his limbs 
trembled, for he suffered from ague. He was a thick-set mus- 
cular man whose dark brown hair and beard showed no trace 
of grey. 

To the passer-by he was one of many thousands who had 
failed to make good, that Is, he was a poor, honest, hard- 
working fellow whose end seemed preordained to do odd 
jobs until his days were numbered; to die, and to be forgot- 
ten. Yet in the United States of America, then, as now, it 
would have taken a bold man to predict the end of a fellow 
citizen. The Thousand and One Nights is a romance founded 
on slender facts, on Eastern dreams which seldom come true 
without a knife, a bow-string, or a cup of poisoned coffee. 
But here in this vast tumultuous continent facts find room 
wherein to wind and unwind themselves Into tremendous ro- 
mances. No man can tell the destiny of another; for there is 
magic in this land of vast possibilities, vast as its spaces, in 
which talent more so than birth sorts through the sieve of 
opportunity the human grist from the human chaff. This 
man, humble, work-worn and disappointed, as he off-loaded 
his faggots, stood on the brink of his destiny as surely as the 
prince in the fairy tale when he lifted up the old peasant 
woman and her bundle of wood, and wading the river found 
on the far bank that in his arms rested a smiling princess. 

The name of this humble seller of wood was Ulysses S. 
Grant, who, within a few years, was destined to command vast 


66 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

armies, to win great battles, and to be twice chosen by his 
countrymen as their President. If this is not romance 
what is? 

In 1630, it is said, that one Matthew Grant of Dorchester 
sailed from England with Winthrop, and settled in Massa- 
chusetts. From him was begotten in the eighth generation 
Ulysses S. Grant, 1 born in a two-room house at Point Pleas- 
ant, Clermont County, Ohio, on April 27, 1822, His father 
kept a tannery, and with him young Grant remained until he 
went to West Point Academy in 1 839, Not liking the tanner's 
trade, he worked on the adjoining farm, grew to love horses, 
and became an expert horseman, winning a prize In a circus for 
riding a trick mule which had thrown every other boy. 

Church, one of his biographers, tells us, that u he was a 
self-reliant, honest lad, energetic and industrious, but gave no 
sign of future greatness. He was gentle and kindly, and pop- 
ular, especially with young girls, who were secure from rude- 
ness of speech or action when in his company," 2 He was ex- 
tremely trustful of others, and here I cannot forebear quoting 
an instance of this, because it is a key which unlocks the door 
of his character, and explains many of his eventual successes 
and failures. He was eight years old, and wanted to buy a 
horse from a Mr. Ralston, who valued the animal at twenty- 
five dollars. His father informed him it was not worth more 
than twenty, and told him to offer that price, and if he would 
not accept it to offer twenty-two and a half, and If that would 
not obtain him, then to give the twenty-five. Little Ulysses 
went to Mr. Ralston' s house and, looking up, said to him: 
"Papa says I may offer you twenty dollars for the colt, but 
if you won't take that, I am to offer twenty-two and a half, and 
if you won't take that to give you twenty-five. 1 ' 3 

When seventeen years of age he went to West Point, sur- 
passed all the cadets in horsemanship, leapt an obstacle five 
feet six and one-half inches high; graduated in July, 1843, and 

1 He was christened Hiram Ulysses Grant, but was wrongly entered upon the 
West Point records as Ulysses Simpson Grant As War Department records 
cannot He this error stands to prove their veracity. 

2 Church, p. 13. 

8 Grant, I, p. 30, 

Grant as Subordinate General 67 

was promoted brevet second lieutenant to the 4th Infantry, 
first raised in 1796. 

In the summer of the following year this regiment was 
moved to Texas, and, in March, 1846, under General Tay- 
lor, it marched into Mexico and occupied Matamoras. Dur- 
ing the Mexican War, which now took place, Grant was en- 
gaged in every battle except that of Buena Vista; and it is in- 
teresting to note that his men were armed with flint-lock mus- 
kets, and that 4< the artillery was advanced a rod or two in 
front of the line" in order to lire. Such were his first experi- 
ences in battle tactics. At Monterey, he galloped through the 
bullet-swept streets in search for ammunition. He writes: 
"Before starting I adjusted myself on the side of my horse 
furthest from the enemy, and with only one foot holding to 
the cantle of the saddle, and an arm over the neck of the 
horse exposed, I started at full run* It was only at street 
crossings that my horse was under fire, but these I crossed at 
such a flying rate that generally I was past and under cover 
of the next block of houses before the enemy fired." * 

In this war he obtained his first insight into political military 
control. After the fall of Monterey, General Taylor, a 
Whig, having won his third battle, could not very well be re- 
lieved from duty, yet something had to be done to neutralize 
his growing popularity, so General Scott was sent out to Mex- 
ico to order him to march on the capital. "It was no doubt 
supposed that Scott's ambition would lead him to slaughter 
Taylor or destroy his chances for the Presidency, and yet it 
was hoped that he would not make sufficient capital himself to 
secure the prize." 5 

In February, 1848, the war ended, and in the summer of 
this year Grant married Miss Dent. After service in Pan- 
ama, and elsewhere, he resigned from the Army in July, 1854, 
started a small farm and failed; entered a real-estate busi- 
ness but with no great success; sold faggots in St, Louis, and 
in May, 1860, moved to Galena, Illinois, where he accepted a 
clerkship on a salary of $600 a year in a leather store man- 

4 Grant, I, p. 116. 
8 Grant, I, p. xao. 

68 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

aged by his younger brothers. There he was sitting on an 
empty crate when his destiny closed upon him. 


In the winter of 1861, a young merchant of Galena, roused 
by the conditions of the day to a sense of patriotism, began 
drilling his company of militiamen, and one morning, as it 
happened, he found himself in front of the leather-store of 
Grant Brothers. A wrong word of command caused a con- 
fused opening in the ranks, when hidden away behind the sol- 
diers was seen a little man seated on a packing-box. Then it 
occurred to the young merchant that this was Captain Grant, 
late of the Regular Army. He asked him to take charge of 
his company, and handed him his sword. Grant buckled it 
on, and stepped out in front of the men. u As he drew his 
blade from its scabbard, and it flashed in the sunlight, his 
whole nature seemed transformed, and to his fellow-townsmen 
was revealed the fact that here was a man who understood the 
business of war." e 

Grant was a reader, and his readings led him to infer that 
Lincoln's election meant war, which, in common with others, 
he supposed would be "a ninety days' affair." Then came the 
bombardment of Fort Sumter, and Grant joined up as a clerk 
to assist in the Adjutant-General's office at Camp Yates; be- 
cause, as he said, "he thought it was his duty to offer his 
services." In May he obtained leave to visit his parents, and 
took the opportunity to go to Cincinnati, to ask Major-Gen- 
eral George B. McClellan, who had his headquarters there, if 
he would accept him as a staff officer. He waited for two 
days in the great man's ante-room, watching a so many men 
with quills behind their ears" until he was tired of seeing them. 
Then he returned to his home, and wrote to the War Depart- 
ment at Washington offering his services as a soldier, but no 
reply was vouched. A little later, Governor Yates, who had 
formed a high opinion of his force of character, sent for him, 
and offered him the command of the 2ist Illinois In- 

8 Church, p. 68, 

Grant as Subordinate General 69 

f antry. T This regiment was bordering on mutiny, it had been 
commanded by a colonel "who wore two pistols in his belt and 
made speeches on dress parade." 

The day Grant took over command a the boys" had been 
worked up to "a three-cheer-and-a-tiger state of mind" by Mr. 
Logan, a member of Congress, and accustomed to speeches 
from their old colonel, they began to yell for "Grant ! Col- 
onel Grant!" Grant stepped forward, and without exhaust- 
ing the English language, made the following address: "Go 
to your quarters I" On another occasion, an Irish soldier, who 
was a terror to the camp, refused to go to his. As a corporal 
and a file of men shrank from arresting him, Grant went after 
him, knocked him down, trussed him, and gagged him by 
tying a bayonet in his mouth. The disciplining of the 2ist 
had begun. 

The regiment moved to Palmyra, and then to Salt River, 
near which the Confederates under Colonel Thomas Harris 
had established a camp. Grant moved out to attack it, and in 
his Memoirs he writes : "As we approached the brow of the 
hill from which it was expected we could see Harris* camp, 
and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart 
kept getting higher and higher until It felt to me as though it 
was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have 
been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt 
and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached a 
point from which the valley below was in full view I halted. 
The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before 
was still there and the marks of a recent encampment were 
plainly visible, but the troops were gone. My heart resumed 
its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as 
much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of 
the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never 
forgot afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, 
I never experienced trepidation upon confronting the enemy, 
though I always felt more or less anxiety. I never forgot that 

7 After Grant had become famous Yates prided himself on this act and said: 
"God gave him to the country, and I signed his first commission." General 
Grant, James Grant Wilson, p. 85. 

yo The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. 1 * 8 Thus 
Grant acquired the first virtue of generalship fortitude. 

Grant was not a coward, or even a highly strung man, his 
gallop at Monterey proves this; but then he was under com- 
mand and not in command, and here lurks a vast difference. 
At Salt River he began to experience that solitude of the gen- 
eral I have spoken of in the Introduction. It was not because 
he was without men, but because he was with men that he felt 
it. This is the difference between a brave scout and a deter- 
mined leader: the one relies on himself, the other feels that 
each of his men is relying on him. His responsibility isolates 
him. That Grant learnt this supreme lesson during a morn- 
ing's march, and in face of a vacant camp, shows that in this 
man there was something outside the common. He could 
learn; he could analyze his fears; he could make them speak 
to him. Because he was a student of his own errors and 
weaknesses, much more so than an illumined genius, we see 
this man through toil and tribulation defeating his own ig- 
norance, and "keeping right on" to the very end. 

From Salt River the 2ist moved to the town of Mex- 
ico, where Grant was assigned the command of a sub-dis- 
trict comprising three regiments of infantry and a section 
of artillery. Here he came under the command of General 
Pope, and soon after his arrival he was promoted to the rank 
of brigadier-general. In August he was moved to Ironton, 
and then to Jefferson City, where he came under the orders 
of Major-General Fremont, who was in command of the 
Western Department. Towards the end of August, 1861, he 
was ordered to take command of the district of Southwestern 
Missouri ; first he established his headquarters at Cape Girar- 
deau, and then at Cairo, where he arrived on September 4. 
Recognizing the importance of Cairo, and learning from a 
scout, the day after he arrived there, that a Confederate force 
had moved out from Columbus to seize Paducah at the mouth 
of the Tennessee, he telegraphed Department headquarters 
that he intended to start for Paducah that night unless he re- 

8 Grant, I, p. 250. 

72 The Generalship of Ulysses 8. Grant 

ceived orders to the contrary. Receiving no reply, to the con- 
sternation of its citizens, he occupied Paducah; the struggle 
for the Mississippi had begun, 


The town of Columbus, eighteen miles south of Cairo, stood 
on a high bluff commanding the Mississippi, it was strongly 
fortified, and was described by General Polk as "the Gibraltar 
of the West." On November 5, Fremont, hearing that Price's 
army in Missouri had been reinforced from Columbus, or- 
dered Grant to make a demonstration against this place, whilst 
Colonel Oglesby, one of Grant's subordinates, was instructed 
to operate with a small column towards New Madrid. 

The following evening Grant left Cairo with 3,114 men 
in transports escorted by two gunboats. At 2 A.M. on the 
7th, learning that troops had been sent over from Columbus 
to Belmont to cut off Oglesby, he resolved to attack this de- 
tachment. That evening he landed at Hunter's Point, three 
miles above Belmont, which was a settlement of three houses 
situated close to the right bank of the river, and almost imme- 
diately west of Columbus. The Confederate detachment con- 
sisted at first of a regiment and a battery. It was encamped 
in a large field protected by felled timber. Before Grant ar- 
rived, it was reinforced by four regiments under General 
Pillow, bringing its total strength up to about 2,500. 

Leaving some five companies (about 250 men) at Hunter's 
Ferry to protect the transports, at about 8 A.M. Grant marched 
through a stretch of forest land and deployed his small column 
into two lines facing Belmont McClernand in front and 
Dougherty in rear. Advancing in this formation the leading 
fine struck a connected series of ponds and swamps, and, to 
circumvent them, apparently It moved to one flank and the 
rear line to the other; with the result that, when on the far 
side of the ponds, one continuous line was formed. A hot en- 
gagment now took place, and Pillow was driven out of his 
camp towards the river, whereupon Grant's men broke ranks 
and pillaged the camp. "They behaved,' 1 says Badeau, 'like 

Grant as Subordinate General 73 

so many schoolboys," until Grant ordered the camp to be 
set on fire. 

Pillow's men, much disorganized, were meanwhile hiding 
along the river bank, but finding that they were not pursued, 
and seeing some steamers putting out from Columbus to as- 
sist them, they began to work up the river, aiming to cut 
in between Grant's men and his transports. Some of these men 
appearing in rear of the disorganized Federals, the alarm 
"surrounded" was sounded, and a disorderly retirement onto 
the transports resulted. Once the men had embarked, Grant, 
supposing that the companies he had posted on landing were 
still out (as a matter of fact they were the first to re-embark), 
rode forward alone to call them In, and was nearly captured. 
Galloping back towards the river, as he writes, u my horse put 
his fore feet over the bank without hesitation or urging, and 
with his hind feet well under him, slid down the bank and 
trotted aboard the boat, twelve or fifteen feet away, over a 
single gang plank." 10 Dismounting, Grant went to the pilot- 
house and threw, himself down on a sofa, but, fortunately, at 
once got up, for as he did so "a musket ball entered the room, 
struck the head of the sofa, passed through it and lodged in 
the foot." 

The losses in this battle were: Federals, 79 killed, 289 
wounded and 117 missing; Confederates, 105 killed, 419 
wounded and 117 missing. 

Such was Grant's first battle, and it cannot be said that 
his generalship was above that of an amateur, which is ex- 
actly what he then was. His determination to fight was 
right, for in all probability it saved Oglesby's column from 
capture. Further, the enemy, if defeated, were at his mercy, 
for the river was immediately in rear of them. The attack 
demanded extreme rapidity as it was made under the guns of 
Columbus, and not only could Pillow be easily reinforced, but 
Grant's rear could at any moment be threatened. To leave a 
detachment with the transports was right, but to advance with- 
out adequate ground reconnaissance was wrong, and what was, I, p. 17, 
iQ Grant, I, p. 279, 

74 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

still worse was not to hold reserves in hand ; especially as his 
men had never as yet been under fire. That no pursuit was 
made was due to lack of reserves, quite as mudi as to lack of 
discipline on the part of his men. Further, having no reserve 
wherewith to form a rear-guard, his withdrawal was chaotic, 
It is easy to discover these errors now, but the extraordi- 
nary thing is that Grant himself discovered them at the time, 
and, as we shall see, through recognizing how faulty had been 
his generalship greatly improved upon it in his next battle. 


I must now retrace my steps, for in the autumn of 1861 the 
strategy which was to control the war began to shape itself, 
consequently, to understand it we must discover its origins, 
which are tangled in a host of cross-purposes. 

Whilst In the East the capture of Richmond eclipsed all 
other problems, in the West chaos began to take form, and it 
centred round gaining control of Missouri, and driving the 
Confederates out of east Tennessee, which was loyal to the 
Union. The Western problem was complicated by the neu- 
trality of Kentucky, the militia of which State, until October, 
1861, was commanded by General Anderson of Fort Sumter 
fame, when General William T. Sherman relieved him. The 
occupation of Columbus by the Confederates, and of Paducah 
by Grant, violated this neutrality, with the result that in Sep- 
tember Kentucky abandoned her impossible position and 
joined the North. 

The occupation of Paducah by Grant led to General Albert 
Sidney Johnston being appointed to command the Depart- 
ment of the West, which embraced the States of Kentucky and 
Tennessee. Realizing the importance of the Tennessee and 
Cumberland rivers, the main lines of communication in his 
command, he blocked them with two forts, Henry and Donel- 
son, a little north of the points where the Memphis-Ohio rail- 
way crosses these rivers. Simultaneously, Johnston ordered 
General Buckner to occupy Bowling Green, and General Zolli- 
cofer to move from Knoxville to Cumberland Gap. 

Grant as Subordinate General 75 

Though these forces stretched from the Mississippi to the 
Cumberland mountains, the declaration of Kentucky was at 
once seized upon by President Lincoln to realize a wish he 
had for long desired, namely, the relief of east Tennessee. 
With unerring political sense -he saw the advantage of carry- 
ing the war into this area. Not only would its occupation 
relieve a loyal population from oppression and add man-power 
to the Union, but a successful move in this direction would 
threaten the main lateral railways of the Confederacy, namely, 
those running through Chattanooga and Atlanta. How to 
found this scheme on sound strategy was quite beyond him. 

On November I, 1861, General McClellan was called to 
Washington to succeed General Scott as commander-in-chief. 
His plan of campaign was to strike at Richmond by sea and 
land, and pivoting the whole of his strategy on this idea he 
fell in with Lincoln's wishes, and supported the proposal of 
a campaign in east Tennessee; for he saw that any army oper- 
ating against Knoxville and Chattanooga must draw Confed- 
erate forces from Richmond towards these places. However 
desirable such a campaign might be, it was obviously unsound 
to inaugurate it as long as strong Confederate forces held 
Missouri and western Tennessee; for these could fall on the 
rear of any Federal army advancing south and east of them. 

To prepare for this campaign, McQellan's first step was 
to replace that erratic adventurer, Fremont, by Major-Gen- 
eral Henry W. Halleck who, on November 9, assumed com- 
mand of the Department of the Missouri, which included the 
States of Missouri, Arkansas and that part of Kentucky which 
lay west of the river Cumberland. His next was to replace 
Sherman, whom he sent to St. Louis, by General Don Carlos 
Buell, appointing him to the Department of the Ohio, which 
embraced the State of Tennessee and the remaining portion 
of Kentucky. His idea apparently was for Buell to advance 
into east Tennessee whilst Halleck protected his right flank 
and rear. He failed to see, however, that for such a combined 
operation to be securely founded it was essential for both 
these Departments to be placed under a single head. 

Had Buell and Halleck been of similar mentality, co-opera- 

76 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

tion might have been possible ; but this was not so. Buell was 
an educated soldier, a man of imagination, a strict disci- 
plinarian, a skilful trainer of troops, and, though apt to be 
slow, one who could be relied upon for sound judgments. 
Halleck, and I will deal somewhat more fully with him, be- 
cause throughout the war he was a thorn in Grant's side, was 
a cautious, witless pedant who had studied war, and imagined 
that adherence to certain strategical and tactical maxims con- 
stituted the height of generalship. He was one of a type to 
be met with in every war, a type which seems to attract poli- 
ticians; for men of Halleck's stamp are nearly always pro- 
moted. In his case, not only was he given an important com- 
mand in the West, but later on was selected as commander- 
in-chief, and, even after he had been superseded by Grant, 
he remained on at Washington as chief of the staff, that is as 
military adviser to Lincoln. It may be said, without fear 
of contradiction, that throughout the war Halleck was worth 
much more than the proverbial army corps to the Confederate 

Buell, who was a far abler soldier than McClellan, at once 
saw the folly of attempting an invasion of east Tennessee 
without the support of carefully co-ordinated operations in 
western Kentucky and western Tennessee. On November 27, 
he recommended "the movement of two flotilla columns up 
the Tennesee and Cumberland/' n also a movement on Nash- 
ville, all three to take place in conjunction with the advance 
into east Tennessee. McClellan, failing to see the connection 
between these operations and the one he had in mind, urged 
him to secure east Tennessee first, and only after this had 
been done to move on Nashville. 12 On December 3, he wrote 
to Buell again, and his letter is so extraordinary, and shows 
so clearly the chaotic strategical outlook at Washington, that 
I will quote a paragraph of it. He says: "I still feel sure 
that the best strategical move in this case will be that dictated 
by the simple feelings of humanity. We must preserve these 
noble fellows from harm; everything urges us to do that 

** 7, W.R., pp. 450, 451. 

Grant as Subordinate General 77 

faith, interests and loyalty. For the sake of these Eastern 
Tennesseeans who have taken part with us I would gladly 
sacrifice mere military advantages; they deserve our protec- 
tion, and at all hazards they must have it." 13 After such an 
appreciation from the commander-in-chief, can we blame Lin- 
coln for the grand strategical errors he so often made ? 

On December 10, Buell very rightly objected to this pro- 
posal, considering that the movement must be "merged into 
the general line of operations." 14 Meanwhile, on December 
6, McCIellan suggested to Halleck that he should make a di- 
version up the rivers to distract the enemy's attention away 
from Buell. Halleck replied that he had no troops to spare. 
At length, on December 29, Buell wrote to McCIellan saying: 
"It is my conviction that all the force that can possibly be 
collected should be brought to bear on that front of which 
Columbus and Bowling Green may be said to be the flanks. 
The center, that is, the Cumberland and Tennessee where the 
railroad crosses them, is now the most vulnerable point I re- 
gard it as the most important strategical point In the whole 
field of operations." He also added; "It is quite essential, 
too, that success should be speedy. . . ." 15 Though Buell 
had no intention of moving forward at this time, McCIellan, 
not being prepared to move on Richmond for months, and 
apparently wishing to allay the complaints which his delays 
were giving rise to, as well as to induce Buell to initiate his 
campaign, ordered Halleck to make a demonstration; then he 
went sick, and Lincoln requested Halleck and Buell to enter 
Into direct communication. Accordingly, on January 3, 1862, 
Buell suggested to Halleck that he should despatch two gun- 
boat 10 expeditions accompanied by 20,000 men up the Tennes- 
see and Cumberland rivers. 17 Halleck, disapproving of this, 
replied in his usual pedantic way: "It strikes me that to op- 
erate from Louisville and Paducah or Cairo against an enemy 

18 7 , JTjR., p. 468. 
1*7, W.R., p. 487. 
* 5 7, W$.*, pp. 520, 521. 

10 The river gunboat programme was put in hand by the Federal Govern- 
ment In the spring of x86x. This fleet was ready in January 1863. 
I? 7, r.K.,p. 5*9- 

78 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

at Bowling Green is a plain case of exterior lines, like that 
of McDowell and Patterson, which unless each of the exterior 
columns is superior to the enemy, leads to disaster ninety-nine 
times in a hundred." 18 McCIellan, now recovered, agreed 
with these views, and instructed Buell to advance into east 
Tennessee without waiting for Halleck. Thereupon Buell 
ordered Brigadier-General George H. Thomas to attack 
Zotticofer, who had advanced to near Somerset on the Cum- 
berland riven This he did, and, on January 19, decisively 
defeated him at Mill Springs. 

To return to Grant. After the battle of Belmont, Halleck 
confirmed Grant in the appointment assigned^ to him by Fre- 
mont, but changed its designation from District of Southeast 
Missouri to that of the District of Cairo. On January 6, 
obeying McClellan's instructions, he ordered Grant to carry 
out a demonstration. 

Grant, soon after he was appointed to the District of 
Cairo, had formed the opinion that to break the line of the 
Tennessee river would be a disaster to the enemy, 10 and on 
the day upon which Halleck wrote to him, he had asked sanc- 
tion 2<> to see Halleck at St. Louis, his object being to obtain 
from him permission to move on Forts Henry and Donelson. 
Leave to do so was refused, and receiving his instructions 
concerning the demonstration, Grant ordered General Smith 
to threaten Forts Heiman and Henry, whilst he and McCIer- 
nand threatened Columbus with one column and the Ten- 
nessee river with another. As a result of his expedition, Smith 
reported to Grant that he considered it practicable to capture 
Fort Heiman. "This report of Smith's/' says Grant, "con- 
firmed views I had previously held, that the true line of opera- 
tions for us was up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. 
With us there, the enemy would be compelled to fall back on 
the east and west entirely out of the State of Kentucky." 21 
On January 22, Grant once again asked to see Halleck. This 
request was sanctioned; so he went to St. Louis on the 23rd, 

, .., p. 533- 

19 See M.H.SM., VII, p. 8 ; and see also BucIFs letter to Halleck of January 3 
(7, W&. r pp. 528, 529). 

20 7, W.R., p. 534* 
* l Grant, I, p. 28 6 f 

Grant as Subordinate General 79 

but scarcely had he begun to explain his ideas, than, as he says : 
tc l was cut short as if my plan was preposterous. I returned 
to Cairo very much crestfallen." Nothing daunted, on the 
24th, he forwarded to Halleck a report on Smith's reconnais- 
sance. Then talking the whole question over with Com- 
modore Foote, who was in command of the gunboat flotilla, 
both he and Foote telegraphed Halleck on the 28th that Fort 
Henry could be captured. 22 

We come now to a question of personality. Halleck was by 
nature not only stupid but jealous and ambitious. As long as 
he was asked to play second fiddle to Buell he refused to play 
at all. But directly Thomas won the battle of Mill Springs, 
which reflected glory upon Buell, he began to bestir himself, 
and turned over Grant's suggestion of January 6. Though, 
on the 23rd, he told Grant that his idea of capturing the forts 
was preposterous, he had already on the 2Oth (the day after 
Mill Springs) written to McClellan advocating a move up 
the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, the object of which 
was to capture Nashville. He said : "This would turn Colum- 
bus, and force the abandonment of Bowling Green." 23 He 
added, however, that he could not accomplish this with less 
than 60,000 men, suggesting to McClellan that part if not 
all of BuelPs forces should be transferred to his command. 
Receiving no definite answer to this letter 24 (and being urged 
on by Grant, who on the 29th followed up his telegram of 
the 28th with an explanatory letter), 25 not waiting for further 
Instructions from Washington, he telegraphed to Grant to 
prepare to take and hold Fort Henry. 26 Grant received this 
order on February I, written instructions following the next 


"There was one general always ready to move on receipt of 
orders" 27 this was Grant. For the battle of Belmont he 

22 7, WJt. f pp. I20-I2I. 

2* 8, W.R., p. 509. 
"7, W.R..,p. 93- 
** 7, JT JR., p. 121. 

5 7, W.R., p. i2i. 

, -f VII, p. 7. 

8o The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

started within twenty-four hours of receiving orders; on his 
recent demonstration he had done likewise, in spite of the 
rain; for as he himself says: it "will operate worse upon the 
enemy, if he should come out to meet us, than upon us." 
Now he did so again, and within twenty-four hours the em- 
barkation of his troops began. 

Johnston's position was a precarious one, ZoIIicoffer had 
been defeated and driven back; at Columbus he had General 
Polk with 18,000 men, and under himself at Bowling Green 
was an active army 25,000 strong. Bowling Green was con- 
nected to Columbus by the railway which passed over the 
Cumberland and Tennessee rivers at bridges a little south of 
Forts Donelson and Henry, which were garrisoned by 2,000 
and 3,000 men respectively; both being under the command 
of General Tilghman. As long as these forts were held, 
Johnston could make use of his interior position with effect, 
but should they fall his line would be cut in two, and not only 
would he be compelled to evacuate Bowling Green, but Polk, 
in all probability, would be forced to withdraw from Colum- 
bus. Johnston did not expect an attack by land as the weather 
was bad, but ever since General Smith's reconnaissance he 
feared a gunboat offensive. 

Grant not having sufficient transports to carry the whole 
of his force, some 17,000 strong, in one trip, on the 4th moved 
forward McClernand's division under protection of seven gun- 
boats, four of which were armoured, and landed the troops 
eight to nine miles below Fort Henry. From these he recon- 
noitred the river, and returned with the transports to Paducah 
to bring up Smith's division on the 5th. Before all his troops 
had assembled Grant was ready with his plan of attack. 

Fort Henry was situated on the eastern bank of the Ten- 
nessee about twelve miles west of Ford Donelson, which was 
constructed on the western bank of the Cumberland. Both 
forts were too large, Fort Henry covering ten acres, and Fort 
Donelson no less than one hundred. Fort Henry was badly 
sighted, for not only was the ground low and swampy but 
from the western bank of the river it was commanded by 
Fort Heiman, a small half-finished work, as well as by the 

Grant as Subordinate General 8 1 

high ground on Its own bank to the north and east of it. It 
was armed with seventeen guns. 

Grant Instructed General Smith to land a brigade on the 
western bank during the night of the 5th/6th, and get in rear 
of Fort Heiman this he did and found it evacuated. The 
rest of his command was ordered to move at 1 1 A.M. on the 
6th, and outflank Fort Henry whilst the gunboats steamed 
up the river and bombarded it frontally. By this manoeuvre 
Grant hoped to capture the entire garrison, and so prevent it 
reinforcing Fort Donelson. 

At about 12.30 P.M. the gunboats, mounting some fifty 
guns, opened fire at about 2,000 yards range. Then closing 
to 350 yards unnecessarily close they rapidly silenced the 
guns of the fort, Tilghman seeing that the situation was hope- 
less, wisely ordered the garrison to retire to Fort Donelson; 
this It succeeded In doing at insignificant loss. At 2 P.M. 
he surrendered the fort, whereupon two gunboats were at once 
sent up the river to destroy the Memphis and Ohio railway 
bridge : Johnston was now cut off from Polk, 

"The effect of the capture of Fort Henry," writes Ropes, 
"on the people of the whole country, North and South, was 
electrical. ... It was accomplished, too, so suddenly and so 
unexpectedly that the spirits of the Northern people were 
elated beyond measure, while those of the people of the South 
were correspondingly depressed." 28 That this fort had been 
compelled to surrender by the action of the fleet alone seemed 
to show that the North possessed an irresistible weapon. 
Johnston was of opinion that the strongest works could be re- 
duced by iron-clad gunboats. This was not true, as the next 
operation will show. 


Fort Donelson was a bastioned earthwork standing on a 
bluff a hundred feet above the water. On the east of it flowed 
the river Tennessee; on the north and south it was protected 
by two streams, namely, Hickman Creek and Indian Creek, 

** Ropes, Pt. II, p. 18. 

82 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

and on its western flank, following the crest of a ridge be- 
tween the two creeks, a line of rifle pits, protected by abattis, 
had been dug. On its northern face it was protected by two 
water batteries of twelve guns and a ten-inch columbiad sited 
some thirty to forty feet above the water; a number of other 
guns were in the fort itself. 

In spite of the strength of Fort Donelson, the rapid reduc- 
tion of Fort Henry had so shaken General Johnston's confi- 
dence that he decided forthwith to evacuate Bowling Green. 
General Beauregard, who happened at this time to be on a 
visit at Johnston's headquarters, wisely urged Johnston to 
march on Donelson, and attack Grant before he could be rein- 
forced. In place, Joknston sent 12,000 men to Donelson, 
raising Its garrison to rather over 18,000, and on February 1 1 
and 12 retiring on Nashville with the remainder of his force, 
some 14,000 strong, he entered this town on the 1 6th. If 
this were not bad enough, he placed General Floyd, an Inex- 
perienced and incompetent officer, in command of the fort. 
What Johnston's plan really was it is difficult to discover. 
The truth of the matter appears to be, that though he was a 
typical fighting soldier with a high reputation, like many an- 
other of this kind, a disaster upset his balance. The fall of 
Fort Henry was so unexpected that it completely bewildered 
him, and imagining that the gunboats bereft him of power to 
attack, he was paralyzed; in short, he had not the mental 
training to see things in correct tactical perspective. The re- 
sult was that he adopted a half-measure: he aimed at holding 
Fort Donelson as long as he could, and of saving half his 
army; trusting that the other half would be able to cut its 
way out. In my opinion, General Johnston was a very com- 
mon type of brave and stupid soldier, and his action at the 
battle of Shiloh in no way disproves this, 

Fort Henry having fallen, Grant was naturally elated, 
and though he also was for a time spellbound by the unex- 
pected ease with which the gunboats had reduced the fort, he 
was in no way thrown off his balance* It is true that in the 
midst of exultation he had written to Halleck that he would 
"take and destroy" Fort Donelson on February 8, but he 

Grant as Subordinate General 83 

soon realized that this was impossible; for the fleet had to 
refit, and steam back down the Tennessee and then up the 
Cumberland. He felt, however, "that 15,000 men on the 
8th would be more effective than 50,000 a month later," 29 
which shows that his judgment was perfectly sound. 

Remembering his mistake at Belmont, the day after the 
fall of Fort Henry Grant reconnoitred Donelson. As he 
says : "I took my staff and the cavalry . . . and made a rec- 
onnoissance to within about a mile of the outer line of works 
at Donelson. I had known General Pillow in* Mexico, and 
judged that with any force, no matter how small, I could 
march up to within gunshot of any intrenchments he was given 
to hold. I said this to the officers of my staff at the time. I 
knew that Floyd was in command, but he was no soldier, and 
I judged that he would yield to Pillow's pretensions. I met, 
as I expected, no opposition in making the reconnoissance 
and, besides learning the topography of the country on the 
way around Fort Donelson, found that there were two roads 
available for marching; one leading to the village of Dover, 
the other to Donelson." m 

Whilst Grant impatiently waited for the fleet to refit, Hal- 
leek rushed up six regiments of reinforcements, but as Colonel 
Bruce says: he "rendered the greatest service to the country 
that can be credited to him during the war by remaining in 
his office at St. Louis." 81 Grant's plan was to surround Fort 
Donelson on the land side and to attack it from the river with 
the gunboats, an operation similar to that undertaken against 
Fort Henry. Halleck did not approve or disapprove of this 
attack, as Grant says: "He said nothing whatever to me on 
the subject" 82 On the night of the nth Grant moved 
McClernand's division out a few miles to clear the roads; or- 
dered Smith to leave General Lewis Wallace and 2,500 men 
to guard Forts Henry and Heiman; and instructed Colonel 
Thayer, commanding the six reinforcing regiments, to turn 

20 Grant, I, p. 298. 
so Grant, I, pp. 294-295. 
**M.HM., VII, p. 15. 

82 Grant, I, p. 296. This statement is questioned by Ropes. See Ropts, 
Pt II, footnote p. 37. 











Grant as Subordinate General 85 

his transports about, and move under escort of the fleet. 
Then with the remainder of Smith's division he moved out of 
Fort Henry on the I2th. On approaching Fort Donelson, 
Smith took up position with his left on Hickman Creek, and 
McClernand with his right on the Cumberland, and his front 
facing Indian Creek. Both divisions, though not entrenched, 
held strong positions along the crest of the ridges, their guns 
being sunk in the ground, and the men not required to serve 
them being ordered to seek cover from fire behind the crest 

To save time, for the roads were in a terrible condition, 
the column marched without transport, shelter-tents had not 
yet come into use, and as camp fires could not be lit in such 
close proximity to the enemy, the men suffered severely from 
the wet and bitterly cold weather, their discomfort being in- 
creased by ill-discipline, many having thrown away their 
blankets and overcoats whilst on the line of march. Grant 
had but two educated officers with him, namely, General 
Smith and Lieutenant-Colonel McPherson. 

On the 1 2th and I3th there was some slight skirmishing, 
and McClernand, without orders, attempted to assault a bat- 
tery, and was repulsed All going well at Fort Henry, and 
its landward side having been strengthened, Lewis Wallace 
was ordered up, and, when Thayer arrived, on the I4th, Wal- 
lace took command of his brigade and such other reinforce- 
ments as had been sent forward, his own men rejoining Smith's 
division. Wallace was assigned to the centre between Smith 
and McClernand, his command being called the 3rd Division. 

On the evening of the I3th the fleet arrived- Grant's plan 
was to hold the enemy within his lines whilst the gunboats ^at- 
tacked him. "Some of the gunboats were to run the batteries, 
get above the fort and above the village of Dover." 8S By 
3 P.M. on the I4th, Foote steamed up-stream, opening fire at 
a mile and a half from the fort, and then closed to within 
two to four hundred yards of the water batteries. Foote's 
flag-ship was hit fifty-nine times, and he himself was wounded. 
So heavy was the fire from the batteries, and so ineffective was 

* 3 Grant, I, p. 302. 

86 The Generalship of Ulysses S* Grant 

the gunboat bombardment that the fleet was compelled to 
withdraw, most of the ships being seriously damaged/ 4 

Both Grant and Foote have been criticized for closing to 
within point blank range. It is true that at Fort Henry this 
action had proved effective, as the batteries were on the water 
level; but at Fort Donelson they were well above the gun- 
boats, which could not bring their full armament to bear on 
them, and in their turn were hit by a plunging fire. It must 
be remembered, however, that Grant's plan was to pass above 
the fort towards Dover, and according to Colonel Bruce he 
had asked Foote to send a single gunboat up-stream past the 
batteries to attack them in rear. This Foote did not do. 
Nevertheless, the possibility of this happening terrified Floyd, 
who now determined to evacuate the fort. That evening a 
council of war was held, consisting of Generals Floyd, Pillow 
and Buckner, and it was decided at dawn the following day 
to attack the Federals and so open a road by which the army 
could retire to Nashville. 85 Whereupon Floyd, making no 
arrangements, tactical or administrative, ordered the attack 
to be made, with the result that early on the I5th McCler- 
nand's division was driven back in confusion, as was also 
Wallace's. Thus far the operation was crowned with suc- 
cess, and all that remained was to effect a rapid withdrawal. 
No arrangements had, however, been made for this, no 
rations had been issued, no wagons loaded, and no rearguard 
detailed. Not knowing what to do, Pillow, who had directed 
the main attack, lost his head and ordered the troops back 
to their entrenchments, Floyd agreeing with this extraordi* 
nary action. 86 

On the Federal side there was much confusion. Before 

34 H. W. Wilson, the well known naval writer says: "In the attack on Fort 
Donelson, which commanded the upper Cumberland, the gun-boats were di- 
rected by Grant to run past the fort and take It in reverse, at the same time 
cutting it off from the Confederate forces. This work they accomplished, 
though they suffered severely from the guns of the fort; and their presence on 
the river above the fort was the strategical cause of the sally of the garrison, 
which resulted in Grant's first complete victory." (CM.H* f VII, p. 558,) 
I have been unable to trace Wilson's authority for his assertion that the gun- 
boats passed the batteries. 

** 7, /TJ?., p. 268. 

80 %. W&, t pp. 283, 314, 318, and Buckner's report 7, JTJL, pp. 332-333. 

Grant as Subordinate General 87 

daylight on the I5th, Foote, not being able to leave his flag- 
ship on account of his wound, asked Grant to visit him. This 
he did, but failed to appoint a commander during his absence. 
On his return he was met by a staff officer "white with fear," 
who informed him that his troops had been scattered. Gal- 
loping forward, he found that McClernand, who had at- 
tacked with all three of his brigades in line, had lost control; 
but that Smith, a trained soldier, having distributed his men 
in depth skirmishers, firing-line, supports, brigade reserves, 
and a whole brigade in divisional reserve had his troops well 
in hand. 87 Grant, as Lewis Wallace says, now showed his 
metal: "His face flushed slightly. With a sudden grip he 
crushed the papers in his hand. But in an instant these signs 
of disappointment or hesitation as the reader pleases 
cleared away. In his ordinary quiet voice he said: . . * 'Gen- 
tlemen, the position on the right must be retaken/ With that 
he turned and galloped off." s8 
Grant's actions were as follows : 

1 I ) He ordered McClernand and Wallace to withdraw out 
of cannon range and entrench. 

(2) He sent a message to Foote urgently asking him to 
make a demonstration: "If," he wrote, "all the gun- 
boats that can will immediately make their appearance 
to the enemy it may secure us a victory." &9 

(3) He ordered Smith to prepare to assault the works in 
front of him. 

(4) Then he returned to Wallace and McClernand, and 
ordered them to advance and reoccupy their former 
lines. 40 

Turning to Colonel J. D. Webster of his staff, he said: 
"Some of our men are pretty badly demoralized, but the en- 
emy must be more so, for he has attempted to force his way 
out, but has fallen back: the one who attacks first now will 
be victorious and the enemy will have to be in a hurry if he 

8T Conger, p. u. 

* B. & L. f I, p. 422. 

e 7, W.R., p. 6x8. 

40 7, W.R., pp. 1:79, 180 (McCIernand'a report)'. 

88 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

gets ahead of me," 41 Grant's presence roused officers and 
men to high enthusiasm. Galloping down the regiments he 
shouted: "Fill your cartridge-boxes quick, and get into line; 
the enemy is trying to escape, and he must not be permitted 
to do so." 

"This," as he says, "acted like a charm. The men only 
wanted some one to give them a command." 42 

Smith, the good soldier that he was, had already recon- 
noitred his front before receiving Grant's order to assault, 
and within an hour of receiving this order he advanced: 
"Birge's sharpshooters, deployed on each flank, opened skir- 
mishing fire. The column advanced silently, without firing, 
crushed down the abattis, covered the hill-side with battalions, 
heedless of the fire from the garrison, pressed on to the 
works, leaped over, formed in line, and drove the defending 
regiment to further shelter." 4S The key point of the fort was 
thus carried. 

That night, whilst Grant slept In a negro hut, and Smith 
with his troops on the frozen ground they had won, "Inside 
the fort occurred one of the most remarkable scenes of the 
war." 44 Floyd summoned a second council of generals. Pil- 
low suggested another attempt to cut their way out. Floyd 
and Buckner considered this impracticable, consequently a sur- 
render was decided upon. Thereupon Floyd turned his com- 
mand over to Pillow, and Pillow turned it over to Buckner. 
Thus, whilst the junior general was left to open negotiations 
with Grant, the two senior ones, 45 accompanied by some 3,000 
men, escaped from the fort under cover of night Forrest 
with his cavalry and some other troops, about 1,000 in all, 
also made their way out, passing between Grant's right and 
the river. 

Floyd and Pillow having abandoned their army, Buckner 
sent a letter to Grant proposing an armistice so that terms 

41 Grant, I, p. 307. 

42 Grant, I, p. 308. 
48 Force, p. 55. 
^Badeau, I, p. 47. 

45 For the amazing conversation between these three generals, see Force, 
p. 58- 

Grant as Subordinate General 89 

of capitulation might be agreed upon. To which he received 
the famous answer: 46 

"Headquarters Army in the Field, 
"Camp near Fort Donelson, 

"February 16, 1862. 
"General S. B. Buckner, 

"Confederate Army. 

"Sm: Yours of this date, proposing armistice and appoint- 
ment of commissioners to settle terms of capitulation, is just 
received. No terms except unconditional and immediate sur- 
render can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon 
your works. 

"I am, sir, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"U. S. Grant, 
"Brigadier-General Commanding." 

Though Buckner considered these terms unchivalrous, he 
had no choice but to accept them. Thereupon he surrendered 
with 11,500 men and 40 guns. 41 Grant's losses were approxi- 
mately 3,000 killed, wounded and missing. 48 

Such was Grant's first great battle, in which Jt will be seen 
that his generalship was a vast improvement on that shown at 
Belmont. His success in no way turned his head* On the 
other hand Grant's superior, Halleck, on the following day 
telegraphed to McCIellan as follows : "I must have command 
of the armies in the West Hesitation and delay are losing 
us the golden opportunity. Lay this before the President and 
Secretary of War. May I assume the command? Answer 
quickly." 40 Such was the moral difference between these two 

As regards the origins of this battle, Colonel William P. 
Johnston, son of General Albert Sidney Johnston writes: 
"There has been much discussion as to who originated the 

* 7, W&.> p. 161. 

47 7, WJR.., pp. 944 and 159. Badeau, however, says: "Sixty-five guns, seven- 
teen thousand six hundred small arms, and nearly fifteen thousand troops fell 
into the hands of the victor." (Badeau, I, p. 50.) 

48 7, W.R., p. 169. 
* 7, IT JR., p. 641. 

90 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

movement up the Tennessee River. Grant made it, and it 
made Grant." 50 

Donelson, says Colonel Bruce, was Grant's battle. "Many 
soldiers were engaged in it, but his genius brought the victory. 
His quick comprehension of the whole situation on his return 
to the field; his divination of the enemy's plan and object; his 
clear sight of the empty lines on the left; his speedy ride to 
Smith's division and infusion into its commander of that en- 
ergy and promptness which the emergency demanded, make 
up a rounded whole of the comprehensive vision of a battle- 
field and perfect conduct of a battle that has never been sur- 
passed.'' 51 

In another place this same officer writes: "The most dam- 
aging blows inflicted upon the South, up to the time Lee sur- 
rendered . . . were received in the Donelson campaign, and, 
what naturally followed from it, the capture of New Orleans 
. . . and . . . the Vicksburg campaign." S2 Is there justi- 
fication for such praise? I think there is. First, the moral 
effects of this victory were enormous. Colonel Henry Stone, 
no great admirer of Grant, says: "The exultation throughout 
the North west especially in Illinois and Indiana, which 
States furnished more than half the soldiers in the Union 
army at Fort Donelson and the consternation In the insur- 
gent regions in the South west, were not surpassed, if they 
were equalled, by those of three years later, when Petersburg 
was captured and Richmond abandoned. The hilarity at Chi- 
cago, and the panic at Nashville, cannot be described." w 

Secondly, the material results were immense : Nashville was 
evacuated and so was Columbus, and the loss of this last men- 
tioned place enabled General Curtis, on March 7, totally to 
defeat the Confederates under Fan Born at Pea Ridge, in Ar- 
kansas, securing beyond further question the State of Missouri 
a most important Federal gain. It won Kentucky, and laid 
Tennessee open to invasion. At a single blow, not only did 
this victory sweep back the whole line of the Confederate de- 

'5. &fl.,l,p. 547. 
si M.H.SM., VII, p. 14. 
**M.H.SM. f VIII, p. 142. 
MMJI.SM., VII, p. 35. 

Grant as Subordinate General 9 1 

fences in the West, but it deprived the South of an invaluable 
recruiting ground. At Donelson Grant not only captured 
Buckner's ii500 men, but large numbers of prospective 
Southern recruits. As Colonel Bruce says : "If Grant had cap- 
tured at Donelson 75,000 men his campaign there would have 
passed unchallenged as the greatest event of the war." 54 
And, as it happens, Colonel Livermore has calculated r>5 that 
Tennessee, a populous State, could furnish 175,000 men of be- 
tween the ages of eighteen and forty-five, and as at this time 
there were between fifty and seventy-five thousand Tennesse- 
ans in the Confederate army, Grant's victory at Donelson not 
only opened the way to Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Atlanta and 
Johnston's surrender at Durham Station, but it deprived the 
South of at least 100,000 soldiers. 

., VII, pp. 25, 26, 
*> VII, p. 26. 



THE fall of Fort Donelson found Halleck completely be- 
wildered ; not only did he fail to realize the importance of this 
victory, but he was quite unprepared to take advantage of it. 
Grant had persistently advocated the operation, and Halleck 
had as persistently opposed it. Then, without obtaining 
McClellan's approval, he suddenly agreed to it, with the result 
that BuelPs operations, following Thomas's victory at Mill 
Springs, were unhinged; McClellan had to abandon the in- 
vasion of east Tennessee ; Buell, being too scattered, could not 
take advantage of the Confederate defeat, and Halleck, him- 
self imagining that he was unable to spare troops from Mis- 
souri, did nothing. Thus it came about that Grant remained 
Isolated, and had Johnston, at Nashville, been a really able 
general, he was in an excellent position to concentrate a su- 
perior force against him, and had he done so he might well 
have retrieved his misfortunes. Such was the muddle result- 
ing from Halleck's generalship. 

On the day before the surrender of Donelson, Halleck had 
written to McClellan saying : "I have no definite plan beyond 
the taking of Fort Donelson and Clarksville." * Well might 
McClellan exclaim : "Of all the men whom I have encountered 
in high position, Halleck was the most hopelessly stupid. It 
was more difficult to get an idea through his head than can be 
conceived by any one who never made the attempt. I do not 
think he ever had a correct military idea from beginning to 
end." 2 Grant saw quite clearly what should be done, but 
Halleck did not trouble to seek his advice. He saw that "the 
way was open to the National forces all over the South-west, 11 * 

1 7, WJSL., p. 616. 
2 Church, p. 1 1 8. 
8 Grant, I, p. 317. Sec also 7, JFJ?., p. 648. 


Grant as Subordinate General 93 

and had they vigorously pursued Johnston, Chattanooga, 
Corinth, Memphis and Vicksburg would have been theirs. 
Halleck had, however, no plan, and when, in reply to his let- 
ter of February 15, McClellan directed him to move on Nash- 
ville by the quickest route, 4 fearing Beauregard, who at Col- 
umbus was in a precarious position, instead, he kept Grant at 
Fort Donelson, and when Clarksville was occupied he sent 
Footers gunboats back to Cairo. For ten days after the fall 
of Donelson he remained without a plan. He argued that 
Buell should go to Nashville, and writing to the Assistant Sec- 
retary of War he said: he could only u go ahead," if he (the 
Secretary) would "divide the responsibility with [him] me." 5 
As Ropes remarks: "A most singular proposition for a gen- 
eral to make." 6 On February 24, three days after this amaz- 
ing suggestion, Johnston abandoned Nashville. 

What was the reason for this delay? Stupidity in the first 
instance, and jealousy in the second the result of no unity of 
command in the West. For long Halleck had striven to gain 
this command for himself, and had he sent Grant forward, 
this general would have come under BuelPs orders. Buell, In 
his turn, did not want to be absorbed by a self-seeking and in- 
competent pedant. In place of pushing on to Nashville, Hal- 
leck sent letter after letter to the War Department urging 
that he should be given the command of all the troops west 
of the Alleghanies. 7 Eventually, after McClellan had been 
relieved of his appointment of general-in-chief, and General 
Curtis's victory at Pea Ridge (March 7 and 8) had reflected 
further glory upon Halleck, on March 1 1 8 President Lincoln 
wisely decided to put an end to dual command in the West, 
and created the Department of the Mississippi. He made, 
however, the egregious mistake of appointing Halleck to com- 
mand it. 

Whilst this unsoldierlike wrangle was in progress, on Feb- 

P . 625. 

7, W.R., p. 648. 
* Ropes, II, p. 48. 
*7, W.R., pp. <5 3 6, 641, 655. 

8 The date of War Order No. 3 by which McClellan was relieved from the 
supreme command of the armies. 

94 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ruary 24, Buell occupied Nashville, from where no pursuit of 
Johnston was attempted, as it was considered that the roads 
were in too bad a condition for such a task. Meanwhile John- 
ston> in spite of the roads, moved the bulk of his forces from 
Nashville on February 18, and marching to Murfreesboro, 
and then through Shelbyville and Decatur, he arrived with 
20,000 men at Corinth a month later. Here he was met by 
Bragg with 10,000 well-drilled troops, and shortly afterwards 
he was joined by Cheatham's division from Columbus, troops 
from Island No, 10, and various other detachments. 

The pursuit being deemed impossible, Buell suggested that 
a blow should be directed against the Memphis-Charleston 
railroad, which, at Corinth, was Intersected by the railway run- 
ning from the State of Mississippi through Jackson, in Ten- 
nessee, to near New Madrid and Island No. 10, where Con- 
federate works closed the Mississippi to the Federal fleet; at 
this time, these works were being besieged by General Pope. 
BuelPs aim was to strike at a point which Johnston would be 
compelled to defend, and so forced to accept battle. On the 
contrary, Halleck proposed to move his army up the Tennes- 
see, not to bring the Confederates to battle, but with the sole 
object of making a series of raids against their communica- 
tions. His instructions were emphatic, namely, on no account 
was a general engagement to be brought on. 10 

On March i, Halleck decided 11 to carry out these raids, 
which were to destroy the railway bridges over Bear Creek, 
and the connections at Corinth, Jackson and Humboldt. The 
following day he telegraphed to McClellan accusing Grant of 
insubordination, of refusing to answer his letters, and of sit- 
ting down and enjoying his recent victory "without any regard 
to the future," 12 On the 4th he telegraphed Grant : "You 
will place Major-General C R Smith in command of expedi- 
tion and remain yourself at Fort Henry. 13 ^ Why do you not 

Evacuated on March 2. 
*> 7 , JPJR., P . 67+ 
"7, W.&.> p. 674. 

12 For this amazing accusation, see Grant, I, p. 326; Radeau, I, pp. 60-65; 
M.H.SM., VII, p. 37 and p. 108; and 7, WJR.,, pp. 679, 680, 6$z, 683. 
18 Then under water six feet deep ! 

Grant as Subordinate General 95 

obey my orders to report strength and positions of your com- 
mand ?" 14 Consequently Smith was ordered 15 to lead the raid- 
ing forces up the Tennessee; which operation was fated to 
result in the battle of ShiloL 


In the vicinity of Fort Henry five divisions were assembled, 
namely, those of Generals Smith, McClernand, Lewis Wallace, 
Hurlbut and Sherman. On March 5 the advanced party ar- 
rived at Savannah, the main body following on the nth. 
Three days later, General Smith sent Sherman's division to 
destroy the railway near Eastport. It moved up the Ten- 
nessee thirty-two miles above Savannah, and, on the I5th, 
attempted to march to luka and destroy the railroad at that 
place. On account of torrents of rain this attempt failed, and, 
as the transports on their return passed Pittsburg Landing, 
nine miles above Savannah and on the western bank, Lieu- 
tenant-Commander Gwin, of the gunboat Tyler, pointed this 
place out to Sherman, and told him that on March I he had 
had a small fight there. Thereupon Sherman suggested to 
Smith to send a division to this Landing so that another at- 
tempt on the Memphis-Charleston railroad might be made. 
Smith agreed to this, and sent Hurlbut's. 1 * Thus, through a 
pure accident, Pittsburg Landing was occupied. 

The eventual assembly of the army at this place has been 
much criticized, criticism being influenced far more by the 
battle which was fought than by the object of the expedition. 
As General Force says: "The divisions were not camped with 
a view to defence against an apprehended attack; but they did 
fulfil General Halleck's instructions to General C, F. Smith, 

i* Grant, I, p. 326; n, W&. t p. 3. Why did General Hallecfc pick this quar- 
rel with Grant? The reason is obvious: because he was jealous of him. He 
was afraid that Grant might gain fresh laurels, and possibly supersede him. 
Directly he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Federal forces in the 
West (March n), he reinstated Grant (March 13) and lied to him in order 
to excuse his behaviour (Grant, I, p. 327). As Lieut-Col, Ephraim C. Dawes 
says: "Perhaps he no longer feared him as a possible rival." (MJ3M. f VII, 
p. 108.) 

7, W3L., p. 638. 

. 9 VII, pp. 109, no. 

96 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

to select a depot with a view to the march on to Corinth." 1T 
Not only was the camping ground extensive, 18 but the locality 
itself was extremely strong defensively, 19 as it was flanked 
on the east by the Tennessee and Lick Creek, and on the west 
by Snake and Owl creeks. It is true that the river lay behind 
the encampments; but this disadvantage, should a withdrawal 
become necessary, was largely mitigated by the Federal com- 
mand of the river, as well as the eventual support of BuelL 

When Grant arrived at Savannah, as he did on March xy, 20 
he found Sherman's and Hurlbut's divisions encamped at 
Pittsburg Landing on the two roads leading to Corinth, 
Lewis Wallace's division was at Crump's Landing, and the 
remainder of the troops, including the newly formed division 
of Prentiss, at Savannah. Realizing the faulty tactical distri- 
bution of the army, for the river divided it, within an hour 
of landing Grant ordered McClernand's, Prentiss's 21 and 
Smith's 22 divisions to move to Pittsburg Landing, the first 
to encamp in rear of Sherman, the second in front of Hurl- 
but, and the third in rear of these two. 

On the day Grant arrived at Savannah, Sherman wrote to 
him as follows: "I have just returned from a reconnaissance 
towards Corinth and Purdy, and am strongly impressed with 
the importance of this position, both from its land advan- 
tages and its strategic position. The ground itself admits of 
easy defence by a small command, and yet affords admirable 
camping-ground for a hundred-thousand men." 28 Halleck 
had instructed Grant to act on the defensive, and not to bring 

17 Force ; p. 103, 
is 10, W&., p. 27. 

18 Colonel William P. Johnston says: "A formidable, natural fortification. 
With few and difficult approaches guarded on either flank by impassable 
streams and morasses, protected by a succession of ravines and acclivities, each 
commanded by eminences to the rear, this quadrilateral seemed a safe fastness 
against attack; hard to assail, easy to defend. Its selection was the dying gift 
of the soldierly C. F. Smith to his cause." 

20 o, JFjR.,p. 4 3. 

21 u, W.IL, p. 52. Prentiss's division was formed from various regiments 
sent to Savannah to reinforce Grant. 

22 While C. F. Smith was in command of the expedition, W. BL L. Wallace 
commanded his division, and succeeded Smith when shortly afterwards he went 
sick and died. 

28 xo, W.R., p. 27. 

Grant as Subordinate General 97 

about a general engagement until Buell should arrive 2 * 
Buell having been ordered by Halleck to march on Savannah. 
Though Grant considered that an immediate advance would 
find the enemy unprepared, he had no choice but to obey. On 
the 1 3th Halleck telegraphed him: It was reported that the 
enemy had moved from Corinth in order to cut off the trans- 
ports below Savannah; then he added: "If so General Smith 
should immediately destroy the railroad communication at 
Corinth/' 25 Grant, chafing under enforced inaction, deter- 
mined to carry out this work himself, and so wrote to Hal- 
leck informing him that he intended to start on the 23rd or 
24th. 20 Halleck, surprised by this promptness, replied on the 
2ist: "Corinth cannot be taken without a general engage- 
ment, which from your instructions is to be avoided." 2T 
Thereupon Grant, on the 23rd, wrote to Smith: "Carry out 
your idea of occupying, and particularly, fortifying Pea 
Ridge. ... I am clearly of the opinion that the enemy are 
gathering strength at Corinth, quite as rapidly as we are 
here, and the sooner we attack, the easier will be the task 
of taking the place." 2S 

There is much to be said for both these courses. From 
one point of view Halleck was right in considering that the 
whole of his forces should be concentrated before an advance 
was made on Corinth ; from another, Grant was right in sug- 
gesting an immediate advance before the enemy could concen- 
trate his forces. Halleck was suffering from over-caution, 
his chronic complaint; Grant, so I think, from over-confidence 
begotten of his comparatively easy victories at Forts Henry 
and Donelson, which led him to underrate Johnston's pug- 
nacity. Halleck's plan was still based on the idea of a raid; 
yet he was now engaged in massing an overwhelming force in 
the neighbourhood of Savannah. It would appear that his 
strategical outlook was, as usual, completely out of focus, and 
that Grant, fully occupied in organizing and drilling his army 

2* ii, r.R., p. 51- 

25 u, W&., p. 46. 
2 II, W.R., p. 51. 

2T 7 , W,R. f p. 674- 

28 XX, W.R., p. 62. 

98 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

(numbers of his men had never fired a shot) was dally ex- 
pecting the order to advance to carry out the raid and not 
to fight a decisive battle. Though Grant's lack of caution and 
his eventual surprise can In no way be exonerated, it is fre- 
quently overlooked that Halleck was in command; that his 
controlling idea was a raid; that he had authorized the con- 
centration of Grant's 68,ooo 29 men at Pittsburg Landing, 
and that he had ordered Buell to proceed to Savannah with 
37,000 more. Further, he must have realized that the Con- 
federate forces at Corinth were demoralized, 80 and, conse- 
quently, that a rapid raid might well prove successful ; but if it 
could not be carried out, then the whole project ought to have 
been abandoned. 

On March 18, three of BuelFs divisions were at Columbia, 
ninety miles from Savannah, consequently, Grant might ex- 
pect their arrival by the 24th or 25th, Unfortunately the 
bridges over the Duck river (Columbia) had been burnt by 
the Confederates; this delayed BuelFs advance by ten days. 
On March 27, McClernand, having recently been promoted 
to the rank of Major-General, claimed by seniority the com- 
mand of the troops at Pittsburg Landing; whereupon Grant 
informed Halleck that when Buell arrived he would move his 
headquarters to the Landing, and command in person, as he 
did not trust McClernand. On April 4, Buell telegraphed 
Grant that he would arrive at Savannah the following day.* 1 

On March 23, as we have seen, Grant had instructed Smith 
to fortify Pea Ridge this was never done. Further, in his 
Memoirs^ he says, that he ordered McPherson, his only mili- 
tary engineer, to lay out a line to entrench, but, on McPher- 
son's advice, he cancelled this order because this line would 
have had to be dug In rear of the encampments, and 
because, as he writes: "I regarded the campaign we were en- 

29 12,000 were absent, and 12,000 unfit for duty, (to, IF JR., p. 112.) 
8 On March 18, General Eragg says: "The disorganized and demoralized 
condition of our forces . . . gives me great concern." (u, W&. t p. 340.) 
When Buell was sent forward, Halleck appears to have changed his mind, for 
according to Buell he was not Intended to succour Grant* army, but to form 
a junction with it for an "ulterior offensive campaign*" Halleck does not, 
however, appear to have warned Grant of this change, or to have considered 
him in any danger. 
** xx, W.&., p. 91. 

Grant as Subordinate General 99 

gaged in as an offensive one and had no idea that the enemy 
would leave strong entrenchments to take the initiative when 
he knew he would be attacked where he was if he remained." S2 
This, in my opinion, is the true reason why the encampments 
were not entrenched Grant did not believe that the enemy 
would dare to attack. Ropes blames Halleck; he says: "It is 
due to his negligence that this position was not entrenched, 
for only once did he allude in his letters to Grant to the ne- 
cessity of taking this obvious precaution." 8S This, I consider, 
unfair criticism, for a subordinate should not require to be 
told so elementary a fact. Grant should have entrenched, not 
to fight a defensive battle but an offensive one, in the event of 
his being attacked, in other words : so that he would be able 
to develop his offensive power from a secure base. The truth 
of the matter is, as he says himself, and Grant is nothing if 
he is not frank: "Up to that time the pick and spade had 
been but little resorted to at the West." M 

Grant, who visited Pittsburg Landing daily, on April 4 
met with an unfortunate accident. Whilst riding to the front, 
where some firing was heard, his horse stumbled, came down, 
and he was severely bruised. He says : "My ankle was very 
much injured, so much so that my boot had to be cut off. For 
two or three days after I was unable to walk except with 
crutches." 8S On the 5th, General Nelson with a division of 
BuelPs army arrived at Savannah, and was at once ordered 
by Grant to move up the east bank of the river where he could, 
as occasion required, be ferried to Crump's or Pittsburgh 
Landings. Learning that Buell would be at Savannah the 
next day, and that he desired to meet him, 86 Grant, returning 
to Savannah late on the 5th, breakfasted at an early hour on 
the 6th, and, in spite of his crushed leg, was about to mount 
his horse in order to ride over to BuelPs headquarters, when 
he heard heavy firing from the direction of Pittsburg Land- 
ing. At once he sent an order to General Nelson to move to 

** Grant, I, p. 3 33- 
88 Ropes, Pt II, p. 59. 

84 Grant, I, p. 357. Lee made the same mistake at Antietam, 
** Grant, I, p. 335. , WM. t p. 93- 

se Buell arrived at Savannah on the evening of the 5th, but he did not re- 
port to Grant that night 

ioo The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the river bank opposite Pittsburg, and wrote a hasty letter 
to Buell explaining the situation. Then, at 7 A.M., by trans- 
port he started for the front, called at Crump's Landing and 
instructed Lewis Wallace to hold himself in readiness to move 
at short notice. At 8 o'clock he was at Pittsburg Landing, 


On March 24 8T Johnston arrived at Corinth, completing 
his concentration the next day. General Bragg, who had pre- 
ceded him, wished to attack the Federal forces at Pittsburg 
and Crump's Landings, but Beauregard objected to this; for, 
at the time, he considered it wiser to let the Federals advance 
on Corinth, and then attempt to cut them off from their base 
on the river. Later, he changed his mind; for, according to 
General Jordan, it was Polk and Beauregard who Initiated the 
final idea of an advance, though Johnston at first did not like 
it. 88 Late on April 2, Johnston, learning that Buell was ad- 
vancing a rapidly from Columbia, by Clifton on Savannah," n 
at i A.M. on the 3rd ordered his troops to hold themselves in 
readiness to move at short notice, with five days' rations and 
one hundred rounds of ammunition. 40 In this Johnston was 
supported by Lee who wrote to him on March 26 saying: "I 
need not urge you, when your army Is united, to deal a blow 
at the enemy in your front, if possible, before his rear gets 
up from Nashville. You have him divided, and keep him 
so if you can." 41 

According to his son: "General Johnston f s plan of campaign 
may be summed up in a phrase: It was to concentrate at 
Corinth and interpose his whole force in front of the great 
bend of the Tennessee, the natural base of the Federal army: 

* 7 Force, p. 108. Ropes (II, p. 61) says March 18 and quotes 7, W.R., p, 259, 
which states that the head of his column under Eragg arrived there on this day. 
8 JB. & L., I, pp. 594, 595* 
89 n, WJfc., p. 387. He was advancing, but not rapidly. 

40 According to Colonel Ephraim C Dawes (M.HJSJM., VII, p. 132), Johnston, 
after a full discussion with General Eragg, and General Jordan (the Assistant 
Adjutant-General of the Army) decided to make the attack. (See Beauregard, 
I, p. 270 and Sidney Johnston, p. 551.) 

41 Force, p. no. 






102 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

this effected, to crush Grant in battle before the arrival of 
Buell." * 2 This was to be accomplished by turning Grant's left, 
throw him back on Owl Creek, and so cut him off from the 

In the afternoon the advance began, the intention being to 
attack Grant on the morning of the 5th. Shiloh Church, a 
small wooden building two and a half miles southwest of 
Pittsburg Landing and within Sherman's front line, was but 
twenty-three miles away. The roads were, however, in bad 
condition, and the march discipline of Johnston's men was so 
indifferent that they covered only a few miles on the 4th. 
Against a vigilant enemy all surprise would have been lost, 
but fortune was to favour the Confederates, and when the 
advance was resumed on the 5th, Johnston was so confident 
of success that he said: "I intend to hammer 'em. I think we 
will hammer them beyond doubt." That night Hardens 
pickets were so close to the encampments of Sherman and 
Prentiss, that drums were heard beating retreat and tattoo, 
"and a band serenading some newly arrived general made 
music for the enemy as well as for the recipient of the com- 
pliment." 48 Meanwhile, numbers of rabbits and squirrels, 
disturbed by the Confederate advance, scudded in and out of 
the Federal lines. 

Before I examine the causes of one of the most complete 
surprisals recorded in the history of this war, I will briefly 
describe the nature of the battlefield, and detail the strength 
of the opposing armies. 

Few positions could be found so favourable for defence, 
and so unfavourable for attack, as that of the battlefield of 
Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing. The ground was thickly 
wooded and broken, interspersed with patches of cultivation, 
and cut up by streams and ravines. The Federal flanks were 
secured by the Tennessee and Lick Creek on the left, and 
by Owl Creek and Snake Creek on the right. A series of 
ravines skirted the front, and another series, about a mile 
behind this front, formed an admirable second line of de- 

L. t I, p. 550. 
VII, p. 57. 

Grant as Subordinate General 103 

fence. Such a position, unless it could be surprised, was to 
all intents and purposes invulnerable to frontal attack it 
was a natural fortress which a few trenches and a little abattis 
would have rendered impregnable to assault. 44 

The composition of the two armies was as follows: 
Johnston's 72 regiments and 7 battalions of infantry, 8 regi- 
ments of cavalry and 19 batteries of artillery, in all 40,335 
men. Grant's 63 regiments of infantry, portions of 4 regi- 
ments of cavalry and 21 batteries, in all 44,895 men. 45 In 
Sherman's and Prentiss's divisions the majority of the men 
were raw recruits. In Sherman's, Colonel Stone informs us 
that not a man had as yet been in action, and that only two 
of his regiments were commanded by officers who had re- 
ceived any military training/ Colonel Peter J. Sullivan of 
the 48th Ohio often addressed his men as "gentlemen," and 
would say, "please to present arms." 47 In spite of these raw 
men and untrained officers, Sherman, in place of taking the 
utmost precaution to guard himself against surprise, fell under 
the extraordinary obsession that a Confederate attack was a 
sheer impossibility. I will briefly examine this spell, for it 
constitutes an interesting psychological study. 48 

Whoever is in supreme command is ultimately responsible 
for failure. Halleck was in supreme command, but I consider 
that, as he was at St. Louis and had only recently taken over 
the Department of the Mississippi, it would be very unfair 
to blame him. Grant was at Savannah. He should most cer- 
tainly have ordered his subordinate commanders to entrench 
themselves, and though he must share the onus of failure with 
Sherman, Sherman's reports entirely misled him. Grant is 
to blame for not entrenching; for not appointing a second in 
command to act for him when he was away from Pittsburg 

44 For a full description of the ground, see M.H.SJM. t VII, pp. 44-45, and 
Badeau, I, pp. 73-74- 

**M.H.$M. t VII, p. 52. See also, 10, W.R., p. 112; and Force, pp. 113-116. 
Grant (I, p. 366) gives his strength, at 38,000. 

+M.H.SM. f VII, p. 46, 

*tM,H.SM., VII, p. 124. 

48 Grant always denied that he was surprised. After the battle a visitor said 
to him: "General Grant, were you not surprised by the Confederates?" To 
which Grant answered: "No, but I am now." See Appendix I. 

1 04 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Landing, and for not issuing instructions as to the action to 
be taken in the event of an attack. He was, however, not to 
blame for the surprise itself. 

In his Memoirs General Sherman writes: "I always acted 
on the supposition that we were an invading army; that our 
purpose was to move forward in force, make a lodgment on 
the Memphis-Charleston road, and thus repeat the grand tac- 
tics of Fort Donelson, by separating the rebels in the interior 
from those at Memphis and on the Mississippi River." All 
this is excellent, but then he adds: "We did not fortify our 
camps against an attack, because we had no orders to do so, 
and because such a course would have made our raw men 
timid." 40 Such an excuse cannot be accepted, for the first 
order Sherman issued after the battle was that: "Each brigade 
commander will examine carefully his immediate front, fell 
trees to afford his men a barricade, and clear away all under- 
bush for 200 yards in front, so as to uncover an approaching 
enemy. With these precautions we can hold our camp against 
any amount of force that can be brought against us." * 

Sherman, rightly, was in the habit of sending out daily 
reconnaissances, and this fact makes his obsession all the more 
extraordinary. On the 4th, it was reported that the enemy 
were in considerable strength at Pea Ridge. A prisoner cor- 
roborated this information, but he would not believe him. On 
this same day one of Colonel Appier's pickets was fired on, 
whereupon Appier ordered his regiment, the 53rd Ohio, into 
line, and sent his Quartermaster to inform Sherman of the 
fact. Sherman said to him : "Tell Colonel Appier to take his 
d d regiment to Ohio. There is no force of the enemy 
nearer than Corinth." 61 On the 5th, when Johnston's leading 
troops were but two miles from his camp, Sherman wrote to 
Grant: "I have no doubt nothing will occur to-day more than 
the usual picket firing. The enemy is saucy, but got the worst 
of it yesterday, and will not press our pickets far. I will not 

49 Sherman, I, p. 229. 

50 xi, W&. 9 p. 103. An officer on General Beauregard*$ itaff -wrote: u The 
total absence of cavalry pickets from General Grant's army was a matter of 
perfect amazement" (Boynton, p. 34.) 

., VII, p. 117. 

Grant as Subordinate General 105 

be drawn out far unless with certainty of advantage, and I do 
not apprehend anything like an attack on our position." 62 

Grant was so misled by Sherman's confidence, that when 
General Nelson arrived at Savannah on the 5th, and sug- 
gested that his division should cross at once to Pittsburg 
Landing, Grant promised to send transports on "Monday or 
Tuesday, or some time early In the week," as "there will be 
no fight at Pittsburg Landing; we will have to go to Corinth, 
where the rebels are fortified. If they come to attack us, we 
can whip them, as I have more than twice as many troops as 
I had at Fort Donelson," BS And, that evening he wrote to 
Halleck: "Our outposts had been attacked by the enemy ap- 
parently in considerable force. I immediately went up, but 
found all quiet. . . * I have scarcely the faintest idea of an 
attack [general one] being made upon us." K * 

Early on the 6th, Colonel Peabody, of the 25th Missouri 
regiment, sent out a reconnaissance which was at once driven 
back. General Prentiss called out to him: "What do you 
mean by bringing on an engagement, when you know we are 
not ready?" Colonel Peabody answered sharply: "I did not 
bring it on. It is coming without my assistance." 55 Then the 
Confederate skirmishers emerged from the bushes, and Sher- 
man seeing them exclaimed: "My God! we are attacked." 66 
At last his eyes were opened. 

As the Confederates fired into Sherman's and Prentiss's 
encampments a severe but disjointed fight took place which 
ended in a general stampede : Breakfasts were left on the mess 
tables, the baggage unpacked, and knapsacks, stores, colours 
and ammunition were abandoned. 57 At the time there were 
hundreds of sick in the camp, 68 and such of these men who 
could walk, hospital attendants, teamsters, cooks, officers' 

52 ii, W.R. f pp. 93, 94. He suspected, however, the proximity o small bodies 
of the enemy. 

68 10, W.R., p. 331. 

64 10, W.R,, p. 89. 

MM.H.SM., VII, p. 59. 

*M.H.S.M., VII, p. 141. 

TB. &L. t I, p. 559 . 

**M,H.SM,, VII, p. 141. In all there were about 11,000 non-combatants in 
the camps. (See 10, W.R., p. 112.) Probably the unwounded stragglers num- 
bered some 4,000 to 5,000. 

106 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

servants and sutlers rushed to the rear throwing Into con- 
fusion, and sometimes into panic, whole regiments as they 
turned out to form up. Such was the Federal surprise at 
about 6 A.M. on April 6, 


Johnston's attack formation was in three lines preceded by 
a strong swarm of skirmishers. Each line was approximately 
10,000 strong, a distance of about 500 yards being maintained 
between them, with some 7,000 men in reserve. The first 
line consisted of Hardens corps, to which was added a brigade 
from Braff/s; the second, of the remainder of Bragg's corps; 
and the third, of Folk's corps, and Breckinridge's division." 
This formation was ill-suited to the wooded and broken 
ground, for, as the army advanced, an inextricable com- 
mingling of commands took place, such confusion resulting 
that the three corps commanders agreed to divide the tangled 
mass of men between them, Hardee taking charge of the left, 
Polk of the centre, and Bragg of the right. 60 

I do not intend to describe in detail the fighting on the 6th, 
for it was a struggle of brute force, and a battle of broken 
combats. Both sides were surprised: the Federals because 
they were unprepared for the attack; the Confederates be- 
cause they ignored to adapt their tactics to the ground, and 
because Johnston's generalship was of most meagre order* 
In fact, from the opening of the battle until his death, he be- 
haved more like a gallant regimental commander than a gen- 
eral. "To-night," he said, "we will water our horses in the 
Tennessee River "; ai but thn only way to attain this end, was 
to command his army ftom the rear, and not merely lead a 
fraction of it In front He closely followed the initial attack, 
and as Beauregard writes; ". . . engrossed as he soon be- 
came with the operations of two or three brigades on the ex- 
treme right, it would have been out of his power to direct 

* 9 ro, ff,R. f p. 386* (Beauregard's Report) 
10, JFJfc,, p. 408. (Folk's Report.), 
., VII, pp. 58, 59. 

Grant as Subordinate General 107 

our general operations, especially as he set no machinery in 
motion with which to gather information of what was being 
done elsewhere, or generally by the Confederate Army, in 
order to enable him to handle it intelligently from his posi- 
tion on the field." 62 

Johnston's plan of turning Grant's left was frustrated, for 
In spite of a desperate series of frontal assaults launched 
against a position called the Hornet's Nest, the Federal line 
in rear of the forward encampments held firm. At 2.30 P.M. 
in one of these assaults Johnston was mortally wounded. It 
is claimed by some, and especially by his son and biographer, 
that his death deprived his army of victory, as so frequently 
happens when the general-in-chief is killed. But, in the pres- 
ent instance, Johnston's command was only nominal, for, from 
the opening of the battle, the actual command, such as it was, 
was In the hands of Beauregard** By the time Johnston was 
shot down, the last of the Confederate reserves had been 
drawn in, and though his men were still full of fight the at- 
tack was in its last lap. At 2.45 P.M., that is a quarter of an 
hour after Johnston's death, General Jordan said to Beaure- 
gard: "General, do you not think our troops are very much 
in the condition of a lump of sugar thoroughly soaked with 
water, but yet preserving its original shape, though ready to 
dissolve? Would it not be judicious to get away with what 
we have?" To which Beauregard replied: "I intend to with- 
draw in a few minutes." e * 

When chaos was let loose, Grant was at Savannah, and, as 
I have related, he at once set out for Pittsburg Landing. 
From now onwards until nightfall what steps did he take to 
control the battle? 

Ropes says, ". . . that he at no time made any attempt to 
unite the disconnected portions of his army and establish a 
line of battle." Further, "he can hardly be said to have un- 
dertaken to perform on this day the functions of a commander 
of an army. He left the division-commanders entirely to 

ri v i, p. 588. 

68 10, W&., pp. 407, 438, 451, 454, 626 and 627. (These are conclusive as to 
64 B. & L. t I, p. 603. 

io8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

themselves. . . . Grant, it is true, assisted in posting the de- 
feated troops so as to protect the Landing if possible. But 
this seems to have been about the extent of his active partici- 
pation in the battle. It is evident from all accounts Grant's 
included that the battle of Sunday was fought by the Union 
army without any directing head." 65 

John Codman Ropes is an author whose opinions rightly 
carry weight. He possessed a legal mind, and was one of 
the first of the Civil War historians to base the history of the 
war on the Official Records. What he cannot find substanti- 
ated in the Records he frequently doubts* This is the weak 
link in many of his arguments, for, when a chaotic situation 
arises, there is no time, certainly during battle, to record any- 
thing beyond the main orders. I have been fortunate enough 
to witness two such events, namely, the German counter-attack 
of November 30, 1917, and the British defeat in March the 
following year, and all I can say is that should any writer 
attempt to base the history of these operations on official 
records his work will be fantastic and unreal. 

What were the conditions which confronted Grant on the 
morning of the 6th? The country was thickly wooded and 
broken; the front of his army had been pulverized and driven 
back two miles; some 10,000 panic-stricken non-combatants 
were crowding towards the river bank; 5,000 stragglers were 
spreading confusion broadcast: and as is always the case when 
such situations arise, every form of rumour was in the air, 
the enemy's numbers being exaggerated to ioo,ooo/ $ Such 
was the situation which faced Grant when on crutches he hob- 
bled off his ship to be assisted onto his horse. What did he 
then do ? 

I will answer this question categorically : 

( i ) Remembering his lesson at Fort Donelson, he at once 
organized ammunition trains. 

Q * Ropes, PL II, pp, 82-83. 

66 Ropes, Pt. II, p 76. From actual experience both in 1899-1902 and 19x4- 
1918, I have come to the conclusion that in battle all reports concerning the 
enemy's strength may safely be halved, and the first reports on one's own cas- 
ualties similarly treated. 

Grant as Subordinate General 109 

(2) The 23rd Missouri regiment he hurried forward to 
reinforce Prentiss. 

(3) The 1 5th and i6th Iowa regiments he directed to 
form line, arrest the stragglers, and reorganize them 
as a reserve. 

(4) He then rode to the front after sending word to 
Lewis Wallace and Nelson to advance forthwith. 

(5) He visited Hurlbut's, W. H. L. Wallace's and Pren- 
tiss's divisions. 

(6) At 10 A.M., he visited Sherman and McClernand, 
and finding them short of ammunition sent an aide 
back to send more forward. 

(7) He next formed up a large number of stragglers, 67 
and, constantly under fire, visited every part of the 

(8) Then he sent back to urge on Lewis Wallace and 
Nelson. The first had taken the wrong road, and 
the second in place of marching at 7 A.M. did not 
start until 1.30 P.M.! 

(9) To make up for their delay he sent an order to Gen- 
eral Wood of Buell's army to march his division with 
all speed to Savannah, and arranged for transports 
to meet him there. 

(10) He wrote a message to Buell to urge him on. 

(11) He ordered two Iowa regiments to reinforce Mc- 

(12) Between I and 2 KM., he returned to the Landing, 
and met General Buell on the steamer Tigress. 

(13) Then he once again rode to the front to Snake Creek, 
and sent an aide to find General Wallace and guide 
him to the battlefield. 

(14) At 3 P.M., he ordered forward the 8ist Ohio regi- 
ment, and placed it in position. 

(15) Then he once again visited Sherman, who, in his 
Memoirs, says: He ordered me to be ready to as- 
sume the offensive in the morning, saying that, as 
he observed at Fort Donelson at the crisis of the 
battle, both sides seemed defeated and whoever as- 
sumed the offensive was sure to win." 

87 Grant is reported to have said to a fugitive soldier: "What are you run- 
ning for?" And the answer was "Because I can't fly!" 

I io The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

( 1 6) After this he rode back to the Landing and was pres- 
ent on the left when the final attack was made. 

(17) Then he placed in position the two leading regiments 
of Nelson's division. 

(18) Finally, at nightfall, he sent an order to all his divi- 
sional commanders to be ready early on the 7th to 
push out a heavy line of skirmishers followed by en- 
tire divisions at supporting distance, and to engage 
the enemy as soon as found. 68 

Here we have eighteen important movements and actions 
carried out in the space of about nine hours. Many of these 
are not such as might be expected of a general commanding a 
highly trained army. But Grant's army was far from being 
highly trained, he had no staff worthy of the name, and very 
few trained subordinate officers. That, in the circumstances, 
"he left the division-commanders entirely to themselves" 
shows his wisdom; and to me it seems, that had not this half- 
crippled man, who on the night of the 6th/yth slept among 
his men in torrents of rain, and could get no rest because his 
ankle was much swollen, acted as he did, the battle would 
have been lost. Before he was engaged, his oversights were 
many; but, during the turmoil, his activity and generalship 
appear to me, In the circumstances which surrounded him, to 
have been quite wonderful. To say: "He seems to have given 
few orders, and In fact to have done little during the day ex- 
cept to show himself 60 is, In my opinion, a gross calumny, a 
calumny which Ropes would never have perpetrated had he 
himself experienced the chaos of war. This eminent writer 
may certainly have been misled by the scantiness of the re- 
corded reports this was inevitable and also by Grant him- 
self, who was no lawyer, for he says nothing about himself 
in his Shiloh Report, in place all the good he can of others. 

68 The above moves will be found in the following works: Badeau, I, pp. 79- 
86; Grant, I, pp. 342-348; Force, p. 131; MJLS.M., VII, p. 169; Shifah Re- 
viewed, General Buell, Century War Book, I, p, 487; Reports of Generals 
Grant, Wallace, Buell, etc., 11, W,R. f pp. 95, 96; 10, W,R. f various reports on 
Shiloh; Reminiscences of the Battle of Shiloh, D. Putnam; Sketches of War 
History, Ohio Commander y, Loyal Legion, III; and various articles in Battles 
and Leaders, L 

69 Ropes, II, p. 76. 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 1 1 

Ropes, throughout his highly documented studies, seldom 
gauges the modesty of Grant's nature. 


Early on the morning of April 7, Grant on the right and 
Buell on the left counter-attacked the Confederates, and stead- 
ily drove them back. Beauregard, now that his army was re- 
duced by casualties and stragglers, 70 to a little more than 
20,000 men, faced by 25,000 fresh and well-disciplined sol- 
diers as well as Grant's shattered divisions, at once saw that 
he was no longer a match for his antagonist, and with great 
skill began to retire his forward troops. By 4 P.M. the Fed- 
erals had regained their original position at Shiloh Church, 
and here Grant discontinued the advance. 

That Grant should have pursued is very certain, and that 
he had the means to do so is also certain. Ropes, rightly, 
censures him for not doing so, and says, that "he utterly 
failed to seize the opportunity"; that " . . no better oppor- 
tunity than this was ever presented to a Federal general dur- 
ing the war"; that the Confederates were utterly demoral- 
ized; that they were short of provisions and forage, and that, 
whilst chaos reigned behind Beauregard' s army, 71 the Federals 
were burying their dead, "looking after wounded, and putting 
their camps to rights." 72 All this is true enough, and though 
Grant could not have known with any certainty the condition 
in rear of his enemy (perhaps he might have guessed it), 
what he did know was that the Confederate rearguards were 
fighting staunchly, and that, at 4 P.M., his own men were tired 

70 The confusion behind the victorious Confederate front, was as bad if not 
worse than that which early on the 6th confronted Grant at Pittsburg Landing. 
Surgeon Carey, U. S. Volunteers, and a prisoner in Beauregard** camp, says: 
"I have often heard of demoralized armies, but the scene presented here beg- 
gars description. The woods were crowded with men running at full speed, 
with trunks filled with booty and with big bundles, some without packs or guns, 
divested of everything that offered an impediment to their running." (Church, 
p. 131.) 

71 "Our condition is horrible. Troops utterly disorganized and demoralized. 
Roads almost impassable. No provisions and no forage. ..." (u, 

P- 39*-) 
72 Ropes> Pt. II, pp. 90, 91; and u WJR.. t p. 403. 

1 1 2 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

out, and BuelPs no longer fresh. His great error, and one 
not mentioned by Ropes, was not to halt the advance, but on 
the evening before to have failed to prepare for a pursuit 

Few problems in war are more difficult than the develop- 
ment of a pursuit from troops already engaged, and few 
problems are easier, when a pursuing force is ready organized 
and in reserve behind the attacking front. The true reason 
why there was no pursuit was that neither Grant nor Buell 
was prepared for it, and further, that the Federal cavalry 
was weak and badly trained. Colonel Henry Stone, Acting 
Assistant Adjutant-General to Buell, says: "General Grant, 
under Halleck's instructions, had already ordered that the 
pursuit should not be continued beyond Pea Ridge." n Even 
if this is correct, Grant should have organized a pursuing 
force beforehand, and have disobeyed this order. Grant's 
own comments on this question explain It quite clearly; he 
says : "I wanted to pursue, but had not the heart to order the 
men who had fought desperately for two days, lying in the 
mud and rain whenever not fighting ... to pursue." And 
further: "I did not meet Buell in person until too late to get 
troops ready and pursue with effect. . ." T * Here Is pre- 
sented to us the complete and correct reasons why there was 
no pursuit because there were no preparations. And why 
were there no preparations? Obviously, because neither 
Grant nor Buell had considered the requirements of a pursuit. 
On the afternoon of April 6, the Federal Army, soundly 
thrashed, yet holding Its own, was praying for "night and 
Buell," and when Buell and night arrived the one idea in 
Grant's head was to regain what he had lost, and not to plan 
how he could decisively defeat his enemy on the morrow. 
Both Sherman and Buell support this contention. Sherman, 
asked by John Fiske why the Confederates were not pursued, 
replied: "I assure you, my dear fellow, that we had quite 
enough of their society for two whole days, and were only 
too glad to be rid of them on any terms/* T8 Buell says : "I 

., vii, PL 87. 

7 * Grant, I, pp. 354-355* 
78 Fiske, p. 99. 

Grant as Subordinate General 113 

make no attempt to excuse myself or blame others when I 
say that General Grant's troops, the lowest individual among 
them not more than the commander himself, appeared to 
have thought that the object of the battle was sufficiently ac- 
complished when they were reinstated in their camps; and 
that in some way that idea obstructed the reorganization of 
my men until a further advance that day became impractica- 
ble." T6 Grant should have pursued, but these are the reasons 
why he did not. 

In this battle the losses were heavy, those of the Federals 
numbering 13^573 and of the Confederates 10,699, P ro ^ a Wy 
much more. These were the only physical results of this bat- 
tle, but its moral influence on the South was crushing, coming 
as it did shortly after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, 
and followed as it was by the loss of Memphis and the whole 
of the Mississippi river, except about Vicksburg. "It is doubt- 
ful," says Colonel Stone, "if even the defeat of Lee at Gettys- 
burg was a greater blow to Confederate hopes than the de- 
feat and death of Sidney Johnston at ShiloL" TT 

wB.ari,i, P .s34. 

WM.H.S.M., VII, p. 96. 



IF Grant, or Buell, had been in supreme command, the prob- 
abilities are that Corinth would have been taken within a 
week; but both were under General Halleck, who, on April 9, 
telegraphed from St, Louis: "I leave immediately to join you 
with considerable reinforcements. Avoid another battle, if 
you can, till all arrive. We shall then be able to beat them 
without fail." x 

Hallecfc arrived on the nth, and at once took steps to in- 
crease his army. General Pope, on the 8th, had reduced 
Island No. 10 on the Mississippi, and on the 2ist he was 
about to lay siege to Fort Pillow, when he was ordered by 
Halleck to join him, which he did with 21,510 men, bringing 
Halleck's army up to 104,162 strong. 2 On May I, 15,000 
men under Fan Dorn reached J&eauregard from Memphis, 
which brought his effective strength up to 52,706^ 

On April 30, Halleck began to move towards Corinth, a 
little more than twenty miles away, at which place he arrived 
on May 30, having literally dug his way there "with pick and 
shovel in a siege-like advance," only to find that Beauregard 
had evacuated the town. Fort Pillow was abandoned on 
June 3, and three days later Admiral Davis totally defeated 
the Confederate fleet in front of Memphis, which was forth- 
with occupied by the Federals. 

Once at Corinth, Halleck, at the head of a formidable army, 
was well placed to carry out a brilliant campaign against 
Beauregard, and once and for all crush the Confederate forces 

* ii, WJR.., p. 99, 

2 it, W.R., pp. 146, 148, 151. Many other reinforcements had already 
joined it. 
a 10, JTJR., p. 7So. 


Grant as Subordinate General 1 1 5 

in the West. By so doing he would not only have gained the 
entire line of the Mississippi, but by occupying Chattanooga 
have been in a position to turn the Alleghanies and move on 
Richmond. In place, he devised a plan which not only threw 
away most of the advantages gained for him by his subordi- 
nates, but which so scattered his army that little was accom- 
plished by it for six months. His idea was to send Buell and 
the Army of the Ohio to seize Chattanooga, and succour the 
loyal population in east Tennessee, an idea still paramount in 
Lincoln's head. Secondly, to keep the bulk of his army in 
west Tennessee and northern Alabama, and to employ it in 
restoring order and in repairing, the railroads. Thirdly, in 
the early winter he intended to march southwards on Mobile. 
This plan only succeeded in scattering his forces, and so of- 
fered the Confederates a splendid opportunity to defeat him 
in detail; when, on July n, McClellan's campaign against 
Richmond having completely failed, Lincoln called Halleck to 
Washington and appointed him general-in-chief of the whole 
of the land forces of the United States. 

Meanwhile, Grant passed into eclipse* The numerous 
newspaper correspondents in Halleck's army attacked him, 
stating that luck had given him Donelson, and that his own 
lack of generalship had resulted in his defeat at Shiloh. It 
does not appear that Halleck made any attempt to refute 
these accusations; be this as it may, from April n onwards 
he persistently ignored Grant, received the reports of his sub- 
ordinate officers, and forwarded them direct to Washington 
without even showing them to him, until Grant's position be- 
came so intolerable that he asked to be relieved, and was al- 
lowed to move his headquarters to Memphis. There, when 
Halleck was promoted, he was still in command of the Dis- 
trict of west Tennessee; his army scattered along the rail- 
ways, or performing garrison duties, leaving him with no re- 
serve in hand for an active campaign. While these things 
were happening, Buell was on his way to Chattanooga, having 
started out on June 10. 

1 1 6 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


When, on July 21, Bragg, who had replaced Beauregard 
on June 27, began to move the Confederate Army of the Mis- 
sissippi towards Chattanooga, he left Price at the head of 
some 15,000 men 4 in Tennessee with orders to watch Grant, 
and to prevent him from reinforcing BuelL Van Dorn f with 
an equal force, he instructed to hold the line of the Mississippi. 
On July 30, Price was at Holly Springs and Grand Junction, 
and Grant 'telegraphed 5 Halleck for permission to drive him 
south. Halleck consented, but warned Grant not to scatter 
his troops as he might at any moment be called upon to rein- 
force Buell at Chattanooga. 6 

Grant had at his disposal about 64,000 men, and the op- 
portunity now offered him to drive the Confederates out of 
west Tennessee was a good one; but about the middle of Au- 
gust he was ordered to send two divisions to Buell, and, on 
September 2, to send another division to Louisville* This re- 
duced his strength to 46,000 men. 

Meanwhile, on August n, Bragg ordered Van Darn, then 
at Port Hudson, to move north and co-operate with Price? 
Price, on September n, hearing that Rosecrans and 10,000 
men were at luka, determined to attack them, but Grant learn- 
ing of his approach withdrew Rosecrans to Corinth, On Sep- 
tember 12, Grant's forces were distributed as follows: Rose- 
crans with 17,000 men at Corinth, Rienzi, Jacinto and Dan- 
ville; Ord and 10,000 at Jackson and Bolivar; Sherman and 
7,000 at Memphis ; Qmnby and 6,000 in reserve near Colum- 
bus, and Hurlbut and 6,000 near Brownsville. His plan was 
to surround Price, or drive him against Bear Creek and the 
Tennessee river before Van Dorn could join him. Thereupon, 
Ord was moved to Burnsville to attack Price from the north- 
west, whilst Rosecrans was to move against him from Jacinto* 

On September 18, Ord moved to Burnsville. His instruc- 
tions were to advance against Price 9 and when once in con- 

4 #. & L. f II, p. 725 ; of which 4,000 were sick. 
* 25, JFJK.,p. 136. 
25, IPX., p. 142. 
p. 676. 





7o?d) ^f 

PLAN 4-. Operations againsb IUKA. 

* I86Z* 

1 1 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S* Grant 

tact to entrench, and hold him until, on the morning of the 
1 9th, Rosecrans came up from Jacinto, when a combined at- 
tack was to be made directly Ord heard the sound of Rose- 
crans's guns. 

On the 1 9th, Ord came Into contact with Price about six 
miles north of luka, By noon, Rosecrans reached Barnett's, 
but though he had been ordered to move part of his force 
on the Fulton road, he failed to do so. At about 4.30 P.M., 
Price came into contact with Rosecrans's advanced troops a 
little west of luka, captured a battery, and was then checked. 
The wind blowing from the north prevented Ord hearing the 
firing, with the result that during the night, Price, unmolested 
by Ord and unnoticed by Rosecrans, withdrew by the Fulton 
road, and on the 28th joined Van Dorn at RIpley. Here 
Fan Dorn took command, the combined armies numbering 
22,000 men. 8 

Van Dorn now determined to attack Rosecrans at Corinth, 
and to deceive his enemy he first marched on Pocahontas, then 
turning east he crossed the Hatchie river early on October 2. 
It was an over-bold move, for not only did Rosecrans's force 
slightly outnumber his own, but Ord was at Jackson with 
18,000 men, consequently, Rosecrans was in a good position 
to hold him whilst Ord fell upon his flank and rear. 

When Fan Dorn attacked, Rosecrans retired onto the en- 
trenchments of Corinth, and there held him off on the 3rd. 
That night the Confederate forces slept on their arms within 
600 yards of the Federal lines. On the 4th, supported by a 
number of batteries, Fan Dorn attempted to roll up Rose- 
crans's right, but was repulsed. Meanwhile, on the 3rd, Grant 
ordered Hurlbut to march from Bolivar, by way of Middle- 
town and Pocahontas, and strike at Fan Dorn's rear. Once 
Ord gained contact, Grant instructed Rosecrans to follow up 
Fan Dorn the moment he began to retire. He could have 
done so that day, for at 4 P.M. he had been joined by a fresh 
brigade under McPherson, also one of his own divisions, Me- 
Kean's, had done little fighting. In place of at once pushing 

8 25, W&., pp. 711, 706 and 718. 

9 25, W&. 9 p. 255. 

O J&ckson 

Dora ) CORINTH. 
( fiosecrans) 

PLAN S Operations against: CO&INTH 
October 2-6, I86Z. 

I2O The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

these troops forward against Van Dorn when he began to 
withdraw, and under their cover reorganizing the remainder 
of his army, he pleaded that his troops were too tired to 

Early on the 5th, Fan Dorn continued his retreat, now fol- 
lowed by Rosecrans, who, moving out from Corinth, took the 
wrong road, lost much time in disentangling his divisions, and 
advanced no further than Chewalla by nightfall. Mean- 
while, Fan Dorn, making for the bridge over the Hatchie at 
Davis's Mills, was met by Ord and driven back. Not pressed 
in rear by Rosecrans, he at once turned south, crossed the 
river at Crum's Mill, burnt the bridge, and retreated to Rip- 
ley, and thence to Holly Springs. At Ripley, Grant called off 
the pursuit, his reason being that he considered the fortifica- 
tions at Holly Springs too strong to be attacked 10 by an army 
which, unprepared for a distant advance, would be compelled 
to live upon the country. Though I am of opinion, had Grant 
been in a position to lead the pursuit in person, that it should 
not have been abandoned, I consider that, in the circum- 
stances, he was right to discontinue It. Had Rosecrans pos- 
sessed no more than an elementary knowledge of staff work, 
Fan Dorn must have been annihilated at Davls r s Bridge; that 
he failed here, as he failed at luka, was sufficient proof of 
Grant's wisdom in not trusting him again. As Colonel Liver- 
more says : "though an able and intelligent officer/' Rosecrans 
"was impulsive, and his despatches to Grant showed a dis- 
position to instruct him in his duties, rather than to carry out 
his plans." 13t 

This battle, as Grant says: "was a crushing blow to the 
enemy, and felt by him much more than It was appreciated In 
the North." 12 Not only did Fan Dorn lose over 9,000 men, 
that is nearly half his force, but coming as this battle did a 
few days after Lee was defeated at Antietam, and Bragg was 
driven out of Kentucky, the dismal outlook of the North 
began to brighten. 

1024, JFJR., p. 158. 

11 Lwermore, Pt III, Bk. I, p, 42. 

12 Grant, I, p. 420. 

I co 


3 fc 

* t> 

I t 


g M 

I 2 

(o W 
I O 


Grant as Subordinate General 1 2 1 


In spite of many blunders, in spite of McClellan's failure, 
and Lee's and Jackson's many successes in the East, in the 
West strategy was beginning to take form round the personal- 
ity of one man Grant. It is a most fascinating evolution, 
guided and nurtured by no single hand, by no committee of 
directors, but compelled to take shape through force of cir- 
cumstances, and to conglobe around the one man who dimly 
saw, like one standing in a mist, the uncertain outline of the 
strategic mountain that must be climbed if the war were to 
be won. 

Stepping out of the shadows of civil failure, at Salt River 
Grant learnt the value of fortitude; at Belmont the necessity 
of reserves; at Fort Donelson the power of pugnacity; at 
Shiloh the terror of surprise and many other things, not the 
least of which was how much he had still to learn. Then he 
entered his eclipse, passed once again into the land of shad- 
ows, made no complaint, silently smoked, waited and thought, 
saying to Mr. Richardson, a war correspondent: "Your paper 
is very unjust to me, but time will make it all right. I want to 
be judged only by my acts." " And then, when Halleck went 
to Washington, and he is released from obscurity, though his 
army has been scattered over Tennessee and northern Mis- 
sissippi as if shaken from a pepper caster, he carried out two 
small campaigns which show a strategical sense seldom wit- 
nessed in the operations of generals grown grey in the trade 
of war. Grant, judged so persistently by his last campaigns, 
has been classed as a butcher and a bludgeon fighter, yet at 
luka and Corinth he showed a strategic grasp that is quite 
amazing, seeing that hitherto he had had no true experience 
of a war of movement. In both, he cunningly planned to hold 
his adversary with one force, and to strike him in rear with 
another. That he did not succeed in annihilating his enemy 
is a detail, but that during the weary weeks of inaction at 
Memphis he had grasped the great secret of the art of war, 
namely, how to develop offensive action from a defensive base, 

18 Church, p. 142. 

122 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

how, in fact, to generate mobility from protected-offensive 
power, marks him down as one of the most noteworthy gen- 
erals of his age. 

Halleck's studied neglect of Grant gave him time to think. 
Halleck's promotion to Washington was almost an act of 
Providence; for though no more incompetent general could 
have been selected as commander-in-chief, his removal from 
the West set Grant free. Once free, he moved forward 
through tremendous difficulties, and, within nine months of 
the battle of Corinth he dealt the Confederate cause a blow 
at Vicksburg from which it never recovered. Vicksburg might 
have fallen to Halleck In May, June, or July, 1862; but he 
was no general, and, strange as it may seem, the man he ig- 
nored and banished was destined to do what he should him- 
self have done. Halleck's removal to Washington was for 
the North the Crowning Mercy of the war. 

As the battle of Memphis gained for the Federals naval 
command of the upper Mississippi, so did the battle of 
Corinth gain for them military command of this same region. 
Grant could once again begin to think offensively. On Oc- 
tober 1 6, he was placed in charge of the Department of the 
Tennessee, 14 including northern Mississippi and portions of 
Kentucky and Tennessee west of the Tennessee river, with 
56,689 15 men and more to come. On October 26, Grant 
wrote to Halleck: "You never have suggested to me any plan 
of operation in this department. . . . With small reinforce- 
ments at Memphis I think I would be able to move down the 
Mississippi Central road and cause the evacuation of Vicks- 
burg and to be able to capture and destroy all the boats in 
the Yazoo river." 16 

It does not appear that any notice was taken of this sug- 
gestion, and not being authorized to concentrate his scattered 
forces, he planned to assemble some 30,000 men at Grand 
Junction, and to move southwards whilst Sherman was or- 
dered to distract the enemy's attention by making a demon- 

i* 25, WJK.., p. 278. 
"25, WJL 9 p. 3x1. 

Grant as Subordinate General 123 

stratlon from Memphis. Orders 17 for these movements were 
issued on November i, and, on the 4th, Grand Junction and 
La Grange were occupied. 

On November 2, Grant reported 18 this movement to Hal- 
leek, informing him that his intention was to advance on Holly 
Springs, and possibly on Grenada. Halleck approving of this 
advance, Grant ordered 1D his cavalry to reconnoitre towards 
Holly Springs and Ripley. On the 6th, he received a tele- 
gram from Halleck 20 promising him a reinforcement of 20,000 
men. At once Grant suspended his operations in order to 
reconsider his plan. 

For a space I must leave Grant at Grand Junction, in order 
to examine affairs at New Orleans, from Memphis 730 miles 
down the Mississippi and itself 100 miles from the Gulf. On 
May I, 1862, this city surrendered to Admiral Farragut, and 
was occupied by General Butler and an army of 14,000 men. 
On May 2, Farragut steamed up the river, followed, on the 
8th, by Colonel Williams, of Butler's army, and 1,400 men 
on transports. This force, after accepting the surrender of 
Baton Rouge and Natchez, appeared off Vicksburg on the 
1 8th, demanded its surrender, which was refused. On the 
26th, Farragut opened fire on Vicksburg. As it was obviously 
impossible to besiege so strong a fortress with so small a 
force, Farragut returned to New Orleans, where he was or- 
dered by the Navy Department to reprovision and return to 
Vicksburg. On June 6, Butler ordered Williams and 3,200 
men to move under Farragut's escort to Vicksburg, and burn 
the town. Further, Williams was instructed to cut off the 
neck of land west of Vicksburg by means of a trench, making 
a gap about four feet deep and five feet wide ; Butler being of 
opinion that the current would scour it out into a navigable 
channel sufficiently deep to admit of transports steaming 
through it, and so avoiding the fire from the Vicksburg bluff. 
On the 25th 7 Williams once again arrived before the city, now 
held by 10,000 men. 

^25, W.R., p. 315- 

is 24, /r.#., pp. 466-467. 

i 9 24, fP.R. t p. 467, 
2024, WJR., p. 467. 

124 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Though none of Farragut's ships was armoured, early on 
the 2yth the admiral steamed passed the batteries, and 
anchored his fleet above Vicksburg. In his report on this op- 
eration he says: "The Department will perceive . . . that the 
forts can be passed, and we have done it, and can do it again 
as often as may be required of us. . . ." 21 

Williams, unable to take Vicksburg, set to work to widen 
the canal, meanwhile Admiral Davis steamed down from 
Memphis, and on July I, joined hands with Farragut near the 
mouth of the Yazoo river. The climate was, however, so un- 
healthy that the expedition had to be abandoned, and, on the 
24th, Farragut and Williams started back for New Orleans. 
Thus ended the first and second attempts to take Vicksburg, 

In the history of amphibious warfare, these two attacks 
may be compared to the initial operations carried out by the 
British navy against the Dardanelles' forts during the World 
War of 1914-1918. Both were not only valueless and in 
the case of Vicksburg, what could Williams hope to accom- 
plish with 1,400 men in his first attempt, and 3,200 in his sec- 
ond? but, worse than this, they were absurd strategy. They 
advertised to the enemy the importance of the point aimed 
at, and drawing his attention to Its weakness compelled him 
to strengthen It. The initial attacks on Vicksburg and the 
Dardanelles' forts may be compared to the action of an ama- 
teur cracksman who, not having provided himself with the 
requisite implements, breaks into a bank and knocks the paint 
off the safes with a poker; retires, and returns with an oxy- 
acetylene blow-lamp only to find the banker forearmed and 
prepared to meet him. In place of assisting Grant in his 
forthcoming operations these two abortive attempts added 
enormously to his difficulties. 


In examining Grant's various attempts to establish a base 
of operations in the neighbourhood of Vicksburg, in other 
words to find an administrative fulcrum whereon to move his 
** Lwermore, Pt. HI, BL I, p. *8. 

Grant as Subordinate General 125 

tactical lever his army the general strategical situation 
must be kept in mind. In the East, the political outlook was 
gloomy. On November 7, Burnside had succeeded McClel- 
lan in command of the Army of the Potomac, and in a little 
over a month was to be decisively defeated at Fredericksburg. 
If he could not hold Lee, Lee could reinforce Bragg who was 
opposed to Buell in east Tennessee. Further still, BuelFs 
right flank was exposed unless Grant could hold, or defeat, 
the Confederate forces in Mississippi. In brief, there were 
three campaigns In progress, strategically interdependent, and 
all more or less depending on whether the Confederates could 
hold Vicksburg or not. If they held it, then the advance Into 
east Tennessee remained a risky operation, and, even if the 
Federal forces occupied Chattanooga, a further movement, 
south and east of the Alleghanies, would be hazardous in the 
extreme. If the Confederates lost Vicksburg, the three cam- 
paigns would be reduced to two, the campaign in east Tennes- 
see and the campaign in Virginia ; then, and then only, would 
the Army of the Ohio be freed from the danger of an attack 
in rear, and find itself in a position to develop its whole 
strength against the rear of the Confederate forces in Vir- 
ginia, which threat would materially assist the Army of the 
Potomac to press southwards towards Richmond. 

Whether, early in November, 1862, Grant saw the strate- 
gical situation as I have just described it, I am unable to say: 
but he did realize the extreme Importance of Vicksburg. Also 
he cannot have failed to realize the dangerous position of 
Buell in east Tennessee, and how much his operations de- 
pended on his own. On November 6, he informed Sherman 
that it was not possible for him to make any plans until he 
learnt where and when the other Union armies were going to 
advance, so that all might co-operate. 22 Asking Halleck what 
the situation was, he received the answer: "fight the enemy 
when you please.' 7 2S On the i3th, Grant Informed Halleck 
that his cavalry had entered Holly Springs, 2 * but that he did 

22 Greene, p. 58. 

23 * 4) W.R., p. 468. 
2* 24, W.R., p, 470. 

126 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

not intend to move further south until his line of communica- 
tions was in full working order. Halleck answered that it 
was not advisable to repair the railway south of Memphis, 
and that "the enemy must be turned by a movement down the 
river from Memphis as soon as sufficient force can be col- 
lected." 2S Grant was somewhat bewildered, and well he 
might be, for a most discreditable intrigue was on foot. Gen- 
eral McClernand, commanding a division in Grant's army, was 
at this time on a visit to Washington, where, impressing Lin- 
coln and Stanton with his much self-advertised generalship, he 
obtained secret instructions to raise a volunteer force, and 
move independently of Grant from Memphis against Vicks- 
burg* "Thus," as Greene writes: "while Stanton and Mc- 
Clernand were making their plans for an independent move- 
ment down the river, Halleck and Grant were arranging an 
advance with the whole force along the Mississippi Central 
railroad, Grant being in Ignorance of McClernand's propo- 
sitions and Halleck not feeling at liberty to communicate 
them." 2S Fortunately Admiral Porter, who had succeeded 
Davis in command of the Mississippi squadron, learning of 
McClernand' s intrigue, informed Grant, who at once under- 
stood what was meant by "a rapid movement down the river." 
Realizing that McClernand was quite unfit for an independ- 
ent command, he proposed to send Sherman by river from 
Memphis to Vicksburg, whilst he marched from Grenada to 
Holly Springs. In short, his plan was to draw Pemberton, 
then in command at Jackson, with the greater part of his 
army towards Grenada; this would weaken the Confederate 
forces at Vicksburg, and consequently facilitate Sherman's and 
Porter's attack* 

Grant's instructions did not, however, authorize such a 
move, and to compel the Government to give him definite 
orders thus far he had received none on the I5th he met 
Sherman at Columbus and arranged with him that he should 
join him with two divisions, and advance down the Mississippi 

26 24, W.R.> p. 470. 

3 6 Greene t p. 6x 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 27 

Central railroad, 27 whilst Curtis moved out from Helena to 
threaten the enemy's rear. On the 29th, Grant's main body 
reached Holly Springs; whereupon Pemberton, threatened in 
rear by Curtis, fell back onto Grenada. 

Grant had now advanced 60 miles from Grand Junction, 
and to shorten his line of supply from Columbus, 180 miles 
away, he established a depot at Holly Springs. Still without 
instructions, on December 4, 28 he informed Halleck, that on 
account of his long line of communications, the strength of 
his force would not permit him to advance beyond Grenada, 
but, if the troops at Helena and Memphis were placed under 
his command, then he would be able to operate against Vicks- 
burg. On the yth, Halleck, who with all his faults was a 
trained soldier, and was consequently disgusted by McCler- 
nand's intrigues, telegraphed 29 Grant that Curtis's troops 
were placed under his command, and that he had authority 
to move his troops as he thought best Still no general idea 
was given him, but he was now free, so he at once sent for 
Sherman, and decided on a plan. 

Grant had two in his head: the first, to assemble the whole 
of his forces north of Grenada and advance on Vicksburg; 
the second to revert to his original idea of holding Pemberton 
at Grenada, whilst he sent Sherman down the Mississippi. 
He decided on the second, because from Grenada the roads to 
Vicksburg were but rough cart tracks. In the circumstances I 
consider that his choice was a wise one; for though at first, 
his army would be divided into two columns which tactically 
could not co-operate, it was unlikely that either would be 
beaten in detail, for the command of the Mississippi gave 
Sherman a secure line of retreat, and Grant, if met by an 
overwhelming force, could always fall back towards Grand 
Junction. Again, if Pemberton did not move against Grant, 
but remained at Vicksburg, should Sherman get possession of 
Haines's Bluff and this was, and proved to be, the weak link 
2*25, W.R., pp. 347-34*. 

28 24, F*jR., p. 472. 

iz8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

from there a line of communications could be opened to 
Grenada by way of the Yazoo and Big Black rivers. Further 
still, Grant's army at Grenada would be better placed to co- 
operate with the Army of the Ohio, should this at any time be 
necessary, than if the whole of his forces were to move down 
the Mississippi. 

Sherman returned to Memphis on December 12, and his 
expedition for Vicksburg set out on the 2Oth. Meanwhile, 
on the 1 8th, Halleck telegraphed Grant that Lincoln had ap- 
pointed McClernand to command the expedition. 30 This 
order Grant at once telegraphed on to Sherman and McCler- 
nand; but, fortunately, early on the ipth, Forrest had cut the 
telegraph line, with the result that neither message reached 
its destination. Thus it happened that Sherman arrived at 
Vicksburg before McClernand had left Springfield, Illinois. 

Grant's movements, since the battle of Corinth, having 
thoroughly frightened the Confederate Government, on No- 
vember 24 Jefferson Davis 31 appointed General Joseph E. 
Johnston to command the whole of the forces distributed be- 
tween the Blue Ridge and the Mississippi river. Upon ar- 
riving at Chattanooga, Johnston at once ordered Bragg to 
send out a force of cavalry to fall upon Grant's communica- 
tions. 32 On December n, Forrest started out on a raid, took 
Humboldt and Trenton, destroyed bridges and supplies along 
the railway, was driven back on Sullivan, and recrossed the 
Tennessee on January i, 1863. Meanwhile, on December 20, 
anxious to retrieve his reputation, at the head of some 3,000 
to 3,500 cavalry, Fan Dorn made a dash into Holly Springs, 
capturing its garrison and destroying all its stores. The com- 
mander of this post, Colonel Murphy, was caught whilst in 
bed. He "had taken no steps to protect the place, not notify- 
ing a single officer of his command, of the approaching dan- 
ger, although he himself had received early warning from 
Grant." 83 

This raid completely upset Grant's plans; further, Halleck's 

p. 476. 
VTA., p. 757. 

p. 7 8l. 

. I, p. 138, 

Grant as Subordinate General 129 

order of the iSth, already mentioned. Instructed him to or- 
ganize his troops into four army corps, one of which was to 
be McClernand's corps, which was to take part in the river 
expedition. 34 The whole of his projected movements had, 
therefore, to be modified. The result was that on the 2Oth 
he withdrew his troops to the northern side of the Talla- 
hatchie, and on the 2ist he asked 35 Halleck for authority to 
proceed with two divisions to Memphis, and take command of 
the river expedition. The reason for this was not only the 
destruction wrought by Van Darn's raid, but because Mc- 
Clernand ranked Sherman. 

At this time, Grant was of opinion that it was no longer 
possible for him to advance further south until his communi- 
cations had been re-established. Also he was of opinion that 
they were not worth establishing, because the longer they 
grew the more vulnerable would they become. Being com- 
pelled to send out wagons to collect supplies for his army, he 
discovered, however, that the country was so well stocked 
that within fifteen miles of the railway sufficient supplies ex- 
isted to maintain his army for two months, and not for two 
weeks as he had at first calculated. He says: "Had I known 
the demoralized condition of the enemy, or the fact that cen- 
tral Mississippi abounded so in all army supplies, I would 
have been in pursuit of Pemberton while his cavalry was de- 
stroying the roads in my rear." 86 And to Badeau he said that 
he could then "have pushed on to the rear of Vicksburg, and 
probably have succeeded in capturing the place." 3T 

On January 10, the damage to the railway having been re- 
paired, Grant moved his headquarters to Memphis, and tele- 
graphed to St. Louis for transports to convey 16,000 men to 

Sherman's expedition, which consisted of 32,000 men and 
60 guns, arrived off Milliken's Bend on December 25. From 
here he despatched a small force to break up the Shreveport- 

p. 476. 
85 24, W.R., p. 477- 
80 Grant, I, pp. 434-435- 
87 Badeau, I, p. 140. 

i 30 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Vicksburg railway, and then moving on with the rest of his 
army to the mouth of the Yazoo river, he disembarked it be- 
tween this river and the Walnut Hills. Here he hoped to es- 
tablish a footing whence he could operate against Haines's 
Bluff and Vicksburg, or await the arrival of Grant's army. 

Pemberton learning of his advance, for the whole country 
swarmed with Confederate spies, rapidly reinforced Vicks- 
burg, increasing its garrison from 6,000 to 12,000 men, and 
was well prepared to meet the attack on Walnut Hills. His 
position was an extremely strong one, for between the hills 
and Johnson's plantation on the Yazoo, where Sherman had 
landed, lay a network of bayous, 38 the approaches between 
which constituted narrow defiles to an attacking force. In 
this area the battle of Chickasaw Bluff was fought on the 
29th, in which Sherman was repulsed, losing 1,776 men to 
Pemberton's 207,^ On January 2, he returned to the mouth 
of the Yazoo, and handed his command over to General 
McClernand, who had arrived at Milliken's Bend the day 

Once in command, McClernand set out on an expedition of 
his own up the Arkansas river, and, on the i ith, took by storm 
a fort called Arkansas Post at the loss of 1,100 men. From 
Arkansas Post he determined to ascend the Arkansas river to 
Little Rock, in order to co-operate with the Federal forces in 
Arkansas. Grant, hearing of this project, and considering It 
"a wild-goose chase, 1 ' obtained authority from Halleck to re- 
lieve McClernand and replace him by the next officer in rank, 
or take over the command himself. 40 He determined on the 
second course, and, on the xyth, met McClernand at Napo- 
leon, at the mouth of the Arkansas river, and ordered him 
back to Milliken's Bend. He then returned to Memphis to 
arrange the defences of west Tennessee, and on the 30th, ar- 
rived at Young's Point, at the mouth of the Yazoo river, he 
took over command of the expedition. 

38 Derived from the French boyau, meaning gut 
89 Livermore, Pt. Ill, Bk, I, p. 66. 
4 25, JP&. 9 p. 555. 




Grant as Subordinate General ;i 3 1 


Van Dorn's raid, the battle of Chickasaw Bluff, and above 
all the appointment of McClernand to command the river ex- 
pedition, decided Grant to abandon his first plan. By doing 
so he committed himself definitely to the Mississippi line of 
advance; for once he had withdrawn from the Mississippi 
Central railway any suggestion to return to it would have 
advertised him to his many political enemies as a vacillating 
general, and irresistible pressure would have been brought 
to bear on Lincoln to remove him from command. 

As Vicksburg lay on the left bank of the Mississippi, to 
capture, or besiege, it demanded that Grant should establish a 
base of operations on this bank, either north, or south, of the 
fortress. From the first, Grant was fully aware of the feasi- 
bility of passing a force down the river and past the Vicks- 
burg batteries, in spite of the fact that his line of communica- 
tions would be under constant fire. The advantage of such an 
approach was obvious, namely, once the Vicksburg bluff was 
passed he could land anywhere he chose on the eastern bank, 
and operate northwards and in rear of Vicksburg. Another 
advantage was that by establishing a base south of Vicksburg, 
he could, if required, co-operate with General Banks who, on 
November 9, has superseded Butler at New Orleans, and had 
already sent a force to Baton Rouge, from where he intended 
to advance against Port Hudson. The disadvantages of this 
approach were not only the constant threat to Grant's line of 
communications, which I have already mentioned, and the 
danger of being caught between two fires when once in rear 
of Vicksburg, but that the exceptionally heavy winter rains 
prohibited such a move for several months. Political condi- 
tions in the North were, however, so bad, that Grant did not 
dare stand still and do nothing until the spring, and being 
strongly urged by Halleck 41 and Lincoln to attempt to widen 
the canal begun by Colonel Williams the year before, in spite 
of the fact that he expected no practical results, he at once 
set to upon this work. 

3$, W.R., p. 10. 

132 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Whilst this canal was being dug, Grant examined all possi- 
ble approaches other than the direct one by the Mississippi, 
which at present could not be used; for not only did the 
weather prohibit this, but Banks was not yet in a position to 
advance on Port Hudson. These operations might lead to 
success, though, as Grant himself says, all were nothing else 
than "a series of experiments to consume time, and to divert 
the attention of the enemy, of my troops, and of the public 
generally." And further: U I, myself, never felt great confi- 
dence that any of the experiments resorted to would prove suc- 
cessful. Nevertheless I was always prepared to take advan- 
tage of them in case they did." 42 

These experimental approaches were as follows: 

(1) To widen Colonel Williams 1 s canal across the penin- 
sula, which from the west faced Vickshurg. This work 
absorbed 4,000 men "as many as could be used to 

(2) To open up the Yazoo Pass in the neighbourhood of 
Helena, and connect the Mississippi with the Talla- 
hatchie and Yazoo rivers. 

(3) To open up a passage through Steele's Bayou and Deer 
Creek into the Yazoo about midway between Haines's 
Bluff and Yazoo City. The distance by this route to 
Haines's Bluff was about 200 miles. 

(4) To connect by canal the Mississippi to Lake Provi- 
dence, the waters of which flow through a series of 
bayous and eventually empty themselves into the Red 
river, which joins the Mississippi 170 miles south of 

(5) To open up Roundaway Bayou to the southwest of 
Milliken's Bend by canal, and scour out a navigable 
channel as far as New Carthage, twenty-four miles 
south of Vicksburg* 

Of these various approaches, the first did not clear the 
Vicksburg batteries, and so was of little use; the object of the 
second and third was to turn Vicksburg from the north, and of 
the fourth and fifth to gain the southern flank of this city. 

42 Grant, I, p. 446. 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 3 3 

I do not intend to examine these operations. All were ex- 
tremely difficult, entailed immense labour on the part of the 
army and the fleet; and though all failed in their object, they 
undoubtedly formed admirable training for Grant's army, 
hardening and disciplining the men, in fact turning them into 
salted soldiers. 

In his report of July 6, 1863, Grant says: "From the mo- 
ment of taking command in person, I became satisfied that 
Vicksburg could only be turned from the south side." 43 And 
the next day General Wilson proposed to Rawlins, Grant's 
chief of staff, u to ignore all the canal schemes; run the gun- 
boats and transports by the batteries under the cover of dark- 
ness; march the troops overland to the bank of the river be- 
low; and then use the fleet for transferring them to the east 
side of the river at the first point where they could find a safe 
landing with a dry road to the highlands back of it ; that ac- 
complished, to march inland, scatter the enemy, and take 
Vicksburg in rear." 44 

Rawlins explained this scheme to Grant, and though Sher- 
man considered it impracticable, "Grant at that time gave no 
indication whether he was for or against it." This, as we 
shall see, was the plan eventually adopted. 

With reference to Grant's apparent delay in selecting the 
only practical approach, my opinion is that he, as he says, 45 
saw quite clearly that it was the only one worth attempting; 
but that any premature move down the Mississippi might end 
in a reverse, which, if even of a temporary nature, would have 
so adverse an influence on the political situation, as not only to 
wreck his campaign, but overthrow the Government. The 
truth is, that he could not afford to take risks; he could not 
even afford to agree with Rawlins that Wilson's scheme was 

48 3 6, W.R. f p. 44- 

44 Letter of General Wilson, October 31, 1911, quoted by Livermore, Pt. Ill, 
Bk. I, p. 234. 

45 "I had in contemplation the whole winter the movement by land to a point 
below Vicksburg from which to operate, subject only to the possible but not 
expected success of some one of the expedients resorted to for the purpose of 
giving us a different base. This could not be undertaken until the waters re- 
ceded. I did not therefore communicate this plan, even to an officer of my staff, 
until it was necessary to make preparations for the start" (Grant, I, pp. 

1 34 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the only sound scheme, and the one he intended to adopt di- 
rectly the floods began to subside, and directly the roads cross- 
ing the peninsula emerged from the waters. He could not do 
so, because this was not so much Wilson's plan as his own 
plan, and if Pemberton learnt that he intended to adopt this 
line of advance, then most certainly would he prepare to meet 
it. All this bayou warfare, and some of it was quite des- 
perate and all of it heroic, was a gigantic bluff to deceive the 
enemy, to deceive the politicians, and to deceive his own 
troops, so that when he moved the enemy might be surprised. 

Unfortunately for him, the long, dreary and unprecedented 
winter wore on week after week, without a break, and with 
it the political situation grew steadily worse. In the East, the 
army was thoroughly demoralized, desertions occurring at the 
rate of two hundred daily. Cartloads of citizens' clothes ar- 
rived in the camps, to enable the shirkers more readily to 
make their escape/ 6 In the West, clamours were raised 
against Grant's slowness ; his soldiers, it was rumoured, were 
dying by thousands of swamp fever, and as Badeau writes: 
u He was pronounced utterly destitute of genius or energy; his 
repeatedly baffled schemes declared to emanate from a brain 
utterly unfitted for such trials ; his persistency was dogged ob- 
stinacy, his patience was sluggish dulness." 47 

Here indeed was a solitary figure unknown even to his staff, 
attempting this and attempting that, knowing that all these ex- 
periments, as he naively calls them, must be in vain, and were 
nothing more than shadows hiding his one idea from all who 
surrounded him, and who could only help him by being kept 
in the dark. Whilst Grant prayed for fine weather, and, like 
Noah, looked out upon the waters waiting for them to sub- 
side, amongst others, General McClellan was intriguing to 
obtain his downfall. Yet he had one friend who unfailingly 
supported him, a man he had never as yet met, another soli- 
tary figure in this war Lincoln, who, when urged to replace 
him, would turn round and earnestly reply: "I can't spare this 
man; he fights !" 48 

r, I, p. 253. 
4T Badeau, I, p. 180. 
48 Lincoln and Men of War Times, McClure, p, 179, 

Prom <( A Military History of Ulysses S. Grant/' by Adam Badeau. 
Courtesy of D. Appleton & Company. 



BY the end of March the political necessity for an advance on 
Vicksburg became paramount, and, as the waters on the Lou- 
isiana bank of the Mississippi began to recede, Grant deter- 
mined to move his army south of the fortress. On April 4, 
he wrote to Halleck as follows: "There is a system of bayous 
running from Milliken's Bend, and also from near the river 
at this point [Young's Point] that are navigable for barges 
and small steamers, passing around by Richmond to New 
Carthage. The dredges are now engaged cutting a canal from 
here into these bayous. I am having all the empty coal and 
other barges prepared for carrying troops and artillery, and 
have written to Colonel [Robert] Allen for some more, and 
also for six tugs to tow them. With them it would be easy 
to carry supplies to New Carthage and any point south of 

a My expectation is for a portion of the naval fleet to run 
the batteries of Vicksburg, whilst the army moves through by 
this new route. Once there, I will move either to Warrenton 
or Grand Gulf, most probably the latter. From either of 
these points there are good roads to Vicksburg, and from 
Grand Gulf there is a good road to Jackson and the Black 
River Bridge without crossing Black River. ... I will keep 
my army together, and see to it that I am not cut off from my 
supplies, or beat In any way than in fair fight." 1 

When this plan became known to his subordinate command- 
ers, Sherman, McPherson, Logan and Wilson strongly op- 
posed it. Sherman asserted that the only way to take Vicks- 
burg was from the north, which meant a return to Memphis. 

* 36, W.R., p. 26. 


136 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Grant clearly saw, however, the political danger of a retro- 
grade movement, which outbalanced any strategical advantage 
accruing from the northern route; so, in spite of opposition, 
he held fast to his plan. Already a warning order for a con- 
centration at Milliken's Bend had been issued, and McCler- 
nand's corps, shortly to be followed by McPherson's, and 
eventually by Sherman's, was already on its way to New Car- 
thage though the roads were in an intolerable condition, being 
still submerged in many places. New Carthage was occupied 
on April 6. 

To mystify the enemy, Steele's division of Sherman's corps 
was sent up stream 150 miles above VIcksburg to march 
through the country about Deer Creek as far as Rolling Fork, 
and lay waste the land. On the iyth, Colonel Grierson and 
three regiments of cavalry, some 1,800 men in all, left La 
Grange, moved through the entire State of Mississippi "de- 
stroying stores, burning bridges, tearing up railroads, and 
having a moral effect upon the population of the interior alto- 
gether unprecedented." 2 After a march of 600 miles, on 
May 2, Grierson emerged at Baton Rouge, having destroyed 
fifty miles of railroad, killed 100 and captured 500 of the 
enemy at a loss of only three men killed and seven wounded 
indeed a memorable raid. 

These two feints completely bewildered Pemberton, who re- 
ported to Richmond that the enemy was in constant motion, 
that Grant's principal effort was directed against Deer Creek, 
and that the rumours of troops having moved south along the 
western bank of the Mississippi were not to be believed. 

On the night of the i6th, Admiral Porter ran a convoy of 
river steamers towing barges, escorted by seven iron-clads, 
past the Vicksburg batteries. On the 2Oth, the final orders for 
the move south were issued, McClernand's corps forming the 
right wing, McPherson's the centre and Sherman's the left 
wing; and two days later a second convoy loaded with rations 
successfully passed the batteries. 

On the 24th, Grant reconnoitred Grand Gulf, and four days 
later McClernand's corps was assembled at Perkins' planta- 

2 Badeau> I, p. 189. 

Grant as Subordinate General 137 

tion, from where on the 29th it was moved in transports to 
Hard Times. Here it was landed and re-embarked in readi- 
ness to move over to Grand Gulf. Porter then opened fire on 
the batteries; but finding that his bombardment had little ef- 
fect, because they were sited high up on the bluff, Grant de- 
cided to reland his troops, and move the transports past the 
batteries under cover of night. At first he intended to move 
as far south as Rodney, but learning from a negro that above 
Rodney a landing could be effected at Bruinsburg, from where 
a good road led to Port Gibson, he decided to land here and 
so place his army in rear of the Grand Gulf bluff. 

Early on the morning of the 3Oth, McClernand's corps and 
one division of McPherson's corps re-embarked at De 
Shroon's and landed on the eastern bank of the Driver at 
Bruinsburg. Meanwhile, Sherman with Blair's division and 
eight gunboats made a vigorous demonstration against 
Haines's Bluff in order to distract Pemberlon's attention from 
his left flank. 

When this landing was effected, writes Grant: "I felt a 
degree of relief scarcely ever equalled since. Vicksburg was 
not yet taken it is true, nor were Its defenders demoralized by 
any of our previous moves. I was now in the enemy's coun- 
try, with a vast river and the stronghold of Vicksburg be- 
tween me and my base of supplies. But I was on dry ground 
on the same side of the river with the enemy. All the cam- 
paigns, labors, hardships and exposures from the month of 
December previous to this time that had been made and en- 
dured, were for the accomplishment of this one object" 3 


Four months of ruse and feints, of wrestling with swamps, 
bayous and forests, of labours seldom equalled in war, were 
the mist which covered this landing. Pemberton had been 
completely misled; concentrating his forces between Grand 
Gulf and Haines's Bluff, his left flank was but lightly guarded, 
and was at once turned by the first flight of the invading 

s Grant, I, pp. 48o-Si. Italics are mine. 

1 3 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

army. By 2 A.M., on May i, McClernand's leading division 
had advanced eight miles east of Bruinsburg; there it came 
into contact with the enemy, who attempted to hold up Grant's 
advance on the Bayou Pierre until reinforcements could ar- 
rive from Vicksburg. At dawn, the battle of Port Gibson 
opened; and, at 10 A.M., Grant, with no escort but his staff, 
arrived on the field, and at once assumed command. Seeing 
that McClernand could not dislodge the enemy on his left, 
Grant ordered up two brigades of Logan's division of Mc- 
Pherson's corps, and turned the enemy's right flank. The 
Confederates then evacuated Port Gibson, and retiring north- 
wards over the Bayou Pierre destroyed the bridges as they 
fell back. McPherson was at once sent in pursuit, and, on the 
3rd, drove the Confederate forces over the Big Black river, 
with the result that Grand Gulf, threatened in rear, was evac- 
uated; whereupon Grant, having secured his bridge-head, at 
once moved his depots from Bruinsburg to this place. 

Grant was now faced by a problem unique in the history of 
war. He was operating in an enemy's country with his en- 
emy's main forces located between his base of supply at Mem- 
phis and his base of operations at Grand Gulf. The fleet com- 
manded the Mississippi, but to depend on this line of supply 
meant the eventual crippling or loss of many ships, as well as 
daily uncertainty in the delivery of supplies; for every convoy 
had to be escorted past the Vicksburg batteries, and casualties 
inevitably resulted. Vicksburg was not only immensely strong, 
but was connected by railway to the interior, with Jackson a 
most important junction but forty-five miles east of It. Con- 
sequently, either the fortress could be rapidly reinforced, or, 
should the Confederates concentrate an army at Jackson, 
Grant might easily be caught between two fires. On April 30, 
Colonel Livermore 4 estimates the opposing forces as follows : 
Grant 51,000 operating against Vicksburg and Grand Gulf; 
5,000 at Helena, 33,000 between Memphis and Corinth, and 
8,000 in western Kentucky and Tennessee. Pemberton 
17,000 at Vicksburg and Haines's Bluff, 9,000 between Vicks- 
burg and Port Gibson, 5,000 at Jackson and 10,000 scattered 

* Livermore, Pt. Ill, Bk. II, p. 271. 

Grant as Subordinate General 139 

through the State of Mississippi. In the vicinity of Vicksburg 
Pemberton could concentrate therefore, from thirty to forty 
thousand men to meet Grant's 5i,ooo. 5 Though largely out- 
numbered, his position, according to all the rules of war, was 
by no means a hopeless one, for Grant was operating in an en- 
emy's country, and presumably would have to make large de- 
tachments in order to protect his line of supply. Further still, 
the country was broken and wooded, and therefore admirably 
suited to defensive warfare. To hold Grant at Vicksburg 
whilst forces were concentrating at Jackson did not appear to 
him to be a difficult task. 

Grant's problem was the reverse, in fact it would be almost 
impossible to devise a more desperate one. The whole of his 
strategy pivoted on the question of supply. At first, he pro- 
posed 6 to detach an army corps of some 15,000 men to move 
down the Mississippi, and co-operate with General Banks 
against Port Hudson. Should this place be captured, then he 
could change his base of supply from Memphis to New Or- 
leans, and once this was done, his army corps would return and 
his operations could begin. Though this plan was in agree- 
ment with conventional strategy, he abandoned It, 7 because 
Banks informed him that he would not be ready to move on 
Port Hudson until May 10, and then only with 15,000 men. 
Fully appreciating the time factor, Grant says: "I therefore 
determined to move independently of Banks, cut loose from 
my base, destroy the rebel forces in rear of Vicksburg and in- 
vest or capture the city." 8 In brief to attack the enemy In 
rear. As we shall see, not only in this campaign but at Chat- 
tanooga and in 1864-65, the central idea in Grant's strategy 
was to aim at the rear attack; that is, to strike the enemy 
at the decisive (most profitable) point his back. Simul- 

8 As Is usual in this war, it is most difficult to arrive at correct strengths. 
Greene (p. 136) estimates Pemberton's force at over 50,000, and states that 
Grant began his campaign with, about 41,000, and at no time prior to the siege 
had over 45,000. Grant (I, p. 481) says that on May 7, he had 33,000, and 
that the enemy had nearly 60,000. In Battles and Leaders (III, p. 549), it is 
stated that Grant's effective force ranged from 43,000 at the beginning to 75,000 
at the close of the campaign. 

38, W&., P* *93. 

7 36, W&*> P . 30. 

8 Grant, I, pp. 491-492. 

140 The Generalship of Ulysses S, Grant 

taneously, by cutting loose from his base he protected himself 
against an attack in rear by leaving himself without a rear 
to be attacked. This plan completely bewildered Pcmberton, 
who, failing to grasp the audacity of Grant's strategy, and not 
believing that he would dare to advance without first securing 
his communications, based his operations on the assumption 
that such an action was impossible. 

Besides the undoubted strategical soundness of Grant's de- 
cision, as long as his army could be supplied and fed, the po- 
litical situation demanded that not a minute should be lost. 
On May 2, the disastrous battle of Chancellorsville was be- 
gun, and if Grant did not act now, at once, not only might he 
be recalled, but the terror begotten by Lee's bold manoeuvres 
might so paralyze the higher command at Washington, that 
his army might be broken up. 

On April 4, as we have seen, Grant informed Halleck of his 
probable intentions ; but now that he was on the point of put- 
ting them into force he kept silent. As Badeau says: "Believ- 
ing that he would not be allowed to make the campaign if he 
announced his plan beforehand, Grant did not now inform the 
general-in-chief of what he contemplated. It was fortunate 
that he took this precaution. Not one syllable of encourage- 
ment had reached him since starting from Milliken's bend, 
and the President wrote, after all was over: 'When you got 
below and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I 
thought you should go down the river and join General Banks; 
and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I 
feared it was a mistake/ " 9 

Directly Halleck (who, according to Grant "was too 
learned a soldier to consent to a campaign in violation of all 
the principles of the art of war") 10 learnt of Grant's move- 
ment, he at once sent him orders to return and co-operate 
with Banks. Fortunately there .was no telegraph line in opera- 
tion south of Cairo, and this order reaching Grant after his 
movement had begun could not be obeyed. "Had the general- 

9 Badeau, I, p. 221 ; 109, WR. t> p. 406. 
* Church, p. 163. 

Grant as Subordinate General 141 

in-chief, however, been able to reach his subordinate the Vicks- 
burg campaign would never have been fought.'' n 

Grant's position at this moment was indeed one of the most 
extraordinary ever faced by a general. He was confronted, 
so he calculated at the time, by a force double his own. He 
knew that the Government, reeling under Hooker's defeat at 
Chancellorsville, must be aghast at the news that he was about 
to plunge into the region of the Mississippi, and cut loose from 
his communications in face of two hostile armies, one pivoted 
on a powerful fortress and the other on an important railroad 
junction. His army was without proper transport: ". . . the 
ammunition train was a curious assemblage of fine carriages, 
farm waggons, long coupled waggons with racks for carrying 
cotton bales, every vehicle, indeed, that could be found on 
the plantations which had been used either for work or pleas- 
ure. These vehicles were a nondescript outfit, drawn by oxen 
and mules wearing plough harness, or straw collars and rope 
lines." 12 

On April 29, Grant had ordered 13 Sherman to cease his 
demonstration against Haines's Bluff, and to march with all 
haste to Hard Times. On May 3, he directed 14 him to or- 
ganize a supply train of 120 vehicles, and ferry them over to 
Grand Gulf, where they were to be loaded with 100,000 
rations from the transports. This would give five days' ra- 
tions for Sherman's corps, and two days' for McClernand's 
and McPherson's, these two corps having already three days' 
rations with them. These were all the rations Grant intended 
to carry. 

Sherman expostulated. It seemed to him quite impossible 
to supply the army over a single road. He urged Grant to 
"stop all troops till your army is partially supplied with^ wag- 
gons, and then act as quickly as possible, for this road will be 
jammed, as sure as life." ls To this Grant replied: "I do not 

I, p. 221. 
12 Church, p, 164. 

" 38, W&: P- 246. 

i* 38, IP JR.., p. 268. 


142 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

calculate upon the possibility of supplying the army with full 
rations from Grand Gulf. I know it will be impossible with- 
out constructing additional roads. What I do expect is to get 
up what rations of hard bread, coffee, and salt we can, and 
make the country furnish the balance." 16 Well may Badeau 
write : . 

"So Grant was alone; his most trusted subordinates be- 
sought him to change his plans, while his superiors were 
astounded at his temerity and strove to interfere. Sojdiers 
of reputation and civilians in high place condemned, in ad- 
vance, a campaign that seemed to them as hopeless as it was 
unprecedented. If he failed, the country would concur with 
the Government and the generals. Grant knew all this, and 
appreciated his danger, but was as invulnerable to the appre- 
hensions of ambition as to the entreaties of friendship, or the 
anxieties, even of patriotism. That quiet confidence in him- 
self which never forsook him, and which amounted indeed 
almost to a feeling of fate, was uninterrupted. Having once 
determined in a matter that required irreversible decision, he 
never reversed, nor even misgave, but was steadily loyal to 
himself and his plans. This absolute and implicit faith, was, 
however, as far as possible from conceit or enthusiasm; it 
was simply a consciousness, or conviction, rather, which 
brought the very strength it believed in; which was itself 
strength, and which inspired others with a trust in him, be- 
cause he was able thus to trust himself." 1T 

Such was the simple honesty and amazing fortitude of this 
remarkable man. 

Once standing on dry ground at Port Gibson, what was 
Grant's plan? His most obvious course would have been to 
have marched direct upon Vicksburg. He was but twelve 
miles from War-renton, and the only formidable obstacle 
which lay in his path was the Big Black river. A bon general 
ordinaire would undoubtedly have moved north ; not so Grant. 
He knew that a Confederate force under Gregg, of what 
strength he was uncertain, was collecting towards the east and 

16 38, W3L. f p. 285. 
I, p. 223, 

Grant as Subordinate General 143 

northeast of Vicksburg. Were he to advance on Vicksburg, 
this force would certainly move there also, and he might be 
outnumbered. So, instead, he determined not to push in be- 
tween the two armies before they could combine, but to move 
on to Jackson in order to draw the Confederate forces east of 
Vicksburg towards that all-important junction; defeat them in 
its vicinity, before Pemberton could sally out of his fortress, 
and then destroy the railroad at Jackson. By so doing he 
would not only protect his rear when the time came for him 
to advance westwards against Vicksburg, but he would simul- 
taneously cut Vicksburg off from its base of supply. In short, 
his idea, rather than plan, was to manoeuvre against the Vicks- 
burg line of communications in order to isolate the fortress, 
and, simultaneously, destroy that force of the enemy which 
was so placed that it could operate against his rear. 

The secret of success did not, however, depend so much 
on the boldness of this idea, as upon the rapidity of its ex- 
ecution, and no man since the great Napoleon exclaimed: "It 
may be that I shall lose a battle, but I shall never lose a min- 
ute" understood so fully the value of time as Grant did. His 
despatches teem with indications of this here are a few ex- 
amples which are certainly worth quoting: To Sherman, on 
May 3, he wrote: "It is unnecessary for me to remind you of 
the overwhelming importance of celerity in your move- 
ments." 18 To Hurlbut, on the 5th: "Send Lauman's division 
to Milliken's Bend. . . . Let them move by brigades, as fast 
as transportation can be gotten." 19 To the Commissary at 
Grand Gulf: "There must be no delay on account of either 
lack of energy or formality," load up "regardless of requisi- 
tions or provision returns." To an officer of his staff: "See 
that the commissary at Grand Gulf loads all the wagons. . . . 
Issue any order in my name that may be necessary to secure 
the greatest promptness in this respect. . . . Every day's 
delay is worth two thousand men to the enemy." And again 
on the 6th: Rush "forward rations with all dispatch. . . . 
How many teams have been loaded with rations and sent f or- 

is 38, W.R., p. 268. 
w 38, W&., p. 274- 

144 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ward? I want to know as near as possible how we stand in 
every particular for supplies. How many wagons have you 
ferried over the river? How many are still to bring over? 
What teams have gone back for rations?" 20 These urgent 
instructions remind one of Napoleon's orders, such as: "If 
the enemy is not at Memmingen, descend on us like lightning/' 
and, "You see at a glance that never did circumstances demand 
a more active and rapid movement than this . . . activity, 
activity, swiftness, I commend to you 1" 

Grant's tremendous energy electrified his men, everywhere 
was there activity. McPherson was pushed up to Hankin- 
son's Ferry to protect the left flank; reconnaissances were sent 
out daily to examine the roads and country, and foraging par- 
ties swarmed over the cultivated areas collecting supplies. 
Nothing was left undone which would speed up the advance, 
and assist in maintaining it at maximum pressure once the 
move forward was ordered. 

On May 7, according to Livermore, 21 Grant at the head of 
39,500 men was faced by the following forces: 3,600 in Vicks- 
burg; 2,000 at Warrenton; 2,000 near Haines's Bluff; I,ooo 
at Jackson, and 23,400 under P ember ton ready to advance 
against him. On the 6th, McPherson was ordered to draw 
in all troops north of the Big Black, and to picket the ferries 
until the troops were well advanced. 

Grant's plan was to keep the Big Black on his left, or 
strategic, flank, using it as a shield; to advance Sherman's 
and McClernand's corps under cover of it to the Vicksburg- 
Jackson railway between Edward's Station and Bolton, whilst 
McPherson's corps was to move by way of Utica to Ray- 
mond, and thence on to Jackson. 

On the yth the move forward began, and on the I2th Sher- 
man and McClernand reached Fourteen Mile Creek, and 
McPherson encountering Gregg's brigade two miles west of 
Raymond, drove it back, and bivouacked on the outskirts of 
the town. Grant had now gained the position he wanted, his 
left flank rested on the Big Black, and his right was secured 

20 Badeatij I, pp. 223-24. 

Livermre, Pt III, Bk. II, p. 280, 

Grant as Subordinate General 145 

by Gregg* s defeat, so I will turn to his adversary and see what 
he was doing. 


The reason why Pemberton was so completely surprised by 
Grant's move south of Vicksburg can only be explained by the 
fact that he considered it to be another of the many feints 
carried out by his opponent during the winter. Realizing, on 
May i, that Grant had landed in force, he telegraphed to 
the War Department and to Johnston for reinforcements. 22 
Johnston at once ordered him to unite all his troops against 
Grant, whilst Jefferson Davis, believing that Grant's move- 
ment was nothing more than a raid, 23 instructed him to hold on 
to Vicksburg and Port Hudson. These orders were contradic- 
tory, and Pemberton being under the impression that Grant 
must within a few days fall back for lack of supplies, inclined 
to the second order; this led to his being surprised yet again. 
He decided, therefore, first to hold the line of the Big Black, 
so that when the opportunity arose he could fall upon Grant's 
line of supply (which did not exist), and secondly, to keep 
open the Vicksburg-Jackson railway, which was of vital im- 
portance to him. 

On the 3rd, Pemberton assembled the bulk of his forces be- 
tween Vicksburg and the right bank of the Big Black, and, on 
the nth, he ordered Gregg, if attacked, to retire towards 
Jackson; but should Grant move on Edward's Station he in- 
structed him to fall on his flank and rear. On the I2th, Gregg, 
as we have seen, was compelled by McPherson to adopt the 
first course. On the I3th, Pemberton ordered three divisions, 
Bowen's, Loring's and Stevenson's, to advance on Edward's 
Station, and, on the following day, a position a mile south of 
the Station was occupied. This day Johnston, having arrived 
at Jackson from Tullahoma, and finding the railway occupied 
by Sherman, telegraphed to Richmond: "I am too late," 24 and 
immediately ordered Pemberton to attack Grant in rear, he 

22 38, W.R., pp. 807, 810, 817; and 36, WR., pp. 214, 259. 

23 3 6, W.R. f p. 327. 

24 Davis, II, p. 404. 

146 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

says: "I have arrived and learn that Major-General Sher- 
man is between us. ... It is important to re-establish com- 
munications, that you may be reinforced. If practicable, come 
up on his rear at once. To beat such a detachment would 
be of immense value. The troops here could co-operate. All 
the strength you can quickly assemble should be brought. 
Time is all important." 25 Pemberton, stiH of opinion that 
Grant must fall back were he to strike at his line of supply, 
set aside Johnston's order, and informed him that, early on 
the 1 5th, 17,000 men would be moved to Dillon's "The ob- 
ject is to cut the enemy's communications and force him to 
attack me. , . ." 26 Meanwhile, what was Grant doing? 

On the 1 2th, McPherson's corps was ordered to move on 
Clinton and destroy the railway, whilst Sherman and McCler- 
nand converged on Raymond, these movements being prepara- 
tory to the occupation of Jackson; for as Grant says: "As I 
hoped in the end to besiege Vicksburg I must first destroy all 
possibility of aid. I therefore determined to move swiftly 
towards Jackson." 27 During the night of the I3th, and on 
the morning of the I4th, it rained in torrents, nevertheless, 
Grant pushed on at top speed, and it was as well he did so, 
seeing that Johnston, a man of far greater ability than Pern- 
berton, had already arrived. 

On the 1 4th, McPherson moved from Clinton towards 
Jackson, and Sherman from Mississippi Springs advanced 
towards the same place; whilst McClernand protected the 
rear of these two divisions by sending a brigade to Clinton, 
and by occupying Raymond with the bulk of his force. The 
attack on Jackson was at first delayed by the rain, as it was 
feared that ammunition might be spoilt If the men opened 
their cartridge-boxes. 28 At 1 1 A.M., the battle opened, and at 
4 P.M. the town was carried, and 35 guns and several hun- 
dreds of prisoners were captured. 

Forced out of Jackson, Johnston withdrew up the Canton 
road, and, on the I5th, wrote to Pemberton as follows: "The 

25 38, W.R., p. 870. 

26 36, W.R., p. 262, 

27 Grant, I, p. 499. 

28 This was before the days of metallic cartridges. 

Grant as Subordinate General 147 

only mode by which we can unite is by your moving directly 
to Clinton, informing me, that we may move to that point with 
about 6,ooo. n 29 

At this time the situation of the Confederate forces was 
a ludicrous one: Johnston was moving north to unite with 
Pemberton, and Pemberton was moving east and southeast 
from Edward's Station to cut the imaginary communications 
of Grant's army. On the night of the I4th, Pemberton had 
9,000 men about Vicksburg, which was not threatened, and 
some 14,000 were moving south of Edward's Station, whilst 
Johnston, now about Calhoun, headed 12,000, with 10,000 
reinforcements on their way to join him. Thus we see 45,000 
men in three detachments faced by an equal force well con- 
centrated, and ready to strike at any one In overwhelming 
strength. Pemberton, who, on the night of the I5th, had 
arrived in the neighbourhood of Raymond, there received 
Johnston's second order to unite with him, and fearing to dis- 
obey it, though it was very similar to the first, 80 he abandoned 
his attack on Grant's line of communications and determined 
to move north. 

The despatch sent by Johnston to Pemberton on the I3th, 
(38 WJR. n p. 870) in which he ordered him to operate against 
Grant's rear, was sent out by three messengers, one of whom 
happened to be a Federal soldier enlisted in the Confederate 
army. This man took his copy to General McPherson, who 
at once forwarded it to Grant, who received it on the evening 
of the I4th. Supposing that Pemberton would obey the order 
contained in it, and was now moving from Edward's Station to 
unite with Johnston, he at once issued orders for the I5th: 
McPherson to move back to Bolton "the nearest point where 
Johnston could reach the road"; McClernand to turn his 
forces towards Bolton, "and make all dispatch in getting 
there"; whilst Sherman's corps, less Blair's division, was to 
remain at Jackson, and destroy the railways. 81 By the eve- 
ning, Grant had concentrated in all seven divisions, about 
29 38, W.R., p. 882. 

* 38, W.R., p, 870. 

si 38, W.R., pp. 310, 311, 312. 

148 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

32,000 men, between Bolton and Raymond, and that night he 
opened his headquarters at Clinton. 

Early on the i6th, whilst his pickets were skirmishing on 
the Raymond road, Pemberton informed Johnston that, as he 
considered he could not move on Clinton, he would return to 
Edward's Station, and take the Brownsville road. 

Early on the morning of the i6th, Grant learnt from two 
men employed on the Vicksburg-Jackson railroad, that the 
night before Pemberton with some 25,000 men was march- 
ing eastwards. Thereupon he ordered up Steele's division of 
Sherman's corps, which was on the road within an hour of 
receiving the order. McPherson's corps, on the right, he 
directed to advance by the Clinton road on Champion's Hill; 
and McClernand' s corps, on the left, to move by the Middle 
and Raymond roads on Edward's Station. By 7.30 A.M., 
skirmishing having begun, Grant rode forward and joined 
McPherson's corps; and later on he ordered McClernand 
to push forward and attack. Grant's object was that McCler- 
nand should pin the enemy down on his front and right, whilst 
McPherson turned his left. This order was repeated several 
times, but with little result. 

Peniberton's position was a strong one; not only did his 
front command the three roads along which Grant's leading 
divisions were advancing, but his left was protected by Cham- 
pion's Hill and Baker's Creek, as well as by a number of pre- 
cipitous ravines, and by woodland and much undergrowth, 
"difficult," as Grant says, "to penetrate with troops even 
when not defended." This difficulty soon manifested itself, 
and a close examination of it is illuminating, as It explains many 
of the lost opportunities and wasted attacks which were experi- 
enced a year later in the Wilderness of Virginia. 

Though Smith's division on the Raymond road was the 
first to encounter the enemy, its advance was painfully slow, 
as was also that of Osterhaus on the Middle road. These 
divisions were confronted by a weak but well placed force, and 
had McClernand ordered a charge, he would have cleared his 
front in a few minutes. The ground was, however, thickly 
wooded, and not being able to ascertain the strength of the 

150 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

enemy, with extreme caution he groped his way forward, and 
throughout the day never made his strength felt. Meanwhile, 
on the right, Hovey's division had become closely engaged, 
and to protect its right flank, Logan's division was pushed be- 
yond it to attack Champion's Hill from the north. Still 
pressed in front, Hovey was reinforced by Crocker. 

The situation was now as follows: Hovey, in spite of 
Crocker's assistance, could make little impression on Cham- 
pion's Hill; on his left McClernand, failing to assault, in no 
way restricted the enemy's freedom of movement towards his 
left; Logan, unknown to himself, and to Grant, had worked 
his way behind the enemy on Champion's Hill, and was ac- 
tually in line parallel to their rear, and In command of the 
only road by which Pemberton could retreat. Further still, a 
brigade of McArthur's division, which a few days before had 
crossed over to Grand Gulf, was coming up on McClernand's 
left flank. Unknown to Grant, Pemberton' s army was to all 
intents and purposes surrounded, when Hovey, once again 
calling for reinforcements, Grant, fearing that his front might 
be broken, ordered McPherson to disengage part of Logan's 
division and move it round to his support. An assault was 
then made, and the enemy driven back, not because of it, but 
because their line of retreat was now opened. Grant at once 
sent forward Osterhaus's and Carr's divisions in pursuit, or- 
dering them to push on to the Big Black, and to cross that 
river if they could. That night, McPherson's command 
bivouacked six miles west of the battlefield, and Carr and 
Osterhaus at Edward's Station. The losses in this battle were 
as follows: Grant's army, 2,438, and Pemberton' $ } 4,o82. 82 

Of the battle Grant writes: "Had McClernand come up 
with reasonable promptness, or had I known the ground as 
I did afterwards, I cannot see how Pemberton could have es- 
caped with any organized force." 83 This is probably true, 
nevertheless, it should not be inferred that McClernand was 
altogether an indifferent general; he was not brilliant, but 
there were many less competent than he. He wasted several 

**Livermore f Pt. Ill, Bk. II, p. 310. 
88 Grant, I, pp. 519-20. 

Grant as Subordinate General 

hours in slowly reconnoitring and working forward, and in no 
way assisted the attack on Champion's Hill, (the losses in his 
division were only 158 men) ; but had he assaulted, and had 
he found the enemy strongly posted, he might well have been 
driven back with heavy losses and would have been blamed for 
his failure to reconnoitre. Again, Grant had no maps, and 
did not know the country; further, it was so blind that when 
Logan straddled Pemberton's line of retreat he did not realize 
that he had done so. These two facts, namely, the difficulties 
of reconnaissance, 34 and the dangers of assaulting in a wooded 
country, must always be borne in mind when examining the 
battles of this war; for if they are overlooked, not only will 
tactical lessons be missed, but many of the actions fought will 
appear ridiculous. 

Defeated at Champion's Hill, Pemberton abandoned his in- 
tention to move north and unite his forces with those of 
Johnston. It is true he could no longer rnove by the Browns- 
ville road, but he could have retired under cover of darkness 
across the Big Black, burnt the bridges, and abandoning Vicks- 
burg have saved his army by moving north and then east 
towards Canton. In place, he fell back on the Big Black, 
and reported to Johnston that he had about sixty days' rations 
at Vicksburg, but that, when Grant advanced, he would have 
to abandon Haines's Bluff. Johnston replied: "If it is not 
too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march 
to the north-east." 85 This message was received by Pember- 
ton at noon on the i8th, whereupon he assembled a council of 
war which decided that as Vicksburg was a the most important 
point in the Confederacy" it could not be abandoned. 36 

Early on the lyth, Grant's pursuit was continued, and 
about midday, the Confederate line being broken, as Pern- 
berton himself says: "It very soon became a matter of sauve 
qui pent" 8T In a state of high demoralization he withdrew 

84 Grant says (36, W.R. f p. 53), "The delay in the advance of the troops im- 
mediately with McClernand was caused, no doubt, by the enemy presenting a 
front of artillery and infantry where it was impossible, from the nature of the 
ground and the density of the forest, to discover his numbers." 

35 36, W.R., p. 241; 38, W.R., p. 888. 

so 38, W&., p. 890. 

3736, W.R.> p. 267. 

152 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

to Vicksburg; 88 many stragglers had already made their way 
there, the bridges over the Big Black were burnt, and Haines's 
Bluff was abandoned. 

On the morning of the iSth, Sherman, making use of the 
only pontoon train in Grant's army, crossed the Big Black at 
Bridgeport, and that night, accompanied by Grant, reached 
Walnut Hills. The true goal of the campaign was won, 
namely, high, dry ground free from enemy interference, and 
upon which could be established a base of supplies. Turning 
to Grant, Sherman exclaimed: "Until this moment, I never 
thought your expedition a success. I never could see the end 
clearly, until now. But this is a campaign; this is a success, 
if we never take the town." 80 Indeed, an amazing success, 
the greatest in Grant's life, and from a purely strategical 
point of view one of the greatest in military history. 


Handing Hames's Bluff over to the navy, Grant at once re- 
established his line of supplies, and issued orders to carry the 
fortress by storm at two o'clock on the I9th, "Relying," as 
he says, "upon the demoralization of the enemy, in conse- 
quence of repeated defeats outside of Vicksburg." 40 This 
assault failed, for though, during the last two days, the Con- 
federates "had run like sheep . . . now they were in intrench- 
ments which had been prepared long before . . . they felt 
at home. Their demoralization was all gone. . . ." 41 

Though this assault failed, there was every excuse for it, 
but on the 2ist, Grant determined to make a second which 
was less excusable in spite of the fact that his reasons ** for it 
were well considered, and are worth recording. 

38 General Loring's division, unable to cross the Big Black, retreated on Jack- 
son, and joined up with Johnston's forces, 
89 Badeau, I, p, 281. 

40 36, JT.R., p. 54. , 

41 Greene, p. 170. Grant, throughout his career, never fully understood the 
"moralizing" effect of entrenchments. 

A similar case occurred in March 1918. When the British were defeated by 
the Germans, they fell back and halted only when they reached their old front 
line some 30 to 40 miles in rear; then, quite "at home," nothing could move 

42 3 6, W.R., p. 54; Greene, p. 169; Badeau, I, p. 308. 

Grant as Subordinate General 153 

(1) Johnston was at Canton raising an army to attack 
Grant in rear, 

(2) If Vicksburg could be taken by storm, Grant could 
turn upon Johnston and drive him out of Mississippi. 

(3) Reinforcements required elsewhere would have to be 
diverted to Vicksburg as long as this fortress held out. 

(4) The troops were impatient to carry Vicksburg, the 
weather was growing hot and water was scarce. 

(5) The men (like all Anglo-Saxons) were in no mood for 
the drudgery of pick and spade work. 

Grant says: "The attack was ordered to commence on all 
parts of the line at ten o'clock A.M. on the 22nd with a furious 
cannonade from every battery in position. All the corps com- 
manders set their time by mine so that all might open an en- 
gagement at the same minute.' 5 43 Every possible preparation 
was made, and it might well have succeeded had not Grant 
committed the error, which he repeated the following year in 
the Wilderness and at Cold Harbor, of ordering a simultane- 
ous assault all along the line, in place of overwhelming the 
tactical points by artillery and rifle fire, and assaulting In be- 
tween and then turning them by a flank. 

"Suddenly ... as if by magic, every gun and rifle stopped 
firing. . . *. The silence was almost appalling, at the sudden 
cessation of the firing of so many field guns (about 180), and 
the crackling of so many thousands of sharpshooters' rifles. 
But the silence was only for a short time. Suddenly, there 
seemed to spring almost from the bowels of the earth, dense 
masses of Federal troops, in numerous columns of attack, and 
with loud cheers and huzzahs, they rushed forward, at a run 
with bayonets fixed, not firing a shot, headed for every salient 
advanced position along the Confederate lines. ... As they 
came within easy range (almost as soon as they started) the 
Confederate troops, not exceeding 9,938 men, along the 
3Yi miles of assault, deliberately rose and stood in their 
trenches, pouring volley after volley into the advancing en- 
emy; at the same time the troops in reserve advanced to the 
rear of the trenches, and fired over the heads of those in the 
trenches. Every field-gun and howitzer belched forth contin- 

48 Grant, I, p. 531. 

154 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

uously and incessantly double-shotted discharges of grape and 
canister. . . ." 44 

This description of the assault, written by General S. D. 
Lee, speaks for itself. It failed, because, being delivered in 
line over a wide front, no covering fire could support it. Un- 
fortunately, McClernand, believing that his troops had gained 
a secure footing in the enemy's entrenchments and not trou- 
bling to verify it, sent several urgent appeals to Grant for 
aid, and a second assault was ordered which failed as disas- 
trously as the first. Though Grant was not altogether to 
blame for this waste of life, in common with practically all the 
leading generals of this war (and what is still more astonish- 
ing, with most of the leading generals of the World War of 
fifty years later) he failed to grasp the utter folly of Badeau's 
special pleading, written to exonerate him, namely: "Neither 
can the generalship which directed this assault be fairly cen- 
sured. The only possible chance of breaking through such 
defences and defenders was in massing the troops, so that the 
weight of the columns should be absolutely irresistible." 45 
No greater and more costly heresy has ever been propounded 
than this, for as Commandant Colin says: "It is well known 
that there never is any shock ... an impulse never comes 
from the rear, because it is never due to material pressure 
but to the influence of superior will imposed by a chief who Is 
seen in front. . . . Generally speaking, the frontal fight does 
not lead to a solution." 46 

Assaults having failed, a regular siege was resorted to. 

The fortress, or rather entrenched camp, of Vicksburg was 
some four miles long and two miles wide, its outer line of 
works, which followed the ravines and ridges, extended over 
seven miles. Grant's lines were twice as long, and besides 
he had to prepare his rear to withstand attack, for Johnston 
was assembling a powerful army in the neighbourhood of Can- 
ton. On May 29, Grant informed Halleck that unless Banks 

44 Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, III, p. 60. 

45 Badeau, I, p. 328. 

46 The Transformations of War, pp. 5, 6. 

Grant as Subordinate General 

could come to his assistance, large reinforcements would be 
required; these demands were promptly met by the general-in- 
chief, and a month later Grant's army numbered 71,141 men 
and 248 guns. 47 

The siege was carried out methodically, a line of circumval- 
lation being dug from Haines's Bluff to Warrenton, and one 
of countervallation from the Yazoo to the Big Black river; 
this latter line being held by Sherman and some 30,000 men. 
On July 3, at 10 A.M., white flags appeared on the Confeder- 
ate works, and an aide-de-camp crossed over to the Federal 
lines bearing a letter from Pemberton proposing an armistice, 
to which Grant at first replied that no conditions could be con- 
sidered except "unconditional surrender." Pemberton, object- 
ing to this, Grant modified his decision to a surrender on 
terms, in spite of the fact that a council of war of his gen- 
erals, the only one he ever held, objected to this change. The 
reason why he did not insist on unconditional surrender was 
that, had he done so, the prisoners could not have been pa- 
roled, and at much inconvenience to the army they would have 
to be transported to Cairo. "Besides this, Grant hoped to 
demoralize the whole interior country still in rebellion, by 
spreading this dispirited mass of men among the yet uncon- 
quered remainder." In iny opinion, there was another rea- 
son : not only at this very moment was the battle of Gettys- 
burg being fought, but the moral effect on the North of a 
surrender on July 4 48 could not fail to be of enormous politi- 
cal importance. Grant never lost sight of the fact that battles 
are but means towards political ends, and not ends in them- 
selves; and in this case he was willing to forgo the personal 
applause which greeted him on the unconditional surrender 
of Fort Donelson, because he saw that it was to the national 
advantage that he should do so. 

At 10 A.M. on Saturday, July 4, the garrison of Vicksburg, 
some 31,000 men in all, marched out of the fortress, stacked 
their arms in front of their conquerors, and laying their col- 

47 Greene, p. 188. . __ ((T , 

48 Pemberton also realized the moral importance of July 4. He says: I be- 
lieved that upon that day I should obtain better terms. Well aware of the 
vanity of our foes . . ." (36, && P- 285.) 

156 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ours upon them returned to the town, whereupon both armies 
began to fraternize. 

Johnston and 27,000 men were on July I encamped between 
Brownsville and the Big Black. On the 4th, immediately after 
Pemberton's surrender, Sherman, at the head of 40,000 men, 
moved out against him. On the 6th he crossed the Big Black, 
Johnston retiring to Jackson, where he hoped that scarcity of 
water would compel his antagonist to assault. On the i6th, 
Jackson was evacuated, whereupon Sherman decided not to 
follow up his retreating enemy, as he would have to cross 
ninety miles of country destitute of water, but Instead to de- 
stroy the railroads at Jackson. On the 25th he returned to 

The losses in this campaign are instructive, for quite un- 
justly Grant has been handed down to history as a butcher of 
men. Since April 30, he had won five battles, had taken 
Vicksburg and occupied Jackson at a cost to himself of 1,243 
killed, 7,095 wounded and 535 missing, a total of 8,873 cas " 
ualties. 49 He had killed and wounded about 10,000 Confed- 
erates and had captured 37,000 ; 50 among these were 2,153 
officers, of whom 15 were generals; also 172 cannon fell into 
his hands. 

The disparity between the losses of the contending forces 
was entirely due to Grant's strategy. Basing his plan of cam- 
paign on surprise, and accepting risks which nothing but sur- 
prise could justify, in the first eighteen days after he crossed 
the Mississippi, he defeated the enemy at Port Gibson, estab- 
lished a temporary base at Grand Gulf, marched 200 miles, 
and won the battles of Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill 
and the Big Black river these four within the space of six 
days. During the whole of this period his men had but five 
days' rations, and for the rest lived on the country. Well may 
Greene say: "We must go back to the campaigns of Napoleon 
to find equally brilliant results accomplished in the same space 
of time with such small loss." 5l 

**Badeau, I, p. 399; 37, W.R., p. 167, gives a total of 9,362. 
w 36, W&., p. 58. 

61 His losses during the first eighteen days were about 3,500, Pemberton's 
8,000, as well as 88 pieces of artillery. Greene, pp. 170-171. 

Grant as Subordinate General 157 

At 7 A.M., on July 9, Port Hudson surrendered uncondi- 
tionally to General Banks, and, on the i6th, "the steam-boat 
Imperial quietly landed at the wharf in New Orleans, arriv- 
ing direct from Saint Louis, laden with a commercial cargo, 
having passed over the whole course of that great thorough- 
fare of commerce undisturbed by a hostile shot or challenge 
from bluff or levee on either shore." 52 The South had been 
cleft in twain ; Vicksburg, and not Gettysburg, was the crisis 
of the Confederacy. 

62 Nicolay and Hay, VII, p, 327. 



ON July 1 8, Grant, now promoted to the rank of Major- 
General in the regular army, suggested to Halleck that an ex- 
pedition should be sent from Lake Pontchartrain * with the 
object of taking Mobile, from where, by operating against the 
rear of Bragg* s army, he might be compelled to detach troops 
from Chattanooga, and so facilitate a Federal advance on that 
town. Or, to move through Georgia, and devastate the coun- 
try, for it was mainly from this State that Lee was drawing 
his supplies. This idea was not only tactically sound, but a 
brilliant strategical conception; for now that the command 
of the Mississippi had cut the Confederacy in half, an ad- 
vance from Mobile to Montgomery would practically limit 
the tactical theatre to Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. 
In fact, as Badeau says: "It is not improbable that the cap- 
ture of Mobile, at this time, would have shortened the war by 
a year." 

Though this proposal was repeated by Grant during Au- 
gust and September, Halleck would not listen to it He made 
every possible excuse, such as cleaning up the country, repair- 
ing the fortifications of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, assisting 
Banks to clear out Western Louisiana, and the necessity to 
operate in Texas. The truth would appear to be, that for 
purely political reasons Lincoln had set his mind on two pro- 
jects: the first was the reopening of trade in the conquered 
Mississippi territories, and the second the occupation of 
Texas, which was threatened by the machinations of Napoleon 
III. On October n, Halleck wrote to Grant saying: "I re- 
gret equally with yourself that you could not have forces to 

1 Immediately north of New Orleans. 38, WR., pp. 529, 530. 


Grant as Subordinate General 159 

move on Mobile, but there were certain reasons which I can- 
not now explain, which precluded such an attempt." 2 Once 
again, through sheer ignorance of strategy, had Lincoln 
missed an opportunity of shortening the war. 

The Mobile operation being forbidden, Grant's magnificent 
army, now a body of trained veterans, was broken up, just as 
it had been the year before. The Ninth Corps was sent to 
Kentucky; 4,000 men to Banks in Louisiana, 5,000 to Schofield 
in Missouri; a brigade to Natchez, and the remainder was 
employed in the thankless task of hunting down guerilla 
bands. 3 On August 7, Grant was instructed further to deplete 
his army by sending the Thirteenth Corps under General Ord 
to Banks. To arrange this move he went in person to New 
Orleans, and met with a serious accident, his horse shying at 
a locomotive and throwing him. Then, on September 13, he 
received an urgent telegram from Halleck ordering him to 
send all "available forces to Memphis and thence to Corinth 
and Tuscumbia, to co-operate with Rosecrans" for the relief 
of Chattanooga. 4 


Buell's advance into east Tennessee, interrupted, as we have 
seen, by the campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson, was 
not begun until June 10, 1862, and then only under conditions 
imposed by Halleck which compelled Buell to repair the 
Memphis and Charleston railroad from Corinth to Decatur, 
and put it in running order as a line of supply. This caused 
endless delay, and when, on June 27, Bragg succeeded Beau- 
regard to the command of the Confederate forces opposing 

P- 274. These reasons were events in Mexico, and re-establish- 
ing the national authority in Western Texas. 

8 It must never be forgotten that throughout the war, the difficult problem 
of the guerilla faced Grant and other Federal commanders. In the East, this 
form of warfare was to a certain extent organized; in the West it was murder, 
robbery and terrorism. When caught guerillas were usually shot. General 
Crook and some cavalry once fell in with a party of twenty guerillas. He 
killed twelve and the rest were taken prisoners. "He regrets to report that on 
the march to camp the eight prisoners were so unfortunate as to fall off a log 
and break their necks." This was in Tennessee. (M.H.S.M., XIV, p. 81.) 

* 52, WM., p. 592. 

160 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Buell, a series of cavalry raids by Morgan and Forrest 5 were 
carried out against his communications, and no sooner was the 
railway repaired than it was re-broken. 

Early in August, Bragg occupied Chattanooga, and thence 
marched into middle Tennessee, and later into Kentucky. 
Though Buell was then at the head of 50,000 men, this move 
persuaded him to abandon his advance on Chattanooga, and 
to fall back in order to cover Nashville. On September 14, 
he concentrated his forces in the neighbourhood of Bowling 
Green; the drawn battle of Perryville followed, and the Con- 
federate forces retired unmolested. On October 30, Buell, 
who had utterly failed in this campaign, and who should have 
reached Chattanooga long before Bragg, was superseded by 
General Rosecrans, who took command of what henceforth 
was to be known as the Army of the Cumberland. 

In spite of Halleck's protests, Rosecrans refused to Invade 
east Tennessee until he had collected 2,000,000 rations at 
Nashville, which for a time would render him independent of 
the railroads, and it was not until December 26 that he ad- 
vanced from Nashville against Bragg, who had concentrated 
his army at Murfreesboro. Here, on the 3 1st, a desperate 
battle was fought between 43,000 Federals and 37,712 Con- 
federates, 6 in which the losses of the former amounted to 
13,249, and of the latter to 9,865.* Tactically, this battle was 
drawn; nevertheless, on January 3, 1863, Bragg withdrew to 
Tullahoma, and Rosecrans, too exhausted to pursue, occupied 

When Grant was operating against Vicksburg, he was 
anxious that Rosecrans should advance against Bragg and so 
prevent him reinforcing Johnston. 3 ' On June 2, Burnside with 
the Army of the Ohio, who was to advance from Lexington, 

5 Forrest "was to become in the West ... the counterpart of Jackson in the 
East, with this striking distinction between them, that while the latter was al- 
ways invoking the aid of the Lord, the former never ceased to be in close alli- 
ance with the Devil." (MJRJSM., VIII, p. 121.) 

ejS. & L., Ill, p. 613; 29, W.R., p. 674. 

7 29, W&.> pp. 215, 681; B. & L. f III, pp. 611-612. 

8 About the same time, in order to prevent reinforcements being sent to 
Grant, Lee decided to invade the North ; this decision led to the Gettysburg cam- 
paign. Long street, p. 331. 

Grant as Subordinate General 161 

Kentucky, and co-operate with Rosecrans, was ordered to send 
large reinforcements to Grant, and it was not until June 23 
that Rosecrans resumed his long interrupted move against 
Bragg, whilst Burnside advanced towards Knoxville on Au- 
gust 1 6. Thereupon Bragg evacuated Tullahoma on July I, 
and crossed the Tennessee. Once Burnside was in a position 
to co-operate, Rosecrans's plan was to feint at Bragg' s right, 
and cross the Tennessee below Chattanooga. Bragg was 
completely deceived by this manoeuvre, and, on September 9, 
Rosecrans took possession of the town. 

Thus far Rosecrans's strategy left nothing to be desired, 
but, thinking that Bragg was in full retreat, he pushed on In 
pursuit, and with his army in no order for battle he suddenly 
found himself confronted by a concentrated enemy. To extri- 
cate himself from this predicament, on September 19-20, he 
was compelled to fight the battle of Chickamauga, 9 in which 
he was severely beaten, and was saved only from complete de- 
struction by the gallant defence of General Thomas the 
Rock of, Chickamauga. Retiring on Chattanooga, he aban- 
doned Lookout Mountain, which commanded the town. This 
battle was one of the most bloody of the war; 55,000 to 
60,000 Federals met from 60,000 to 70,000 Confederates, 
the former losing 16,336 and the latter 20,950 in killed, 
wounded and missing. 10 At Chattanooga Rosecrans was be- 
sieged, whereupon Grant was called upon to relieve him. 


The Confederate victory at Chickamauga, though a terrible 
blow to Federal prestige, led to the inestimable advantage of 
establishing unity of command west of the Alleghanies. It 
struck terror into the heart of the Government, and abruptly 
awakened Lincoln from his dreams of campaigning in Texas, 
and of peaceful trading, to see the immensity of that strategi- 
cal reality the importance of Chattanooga. Hitherto the 
Departments of the Tennessee, Cumberland and Ohio had re- 

Indian for "The River of Blood." 
1 B. & L., Ill, pp. 673-676 ; Cist, p. 228. 

1 62 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

spectively been commanded by Grant, Rosecrans and Burn- 
side, and Halleck at Washington was incapable of establish- 
ing co-operation between them. Now they were to be fused 
into one the Military Division of the Mississippi. 

On September 29, Halleck telegraphed Grant to send all 
possible reinforcements to Rosecrans; and on October 3 he 
wrote: "It Is the wish of the Secretary of War that, as soon 
as General Grant is able to take the field, he will come to 
Cairo and report by telegraph." 1X To which Grant, still crip- 
pled, replied from Columbus: "Your dispatch of 3rd, direct- 
ing me to report at Cairo, was received at 11.30 A.M. the 9th 
inst. I left same day with my staff and headquarters, and 
have just reached here, en route for Cairo." 12 From Cairo 
he was ordered to Louisville, and on his way there, at Indian- 
apolis, he met Stanton, "pacing the floor rapidly in his dress- 
ing-gown," who at once placed him in command of all the 
troops between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi, with the 
exception of those under Banks a course suggested by Grant 
nearly a year before. 

Grant at once assumed command, and having assigned the 
Department of the Cumberland to General Thomas, on the 
1 9th, he set out by rail for Chattanooga. The last forty miles 
of this journey had to be done on horseback, and General 
Howard tells us that "at times it was necessary to take the 
General from his horse. The soldiers carried him in their 
arms across the roughest places. Yielding to no weakness or 
suffering, he pushed through to Chattanooga reaching Gen- 
eral Thomas the evening of October 23d." 1S 

Before Thomas took command, the condition of the Army 
of the Cumberland can be described only as deplorable. Rose- 
crans had quarrelled with Halleck, had been defeated, and 
now occupied an all but untenable position: his back was 
against the Tennessee river, his left rested on, or near, Citico 
Creek, his front faced Missionary Ridge 14 which rose to a 

11 53, WJL. 9 p. 55- 
"53, WX., p. 375- 

13 Church, p. 199. 

14 Called so by the Indians who, in former times, allowed the missionaries to 
pass no further west. Rossville was named after the famous Cherokee chief 
John Ross. Chattanooga is the Indian for "The Eagle's Nest." 

Grant as Subordinate General 163 

height of from 300 to 400 feet above the plain, and which 
was separated from Lookout Mountain, on his right, by the 
Rossville Gap, through which ran Chattanooga river. This 
mountain, 2,400 feet high, dominated the town of Chatta- 
nooga and the railway which ran thence up Lookout Valley to 
Decatur and Trenton. The Confederate entrenchments be- 
gan on the north end of Missionary Ridge, ran along the 
ridge, spanned the Chattanooga Valley, and ended on Look- 
out Mountain. The importance of this mountain lay in the 
fact that it commanded the railway. It was abandoned by 
Rosecrans because he considered that his weakened army was 
not strong enough to hold it, and General William F. Smith 
is of opinion that he was right in not holding it, for had he 
done so he would have diminished his force in the front by 
about 8,000." 15 Personally I consider that either Lookout 
Mountain should have been held or Chattanooga abandoned; 
for to remain there with the mountain in the hands of the en- 
emy was to risk not only the loss of the town but the loss of 
the army. Colonel Livermore supports this contention: he 
considers that it was because Rosecrans exaggerated Bragg'* 
strength that the mountain was not held. On October I, 
Bragg had 41,972 16 men on a line seven miles long, and Rose- 
crans 38,928," "equal to 6,500 men per mile of a possible 
line of six miles from Citico Creek across the point of Look- 
out Mountain to Lookout Creek. 1 ' Further, he says: "The 
example of the Confederate defence for six weeks of seven 
miles of intrenchments at Vicksburg five months before with 
22,000 effectives against a force as large as, or greater than 
Bragg's . . . would have amply justified Rosecrans in the 
attempt to hold the line from Citico to Lookout Creek." 1S 

Having lost his railroad communications, which on Septem- 
ber 30 were raided by Wheeler and his cavalry, who destroyed 
400 wagons with their loads and teams, 19 a crippling blow to 
the transportation of the army, Rosecrans made no effort to 

**M.H.SM. f VIII, p. 156. 
i* 53, W.R., p. 721. 
IT 52, W&., pp. 914, 9*5- 
i*M.H.SM., VIII, p. 285, 
is 53, JPJL, pp. 114, S3*- 

164 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

run boats down the river. There were two at Chattanooga, 
and these could have brought up 200 tons of supplies daily 
from Bridgeport to a point near Williams Island, whence the 
wagon haul was but four or five miles to the town. 20 In place 
supplies were hauled over a circuitous and mountainous route 
north of the river, a distance of sixty to seventy miles. The 
result was that neither could the troops be properly rationed 
nor the animals fed. Boynton says: "Thousands of horses 
and mules . . . died from want of food. There were Bri- 
gade headquarters where the officers lived chiefly on parched 
corn, there were regimental headquarters where the daily 
food was mush or gruel; there were officers of high rank, who 
lived for days on sour pork and wormy mouldy bread." 21 
This statement is corroborated by General Smith 22 and by 
Grant, the latter saying that nearly 10,000 horses and mules 
died, and "not enough were left to draw a single piece of ar- 
tillery or even the ambulances to convey the sick . . . the 
beef was so poor that the soldiers were in the habit of saying 
. . . that they were living on 'half rations of hard bread and 
beef dried on the hoof." 2S 

It would be difficult to find a more perfect example of an 
army paralyzed by the inefficiency of its commander, who in 
this case had completely collapsed under the shock of defeat. 
Dana, writing to the War Department on October 16, said: 
"Nothing can prevent the retreat of the army from this place 
within a fortnight. . . . General Rosecrans seems to be in- 
sensible to the impending danger, and dawdles with trifles in a 

20 52, W.R., p. 890; 53, W.R., p. 102; 54, W&. 3 pp. 67, 74. 

21 Boynton, p. 69. This was written in 1875, an d it is strange to find this 
same officer writing in 1892: "At no time did the men suffer, and at no time 
were the troops of the Cumberland either discouraged or demoralized." 
(M.H.S.M., VII, p. 381.) 

MM.H.S.M., VIII, p. !6 7 . 

23 Grant, II, p. 25; 56, W.R., p. 216. General Fuller says: "Ten thousand 
dead mules walled the sides of the road from Bridgeport to Chattanooga. In 
Chattanooga the men were on less than half rations. Guards stood at the 
troughs of artillery horses to keep the soldiers from taking the scant supply of 
corn allowed these starving animals. Many horses died of starvation, and most 
of those that survived grew too weak for use in pulling the lightest guns. Men 
followed the wagons as they came over the river, picking up grains of corn and 
bits of crackers that fell to the ground. Yet there "vyas no murmur of dis- 
content." (S. & L., Ill, p. 719.) 

Grant as Subordinate General 165 

manner which can scarcely be imagined ... all this precious 
time is lost because our dazed and mazy commander cannot 
perceive the catastrophe that is close upon us, nor fix his mind 
upon means of preventing it. I never saw anything which 
seemed so lamentable and hopeless." 24 Such was the state of 
affairs which faced Grant when he arrived at Chattanooga on 
the evening of October 23. 


At Shiloh and at Vicksburg Grant had commanded an army, 
now he was called upon to command three armies, the armies 
of the Cumberland, Ohio and Tennessee, reinforced by 
Hooker's corps from the Army of the Potomac, in combina- 
tion and in circumstances which could scarcely be worse. 

Grant's immediate problem was to establish a workable line 
of supply. He at once realized that the key of this problem 
lay in securing command of Lookout Valley, and had Bragg 
realized that this valley was the key to Chattanooga he would 
have held it in force as well as the passes over Racoon Moun- 
tain, and Grant's problem would have been an impossible one 
to solve. 

Hooker was then at Bridgeport, where, on October i, he 
had been ordered by Rosecrans to bridge the river. It was 
useless bringing him forward unless a footing could be gained 
on the left bank of the Tennessee near Brown's Ferry, so that 
the enemy might be driven from the hills commanding this 
point. On the I9th, General William F. Smith had recon- 
noitred Brown's Ferry, and had come to the conclusion that 
this was the most suitable place at which to cross the river. 
Immediately after his arrival, on the 23rd, Grant approved of 
Smith's scheme, and on examining the ferry the following 
morning he decided to force a crossing on the 27th. 

At 3 A.M. on the 2yth, 1,500 men under the command of 
Smith left Chattanooga in 52 boats which hugged the 
right bank until they reached a signal light indicating the 
point at which they were to cross the river and land. The 

24 50, W.R. f pp. 218, 219; see also 50, WJEt., pp. 202, 215. 


1 66 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

men then bent to their oars, landed, and rushing the weak 
Confederate pickets, occupied the hills on the left bank and 
entrenched them. So thoroughly was this work done that at 
3.30 P.M. Smith was able to telegraph General Thomas's 
chief-of-staff: "This place cannot be carried now." 26 Thus 
was Chattanooga saved at a cost of 4 men killed and 17 

That night Hooker's advanced guard entered Lookout Val- 
ley, and, at 3 P.M. on the 28th, the head of the main body 
reached Wauhatchie. At n P.M. General Thomas tele- 
graphed Halleck that "the wagon-road is now open to 
Bridgeport. We have, besides, two steam-boats, one at 
Bridgeport and one here, which will be started tomorrow. 
. . . By this operation we have gained two wagon-roads and 
the river to get supplies by, and I hope in a few days to be 
pretty well supplied. . . ." 26 Thus, within five days of 
Grant's arrival in Chattanooga, the road to Bridgeport was 
opened, and within a week the troops were receiving full ra- 
tions, were being reclothed and resupplied with ammunition, 
"and a cheerfulness prevailed not before enjoyed in many 
weeks. Neither officers nor men looked upon themselves any 
longer as doomed." 27 

On the night of the 28th-29th Longs treet made a night 
attack on Hooker at Wauhatchie. This was easily repulsed, 
the Federals being assisted by their mules which, taking fright, 
stampeded towards the enemy, who In their turn broke and 
fled, imagining that a cavalry charge was upon them. By 4 
A.M. on the 2gth the battle was over, and the "Cracker line" 
was never again disturbed. 28 

Having secured a workable line of supply, Grant's next task 
was to consider the question of Burnside, and to bring up Sher- 
man's corps from Corinth. On October 27, "a dirty, black- 

25 54 , JTJR., p. 54 . 

26 54, W.R., p. 41. 

27 Grant, II, p. 38. 

28 On the 29th Grant inspected the pickets, and as he was under fire he took 
only a bugler with him. On passing a post, he heard a soldier shout: "Turn 
out the guard for the commanding general." He replied: "Never mind the 
guard"; scarcely had he uttered these words, than a little way off a Confed- 
erate sentry called out: "Turn out the guard for the commanding general 
General Grant!" Grant saluted, and rode on truly a strange and picturesque 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 67 

haired individual, with a mixed dress and strange demeanour" 
approached Sherman's house in luka. It was Corporal Pike, 
who had paddled down the Tennessee under the enemy's fire, 
and who brought a message to Sherman ordering him to move 
with all possible haste to Bridgeport, at which place he ar- 
rived on November 13. Meanwhile Burnside's position at 
Knoxville was causing the highest alarm at Washington, and 
Grant was plied with despatch after despatch urging that 
something must be done for his relief. 

Longstreet had quarrelled with Bragg, and either to put an 
end to this bad feeling, or believing that it would be possible 
to move Longstreet to Knoxville, a hundred miles away, de- 
stroy Burnside, and withdraw him again to Chattanooga be- 
fore Grant was ready to attack, President Davis instructed 
Bragg to send him to Knoxville. Longstreet started on No- 
vember 4, and Grant, hearing of this on the 7th, ordered 29 
Thomas to attack Bragg, and so draw Longstreet back. 
Thomas replied that he could not comply with this order as 
he was unable to move a single piece of artillery. Grant then 
directed him to take "mules, officer's horses, or animals wher- 
ever he could get them." so Thomas, as we shall see later on, 
though an excellent fighting officer, was, strategically, a man 
of parochial vision. He never could realize that in war situa- 
tions constantly arise in which it is better to strike with an 
imperfect instrument than to wait until perfection is gained. 
He could never understand that actions depending on a com- 
bination of forces seldom permit of all being equally well pre- 
pared to strike. He was a staunch and efficient subordinate, 
but the inter-dependence of combined movements seem to have 
been beyond him. 

Thomas, much perturbed by this order, rode out on the 
7th with General Smith to examine the approaches leading 
from the mouth of the South Chickamauga towards Mission- 
ary Ridge. On this reconnaissance Smith pointed out to 
Thomas that the ground lent itself to a turning operation 
against Bragg's right flank, which, if successful, would not 
only threaten his rear, but separate him from Longstreet in 

29 56, W.R., p. 634. 

P . 73 . 

1 68 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

east Tennessee. On their return they informed Grant of their 
conclusions, and he at once countermanded his order. 31 

Grant, having studied this new proposal, ordered Smith 
carefully to explore the country, and to prepare bridging ma- 
terial for a second bridge at Chattanooga, or Brown's Ferry, 
and for a bridge across the South Chickamauga. On the I4th, 
Grant informed 32 Burnside that Sherman would cross South 
Chickamauga Creek in a few days' time, and that a general 
attack would then be launched on Bragg. On the i6th, Grant 
took Thomas, Smith and Sherman out to a position overlook- 
ing the mouth of the creek, and Sherman, after having care- 
fully examined the ground, shut up his long glass with a snap, 
and said "I can do it. 5 ' 33 

In brief, Grant's plan was to effect a double envelopment 
with the forces under Sherman and Hooker pivoted on Thom- 
as's army. Sherman was to attack Bragg's right, envelop it, 
and threaten or hold the railway in Bragg* s rear. This would 
compel Bragg either to weaken his centre, or lose his base at 
Chickamauga Station. Hooker was to advance from Look- 
out Valley to Chattanooga Valley, move on to Rossville, and 
threaten Missionary Ridge from the left. 34 Thomas was to 
hold the centre, and was to move forward in conjunction with 
Sherman, and oblique to the left so as to form a continuous 
battle front. 85 

The main difficulty which confronted Grant was, that from 
Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge Bragg could watch 
every move which took place in or around Chattanooga. In 
order to mislead Bragg, Sherman was ordered to cross the 
river at Bridgeport, move his leading division by the Trenton 
road, and then throw some troops on Lookout Mountain in 
order to convey to Bragg the idea that Grant's intention was 
to attack his left; on the i8th a brigade was encamped on the 
mountain. 86 Sherman's remaining divisions were to take the 
Brown's Ferry road, move towards South Chickamauga 

55, WXL. 9 p. 29 ; B. & L. } III, p. 716. 

*2 55, WX..> p. 30. 

**M.H.S.M., VIII, p. 195; Grant, II, p. 58. 

34 Grant, II, p. 55. 

35 55, W&*> pp. 130-31; B. & L., Ill, p. 716; 56, W.R., pp. 154, 181. 

36 55, WR.> p. 583. 

Grant as Subordinate General 169 

Creek as if their intention was to go to Knoxville, and then 
hide themselves in the hills opposite the mouth of the creek, 
where they could not be observed from Lookout Mountain. 
One brigade of this force was to move on to the North Chicka- 
mauga, where 116 pontoons were in readiness to be floated 
down the river in order to effect a landing on the left bank. 
"All things," said Sherman, were "prearranged with a fore- 
sight that elicited my admiration." ST 

These movements partially misled Bragg, and, had not the 
rain and the shocking condition of the roads delayed Sher- 
man, they might well have completely succeeded. At 9.45 
P.M. on the 2Oth, Hardee, in command of Bragg's left, or- 
dered the passes over Lookout Mountain to be blocked, and 
said to a subordinate commander: "Direct your advanced bri- 
gade to make obstinate defense, so as to give time to send re- 
enforcements. Be constantly on the alert. General Bragg 
is under conviction that a serious movement is being made on 
our left." 3S Unfortunately for Grant, Sherman's command 
was not ready to cross on the night of the 22nd, 39 and on the 
afternoon of the 2ist the march of his division from Trenton 
towards Wauhatchie was seen. The result was, that on the 
afternoon of the next day Bragg began to move troops to his 
right. 40 

On the night of the 22nd, a deserter came into the Federal 
lines, and reported that Bragg was falling back. His story 
was that two divisions had been sent towards Sherman who 
was expected to attack Steven's Gap (over Lookout Moun- 
tain) and that most of Bragg 9 s army was massed between his 
headquarters and the mountain. This information, assuming 
it to be correct, exactly fell in with Grant's plan of drawing 
Bragg away from the point decided on for Sherman's attack. 
Whether he realized this at the time I am unable to say, but 
he had received news 41 that Knoxville had been attacked 
(telegraphic communication with Burnside was cut), and 

37 55, WX.., p. 571. 
88 55, W&. 9 p. 668. 

39 Originally ordered for the 2ist; see 55, JTJ?., p. 31. 

40 55, W.R., p. 671. 
56, W&.> p, 306. 

i yo The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

being daily worried by the authorities in Washington to do 
something to assist Burnside, he apparently thought that 
Bragg* $ move was a ruse to cover the sending of more troops 
against Knoxville. Further still, on the 2Oth, he had received 
the following cryptic letter from Bragg: "As there may still 
be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I deem it proper to 
notify you that prudence would dictate their early with- 
drawal." 42 Grant knew that this letter was meant to deceive 
him, but coupling it with the information furnished by the 
deserter, his anxiety about Knoxville, 43 as well as the fact that 
Sherman could not cross the Tennessee until the night of the 
23rd-24th, and that the flooded river was threatening de- 
struction to the bridges, he ordered 44 Thomas to make a 
reconnaissance in force on the morning of the 23rd, in order 
to verify Bragg's position. This was done, and that day 
Thomas moving forward established his lines parallel to 
Bragg* s, and within a mile of the western flank of Missionary 
Ridge. This movement materially changed the task given to 
Thomas in Grant's order of the i8th, 45 also it awoke Bragg 
to the danger threatening his right flank, and, on the night of 
the 23rd, he ordered Walker's division to move from near 
Lookout Mountain to Missionary Ridge, 46 and a brigade to 
occupy a position near the mouth of the South Chickamauga. 4T 


By the night of the 23rd, Sherman's command, with the ex- 
ception of Osterhaus's division, still west of Brown's Ferry, 
was ready to move. Osterhaus was ordered to report to 
Hooker, should he not be able to cross by 8 A.M. on the 24th, 

42 55, W.R., p. 32. 

^43 Grant says: "Hearing nothing from Burnside, and hearing much of the 
distress in Washington on his account, I could no longer defer operations for 
his relief. I determined, therefore, to do on the 23 rd, with the Army of the 
Cumberland, what had been intended to be done on the 24th." (Grant, II, 
p. 62.) This is not altogether correct, for on the 24th Thomas was to conform 
to Sherman's movement; but it does accentuate the fact that anxiety to relieve 
the political situation was uppermost in Grant's mind. 

44 55, W&., p. 32. 

45 55, W.R., p. 31. 

46 55, JTJL,p. 7*8. 

47 55, WX,., pp. 745, 746. 

Grant as Subordinate General 171 

and at midnight Sherman's landing force, under General 
Smith, advanced upstream from the North Chickamauga. At 
two o'clock the following morning a landing was effected near 
the mouth of the South Chickamauga, when the work of ferry- 
ing over Sherman's infantry was at once begun. By daylight 
two divisions had crossed. A bridge 1,350 feet in length was 
then thrown over the Tennessee, being finished a little after 
noon, and another across the South Chickamauga, when a 
brigade of cavalry was moved over under orders to proceed 
to the neighbourhood of Charleston and destroy the railroad. 

At I P.M., Sherman began his advance in three divisional 
columns with the left leading and covered by the South Chick- 
amauga, whilst the right was echeloned back in order to re- 
fuse this flank. At 3.30 P.M. the heads of the columns reached 
the detached hill north of Missionary Ridge, and in place of 
pushing on to the tunnel, Sherman ordered his division to 
halt there and entrench for the night. "This," General Smith, 
amongst others, proclaims, "was the blunder of the battle." 4S 

For a moment I will pause, and examine Sherman's prob- 
lem, for though it has been debated by a score of historians, 
in my opinion, it has as yet never been fully analyzed* 

The date was November 24, consequently by half-past four 
it would be getting dark. Throughout the day drizzling rain 
fell, and the clouds were low. 49 Even before four o'clock it 
was so dark on Lookout Mountain, that Hooker had to sus- 
pend his operations. 50 Though we are told that the whole of 
Sherman's cavalry was over both bridges by 3.30 P.M., 51 we 
are not told when his artillery began to cross, but it could not 
have done so much before 2 P.M., probably later, for during 
the night of the 23rd-24th, Thomas, having no artillery 
horses, had to borrow Sherman's in order to move 40 guns of 
the Army of the Cumberland forward on the north side of 
the Tennessee "to aid in protecting the approach to the point 
where the south end of the bridge was to rest." 52 

**M.H.SM., VIII, pp. 202 and 228. 

49 Grant, II, p. 68. 

50 Grant, II, p. 72. 

51 Grant, II, p. 69. 
C2 Grant, II, p. 66. 

172 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

In brief, Sherman's position seems to have been as follows : 
Tunnel Hill was one and a half miles away; visibility was 
poor, night was approaching, and only part of his artillery 
was up. If he advanced to the tunnel, which might, as far 
as he knew, be strongly held, he could not have arrived there 
until dark, and once there his right flank would have been a 
mile and a half to two miles from Thomas's left flank, and 
well in advance of it. If attacked in flank, he risked being 
rolled up and thrown back onto the South Chickamauga. In 
any case, in the dark he would have found it extremely diffi- 
cult to select a tactically sound position and entrench it. I do 
not say that he should not have risked an advance, but I do 
consider that these circumstances ought to be carefully weighed 
up before Sherman is condemned. In my opinion, Sherman's 
blunder was not that he halted where he did, but that ap- 
parently he did not make it clear to Grant that he was not 
actually on the northern end of Missionary Ridge, for that 
night Grant wrote to Thomas saying: "General Sherman car- 
ried Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel with only slight 
skirmishing. . . ." 63 

Whilst Sherman was advancing, Thomas stood fast, and 
Brown's Ferry bridge breaking before Osterhaus's division 
could cross over, at 12.30 A.M. on the 24th, Thomas, under in- 
structions from Grant, ordered Hooker to "take the point 
of Lookout." 54 

Early on the 24th, Hooker advanced, and working his way 
through the mist climbed the mountain as far as the base of 
the "upper palisade," that is to the foot of the precipitous 
wall of rock which tops the mountain: during the night he 
worked forward small parties of sharpshooters who drove 
the enemy off the summit. "Just before sunrise a group of 
soldiers stepped out on a rock which forms the overhanging 
point of the mountain. They carried a flag but held it furled, 
waiting for the sun. The instant the rays broke full upon 
them they loosened its folds, and the waiting thousands below 
beheld the stars and stripes." 55 

p. 44. 
54 55, W3t.> p. 106. 
55 M.HJSJM., VII, p. 391; see also 55, WX.., p. 112. 

Grant as Subordinate General 173 

That evening Grant reported his position to Washington, 
and the following day received replies from both Lincoln and 
Halleck, the former bade him to u Remember Burnside," and 
the latter answered: "I fear that Burnside is hard pushed, and 
that any further delay may prove fatal," which was scarcely 
encouraging, and shows how persistently Grant had been 
pressed to move. A little after midnight, he ordered 5Q Sher- 
man to advance as soon as it was light in the morning, and to 
Thomas he wrote, "Your attack, which will be simultaneous, 
will be in co-operation. Your command will either carry the 
rifle-pits and ridge directly in front of them, or move to the 
left, as the presence of the enemy may require." 5T Further: 
"If Hooker's present position on the mountain can be main- 
tained with a small force, and it is found impracticable- to 
carry the top from where he is, it would be advisable for 
him to move up the valley with the force he can spare and 
ascend (i.e., to the top of Lookout Mountain) by the first 
practicable road." 5S Obviously "top of Lookout Mountain" 
was a slip for "top of Missionary Ridge," 59 and Thomas, rec- 
ognizing this, at 10 A.M. on the 25th ordered Hooker to march 
"on the Rossville road toward Missionary Ridge," 60 that is 
towards the southern extremity of Missionary Ridge. A lit- 
tle later on, Grant, who was with Thomas at Orchard Knob, 
decided that Thomas should not move forward with Sher- 
man, but wait until Hooker had reached Missionary Ridge; 61 
obviously in order to take advantage of Hooker's success of 
the 24th should it be followed by an equal success the next 

As I have related, one of the results of Thomas's recon- 
naissance in force on the 23rd was that Bragg moved a divi- 
sion from Lookout Mountain to Missionary Ridge. Though 
this move facilitated Hooker's advance, it was destined to 
delay Sherman's. On the morning of the 23rd, Cleburne's 
division and one brigade of Buckner's were at Chickamauga 

w 55, W&.> P- 43- 

57 55, w&., p. 44- 

*s 55 , IPX.., p. 44- 

59 See footnote M.H.SM., VIII, p. 232 ; and Grant, II, p. 75. 

6 55, /PJR./P. 115. 

ei Grant, II, p. 75; and 55, W.R., pp. 34, 96, 112, 113. 

174 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Station en route to join Longstreet.** Immediately after 
Thomas attacked, Bragg ordered this force to march to his 
headquarters, and from there Cleburne was instructed to 
place his division immediately behind Missionary Ridge. 
Early on the 24th, whilst Sherman was still crossing the 
Tennessee, Bragg ordered Cleburne to send a brigade to the 
east Tennessee and Georgia railroad bridge over the South 
Chickamauga, in order to protect his line of retreat, and 
at 2 P.M. he ordered him to move his remaining three bri- 
gades to the northern end of Missionary Ridge near the 
railway tunnel, and "preserve the bridge in" his "rear at all 
hazards." Actually, when Sherman arrived at the position he 
occupied on the night of the 24th~25th, Cleburne had only one 
brigade entrenched between him and the tunnel. 63 On the 
morning of the 25th, Cheatham's division and a brigade from 
Stevenson's arrived from Lookout Mountain, the rest of 
Stevenson's division not corning up until later in the day. 64 

The morning of the 25th was clear and bright, and as the 
day remained so, Grant from Orchard Knob had a full view 
of the left of the battlefield. Sherman advanced at daylight 
as ordered, and after a two-hour contest, Grant, from his ob- 
servation post, saw "column after column of Bragg's forces 
moving against him. 1 ' Thereupon Grant ordered Thomas ,to 
send Baird's division to reinforce Sherman, but it was not re- 
quired, whereupon "Bragg at once commenced massing In the 
same direction." QS "This," says Grant, "was what I wanted. 
But it had now got to be late in the afternoon, and I had ex- 
pected before this to see Hooker crossing the ridge in the 
neighbourhood of Rossville, and compelling Bragg to mass in 
that direction also." 66 

Meanwhile, Sherman could not understand what was de- 
laying the advance of Thomas, and, at 12.45 P.M., he asked, 
"Where is Thomas?" 67 To which Thomas replied: "I am 

*2 55, W.R p. 745- 
**M.H.SM., VIII, p. 205. 

64 55, W.R., pp. 701, 726. 

65 55, W.R., p. 34. 

66 Grant, II, p. 78. 

67 55, ^., p. 44* 

Grant as Subordinate General 175 

here; my right is closing in from Lookout Mountain toward 
Missionary Ridge," 68 Grant was still holding Thomas back, 
for the circumstances of battle had compelled him to modify 
his original plan. Sherman, having been checked, there was 
now little hope of turning Bragg's right; but, directly Hooker 
turned Bragg* s left, Bragg would be compelled to denude his 
centre in order to reinforce his left. This was the movement 
Grant was waiting for, before launching Thomas against the 
enemy's weakened centre. 

Though Hooker had advanced early on the 25th, the re- 
tiring enemy burnt the bridge over Chattanooga Creek. This 
delayed his crossing for some hours, and he did not reach 
Rossville gap until after 3 P.M. When he did, he immediately 
carried it and swept on to Missionary Ridge. He did not, 
however, report this success to Thomas. As Grant consid- 
ered that Sherman's position was critical, at 3.30 P.M. he or- 
dered Thomas to advance and carry the "rifle pits" at the 
foot of the ridge. 69 Which order, when referred to Grant's 
instructions, issued to Thomas a little after midnight on the 
24th, was obviously the first step towards carrying the ridge 
itself. In spite of the quibbles raised over this order by a 
number of historians, and particularly by General Smith, the 
Official Records of the war leave its full meaning in no doubt. 
General Baird in his report says : That an officer of Thomas's 
staff brought him an oral order to carry the rifle pits, and 
told him that "this was intended as preparatory to a general 
assault on the mountain, and that it was doubtless designed 
by the major-general commanding that I should take part in 
this movement, so that I would be following his wishes were 
I to push on to the summit." 70 

Dana says: "The storming of the ridge by our troops was 
one of the greatest miracles in military history." 71 It was 
nothing of the sort; in place it was an act of common-sense. 
Missionary Ridge was protected by two entrenched lines, each 

68 55, W.R., p. 44- 

69 55> VPJU.f p. 34. Thomas, always slow, delayed to do so, and nearly an 
hour later Grant ordered the advance himself. (Grant, II, p. 79.) 

70 55, /F.#., p. 508. See Appendix II t 

., p. 69. 

176 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

held by men at one pace interval, and the artillery fire from 
the ridge was plunging, and consequently, not fully effective. 
When the first line, that is the line of rifle pits mentioned by 
Grant, was taken, its defenders fell back, many of them rush- 
ing through the second line. General Manigault, who com- 
manded a brigade in Hindman's division, says : "All order was 
lost, and each striving to save himself took the shortest direc- 
tion for the summit. . . . The troops from below at last 
reached the works exhausted and breathless, the greater por- 
tion so demoralized that they rushed to the rear to place the 
ridge itself between them and the enemy." 72 Obviously Grant 
intended the ridge to be taken, and not foreseeing the even- 
tual demoralization of the garrison of the forward ^Confed- 
erate line, he ordered the line of rifle pits to be carried first. 
The attacking troops, seeing their enemy run, instinctively ran 
after him, and so it happened they carried the ridge in one 
bound in place of two. The impossibility of holding a line of 
men back when an enemy is flying from before it, is well 
known to every soldier who has taken part in such an en- 
gagement. The continued advance was not due to a miracle, 
but to the instinct of the fighting spirit; this does not in any 
way detract from the gallantry of Thomas's superb assault, 
but it does explain it. 

This charge succeeding, Hooker's advance, which had al- 
ready made itself felt, proved the decisive blow of the battle, 
for shattered in front, Bragg could not possibly meet this flank 
attack. In place of winning the battle with his left, as orig- 
inally planned, Grant won it with his right. That he should 
have done so after his mistaken move of Thomas on the 23rd, 
does not reflect adversely on his generalship ; in place it shows 
that his plan and distribution were flexible, that is, that they 
could be adapted to circumstances as they arose. This, after 
all, is one of the greatest tests of generalship. The pursuit 
was abandoned on the 28th, for Grant's immediate problem 
was the relief of Burnside. 

On the 27th, Grant, having ascertained that Bragg was 

72 Alexander, pp. 477, 478. 

Grant as Subordinate General 177 

in full retreat, ordered Sherman to march on Knoxville. 73 He 
arrived there on December 6, to find that Longstreet had 
raised the siege on the 4th, and was in full retreat up the 
Holston Valley. On the 2Oth, Grant moved his headquar- 
ters to Nashville leaving Thomas in command at Chatta- 

In this battle, Grant's losses were 5,815 out of a total force 
of about 6o,ooo. 74 Bragg , who after Longstreet had left him, 
had only 33,000 troops in line, lost 6,175 stand of arms, 40 
guns and 5,471 prisoners, 75 and about 3,000 in killed and 


Grant's victory at Chattanooga opened the road to Atlanta, 
and Atlanta was the back door of Lee's army. Grant had 
seen this clearly ever since the fall of Vicksburg, and now 
that Chattanooga was his, he says: "I expected to retain the 
command I then had, and prepared myself for the campaign 
against Atlanta. I had great hopes of having a campaign 
made against Mobile from the Gulf. I expected after Atlanta 
fell to occupy that place permanently, and cut off Lee's army 
from the west by way of the road running through Augusta 
to Atlanta and thence south-west. I was preparing to hold 
Atlanta with a small garrison, and it was my expectation to 
push through to Mobile if that city was in our possession ; if 
not, to Savannah; and in this manner to get possession of the 
only east and west railroad that would then be left to the 
enemy." 76 On December 7, from Chattanooga, suggesting 
this plan to Halleck, he wrote as follows : 

". . . I take the liberty of suggesting a plan of campaign 
that I think will go far towards breaking down the rebellion 
before spring. . . . 

73 On the 2yth, Grant instructed Thomas to send Granger's corps to Knox- 
ville. On the 29th he found that he had not yet started, so he sent Sherman 
instead. (Grant, II, pp. 90-92.) 

7*B. & L. f III, p. 711. 

75 Cut, p. 258. 

76 Grant) II, pp. 100-101. 

178 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

"I propose, with the concurrence of higher authority, to 
move by way of New Orleans and Pascagoula on Mobile. I 
would hope to secure that place, or its investment, by the last 
of January. Should the enemy make an obstinate resistance 
at Mobile, I would fortify outside and leave a garrison suffi- 
cient to hold the garrison of the town, and with the balance of 
the army make a campaign into the interior of Alabama and 
possibly Georgia. The campaign, of course, would be sug- 
gested by the movements of the enemy. It seems to me that 
the move would secure the entire States of Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi and a part of Georgia, or force Lee to abandon Vir- 
ginia and North Carolina. ^ Without his force the enemy have 
not got army enough to resist the army I can take. . . ." 7T 

On the 2 ist, Lincoln agreed 78 to this plan, but only should 
Longstreet be first ejected from east Tennessee. Grant realiz- 
ing, that on account of the severity of the winter, a direct 
advance against Longstreet was not practicable until the 
spring, determined to move Sherman on Meridian. On Janu- 
ary 15, he informed Halleck that Sherman was then concen- 
trating at Vicksburg, that he would move on Meridian, and 
thoroughly destroy the railways, after which he would re- 
turn, "unless opportunity of going into Mobile with the force 
he has, appears perfectly plain,'' In this same letter he wrote : 
"I look upon the next line for me to secure to be that from 
Chattanooga to Mobile; Montgomery and Atlanta being the 
important intermediate points. To do this, large supplies 
must be secured on the Tennessee river, so as to be independ- 
ent of the railroads from here [Nashville] to the Tennessee 
for a considerable length of time. Mobile would be a second 
base. The destruction which Sherman will do to the roads 
around Meridian will be of material importance to us in 
preventing the enemy from drawing supplies from Mississippi 
and in clearing that section of all large bodies of rebel troops. 
I do not look upon any points except Mobile, in the south, and 
the Tennessee river in the north, as presenting practicable 
starting points from which to operate against Atlanta and 
Montgomery." 79 

it 56, W.R., pp. 349, 350. 

56, JTJR., p. 457- 

79 58, W.R,, pp. too, 101. 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 79 

Thus was outlined the idea which in the main, as we shall 
see, was carried out by Sherman in his grand wheel against 
Lee's rear. 

A copy of this letter was sent to Sherman, and, on Janu- 
ary 19, Grant informed Thomas that he was to co-operate in 
this movement, and that he particularly wanted him "to keep 
up the appearance of preparation for an advance from Chat- 
tanooga. 51 80 

In brief, Grant was preparing to cast his net over an area 
of a thousand miles in extent* Thomas, in the centre, was 
confronted by Joseph E. Johnston, who had relieved Har- 
dee; 81 Schofield, now in command of the Department of Ohio, 
was holding Longstreet in east Tennessee, and Sherman was 
about to move out from Vicksburg eastwards through Mis- 
sissippi and Alabama, and by threatening Johnston in rear, 
whilst Thomas operated against his front, compel the Con- 
federate Government to call upon Longstreet to evacuate east 
Tennessee, and come to Johnston's assistance. 

A prettier piece of strategy than this has seldom been de- 
vised, for not only would it compel the Confederates to evacu- 
ate east Tennessee, but it prepared the way for any eventual 
move against Mobile, Montgomery and Atlanta from the 

Sherman advanced from Vicksburg on February 3 ; General 
Sooy Smith and 7,000 cavalry 82 having been ordered, on the 
ist, to advance from Memphis and join hands with him at 
Meridian. Smith, an indifferent soldier, however, delayed 83 
his move until the nth, and failing to accomplish his task, 
turned back on the 22nd. On the i4th, S4 Sherman entered 
Meridian, and so completely destroyed the railroads at this 
place, that in the autumn of this year, when Hood cut loose 
from Atlanta, the time taken up in wagoning his supplies 
round the breaks detained him at Florence for nearly a month, 

so 5 8, W.R., p. 143. . . .. , 

si After the battle of Chattanooga, Bragg was made Commander-in-Chief 

and replaced by Hardee. Horde*, not desiring the responsibility thrust upon 

him, was shortly afterwards relieved by Johnston, 

82 57j WR., pp. 174, x8x. 

83 57 , W.R., p. 175; 56, W.R., p. 3*6- 
s* 57, W&. t p. 175- 

180 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

and so enabled Thomas to collect his scattered forces and de- 
feat him at Nashville. 85 

This raid caused the greatest excitement throughout the 
Confederacy, troops being sent from Mobile and from John- 
ston's army to bring Sherman to book. This general, not 
waiting, however, for their arrival, fell back, and reached 
Canton on the 28th. 

On the 1 2th, Thomas was ordered to make a reconnais- 
sance in force towards Dalton, but the usual delays followed, 
and he did not leave Chattanooga until the 22nd. Longstreet 
having fallen back, Schofield followed him up, but the roads 
were so bad that he was prevented going far. Such was the 
situation which faced Grant in the West, when, on March 3, 
he was called to Washington, 

ss Badeau, I, p. 558. 



SINCE the coming of the Industrial Revolution, the tactics and 
strategy of each great war have been largely based on trial 
and error, and none more so than those of the American Civil 
War and the World War of 1914-1918, which in nature are, 
however, separated by one great difference: though both 
opened as stupendous strategical and tactical experiments, the 
former was conducted by amateur statesmen and soldiers who 
had never studied the meaning of such a conflict, whilst the 
latter was controlled by professional men, men deeply versed 
in diplomacy, international politics, and the theory of absolute 
warfare as expounded by Clausewitz and others. Curious to 
relate, the errors of the experts were even more flagrant than 
those of the amateurs, the reason being, that though these ex- 
perts had studied war deeply they had failed to relate their 
work to the conditions of the civilization in which they lived; 
in place they laboured in a world which existed long before 
their day, namely, that of pre-industrial civilization the age 
of agrarian culture. They could not see that war is as much 
a product of things living as of things dead; that to relate 
it to history is for practical purposes valueless, unless simul- 
taneously it is related to the active world-forces of the ever- 
changing present. And the result? Whilst the professionals 
started their war on political and military theories, each and 
every one of which was founded on a fallacy, the amateurs, 
having no theories except of the vaguest to perplex them, 
through their native horse-sense, discovered their errors. 
Whilst to the statesmen and soldiers of 1861-1863 failure was 
an illumination, to those of 1914-1916 it was a mist which, 
silting between theory and fact, obscured the reality of their 


1 82 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

mistakes. The one, like children, could learn fully, for knowl- 
edge was slight, and imagination still vivid; the other, like 
pedants, attempted to make the end fit the means, and were 
dumbfounded when it would not do so. This does not prove 
that theory is useless, but that idols have feet of clay, and 
that theory must be based on the facts of the living present, 
and not on those of a dead past; for the present all such 
facts are fictions. This is why I devoted a chapter to the 
natural history of the Civil War, for unless we use the living 
historic sense of things, like a candle, to light up the dark 
mansion of generalship, when we search through its dusty 
rooms for living men, in their place we shall merely uncover 
the mouldering skeletons and mildewed doctrines of dead 

Compared to the year 1914, the year 1861 was little more 
than a kindergarten entertainment. In both these years it 
was obvious that the enemy had some day to be defeated: 
but how? This was the question which was not understood. 
In both, the fundamental reason for this was the same : there 
was no unity of command. In Europe, this unity was grudg- 
ingly agreed upon only when a death rattle began to choke the 
Allied cause. In America, we see it established in March 
1864; but even before this date attempts were made to found 
it For example, in the spring of 1862, when Halleck took 
command in the West; again when Halleck went to Washing- 
ton in July, 1862 ; and again when Rosecrans's defeat at Chick- 
amauga resulted in Grant's appointment in the autumn of 
1863, to the command of the Military Division of the Mis- 
sissippi. This last unification was the stepping stone to the 
establishment of complete unity of command the following 

For nearly three years, Lincoln, who was an amateur war 
statesman, stood perplexed between how to win the war, and 
whom to trust with this task. Lincoln's supreme difficulty was : 
whom could he trust? One general after another failed him; 
they did so, because they also were amateurs, for, with the 
solitary exception of Grant, they failed to understand that a 
general is an instrument of government. They had no com- 

Grant as Subordinate General 183 

prehension of grand strategy, that is, of the relationship be- 
tween policy and war. McClellan, probably the ablest of the 
failures, never grasped this essential. In 1862, he behaved 
like a wilful schoolboy, and the following year we find him 
intriguing against Grant. Grant never intrigued; further 
still, he never overlooked the political situation, and the 
necessity of conforming to it. When McClernand, quite 
wrongly, was given command of the river expedition, Grant, 
in place of butting his head against Lincoln's, at once modified 
his plan. When in the late winter of 1862-1863 political 
conditions in the North were desperate, he waged ^ three 
months of toilsome warfare in the swamps of the Mississippi 
because these conditions demanded activity, and simultane- 
ously he converted this waste of tactical energy into a strate- 
gic smoke cloud to cover his eventual advance. Finally he 
accepted the surrender of Vicksburg on terms, because he felt 
that the political situation demanded it. 

In 1861, there existed a hazy grand strategy entirely di- 
vorced from grand tactics. The problem then was : Lincoln 
must learn the full meaning of the first, and discover a general 
who could appreciate the full meaning of the second. For 
nearly three years he searched in vain, the reason being that 
such a man did not exist; circumstances had to create^ him, 
to educate him, and to point him out. At length he discov- 
ered a man he had never seen Grant, the self-made soldier. 
Not a man from the East, which flamed before the doorsteps 
of the White House, but a man from out the twilight of the 
West, a somewhat silent man, who blew no trumpet and who 
had no axe to grind, a strange contrast to the McClellans 
and the Hookers. A man who once had been seated on a 
packing box in a leather store at Galena; who had passed 
through many ordeals, but who had never as yet been de- 
feated. Who had met Floyd, Pillow, Buckner, Van Dorn, 
Pemberton and Bragg, every one of whom was either cap- 
tured, or superseded after the meeting. Grant was Lincoln's 
last experiment, and his choice, as we shall see, proved Lin- 
coln's ability to solve the war problem successfully. 

1 84 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


In examining the campaigns fought by Grant during the 
first three years of the war, we must dismiss from our minds 
all the jargon of the military schools, and particularly the 
geometric strategy and tactics of Baron de Jomini, whose his- 
tories and Art of War were the text books of European 
armies. Grant, in 1861, knew none of these things, and in 
all probability he had never heard of Jomini. Quite unedu- 
cated in military matters, he relied entirely on his personality 
and his common sense, intuitively understanding that war is 
nothing more than an equation between pressure and resist- 
ance; that all direction springs from these two, and if the di- 
rection of an operation is to be profitable its object must be a 
desirable one, and its objective, or goal, an attainable one with 
the means at hand. Grant's common sense is so remarkable, 
that in itself it constitutes a military lesson of no small impor- 
tance, namely, that the art of war strategy and tactics is 
nothing more than action adapted to circumstances. This 
goes to prove that all theoretical systems of war must be so 
flexible in nature that they can be easily moulded to whatever 
circumstances confront a general. In 1861, Grant possessed 
no theory of war, not for five minutes could he have argued 
on strategy with Halleck, I doubt whether he could have ever 
done so, even in 1865; but when he was faced by a problem, 
he could look at it in an eminently common sense way, and 
in so detached and unselfish a manner, that throughout his 
life he seems to have been quite oblivious of his genius; for 
common sense is genius and of no common order. 

Grant was not, as we have seen, a great artist of war; for 
his tactics were frequently crude and remained so throughout 
his career, but as a natural scientist of war he was of the type 
who, so I think, would have pleased Thomas Huxley, for this 
philosopher defined science as * 'organized common sense," 
common sense being in his opinion, "the rarest of all the 
senses." Had Grant possessed a love for war, which he cer- 
tainly did not; that is, had he been so fascinated by war as to 
examine it, study it, and live with its idea as the one control- 

Grant as Subordinate General 185 

ling influence of his life; and had he belonged to a military 
people in a warlike age, he might well have risen to a place 
among the Great Captains of history. But he disliked war, 
looking upon it in no romantic light; for to him it was the nec- 
essary retribution for evil done. In spite of the fact that his 
wife kept slaves, slavery was an evil institution, the war with 
Mexico was a dishonourable act, consequently the Civil War 
was the exorcism Nature rightly demanded to banish the evil 
and to re-establish the good. It was a great national purifica- 
tion in which he had to play his part; yet the astonishing thing 
is that except as a soldier Grant failed in every peaceful work 
he undertook. Throughout his life he never seems to have 
realized that In his native common sense and in his personal- 
ity were the raw materials of great soldiership. 

His common sense was such that he possessed the inestima- 
ble gift of being able to learn from his own mistakes, as well 
as from the mistakes of others. He was in no way bound by 
conventions or by traditions; he had a horror of precedents 
and formalities, and at times, such as during his advance from 
Port Gibson, he would cast them aside in order to speed up 
his work. He was a stubborn man, yet always willing to lis- 
ten to the suggestions of his subordinates, so much so that 
many have considered that such men as Rawlins, his chief of 
staff, were his brains. I can find no proof of this in his cam- 
paigns, for in them he appears to have been his own law, his 
text book being the war itself. Though a slow thinker he 
studied this book minutely, and particularly the chapters con- 
cerning his own operations. To illustrate this I cannot do 
better than quote what he himself says as regards the value 
of military history: 

"Some of our generals failed because they worked out every- 
thing by rule. They knew what Frederick did at one place, 
and Napoleon at another* They were always thinking about 
what Napoleon would do. Unfortunately for their plans, the 
rebels would be thinking about something else. I don't under- 
rate the value of military knowledge, but if men make war in 
slavish observances to rules, they will fail. No rules will 
apply to conditions of war as different as those which exist In 

1 86 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Europe and America. Consequently, while our generals were 
working out problems of an ideal character, problems that 
would have looked well on a blackboard, practical facts were 
neglected. To that extent I consider remembrances of old 
campaigns a disadvantage. Even Napoleon showed that, for 
my impression is that his first success came because he made 
war in his own way, and not in imitation of others. War is 
progressive, because all the instruments and^ elements of war 
are progressive. I do not believe in luck in war any more 
than luck in business. Luck is a small matter, may ^ affect a 
battle or a movement, but not a campaign or a career." 1 

Here we see Grant's common sense: conditions and not 
rules governed his actions. He did not resist circumstances, 
instead he analyzed them. 

At Belmont he had no real reserves, at Donelson he had, 
but here his administrative arrangements were of the most 
meagre, and not only did the men suffer but the battle suffered. 
At Shiloh he was mentally as unprepared for the battle as 
his men were physically so. Thus far he had never been full- 
heartedly attacked, now he was, and his first action was to 
push forward ammunition, a lesson he learnt at Donelson; 
next to form up the stragglers and broken units into a reserve, 
another lesson he had learnt at the same place. At Shiloh 
his main lesson was the value of a general reserve, that is, of 
a formed body of fresh troops which can renew the attack 
against an exhausted enemy. Further, he learnt the value of 
establishing a defensive base to an offensive operation. These 
lessons may be considered extremely elementary, but this does 
not detract from their value; for, as Clausewitz says, "It is 
the simple which is difficult in war." 

Throughout the experimental period of the war the value 
of a strong reserve had escaped the notice of McDowell, Mc- 
Clellan, Buell and Burnside, as well as most of the other gen- 
erals. Lee never mastered the use of reserves until his defeat 
at Gettysburg; but Grant did so after Shiloh, as may be seen 
in his Corinth, Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns. In 
the last of these, his centre, Thomas and the Army of the 

1 Church, pp. 188-189. 

Grant as Subordinate General 1 87 

Cumberland, was kept in reserve throughout the first day of 
the battle; and at Vicksburg Grant's columns were so distrib- 
uted that any one of them could act as a mobile reserve to 
strike the enemy in flank or rear, a lesson he had tested out 
at luka and Corinth. 

At Holly Springs, Van Dorn's raid taught him the enor- 
mous advantage of living on the country, a lesson applied in 
his campaign south of Vicksburg, and one upon which Sher- 
man based his march through Georgia. 

At Shiloh he was surprised, at Vicksburg he prepared one 
of the most elaborate and successful surprisals ever effected in 
war. At Chattanooga he again applied it, and had he made 
better use of his cavalry, had he, in place of sending them off 
to destroy the railway, ordered them forward to co-operate 
with Sherman in seizing Tunnel Hill, Bragg' s army should 
have been annihilated. The true use of cavalry he had not 
yet mastered, though Shiloh might have taught him this lesson. 

In brief, Grant's lessons may be grouped under three head- 
ings, namely, those which concern the instrument, the method 
and the conditions of war; such as ammunition supply, the 
rear attack, and the political factors. From these he built up 
his art of war, in which he excelled in protected-mobility, that 
is in strategical action, rather than in protected-offensive 
power tactics. In this respect he resembles Napoleon, whose 
tactics were frequently faulty. I will now turn to Grant's sec- 
ond quality his personality. 


"If you cannot earn learn'* is a common saying, and as I 
have just shown it is one automatically, rather than con- 
sciously, applied by Grant. Yet the discovery of errors, and 
the ability to avoid repeating mistakes, lose much of their 
practical value unless they are governed by a strong personal- 
ity, a quality not easy to define, and one which lends itself 
better to illustration. 

The first quality of soldiership is courage, without which 
all other virtues lose form, tone and colour. Courage not 

1 88 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

only fortifies the will of the general, but it magnetizes the 
will of his men. Whoever possesses courage, possesses pres- 
tige in its most powerful form, for throughout history hero- 
ism has stirred the hearts of men and women infinitely more 
so than reason has their minds. Of courage there are two 
forms physical and moral, which are so closely related that 
it is quite impossible to separate them. Grant possessed these 
two in abundance; for he was not only a man who scorned 
danger, when it was profitable to scorn it, but a man who 
scorned untruth, that is, if he considered his opinion was 
right, no physical danger or moral responsibility could shake 
him from his purpose. At Salt River, he kept "right on," not 
because he did not fear, but because he did fear, and had suf- 
ficient command over himself to throttle his fears. At Bel- 
mont, it is the same; as yet he is no general, but in spite of 
danger he was the last to leave the field, as a trusty captain 
is the last to leave a sinking ship. In this instance it is not 
because he fought bravely that he commands our admiration, 
but because, single-handed, he braved imminent personal dan- 
ger in order to make certain that not a man of his had been 
left behind. Such acts as this distinguish a leader from his 
men, they render him conspicuous, and ennoble him in their 
eyes. To them he becomes a hero, and it is heroism which 
magnetizes the human soul, and impels the human will to 
challenge even the impossible. 

His first speech to his regiment, the 2ist Illinois, was not 
a jest, it was an act of moral courage. There was no hum- 
bug about this man, and a vast amount of common sense. 
How many others would have exclaimed: "Go to your quar- 
ters"? How many another would not have been surprised, 
by the sudden call for a speech, and being unbalanced would 
have said something pleasant and jocular. Grant saw before 
him a canaille and not a regiment, and when they shouted he 
saw a still greater canaille, and he treated his undisciplined 
rabble as such. When, in 1796, Bonaparte "of poor aspect, 
and with the reputation of a mathematician and a dreamer" 
first met his generals in conference (and some, such as Auge- 
reau, were anything but friendly) he hitched up his sword, 

Grant as Subordinate General 189 

adjusted his hat, explained his orders to them, and dismissed 
them. They were dumbfounded: not a word of praise, not a 
request for an opinion, merely an order. Augereau after- 
wards admitted to Massena that "this little devil of a general 
had inspired him with awe." He is overwhelmed by the 
stronger personality; he makes no answer, for mentally he 
is paralyzed. 

In the Vicksburg campaign, Grant's moral courage has sel- 
dom been equalled, certainly seldom surpassed. His plan met 
with no support, and was opposed by his subordinate com- 
manders. Sherman, a fine soldier, strenuously objected to it; 
but Grant, having thought it out, and having meditated upon 
it, knew that it was a good plan, and no better being suggested 
he refused to change it. Here his moral courage drew its 
strength from a firm knowledge of the situation. A man who 
knows has the courage to act, but in war chance and uncer- 
tainty play so large a part that the average man either follows 
his innate stupidity, or leans upon the advice of others, in 
order to share the responsibility of his decisions with his staff, 
or with his subordinates. Such men rely on councils of war, 
and in the World War these were re-christened " Confer- 
ences," and they destroyed one operation after another. 

Courage begets energy, but unless a general is bodily and 
mentally active, and unless he is endowed with a will to press 
on, the energy of courage is apt to effervesce. In war, energy 
may be, and frequently is, misdirected ; but even waste of en- 
ergy is better than lethargy, that unforgivable sin of general- 
ship. Grant's energy is quite extraordinary: fit, or sick, noth- 
ing can stop him. He is always ready to act, he is never ob- 
sessed by difficulties, he never exaggerates difficulties, or paints 
mental pictures of imaginary situations. At Belmont, he is 
reputed to have said: "Don't be too anxious about what the 
other fellow is going to do to you, but make him anxious about 
what you are going to do to him." At Shiloh, though half 
crippled, and all was in tumult, he moved everywhere. His 
ride to Chattanooga is an epic of energy, and men who can 
create such epics, are those who may be called born leaders. 
In them is an enormous source of power which will out, and in 

190 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

spite of ignorance it often happens in war that the man of 
energy is the man of destiny. He is like a hurricane he is the 
true thunderbolt of war. 

Courage and energy will sometimes sweep a general off his 
feet Men, like Charles XII of Sweden, cannot stand still, 
for battle intoxicates them like strong wine. This wild en- 
thusiasm for glory is entirely foreign to Grant; to him it would 
have appeared ridiculous, for of all the generals of the Civil 
W ar w ith the possible exception of Thomas he was the 
coolest and the most perfectly balanced. At Donelson and 
Shiloh, in spite of chaos, he has complete mastery over him- 
self, his heart never runs away with his head; wherever he 
appears, his presence, like ice, allays the fever. He is totally 
unlike General Rosecrans, an able strategist, one of the ablest 
of this war, but a man who collapsed under defeat. Grant is 
at his best when tumult surrounds him, because he is unaf- 
fected by it, and though he may issue no single order, his pres- 
ence at once counteracts panic, it allays fear, it induces confi- 
dence. His imperturbable appearance and his inevitable cigar 
restore a broken line more firmly than a fresh division. In 
this respect, his imperturbability, he closely resembles the 
Duke of Wellington. 

This confidence in himself, which instilled confidence in 
others, was based on his determination. No matter what 
might be the difficulties, he never failed to see a thing through. 
Nevertheless, he never adhered to a plan obstinately, or 
in spite of conditions. This we clearly see at Chattanooga; 
but nothing would induce him to give up the idea behind his 
plan. Like Napoleon, he seldom had a fixed plan, and when 
he made a plan he frequently changed it : but the idea of his 
plan he never abandons. Once riding round the lines at Vicks- 
burg he stopped at the house of a rebel woman for a drink 
of water. The woman taunted him, asking him if he ever 
expected to take the fortress. "Certainly, 11 he replied. "But 
when?" "I cannot tell exactly when I shall take the town, 
but I mean to stay here till I do, if it takes me thirty years." 
Such was Grant. 

A man who is a "stayer" is not usually speedy. But I feel 

Grant as Subordinate General 191 

the reader will agree, that during the years 1861-1863 there 
were few generals who realized the value of speed and time 
so fully as Grant. With him " activity" is a daily watchword, 
and though often he tried his troops to the utmost, no loss of 
moral resulted. It is sloth and not activity which rots disci- 
pline. From the day he set out from Holly Springs towards 
Vicksburg until the day he took over the appointment of 
general-in-chief, his armies were in constant movement. He 
was always pressing, seldom resisting, because he understood 
what may be called the Strategy of pressure"; by which I 
mean, that an enemy who is continually attacked has no time 
to think, to plan, or to regain his tactical breath. 

Such was Grant's vigorous personality, and it magnetized 
his men. This we see at Fort Donelson. It was his "fire bap- 
tism," and it was his personality rather than his generalship 
which won through. Here he turned a defeated line into a 
conquering line, a line which having fallen back in disorder 
was, a few hours later to stand victorious on the enemy's 
parapets. His magnetism at Chattanooga is most remark- 
able. He moralized an army not by a display of heroics, but 
by silent common sense. The men who were without a head, 
for Rosecrans had lost his, he supplied not only with a head 
but with a heart, and a few weeks later Missionary Ridge 
was theirs. 

Curiously enough, the secret of Grant's personality, the real 
secret of his success as a general, may be summed up in the 
words of an old magical formula, the secret of secrets, written 
by some long forgotten hand in the twilight of the Middle 
Ages. It is : "To know, to will, to dare and to remain silent." 


Throughout the history of war few great generals, whether 
in supreme or subordinate command, have simultaneously 
proved themselves to be great at strategy and good at tactics. 
In ancient times, when battles consisted of hand-to-hand en- 
counters, in the art of generalship tactics predominated; and 
this is clearly seen in the actions of such men as Alexander, 

192 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Hannibal, Belisarius and Edward III. In modern times it 
has been the reverse, the art of the general depending more 
on distribution, concentration and direction, than upon the 
combined use of arms and weapons in battle. Frederick the 
Great never understood the value of light infantry. Napoleon 
failed to grasp the power of the howitzer, and Sir Douglas 
Haig of the tank. The reason for this is obvious, namely, the 
more senior a commander becomes the more is he divorced 
from actual fighting; and the larger his command grows the 
more has he to concentrate on administration and organiza- 
tion, and leave leadership and tactics to his subordinates. 
These facts must be kept in mind when we criticize Grant. 

In its broadest sense, strategy is nothing more than pro- 
tected movement with the object of developing offensive 
power against the most vulnerable point in the enemy's mili- 
tary distribution of forces. This point is always the rear of 
an army, or the enemy's base of operations. Protected move- 
ment is guaranteed by a correct appreciation of conditions, the 
position of the enemy's forces, their strength, his probable in- 
tentions, the ground, weather, communications, etc., followed 
by a distribution of force which will result in restricting the 
enemy's mobility and simultaneously concentrate strength un- 
expectedly against the most vulnerable, or decisive, point. 
From this definition it will be realized how complex the art of 
strategy is, and why it is that so few generals show a high 
strategical ability. 

If Grant was unfortunate in possessing no knowledge of 
this art, it was more than fortunate for the Federal cause that 
his first small command should place him in the neighbour- 
hood of Cairo, the great strategical centre of the West, the 
hub of a system of communications, water and rail, leading 
, to St. Louis, Pittsburg, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Mobile and 
New Orleans. He was by nature a man of situations; by 
which I do not mean that he was a creative genius, a creator 
of situations which would assist his work, but an analyzer of 
the situations in which he found himself, or was placed. At 
Cairo he at once realized the importance of Paducah, and 
though not authorized to do $o he occupied this strategical 

Grant as Subordinate General 193 

centre. Once occupied, his ideas on strategy began to grow: 
he saw that a successful move against Forts Henry and Don- 
elson would not only compel the Confederates to abandon 
Kentucky, but would open up the line of the Tennessee, 
whereby a move could be made on Corinth and Chattanooga, 
and the Confederate forces in Tennessee separated from 
those in Arkansas. 

At first this may have been somewhat of an uncertain vision, 
but on the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson it became con- 
crete, and had Grant been In command in place of Halleck 
there can be little doubt that he would have rapidly occupied 
Corinth and Memphis, and from these centres have moved 
upon Vicksburg, cutting the Confederacy in half in the sum- 
mer of 1862, in place of in that of 1863 as he eventually did. 
When Vicksburg surrendered, his next idea was to move on 
Mobile, in order to establish a base of operations against 
Georgia and the eastern Confederate States. From Paducah 
to Appomattox, as we shall see, Grant's strategical plan, upon 
which all actions were to pivot, was maintained in spite of all 
difficulties; this in itself constitutes one of the most remarkable 
cases of concentration of purpose and maintenance of direc- 
tion to be found in the history of war. 

What was the idea behind this plan ? Strategically, it was 
the rear manoeuvre leading whenever possible to the rear at- 
tack. The move on Forts Henry and Donelson was a manoeu- 
vre against the rear of Bowling Green, which would have 
been followed, had Grant been in command, by a move on 
Corinth, that is a manoeuvre against the rear of Nashville and 
Memphis. The manoeuvres at Corinth and luka were tactical, 
aiming at a rear attack. At Vicksburg we see rear manoeuvres 
and attacks intimately combined. First, Sherman was sent 
down the Mississippi to attack Pemberton in rear, whilst 
Grant manoeuvred against his front; and later, when a footing 
was gained south of the fortress, Grant, so to say, abolished 
his own rear so that he might protect himself from the very 
type of attack he intended to launch against his enemy. He at 
once moved on Jackson, not because it was occupied by the 
enemy's main army, but because it was the most vulnerable 

194 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

point in rear of Vicksburg. Jackson in his hands, the rear 
manoeuvre was developed into the rear attack at Champion's 
Hill, which failed, and the result was the siege of Vicksburg. 
At Chattanooga, he found Rosecrans's army attacked in rear, 
because Bragg commanded Lookout Valley, and his first action 
was to re-establish its line of supply; his next, to plan a battle 
which would threaten Bragg's rear by turning his right. 
Chattanooga won, the Mobile operation was once again sug- 
gested, so that from Montgomery a rear manoeuvre might be 
made against Atlanta; and in Sherman's Meridian campaign 
we see the same idea. 

Grant has gone down to history as a bludgeon general, a 
general who eschewed manoeuvre and who with head down, 
seeing red, charged his enemy again and again like a bull ; in- 
deed an extraordinary conclusion, for no general in this war, 
not excepting Lee, and few generals in any other war, made 
greater use of manoeuvre in the winning of his campaigns, if 
not, of his battles. Without fear of contradiction, it may be 
said that Grant's object was consistent; strategically it was to 
threaten his enemy's base of operations, and tactically to strike 
at the rear, or, failing the rear, at a flank of his enemy's army. 
This being so, the pivotal idea in his generalship was abso- 
lutely sound, and firmly based on economy of force. 

Throughout the campaigns under review, the direction of 
Grant's movements was governed by this idea; nevertheless, 
in spite of his natural stubbornness, when circumstances de- 
manded a change of direction, he did not hesitate to modify 
his movements, and yet without abandoning this idea. When 
Fan Dorn destroyed his supply depot at Holly Springs, there 
is little doubt that, learning he could live on the country, he 
might with no great difficulty have continued his advance on 
Grenada, and quite possibly have taken Vicksburg from the 
east But it was because he was threatened by a political rear 
attack the appointment of McClernand an attack which he 
felt would lead to the destruction of his idea, and conse- 
quently of his strategy, that to maintain this idea he shifted 
his line of operation from the railway to the river, increasing 
his tactical difficulties enormously. In spite of these difficul- 

Grant as Subordinate General 195 

ties, his final plan is not far removed from his original one. 
According to his first plan Sherman was to operate against 
Haines's Bluff whilst he moved down from Grenada; in his 
final plan, Sherman feinted at Haines's Bluff, and he moved up 
from Port Gibson. 

From direction of movement I will turn to distribution and 
concentration of force, and here again we shall see that, be- 
tween the battles of Belmont and Chattanooga, Grant became 
a master of these principles, and in spite of the fact that the 
word principle would have conveyed to him little or no mean- 
ing. At Belmont, distribution could scarcely have been more 
faulty; at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson It was amateurish; 
at Shiloh it was non-existent, because security was altogether 
wanting; then came a remarkable change. At luka and Cor- 
inth, one force held while another was ready to hit; neither 
battle led to a complete success, nevertheless the idea of a 
correct distribution of force is to be seen in each. At Vicks- 
burg the columns of Sherman, McClernand and McPherson 
were so distributed that any one of them could resist whilst 
the other two pressed, that is concentrated against the enemy 
opposing the resistance. The first concentration, as I have 
already stated, was made against Jackson, because this rail- 
way junction was what may be called a centre of strategical 
mobility. In 1914, Pans occupied a similar position with ref- 
erence to the advancing German right wing. In 1905, Gen- 
eral von Schlieffen had planned that this right wing was to 
envelop Paris, and so destroy it as a centre of mobility before 
this wing moved east and struck the French armies in rear; 
but in 1914 this plan was modified by General von Kluck mov- 
ing forward east of Paris in a south-easterly direction* Im- 
mediately this centre of mobility became active, an army was 
assembled there, and the German right wing was threatened 
in rear; this manoeuvre led to the battle of the Marne. 2 

2 In November 1917, during the battle of Cambrai, the city of Cambrai be- 
came a centre of mobility, with the result that directly the initial British attack 
was checked, the Germans rushed up reinforcements and, on the soth, counter- 
attacked the British right, broke through, and all but succeeded in taking the 
British left in rear. At the time, the strategical value of Cambrai was quite 
overlooked by the British general staff. 

196 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Grant, as we have seen, was wiser than the younger Moltke ; 
from Port Gibson he did not move on Vicksburg his goal, 
nor on Pemberton's army his objective, but on Jackson, the 
centre of mobility; and by concentrating his forces against it 
he protected his rear as I have already described. 3 Once 
Jackson was occupied, Grant concentrated his forces against 
Pembertotn, and driving him across the Big Black, made use 
of this river as a wet moat to protect his rear whilst he lay 
siege to Vicksburg. Throughout this entire campaign, concen- 
tration and distribution of force march hand in hand, and the 
economy of force resulting is truly remarkable; in all, Grant 
lost some 9,000 in killed and wounded and 400 prisoners to 
the Confederates' 10,000 killed and wounded and 37,000 
prisoners. In other words, Grant's total loss was exactly one- 
fifth of his opponents'. 

At the battle of Chattanoogaj Grant's distribution is in form 
classical, for it closely resembles that established in the Mace- 
donian army by Philip in the fourth century B.C., and made 
use of by his son Alexander the Great throughout his aston- 
ishing career. Philip's organization, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, was modelled on that of the human body; it was a 
three- fold organization; the central phalanx was the trunk 
and the two cavalry wings attached to it the arms which, 
hinged on the trunk and protected by it, could punch right or 
left. It is not the place here to enter into the detail of this 
organization, but, in my opinion, it was the most perfect ever 
devised for war, and with certain modifications remains so. 

At Chattanooga, what do we see? A three-fold order of 
battle : Thomas's army is the phalanx, or trunk; Hooker's the 
right wing and Sherman's the left the wings moving forward 
and threatening whilst the centre holds firm and protects their 
inner flanks. 4 Grant's plan was to knock out Bragg with his 
left, and because the blow failed several writers have stated 
that Grant's plan failed. In detail it did, because Sherman 

3 Grant's operations against the Confederate forces at Jackson and Vicksburg 
bear a marked resemblance to those of Napoleon against Bliicher at Ligny and 
Wellington at Quatre Bras in 1815. 

4 As will be seen in Chapter XIV, Sherman made use of this formation dur- 
ing his Atlanta campaign. 

Grant as Subordinate General 197 

did not knock out Bragg, but in idea it did not. The left wing 
being hung up, the right wing swung forward, and threaten- 
ing the left flank and left rear of Bragg* s army distracted his 
centre, which was assaulted and overthrown by Thomas. It 
was because Grant's distribution was flexible that he was able 
to modify his plan and yet maintain his idea; had it been 
rigid, Sherman's failure would have ended the battle, and 
Bragg would either have remained in position or have retired. 
In actual fact, Sherman's failure did lessen the chances of an- 
nihilating Bragg, but it in no way prevented Grant severely 
defeating his enemy. Grant's distribution of force was mas- 
terful, because it permitted of a concentration of force against 
Bragg's centre or flanks, according to circumstances, and it 
permitted of the ultimate direction of Grant's will the de- 
feat of Bragg being maintained. It is in this distribution 
that we see his generalship far more clearly than in the final 
results of this battle. 

In my definition of strategical action I stated that strength 
must be concentrated unexpectedly against the decisive point. 
Unexpected action is surprise, and though Grant as a man was 
anything but original, from 1861 onwards we see him eagerly 
striving in most of his battles to gain concentration of force 
through surprise. 

The foundation of his originality is not so much imagina- 
tion, for Grant was not imaginative, as a quick and rational 
grasp of conditions, his determination to see things through, 
and the rapidity with which, once he had made up his mind, 
he moved and acted. Fort Henry was surprised by a sudden 
attack, and so would Fort Donelson have been had not the 
weather delayed Grant's advance. Here he was severely 
checked, in fact surprised by the Confederate sortie; but when 
he learnt that Buckner's men had three days' rations in their 
haversacks, he at once inferred that they were attempting to 
cut their way out, and that, consequently, they must be massed 
on the left of their position; therefore, that on the right of 
their position the chances were that he would not be opposed 
in strength. Through this rapid process of reasoning which, 
considering the circumstances, shows how little Grant's imag- 

198 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ination was affected by the tumult around him, he fathomed 
the situation and at once ordered Smith to assault. 

Grant's behaviour at Donelson coincides to the letter^with 
Napoleon's description of a general-in-chief, which is as 
follows : 

'The first quality of a general-in-chief is to have a cool 
head which receives exact impressions of things, which never 
gets heated, which never allows itself to be dazzled, or in- 
toxicated, by good or bad news. The successive or simul- 
taneous sensations which he receives in the course of a day 
must be classified, and must occupy the correct places they 
merit to fill ; because common sense and reason are the results 
of the comparison of a number of sensations each equally well 
considered. There are certain men who, on account of their 
moral and physical constitution, paint mental pictures out of 
everything: however exalted be their reason, their will, their 
courage, and whatever other good qualities they may possess, 
nature has not fitted them to command armies, nor to direct 
great operations of war." R 

At Shiloh Grant was surprised, and, whether he considered 
that he was so or not, the fact remains that he was never sur- 
prised again, and that afterwards he generally aimed at sur- 
prising his enemy. At luka Price escaped from a trap through 
a disregard of orders on the part of Rosecrans, and at Corinth 
Fan Dorn just failed to be surrounded because of the lethargy 
of this same general. The series of surprisals at Vicksburg I 
have already entered into so fully that I will not examine them 
again. At Chattanooga, surprise was aimed at from the mo- 
ment Grant arrived at that place: Brown's Ferry was sur- 
prised, and Sherman was moved secretly from the right to 
the left of the Federal position, and had the weather not de- 
layed the launching of the battle there can be little doubt that 
he would have completely surprised Bragg. This surprise 
failing, the next day Hooker having carried Lookout Moun- 
tain suddenly fell upon the Confederate left flank. Except for 
Shiloh, there was not a single battle fought by Grant between 

*>Corresp. XXXII, pp. 182-183. 

Grant as Subordinate General 199 

1861-1863 in which he did not effect a surprise; it was for 
this reason that his casualties were comparatively low, and 
his expenditure of force economical. 


Whilst strategy is largely influenced by communications, the 
limitations of which are generally well known in war, for dur- 
ing peace time they are daily tested, tactics depend mainly on 
the powers of the weapons used; powers which can only be 
fully proved out in war itself. Further than this, in modern 
times, the development of weapons has been so rapid and so 
great, that tactics, when compared to strategy, have become 
the more uncertain branch of the art of war. 

In brief, the aim of all tactical actions is to develop mobil- 
ity, or to prevent it being developed, from protected offensive 
power; in other words, tactical movement depends on hitting 
or threatening to hit the enemy, and simultaneously on pre- 
venting the hitter or threatener from being hit or threatened. 
We have seen how Grant accomplished this at luka, Corinth 
and Chattanooga, in each of which battles one of his forces 
constituted the base of action of the other. At Champion's 
Hill he failed, because McClernand was over-cautious, this 
over-caution wrecking the opportunity created by McPher- 
son's attack. 

In battle, the first action of an attacker is to immobilize his 
enemy, that is to hold or to fix him. He does so by pressure 
which compels his adversary to resist, to reinforce his resist- 
ance from his reserves, and so lose power to manoeuvre. The 
second action is to demoralize his enemy and his enemy's com- 
mand by a distracting attack, that is an attack which draws 
him away from his intention by surprising him or threatening 
him in a quarter the security of which is vital to his plan. Of 
such operations, the rear attack, or its threat, is usually the 
most effective. Grant was thus distracted at Belmont, and 
directly he realized that his rear was threatened, not only was 
he compelled to change his plan, but his men took fright and 
became demoralized. At Fort Henry he planned to outflank 

200 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the position; at Donelson he wanted the gunboats to steam 
above the fort and above the village of Dover; during his first 
move on Vicksburg, Curtis's advance from Helena towards 
Pemberton's rear was a distracting attack, and so was Sher- 
man's, against Johnston's rear, in his advance on Meridian. 

Once the enemy's plan is upset, the next action is that of 
disruption the disorganization, or breaking up of the organi- 
zation, of the enemy's army by actual attack. Thomas's at- 
tack at Chattanooga was such an act; It decided the battle, but 
it did not complete it. To complete an attack demands a pur- 
suit the act of destruction which is virtually a new attack, 
and when possible it should be carried out by fresh troops, be- 
cause victorious troops are normally as disorganized as de- 
feated ones, and when both victor and vanquished are equally 
exhausted, the latter, influenced by self-preservation, will re- 
tire more rapidly than the former will advance. 

As I mentioned in the Introduction of this book, security, 
mobility and offensive action, as influenced by the endurance 
of the troops, are principles of war intimately related to tac- 
tics: I will now consider these in turn. 

In peace training, security is usually neglected, because no 
danger exists; consequently fear is not experienced. The 
u valour of ignorance" replaces courage, with the result that 
a fallacious value is given to offensive action. Though Grant 
must have realized this during the war in Mexico, at Belmont 
he acted like a novice; there were no reconnaissances, and no 
reserves, solely a linear fire attack. At Donelson he did recon- 
noitre, and when McClernand and Wallace's troops were 
driven back, he withdrew and entrenched them before order- 
ing Smith forward. It was a wise precaution, and one which 
shows that Grant had learnt one of the most important ap- 
plications of the principle of security, namely, never to at- 
tack without a reserve in hand. A reserve is always a tac- 
tical base of operations, a fulcrum to work from, and a 
reservoir of strength from which may be developed resistance 
to sudden, or unexpected, pressure. 

At Shiloh we see an exceptionally strong defensive position 
bereft of all its protective value through what can only be 

Grant as Subordinate General 20 1 

described as gross negligence. Grant, apparently bewildered 
by the large force entrusted to him, and surrounded by un- 
trained officers and men, overlooked the possibility of attack, 
and trusting to Sherman, who was obsessed by the idea that 
the enemy would not attack, experienced one of the most star- 
tling surprisals of the war. He made no use of entrench- 
ments or of the small force of cavalry under his command, 
and the excuse that his men were untrained and that the coun- 
try was not suited to cavalry action bear no weight whatso- 
ever. As I have already stated when examining this battle, in 
my opinion he was flagrantly surprised. 

Rapidity of movement was the physical mainspring of 
Grant's generalship ; seldom has there been a general who so 
fully appreciated the meaning of Frederick the Great's words : 
"To advance is to conquer." I have already noted this char- 
acteristic so often, that I will do no more than mention a few 
cases. An immediate advance was made on Paducah, Belmont 
and Fort Henry; at Donelson there was a delay on account 
of the weather, but even then Grant was so anxious to move 
forward that he eventually did so without his supply train. 
During the Vicksburg campaign, once at Port Gibson, his 
movements can only be described as electric; compared to Hal- 
leek after the battle of Shiloh, and to McClellan in his Penin- 
sula campaign, Grant moved like lightning. At Chattanooga 
it was the same, and it is for this reason that men like Thomas 
irritated him. Thomas was one of the most successful tac- 
ticians of the war, but he refused to seize time by the fore- 
lock. He was a man who was never ready to move unless 
he felt certain of success. As a general-in-chief he would have 
been as impossible as McClellan, because he would have missed 
opportunity after opportunity through ceaseless preparation. 
Grant, in this respect, was exactly the reverse, and his desire 
to move before the enemy could prepare to meet his blow led 
him in several of his attacks into serious difficulties. "Who 
risks nothing gains nothing" was a saying of Napoleon's, and 
one which can be well applied to Grant. 

Badeau, comparing the generalship of Grant and Halleck, 
says: "Grant believed that, in war, what is won is only a ful- 

2O2 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

crum on which to rest the lever for another effort. One was 
essentially a defensive, the other an offensive general; one al- 
ways prepared for defeat, the other always expected to win." 6 
This is very true, and exactly describes Grant's outlook on of- 
fensive action. He was always ready to move, and ready to 
move against his enemy; he was never petrified by numbers, 
or situations, and never through fear or caution did he exag- 
gerate the strength of his enemy. At Donelson, when re- 
pulsed, he refused to abandon the offensive. At Shiloh it was 
the same, and on the evening of the first day of the battle he 
ordered Sherman to continue the attack in the morning, be- 
cause he realized that when both sides are in a state of dis- 
order, the side which pushes the attack is the side which is 
more likely to win. This proved true at Donelson and Shiloh, 
but at Vicksburg it failed. 

The reasons for this failure hinged on two factors which, 
throughout his career, Grant never fully appreciated, namely, 
the defensive power of the rifle, and the enhancement of this 
defensive power by field works entrenchments, rifle-pits, 
slashings and abattis. Grant understood as fully as any other 
general of this war the value of life, and the folly of unneces- 
sary slaughter. He was not blind to the value of endurance, 
and this is proved by his paroling the garrison of Vicksburg; 
for, as it will be remembered, he was of opinion that these 
men when they returned to their homes would have a demor- 
alizing influence on those who were still fighting. He under- 
stood full well the value of moral, and the detrimental in- 
fluence of casualties on moral; but what he did not under- 
stand "waiTTffij^ when compared to 
^ was a lar"more powerful weapon in the de- 
fence than in the attack. Most other generals in this war 
shared with him this failing. 

In the Mexican War, Grant's experiences were based on 
the flint-lock musket. In that war assaults had more often 
than not succeeded, and, be it remembered, the range of 
the musket was so restricted that artillery could frequently 

6 Badeau, I, p. 127. 

Grant as Subordinate General 203 

continue to protect the assaulting troops until they were within 
charging distance. The increased range of the rifle drove the 
guns back, with the result that the assault could no longer be 
supported by them, and as the rifle became more efficient this 
support became more and more problematical. 

In the West, during the years 1861-1863, the Confederate 
forces for the most part were indifferently armed, and assaults 
were frequently successful; in 1864-1865, in the East, except 
for the magazine carbines, they were generally as well armed 
as the Federals. The result was, that the assault became 
more and more difficult, and it may be said that it proved only 
an economical form of attack when the defender was exces- 
sively weak, when he was unprepared, when he was surprised, 
or when the assault was most carefully prepared and sup- 

In the first assault on Vicksburg, Grant's theory (when an 
enemy is disorganized an assault will overwhelm him) broke 
down, because he failed to realize that a mob of men entering 
an entrenched line is automatically reorganized by the actual 
trench they occupy. They are no longer a mob, In place they 
are a line of men, nearly as well organized, and far more se- 
curely protected, than when they were in line in the open field. 
There is no possibility of manoeuvre, their tactics are reduced 
to the very simplest form; for all the men have to do is to 
turn about, and open fire on the advancing attacker. If they 
are not outflanked, and if they are sufficiently well armed, or 
numerous, to fire three to four rounds a minute to each" yard 
of front, it is almost a mathematical certainty that the assault 
will be shattered. Further still, artillery can still closely co- 
operate with the defence. 

The second assault at Vicksburg was a tactical error, and 
this Grant realized, for not only did he regret having ordered 
it, but as will be remembered, in his next battle Chattanooga 
he was extremely cautious in handling Thomas's frontal at- 
tack. He planned the assault in two stages : first, the lower 
line of rifle pits was to be carried, and only after it was cap- 
tured was the line along the crest of Missionary Ridge to be 

204 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

assaulted. The men, however, decided matters for themselves, 
and refusing to make two bites at the cherry they carried the 
ridge in one rush. 

I cannot help feeling that Grant learnt a lesson here which 
he never forgot, namely, the danger of hesitation, and the de- 
cisive effect of a successful frontal attack. He cannot have 
failed to have recognized, that had McClernand assaulted the 
Confederates at Champion's Hill, Pemberton would have been 
annihilated. His own assaults at Vlcksburg failed ; this caused 
him to hesitate; then came the assault on Missionary Ridge, 
which persuaded and convinced him of the feasibility of the 
frontal attack, and its devastating effect when successful. 
This lesson we must bear in mind when we examine his cam- 
paign in Virginia; for I am convinced that it is the clue to the 
understanding of his assaults in the Wilderness and at Cold 
Harbor. Had it not been for his success at Missionary Ridge, 
I am of opinion that in 1864 his tactics would have been dif- 
ferent; for he was an extremely rational man, and though 
stubborn by nature, I do not believe that he would have sacri- 
ficed men's lives as he did, unless he was convinced that the 
success of any one of these assaults would have been so great 
as to prove decisive. 




THE victory of Chattanooga crowned Grant's work in the 
West, bringing to a close a series of strategical campaigns the 
ultimate aim of which was to establish a footing on the south- 
ern extremity of the Alleghany mountains, in order to be in a 
position to manoeuvre against the rear of Confederate forces 
in the East. There, as I have pointed out in a former chap- 
ter, military operations had in nature been political, and 
strategical results negligible. Lincoln realizing this turned 
to Grant. 

On March 3, he was ordered to Washington; on the 9th 
he received his commission as lieutenant-general, a grade re- 
stored by Congress on February 26, and on March 10, he 
went to the front. From this date until May 4, when he 
crossed the Rapidan, he had approximately eight weeks 
wherein to grasp he political and military situation in the 
East; to concentrate large numbers of scattered troops; to 
organize them into a small number of powerful armies; to 
distribute them according to the demands of strategy, and to 
elaborate a plan of campaign for all the forces in the Union. 
Eight weeks was not long for this work, when it is considered 
that in the World War of 1914-1918 many single battles 
took a longer time to mount, and in a microscopic area when 
compared to that which faced Grant. Curiously enough, this 
limitation of time has been often overlooked by those who 
have criticized Grant's Virginian campaign. 

Besides this time factor, it is important to realize Grant's 
personal situation. In the East he was only known by name, 
and the East being the political sphere of the war, in the 
eyes of most of the eastern soldiers the western theatre was 
little more than a strategical backwater. It was as if in the 


208 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

World War a British general had been called from Mesopo- 
tamia to France to take over, not only command of the Brit- 
ish armies in the west, but also to direct the strategy of the 
armies of the entire Empire. Not only was he personally 
unknown to the Army of the Potomac, to Lincoln and to most 
of the politicians at Washington, but he was to be faced not by 
a Pemberton or a Bragg, but by Lee, the most renowned gen- 
eral of the day, and to be confronted by a task which had 
broken McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, and Hooker, 
and which had halted Meade. 

Grant, on assuming supreme command, found the Union 
forces divided into twenty-one corps distributed among nine- 
teen military districts, exclusive of the Army of the Potomac 
under Meade, which faced Lee on the northern bank of the 
Rapidan. On its right was an army under Sigel, scattered in 
West Virginia and along the Shenandoah; and on its left an- 
other under Butler, which occupied Norfolk and the mouth 
of the river James. In the West, Thomas and the Army of 
the Cumberland were at Chattanooga ; Sherman was moving 
from Vicksburg to rejoin him; and Schofield at the head of 
the Army of the Ohio was still operating against Long street 
in east Tennessee; whilst an army of some 30,000 men under 
the direction of Banks was advancing up the Red river to- 
wards Shreveport in Louisiana, All these forces, as Grant 
said, were acting independently and without concert, "like a 
balky team, no two ever pulling together.' 1 * "So the strug- 
gle was protracted, the cost enhanced, and the expenditure of 
human life increased. A score of discordant armies; half a 
score of contrary campaigns; confusion and uncertainty in the 
field, doubt and dejection, and sometimes despondency at 
home; battles whose object none could perceive; a war whose 
issue none could foretell it was chaos itself before light had 
appeared, or order was evolved." 2 

Though the armies of both sides had by now become vet- 
eran forces, the politicians had as yet learnt little from the 

1 Badeau, II, p. 8. 

2 Badeau, II, p. 9. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 209 

struggle; not only did cross purposes replace unity of purpose, 
but the Councils at Washington, as Swinton writes, continued 
to rule alternately by "an uninstructed enthusiasm and a pur- 
blind pedantry.'' 3 Whilst the masses of the people were 
eager for strong measures, and were ready to undergo all pri- 
vations, "the politicians feared that strong measures would 
lose votes, and therefore deemed it a political necessity to 
coax and bribe men to serve their country instead of com- 
pelling their service as a sacred duty." 4 Their fearfulness 
and lack of policy had so encouraged the peace party in the 
North, that Grant realized that the problems which con- 
fronted him were as much political as military, and to save 
the North from a moral dry rot, his problem was not merely 
one of winning the war in the most economical way, but of 
crushing the rebellion in the shortest possible time. It was 
at this crisis he declared, that he did not intend to manoeuvre, 
and there is little doubt that his words fitted the political situa- 
tion, for time prohibited delay and demanded fierce action. 
He realized that Washington must be protected; but more 
clearly than any other general he saw that the policy of shield- 
ing the capital against Lee's thrusts should be replaced by one 
which would compel Lee to guard himself against his blows. 
His intentions are clearly set forth by Badeau, and I will quote 
what he says, for being on Grant's staff he was fully ac- 
quainted with his views. He writes : 

"Accordingly, when placed in supreme command, he at once 
determined to use the greatest number of troops practicable 
against the armed force of the enemy. This was the primal 
idea, the cardinal principle with which he began his campaigns 
as general-in-chief to employ all the force of all the armies 
continually and concurrently, so that there should be no re- 
cuperation on the part of the rebels, no rest from attack, no 
opportunity to reinforce first one and then another point with 
the same troops, at different seasons; no possibility of profit- 
ing by the advantages of interior lines ; no chance of furlough 

8 Swintion, p. 403. 

IV, p. 183. 

2io The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

troops, to reorganize armies, to re-create supplies; no respite 
of any sort, anywhere, until absolute submission ended the 

war." 5 

In brief his central idea was concentration of force from 
which he intended to develop a ceaseless offensive against the 
enemy's armies, and the resources and moral of the Confed- 
eracy. This demanded unity of direction in its full meaning; 
consequently, having been appointed generalissimo, he in- 
tended to act as such. Further still, he saw that a pivot to 
his whole strategy could only be established by fixing Lee; he 
determined, therefore, simultaneously to become de facto com- 
mander of the Army of the Potomac, leaving the detail of 
executive command to Meade. Frequently he has been criti- 
cized for this action; yet had he remained as Halleck did at 
Washington, it is difficult to believe that Meade would have 
brought Lee to book; and had he replaced Meade, it is equally 
difficult to see how he could possibly have simultaneously di- 
rected the strategy of the war. In the circumstances, not 
only do I consider that Grant was right to act as he did, but 
that he showed remarkable courage in shouldering the whole 
onus of the war, and in fixing the responsibility of defeating 
Lee } or being defeated by him, on his own shoulders. This 
arrangement was not a perfect one, and Grant realized it; but 
he saw that he was confronted by a choice of evils, and what 
was so characteristic of him was, that in place of seeking for 
an ideal solution, he chose what he believed to be the lesser 
evil of the two, and at once set to work, leaving all detail to 
Meade the man on the spot. 

In this resolution he was nobly supported by Lincoln, who 
having learnt his lesson said to him, that all he "wanted, or 
had ever wanted, was some one who would take the responsi- 
bility and act." e He at once agreed to a rapid reshuffle 
of commanders : Halleck was to become chief of the staff and 
remain at Washington; Meade to continue in command of 
the Army of the Potomac; Sherman to take over the com- 
mand of the Department of the Mississippi, and McPherson 

5 "Badeau, II, pp. 9-10. 
6 B. & L. t IV, p. 100. 

Grant as General-in-Chief a 1 1 

to command the Army of the Tennessee. This decided upon, 
Grant reduced the number of military departments to eight- 
een, and nominated their commanders. 7 The bulk of the 
troops, other than those required for protective purposes, he 
merged into three main armies, namely, the Army of the Po- 
tomac to confront Lee; that of Sherman to operate against 
Johnston, and that of Butler, based on Fort Monroe, to hold 
on to this important position (for to abandon it would have 
enabled the Confederacy to gain unrestricted communication 
with Europe), until it could co-operate with the Army o the 
Potomac, and eventually unite with it. 

On March 4, a few days before Grant was appointed to 
chief command, on Meade's recommendation, the five corps 
of the Army of the Potomac had been consolidated and reor- 
ganized in three ; the Second under Hancock, the Fifth under 
Warren, and the Sixth under Sedgwick, all officers of experi- 
ence; the Cavalry Corps was placed under Sheridan. It was a 
faulty organization, as the three infantry corps were so large 
and cumbersome as to be quite unsuited to the forest warfare 
they were destined to be engaged in. To this army was added 
the Ninth Corps, under Burnside, to co-operate with Meade, 
but to remain under the direct orders of Grant. 


When, in February, 1862, Fort Donelson surrendered, 
Grant, an all but unknown soldier, emerging from out the 
gloom of the West, opened a line of strategical action from 
which, two years later, he, as the first soldier in the Union, 
was to reap full advantage. If Appomattox was the sunset 
of the Confederacy, then indeed was Donelson the dawn of 
Federal victory. 

Strategically, his operations between the fall of Donelson 
and the defeat of Bragg at Chattanooga had led to two su- 
premely important results : the first was the establishment of 
a base of operations at Chattanooga, from which an army 
could operate against the rear of Lee's forces in Virginia ; the 

7 For the full list, see Badeau, II, pp. 29-32. 

212 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

second the holding of the line of the Mississippi and the 
communications running east of it ; consequently, the establish- 
ment of yet another base of operations from which any Con- 
federate force moving against the right flank or rear of a 
Federal army advancing from Chattanooga towards Rich- 
mond might itself be taken in flank. Had he been allowed 
to occupy Mobile as we have seen him constantly urging 
the strategical scaffolding of his forth-coming campaign would 
have been as complete as could be desired* 

His intention now was to make full use of this scaffolding; 
to fix Lee with his eastern armies, and to manoeuvre against 
his rear with his western. In order to realize what this gi- 
gantic concentration of force entailed, I will turn to the Con- 
federate distribution. 

Lee's headquarters were at Orange Court House; the Army 
of Northern Virginia, which he commanded, was organized in 
three infantry corps and a cavalry corps, namely, the First 
under Longstreet; the Second under Ewell; the Third under 
Hill, and the cavalry under Stuart. There were in all 66,351 
present for duty, of which 61,025 were effectives. 8 Breckin- 
ridge was in the Valley with about 11,500 men; Picket? s di- 
vision of Longstreet' $ corps was in North Carolina and south- 
ern Virginia, and numbered about 10,000; Eeauregard and 
some 15,000 men were in North Carolina, and the garrison of 
Richmond numbered about 6,000. On May i, at Dalton, 
Johnston's army numbered 7 1,23 5. 9 Though there were many 
other detachments, such as Kirby Smith and some 40,000 men 
between Arkansas and Mexico, these were the main forces 
Grant had to reckon with, and equate with three vital strate- 
gical factors the security of Washington, the fixing of Lee 
and the grand manoeuvre against Lee's rear. 

To protect Washington, the simplest operation was to place 
the Army of the Potomac between Lee and the capital. Me- 
Clellan had neglected to do this, and his campaign had in con- 

8 N. & L. f p. in ; Humphreys, pp. 14-17, 

9 Atlanta, p. 243. The difficulty of computing strengths may be gauged from 
the following returns: Johnston, July 10, 1864 total 135,092, present 73,849, ef- 
fectives 50,932; Hood f July 31, 1864 total 136,684, present 65,601, effectives 

Grant as General-in-Chief 213 

sequence been wrecked. But again, Burnside and Hooker had 
both advanced overland, and had failed to penetrate the de- 
fensive area of the Wilderness, which was in fact a natural 
outwork protecting Richmond on its northern flank. 

Grant considered the feasibility of a coastal movement 
south of the James, and at first seems to have favoured it. 
He argued that he could form two armies each in strength 
equal to Lee's, that he could move one by sea to the James and 
by leaving the other on the Rapidan eliminate the danger to 
Washington. By this means he hoped to combine the tactical 
defensive with the strategical offensive. 10 This was only a 
passing idea and he soon abandoned it; for not only did it 
entail a division of force, but, in the circumstances, time was 
insufficient to mount such an operation; further still, no move 
by sea could be made with secrecy. 11 Grant himself says : "If 
the Army of the Potomac had been moved bodily to the James 
River by water, Lee could have moved a part of his forces 
back to Richmond, called Beauregard from the south to rein- 
force it, and with the balance have moved on to Washing- 
ton." 12 Ropes, who is hostile to Grant's plan of campaign, 
agrees that this appreciation is sound, and adds : Had Grant 
followed in the footsteps of McClellan, "I see no reason to 
suppose that the first battle of the campaign, though fought 
on the banks of the Chickahominy, would have been any less 
murderous or indecisive than the sanguinary struggles in the 
Wilderness, at Spottsylvania, or at Cold Harbor itself." 1S 

Having decided on an overland advance, Grant's next prob- 
lem was to determine the direction of his forward movement : 
should he move against Lee's left or right? On April 9 he 
was still undecided; this day he wrote to Meade as follows: 
"Lee's army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee's 
army goes, you will go also. The only point upon which I am 
in doujbt is whether it would be better to cross the Rapidan 

10 Swinton, pp. 406-409. 

11 The following case shows how difficult it was to keep anything secret: On 
May 5, a little before midnight, Grant gave Colonel Rowley of his staff verbal 
instructions for the night, then he says: "Three days later I read in a Richmond 
paper a verbatim report of these instructions." (Grant, II, p. 144.) 

12 Grant, II, p. 141. 

V, p. 370. 

214 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

above, or below him. ... By crossing above, Lee is cut off 
from all chance of ignoring Richmond and going north on a 
raid; but if we take this route, all we do must be done whilst 
the rations we start with hold out; we separate from Butler, 
so that he cannot be directed how to co-operate. By the other 
route, Brandy station can be used as a base of supplies, until 
another is secured on the York or James river." 14 

To move by the left, that is against, or around, Lee's right, 
was tactically disadvantageous but strategically sound. The 
Wilderness was the worst possible area to fight in ; but Grant 
soon realized that tactics must be subordinated to strategy. 
Butler's army could not be withdrawn, because Fort Monroe 
and the surrounding country constituted an area of vital im- 
portance. If Grant moved by his right, Butler would be en- 
tirely separated from him, and concentration of force would 
be impaired; further still, Grant would be tied down to the 
Orange and Alexandria railway as his line of supply, and 
many thousands of men would be absorbed in its protection; 
this alone cancelling out any advantage of fighting through 
more open country. Soon he saw that the Federal command 
of the sea was the backbone of his strategy, and that he could 
take advantage of it as he had of the Mississippi in the West. 
He realized that as tactics are based on strategy, in its turn 
strategy is based on administration; that is, if action depends 
on movement, movement depends on supply. The sea could 
supply him and evacuate his wounded ; for by moving near to 
the coast he could constantly change his base of supply; this 
obviously was a great advantage. Tactically there was a 
hope, but only a hope, that he would be able to get through 
the tangle of the Wilderness undisturbed. Meade and Hum- 
phreys were strongly of the opinion that Lee would be con- 
tent to hold his lines on the Mine Run, as he had done in 
the Mine Run campaign in November, 1863. He decided, 
therefore, to advance by his left flank, and on April 29 wrote 
the following despatch to Halleck: 

"My own notions about our line of march are entirely 
made up, but as circumstances beyond my control may change 

14 60, /FJJ., p. 827. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 2 1 5 

them, I will only state that my effort will be to bring Butler's 
and Meade's forces together. 

"The army will start with fifteen days' supplies; all the 
country affords will be gathered as we go along. This will 
no doubt enable us to go twenty-five days without further sup- 
plies, unless we should be forced to keep in the country be- 
tween Rapidan and the Chickahominy, in which case supplies 
might be required by way of the York or the Rappahannock 
Rivers. . . . When we get once established on the James 
river, there will be no further necessity of occupying the road 
south of Bull Run." 15 

To Meade he wrote: "Should a siege of Richmond become 
necessary, siege guns, ammunition, and equipments can be got 
from the arsenals at Washington and Fort Monroe." 16 

It has often been asserted, that in the forthcoming cam- 
paign Grant was outgeneralled, and was compelled by Lee to 
abandon the overland route and his entire plan. It is true 
that he hoped to destroy Lee's army before it could fall back 
on Richmond; nevertheless, like Napoleon's ideal general, he 
painted no mental pictures and refused to found his campaign 
on a hope. Nothing is certain in war, and because Grant did 
not believe that Chance plays so important a part as most 
generals do, he determined to chance nothing, and in place 
he prepared for a change of base. He foresaw the possibility 
of having to establish himself on the river James, and besides 
this he made ready to lay siege to Richmond. As events tes- 
tify, few generals have been so clear-sighted as Grant. 

Having decided on his main line of direction, the next prob- 
lem was one combining security and concentration of force. 
On his right flank lay the well-roaded and fertile Shenandoah 
Valley the strategical race-course of the war. Whenever 
hard pressed, as in 1862 and 1863, the Confederate armies 
had used it in order to threaten Washington, and so compel 
the North to assume the defensive. It was the direct line of 
political attack, and the frequent advances down it, more than 

15 60, W.R., pp. 1017, 1018. Before the Wilderness campaign opened, Grant 
informed his two army commanders that it was his intention "to put both their 
armies south of the James River in case of failure to destroy Lee without it," 
(See 67, W.R., pp. 15, 16; 60, W3t. f pp. 828, 885, 904.) 

16 60, WJR.. t pp. 880, 881, 889, and 107, W.R., p. 1158. 

2i6 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

any other factor in the Confederate strategy, had prolonged 
the war; and be it remembered, the only hope left to the 
South of gaining their independence was to prolong it, and 
so weary out the North. 

In the spring of 1864, General Sigel was in command of an 
army 32,061 strong 17 in the Department of West Virginia, 
which included the Shenandoah Valley. His troops, of which 
11,000 were cavalry, were much split up on account of the ac- 
tivity of the Confederate guerillas, but he had a strong col- 
umn under Crook in the Kanawha region, and another under 
himself distributed near the Potomac line. Grant set him two 
problems: the first was to operate with Crook's column against 
the Virginia and Tennessee railway and New River bridge; 
and the second, for his own column to protect the Baltimore 
and Ohio Railroad, not by sitting on it but by menacing the 
Virginia Central Railroad at Staunton, which operation would 
simultaneously distract attention from Crook. This defensive 
plan of campaign, attempted through offensive action, proved, 
as we shall see, too complex and bold a one for Sigel, and 
Grant has been blamed for having entrusted him with it. Still 
more has he been blamed for maintaining General Butler in 
command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina; 
to this general I will now turn. 

Grant's main idea was, as I have already stated, to fix Lee 
and to manoeuvre against his rear. Subordinate to this he 
determined that Butler's army should operate against Lee's 
base, Richmond, and its neighbourhood, whilst he himself 
moved upon him through the Wilderness. By so doing, Butler 
would prevent Lee from being reinforced, and would distract 
his army. Simultaneously, Butler's advance would cover the 
James, and eventually, should Grant's forward movement 
prove successful, his and Grant's armies were to unite. 

Ropes has severely attacked this plan, stating that it was 
"an inexcusable mistake for Grant ever to have entertained 
it," 18 His first criticism is against Butler, and he states that 
Grant should have insisted on his removal. Like many his- 

17 Pond, p. 263. 

,, IV, p. 368. 

218 The Generalship o Ulysses S. Grant 

torians he entirely overlooks the political situation, a factor 
Grant never overlooked. Grant did not know Butler or 
Sigel, and being new to the East was naturally averse to 
wholesale removals. He realized, however, that Butler, 
though an able organizer and administrator, was an indiffer- 
ent general, and he had urged Lincoln to replace him by Gen- 
eral William F. Smith ; but the President had refused to do 
so, because Butler was a commanding personality in politics. 
He had been outlawed by Mr. Davis's cabinet, 19 was a politi- 
cal power in the North, and carried with him thousands of 
waivers to the Union cause. Grant realized that the political 
security of Lincoln was at this time of greater importance than 
the military efficiency of Butler ; and Lincoln realized it also, 
for soon after his successful presidential campaign in the fol- 
lowing winter he removed Butler from his command. 

Ropes's second criticism is: that to allot nearly 40,000 
men to Butler was an infringement of economy of force; that 
10,000 would have been sufficient, and that the rest should 
have been added to the Army of the Potomac. Ropes's ob- 
jection is apparently based on Grant deciding to advance on 
two lines of operation, a movement so often decried in text- 
books on strategy, and especially by Jomini whose works Ropes 
appears to have studied; he entirely overlooks, however, that 
free sea communication existed between Grant and Butler, and 
that, as I shall refer to later on, difficulties of supply prohib- 
ited a vast increase in the strength of the Army of the Po- 

Thirdly, Ropes attacks Grant for Butler's eventual land- 
ing at Bermuda Hundred, and considers that his correct ac- 
tion should have been to advance on Petersburg. But this is 
what Grant intended. On April i he visited Butler at Fort 
Monroe, and learnt from him that he preferred the route by 
the south side of the river. This exactly coincided with his 
own views, and he pointed out to Butler the importance of 

19 "Insults offered by the ladies of New Orleans to Union soldiers provoked 
the celebrated order In which he directed that women so doing were to be con- 
sidered for police purposes as women of the town." (Atkinson, p. 364.) Colo- 
nel George A. Bruce compares him to Fouche Napoleon's minister of police, 
(M.H.S.M., XIV, p. 87.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 2 1 9 

obtaining possession of Petersburg. 20 Richmond was to be 
his "objective point," that is the focal point in his campaign, 
but Petersburg, as a railway junction, was the key to Rich- 
mond for when this junction was once gained Richmond must 
fall. On April 2 he confirmed this interview in writing, and 
said: "When you are notified to move, take City Point with 
as much force as possible"; 21 and again on April 16, "What 
I ask is, that . . . you seize upon City Point, and act from 
there, looking upon Richmond as your objective point." 22 
Grant did not though knowing Butler to be an indifferent 
general, I think he might have directly mention Petersburg; 
but a glance at the map will show that had Butler landed, as 
he said he intended to, at City Point, from there he must take 
Petersburg before taking Richmond. To advance on Rich- 
mond without taking Petersburg was to expose the whole of 
his rear to attack, for Petersburg was an important centre of 
strategical mobility. 

Having examined in some detail the foundations of Grant's 
strategy in the East, I will now turn to the grand manoeuvre 
directed against Lee's rear. Grant writes : "There could have 
been no difference of opinion as to the first duty of the armies 
of the Military Division of the Mississippi. Johnston's army 
was the first objective, and that important railroad center, 
Atlanta, the second" 23 Atlanta occupied, the range of the 
Alleghanies would be turned. On April 4, he wrote to Sher- 
man saying: "You I propose to move against Johnston's army, 
to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's 
country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can 
against their war resources. I do not propose to lay down 
for you a plan of campaign; but simply to lay down the. work 
it is desirable to have done and leave you free to execute it in 
your own way. Submit to me, however, as early as you can, 
your plan of operations." 24 Again on the i8th he wrote to 
Sherman explaining that if the two main attacks should prom- 

20 95 , W.R., pp. 15, 16. 

21 60, W.R., p. 795. 

22 60, W.R., p. 885. 

23 B, & L., IV, p. 99. 

24 59, W.R., p. 246. 

220 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ise great success, the enemy might abandon one part of his line 
of defence and seek to unite his forces at some central^ point, 
hoping that "the [Federal] army meeting with no resistance 
will rest perfectly satisfied with their laurels. 5 ' Then ^he 
added: "But you have had too much experience in travelling 
light, and subsisting on the country to be caught by any such 
ruse. I hope my experience has not been thrown away. My 
directions, then, would be, if the enemy in your front shows 
signs of following Lee, follow him up to the full extent of 
your ability." 2S 

To assist Sherman, Grant intended to move upon Mobile by 
land while the navy closed the harbour. From Mobile his 
plan was to advance northwards towards Montgomery, and 
distract Johnston by threatening his rear, whilst Sherman 
pressed him in front. The plan, like all others thought out 
by Grant was admirably conceived, but it depended on Banks 
in Louisiana being able to co-operate. At this time Banks at 
the head of 40,000 men was engaged on the Red River cam- 
paign, a useless political operation which neither Grant nor 
Banks supported, but which had progressed too far to permit 
of it being stopped suddenly. 

On March 15, he wrote to Banks as follows: "It will, 
however, be my desire to have all parts of the Army, or 
rather all the armies, act as much in concert as possible. . . . 
I look upon the conquering of the organized armies of the 
enemy as being of vastly more importance than the mere ac- 
quisition of territory." 26 He then instructed him to take 
Shreveport as rapidly as possible, after which 10,000 men 
under General A. J. Smith were to be sent to Sherman, and 
25,000 to be held in readiness to move against Mobile. On 
the 3 ist, he sent him orders 27 to concentrate the 25,000 men 
against Mobile; but Fate decided otherwise, for, on April 8, 
Banks was attacked and decisively defeated, losing nineteen 
pieces of artillery, many wagons and an immense quantity of 
supplies. The result of this disaster was that Sherman had 

25 59, W&., p. 409. 

26 62, W.R., p. 6lO. 

27 67, WR.., p. 15. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 221 

to face Johnston single-handed; but the interesting point to 
note is, that Banks was to play the same part to Sherman as 
Butler was to play to Meade. Whilst Meade fixed Lee to 
enable Sherman to manoeuvre, Butler was to distract Lee, and 
Banks Johnston, by subsidiary rear manoeuvres and attacks. 
Not often has so perfect a plan of developing mobility from 
a protected offensive base been devised, for, as Grant said to 
Meade on April 9 : "So far as practicable, all the armies are 
to move together, and towards one common center," 2S the 
whole being pivoted on the Army of the Potomac. 

Besides these grand operations, Grant had to decide on 
many minor ones, his essential dispersions being as follows : 
guarding prisoners; protecting railways; hunting down gueril- 
las; holding the Sioux and other Indians in check and watch- 
ing the frontier of Canada. The following subsidiary com- 
manders were appointed : Dix to command the troops in New 
York and New England; Couch in Pennsylvania; Lewis Wal- 
lace in Maryland; Augur in Washington; Heintzelman in 
the central West; Pope in Minnesota; Rosecrans in Missouri; 
Wright on the Pacific coast; Carleton in New Mexico and 
Steele in trans-Mississippi. I mention these duties and com- 
manders as it is frequently overlooked by those who criticize 
Grant's Virginian campaign, that he had many other regions 
to consider. To me it is quite extraordinary how in this maze 
of operations he was able to maintain his object, namely, hold- 
ing the Army of Northern Virginia in so tight a grip that his 
other armies could manoeuvre towards the common centre 


In the forthcoming attack, Lee's distribution (See Appendix 
III) was influenced by the topography and communications 
south of the Rapidan quite as much as by the position of his 
enemy and the crossings over this river. It was obvious that 
Grant would advance either by the Orange and Alexandria, 
or the Richmond-Fredericksburg railway. The second was of 
28 60, W.R., p, 827, 

222 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

no great importance to Lee, but the first was vital ; for should 
Charlottesville be captured, the probabilities were that Lynch- 
burg would be attacked, and the east Tennessee and Virginia 
railroad would be lost to the Confederacy. Whilst the Orange 
Alexandria line ran through fairly open country, protected on 
its western flank by the Blue Ridge, the railway from Rich- 
mond to Fredericksburg was crossed by a series of rivers 
flowing at right angles to it; also it was strongly protected by 
the Wilderness, which stretched westwards and south-west- 
wards from Fredericksburg. Bearing these conditions In 
mind, Lee distributed his troops in such a manner that he could 
take in flank a Federal force advancing by either of these rail- 
ways. Army headquarters and Hill's corps were established 
at Orange Court House, Swell's along the Mine Run, and 
Longstreet' s at Gordonsville ; all three covered by Stuart's 
cavalry corps, the main body of which was quartered on the 
lower Rappahannock in the neighbourhood of Fredericksburg. 
Should Grant advance by Lee's left, then Hill supported by 
Ewell would oppose him, when Longstreet could manoeuvre 
against one or other of the Federal flanks. Should he ad- 
vance by Lee's right, then Ewell supported by Hill would do 
likewise, and again Longstreet could manoeuvre^ As regards 
the second of these operations, the rivers which form the 
Mattapony and the Pamunkey would be of high tactical value 
to Lee; because, whilst from his position he could move east- 
wards between them, Grant moving southwards would be com- 
pelled to cross them. To Lee they formed protected avenues 
of approach, to Grant wet ditches which would have to be 

Grant's object was to destroy Lee's army; he knew that the 
Southern cause was waning ; he knew that in the Confederate 
armies desertions were growing apace, and that what Lee 
feared most of all was a heavy casualty list; 29 for power to 
stay the war out was now the aim of the grand strategy of 
the South. Grant's grand tactics were based, therefore, on 
the attrition of Lee, an attrition which was to lead to such an 
attenuation of his strength that he would be compelled to use 

29 "It is pathetic to read in Lee's messages to his Government the ever-recur- 
ring phrase, 'By God's blessing our casualties are small.' " (Atkinson, p. 20.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 223 

his entire force on the defensive; this would deny him freedom 
of movement, and would consequently fix him. 

Grant had to fight Lee, and as he himself says: "It was 
better to fight him outside of his stronghold [Richmond] than 
in it," so consequently he had no alternative to attacking hastily 
constructed entrenchments and inflicting casualties, except 
that of manoeuvring Lee at small cost to him into the fortifi- 
cations of Richmond. As Humphreys, Meade's chief-of-staff, 
says: "But move as we might, long-continued, hard fighting 
under great difficulties was before us, and whatever might be 
the line of operations adopted, the successful execution of the 
task of the Army of the Potomac could only be accomplished 
by the vigorous and untiring efforts of all belonging to that 
army, and by suffering heavy losses in killed and wounded, 
and that the whole army well understood.' 7 31 

In brief, this was the essence of Grant's plan: All four 
armies were to attack simultaneously; but all four attacks 
were not to develop an equal degree of force. This contin- 
ued movement Grant hoped would prevent any one Confed- 
erate army reinforcing the other. Sigel's attack was, as we 
have seen, based on a defensive idea, and Butler's and Sher- 
man's on that of manoeuvre. Meade's attack, the pivot of 
this combined operation, was otherwise. It was to be an at- 
tack in such overwhelming force that Lee would suffer so 
heavily that the Confederate Government would be unable to 
reinforce any other army this, it was expected, would have 
a demoralizing influence on Johnston. It was also to be a 
continuous attack, in order to prevent Lee's army recuperat- 
ing, and to impede his sending men on furlough or to work 
in the fields or the workshops, as had frequently been done 
during the intervals between battles in the past. Further 
than this, no exchange of prisoners was to take place. 

Grant's army, that is the Army of the Potomac and Burn- 
side's corps, numbered about 115,000 officers and men of all 
arms "equipped for duty," 82 distributed as follows: Sheri- 
dan's Cavalry Corps (13,287) covering the front from north- 
so Grant, II, p. 141. 

31 Humphreys, p. 9. 

32 "Present for duty" 127,095 (67, W.R., pp. 198, 285, 915). See Appen- 
dix IV. 

224 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

west of Culpeper Court House on the right to near Rich- 
ardsville on the left ; Army headquarters and the Fifth Corps 
under Warren (25,663), at and around Culpeper Court 
House; the Second Corps, under Hancock (28,333) south of 
Brandy Station, and the Sixth Corps, Sedgwick (24,213), 
north of this same place. The Ninth Corps, Burnside 
(22,762), stretched from a little north of Rappahannock Sta- 
tion to within a few miles of Manassas Junction: it was kept 
well back and in general reserve, so that should Lee fall upon 
the right flank of Meade's army after it had crossed the Rap- 
idan, it could attack Lee's left flank; or should Lee remain on 
the Mine Run, then it could operate against Lee's left flank 
and rear. The whole army was so placed that it could effect 
a direct advance along the Orange and Alexandria railroad, 
or, by swinging slightly to its left front, cross the Rapidan at 
the fords west of Fredericksburg. This last-mentioned move- 
ment was the line of advance decided upon by Grant. 

Most historians have severely criticized Grant for his Wil- 
derness campaign, but amongst the few who have troubled to 
analyze his plan Ropes is the only one I know of who has 
definitely recommended a different one : he writes : 

"There was but oije way which was certain to give the Army 
of the Potomac the advantage of choosing its battle-ground, 
and that was the way adopted by General Sherman in his At- 
lanta campaign, which was conducted contemporaneously with 
this campaign of Grant's in Virginia. That way was to flank 
the enemy out of position after position, until by some fortu- 
nate combination of circumstances he could be brought to bay 
in a place where our great superiority of numbers would tell; 
and had General Grant, before he crossed the Rapidan, rein- 
forced his army with the garrison of Washington 83 and, I may 
add, with one of Butler's corps also, no one, in my judgment, 
would ever have had reason to complain of his choice of the 
overland route to Richmond. With such a force at his com- 
mand he could have received General Lee's attack at the Wil- 
derness with his main body and also have seized Spottsylvania 
with 30,000 or 40,000." 84 

83 Ropes says : 40,000 and 50,000 men. 
**M.H.SM. t IV, p. 371. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 225 

A brief examination will show that this plan, which on the 
face of it may appear to be a sound one, is exactly the reverse. 

Ropes's first error, and a fundamental one, is that like 
most of Grant's critics he has treated the campaign between 
the Rapidan and the Chickahominy as a single operation of 
war, and has overlooked the fact that it was part of a com- 
bined operation. Secondly, he has missed Grant's object, 
which was not to flank Lee out of one position after the other 
until he sought refuge behind the fortifications of Richmond, 
but to hammer him to such an extent that Johnston could not 
be reinforced. It was largely because he hammered Lee, and 
after two days' fighting, as we shall see, compelled him to 
adopt a Fabian policy, that Sherman's manoeuvre was so suc- 
cessful. Had Lee been able to fall back intact on Richmond, 
he could have held its fortifications and simultaneously have 
spared reinforcements for Johnston. The suggestion that 
Grant should have operated as Sherman did is, therefore, most 
inapt. Had Grant done so, he would have had either to as- 
sault Richmond, a more costly task than attacking field en- 
trenchments, or have invested the fortress as he eventually had 
to do, but with this difference: that, as Lee would not have 
suffered severely, Johnston would have been reinforced and 
Sherman held back. There was no alternative to attacking 
Lee in the field except attacking him behind permanent forti- 
fications, and what Ropes means by "until by some fortunate 
combination of circumstances he could be brought to bay in a 
place where our great superiority of numbers would tell," he 
does not even hint at. To trust on "fortunate circumstances" 
is about as helpful in war as was once the examination of the 
liver of a goose. 

To turn from these two cardinal errors to the action sug- 
gested, which embraces an army of some 187,000 strong, 
Ropes overlooks the fact that Butler's 38,000 men contained 
27,000, who otherwise could have reinforced Lee; and to have 
stripped the Departments of Washington and the Susque- 
hanna of their entire garrisons, which, on April 30, numbered 
39,394 "present for duty," 85 would have been a political blun- 

85 60, W.R., pp. 1047, 1052; 81, WJi. t pp. 47, 48. 

226 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

der equal to McClellan's in 1862. Supposing, however, that 
Grant had been able to mass 187,000 men, then Ropes en- 
tirely overlooks two factors, namely the nature of the coun- 
try and supply: the first I will deal with in the next chapter, 
the second I will briefly examine here. 

To have added 60,000 men to Grant's army would have 
enormously increased its train, which, for his 127,000 men, 
numbered over 4,000 vehicles* These if assembled on one 
road, would have stretched from the Rapidan to Richmond, a 
distance of 65 miles. This train was already too cumbersome, 
and it proved a constant source of delay and anxiety. If 
Grant could have solved the problem of supply, then, I con- 
sider, that the 60,000 additional troops would have been bet- 
ter employed in moving direct on Orange Court House with 
the object either of fixing Lee's left flank, or of falling on his 
rear, whilst the Army of the Potomac and Burnside's corps 
, advanced on the lines laid down for them. 



ON May 2, General Meade issued his orders * for the advance 
on Wednesday, May 4; they are concise and clear, and show 
that the staff work of the army left little to be desired. In 
brief, the movements laid down were as follows : 

Cavalry Corps. The 2nd Cavalry Division (Gregg) to 
move to Richardsville on the 3rd, and, at 2 A.M. on the 4th, 
should the Rapidan be unfordable, to cross the river by a can- 
vas pontoon bridge, and when the Second Corps arrived to 
move to Piney Branch Church, throwing out reconnaissances 
towards Spottsylvania Court House, Hamilton's Crossing and 
Fredericksburg. In this position the division was to remain so 
as to cover the passage of the army trains, and, when they ar- 
rived, to move with them, covering their left flank. 

At midnight the 3rd, the 3rd Cavalry Division (Wilson) to 
move to Germanna Ford, cross the Rapidan by pontoon bridge 
and hold the crossing until the Fifth Corps arrived; then 
move to Parker's Store, sending out reconnaissances to Rob- 
ertson's Tavern, the New Hope Church, and Ormond's or 

The ist Cavalry Division (Torbert) to move on the 4th 
with the trains, and cover their advance. On the 5th, to cross 
the Rapidan and protect the right flank of the trains while 
crossing the river. 

Fifth Corps. The Fifth Corps (Warren) to begin its ad- 
vance at midnight the 3rd, bridge the river at Germanna 
Ford and move to the vicinity of the Wilderness Tavern; 
thence, on the 4th, to advance past the head of Catharpin 
Run, crossing the Orange Court House Plank Road at Par- 
ker's Store. 

pp. 331-334' 


22 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Sixth Corps. The Sixth Corps (Sedgwick) to move at 4 
A.M. on the 4th, following the Fifth Corps to Germanna Ford, 
and after crossing the Rapidan to bivouac on the heights be- 
yond. The river to be bridged at Culpeper Mine Ford. 

Second Corps. The Second Corps (Hancock) to send for- 
ward at midnight on the 3rd two divisions and part of the 
bridging train to bridge the Rapidan at Ely's Ford; the re- 
mainder of the corps to follow, moving by Stevensburg and 
Richardsville road. After crossing the Rapidan, the Second 
Corps to move to the vicinity of Chandler's and Chancellors* 

Reserve Artillery. The Reserve Artillery (274 heavy 
guns) to move at 3 A.M. on the 4th in rear of the Second 
Corps ; cross the river at Ely's Ford and halt for the night 
at Hunting Creek. 

Trains. 2 The subsistence and other trains to assemble in 
the vicinity of Richardsville, and cross the Rapidan at Ely's 
Ford and Culpeper Mine Ford. 

Headquarters. Headquarters to be on the road of the 
Fifth and Sixth Corps, and to be established at night between 
these corps on the Germanna Plank Road. 


In accordance with these orders, the Army of the Potomac 
moved towards the Rapidan. At what hour the movement 
actually took place remains in doubt. Captain Charles H. 
Porter says: "Promptly at the hours designated in the or- 
ders"; 3 and Major-General James H. Wilson that not "a 
single division did start at the time ordered except mine." 4 
From Lee's right flank on Mine Run, Germanna Ford lay 
about nine miles, and Ely's Ford thirteen to the east; and be 
It remembered that Grant did not want to engage Lee in the 
Wilderness : he hoped to push through the greater part of it 

2 "The total number of vehicles and animals with the army was 4,300 wagons 
(in addition to the artillery and 835 ambulances), 33,991 public and private 
horses, and 22,528 mules." (Atkinson t p. no.) 

*M.H.S.M., IV, p. 18. 

*M.H.S.M. f XlIl, p. 40. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 229 

without fighting; to compel Lee to abandon his entrenched 
position and to bring him to battle in the more open country 
beyond the forest. Whatever he may himself say, and what- 
ever others have said about this operation, it was a manoeuvre 
and not an advance to an attack. It is true that he did not 
overlook the possibility of a flank attack, but it is untrue that 
he intended to march on Lee and engage him. 

To understand what the Wilderness was like is to realize 
the nature of the fighting which took place on it. It was not 
a forest in the ordinary meaning of the word, but "a deserted 
mining region, the home of the whip-poor-will and the bat and 
the owl. Between the numerous creeks and rivulets are oak- 
covered ridges and knolls. The sweet-gum and the cedar, and 
the low pine lift their tops just above the dense undergrowth. 
Ravines bar the way, and the tangled thickets can be traversed 
only along the winding cow-paths." 5 It was a region which 
would have rejoiced the heart of Hannibal or Arminius; nev- 
ertheless it did not terrify Grant, though he fully realized its 
hidden terrors. Humphreys says : "To handle large bodies of 
troops in battle in such a field was exceedingly difficult. Ex- 
cept along the main roads and in the open ground of the farms 
artillery would be of little use." 6 Of the fighting Badeau 
writes : It was "a wrestle as blind as at midnight, a gloom that 
made manoeuvres impracticable, a jungle where regiments 
stumbled on each other and on the enemy by turns, firing some- 
times into their own ranks, and guided often only by the crack- 
ling of the bushes or the cheers and cries that rose from the 
depths around." r Again Swinton says: "In that horrid 
thicket there lurked two hundred thousand men, and through 
it lurid fires played; and, though no array of battle could be 
seen, there came out of its depths the crackle and roll of mus- 
ketry like the noisy boiling of some hell-cauldron that told the 
dread story of death." 8 

I quote from these various writers, all of whom witnessed 
the fighting in 1864, because, without realizing these condi- 

*M.H.SM. f IV, p. 42. 

6 Humphreys, p. n. 

7 Bade an f II, p, 113. 

8 Swinton, p. 429. 

230 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

tions, it is impossible to criticize Grant's tactics. It was not 
paucity of numbers which impeded Grant Ropes's idea but 
the over-heavy formations made use of by him; the consequent 
loss of men, and the inevitable disorganization which heavy 
losses lead to. To hold Lee off, and simultaneously move on 
Spottsylvania, as Ropes suggests, is a perfectly sound ma- 
noeuvre ; but one demanding extremely flexible and intelligent 

Grant was in fact faced by a form of fighting which neither 
he nor his men were prepared for, namely, Indian warfare. 
He was eventually to win through and at heavy cost; but only 
after having experienced many of the difficulties which over- 
came Braddock at the Monongahela river in 1755, and Fer- 
guson at King's Mountain in 17 So. 9 Had he understood that 
in such a region fighting must consist in either hand-to-hand 
encounters or sharp-shooting ; that not only would every posi- 
tion be entrenched, but that every tree was an entrenchment 
and every bush an entanglement; that each attack would take 
place in a defile, and that between attacks there could be little 
combination or co-operation, he would most certainly have 
acted differently. 

Though the Confederates never understood these tactics so 
fully as the famous Bouquet, or the English Hessian merce- 
naries, or the American Backwoodsmen of 1775-1781, they 
did understand them far better than Grant's men, and what 
was of equal importance to them was their knowledge of the 
country and its many tracks and paths, whilst Grant knew little 
more than what his map showed him, and the maps of the 
Wilderness in 1864 were about as indifferent as maps could be. 
For instance : Todd's Tavern was shown one mile north, South 
Bend, on the river Po, two and three-quarter miles west; and 
Spottsylvania Court House two and a half miles west, of 
their correct positions. Gayle House was variously printed 
as "Jet House" or "Myer's Farm"; Durrett House, called 
after Mr. Durrett, a doctor, was immortalized on the map as 
"Dirt." 10 Unless we realize these difficulties and deficiencies, 

s For the fighting of this period, see my British Light Infantry in the Eight- 
eenth Century. 

., IV, pp. 80, 241, 293. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 231 

it is next to impossible to appreciate Grant's actions correctly. 

To turn to Grant's antagonist Lee he was not surprised. 
He had foreseen that the Federal advance would be made by 
Germanna and Ely's Fords, and he deliberately chose the Wil- 
derness as his battlefield. His plan as usual was a bold one; 
he knew that with an army but a little more than half as strong 
as Grant's it was folly to meet his enemy in the open. He de- 
termined, therefore, to co-operate with the country, and make 
use of it to reinforce his weakness. He did not intend to de- 
fend the Rapidan, nor did he plan to attack Grant when half 
over the river; for as a soldier he possessed much of the spirit 
of the gambler, so he decided to play for the highest possible 
stake, namely, the annihilation of the Army of the Potomac. 
His plan was to wait until the whole of Grant's forces had 
crossed to the south side of the Rapidan, and then, when they 
and their immense trains were entangled in its thickets, to 
fall upon their right flank; to pen Grant up as he had penned 
up Hooker, and destroy his army or drive it back in rout over 
the river. He made one mistake, and a cardinal one; he left 
Longstreet's corps at Gordonsville, far too distant should he 
be required rapidly to support Ewell or Hill. The boldness of 
his plan astonished Grant, in fact it surprised him; equally was 
Lee himself astonished and surprised by the determination of 
his adversary. 

On the morning of the 4th, Grant's movements being ob- 
served from Lee's signal station on Clark's Mountain, the fol- 
lowing Confederate movements were ordered : X1 Swell to Lo- 
cust Grove on the Orange Pike Road; Hill to the neighbour- 
hood of Verdierville on the Orange Plank Road, and Long- 
street, who did not move until 4 P.M., to Brock's Bridge, and 
from there, on the 5th, to Richard's Shop (near Craig's Meet- 
ing House) on the Cartharpin Road. Stuart's cavalry were 
ordered to operate against Grant's left flank. 

On the morning of the 5th, before Ewell moved down the 
Pike Road, Lee instructed 12 him to regulate his march by that 
of Hill on the Plank Road, and, if possible, not to bring on 

11 68, W.R., pp. 950, 951. 
., p. 953. 

232 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

a general engagement until Longstreet came up. At about 6 
A.M. Ewell halted the head of his leading column two miles 
west of Wilderness Tavern, sending a division forward down 
the Spottswood Road to the Germanna Plank Road. At 7.15 
A.M., Meade arrived at Warren's headquarters, and learning 
of the whereabouts of the enemy he said to him: "They [the 
enemy] have left a division to fool us here, while they concen- 
trate and prepare a position towards the North Anna; and 
what I want is to prevent those fellows getting back to Mine 
Run." ;i8 Thinking he was confronted by a rear guard, he di- 
rected Warren to halt his column and to attack the enemy with 
his whole force. .Grant now rode up, and joining Meade 
these two generals established their headquarters on a knoll 
in the open ground near Wilderness Tavern and Lacy Farm, 
remaining there during the battle. 

Meade's orders for the 5th, 14 issued at 6 P.M. on the 4th, 
had included the following moves : Hancock to Shady Grove 
Church with his right extended towards Parker's Store ; War- 
ren to Parker's Store with his right extended towards Wilder- 
ness Tavern; Sedgwick to Wilderness Tavern, and Burnside 
to move to Germanna Ford. Now that the enemy was met, 
though Grant had hoped to move through the thickets of the 
Wilderness without fighting, he at once abandoned his ma- 
noeuvre, and turned on Lee, his "objective point." Sedgwick 
was ordered 15 to send Wright's division to support Warren's 
right, and Getty's division to support his left, and at 9 A.M. 
Hancock was ordered 16 to support Getty. His corps did not, 
however, begin to arrive until 2 P.M., and at 4 P.M. Getty 
was ordered to attack whether Hancock was ready or not. 
Hancock hearing the roar of battle came to the support of 
Getty, the struggle continuing until nightfall. 

I will now examine Grant's generalship on this first day 
of the battle. 

On the 4th, the Army of the Potomac, though it met with 
no resistance, was halted early in the day. The head of the 

13 Swinton, p. 421. 
" 68, J5TJZ., p. 371. 

15 68, W.R., pp. 403-404. 

16 68, WM.*, p. 407. 


2 Miles 

PLAN 8. Grants ADVANCE- /7<*y5, 

234 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Second Corps reaching Chancellorsville between 9 and 10 
A.M.; the head of the Fifth Corps arriving at Wilderness Tav- 
ern between noon and I P.M., and the Sixth Corps being well 
across the Rapidan by the afternoon. There can be little 
doubt that, had the march been continued, Warren could have 
reached Parker's Store, and Sedgwick Wilderness Tavern. 
The reasons for this early halt were, that Grant was afraid of 
uncovering his trains, and also, I think, that he did not expect 
Lee to cross the Mine Run. More than one writer has sug- 
gested that the Fifth and Sixth Corps should have pushed on, 
leaving the protection of the trains to Torbert's cavalry and 
the Ninth Corps. Humphreys says, however, that this "would 
have left the right too open during the forenoon of the 5th," 17 
and in the circumstances this observation is sound. Neverthe- 
less the question may be asked : were these circumstances in- 
evitable ? 

Failing the annihilation of Lee's army, Grant's grand tacti- 
cal problem was to fix Lee so that Sherman's manoeuvre might 
be facilitated; similarly, his minor tactical problem should 
have been to fix Lee, in order to cover his manoeuvre towards 
the open country. He clearly saw the greater problem, but 
he failed to see the lesser, and not seeing it, and consequently 
not being prepared to meet it, he was compelled by Lee to 
change his plan. 

To fix Lee demanded that a part of his force, for instance 
the Fifth and Sixth Corps, strongly supported by cavalry, 
should have advanced on the 4th to the line Wilderness Tav- 
ern Parker's Store-Shady Grove Church, and have entrenched 
themselves across the main road and tracks leading from Mine 
Run eastwards. Had this been done, Grant could have 
crossed the whole of his trains over the Rapidan on the 6th; 
and under cover of this protective force have manoeuvred 
against Lee's right flank on the 6th or yth. Had Lee not at- 
tacked, as he did, no disadvantage would have resulted, for 
the only change would have been that the Second and Ninth 
Corps, in place of the Fifth and Sixth, would have become 
the leading troops. 

Vt Humphreys, p. ao f 








236 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

This was Grant's cardinal mistake on the 4th, and even 
on the 5th he might have mitigated it, had he, on meeting 
Ewell and Hill, ordered the Fifth and Sixth Corps to en- 
trench. From Meade's order, 18 issued at 6 P.M. on May 4, k 
would appear that this was his intention, for the marches laid 
down were short, and paragraph 8 of the order reads: "After 
reaching the points designated, the army will be held ready 
to move forward," In other words, it was to halt, and halt- 
ing meant entrenching. Be this as it may, the points desig- 
nated were not reached, and in the attempt to reach them, 
Grant brought on a general engagement, in which premature 
attacks were made; for as Swinton says: 'The action on the 
5th May was not so much a battle as the fierce grapple of 
two mighty wrestlers suddenly meeting." 19 That is, though 
Grant's army was not surprised, it was not ready to meet the 
enemy in such a way as would prevent Lee influencing his 

On the evening of the 5th, Grant determined 20 to attack in 
force on the morrow. He knew that Longstreet, at the head 
of some 12,000 men, was on his way to join Hill; consequently 
he was anxious to assume the offensive before he could arrive, 
or make his influence felt. Grant's plan was as follows : 

The Sixth and Fifth Corps were deployed across the Orange 
Pike Road, and the Second Corps across the Orange Plank 
Road ; the first two being faced by Ewell, and the last by Hill; 
between these two groups there was a gap of about a mile in 
extent. Grant's idea was to hold Lee's left and annihilate his 
right. To carry this idea out, he ordered Hancock to assault 
Hill's front and left at 5 A.M. on the 6th; Warren and Sedg- 
wick to attack Ewell and hold him to his ground, and Burn- 
side to advance through the gap, and by wheeling to his left 
envelop Lee's right and attack it in rear. 

Lee who, until Longstreet arrived, was as desirous of de- 
laying the battle as Grant was of reopening it, ordered Hill to 
assault Hancock at dawn, and so delay his advance; but 
Grant was in no way disconcerted by this ruse, and at 5 A.M. 

is 68, JPJL, p. 37L 

19 Swinton, p. 427. 

20 68, W.R., p. 403. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 237 

he moved Hancock forward. An hour's desperate fighting 
followed, when Hill's men broke back in confusion. Of this 
fighting Grant writes: "I believed then, and see no reason to 
change that opinion now, that if the country had been such 
that Hancock and his command could have seen the con- 
fusion and panic in the lines of the enemy, it would have been 
taken advantage of so effectually that Lee would not have 
made another stand outside of his Richmond defences." 21 
But Hancock could see nothing, and hearing firing in the di- 
rection of Todd's Tavern, 22 which he thought might be Long- 
street, he slackened his advance. 

At 6 A.M. the head of Burnside's corps, after a march of 
forty miles, reached the Wilderness Tavern, but the country 
was so dense that his further advance was long delayed. 
Meanwhile Hancock followed up Hill who fell back on Long- 
street who was now arriving. Hill's men, regaining courage 
at the sight of reinforcements, turned about and advanced 
with Longstreet's, driving Hancock back to the position he 
held in the morning. In this engagement Longstreet was ac- 
cidentally wounded by his own men, whereupon Lee took com- 
mand of his right in person. Withdrawing his men, he reor- 
ganized them, and then, at 4.15 P.M., he assaulted Hancock's 
front, driving part of it in, but was finally repulsed. 

Large stretches of the forest were now on fire, and many of 
the wounded were suffocated or burnt to death. What with 
the thickness of the undergrowth, the smoke, and the constant 
uncertainty of the whereabouts of the enemy, Burnside's, Sedg- 
wick's and Warren's attacks made little progress; and Sedg- 
wick, who had sent troops from his right to reinforce Han- 
cock, was suddenly attacked on his right flank, and a panic re- 
sulted. Under cover of this and night Lee withdrew his army 
behind its entrenchments. 

The losses during these two days' fighting were as follows : 
Grant's army, 17,666 ; 23 Lee's at least n,4OO, 24 probably 

21 Grant, II, p. 197. 

22 This was between Sheridan and Stuart. 

23 67, W.R., p. 133- 
s* JV. & I,., p. in. 

23 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

On the 6th Grant's idea was a perfectly sound one ; he saw 
that Long street was the controlling factor and that if he could 
round up Hill before Longstreet arrived, Longstreet single- 
handed would be left to meet him. His means were, how- 
ever, defective; consequently his plan was a too ambitious 
one. Had Hancock and Burnside possessed a force of highly 
trained light infantry, there can be little doubt that, in spite 
of the nature of the forest, Hill's corps would have been anni- 
hilated. Not only were the tactics of Grant's men far too 
rigid, but the size of his corps soon proved them to be cum- 
bersome for forest warfare. To attain concentration of force, 
particularly on his left, Grant did not hesitate to break up his 
corps, and though this in the circumstances was good general- 
ship, it resulted in confusion, loss of time and loss in moral. 

Tactically this battle was an indecisive one, strategically the 
greatest Federal victory yet won in the East; for these two 
days' fighting satisfied Lee of his inability further to maintain 
the contest in the field. From the evening of May 6 until his 
attack on Fort Stedman the following year, never again did 
he dare to assume the offensive. It is true, as we shall see, 
that he sometimes attacked and often counter-attacked; but 
from now onwards his strategy was purely defensive. In 
brief, his losses were so great, that though he could still move, 
tactically he was fixed. Thus had Grant's most important ob- 
ject been attained, and within f orty-eight hours of crossing the 


By the evening of May 6 both sides were fought to a stand- 
still. Thousands of men lay in the brushwood dead and dying, 
and the gloom of the forest was alone lit by the sudden flash 
of a rifle, or the flames of the burning undergrowth as they 
licked their way between the trees. 

In this chaos of agony, it is of supreme interest to turn to 
the two leaders. Lee was winded, never before had he met so 
formidable an antagonist; he understood McClellan, Burn- 
side and Hooker he was sorry to part from them ; but now 

Grant as General-in-Chief 239 

he had met a man who refused to part from him, who was un- 
disturbed by attack, and never unnerved by disaster he 
paused. Not so Grant, he did not possess the imagination of 
Lee; whilst the one put his trust in God, the other relied on 
his big battalions. It was a struggle between hope and 
faith, resistance against pressure, imagination against logic, 
and behind it all a moribund cause battling with a virile one. 
The night of May 7 was indeed the curtain of a world drama 
the struggle between the opposites in life. 

Like Blucher old "Marshal Vorwarts" Grant's one 
idea was to advance. That night he determined to plant him- 
self between Lee and Richmond, not to deprive Richmond of 
Lee but Lee of Richmond; that is to say, he intended to place 
his army between Lee and his base of operations; not to avoid 
Lee, but to compel him to come into the open and fight for 
the security of this base. Through his unerring common-sense 
he divined that Lee had had enough of it, and on the night of 
the 6th, whilst sitting under a pine-tree, he said to a stafi offi- 
cer Colonel Theodore Lyman "To-night Lee will be re- 
treating South." 26 Most generals would have rested after 
such a battle, would have refitted their army in order to make 
certain of the next contest, and few would blame them for 
doing so ; but such disturbing influences, which govern the de- 
termination of lesser men, were impotent against Grant. If 
Lee was going to move, then he would move, and if possible 
before Lee could. The hour of this decision was in Sherman's 
judgment the supreme movement in Grant's life: "undis- 
mayed, with a full comprehension of the importance of the 
work in which he was engaged, feeling as keen a sympathy for 
his dead and wounded as any one, and without stopping to 
count his numbers, he gave his orders calmly, specifically, and 
absolutely 'Forward to Spottsylvania.' " 26 Within twenty- 
four hours of the battle, the Army of the Potomac was once 
again on the line of march, not northwards in the footsteps 
of Hooker, Burnside and Pope, but southwards towards Rich- 
mond. The effect on the men was electric, for as they moved 

**M.H.SM., IV, p, 212. 
26 JB. & L.,IV, p. 248, 

240 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

off on the evening of the 7th they began to cheer and sing, one 
of them saying: "That night we were happy." 

Grant issued his orders 27 at 6.30 A.M. on the 7th, upon 
which Meade wrote his, 28 sending them out at 3 P.M. They 
were as follows : 

The trains of the Sixth, Fifth and Second Corps to move to 
Chancellorsville, and the Reserve Artillery by way of Chan- 
cellorsville to Block House (near Spottsylvania Court 

The corps to move as follows : Fifth, at 8.30 P.M., by way 
of the Brock Road and Todd's Tavern to Spottsylvania Court 
House; the Sixth at the same hour to Chancellorsville, then by 
way of Piney Branch Church to the Brock Road north of 
Block House; the Second to follow the Fifth, moving to 
Todd's Tavern by way of the Brock Road. 

The pickets of the Fifth and Sixth Corps to be withdrawn 
at I A.M., and those of the Second at 2 A.M. (the 8th) and fol- 
low the routes of their respective corps. 

The Cavalry Corps to maintain a sufficient force on the 
right flank in order to prevent the enemy surprising the in- 
fantry columns. 

The Ninth Corps to follow the Sixth. 

A muddle occurred over the cavalry instructions; for, be- 
fore Sheridan's orders were received by his divisions, Meade, 
without consulting him, ordered the cavalry out to Corbyn's 
Bridge and the Brock Road, but failed to instruct them to hold 
Snell's Bridge and the Block House Road. 

Meanwhile Lee, discovering the movement of Grant's 
trains, and supposing that his enemy was falling back on Fred- 
ericksburg, determined to move forward, not directly against 
his enemy's front, but against his retiring left flank; conse- 
quently, on the morning of the 7th, he ordered Anderson, 
now in command of Longstreet's corps, to move on Spottsyl- 
vania in the morning. As the woods were on fire, Anderson 

27 68, W.R., p. 481. 

28 68, WR.., p. 483. 

29 68, /F.K V p. 967. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 241 

could find no suitable place to bivouac his men, and without in- 
forming Lee, he set out for his destination between ro and 1 1 
P.M. The next morning, Early, in temporary command of 
Hill's corps, was ordered "to move by Todd's Tavern, along 
the Brock Road, to Spottsylvania court house, as soon as his 
front was clear of the enemy"; 30 and still later, Lee tele- 
graphed to Richmond, that "the enemy has abandoned his 
position, and is moving towards Fredericksburg. This army 
is in motion on his right flank (i.e. the old left flank reversed), 
and our advance is now at Spottsylvania Court House,' 1 S1 
namely, Anderson's corps. 

The situation was now an extraordinary one, for both 
armies were operating under a misconception: Grant thought 
that Lee was falling back towards Richmond, and Lee thought 
that Grant was retiring on Fredericksburg ; Lee was attempt- 
ing to move round Grant's original left, and Grant round 
Lee's right. Meanwhile Anderson, without orders, was ad- 
vancing on Spottsylvania, and Warren was moving in the same 
direction. The crucial problem was : which of these two gen- 
erals would arrive there first? 

Sheridan, whose command had been completely disorgan- 
ized by Meade's over-hasty action, crossed the river Ny and 
pushed on to Spottsylvania; then, hearing heavy firing in the 
direction of Todd's Tavern, he advanced towards that place 
to find himself in rear of two of Anderson's divisions. Mean- 
while, on the Brock Road, part of the ist Cavalry Division, 
which had been ordered by Meade to open the way to Spottsyl- 
vania, had become entangled in Warren's advance; this de- 
layed the Fifth Corps, and no sooner had it disentangled itself 
than it met Stuart's cavalry. A dismounted action followed, 
under cover of which Anderson, advancing along the Cathar- 
pin Road, crossed the Wooden Bridge over the Po, and drove 
Sheridan's 3rd Cavalry Division out of Spottsylvania. 

At 1 1 A.M., Warren drove back the Confederate cavalry in 
front of him, and came up with Anderson, who had already 

Early's Memoirs, p. 22. 
w 6S,*P.R., p. 974- 

242 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

entrenched. Lee now became aware of the scope of Grant's 
movement; and Grant, who had established his headquarters 
at Piney Branch Church, simultaneously learnt that his road 
was blocked, and as it happened, not so much through Lee's 
good luck as through Meade's blunder. It is true that had 
Grant moved from the battlefield of the Wilderness with his 
left (Hancock) leading, he would have forestalled Anderson; 
but not being certain what Lee would do, such a movement 
would have been extremely risky. Though disappointed by 
this unlooked-for opposition, he was in no way discouraged, 
and at once modified his plan to meet the change In circum- 

At noon Grant received dispatches from Washington, and 
from these he learnt that Sherman's advance was progressing, 
and that Sigel was moving up the Shenandoah Valley. The 
news from Butler was, however, uncertain. On the 5th, that 
general had occupied City Point, had reconnoitred towards 
Petersburg, and was entrenching "for fear of an accident to the 
Army of the Potomac' 5 ; 32 further, he wanted "ten thousand 
of the reserves." Grant at once directed 33 Halleck to send 
the men, and as he was unable to unite with Butler until he had 
defeated Lee y he decided that Sheridan and the whole of the 
Cavalry Corps should "cut loose," and proceed on a raid 
against the north of Richmond, in order to relieve the pres- 
sure on Butler. 34 

On the morning of the 9th, Lee established a strongly en- 
trenched line along the ridge which separates the Po and the 
Ny, enclosing Spottsylvania in a blunt triangle of works. His 
position was a strong one, for in front of it lay a tangle of 
undergrowth and swamp land: Anderson held the left, Ewell 
the centre, and Early the right. Facing the first two were 
Warren and Sedgwick; Hancock was at Todd's Tavern, and 
Burnside was in reserve, moving towards Gate with one di- 
vision at Piney Branch Church to protect the trains. 

32 68, W.R., p. 517- 

33 68, W.R., p. 561. 

3*68, WR.> p. 552. Further than this, a violent quarrel had taken place be- 
tween Sheridan and Meade, presumably over Meade's change in Sheridan's or- 
ders, and I think Grant was not sorry to separate them. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 243 


Lee's position between the rivers Po and Ny was one of 
great defensive strength. That he was fighting in his own 
country, that his men knew It intimately, and that the inhabi- 
tants informed him of Grant's every movement, were tremen- 
dous advantages; nevertheless, his losses had so depleted his 
army that he was compelled through this circumstance alone to 
distribute his troops in such a way that he would be able to 
exert the maximum resistance, and simultaneously, as occasion 
demanded, effect a concentration of force against any threat- 
ened point. To draw all his troops out in line would have 
deprived him of reserves; to have established strong reserves 
would have restricted his front: so, in place, he formed his 
army into a "hog's snout"; for not only would this formation 
be a difficult one to envelop should Grant attempt to encircle 
him, but should Grant mass against either of his flanks, the 
flank not attacked could act as a reserve to the one threatened. 

Grant's object was a simple though difficult one. He real- 
ized that Lee was unable to maintain the contest in the open 
field, consequently that he himself had to maintain the offen- 
sive role. He could have manoeuvred Lee out of his position, 
but this was the last thing he wanted to do ; for Butler was 
now moving north, and until he could make his strength felt, 
to manoeuvre Lee onto him might prove disastrous. Conse- 
quently, Grant decided to fix him by another attack; to ham- 
mer him as he had hammered him in the Wilderness, to drive 
him back in disorder, and then to unite with Butler and either 
knock Lee out, or pin him down within the entrenchments of 
Richmond, and so facilitate Sherman's manoeuvre. 

On May 9, a chance mistake, so apt to occur in an en- 
closed and badly mapped country, seriously influenced Grants 
forthcoming operations. Part of Burnside's corps, as we 
have seen, was moving towards Gate; but the point so marked 
on the map was merely a roadside gate, and his 3rd Division, 
under Willcox, who was leading, very naturally passed it by, 
and, at about 7 A.M V reached a farmhouse called Gayle, about 

244 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

one mile and a half south of Gate. 35 The correct name of 
this place was Beverly, but on Willcox's map it was marked 
Gayle, which in actuality was situated a mile further south. 
Thinking that Gayle was a misprint for "Gayte" which he 
supposed must be the Gate he had been ordered to march to, 
he reported his arrival at Gate to Burnside, who reporting it 
to Grant was ordered by him to close up his three forward 
divisions at that spot 

Lee being informed that heavy columns were approaching 
his right, sent out a force to delay them. Grant learning of 
this, and simultaneously hearing that the Confederates on the 
Cartharpin Road had been withdrawn, was of opinion that 
Lee was extending his right towards Fredericksburg, 36 with 
the object of either cutting the Federal line of communications, 
or of gaining the Telegraph Road the direct road to Rich- 
mond and to Butler. He determined therefore on the follow- 
ing operation: 37 to hold Lee's right flank with Burnside's 
corps; to engage and hold the right of Lee's left flank with 
Wright's 3S and Warren's corps, and to turn the left of Lee's 
left wing with Hancock's corps. His idea was, that as ap- 
parently Lee was weakening his left to reinforce his right, he 
would take advantage of this, and whilst the Fifth, Sixth and 
Ninth Corps held Lee as in a vice, the Second would envelop 
his left, roll it up, attack his rear, and annihilate him. This 
plan was a bold one, and as we see it was based on a miscon- 

Meade seems to have had no clear idea of what Grant in- 
tended; for, in place of urging Hancock on, he instructed him 
to endeavour to ascertain the position and force of the enemy 
in his front and the location of his left flank. In fact, he asked 
him to carry out a reconnaissance and not an attack. Han- 
cock, puzzled, acted cautiously. On the evening of the 9th 
his advance was slow, and Lee, grasping Grant's intention, 

as 68, W.R*> p. 581. 

86 68, W.R., pp. 561, 562. 

87 68, W.R., p. 582. 

38 On the morning of the 9th, General Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate 
sharpshooter, and Wright succeeded to the command of the Sixth Corps. (68, 
; P. 5770 


Gate o 

PLAN /O. fldttie 


246 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

moved two of Early' s divisions from his right wing to his left 
This bold move wrecked Grant's plan of rolling up Lee's left 
flank; for, on the morning of the loth, Hancock found^the 
enemy so strongly entrenched that he was able to make little 

Grant realizing that he had been working under a miscon- 
ception, and that Lee was not massing on his right, at once 
changed his plan. He decided on a general attack at 5 P.M. : 
Burnside was to advance against the enemy's right, and was 
ordered to make "all the show he could" as "the best co- 
operative effort"; S9 Hancock was to withdraw two of his di- 
visions, 40 and uniting them with those under Warren and 
Wright, to attack the enemy's centre at the same hour. This 
point of attack, the left face of the salient, was selected because 
the approaches to it were good, and artillery fire could support 
an assault made against it. 

The original idea was, that Hancock with six divisions (two 
of his own and Warren's four) and Wright and Mott with 
four divisions, should attack simultaneously; but as Hancock 
was delayed, and as Warren reported 41 that he could carry 
the works in front of him without Hancock's assistance, he 
received an order to do so at 4 P.M. ; 42 Wright and Mott being 
instructed to attack at the same time. This assault was a fail- 
ure, and was unsupported by Wright and Mott, who were not 
ready to co-operate. 

In no way discouraged, Grant decided to continue the at- 
tack, and Colonel Upton, one of Wright's brigadiers, and 
twelve selected regiments were ordered to storm the west face 
of the salient, the apex of which was simultaneously to be as- 
saulted by Mott. 

Upton's column was formed in four lines, and the advance 
was made through a wood, the far edge of which was but two 
hundred yards from the enemy's entrenchments. On his right 
flank he was supported by a battery of guns which kept up a 

39 68, W.R., p. 610. 

40 68, W.R., p. 600. Mott's Division was already detached on Wright's left 

41 68, WR. t p. 600. 

4 2 68, W&., p. 600. 


I PLAN II. Upton'3 JdMULT Sf&y 10 

24S The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

constant fire until the moment to charge arrived. As the guns 
ceased fire, the column quickened its pace, then broke into the 
charge, and, in spite of a terrible front and flank fire, it swept 
over the enemy's parapets, then extending to the right and left 
it opened a large gap in his line, capturing some 1,200 pris- 
oners. Unfortunately Mott's assault failed, with the result 
that Upton was attacked on all sides. In order to relieve 
him, Meade ordered Warren to carry out a second assault at 
6.30 P.M.; and though, as an assault, it failed, it succeeded 
in preventing Anderson reinforcing Ewell in the salient. 
Upton was eventually withdrawn under cover of night. 

Meanwhile Burnside had moved forward, and, according 
to Grant, he "got up to within a few hundred yards of Spott- 
sylvania Court House, completely turning Lee's right. He 
was not aware of the importance of the advantage he had 
gained"* 3 and in these circumstances his attack became no 
more than a reconnaissance in force. That night he was or- 
dered to close in on Wright's left. "This," says Grant, 
"brought him back about a mile, and lost to us an important 
advantage. I attach no blame to Burnside for this, but I do 
to myself for not having had a staff officer with him to report 
to me his position," ** 

The fighting on the 10th was but a gale heralding the 
storm. On the nth came a lull, and the next day the hurri- 
cane; for the ferocity of the fighting on this day has seldom 
been equalled. 

The nth was given up to preparation. In the morning 
Grant first wrote to Lincoln: "We have now ended the sixth 
day of very heavy fighting. The result to this time is much 
in our favor. But our losses have been heavy, as well as 
those of the enemy. ... [I ... propose to fight it out on 
this line if it takes all summer]." 4S The effect of this letter, 
as Captain Atkinson writes, "was instantaneous. It is hardly 
too much to say that from that moment dated Grant's real 

43 Grant, II, p. 225. 

44 Grant, II, p. 225. 

45 68, fP.R. f p. 627. The sentence in brackets is not included in this reference, 
though it is generally attributed to it. 



PLAN 12. Battle <$ 6POTTSYLWWM Stay 12 > 

250 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ascendancy over the people he represented." 46 Next he pre- 
pared for a carefully mounted battle on the I2th, based on the 
experiences of Upton's successful assault. 

His idea was to hold Lee's left flank, and assault his centre 
and right flank. He ordered 47 Meade to move Hancock's 
corps, less one division, under cover of darkness in rear of 
the Fifth and Sixth Corps to Brown's House north of the 
salient. Warren was to take over the front of the Second 
Corps in addition to his own, and the Sixth Corps was to hold 
its trenches with two divisions and to draw two out as a 
mobile reserve. At 4 A.M. Hancock and Burnside, seven di- 
visions in all, were to attack; Burnside from Beverly House 
due westward against the right flank of the salient, and Han- 
cock against the apex of the salient. 

Heavy rain was falling, when, at 10 P.M., Hancock's corps 
moved out of its trenches to concentrate at Brown's House, 
There it arrived at midnight, formed up, snatched a little 
rest, and moved off towards the salient at about 4 A.M. ; for, 
the morning being very misty, Hancock had postponed the at- 
tack until 4.35 A.M. Barlow's division was on the left, Bir- 
ney's on the right, and Mott's and Gibbon's in rear. 

The morning was excessively dark when Hancock's corps 
moved off through the mud and the mist, marching as it did 
on a compass bearing. As the enemy's position was neared 
there emerged from out the fog a line of chevaux-de-f rise ; a 
strong and continuous line of earthworks, manned by a double 
line of infantry, and "the black bellowing mouths of upwards 
of twenty pieces of artillery" * . . "I remember," says Bar- 
low, "the thin picket line of the enemy, with their bewildered 
look, of which no one took any notice. There was a little pat- 
tering of bullets, and I saw a few of our men on the ground; 
one discharge of artillery, that I remember, and we were up 
on the works with our hands full of guns, prisoners and 
colors." 48 

I will now condense Barlow's account, for as he was the 

40 Atkinson, p. 275. 
47 68, JFJR., p. 629. 
**M.H.SM. f IV. p. 250. 


****** ***** 


a. a. 




252 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

leading participant in the assault, his is of exceptional in- 

The mass of men was irresistible, for the Confederates 
were completely surprised. The men surged over the parapet, 
and were at once thrown into inextricable confusion. The 
troops which followed them, in place of passing through the 
mob and forming an organized front, and in place of sweep- 
ing down the enemy's flanks, became confused with those of 
the successful first line. It was not the enemy's fire which 
interfered with troops re-forming, but the pouring in of sup- 
ports and reserves. "You could see men of all commands in- 
termingled and lying, in some places forty deep, on the outer 
side of the captared works, and on the slope which ran down 
from them." The truth is that, "So far as the assault was 
concerned, it was . . . the most brilliant thing of its kind of 
the war" ; but no one was prepared for the magnitude of the 
success. In General Barlow's opinion: "It was an accident 
that we struck this angle, always a weak point in a line; an 
accident that the morning was misty to an unusual degree ; an 
accident that we found a space for our rush so free from ob- 
stacles; an accident that we so escaped the observation of the 
enemy's outposts and pickets that we were upon them before 
they could make any substantial resistance." 49 

Accident though it may have been, success in war very 
largely depends on accidents, and the ability of turning them 
to account. This Hancock's corps did not do ; the Confeder- 
ates were stunned, and not until an hour after the salient had 
been stormed did Lee launch his first counter-attack. During 
these precious sixty minutes, organized forces of Federals 
should have swept forward towards the cross trench north of 
Harrison's House; and had this work been stormed success- 
fully, Lee's army would have been cut in two, and nothing 
but a miracle could have prevented its annihilation. 

The first Confederate counter-attack, launched about 5.45 
A.M., struck, not a formed but a confused mass of men, and 
drove it out of the works. At 5.55 A.M. Hancock asked 50 for 

* M.H.S.M., IV, pp. 252-256. 
50 68, WR. t p. 656. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 253 

support, and the two mobile divisions of the Sixth Corps were 
sent to his aid. The battle now developed into a hand-to-hand 
contest, in which one side or the other would in a few minutes 
have been forced from the field had not the trench line, para- 
pet on one side and parados on the other, proved an all but 
unstormable obstacle to Federals and Confederates in fact, 
this trench, like a coupling, not only held the combatants to- 
gether, but kept them apart. General Grant of the Sixth 
Corps says : 

"It was not only a desperate struggle, but it was literally a 
hand-to-hand fight. Nothing but the piled-up logs or breast- 
works separated the combatants. Our men would reach over 
the logs and fire into the faces of the enemy, would stab over 
with their bayonets; many were shot and stabbed through 
the crevices and holes between the logs. Men mounted the 
works, and with muskets rapidly handed them, kept up a con- 
tinuous fire until they were shot down, when others would 
take their places and continue the deadly work. ... I was 
at the angle next day. The sight was terrible." 61 

This contest, the ferocity of which was only equalled by 
its heroism, endured for twenty hours, and left the Second 
and Sixth Corps masters of the "Bloody Angle." 

Meanwhile, the Ninth Corps attacked Lee's right flank, 
and though its assault was disappointing, it held nearly all of 
Early' s command to its trenches; and the Fifth Corps, at 8 
A.M., attacked Lee's left, but Warren was so slow in his 
movements, that outside keeping Anderson busy, no decisive 
advantage was gained. 

Lee handled his men in a masterly manner, launching no 
less than five organized counter-attacks against the Second 
and Sixth Corps. It must be said, however, that to hold, as 
he did, the nose of the salient in strength was a tactical error. 
The rear trench across its base should have constituted his 
main line of resistance, and the "snout" should have been re- 
garded as a mere outwork a fortification which would break 
up an attack but not necessarily withstand it. This error 

K1 HumpAreys t pp. 99-100. 

254 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

could not be repaired during the battle; for, as no arrange- 
ments had been made to hold the rear line in strength, once 
Hancock broke through the "snout" it was imperative to force 
him out of it. To have attempted to withdraw would have 
meant that the retiring Confederates must have been swept in 
a confused mass over their reserves with Hancock's men on 
their heels. 62 Lee had to attack, the one thing he did not 
want to do. Not only did he lose the whole of Edward John- 
ston's division in the first rush, but also several thousands in 
killed and wounded in his attempts to hold the salient. He 
had indeed saved the day, but only at a price, and a price he 
could not afford. 

According to General Humphreys, Lee lost between 9,000 
and 10,000 officers and men on the I2th, of whom 4,000 were 
captured, and Grant 6,820 killed, wounded and missing. 63 
Colonel Livermore calculates that, from the 8th to I2th of 
May, Grant lost 14,322 men, and Lee about 12,000. The 
effective strength of Grant's army was, therefore, reduced 
by about 12.5 per cent, and Lee's by 19.7 per cent. "This 
result," writes Livermore, "would disprove the charge of a 
useless sacrifice of life by General Grant down to the I2th of 
May." 54 

Looking back on the operations of the yth to the I2th of 
May, it cannot be questioned that Lee's luck was in, and 
Grant's was out This fact does not, however, excuse any 
faults in generalship committed by Grant; for the test of true 
generalship is the presence not the absence of difficulties, and 
the proof the means attempted in overcoming them. 
Grant's determination to move on the yth was admirable, and 

62 See HumphreySj p. 104. 

63 Humphreys, pp. 105, 106. 

S *M.H.$.M., IV, p. 438. Captain Atkinson has an interesting remark to make 
on casualties. In spite of the desperate nature of the fighting, the losses on the 
lath "show the startlingly low average of i per cent, per hour." (Atkinson, 
p. 300.) The truth is, that hand-to-hand fighting is nothing like so costly as 
moving under fire in the open. The loss of i per cent, per hour in a charge 
lasting six minutes, would, if the attackers were 10,000 strong, mean a loss of 
to men a ridiculously low figure! At St. Privat, in 1870, whilst advancing to 
the attack, the Prussian Guard lost 6,000 men in 10 minutes. In ancient fight- 
ing, very few men were killed until one side broke, when the slaughter which 
followed was annihilating at Cannae, 80,000 Romans were massacred, 

Grant as General-in-Chief 255 

to move forward from such a battlefield as that of the Wilder- 
ness, and after such a battle as the one fought there, shows a 
determination which is remarkable even in this remarkable 
man. His manoeuvre to deprive Lee of Richmond is equally 
admirable, and curious to relate, his mistake, namely, that Lee 
intended to fall back on his base, was reciprocated by his an- 
tagonist, who thought that he himself was retiring on Fred- 
ericksburg. The truth is, that neither of these generals yet 
understood each other. 

In this battle, the dual system of command in the Army of 
the Potomac became conspicuous through its faultiness; yet, 
as I have already observed, it would have been extremely dif- 
ficult in the circumstances for Grant to have devised a better 
one. Meade's interference with Sheridan is inexcusable; but 
his blunder over Hancock's orders is of a type which is in- 
evitable when two men command. 

In examining Grant's generalship in this battle, one pivotal 
factor must constantly be borne in mind, namely Butler. If 
Butler's operation on the James is overlooked, no criticism is 
valid; for Butler's advance formed the hinge of Grant's for- 
ward movement. 

Anderson's premature advance was a stroke of luck for Lee. 
Willcox's blunder over Gayle and Gate was in no way an ex- 
traordinary one ; such mistakes are not uncommon in war and 
must always be expected. Had Grant not sent all his cavalry 
away on a raid (this I will deal with in the next chapter) 
he would have been able to verify the situation of the Ninth 
Corps, and must have discovered Lee's true position. Failure 
to do so was an indirect cause of the hastily mounted assaults 
on the loth, in which Upton's success convinced Grant that 
Lee's front could be broken. If this attack had proved suc- 
cessful, Lee's army would have been cut in half. Its initial 
success, largely due to the fact that the assault was adequately 
supported by artillery, was vitiated by failure to back it up 
with strong reserves. 

On the nth, careful reconnaissances were made for another 
attack, which in its initial phase was still more successful than 
Upton's, for it came as a complete surprise ; and then, as we 

256 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

have seen, it failed in its main object, namely, the cutting of 
Lee in two, not because the reserves were too weak or too 
strong, but because they were allowed to follow so closely 
on the heels of the attackers, that they became confused with 
them. This faulty organization cannot be charged against 
Grant or Meade, but must be debited to Hancock. 

Was this assault, in the circumstances, the most effective 
operation which could have been undertaken? To have out- 
flanked Lee was out of the question : first, Grant did not wish 
to drive Lee back on Richmond before Butler had been given 
time to develop his operation; secondly, the flanks of Lee's 
army were well protected by the river Po; thirdly, Lee's de- 
fensive distribution was an admirable one, for, unless both 
flanks were simultaneously attacked, the one could support 
the other; and fourthly, unless Grant could, by means of his 
cavalry, which on the 8th he had sent away, have isolated Lee 
from the civil inhabitants, no single move could have been kept 

Grant saw that the salient, in spite of tactical difficulties, 
was strategically the key to Lee's rear. Had he understood, 
as he never did, the true use of artillery, and had the assault 
been better organized, Lee must have been decisively defeated. 
We are told, that on the i2th Hancock's artillery was able to 
fire over the heads of the assaulting troops, and sweep the 
interior of the salient: 55 This being so, Barlow's and Bir- 
ney's divisions should have assaulted under cover of a bom- 
bardment; or, if this were not possible, then a bombardment 
should have been opened on the Confederate supporting 
troops, directly the assault succeeded; when after a twenty 
minutes' pause, Mott's and Gibbon's divisions should have 
been brought forward in small compact columns, and have 
passed through the assaulting troops which should at once 
have been re-formed as a reserve. It was no fault of Grant's 
that such a common-sense attack was not carried out, but, as 
we shall see in the next chapter, this simple lesson of the 
"Bloody Angle" was lost on him. 

Finally, and in spite of its tactical errors, Spottsylvania was 

55 Atkinson, p, 285. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 257 

a crushing blow to Lee. To be deprived of 9,000 to 10,000 
effectives in five days' fighting, definitely meant that every 
available man Would have to be sent to his aid, and that any 
idea of strongly reinforcing Johnston in Georgia was out of 
the question. What Grant lost, Sherman gained. 


MAY 13-20 

THE battle of May 12 having failed in its ultimate object, 
Grant at once set about preparing for another. Works were 
thrown up, roads cleared, field telegraph lines laid, and ex- 
tensive reconnaissances made of Lee's position. All these 
things were done, as Grant said, in order to get by "the right 
flank of the enemy" ; for in his next engagement he hoped, that 
not only would an attack on Lee's right push the Army of 
Northern Virginia away from Butler, but that it would en- 
able him to connect with the Army of the James, and so es- 
tablish a new base of supply on the coast. 

The battle was planned for the I4th, Warren's corps being 
moved over to Burnside's left; but the rain coming down in 
torrents greatly delayed this change of front, which on the 
1 5th assumed the following order Hancock, Burnside, War- 
ren, Wright in one line of entrenchments from the salient to 
Gayle's. On the i6th, in order to lessen the length of the 
marching columns, Grant sent over a hundred pieces of artil- 
lery with their horses and caissons back to Washington, and 
on the 1 7th received his first reinforcements of 12,000 men. 
On the 1 8th an unsuccessful attack was made on the base of 
the salient, and that night Grant decided to abandon the 
offensive in the Spottsylvania area, and prepare another ma- 
noeuvre round Lee's right. By the 20th the army was dis- 
tributed between the rivers Ny and Po as follows : Warren's 
corps on the right; Wright's in the centre and Burnside's on 
the left, with Hancock's in reserve east of Gayle. Prepara- 
tions were also set on foot to change the base of supplies from 
Fredericksburg to Port Royal on the Rappahannock. 


PLANJ4-. B&ttle of 3POTT6YLVAN/A 

260 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


It will be remembered that the three subsidiary operations, 
simultaneously launched when Grant crossed the Rapidan, 
were those of Sherman, Butler and Sigel. Sherman's advance 
was progressing satisfactorily, but on the i8th Grant heard 
that Sigel had been badly defeated at New Market and was 
retreating down the Valley, and that Butler had been driven 
back from Drury's Bluff. This news might well have shaken 
a less determined general, for the co-operation of Butler and 
Sigel were essential to the maintenance of Grant's original 
plan. He was, however, in no way discouraged, and, as we 
have seen, had at once decided to continue the advance. 

Butler's Army of the James consisted of two corps, the 
Tenth under Gillmore and the Eighteenth under Smith of 
Chattanooga fame; its strength was about 38,000 officers and 
men. This army was assembled on the York river in order to 
mislead the enemy. On the night of May 4 it was embarked; 
steamed up the James, landing at City Point and Fort Pow- 
hatan. Its appearance completely surprised the Confeder- 
ates, and as Butler was opposed by little more than the weak 
garrisons of Petersburg and Richmond, he should have pushed 
on at once. In place, he delayed his advance, waiting to ascer- 
tain the success or failure of the battle of the Wilderness. At 
the time, Beauregard's forces were scattered; yet it should 
have been obvious to Butler that every hour's delay was a 
definite gain to the enemy. 

On the 9th, the army moved up towards Petersburg, driving 
the enemy back to Swift Creek, which was found to be un- 
crossable. Smith and Gillmore then suggested to Butler that 
he should bridge the Appomattox west of City Point, and 
"assault the works of Petersburg from the east." 1 Butler 
refused to listen to this advice ; for he distrusted those whom 
he called "West Point men," and apparently was not on 
friendly terms with Smith. 

Instead, hearing from Washington 2 that Lee was in retreat 

i B. fif I., IV, p. 208. 
* 68, W.R., p. 555. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 261 

for Richmond, which was not the case, he decided to move 
northwards in order to assist in the investment of the capital. 
This decision -was a fatuous one: first he painted a mental 
picture of what Lee intended to do, and secondly he ignored 
the existence of Beauregard. Having decided on this advance, 
instead of crossing to the north side of the James, and so 
placing this river on his left flank, on the I2th he set out 
northwards towards Drury's Bluff, some seven miles south of 

"The night of the I5th," writes Swinton, "everything was 
still. A thin film of cloud slightly obscured the sky, but it 
was not so heavy as to interfere seriously with the moonlight, 
and the heavens gave no token of what was presently to be 
seen. Before dawn a dense fog, arising from the margin of 
the James, overspread the whole face of the country with so 
opaque a pall that a horseman was not visible at a distance of 
ten yards. In the thick of this and before dawn, the sleeping 
camp was suddenly aroused by a savage outburst of musketry 
and artillery fire along the whole line. Eeauregard had taken 
advantage of the fog. . . ." 8 Butler's army was over-ex- 
tended, nevertheless his front held, but his left being turned 
and threatened in rear by a division under General Whiting, 
he was compelled to fall back on Bermuda Hundred, where he 
entrenched himself between the James and the Appomattox; 
there, as Grant says, he was completely bottled up. 

"Had the instructions of April 2 of General Grant been 
strictly carried out," writes General Smith, "and had Peters- 
burg been promptly attacked on the 6th of May, it would 
doubtlessly have fallen, and the Southern lines of communica- 
tion would have been at the mercy of General Butler." 4 Had 
this happened, the loss of the South Side and Weldon railways 
would have forced Lee to break up before Grant. 


Closely connected with Butler's movement from City Point, 
and largely dependent upon its success, was the raid carried 

3 Swinton, p. 465. 
* B. & L. f IV, p. 212. 

262 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

out by Sheridan. That it accomplished nothing except the 
death of General Stuart, as some writers affirm, for instance 
Captain Battine, 5 is absurd; but that it did not form part 
of Grant's original plan is very true, for its origin may be 
traced to the quarrel between Sheridan and Meade on May 8. 
Grant, realizing the danger of friction, saw that for the time 
being it was necessary to separate these two generals; and as 
was his invariable custom when faced by a difficulty, in place 
of seeking for some ideal solution, he accepted the lesser of 
two evils, in this case, separation, simultaneously turning this 
lesser evil to his advantage. 

If Grant had realized the power of Sheridan's breech-load- 
ing carbines, by dismounting part of his cavalry he might 
have used this weapon with deadly effect in the woods of the 
Wilderness and around Spottsylvania. Like most generals, 8 
he does not seem to have paid much attention to weapon- 
power the cutting edge of tactics. This being so, his cavalry 
were definitely an encumbrance in the forests; for no type of 
soldier is less suited to wood fighting, and no other arm will 
block a road more completely than a large force of cavalry 
and its transport. 7 In the circumstances, I think that he was 
wise to part with his mounted troops ; though whether he was 
wise to part with all three divisions is doubtful ; yet, as he ex- 
pected that the whole of Stuart's force would be encountered, 
not realizing the power of the breech-loading carbine, it is 
difficult to say that he was wrong in maintaining Sheridan at 
full strength. 

The objects of this raid were: to attack Lee's line of supply 
his rear; to draw the Confederate cavalry away from the 
Army of the Potomac, and to reduce traffic from Fredericks- 
burg forward. Critics of it frequently overlook the fact that 
Butler was at City Point, and under orders to move against 
Richmond. Had Butler occupied Petersburg, as he should 

5 Battine, p. 375. 

6 In the World War how many generals understood the use of tanks, or even 
of machine guns in the earlier part of the war ? Their number could probably 
be counted on the fingers of one hand. 

7 In the World War, on several occasions, I have seen ten miles of road com- 
pletely blocked by a force of cavalry less numerous than Sheridan's. The for- 
age carts are the main difficulty. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 263 

have done, then damage to the railways s in rear of Lee would 
almost certainly have compelled Lee to fall back or risk 

Sheridan's orders were to move round Lee's left; attack his 
cavalry wherever met; cut the Virginia Central and Freder- 
icksburg railroads, and then move south and join Butler. 
Starting out on the 8th, on the nth, when a few miles from 
Richmond, he met the Confederate cavalry under Stuart, and 
defeated them, Stuart being mortally wounded. Next he en- 
tered the outer defences of Richmond, causing a panic in the 
capital; joined up with Butler on the I4th, and on the 24th 
reported to the Army of the Potomac when on its march from 
the North Anna to Cold Harbor. During the sixteen days he 
was absent, a period of much administrative difficulty to 
Grant, who was in the process of changing his supply base to 
Port Royal, the Federal trains were never interfered with. 
On the other hand, there can be no question that Lee was seri- 
ously embarrassed by this raid; for some ten miles of the Vir- 
ginia Central railroad and several miles of the Fredericks- 
burg were destroyed. 9 Colonel Livermore writes : "If Grant 
had succeeded in dislodging Lee's army from its intrench- 
ments at Spottsylvania, the advantage from the interruption 
of their supplies might have been very great." 10 These points 
must be borne in mind when criticizing Sheridan's operation. 


Grant had now for thirteen days been attacking Lee in the 
Spottsylvania area, and he realized quite clearly that whilst 
hastily entrenched positions could frequently be carried by as- 
sault, well-prepared ones could not, unless the assault came as 
a complete surprise. He now saw that if Lee would not come 
out of his entrenchments the battle must be shifted to new 
ground, and in spite of bad news from the Valley, he deter- 
mined on a risky manoeuvre, namely, another flank march in 

8 The damage done to the railways greatly delayed Beauregard's concen- 

9 67, W.R., p. 776; 68, W.R., p. 1025; 81, W.R., pp. 686, 697. 
w M.H.SM., VI, pp. 465, 466. 

264 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

face of his unbroken enemy; so once again he decided to turn 
Lee's right. 

After the battle of the Wilderness his idea was, that wher- 
ever Lee went Meade should follow; this he now reversed, 
and in its place he substituted wherever Meade went Lee 
should be compelled to follow. So bold a change in direction 
shows the elasticity of Grant's battle strategy; further, it 
shows his courage, for the plan he intended to adopt, in order 
to persuade Lee to attack him, was a hazardous one. Of this 
plan General Humphreys writes: 

"It was supposed that, if one of corps of the Army of the 
Potomac was sent some twenty miles distant on the road to 
Richmond, keeping the rest of the army ready to follow, 11 
Lee might endeavour to attack the corps, thus separated be- 
fore it could be reinforced, and upon the first indication of 
such intention (or even before it, after leaving full time for 
the intention to disclose itself, if it should exist) the rest of 
the army following the corps might be able to attack before 
Lee could entrench. If Lee did not make this attempt on the 
isolated corps, then the movement would become simply a 
turning or flank operation." 12 

In accordance with this idea, Hancock was ordered 13 to 
march by Guinea's (or Guiney's) Station and Bowling Green 
to Milford, cross the Mattapony river at this place, and fight 
the enemy wherever met. It was hoped when Lee found that 
the Second Corps had slipped by him, and was threatening his 
line of retreat on Richmond, that he would attempt to push 
it out of the way before the rest of Grant's army could come 
to its support. Should this happen, then Warren's, Wright's 
and Burnside's corps would fall on Lee's left flank and rear. 

In order that his march should not be observed, Hancock 
moved off at 1 1 P.M. on the 20th, arriving at Guinea's Station 
at dawn; from where he pushed on towards Bowling Green. 
Humphreys suggests 14 that he should have moved by the 

11 68, W.R., p. 865. 

* 2 Humphreys, p. 119. 

is 68, W&., p. 910. 

i* Humphreys, pp. 126, 127. 

PLANl5.</lda,w:etoth* NORTH ANNA May &, 1 8 64.. 

266 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Telegraph road, as he would then have immediately threat- 
ened Lee's line of retreat. This is correct, but Grant's diffi- 
culty was, that as Butler was bottled up in Bermuda Hundred, 
he was compelled to consider the security of his left flank with 
reference to his change of base to Port Royal, as well as en- 
tice Lee to attack the Second Corps. Again he was faced by 
a choice of two evils, and as usual he chose the lesser. That 
he did so shows his wisdom as events soon proved; for, on 
the morning of the 22nd, in the neighbourhood of Milford, 
Hancock's cavalry were opposed by Picket?* division from 
Petersburg. Here he learnt that Hoke's division, or part of 
it, had arrived from the James and was at Pole Cat Station, 
and that Breckinridge, from the Valley, was at Hanover Junc- 
tion. Had Grant adopted Humphrey's idea of moving Han- 
cock by Guinea's Station on to the Telegraph road, Lee might 
have turned on him; whilst these newly arrived reinforce- 
ments, some 10,000 strong, fell on his flank and rear. 

Meade had directed Hancock, 15 before he advanced, to 
keep him informed as to his situation; this he failed to do, 
with the result that the movements of the remaining corps had 
to take place without any modification being made in the orig- 
inal plan; these movements were as follows: 

Early on the 2ist, Burnside, Warren and Wright pushed 
their skirmishers forward to discover whether Lee was still 
in position. At 10 A.M., Warren began to withdraw, moving 
by Guinea's Station and Madison Store ; he was followed by 
Burnside who arrived at Guinea's Station at 2 A.M. on the 
22nd. Once Warren had withdrawn, Wright took over a 
shortened line of entrenchments at Gayle house, which he 
held until nightfall, when he set out to join Hancock. The 
trains were ordered to advance to Guinea's Station. 

Early in the morning of the 2ist, Lee, learning from his 
cavalry detachment at Guinea's Station that troops had passed 
through that place at daybreak, at once moved Ewell's corps 
over to his right; but it was not until he discovered Wright's 
trenches evacuated that he set the whole of his army in mo- 
tion, not to attack Hancock, but to place himself between his 
enemy and Richmond, and cover the Virginia Central railway, 

" 68, W.R., p. 910. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 267 

His retirement was directed on Hanover Junction ; Ewell, fol- 
lowed by Anderson, arriving there about midday the 22nd, 
and Hilly who had now returned to his corps, on the morning 
of the 23rd. 

On the night of the 22nd, the position of the Army of the 
Potomac was as follows: Wright's corps between Nancy 
Wright's and Madison's Store; Warren at Harris's Store; 
Hancock's at Milford, and Burnside's at Bethel Church. 

Grant's manoeuvre had succeeded strategically, but tacti- 
cally it had failed. Lee had been shifted from his strong po- 
sition, and was now in the open; but he had not been brought 
to battle, for the simple reason, that though Hancock's move- 
ment threatened his right flank, it in no way obstructed his 
rear. In the circumstances, Lee was wise to leave Hancock 

Though disappointed, Grant lost no time in conforming to 
Lee's move, and on the evening of the 22nd instructions were 
sent to Meade 16 to advance at 5 A.M. on the following day: 
Warren's and Wright's corps to Hawkins Creek (Quarles' 
Mill) ; Hancock's to Chesterfield Ford (near where the Rich- 
mond and Potomac railway crosses the North Anna) ; and 
Burnside's corps to move at 3 P.M. to Jericho Bridge. On 
the 24th, Butler was instructed 17 to send north, under General 
Smith, all forces not required to hold the lines at Bermuda 

Though not ordered to do so, Warren, finding the North 
Anna unoccupied, forded it, and by 4.30 P.M. the whole of 
his infantry had crossed over. Here he was attacked, his 
right flank being driven in by Hill; but after a short engage- 
ment the enemy were ejected. Meade, hearing that Warren 
was in difficulties, moved Wright's corps forward to support 
him. Meanwhile, on the left, Hancock crossing Long Creek, 
moved towards Ox Ford, and by 7 P.M. drove the Confeder- 
ates back over the river and secured Telegraph road bridge. 
"Assuredly," writes Captain Atkinson, "there was nothing 
on this day to show that Grant's army was not capable of 
great deeds. The generalship of the corps commanders, the 

i 6 69, W.R., p. 81. 

1*69, fT.R., pp. 145, 176-177, 

268 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

bravery of their subordinate leaders, and the steadiness of 
the men, were beyond praise.'* 18 

On the morning of the 24th, Grant's distribution was as 
follows: Warren's corps on the right entrenched beyond the 
river, next on his left Wright's corps, and then Burnside's 
and Hancock's; the last mentioned holding the road bridge 
and the railway bridge except at its southern extremity. 

About this time Grant was informed by some negroes 19 that 
Lee intended to fall back on Richmond. Accepting this in- 
formation as reliable, he decided to push forward and attack 
his enemy before he could retire to the fortifications of the 
capital; consequently, Hancock and Burnside 20 were ordered, 
if possible, to cross the river and pursue Lee directly he began 
to retire. This information was soon found to be incorrect; 
for, in moving forward, Warren came up against a strongly 
entrenched line 21 running from Ox Ford towards Anderson's 
Station on the Virginia Central railway; and Gibbon's division 
of Hancock's corps reported similar works 22 running from 
Ox Ford to Hanover Junction. In fact, Lee was found to be 
in position with his whole army, occupying well-prepared 
works constructed during the previous winter. 

Grant's situation was now an anxious one, for not only had 
he manoeuvred Lee out of strong works at Spottsylvania into 
stronger ones on the North Anna, but his army was divided. 
His distribution was shaped like the letter "M," the central 
angle, or U V," of which was the North Anna, the left upright 
the Sixth and Fifth Corps, and the right upright the Sec- 
ond; whilst Lee, again confronted him in a "hog snout" en- 
trenchment, and was consequently well placed to concentrate 
against either flank at will. 

Why did not Lee attack? Much mystery has been need- 
lessly woven around this question, and frequently has the an- 
swer been suggested: that no attack was made because Lee 
was ill. On the 24th he had been confined to his tent, other- 

18 Atkinson, p. 352. 

is 69, W.R., pp. 148-149. 

20 69, W.R., pp. 152, 154, 167, On this day Burnside's corps was permanently 
placed under the orders of Meade. 

21 69, JTJ2., p. I59 . 

? 2 69, W.R., pp. 152, 153, !5 5 . 

PLAN 16. Opor&kicns on NORTH ANNA 


270 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

wise Warren would never have been allowed to cross the river. 
On the 24th he had said to General Hill: "Why did you let 
these people cross the river? Why did you not drive them 
back as General Jackson would have done," and later on to 
his staff he exclaimed: "We must never let them pass us 
again! We must strike them!" If Hill had failed to strike 
on the 23rd, why did not Lee strike on the 25th? I do not 
think that it was sickness which prevented him from doing so, 
but the attrition he had suffered in the Wilderness and at 
Spottsylvania. To have attacked Hancock, the most exposed 
of Grant's commanders, would have entailed an assault on 
entrenchments, and with heavy loss even if successful. Lee 
could no longer afford such a loss; further still, as Grant had 
attacked him in every position he had held since May 5, the 
probabilities were, and the present Federal advance certainly 
supported this contention, that Grant would attack again. 
Should he do so, then Lee was confident that he could hold 
him, inflict the heaviest casualties on him, and should an 
opportunity arise counter-attack, and possibly cripple his 
enemy. These, I think, are the true reasons why Lee did not 
attack. He had been out-generalled not by manoeuvre, but 
through losses which he could not make good, and he realized 

Grant has not only frequently but almost universally been 
accused of seeing red whenever he saw a trench, of indulging 
in indiscriminate assaults, and of butchering his men; yet, at 
10.45 A - M - on the 25th, what do we see him do? Directly he 
learns the exact position of Lee, and realizes that his opponent 
is not retiring, and does not intend to retire, he decides on 
another manoeuvre ; this time of a still more hazardous nature 
than the one he carried out on the 2ist; because he could not 
move until he had extricated his army. 


On the afternoon of the 25th, Grant directed 28 Meade to 
withdraw across the North Anna, and to move to Hanover 
Town. The greatest secrecy was to be observed, and a * 'heavy 

23 69, WJL 9 p. 183. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 271 

cavalry demonstration" against the enemy's left was ordered 
for the afternoon of the 26th. The next day a demand was 
made on Washington asking for all bridging material to be 
sent to Fort Monroe, so that it might be in readiness should 
the James have to be crossed. 

The problem which faced Grant was as follows : to move 
the army to Hanover Town, and to deploy it south of the 
Pamunkey before Lee could advance and oppose the crossing. 
Its solution depended on time : at Hanover Junction Lee was 
about twenty miles from Hanover Town, and from Jericho, 
Grant's extreme right, the distance was thirty-four miles. It 
is true that several good crossings over the Pamunkey existed 
nearer than Hanover Town; but, apparently, Grant decided 
on this crossing as it was sufficiently far away to make it diffi- 
cult for Lee to arrive there in time, should Grant gain a march 
on him. This would not have been the case had he chosen 
Littlepage's Bridge. Once across the Pamunkey, there was 
a chance of cutting in between Lee and Richmond, and so of 
compelling Lee to fight in order to regain his base. 

Sheridan and his Cavalry Corps had now rejoined the Army 
of the Potomac; this was most fortunate for Grant; for with- 
out a large force of horse the manoeuvre he contemplated 
would have been scarcely possible. The bulk of the cavalry, 
then assembled at Pole Cat Station, were ordered to watch, 
and seize if they were able to, Littlepage's Bridge and Tay- 
lor's Ford to the south of it, and to remain at these places 
until the infantry and artillery had passed. Russell's division 
of Wright's corps, supported by a strong force of artillery, 
was withdrawn from the line at dusk on the 26th, and with- 
out its trains was pushed forward by forced march to Han- 
over Town, where it was to seize the crossings over the Pa- 
munkey, and establish a bridge-head for the army. Orders 
for the rest of the troops were issued by Meade at 10 A.M. 
on the 26th; in brief they were as follows: 24 

(i) The Sixth Corps to withdraw at dark by Jericho 
Bridge, and follow Russell's division to Hanover 

24 69, W.R., p. 211. 

272 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

(2) The Fifth Corps to withdraw at dark by Quarles' 
Ford Bridge, and to move via Old Chesterfield to 
New Castle Ferry. 

(3) The Ninth Corps to hold the fords and crossings from 
Ox Ford to Jericho Mills, and to follow the Fifth 
Corps to New Castle Ferry. 

(4) The Second Corps, and Willcox's Division of the 
Ninth Corps, to hold the fords and crossings below 
Ox Ford, and follow the Sixth Corps to Hanover 

On Meade's suggestion, Smith and his corps from the James 
was ordered to disembark at White House on the Pamunkey. 

This withdrawal, a most complex one in the time, was suc- 
cessfully carried out during the night of the 26th/27th, and 
on the following morning the Army of Northern Virginia 
found itself facing an empty trench line; whilst, at 9 A.M., 
Sheridan's leading cavalry reported the occupation of Han- 
over Town, and the laying of two pontoon bridges across the 
Pamunkey. Two hours later, Russell and the advanced guard, 
after a magnificent march, joined up with Sheridan. 

On the afternoon of the 2yth, a change in the routes of the 
army was made, the Sixth and Second Corps being ordered 
to cross the river at Huntley's, four miles above Hanover 
Town, and the Fifth and Ninth Corps to cross at Hanover 
Town in place of at New Castle Ferry. About midday the 
28th, the Sixth, Second, and Fifth Corps crossed to the south 
side of the Pamunkey, the Ninth crossing at midnight, whilst 
the trains moved from Bowling Green to Dunkirk. The gen- 
eral distribution from Crump's Creek on the right to Toto- 
potomoy 25 Creek on the left was Sixth, Second, Ninth and 
Fifth Corps, with the Cavalry Corps in the neighbourhood of 

Grant's immediate problem was not to gain but to main- 
tain the little remaining room left to manoeuvre in. From 

35 Totapotamoy was the name of an Indian chief of the time of the settle- 
ment of Virginia, He is mentioned in Hudtbras (Pt II, Canto II). 
"The mighty Tottipottymoy 
Sent to our elders an envoy." 






274 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Sheridan 26 he learnt that EwelVs Corps (now commanded 
by Early} and Anderson's Corps were four miles west of 
Hawes' Shop, and that Lee had moved to Ashland on the 
night of the 27th/28th. From this it was obvious that Lee 
once again intended to oppose him. Grant, not wishing to 
frighten Lee away, advanced a weak right towards Skelton's, 
whilst he held back a strong left near Armstrongs Wright's 
and Hancock's corps holding three and a half miles of front, 
and Burnside's and Warren's only a little more than one. At 
the moment Grant's chief anxiety was that Lee might fall back 
behind the Chickahominy. 

On the 30th, a definite drift southwards set in. On the 
Federal side, Smith and the Eighteenth Corps 27 arrived at 
White House, and at once began to disembark; and as White 
House was about to become the new base of supply, to protect 
this base and to shorten the distance between Smith and War- 
ren, Grant pushed Sheridan well out on his left flank. Mean- 
while on the Confederate side, a similar movement was taking 
place towards Old Cold Harbor which not only commanded 
Grant's line of communications with White House, but also 
his route to the James, should he decide to cross to the north 
side of this river. 

Realizing that on the Totopotomoy every battle must be 
one against entrenchments, and that if he attempted to turn 
the Confederate right, Lee would extend his works to the 
Chickahominy (which would again mean a frontal attack). 
Grant decided to employ Smith's corps on June i as he had 
employed Hancock's on May 21; that is, as a bait to draw 
Lee eastwards. Should Lee fall on Smith, then he would op- 
erate against Lee's left flank and rear; in other words, Grant's 
intention was to manoeuvre against Lee's left and cut him off 
from Richmond. 

While Sheridan was reconnoitring towards Cold Harbor 
and Mechanicsville, Grant warned Smith, that "the move- 
ments of the enemy this evening on our left , . . indicate the 
possibility of a design on his part to get between you and the 
se 69, W.R., p. 274. 

27 A composite force containing much of the Tenth Corps. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 275 

Army of the Potomac"; then he added: "They will be so 
closely watched that nothing could suit me better than such a 
move." 2S Lee did not, however, move east, for not aware 
that Smith had landed, he was contemplating quite a different 

By the 3ist the hostile lines stretched from east of Atlee's 
Station to beyond Old Cold Harbor, a distance of about nine 
miles, offering either side a chance to concentrate against some 
weak spot* Lee intended to seize the opportunity, for not 
only was it necessary for political reasons to throw Grant 
back, but never since May 4 was he more favourably situated 
as regards numbers. Having been strongly reinforced, he 
now had at his command some 70,000 men, and he reckoned 
that Grant had no more than 85,000; 29 for he did not as yet 
know that Smith had joined him. 

Lee's plan was to hold Grant's front with the corps of Hill 
and Breckinridge; attack his centre with Early's; and pivot- 
ing Anderson's on Hoke and Fitzhugh Lee at Cold Harbor, to 
roll up Grant's left. Lee has been accused of not holding Cold 
Harbor in sufficient strength, as it covered Smith's advance, 
from White House and commanded the approach to the 
James. But Lee did not know that Smith had arrived, nor 
could he know that Grant would cross the James. In any case, 
at the moment, he was not thinking of the future value of 
Cold Harbor, but of its immediate value; and Hake's Divi- 
sion supported by Fitzhugh Lee should have been able to hold 
this place against Sheridan; but Torbert's magazine carbines 
proved so deadly, that his dismounted troopers drove Hoke's 
infantry out of Cold Harbor. This done, Sheridan was about 
to withdraw, when he received an order to hold that place at 
all hazards. 80 

This order was. sent to him, because Grant had gauged 
Lee's intention, and meant to turn it to his own advantage. 
Burnside and Warren were to hold their present positions; 
Hancock was to defend the right wing of the army; Wright 

28 69, W.R., p. 371- 

29 Grant had about 100,000. 

80 69, W.R., p. 469, mentions the receipt of this order ; the order itself is lost 

276 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

to move from the right via Hawes' Shop to the left at Old 
Cold Harbor; and Smith, with the Eighteenth Corps, was to 
march up from White House and come into line between War- 
ren and Wright. 

On the morning of June I, Anderson's corps had two skir- 
mishes with Sheridan's cavalry, and on both occasions was as 
sharply repulsed by the Spencer carbines, as Hoke had been 
the day before. Their deadly fire, the arrival of the Sixth 
Corps at 9 A.M., and the absence of Lee, appear to have been 
the main causes which led to the abandonment of the Confed- 
erate offensive. 

By noon Grant's forces were rapidly massing on his left, 
and as no Confederate attack had taken place, he decided to 
assume the offensive before Lee's men could strongly entrench 

At 6 P.M. the attack was launched, an attack of especial in- 
terest, not because it proved fairly successful, but because it 
was made by exhausted troops and over open ground. 
Wright's corps had been on the move since 9.45 P.M. the day 
before, and Smith's corps, which foolishly had been hurried 
off from White House before the men could get their break- 
fasts, had marched twenty-five miles, leaving many stragglers 
on the road. On Wright's front the Confederate field of fire 
was 1,400 yards deep, and both corps were confronted by a 
strong line of rifle pits covering a main line consisting of 
hastily dug trenches and log-works. The Eighteenth Corps 
carried the rifle pits, but could get no further. The Sixth was 
more fortunate, for it entered Anderson's main line, stormed 
a small salient on his right, and then moved towards New 
Cold Harbor, from where it was thrown back by a counter- 
attack. Some 750 Confederates were captured, at the cost 
of 2,200 Federals killed and wounded. 

Three hours before this attack was launched, Hancock had 
been ordered to move from the right flank and take up a posi- 
tion on Warren's left; for it was Grant's intention, before 
Lee could withdraw over the Chickahominy, and whilst he had 
this river immediately in his rear, to launch a general attack 
against the New Cold Harbor position. For this formidable 

Grant as General-in-Chief 277 

assault, Grant's corps were deployed from the right to the left 
as follows: Ninth, Fifth, Eighteenth, Sixth and Second, and, 
at 10.15 P ' M - on th e Ist > Meade suggested the following op- 
eration to Grant: "What are your views about tomorrow? 
I think the attack should be renewed as soon as Hancock is 
within supporting distance . . . Warren" should u be ordered 
to attack in conjunction with the others. Burnside I would 
hold ready to reinforce Warren, if necessary." 31 To this 
Grant agreed. 

To meet the concentration of force against his right, Lee 
ordered the following movements : Early and one division of 
If ill's corps to hold the left flank along the Totopotomoy; 
Breckinridge and Hill to move from the left flank to beyond 
New Cold Harbor, the former coming into line on Hoke's 
right with Hill on his own right. 


In the history of the Civil War, the battle of Cold Harbor 
has been given a tactical prominence which it certainly does 
not merit. It was not a great battle, or a decisive battle, or a 
very costly battle, for Lee's loss was slight 32 and Grant's only 
amounted to 5,617 of whom 1,100 were killed and 4,517 
wounded. 33 Why then has it been so greatly magnified? 

The reasons are not far to seek they are political. The 
North looked for a speedy termination of the war, and was 
disappointed. Intrigue was rife ; the presidential election was 
approaching; the cost of the war was growing apace, and 
every day saw heart-rending lists of casualties. To the poli- 
ticians and to the masses generally, Cold Harbor was the 
check-mate of Grant, and as is ever the case with the people, 
from an unfounded optimism they sank into an unfounded 
pessimism. They had in their ignorance expected victory, and 
now in their ignorance they accepted defeat, a defeat of their 
own making; for the true strategical value of Cold Harbor 

pp. 432-433- 

82 Swinton, p. 487, doubts whether the Confederate losses on June 3 reached 
1,300. See also Grant's report 67, W,R., pp. 21, 22. 
^Humphreys, p. 191; Livermore says 6,000 to 7,000. 

278 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

was not that Grant had failed to overthrow Lee, nor was it 
that he was now compelled to seek a new solution; but that 
his check, not a checkmate, disappointed the canaille who 
being denied Lee's blood in place demanded his own. The 
newspapers, ever eager to feed the masses on the carrion of 
events, turned on Grant he had failed, he was no more than 
a butcher, and "had provided either a cripple, or a corpse 
for half the homes of the North." 34 To vilify him, casual- 
ties were exaggerated, not by publishing fictitious returns, but 
by lumping together whole periods and debiting the totals to 
June 3. Thus, from the 1st to the I2th of June the losses 
were 12,737, and from the 27th of May to the I2th of June, 
including sick 17,129 , . . figures like these, juggled to 
suggest the losses of the assault, did Grant and the Northern 
cause more harm than the actual check he sustained. Even 
to-day they have not lost their sting; for in the opinion of 
many Grant still represents the butcher type of general. 

To turn to the cause of all this falsification : was Grant jus- 
tified in launching this attack? My own answer is: No, he 
was not; but I do consider that there were extenuating cir- 

Few generals better understood the influence of politics on 
war than Grant. He realized quite clearly the vital necessity 
of an early success; for, ever since the opening of the war, 
the North had suffered from a political enteric fever. For 
thirty days he had wrestled with the most noted general of 
the Confederacy, in a theatre of war as unsuited to offensive 
action as it was well suited to defensive. He had driven Lee 
from the Rapidan to the Chickahominy, and was left with no 
further room to manoeuvre in. Lee's flanks could not be 
turned, consequently outside abandoning the campaign he had 
no choice but to attack frontally. To abandon the campaign 
would at once have been proclaimed a disaster; a disaster 
which would have depressed the North and have elated the 
South; a disaster which in its ill effects would have exceeded 
those of the check Grant actually experienced. At Missionary 
Ridge the assault had succeeded beyond all expectation; 

34 New York Dally News. 


PLAN 18. *As$&tt-Lt of jr3Zr&3ZHZ Corps 
COLD HAR&Ofi Juwz 3. 

280 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Upton's assault was successful and so was Barlow's. On 
June 2 there was as good a chance of success as in these en- 
gagements, and the need for it was greater. 

The attack was, however, postponed. At first it was to 
take place on the morning of the 2nd, then at 5 o'clock in the 
afternoon, then the next day. Meanwhile, Burnside's corps 
was to move out of the line and come into reserve in rear of 
Warren, and these two corps, in place of supporting the three 
south of them, were to become an offensive mass of attack. 
There would then be two assaults, launched simultaneously; 
that of the Eighteenth, Sixth and Second Corps near New 
Cold Harbor, and that of the Ninth and Fifth Corps north 
of this spot. 

As this concentration was about to take place, Early, on 
the afternoon of the 2nd, attacked Grant's right; and Grant, 
realizing that Lee could not be strong everywhere, and that 
as he had shown strength on his left, in all probability his 
right, about New Cold Harbor, was not as strong as he had 
expected, postponed the assault until 4.30 A.M. 85 the next day. 

Grant's error was a two-fold one : first he postponed the at- 
tack for twenty-four hours, and so gave Lee ample time to 
strengthen his position (in all probability this delay was un- 
avoidable) ; secondly, he ordered an attack all along the line, 
and in the assault on the New Cold Harbor position he massed 
on a frontage of 4,000 yards no less than 60,000 rifles, that 
is fifteen rifles to each yard of front. Here he fell, and by 
no means for the first or last time, into a common error, an 
error which has caused more needless loss in war than any 
other, namely: that battles can be won by masses of men; or, 
in other words, that human tonnage is the coefficient of vic- 
tory. Obviously this assumption is not only illogical but ab- 
surd; for on a modern battlefield it is not men who count, but 
weapon-power bullets and shells. If Grant had as clearly 
understood that tactics are based on weapon-power, as he did 
that strategy is based on movement, and that as movement 
depends on supply, so does offensive power depend on pro- 
tection, he would never have assaulted at Cold Harbor as he 
69, W.R., p. 479. 

282 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

did, nor would he have sent over a third of his guns back to 
Washington because he could not employ them to the full in 
the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania. 

I will now, remembering the conditions of war which faced 
Grant, attempt to show what he might have done on the morn- 
ing of the 3rd with the forces and weapons at his disposal. 

Lee's line was some six miles long, extending vaguely from 
the Shady Grove Church road on his left to the Chickahominy 
on his right; behind his right this river was a serious obstacle 
to retire over. This frontage may be divided roughly into 
two tactical zones: the northern north of the eastern ex- 
tremity of Games' Mill lake; and the southern south of this 
point. I will now suggest a definite operation. 

Grant should have held the northern zone defensively with 
the Ninth and Fifth Corps; and he should have selected the 
left of the southern zone as the objective of his decisive at- 
tack. He should, after dark on June 2, have drawn the Sixth 
Corps out of the line, and have ordered the Second Corps 
to take over its front, and have massed his artillery in two 
groups, one on the right of the Second Corps and the other 
on the right of the Eighteenth. The Eighteenth Corps should 
have been allotted a strong force of dismounted cavalry 
armed with Spencer carbines, and General Smith should have 
been ordered to penetrate the enemy's front between the two 
streams running from the east into Games' Mill lake. Hidden 
away behind the Eighteenth Corps front, the Sixth Corps 
should have been kept in mobile reserve. 

As regards the attack, I consider that it might then have 
been carried out as follows : 

The front to be penetrated to be bombarded by the two 
groups of guns for about one hour, and under cover of this 
bombardment small parties of dismounted cavalry to have 
been pushed forward to within about 100 yards of the Con- 
federate works. The sudden cessation of the bombardment 
to be the signal for the assault, to be carried out by a line of 
battalion columns at deploying intervals, advancing under 
cover of the magazine carbine fire of the dismounted cavalry. 
These columns to be followed by supporting columns in simi- 

Grant as General-in-Chief 283 

lar formation, which, directly the enemy's trench line was car- 
ried, would move outwards forming two defensive flanks 
along the two streams. The guns then to switch north and 
south throwing their shells over these defensive flanks, whilst 
others immediately would support them. This would termi- 
nate the first phase of the attack. 

The second to consist in passing the Sixth Corps through 
the gap made by the Eighteenth, and then swing it southwards 
towards New Cold Harbor, its rear being protected by the 
Eighteenth Corps holding the southern margin of the Games' 
Mill lake. By such a manoeuvre, the Sixth Corps would have 
taken the whole of the left of Lee's right wing in reverse, and, 
directly this wing broke, the Second Corps would have ad- 
vanced, and have driven it into the Chickahominy. 

I do not say that such an attack would have succeeded ; but 
one thing is certain it would not have led to such a complete 
failure as did Grant's general attack, each division of which 
was taken in enfilade 36 as well as being decimated by a strong 
frontal fire. The fate of his assault was decided in less than 
an hour; 37 General McMahon says 38 that the time taken in 
the actual advance was not more than eight minutes; Swin- 
ton 39 says ten. Barlow's division gained the enemy's ad- 
vance works, but was unable to hold them; the other assaults 
broke down, and fortunately Meade decided to suspend the 
attack before Burnside's and Warren's corps were heavily en- 
gaged. Swinton's statement, 40 that Grant ordered a second 
assault has been proved to be Incorrect. 41 

Grant's own excuse for this assault was, that as Lee, ever 
since the battle of the Wilderness, had refused to take the of- 
fensive, he considered him "whipped." 42 He believed that 
the moral of Lee's army was spent, and that one tremendous 
blow would overthrow it. Badeau says of Grant's offensive 
tactics generally: "I have often heard him declare, that there 

SB B. & L. t IV, pp. 217-218. 

37 Humphreys, p. 182. 

38 jj. & L. f IV, p. 217. 

39 Swinton, p. 485. 

40 Sviinton, p. 487. 
^M.H.SM,, IV, p. 446. 
42 69, W.R., p. 206. 

284 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

comes a time in every hard-fought battle, when both armies 
are nearly or quite exhausted, and it seems impossible for 
either to do more; this he believed the turning point; which- 
ever after first renews the fight, is sure to win." 43 Unfortu- 
nately for Grant, though he expected, and rightly, the highest 
heroism from his own men, he failed to realize that his enemy 
was of the same stock. 

This repulse had a most disheartening effect on the North. 
The Army of the Potomac now stood where it had in June, 
1862, and it strangely seemed that McClellan's experiences 
were about to repeat themselves. Yet, writes Ropes: "Gen- 
eral Grant was in no way disheartened nor was he in the least 
affected by the tremendous experiences of his campaign. He 
at once went to work, with as cool a head as he ever applied 
to any military problem in his life, to effect the crossing of 
the James and to capture Petersburg." 44 "To Grant, the op- 
timist of supreme moral strength, and supreme 'faith in suc- 
cess,' Cold Harbor was not a death-blow but a mistake to be 
repaired." 45 Indeed, it was more than this, for within ten 
days, its failure was to put his generalship to the highest test. 

^Badeau, I, p. 85. 
**M.H.SM. f IV, p. 399. 
45 Atkinson, p. 463. 




A CHECK is not necessarily a checkmate, and though Grant 
has been credited with little imagination, from the moment he 
first considered his overland campaign, his common sense, as 
we have seen, pointed out to him the possibility of the situa- 
tion which now confronted him. That this was so, marks his 
generalship as being of a high order, for a reasoned clairvoy- 
ance is exceedingly rare in war. 

Without this foresight, the situation which now faced him 
would indeed have been a depressing one. Before him stood 
Lee strongly entrenched; his right protected by the Chicka- 
hominy and White Oak Swamp, his left secured by circum- 
stances, for a Federal movement in this direction would un- 
cover Grant's base at White House. Further still, behind Lee 
lay Richmond and Petersburg the Piraeus of this Athens, 
connected to it by a "long wall" consisting of formidable forti- 
fications stretching from Fair Oak Station to Drury's Bluff, 
and thence southwards across Butler's front to Fort Sted- 
man. These fortifications included trenches and redoubts 
protected by abattis, chevaux-de-frise and inundations, and 
were provided with listening galleries and bomb-proof shel- 
ters, very similar to those constructed in 1914-1918. On the 
other hand, behind his adversary trembled Washington, ever 
nervous that any move south of the James would uncover the 
capital; for not understanding Grant's strategy the politicians 
of the Union were unable to realize that Lee's recent losses 
prohibited a successfi^ invasion of the North. This fear is 
clearly proved by the fact that no sooner was the battle of 
Cold Harbor at an end than Halleck proposed to Grant that 
he should invest Richmond from the north bank of the James. 

Grant saw the fatuity of this suggestion: if he could not 


286 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

break Lee's front by a direct assault, how was he to break 
through the fortifications of Richmond defended by Lee; and 
how was he to invest the city, seeing that its main lines of 
supply ran through Petersburg? If Lee's front could no 
longer be attacked, then, paradox though it may seem, he 
would attack Lee's rear, hinging this operation onto his ever- 
shifting base. Grant's army had suffered heavy casualties, but 
he had received in all some 40,000 reinforcements, and was 
now at the head of 1 15,000 men. 1 Lee faced him with 80,000, 
but the source of his reinforcements was drying up ; his main 
strength lay, however, in his tactics, which were defensive ; fur- 
ther still, the country was friendly to him, and in the neigh- 
bourhood of Richmond he had no immediate line of supply 
to protect. 

Realizing that north of the James nothing could be accom- 
plished "without a greater sacrifice of life" than he "was will- 
ing to make," 2 Grant determined, under cover of a cavalry 
operation directed against the Virginia Central railroad about 
Beaver Dam, "to move the army to the south side of the 
James River by the enemy's right flank*," so that he "could 
cut off all his sources of supply except by the canal." 3 From 
a campaign against Lee's army he would turn to a campaign 
against Lee's supplies; the idea was the same, namely to fix 
Lee, but the method was entirely different one of rapid sur- 
prise movements in place of massed attacks. It was In no 
way a continuation of his overland campaign, but rather a 
reversion to his original idea that an operation south of the 
James might be necessary, 4 an operation which was only prac- 
ticable because the overland campaign had grievously ex- 
hausted Lee. 

On June 7, Sheridan, at the head of two divisions of cav- 
alry, was ordered to move to Charlottesville, whilst Hunter 
advanced up the Valley against Lynchburg. On the 8th, hear- 
ing that the Federal cavalry had crossed the Pamunkey, Lee 
ordered Hampton to follow them with two cavalry divisions; 

1 Grant, II, p. 289. 

2 Grant, II, p. 280. 

8 67, WR., p. 22 ; 69, W.R., pp. 598-599. The James River Canal. 
* 67,*., p. 17. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 287 

Fltzhugh Lee's division being instructed to support this force 
as speedily as possible. Further than this, he sent Breckinridge 
back to the Valley, and, on the nth, directed Early and his 
division to move by way of Charlottesville against Hunter's 
rear with the object of destroying this force, and then march 
down the Valley and threaten Washington ; which threat, Lee 
rightly considered would prove the surest protection of Lynch- 
burg and the upper stretches of the Valley regions so vital 
to him. Thus Sheridan's manoeuvre, for it was much more 
than a raid, proved of advantage to Grant, and was far from 
being "useless" as Ropes considers it. 5 

Lee's attention having been diverted northwards, Grant, as 
Badeau rightly says, set out on an operation which "tran- 
scended in difficulty and danger any that he had attempted 
during the campaign." 6 It was to withdraw "an army within 
forty yards of the enemy's line" ; to cross the swamps of the 
Chickahominy; to bridge the James, a tidal river 700 yards 
wide; to shift his base of supplies from White House to City 
Point, 150 miles apart, and to advance on Petersburg. "The 
whole plan of the national commander at this juncture," writes 
Badeau, "assumed magnificent proportions. Sherman was ad- 
vancing towards Atlanta and the sea, and Canby had been 
ordered to begin the attack against Mobile to meet him, so 
that the rebel forces west of the mountains were all engaged: 
Hunter was moving up the Valley of Virginia; Crook and 
Averill (sic) were converging from the west and south-west, 
to cut off entirely the supplies reaching Richmond from these 
directions; Sheridan was advancing to complete the destruc- 
tion and isolation on the north, while Grant himself moved 
with the bulk of his forces against Petersburg and the southern 
railroads. . . ." T 

Grant's first action was strongly to entrench his front at 
Cold Harbor in order to establish a secure base from which 
to manoeuvre. His next, to move Warren's corps secretly to 
near Bottom Bridge on the Chickahominy. 8 Meanwhile, on 

*M.H.S.M., V, p. 164- 

6 Badeau, II, p. 346. 

7 Badeau, II, pp. 346-347. 
* 69, fr.R., p. 730. 

288 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the 9th, Butler foolishly, so I think, was allowed to move Gill- 
more's division, supported by Kautz's cavalry, 9 against Peters- 
burg; for this small force effected nothing, except awakening 
Beauregard to the danger of his position. 

The place selected to cross the James was at Wilcox's Land- 
ing, well protected on its western flank by Herring Creek. 
Here the river is 2,100 feet wide, and in mid-channel some 
twelve to fifteen fathoms deep. The bridge constructed at 
this place was supported on 92 boats, and was thirteen feet 
wide. "It was braced by three schooners anchored in eighty- 
five feet of water, near the centre. The whole was laid in ten 
hours, and was finished at midnight" 10 a truly remarkable 

The order of march decided on was as follows: " 

Warren and Hancock were to cross the Chickahorniny at 
Long Bridge; Wright and Burnside at James's Bridge, and 
the trains were to move from White House to Windsor Shades 
and Coles's Ferry; these movements being protected by Wil- 
son's cavalry, one brigade on the right and one on the left; 
the former to withdraw at the same time as Warren and Han- 
cock did, in order to protect the rear of the army as it moved 
south. Smith and the Eighteenth Corps were to move to 
White House, thence by transport to Bermuda Hundred. 

The withdrawal began at nightfall on the I2th, under cover 
of Hancock's and Wright's corps. Upon crossing the Chicka- 
hominy, Warren covered the passage of the army towards the 
James, and then followed Hancock, who moved to Charles' 
City Court House; Wright's and Burnside's corps marching 
to the same place by separate roads. 

Warren's move in rear of White Oak Bridge was intended 
to deceive Lee into supposing that either the Army of the 
Potomac was about to move against Richmond from Riddle's 
Shop, or attempt to cross the James at Turkey Bridge, the 
direct road to Bermuda Hundred. 

Hancock's corps reached Wilcox's Landing on the after- 
noon of the i3th; Wright's and Burnside's arriving at Charles' 

67, JFJR., p. 22. 

1 M.H.S.M;, v, P . 22. 

11 69, W3.., pp. 747-749- 

Grant as General-in-Chief 289 

City Court House that same day. By midnight the i6th, over 
half the infantry of the army, 4,000 cavalry, a train of wag- 
ons and artillery thirty-five miles long and 3,500 beef cattle 12 
were assembled on the south side of the James: as far as staff 
duties are concerned, this is surely one of the finest operations 
of war ever carried out. 

This astonishing manoeuvre was effected within a few miles 
of Lee's army, and, be it remembered, in a hostile country 
swarming with spies. Why did not Lee strike? Here was 
presented to him an opportunity of attacking his enemy in 
detail and in flank, and, in spite of his numerical inferiority, 
of concentrating superiority of force against a most favour- 
able target. There can be but one answer to this question, 
namely, that Lee had been completely out-generalled. An 
adept in audacious flanking movements, he failed to credit 
Grant, by reputation a stolid unimaginative fighter, with an 
equal daring. He was completely deceived, first by Sheridan's 
movement, and secondly by Warren's. He was petrified by 
Richmond, and imagining that the capital was threatened, on 
the I3th he moved Anderson's corps over White Oak Swamp, 
halting it between Malvern Hill and Riddle's Shop, and then 
Hill was moved to support him. Not until the i8th, as we 
shall see, did Lee believe that Grant had crossed the James; 
on the 1 5th, i6th and xyth he lay idle. 'Thus the last, and 
perhaps the best, chances of Confederate success," writes 
General Alexander, "were not lost in the repulse of Gettys- 
burg, nor in any combat of arms. They were lost during 
three days of lying in camp, believing that Grant was hemmed 
in by the broad part of the James below City Point, and had 
nowhere to go but to come and attack us. The entire credit 
for the strategy belongs, I believe, to Grant." 13 


The Eighteenth Corps was withdrawn from its trenches at 
Cold Harbor after dark on the I2th and on the evening of 

MM.H.S.M., V, p. 23. 
13 Alexander, p. 547. 

290 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

the I4th Smith reported to General Butler at Bermuda Hun- 
dred. What instructions did he receive? 

Grant had failed to destroy Lee by force of arms ; this was 
obvious to General Smith, who was not only a highly trained 
officer, but a critic of Grant's action at Cold Harbor, which 
he considered "was fought in contravention of military princi- 
ples." 14 He himself says, that on the I2th no intimation was 
given him of the object of his move. 15 This was true enough, 
for his mission was so important that the utmost secrecy was 
essential. On the nth, Grant had written to Butler that he 
might expect the Eighteenth Corps on the I4th, and that if 
practical he was to seize and hold Petersburg. 16 ^ On^the I4th 
he visited Butler and discussed the whole operation with him. 17 
Grant saw quite clearly what Beauregard saw, namely, that 
Petersburg was now "the citadel of the Confederacy." If he 
could not destroy Lee's army by force of arms, then he would 
destroy it by grasping (c the arteries of the Confederacy at the 
throat"; consequently, the object of the expedition against 
Petersburg was obvious, it was to seize its railways and so 
strangle Lee. 

On arriving at Bermuda Hundred Smith was informed that 
he was to move his troops for an attack on Petersburg at day- 
break, and that Kautz's cavalry, 2,400 strong, as well as some 
3,700 other troops were to join him, bringing his force up to 
between 16,000 and 18,000 men. Smith says: "On receiving 
my verbal orders from Butler at about sunset, no plan was 
formulated for me to follow. . . . The information given me 
by General Butler was that the works protecting Petersburg 
were not at all formidable, and that General Kautz a few days 
before had ridden over them with his cavalry, an assertion 
endorsed by General Kautz himself in a personal interview." 18 
Butler, though an indifferent general, was an informatively 
minded man, and there can be little doubt that he supplied 
Smith with detailed information regarding the enemy. Smith 

L. f IV, p. 229. 
MM.H.S.M., V, p. 79. 
i Grant, II, p. 285; 69, W.R., p. 755- 
17 Grant, II, p. 293 ; 67, W.R., p. 25, 
MMJ1.S.M., V, p. 80. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 291 

complains that no plan was formulated for him, yet he would 
have been the last man in Grant's army to have accepted a 
plan from Butler, and this Butler knew from recent experi- 
ences. That he should have been given a plan was out of the 
question; for, being ordered to direct the operation, obviously 
he was the proper authority to formulate it. The truth would 
appear to be, that although Smith was a highly educated sol- 
dier he was not a commander. At Chattanooga he was aston- 
ished when he learnt that Grant had allowed Thomas to 
work out his own plan ; 19 now he was astonished that he was 
not given a ready made one, which, had he been, he would have 
simply criticized and suggested another. 

Smith's troops were disembarked two miles below Port 
Walthall. On the morning of the I5th, Kautz was sent for- 
ward 20 and struck a line of rifle pits which was carried by 
the supporting infantry, who, pushing on at about 10 A.M. 
came under range of the guns of Petersburg. From this hour 
until 5 P.M. Smith reconnoitred the position, for he was "de- 
termined to take no step in the dark." He then decided not 
to attack in column, but to advance "a heavy line of skirmish- 
ers with my Artillery massed upon the salient near General 
Brookes's centre." 21 Ordering up his artillery, he learnt 
that the horses had been sent to water; this delayed the attack 
until 7 P.M. By 9 P.M. the position was carried; but hearing 
that Beauregard was being reinforced, and that Hancock's 
corps was approaching, he deemed "it wiser to hold what we 
had than ... to lose what we had gained . . . ;" 22 < these 
are his own words. 

., vni, p. 193. 

20 go, W.R. t p. 705. 

21 M.H.SM., V, pp. 82-83. The wit of the rank and file is more often than 
not a reliable measure of a general's worth. Of Smith his men used to say, 
that he made his movements at the "double-slow step," and the conundrum was 
early started round the camp-fires: "How long is it going to take us to get to 
Richmond if we go out three miles a day and come back at night." (M.H.S.M., 
XIV, p. 103.) 

22 M.H.S.M., V, p. 84. From the following correspondence it is obvious that 
Butler must have fully explained to Smith the importance of taking Petersburg. 
At 7.20 P.M. on June 15, he telegraphed Smith: "I grieve for the delays. Time 
is the essence of this movement. I doubt not the delays were necessary, but now 
push and get the Appomattox between you and Lee. Nothing has passed down 
the railroad to harm you yet." At 9 P.M. Smith replied : "I must have the Army 

292 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Smith must have known that Beauregard's force was a weak 
one; in any case he knew that the Petersburg lines were about 
seven and a half miles long on the south side of the Appomat- 
tox, and to defend these with any certainty would require at 
least 20,000 men; further, he must have known that Beaure- 
gard had nothing like this number. In actuality there were 
2,200 artillery and infantry in Petersburg, and about 4,500 
guarding the Bermuda Hundred lines. Opposed to Smith 
were only 1,200 men, and though he did not know this, as 
General Wilcox says: he "f eared to run any risk" and "pre- 
ferred to sleep on his arms that night." 2S 

For a moment I will turn to Hancock. By the early morn- 
ing of the 1 5th he had crossed the whole of his corps to Wind- 
mill Point. The day before he had been instructed by Grant, 
through Butler, to wait there until rations 24 were sent him, 
and then to move by the most direct route to Petersburg. 
Hancock reported that he had already three days' rations with 
him, 25 which fact Meade did not pass on to Grant, and quite 
inexcusably kept Hancock waiting for these rations which he 
did not want, until, at 10.30 A.M. on the I5th, Grant, having 
heard that he was still at Windmill Point, ordered him to 

Meade, who on the I4th had been informed of Smith's 
movement, 26 should (rations or no rations) have ordered 
Hancock forward at about 5 A.M. ; had he done so the Eigh- 

of the Potomac reinforcements immediately." At 9.30 Butler telegraphed back: 
"Hancock has been ordered up by General Grant and my orders. Another 
army corps will reach you by 10 A.M. tomorrow. It is crossing. They have not 
got 10,000 men down yet. Push on to the Appomattox," Then, ten minutes 
later: "Did you make the attack contemplated? What was the result? Please 
answer by telegram." The answer was sent off at midnight, and was as fol- 
lows: "It is impossible for me to go further to-night, but unless I misapprehend 
the topography I hold the key to Petersburg. General Hancock not yet up. , ." 
(81, W&., p. 83.) 
2 *M.H.SJM. f V, p. 120. 

24 81, W.R., p. 36. 

25 81, W.R., p. 25. 

^ 26 Grant says, that he "communicated to General Meade, in writing the direc- 
tions I had given to General Butler and directed him [Meade] to cross Han- 
cock's corps over under cover of night, and push them forward in the morning 
to Petersburg; halting them, however, at a designated point until they could 
hear from Smith." (Grant, II, p. 294.) Meade asserts that he never received 
this information. (80, W&., p. 315.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 293 

teenth Corps would have been in position to support Smith 
early in the afternoon; in place it arrived in the evening. Had 
Hancock arrived but two hours earlier, Colonel Livermore is 
of opinion that "Petersburg would have fallen that night," 2T 
and so was Beauregard. 

Whether Grant or Meade was to blame for this muddle, is 
really immaterial, for Smith had been given no promise of 
assistance, and it was not until 4 P.M. on the I5th that he was 
informed that Hancock was advancing on Petersburg. The 
blame is General Smith's; for not only should he have attacked 
much earlier in the day, but, failing to do so, when Hancock 
arrived he should have made a night attack. Grant says: 
"The night was clear, the moon shining brightly, and favour- 
able to further operations. General Hancock with two divi- 
sions of the Second Corps, reached General" Smith just after 
dark, and offered the services of these troops as he (Smith) 
might wish, waiving rank to the named commander, who he 
naturally supposed knew best the position of affairs and what 
to do with the troops. But Instead of taking these troops and 
pushing at once into Petersburg, he requested General Han- 
cock to relieve a part of his line in the captured works, which 
was done before midnight" 2S 

Fortunately for Lee, Beauregard played his part with con- 
summate skill. He was a man of enterprise and daring, 
highly imaginative, for he could often foresee the movements 
and actions of his enemy. In his present situation, he measured 
up Smith with extreme accuracy; he bluffed him into believing 
that Petersburg was strongly held, by making a great noise 
with his artillery, and by boldly throwing forward his skir- 
mishers as if they were supported by strong columns in rear. 

On the 1 4th, he telegraphed 29 to Bragg that Grant was 
reinforcing Butler, and that his positon might at any moment 
be rushed: to this he received no reply. Then he tele- 
graphed 30 Lee that Butler had been reinforced by the Eigh- 

., iv, P . 454 . 

29 81, W.R. t pp. 648, 652. 
so sx, W&.> p. 653- 

294 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

teenth Corps again no answer. Next he sent sl an aide to 
Lee to explain to him the exact situation; but Lee only said 
that he must be in error In believing that Smith was south of 
the James and this at the very moment when Smith was at- 
tacking Petersburg. On the I5th he was reinforced by Hoke 82 
and some 4,000 men, who were returned to his command by 
Lee; but as he learnt that Hancock was approaching, not 
waiting for authority, he ordered 3S General 5. /, Johnson to 
evacuate the lines in front of Bermuda Hundred at dawn on 
the 1 6th, and to march to Petersburg. At 9.45 A.M. on the 
1 6th, he telegraphed 84 Lee that Hancock's corps had crossed 
the James on the I4th, and that reinforcements were urgently 
needed. To which Lee replied : 35 "Has Grant been seen cross- 
ing James River ?" And then, at noon on the lyth, 36 "Until 
I can get more definite information of Grant's movements, I 
do not think it prudent to draw more troops to this side of the 
river," and "have no information of Grant's crossing James 
River, but upon your report have ordered troops to Chaffin's 
Bluff," 87 At 3.30 P.M. this day he ordered 38 W. H. F. Lee, 
then at Malvern Hill, to "push after the enemy, and en- 
deavour to ascertain what has become of Grant's army." On 
the i8th, at 12.40 A.M., Beauregard telegraphed 39 Lee that 
he was confronted by the whole of Grant's army; to which Lee 
answered, "Am not yet satisfied as to General Grant's move- 
ments; but upon your representations will move at once to 
Petersburg." 40 

I have entered into this detail with a purpose, not to be- 

** B. & L. f IV, p. 540. 

32 81, W.R., p. 658. 

33 8 1, W.R., p. 657. 
3*81, W.R., p. 660. 
35 81, W.R., p. 659. 
81, W&., p. 664. 

37 gi, WX.., p. 665. 

38 gi, W.R., pp. 663, 665. 

39 81, W.R., p. 666. 

4J3. & L., IV, pp. 540-543- Yet, according to 81, JT.R., p. 667, Lee tele- 
graphed Early on the i8th: "Grant is in front of Petersburg. . . . Strike quick 
as you can." And as early as 3.30 A.M. he had telegraphed to the Superintendent 
of the Richmond and Petersburg railroad: "Can trains run through to Peters- 
burg? ... It is important to get troops to Petersburg without delay." (81. 
JPJL.> p. 668.) * ' 

Grant as General-in-Chief 295 

little Lee, who was a really great general, but to show the 
peculiar psychological effect of war on a general's mind. Lee 
was so certain that he understood Grant, that his certainty be- 
came an obsession which obliterated the clearest proof of what 
was actually happening. Here, at Malvern Hill, he was as 
certain that Grant would attack him, as Sherman at Pitts- 
burg Landing was certain that he would not be attacked. 
Grant's surprise at Shiloh was great, yet no greater than Lee's 
on the James. At Shiloh Grant risked the loss of an army, on 
the James Lee risked the loss of the war, and had it not been 
for a brilliant subordinate, a soldier who has never received 
full justice, he would have lost the war on June 15. 

It will be remembered that, on the 1 5th, Beauregard ordered 
B. /. Johnson to withdraw from Bermuda Hundred, and 
march with all speed to Petersburg. Though circumstances 
demanded this bold move, it drew the cork from the bottle in 
which Butler had been confined for just a month. Beauregard 
undoubtedly hoped that, as Hill's and Anderson's corps were 
only a few miles away at Malvern Hill, the pickets he had or- 
dered Johnson to leave in the trenches would be rapidly rein- 

On the evening of the 1 5th, Lieutenant-Colonel Greeley, of 
the loth Connecticut Volunteers, crept out on his hands and 
knees towards the Confederate trenches, and discovered that 
a withdrawal was in progress. At once reporting this fact to 
General Terry, at about 4 A.M. on the i6th Terry moved 41 
forward his command, and was soon in possession of the en- 
emy's main line of trenches, which extended from the James 
to the Appomattox. This done, Terry advanced his whole 
force as far as the Richmond and Petersburg railway, and a 
little later was met by part of Anderson's corps and driven 
back onto the old Confederate main line. Grant hearing 42 
of Terry's advance, and realizing the importance of occupying 
the Richmond and Petersburg road and railway, at once or- 
dered 4S Wright's corps to report to Butler at Bermuda Hun- 

81, IPX., p. 105. 

42 81, JTJfc., p. 97. 

43 81, WR> p. 99. 

296 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

dred. Unfortunately, however, Butler so little realized the 
situation that he withdrew Terry, 44 and made no use of 

Whilst Terry was moving towards the Richmond railway, 
Burnside's corps was brought forward to Hancock's left, and 
Warren's was ordered to advance directly Burnside had 
cleared the river. At 6 P.M., Meade, supported by two 
brigades of the Eighteenth Corps on his right and two bri- 
gades of the Second on his left, assaulted and carried some re- 
doubts on his front. Beauregard, nothing daunted though 
his 14,000 men were facing nearly 80,000 counter-attacked 45 
again and again, leading Meade to believe that he was far 
stronger than he actually was. 

On the i yth, Beauregard, receiving no further reinforce- 
ments, and in order to maintain his fighting front, was com- 
pelled to evacuate the whole of his works from half a mile 
east of the Jerusalem Plank road westwards to the Appomat- 
tox. Had Meade, in place of hammering at his enemy's front, 
moved one corps by the Jerusalem Plank road, or west of it, 
as Beauregard says, "I would have been compelled to evac- 
uate Petersburg without much resistance. But they per- 
sisted in attacking on my front, where I was strongest." 40 
In the morning, Potter's division of Burnside's corps carried 
the Shand House Ridge, but was not supported; in the after- 
noon an identical mistake was made when Ledlie's division of 
the same corps was launched in another assault. In both these 
cases, Ropes is of opinion that had support been forthcoming 
Petersburg might have been taken, 47 and in spite of Beaure- 
gard' s counter-attacks. Of Ledlie's attack Burnside says: 
"The line was carried and held till ten o'clock at night, when 
his advance was driven in by an overpowering force of the en- 
emy." 4S This is indeed a compliment to Beauregard' $ leader- 
ship, seeing that he was outnumbered by at least five to one. 

Late on the lyth, Meade ordered 49 the Fifth, Ninth and 

44 81, W.R. t pp. 99, 106. 

45 80, W.R., p. t68. 
* 6 M.H.S.M., V, p. i2i. 
47.M.H.S.M., V, p. 182. 
48 go, W&., pp. 522, 523. 
4J > 81, W.R., p. 118. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 297 

Second Corps to assault the enemy's works at 4 A.M. on the 
following day. When the advance was made, it was found 
that Beauregard had slipped back; this withdrawal and the na- 
ture of the ground seemed to have completely unhinged the co- 
operation between the divisions of Meade's corps, for the rest 
of the day was spent in a series of unconnected and misdirected 
assaults, which, in my opinion, were far more culpable than 
the grand assault at Cold Harbor, and more costly, for the 
total losses between the I5th and iSth numbered over io,ooo. 60 

It is instructive to look back on the operations of these three 
days, for they show how faulty tactics and indifferent leader- 
ship can wreck the most brilliant strategy and command. By 
the morning of the I5th, Grant had completely out-generalled 
Lee. Lee's obsession left Petersburg all but undefended, and 
had it not been for one man Beauregard, who at the time 
was worth 10,000 reinforcements, Petersburg, as Grant says, 
must have fallen. On the other side, an erudite soldier, 
blinded by book learning, wrecked the profoundest strategy. 
Grant has time and again been blamed for needless assaults, 
yet had he been in Smith's place, Petersburg would have been 
carried by assault on the I5th, and the war would have been 
shortened by six months; for it is ludicrous to suppose, as 
Swinton does, 51 that it could have for long continued once 
Petersburg was taken. Six months less war would have prob- 
ably meant 100,000 less casualties. Smith had witnessed the 
assault on Missionary Ridge, but with all his erudition it 
taught him nothing. He had taken part in the assault at 
Cold Harbor, and its failure obsessed him. He was a good 
thinker but a bad doer, for neither on the evening of the 
1 5th, nor on the night of the I5th, nor on the morning of the 
1 6th, would he accept the responsibility to assault and chance 
failure. A general who fears to fail should never take the 
field, for fear in itself is the foundation of failure. 

Had Hancock arrived before dark on the I5th, as he says, 
he would have assaulted, but unfortunately he was sick and in 
an ambulance at the rear of his column when he received the 

50 Humphreys, p. 224. 

51 Swinton f p. 506. 

298 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

order to press on on such small things do battles depend. 
If Hancock could have taken supreme command, it is probable 
that he would have carried Petersburg on the i6th or i?th; 
but Meade, an indifferent tactician, many of whose blunders I 
feel have been off-loaded on to Grant, appeared on the scene. 
Once before Petersburg he showed no tactical skill whatever, 
and failing standing still did the next best thing Beauregard 
could have hoped for, namely attack him on a narrow front. 
Meanwhile Butler, finding himself uncorked, like the jinn in 
the Arabian Nights, was persuaded, even with less trouble 
than the time before, to creep back into his bottle. 

Some think that the Army of the Potomac was a blunt tool 
when it reached Petersburg; that it had been demoralized by 
losses, and had no heart left to press an attack. I agree with 
Ropes 52 that there is little evidence that this was the case. 
That after six weeks' continuous fighting it had not suffered 
some deterioration is of course absurd; but its physical losses 
had been made good, and its loss in moral, due to casualties, 
and the influx of raw recruits, was largely counter-balanced by 
the spirit of victory which animated it. Grant had never 
turned back, and, come what might, the men felt that he never 
would. At Petersburg the courage of the soldiers leaves noth- 
ing to be desired; but as Ropes says, this courage was squan- 
dered. He writes: 'The Army of the Potomac at Peters- 
burg possessed, in spite of its disappointments, failures, and 
severe losses, a temper and daring quite sufficient for its task. 
The blame of the failure to take Petersburg must rest with our 
generals, not with our army." 5S 

Lastly, turning to Grant, what do we see? Recrimination? 
no; excuses? no; blame? no. His plan has been 
wrecked; victory has been bungled out of his hands ; clouds are 
gathering in the Valley of Virginia : that he has failed is ob- 
vious, and he accepts failure not as a defeated man, but as one 
who sees in every failure a fresh incentive to further action, 
His reticence at this moment is truly heroic; it is work and 
not failure which absorbs him. Nothing unhinges him, or 

V,p. 183. 
V, p. !8^ 

Grant as General-in-Chief 29$ 

weakens his faith in himself and in final victory. He soars 
above his subordinates, forgetting their mistakes so that he 
may waste not a moment in shouldering aside their blunders 
and getting on with his task. If he cannot destroy Lee, then 
he will destroy his communications ; if he cannot destroy his 
communications, then he will invest Petersburg. Though 
means vary, his idea remains constant, he holds fast to Lee, 
so that Sherman's manoeuvre may continue. 


The assaults on Petersburg having failed, and because Lee 
on June 18 moved the bulk of his army across the James, 
Grant had once again to modify his plans. As he could not 
take Petersburg by storm, he determined to invest it, and, by 
strongly entrenching his front, reduce the number of men re- 
quired for the defensive, and so concentrate as large an of- 
fensive force as possible to work westwards south of the city 
against its railways. 

The railways vital to the supply of Lee's army may be di- 
vided into two groups, namely, those entering Richmond and 
those entering Petersburg; with the Richmond and Petersburg 
railroad in between. 

The first group comprised the Richmond and York River 
and the Fredericksburg railroads now of little use, and the 
Virginia Central and Danville railroads, which were vital; 
the second the City Point and the Petersburg and Norfolk 
railroads, already in Grant's hand, and the Weldon and 
Southside (or Lynchburg) railroads, the first of which was of 
high value, for it linked Petersburg to Wilmington. Once the 
Petersburg lines were captured, the bulk of the Confederate 
traffic would be thrown on to the Danville railway, which was 
incapable of carrying all of it. Grant's plan was, therefore, 
to occupy the Weldon and Southside railways in order to com- 
pel the evacuation of Petersburg; and then, by turning the 
Confederate works west of Bermuda Hundred, operate 
against the Danville railway, the occupation of which would 
not only force the surrender of Richmond, but sever Lee from 

300 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Wilmington and the Atlantic, and consequently cut him off 
from European supplies. It is true he could still retire into 
the interior, or unite with Johnston, but without an adminis- 
trative base, and his vital supply base was Europe, he would 
soon have been reduced to bow-and-arrow warfare. 

Having stabilized his position, on June 21, Grant launched 
the first of a series of combined movements against the rail- 
ways; 64 Hancock's and Wright's corps advancing on the Wei- 
don line, which Grant hoped would be occupied on the 22nd, 
and from where an advance could then be made on the South- 
side line. At the same time Wilson and 5,500 cavalry were di- 
rected to move on Burksville, 55 and destroy the Southside and 
Danville railways at this place. 

The attempt on the Weldon line failed, mainly through lack 
of co-operation between the two corps engaged. Wilson's raid 
met, however, with considerable success but at heavy cost; 
for on the I2th, Sheridan, in contact with Hampton at Trevy- 
lian's Station, learning that Early's corps was on its way to 
Lynchburg, and that Brecklnrldge was at Gordonsville or 
Charlottesville, considered that it was not possible to join 
Hunter, and so decided to return, whereupon Hampton was 
set free. Sheridan reached the White House on the 2ist, 
from where he escorted 900 wagons to the pontoon bridge at 
Bermuda Hundred; after which the base at White House 
was closed. 

At Burksville, Wilson destroyed the entire junction and 
sixty miles of the Southside and Danville lines. On his way 
back he was all but surrounded, and by July 2, when he re- 
turned, had lost 1,500 men, 12 guns abandoned, and nearly 
all his wagons burnt or captured. 

This raid, like all of Grant's, has been condemned by most 
critics. It is true that it was a risky operation, seeing that 
when Sheridan retired Hampton's cavalry were free to turn 
on Wilson; nevertheless, though Wilson himself condemns his 
raid, as well as Sheridan's, 56 he relates that after the war 
General /. M. St. John, who at the time of the raid was in 

5 81, W&., pp. 258, 267. 

.> PP . 256, 258. 
~ XIII, p. 73. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 301 

charge of the military railways of the Confederacy, said to 
him : "I want to tell you what I never told any Federal officer. 
That raid of yours against the Danville and Southside rail- 
roads was the heaviest blow the Confederacy ever received, 
until it was destroyed at the battle of Five Forks." 5r 

The day Sheridan turned back from before Gordonsville, 
Hunter was at Lexington, and on June 17 but five miles from 
Lynchburg, the third largest city in the Confederacy. The 
next day, meeting with Early's corps, he retired westwards 
into the Kanawha Valley, leaving the Shenandoah Valley open 
to Early, who at once determined to head for the Potomac. 
On the 27th, with some 17,000 men, 59 he reached Staunton, 
and on July n, moving through Rockville, appeared within 
range of the guns of Washington, to the utter consternation of 
the Union Government. 

Washington at this time was garrisoned by 9,600 troops, 
supported by an equal number of details of little value, conse- 
quently it was precariously situated. Fortunately, however, 
on the 5th Grant had ordered 60 the Sixth Corps to Washing- 
ton, this corps arriving at the very moment Early approached 
the city. Early, learning of its presence, recrossed the Poto- 
mac on the 1 4th, and moved to Leesburg and then towards 

On the 23rd, Grant ordered 61 the Sixth Corps back to the 
James, but Early hearing of this turned about and drove 
Crook's force through Winchester to Bunker Hill. The news 
of Crook's defeat caused Grant to cancel 62 his order recalling 
the Sixth Corps, and to send 4,600 63 men of the Nineteenth 
Corps to Washington. He now made up his mind once and 
for all to close the Valley by systematically devastating it, so 
that no army could support itself in that region. To attain 
this end he suggested 64 to the Government to merge the De- 

s7M.H.S.M. ) XIII > p. 74. 
58 Pond, p. 38. 

p. 47. Early says 12,000. (See #. & L. } IV, p. 493.) 

pp. 44> 45- 
ei 82, W.R., p. 408. 

62 82, WR.* p. 422. 

63 Pond, p. 99. 

* 82, W.R., p. 436. 

302 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

partments of West Virginia, of the Susquehanna, of Washing- 
ton, and the Middle Department (Delaware and part of 
Maryland) into one, the Middle Military Division, and to 
place Sheridan in command of it. This was agreed to, and on 
July 7, the Sixth, Nineteenth and Eighth Corps were placed 
under this gallant young officer. 65 

Though Early's raid on Washington did not interrupt 
Grant's war on the railways, it did lead to a considerable 
weakening of his main army, and it is interesting to remember 
this when examining his operations from now onwards until 
the end of the year. This weakening is clearly set forth in the 
following table worked out by Colonel Livermore 66 showing 
the numbers "present for duty," in the two armies from June 
to December: 

Date Grant Lee 

June 30 137)454 65,562 

July 31 93)54^ 61,623 

Aug. 31 69,206 55,622 

Sept 30 88,308 51,200 

Oct. 31 99 ? 728 56,911 

Nov. 30 103,442 66,717 

Dec. 31 124,278 65,692 

Whilst Early was moving down the Valley, the second com- 
bined operation against the railways was planned. It was to 
consist in a mine attack on a redan not far from Cemetery 
Hill, and a feint against the Virginia Central and Fredericks- 
burg railways from the vicinity of Richmond to the North and 
South Anna rivers. This was to be carried out by Hancock's 
corps, and three cavalry divisions under Sheridan. Its object 
was to induce Lee to weaken his front at Petersburg, and in 
this it was entirely successful, for no sooner had Hancock 
crossed the river at Deep Bottom, than Lee moved two di- 
visions from the south bank to the north ; this left only three 
infantry and one cavalry divisions in Petersburg. On the 
night of the 29th, Hancock withdrew to the south bank, as the 
mine was to be exploded at 3.30 A.M. the next day. 

65 Sheridan was born in 1831. 
**M.H.S.M. f VI, p. 461. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 303 

Tunnelling for the mine was begun on June 25, and was 
finished on July 23. The main gallery was 511 feet long with 
two lateral galleries in which 8,000 Ibs. of powder were 
packed. 67 Meade, from the start, was against the experiment ; 
he said "that it was all clap-trap and nonsense; that such a 
length of mine had never been excavated in military opera- 
tions, and could not be ... etc., etc." ; 6S and Grant at first 
approved of it only because it would keep his men occupied. 
It was here that the cause of the eventual disaster originated. 
As so often happens in war, whilst a few enthusiasts saw the 
possibilities of the novelty proposed, the high command took 
little interest in it. 69 First Ferrero's coloured division was 
selected to lead the assault, then the remaining divisional com- 
manders drew lots for the post of honour a most unmilitary 
procedure the lot falling on Ledlie, an incompetent coward. 
The mine was fired at 4.40 A.M. on the 3Oth, a crater about 
150 feet long, 60 wide and 25 deep being formed. At once 
it was occupied by a confused mob of men packed so close to- 
gether that General Stephen M. Weld says, "I literally could 
not raise my hands from my side." 70 Meanwhile, Ledlie was 
sitting in a bomb-proof in the rear "soliciting and obtaining 
whiskey to stimulate his courage." 71 

No one had foreseen the panic the Confederates were 
thrown into, consequently no one was prepared to exploit it. 
Had this been done, Captain Charles H. Porter is of opinion 
that: "The city certainly would have been captured, and Lee's 
army, hopelessly divided, would have been disastrously beaten. 
It is almost impossible to conceive of the results which would 
have happened from a successful advance to that crest [Cem- 
etery Hill], if the enemy had been pushed as he might have 
been. Their cause would have received a blow that would 
have been well-nigh disastrous." 72 The panic over, the Con- 
67 B. & L., IV, pp. 54^-548; 80, W.R., pp. 136, 137. 

68jg. f,,IV, p. 545- 

69 In the World War examples of this are the tactical use of tanks in the 
British Army in 1916, and the German gas attack in April 1915. 

M.H.S.M, t V, p. 210. 

KM.H.S.M., V, p. 218. 

72 M.ff.S.M., V, pp. 230-231. This is corroborated by Grant who says: "Such 
an opportunity of carrying fortifications, I have never seen, and do not expect 
again to have." (Badeau, II, p. 483.) See also 80, W.R., p. 134. 

304 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

federates advanced and literally slaughtered their enemy in 
the crater, the Federal losses numbering nearly 4,000. 

The Petersburg mine operation was, in my opinion, one of 
the most disgraceful episodes of the war, and Grant cannot be 
exonerated from blame; for when a novel means of attack is 
decided upon, it is the duty of a general-in-chief to take a per- 
sonal interest in it. It is true, that after the event Grant 
blamed himself for having allowed Ledlie to lead the assault- 
ing column; 74 nevertheless, this honesty does not excuse him 
for having done so. 

The next combined attack was made against the Richmond 
fortifications in the vicinity of Bailey's Creek, and against the 
Weldon railway. 

Grant, having heard that Lee intended to reinforce Early in 
the Valley, determined to frustrate this move. Hancock's 
corps 75 was secretly conveyed by steamer from City Point to 
Deep Bottom, and disembarked on the morning of August 14. 
Meanwhile, on the i8th, Warren's corps 76 marched to the 
Weldon railway, brushed aside a cavalry brigade, and occu- 
pied Globe Tavern, about four miles south of the outskirts of 
Petersburg. This operation was entirely successful; Lee, be- 
lieving that another checkmate move was intended, hastened 
over to his left and assumed command in person. This led 
to a weakening of his right, and to Warren's success. Though 
the Weldon railway was now severed, it could still be used by 
the Confederates as far as within a day's haulage by wagon to 

To follow up Warren's success, on the 22nd, Hancock; was 
recalled 77 and sent to destroy the Weldon line near Rowanty 
Creek, south of Ream's Station; this expedition proved unsuc- 

A month later, another combined operation somewhat sim- 
ilar to the last was attempted. On September 28, Ord and 

B. & L., IV, p. 560. 

74 Badeau, II, p. 486. 

75 88, W.R., pp. 148-150. 
88, WX.., p. 176. 

77 88, WJL., p. 33*. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 305 

Birney crossed the James at Dutch Gap, 78 and at 7.30 A.M. 
the next day assaulted Fort Harrison and Fort Gilmer; the 
former being carried and held by Ord 79 against a determined 
counter-attack. On the south side of the river Warren ad- 
vanced towards the Boydton (or Boydtown) Plank road, and 
captured the enemy's entrenchments at Peebles 80 Farm; these 
were rapidly linked up to the Federal works on the Weldon 

The capture of Fort Harrison deserves more than a passing 
mention, for it clearly shows that as late as the autumn of 
1864, when the art of field fortification was of a high order, 
well ted troops could still carry out successful though costly 
frontal attacks. The lesson the capture of this fort teaches 
us is that had Ord been in command of the Eighteenth Corps 
on June 15, Petersburg would most certainly have fallen. 

Fort Harrison, a six-sided redoubt, each face measuring 
1,463 feet, stood on a bluff flanked by breastworks and smaller 
redoubts. On crossing the James at 5 A.M. on the 28th, Ord 
formed Stannard's division into two columns, each about a 
thousand strong, deploying in front of them the 96th New 
York regiment commanded by Colonel Edgar M. Cullen a 
youth twenty years of age; he supported Stannard by Heck- 
man's division in similar formation. The advance was made 
in the dark, and no halt was allowed until the open field land 
a mile from the fort was reached; here Ord carried out a ten 
to fifteen minutes' reconnaissance of the ground. After the 
columns had been re-formed, caps removed and bayonets 
fixed, the advance was continued in perfect order in spite of 
the enemy's artillery fire. Stannard, considering the advance 
too slow, sent an order for the columns to break into double 
quick time. "When this was given in a loud voice, the men 
shouted in reply, ( No, no the distance is too great.' " 81 
Many men now began to fall, and Ord fearing a failure sent 
forward the whole of his staff to encourage them. A pause 

78 88, W.R., pp. 1046, 1082-1089. 

79 87, W.R., p. 20. 

* 87, W.R., p. 21. 

., XIV, p. 93. 

306 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

under cover was made in order to regain breath, then Colonel 
Roberts, commanding the Third brigade, rose and in a quiet 
voice said: "Come, boys, we must capture this fort now get 
up and start." S2 All sprang forward, rushed the ditch, scram- 
bled up the parapet, and entered the fort. Ord then re- 
formed his men and held it. 

Before winter put an end to operations, one further com- 
bined attack was carried out. A force of 32,000 men, drawn 
from the Second, Fifth and Ninth Corps, was moved against 
the South Side railway. 83 At daylight on October 27 Han- 
cock crossed Hatcher's Run, but met with no success and was 
withdrawn. Simultaneously Butler was ordered 84 to push 
through White Oak Swamp and carry the works which pro- 
tected the Williamsburg road and the Richmond and York 
River railway- Longstreet, who had returned to duty on Oc- 
tober 19, divining Butler's intention, drove him back with the 
loss of 1,100 men. 85 

The tactical results of these various attacks were small, and 
their value will be misunderstood should they be considered 
solely as attempts to reduce Petersburg. This fortress, which 
became the main tactical objective after Cold Harbor, had 
since Smith's failure, become in this respect a secondary one. 
Attacks were made on it, rather to terrify the Government at 
Richmond than to take it, for Grant realized that if Rich- 
mond was perpetually threatened, the Government would in- 
sist on Lee maintaining a powerful force In its neighbourhood. 
This Grant saw would simultaneously protect Washington, 
Sheridan, and Sherman. Though his tactics failed, his strat- 
egy succeeded. That It did succeed, the following incident 
will show. When Fort Harrison was captured, J. B. Jones 
wrote in his diary: "The offices and government shops were 
closed and the tocsin was sounded for hours. All the local 
troops were hurried out to defend the city, and guards on 
foot and horseback scoured the streets with orders to arrest 
every male person between the ages of seventeen and fifty and 

82 History of the Thirteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, p. 479. 

"89, JP.*., p. 340. 

** 88, JPJK., pp. 331, 332. 

85 Humphreys^ p. 306. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 307 

send them to Gary Street for service. Two members of Mr. 
Davis's Cabinet were caught in this sweeping out, the Post- 
master-General and the Attorney-General. Such was the need 
of fighting men that the type-setters of all the newspapers, 
who had a general exemption, were taken into the ranks, and 
the 'Richmond Whig' was the only paper published the next 
morning.' ' 86 

8 * Jones, II, p. 295. 



IT will be remembered that Grant's overland campaign was 
the pivot of a series of campaigns the security and success of 
which depended on the Army of the Potomac holding Lee. 
The most important of these subsidiary operations was Sher- 
man's advance from Chattanooga, which was strategically so 
closely related to the campaign in Virginia that it is quite im- 
possible to appreciate the one without reference to the others. 

Immediately after the battle of Chattanooga, Bragg fell 
back to Dalton, and on December 18 was replaced by Joseph 
Johnston, a high-minded, patient and indefatigable general 
who by most historians has been ranked only second to Lee. 
Meanwhile Grant, at the head of a formidable army, about 
120,000 strong, decided to prepare for a move on Atlanta, 
and from there fight his way to Mobile. It will be remem- 
bered that this intention was communicated to Sherman and 
Thomas, the first of these generals succeeding Grant in com- 
mand of the Military Division of the Mississippi on March 
17. On April 4, as we have already seen, Grant sent him 
his plan for the forthcoming campaign, and at n A.M. on 
April 28 ordered him to move on May 5. 

Sherman entered the campaign with an effective force of 
nearly 100,000 men and 254 guns, 1 and was faced by Johnston 
at Dalton at the head of an army 43,000 strong, 2 his object 
was definite, for as he writes in his Memoirs: "Neither At- 
lanta, nor Augusta, nor Savannah, was the objective, but the 
'army of Jos. Johnston, go where it might.* " 3 Thus in the 

1 Atlanta, p. 25, 

2 Atlanta, p. 28. Ropes says, probably 60,000 strong, (M.H.SM., X, p. 135.) 

3 Sherman, II, p. 26. 


Grant as General-in-Chief 309 

West and in the East the objectives were similar, in both cases 
they are the opposing armies ; but whilst Lee was operating 
in what may be called a topographical corridor at the far end 
of which was Richmond, Johnston, with his right flank rest- 
ing on the southernmost spurs of the Alleghanies, had at his 
disposal a vast area of good defensive country to manoeuvre 
in ; consequently Sherman's tactical problem was very different 
from Grant's. 

Whilst Grant's plan was taking form, politics in the North 
were causing him grave anxiety. He saw quite clearly that as 
Lincoln's accession to power resulted in the declaration of the 
war, his defeat in the forthcoming Presidential elections 
would almost certainly be followed by a disastrous peace. He 
was well aware that Southern hopes were fixed on this possi- 
bility; Senator Hill from Georgia on March 14, 1864, had 
expressed himself as follows: "I think, therefore, that policy, 
as well as necessity, indicates that we should now make a di- 
rect appeal to the people of the United States against Lincoln 
and his policy and his party, and make them join issue at the 
polls in November we shaping that issue." * It was this 
shaping of the issue by the South that Grant feared ; he knew 
that the South could not win the war by force of arms, but if 
through prolonged resistance, or political machinations, it 
could tire the North out, or prevent Lincoln's nomination or 
re-election, the Union cause was faced by disaster. It must 
have been clear to Grant, that unless Lee could be decisively 
defeated in the East before the summer closed, a somewhat 
problematical event, the next most effective operation was the 
forward movement of Sherman; for by carrying the war into 
the heart of the Confederacy the moral of the North would 
be stimulated in proportion as that of the South was lowered. 
To magnetize the North into supporting Lincoln was at this 
moment Grant's political object, his tactical one, as we have 
seen, being to hold Lee, so that Sherman's strategy might at- 
tain full liberty of movement 

4 Annual Report of the American Historical Association (1911), II, p. 635. 

3 1 o The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


The theatre of war in which Sherman was now called upon 
to operate was an exceedingly difficult one; maps worthy the 
name did not exist, and he did not possess an intimate knowl- 
edge of the country. Not only was this theatre most unsuited 
for offensive action, but Johnston had every intention of using 
it defensively, for being outnumbered by about two to one, he 
was not in a position to attack. Dalton he strongly fortified, 
as he judged rightly from the nature of the country that Sher- 
man would be compelled to advance along the line of the rail- 
way. Realizing that Sherman must assume the offensive, and 
considering him of an impulsive nature, he trusted that he 
would exhaust his strength in useless assaults, until such time 
as he himself was reinforced, when he would be in a position 
to meet him on more equal terms. In this he was to be dis- 
appointed; for though Sherman was pre-eminently a fighting 
general, he was by no means a reckless one. Imaginative, and 
fertile in resources he saw clearly that in spite of his numeri- 
cal superiority every mile he advanced would lengthen his com- 
munications and so reduce his strength. He determined, 
therefore, not to do what Johnston wished him to do; but in- 
stead, by constant manoeuvre, to keep a grip on him whilst 
Grant was hammering Lee in the East Consequently, the 
operations which were now to take place are of great in- 
terest, not merely as a psychological struggle between the wills 
of two able generals, but as a contrast to Grant's campaign 
in Virginia. 

On May 4 the campaign opened : 6 the Army of the Cum- 
berland under Thomas, 60,000 strong, in the centre; the Army 
of the Tennessee, under McPherson, 25,000 strong, on the 
right, and the Army of the Ohio under Schofield, 14,000 
strong, on the left: Sherman's idea being that whilst Thomas 
and Schofield pinned Johnston down to his entrenchments, 
McPherson should turn his left through Snake Creek Gap, 
and cut in behind him at Resaca. If this operation were suc- 

5 Atlanta^ p. 25. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 311 

cessful, the chances were that the campaign would be ended 
by a single battle. 

The idea of this manoeuvre must be credited to Thomas, for 
it was he who suggested it to Sherman some time before the 
campaign opened. He proposed to march his army 6 through 
the Gap, and so concentrate an overwhelmingly strong force 
against Johnston's rear. Sherman seems, however, to have 
considered so large a force unnecessary; why, it is difficult to 
say, for at Snake Creek Gap opposition might well be ex- 
pected. Deciding that McPherson and his two corps would 
be sufficient, on May 5th he sent the following order: "I want 
you to move ... to Snake [Creek] Gap, secure it and from 
it make a bold attack on the enemy's flank or his railroad, at 
any point between Tilton and Resaca, ... I hope the enemy 
will fight at Dalton, in which case he can have no force there 
[? at Resaca] that can Interfere with you. But, should his 
policy be to fall back along the railroad, you will hit him in 
flank. Do not fail in that event to make the most of the op- 
portunity by the most vigorous attack possible." 7 

On the 8th, McPherson advanced through Snake Creek 
Gap unopposed. "How this gap," writes Cleburne in his re- 
port, "which opened upon our rear and line of communica- 
tions, from which it was distant at Resaca only five miles, was 
neglected, I cannot imagine" ; 8 but unoccupied it was. Hear- 
ing of this move, on the gth Johnston sent three divisions to 
Resaca, and McPherson finding the position too strong to be 
attacked fell back to the entrance of the gorge. In his Me- 
moirs Sherman blames McPherson for doing so; he says: 
"He had in hand 23,000 of the best men in the army, and 
could have walked into Resaca [then held only by a small 
brigade], or he could have placed his whole force astride the 
railroad above Resaca, and there have easily withstood the 
attack of all Johnston's army, with the knowledge that 
Thomas and Schofield were on his heels. . . . Had he done 
so, I am certain that Johnston would not have ventured to 

6 Atlanta, p. 31. 

7 75, WJR.., pp. 39, 40. 
$ 74, W&.> p. 721. 

312 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

attack him in position, but would have retreated eastward, by 
Spring Place, and we would have captured half his army. . . . 
Such an opportunity does not occur twice in a single life, but 
at the critical moment McPherson seems to have been a little 
timid. Still, he was perfectly justified by his orders." Q What 
were they? The answer is given by Sherman himself in a 
despatch sent to Halleck at 8 P.M. on the 9th, namely: "After 
breaking the road good his orders are to retire to the mouth 
of Snake Creek Gap, and be ready to work on Johnston's 
flank, in case he retreats south." 10 

Should McPherson have disobeyed this order? The answer 
is given by Cleburne in his report; he says: u But McPherson 
. . . after penetrating within a mile of Resaca, actually re- 
turned, because, as I understood, he was not supported, and 
feared if we turned back suddenly upon him from Dalton, he 
would be cut off, as doubtless would have been the result . . . 
if McPherson had hotly pressed his advantage, Sherman sup- 
porting him strongly with the bulk of his army, it is impossi- 
ble to say what the enemy might not have achieved more 
than probably a complete victory." n 

I have gone into this detail with a purpose, namely, to show 
the difference between Sherman's and Grant's generalship. 
Grant, whenever he determined to carry out a decisive move- 
ment, never failed to concentrate the maximum force in order 
to effect it. Should this force be commanded by a subordi- 
nate, giving its commander a general idea, he left all detail to 
the commander himself. In this operation Sherman accepted 
Thomas's idea; but, failing to appreciate the difference be- 
tween a rear and a flank attack, he only allotted sufficient force 
for an outflanking operation, and ordered McPherson to 
carry it out, and then complains of over caution when Mc- 
Pherson does not throw himself across Johnston's rear. It 
would appear, however, that it was not McPherson who was 
over-cautious, but Sherman himself. He kept Thomas in the 
centre, presumably to cover his base Chattanooga; had he 
realized that Thomas at Resaca, severing Johnston from his 

9 Sherman, II, p. 34. 

10 75, W.R., p. 88. See also 75, W.R., pp. 40, 41. 

11 74, W.R., p. 721. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 313 

base, would equally well have been able to carry out this pro- 
tective role, he would undoubtedly have moved him there. 
The truth is that Sherman did not so fully understand the 
nature of the rear attack as Grant did. 

McPherson having failed, Sherman advanced the bulk of 
his army through Snake Creek Gap, with the result that John- 
ston, on the night of the I2th, fell back to Resaca, and on the 
1 5th retired across the Oostanaula river. From now onwards, 
until July 17 when he was relieved of his command by Hood, 
he was ably flanked out of every position he held by Sher- 
man, and as ably extricated himself from each successive en- 
velopment. From the Oostanaula, he fell back on the 
Etowah, then to Allatoona, then to New Hope Church, then 
to Marietta, and lastly to Kenesaw Mountain, where he was 
able, on June 18, with 71,000 men, 12 to confront Sherman. 
Here Sherman changed his tactics, determining on an as- 
sault; his reasons being as follows: 

(1) The weather was so bad, that to continue outflanking 
Johnston was impossible until he could accumulate a 
sufficiency of supplies; and should he sit down and 
wait for good weather and good roads, he feared that 
Johnston might seize the opportunity to detach troops 
to Lee. 

(2) As he himself writes : u The enemy and our own officers 
had settled down into a conviction that I would not 
assault fortified lines. All looked to me to outflank. 
An army to be efficient must not settle down to a single 
mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute any 
plan which promises success. I wanted, therefore, for 
the moral effect to make a successful assault against 
the enemy behind his breastworks." 13 

The first of these reasons is a sound one, and the one which 
Grant had so frequently to follow in Virginia; the second, in 
my opinion, is fallacious; for I do not believe that successful 

12 B. & L., IV, p. 282; J5. &f Zu, IV, p. 252, says 62,000. Some time before 
Johnston had been reinforced by Folk's corps. On May 31, Sherman's total ef- 
fective strength was 112,819 (?%, WJ3L. t p. 115). 

"72, W&., p. 68. 

314 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

troops ever require to be stimulated by slaughter. I have on 
several occasions seen this argument applied p r tically, and 
have still to discover its value. Attacks deliverc *for the sole 
purpose of raising the moral of the soldier are never justi- 
fiable, unless moral is so low that a sudden shock is requi -ed 
to reawaken courage. In this case Sherman's assault was 
useless, it was beaten back at a loss of 2,500 men. 14 

From the Kenesaw entrenchments, on July 2, Johnston fell 
back to the Chattahoochee, and then on the xyth the Rich- 
mond government, tired of his continual retreats, and not un- 
derstanding his difficulties, replaced him by Hood. 

Hood was far from being an indifferent general, and his 
courage is above question. His position was about as unen- 
viable a one as a general could be faced with : his back was 
against Atlanta; his army, though far from being demoral- 
ized, had for over two months been in almost unceasing re- 
treat; above all he was expected to assume the offensive and 
do something dramatic, and he certainly succeeded in doing 
both, but unfortunately to the detriment of his side. 

On the 2Oth, he attacked Sherman at Peach-Tree eek nd 
lost some 5,000 men. 15 Then he fell back on Atlanta ,ttac ed 
again, and lost about double this number, 16 * . Atlanta *s 
position depended on his being able to preserve the Ma i 
railway; here once again he attacked, losing probably 5,0 
men. By now Richmond had. its belly full of the offensive, 
for, on August 5, Jefferson Davis wrote to him saying: "The 
loss consequent of attacking him [Sherman] in his entrench- 
ments requires you to avoid that, if practicable." 17 This cen- 
sure left him with some dramatic move as his only alternatl . 

On August 25th, Sherman began his final manoeuvre; on the 
28th the Montgomery railway was reached, whereupon 
Hood's position became untenable. On September I, he evac- 
uated Atlanta, and the next day "the gate city of the South" 
was entered by Sherman's army. 

From May 4 to September 2 the total losses were approxi- 

14 Atlanta, p. 127. 

MB. & L. f iv, P . 253. 

18 Atlanta, pp. 175-176. 
17 76, W.R., p. 946. 

Scale of .MtZe*. 
2p 35 go 

Military History of Ulysses 5". Grant/' by Adam Badeau. Courtesy of D. Appleton & Company v 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 1 5! 

mately Federals, 32,000 and' Confederates 35,000 ; 1S a 
heavy toll in spite of the fact that the tactics of this campaign 
were mainly manoeuvre and the defensive. Deducting the 
20,000 men lost under the command of Hood, the remaining 
15,000, debited to Johnston, shows that his tactics were cor- 
rect. "For my own part," says Grant, "I think that John- 
ston's tactics were right. Anything that could have prolonged 
the war a year beyond the time that it did finally close, would 
probably have exhausted the North to such an extent that 
they might then have abandoned the contest and agreed to a 
separation." 19 Sherman's tactics could scarcely have been 
improved upon ; yet, in spite of the fact that though he gener- 
ally avoided assaults, his losses were almost as great as his en- 
emy's. The reason for this was, that in order to manoeuvre 
with his wings McPherson and Schofield he was compelled 
to keep his centre Thomas in constant contact with the en- 
emy. With the exception of his first move, his idea of holding 
with his centre, and, as occasion demanded, of outflanking 
with his wings was altogether an admirable one. Because of 
the theatre of war, which was roomy, the superiority of his 
force, and the defensive tactics of his enemy, he was able to 
replace assaults by manoeuvres. Johnston, discussing this 
question with Swinton, once said to him: "I know I should 
have beaten him [Sherman] had he made assaults on me as 
General Grant did on Lee!' 20 Though such an assertion is 
beyond proof, it is not altogether valueless, for it shows that 
if so able a general as Johnston failed to appreciate the dif- 
ference between Grant's and Sherman's campaigns, and the in- 
fluence of topography on the operations in Virginia and Geor- 
gia, there is some excuse for Grant's strategy being so gen- 
erally misunderstood. 


To turn from Sherman to Sheridan is of great interest, if 
only as a personal study. Whilst both were generally bold in 

18 Wood & Edmonds^ p. 393 j possibly 40,000 each. 

19 Grant, II, p. 167. 

20 Swtnton t p. 495. 

3 1 6 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

their actions, the former was more experienced and cautious, 
whilst the latter was more intuitive and dashing. The one was 
daring, the other sometimes reckless ; both possessed imagina- 
tion, but whilst Sherman's was kept in restraint, Sheridan's 
was frequently given full leash. A good tactician, Sheridan 
was no strategist; but in spite of this defect, his selection to 
command the troops in the Valley was probably the best which 
could have been made. The situation required a young and 
really active general to close this "racecourse of armies," so 
that the incessant Confederate advances on Harpers Ferry, 
which by some wag had been rechristened Harper's Monthly, 
might definitely be ended. Further than this, Grant had de- 
termined to devastate this region so that no Confederate 
army would be able to operate in it, and simultaneously live 
on the country. 

Having secured Washington against a sudden raid, Grant's 
intention was for Sheridan to move against Lynchburg the 
Atlanta of Virginia. This was the strategic part of his mis- 
sion which, as we shall see, he failed to appreciate. He never 
seems fully to have understood that his campaign was not a 
unique one, but part of a combined operation, in which the 
destruction of Early's army was but a stepping stone to the 
encirclement of Lee. 

Sheridan's command the Army of the Shenandoah con- 
sisted of three corps, the Sixth under Wright, the Nineteenth 
under Emory, and the Eighth under Crook, supported by 
three cavalry divisions Torbert's, Wilson's and Averell's. 
On August 10, Sheridan moved from Halltown towards Win- 
chester, Early falling back to Fisher's Hill ; Sheridan, hearing 
that Early had been reinforced, fell back, devastating the 
country between Strasburg and Winchester. This retreat was 
quite unnecessary, for though Early had been reinforced by 
Anderson, Sheridan must have known that he was still far 
stronger than his enemy. On the 25th, when Early, finding 
Sheridan's position too strong to be attacked, left a small 
force under Anderson to contain him, whilst he moved 
towards Williamsport, 21 an opportunity, as seldom occurs in 

21 Pond, p. 137. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 317 

war, was presented to Sheridan to place his army across his 
enemy's communications and without endangering his own. 
He did nothing however, and so strong grew the feeling in 
Washington, that Grant left City Point 22 and hurried to Sher- 
idan to discover his difficulties. Simultaneously with this visit, 
Lee was compelled, through shortage of men, to call upon 
Early to return to him the force under Anderson. 

Sheridan's plan was to operate against Early's line of re- 
treat, a plan which accorded fully with Grant's views; but 
when, on September 19, he attacked Early at Opequon Creek, 
40,000 men being launched against I7,ooo, 23 he failed to do 
this, and though he decisively defeated the Confederate gen- 
eral, this battle cost him nearly 5,000 casualties. 24 It may be 
true, as Sheridan says, that he sent the enemy "whirling 
through Winchester," 25 but, in my opinion, Early is not alto- 
gether wrong in criticizing his generalship, for his own dispo- 
sitions were so faulty that he should have been annihilated. 

On the 20th, Early withdrew to Fisher's Hill, to be fol- 
lowed by Sheridan who, on the 22nd, attacked him in rear, 
and once again severely defeated him. The Valley was now 
at the Federal mercy, consequently Sheridan once again set 
to work to devastate it. 

Early defeated, Grant, with the persistence so characteris- 
tic of him, at once returned to the strategic problem in Sheri- 
dan's campaign, namely, the destruction or isolation of Lynch- 
burg. He considered that as Lynchburg could not at present 
be directly attacked, a move should be made against the Vir- 
ginia Central railroad between Gordonsville and Charlottes- 
ville, and also against the James River canal. Sheridan ob- 
jected 26 to this, believing that the sole object of his campaign 
was to devastate the Valley, and that to move against Lynch- 
burg, or Gordonsville and Charlottesville, were not feasible 

22 Grant, II, p. 327. 

23 Strengths as usual are difficult to arrive at. Keifer (Slavery and Four 
Years of War, II, p. 109) gives Sheridan's strength at 25,000 and Early 
(Swinton, p. 558) estimates his own strength at 11,500. In either case Sheridan 
outnumbered him by over two to one; further still, neither side made use of 
entrenchments in this battle. 

24 Phisterer, p. 217. 

25 In 91, W.R., p. no, the words are "driving him through Winchester," 

26 91, W.R., p. 249; see also 91, W.R., pp. 177, 202, 210. 

3 1 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

operations even if the railway in rear of him were repaired. 
Instead, he proposed 2T to maintain Crook's corps in the lower 
Valley, and to return the Sixth and Nineteenth to Grant. 

Grant was right and Sheridan was wrong; for, as will 
shortly be seen, any depletion of the forces in the Valley was 
altogether premature. Nevertheless, Grant, as was his cus- 
tom once he had placed a subordinate in a responsible posi- 
tion, instead of sending a definite order, merely suggested a 
leading idea; should the subordinate not like it, then, failing 
his removal, Grant, with one exception, never pressed the idea 
upon him; for he always held that the man on the spot should 
be allowed a free hand in deciding what in the circumstances 
he considered best. In the present instance, on October 3, he 
authorized 2S Sheridan to carry out his plan. 

No sooner was this decision made, than Sheridan withdrew 
to Strasburg; simultaneously, Lee reinforced Early, who 
started in pursuit of the retiring Federals, and occupied New- 
market on the yth. On the loth, Sheridan crossed Cedar 
Creek, and, on the I3th, the uncrushable Early, hearing that 
Sheridan was about to despatch part of his force to the assist- 
ance of Grant, moved forward to Fisher's Hill. On the I5th, 
Sheridan was called 29 to Washington to discuss the feasibility 
of sending Merrit's cavalry division, reinforced by Powell's 
from the Luray Valley, through Chester Gap, against the Vir- 
ginia Central railroad. 30 

No sooner had he left, when Wright, who was now in com- 
mand at Cedar Creek, heard that Longstreet was marching to 
Early' s assistance. In spite of this, it does not appear that he 
considered it worth while to send out a strong force of cav- 
alry to picket and watch his enemy; the result was that, before 
sunrise on the I9th, he was even more completely surprised 
than Grant had been at Shiloh. 

I cannot here jn detail describe the battle which now took 
place, though it is one of the most interesting and instructive 
of the war. Early' s astonishing boldness is a fine example of 

P . 250. 

2891, /F.K., p. 266. 

29 91, W&., p. 355, dated October 13. 

* Q * 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 1 9 

audacity succeeding. Under cover of fog he rolled up 
Wright's left, taking his centre in rear, and had it not been 
for the magnificent behaviour of the Federal cavalry, Wright 
would in all probability have been totally defeated. 31 

Meanwhile, at 8.30 A.M. on the igth, Sheridan, on his re- 
turn from Washington, set out from Winchester, and was 
soon met by a stream of fugitives. Galloping on, he reached 
the battlefield at 1 1 130 A.M. to find that Wright had the situa- 
tion well in hand; nevertheless his arrival and his gallant be- 
haviour inspired his troops with the utmost confidence in them- 
selves, and when, at 4 F.M., they advanced to the attack the 
result was the rout of Early* *s army. 

I will only quote one incident which took place in this 
battle, as it bears on a point I have already examined, namely, 
the value of the magazine carbine. Early in the day, Sheri- 
dan's army lost twenty-four guns. At about 4.30 P.M., Col- 
onel A. C. Hamlin pointed out to General Custer a large force 
of broken enemy retreating south, and obtained his permis- 
sion to charge them. His men were armed with sabres, re- 
volvers and magazine carbines. He moved forward at the 
head of his regiment and a detachment of the 5th New York 
cavalry. Then in his own words : "The 5th New York swung 
out and struck the enemy at my left, while I led my regiment 
straight to the front, thus keeping in advance. The enemy 
when we struck them were a dense body, covering several 
acres, and the broken and disorganized rushed upon those in 
better order, so that all were thrown into confusion. My men 
with carbines lying along the side of their horses' necks, fired 
point blank upon this mass. When the seven shots were gone 
carbines were slung and revolvers drawn. At one point some 
of the enemy fell and others fell over them, until the ground 
for the distance of nearly half an acre was covered with a 
struggling mass of fallen men. We swung just to the left of 
this fallen body, and smashed our way right through the main 
force of the enemy, who slowly gave way, and then rushed 
to the right and left. Here we overtook the first gun." 82 

Z1M.H.SM., VI, p. 145. 

., VI, pp. 202, 203. 

320 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

The Federal victory was a costly one, for Sheridan's losses 
numbered 5,764, 83 exceeding Early's by about i,5OO. 34 

After this defeat Early fell back on Newmarket, whereupon 
Grant once again pressed Sheridan to move on to the Virginia 
Central railroad; but Sheridan still considered 85 that such an 
operation was impracticable. Again being urged to do so, on 
December ig, 36 he sent some 8,000 cavalry under Torbert 
against this railway; but the expedition met with no success, 
as it was now too late in the year for such an operation. 87 

In my opinion Sheridan's generalship throughout this cam- 
paign was, in spite of his many successes, indifferent. It is true 
that his victories had a most important influence on the politi- 
cal situation, and that his devastations still further restricted 
Lee's ever-decreasing resources, and protected Washington by 
making it most difficult for a Confederate army to subsist in 
the Valley. It is also true that his campaign did succeed in 
holding a force of the enemy which President Davis would 
otherwise have sent to Johnston; but his persistent resistance 
to Grant's wishes shows that he had no grasp of the higher 
meaning of generalship. When, after Cedar Creek, he was 
urged by Grant to move against the railway, his answer that 
it "would demoralize the troops, now in magnificent trim," 88 
shows this clearly enough, and I entirely agree with Lieuten- 
ant L. W. V. Kennon when he says: "Grant's judgment was 
sound, while Sheridan's action practically nullified his vic- 
tories won in the field. It seems not unlikely that if he had 
complied with Grant's instructions immediately after the bat- 
tle of Fisher's Hill, Richmond would have fallen in September 
or October, 1864, instead of April, 1865." 89 


Once Atlanta was In Sherman's hands the next problem was : 
in What direction should he move ? It had always been Grant's 

^ Pond, p. 239. 

8 * Phisterer, p. 218. 

a* 9 i, W.R., pp. 464, 465. 

3 91, W.R., p. 804. 

87 See M.H.S.M., VI, pp. 55, 56. 

**M.H.SM. t VI, p, 55. 

3 M.H.S.M., VI, p. 57. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 2 1 

idea to push him through to the Atlantic coast (See Appen- 
dix V) but Hood's army had not yet been annihilated, and 
though Mobile Bay 40 was now in Federal hands, Mobile itself 
was not taken until March i r, 1865. Wilmington, Charleston 
and Savannah were still held by the Confederates, and unless 
a seaport connected to Atlanta by rail could be occupied and 
converted into a base of supply, it was a hazardous operation 
for Sherman to cut loose from his communications and 
move south or east. On September 10, Grant wrote to 
Sherman as follows: "As soon as your men are sufficiently 
rested and preparations can be made, it is desirable that an- 
other campaign should be commenced. We want to keep 
the enemy continually pressed to the end of the war. If 
we give him no peace while the war lasts, the end cannot be 
far distant. Now that we have all of Mobile Bay that is 
valuable, I do not know but it will be the best move to transfer 
Canby's troops to act upon Savannah, while you move on 
Augusta. . . ." 41 

The failure to take Mobile was the factor which was un- 
balancing the Federal strategy. Sherman's base of supplies 
was still at Louisville, 474 miles away, and in all he had to 
protect 950 miles of railway, establish large intermediate sup- 
ply depots and garrison them, as well as patrol the Tennessee 
river by cavalry and gunboats. As it was intended that Sher- 
man should move forward, it was Imperative for him to cut 
loose from his communications this Grant had foreseen be- 
fore the opening of the campaign. Sherman saw this clearly 
enough, and had already, on August 13, written to Halleck 
as follows: u ln making the circuit of Atlanta as proposed 
... I would like to know the chances of our getting the use 
of the Alabama River this campaign. I could easily break up 
the railroads back to Chattanooga, and shift my whole army 
down to West Point and Columbus, a country rich in corn, 
and make my fall campaign from there." 42 But it was of 

40 Occupied August 5, 1864. 

41 78, WR.., p. 355. Canby's movement against Mobile had miscarried. He 
had been compelled strongly to reinforce Rosecrans on account of General 
Price's activities in Missouri. 

42 76, W.R., p. 483. 

322 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

little use moving in this direction as long as Mobile was in 
enemy hands. 

On September 20, in reply to Grant's letters of the loth and 
1 2th, he put forward a host of proposals: "But, the more I 
study the game," he writes, "the more I am convinced that it 
would be wrong for me to penetrate much further into Georgia 
without an object beyond"; then he suggests, that if Grant 
will secure Wilmington and the City of Savannah, he will 
meanwhile keep Hood employed, and put his own army "in 
fine order for a march on Augusta, Columbia and Charles- 
ton. . . ," 43 

Whilst Sherman's active mind was pouring forth sugges- 
tions to Grant, Hood was also considering his future move- 
ments. It was clear to him that he must abandon his present 
line of retreat, as he was now on the edge of the highlands, 
and once in the open country he would be at the mercy of 
Sherman's superior force. To cover Selma, Montgomery, 
Columbus and Macon, and to threaten a Federal advance 
from Atlanta on Augusta, on September 20, he withdrew to 
Palmetto Station, twenty-five miles southwest of Atlanta on 
the railway to Montgomery, and there he entrenched. Sher- 
man reported this move and said: "He is eccentric, and I can- 
not guess his movements as I could those of Johnston, who 
was a sensible man and only did sensible things." 44 He was 
not, however, left long in doubt, for Jefferson Davis journey- 
ing from Richmond to visit Hood, publicly announced at a 
number of places that Atlanta was to be recovered, that Sher- 
man would meet the fate of Napoleon in his retreat from 
Moscow, etc. To the Tennessee troops he said: "Be of good 
cheer, for in a short while your faces will be turned home- 
ward, and your feet pressing Tennessee soil." 45 

The result of this proclamation was that Sherman or- 
dered 46 Thomas back to Chattanooga, a wise precaution: for 
on the 29th Hood crossed the Chattahoochee, and by October 

48 78, W.R., p. 412. 

"M.HJSM., VIII, p. 506. In 78, fl 7 ^., p. 431, he says: "I do not see what 
lie designs by this movement." 

45 Radeau, III, p. 51. 

46 78, W.R., pp. 464, 465. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 323 

2 it was obvious that his intention was to strike the railway 
in the vicinity of Marietta. Leaving one corps to hold At- 
lanta, Sherman set off in pursuit. Soon he found that there 
was but little chance of bringing Hood to battle, thereupon 
his thoughts returned to his proposed march on Savannah. 
On the gth he wrote to Grant as follows : "It will be a physical 
impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, 
Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils are turned loose with- 
out home or habitation. ... By attempting to hold the roads 
we will lose 1,000 men monthly, and will gain no result. I 
can make the march and make Georgia howl." 4T And again 
on the nth: "Instead of guessing at what he means to do, he 
would have to guess at my plans. ... I can make Savannah, 
Charleston or the mouth of the Chattahoochee." 4S 

Sherman's pursuit was nevertheless continued until he was 
a hundred miles from Atlanta; when, on the igth, he saw 
that his chances of bringing his extremely mobile adversary to 
book were hopeless. This day he informed Thomas that he 
intended to abandon it, and "make a hole in Georgia and Ala- 
bama" ; then he added : "If you can defend the line of the Ten- 
nessee in my absence of three months, it is all I ask." 49 Again 
on the 20th he wrote: "To pursue Hood is folly, for he can 
twist and turn like a fox, and wear out any army in pursuit." 50 

As it will be remembered, the primary object of Sherman's 
campaign was to destroy Johnston's, now Hood's army; and 
Grant, who never liked changing the idea of a campaign, on 
November I wrote to Sherman as follows: "Do you not think 
it advisable now that Hood has gone so far north to entirely 
settle him before starting on your proposed campaign? With 
Hood's army destroyed you can go where you please with im- 
punity. I believed, and still believe, if you had started south 
while Hood was in the neighbourhood of you he would have 
been forced to go after you. Now that he is so far away, he 
might look upon the chase as useless, and will go in one di- 
rection whilst you are pushing in the other. If you can see the 

47 79^ W.R., p. 162. 

48 79 W.R., p. 202. THs is Apalachicola. 
79, W.R. t p. 365. 

so 79, WR., p. 378. 

324 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

chance for destroying Hood's army, attend to that first, and 
make your other move secondary.'* 51 

Here we are faced by one of the most interesting strategi- 
cal problems of the Civil War, namely: should Sherman fol- 
low Hood, or should he march to the Atlantic? 

Hood's action had surprised Sherman; as to this there can 
be no doubt; further still, there can be no doubt that for sev- 
eral days he was bewildered. Hood had moved south, ob- 
viously to avoid fighting in open country, and so that he could 
threaten the flank of any Federal move against Augusta. 
Sherman should have advanced on him like lightning; in place 
he remained at Atlanta. Grant, a far abler strategist than 
Sherman, at once recognized this missed opportunity; and see- 
ing that he seldom censured a subordinate as long as he in- 
tended to employ him, his words "I believed, and still be- 
lieve, if you had started south," are nothing short of a re- 

Next, Jefferson Davis visited Hood, and broadcasted the 
fact that Hood was going to march into Tennessee. Every 
historian I have consulted has ridiculed Davis for making his 
plan public; but surely it was the publicity of Hood's move 
into Tennessee which Davis wanted in order to compel Grant 
and Sherman to consider the defence of Tennessee instead of 
the offence in Georgia and why? In my opinion the reason 
is obvious, namely, that Davis was terrified at the idea of 
the war being carried into Georgia and the Carolinas. The 
action of these States had largely caused the rebellion; they 
were truculent and independent; they had already given Davis 
much trouble; in short, he was afraid that if they were in- 
vaded they might carry the doctrine of State-rights to its logi- 
cal conclusion that is: they might object to support the Con- 
federacy. Hood's plan was political. 

Lastly came Hood's move, and he gained so good a start 
over Sherman that Sherman was unable to catch him; and be 
it remembered, the country was hostile to Sherman. 

Hood's advance was strategically a sound one, and had it 
been possible for Kirby Smith in Arkansas to have reinforced 

si 79, W.R.> p. 576. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 325 

him and in spite of the Federal command of the Mississippi 
this was not altogether impossible he would have been right 
in moving as he eventually did on Nashville. Not being rein- 
forced, he should have terrorized Tennessee, and then turning 
south have followed up Sherman, waging a guerilla war on 
his foraging parties. 

Grant, at a distance, as usual avoided giving a direct order, 
and in place asked the question "Do you not think it advis- 
able" to follow up Hood? Strategically on the map it ap- 
peared more than advisable, It was essential. But Grant knew 
that war is not made solely on maps, and he wanted Sherman 
to consider the question with the minutest care; this he did 
most ably. On November 2, he pointed out that no single 
army could catch Hood, and that Thomas would have a force 
strong enough to hold him. Then he writes: "I am convinced 
the best results will result from defeating Jeff. Davis' cher- 
ished plan of making me leave Georgia by manoeuvring. . . . 
If I turn back the whole effect of my campaign will be lost." 52 
He saw that Hood's army was only his primary objective as 
long as it covered Georgia, the Carolinas and Lee's rear, and 
because it covered them. Now that they were no longer cov- 
ered, these vital localities became in themselves his primary 
objective; and as long as he could guarantee the security of 
the country in rear of him, he would have violated the princi- 
ple of direction had he continued in pursuit of Hood. On the 
6th he again wrote to Grant saying: 

U 0n the supposition always that Thomas can hold the line 
of the Tennessee ... I propose to act in such a manner 
against the material resources of the South, as utterly to nega- 
tive Davis' boasted threats and promises of protection. If we 
can march a well-appointed army right through his territory, 
it is a demonstration to the world, foreign and domestic, that 
we have a power which Davis cannot resist. This may not be 
war, but rather statesmanship ; nevertheless, it is overwhelm- 
ing to my mind that there are thousands of people abroad and 
in the South, who will reason thus : If the North can march 
an army right through the South, it is proof positive that the 

79, W&; PP- 594, 595* 

326 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

North can prevail in this contest, leaving only open the ques- 
tion of its willingness to use that power. 

"Now Mr. Lincoln's election, which is assured, coupled 
with the conclusion thus reached, makes a complete, logical 
whole. Even without a battle the results, operating upon the 
minds of sensible men, would produce fruits more than com- 
pensating for the expense, trouble and risk." 53 

But Grant was already convinced by his lieutenant, for on 
the 2nd he had written to him: "With the force, however, 
you have left with General Thomas, he must be able to take 
care of Hood and destroy him. I really do not see that you 
can withdraw from where you are, to follow Hood, without 
giving up all we have gained in territory. I say, then, go on 
as you propose." 54 

On the 1 4th, Sherman concentrated 60,000 men at Atlanta, 
and on the following morning the great march began. It 
terminated with the occupation of Savannah on December 21, 
three hundred miles having been covered in twenty-four days, 
and untold damage done to the country. That it did not di- 
rectly weaken Lee is true, for he was so firmly gripped by 
Grant that he could not spare a man to be sent against Sher- 
man. That indirectly it did so is proved by the ever-increas- 
ing stream of deserters who flocked south to succour their 
devastated homes. That economically it weakened him is 
certain, for Georgia had become the granary of the Confed- 
eracy; but it must be remembered that to cut off this supply, 
all that was necessary was to destroy the railways, and that 
it was not necessary utterly to devastate the land. That his 
march had a decisive strategical and political influence on the 
war is beyond question, but because of Sherman's wasteful 
destruction it had a bad influence on the peace which followed 
the war. For instance, he says : "I shall then feel justified in 
resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort 
to restrain my army." 65 "I do sincerely believe that the 
whole United States, North and South, would rejoice to have 

63 y<^ >W.R. t p. 660. 
5*79, WJL, p. 594* 
55 92, W,R., p. 737. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 327 

this army turned loose on South Carolina to devastate that 
State, in the manner we have done in Georgia"; 56 and "The 
truth is the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire 
to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost tremble 
at her fate." 57 In Georgia Sherman estimated the entire dam- 
age done at $100,000,000, of which only $20,000,000 "inured 
to our advantage," the remainder being "simple waste and 
destruction." 5S Ideas and actions such as these are reminis- 
cent of the Thirty Years' War, and discredit the noble words 
on the plinth of this great soldier's statue at Washington 
"The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace," 59 


Qui ne risque run n'attrape rien was a favourite saying of 
Napoleon, a saying which fully justified Sherman's advance 
eastwards when Hood turned westwards. If Hood beat 
Thomas, now holding the line of the Tennessee, both Grant 
and Sherman would be handed down to history as reckless and 
amateur generals. If Hood were beaten, tte.same and by no 
means logical judgment would be passed on him. The chariqe| 
were, however, in Sherman's favour, because it was unlikely 
that Hood could be reinforced; the further he moved north 
the weaker he would become, and fhe more difficult would he 
find it to replenish his ammunition, and the more likely was 
it that he would meet Thomas with his forces concentrated. 
As is always the case in war, the whole problem revolved 
round the question what would the man on the spot do? 
Hood, a bold general, had failed to read correctly the mind 
of Sherman; Sherman, had he rightly interpreted the per- 
sonality of Thomas, one of the ablest tacticians of the war? 
We shall see. 

When, on November 15, Sherman moved off from Atlanta, 

56 9 2, W.R., p. 743. 

92, W,R., p. 799. 

58 92, IPX., p. ! 3 . 

59 Sherman once said : "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it" ; even if 
this were true, which it is not, it is no good reason why war should be bar- 

328 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Hood, at the head of 41,185 infantry and artillery and 12,753 
cavalry 60 was at Florence; on the 2Oth he moved forward to 
frustrate the invasion of Georgia by an invasion of Tennessee. 
As early as September 29, Thomas had been sent to Nashville, 
and on October 10, Sherman had ordered him to concentrate 
all troops within reach "at some converging place, say Steven- 
son." 61 Three days later similar orders were sent to him by 
Grant through Halleck, 62 and on the igth Schofield's corps was 
sent back to reinforce him, Thomas, however, in place of 
falling back and concentrating, which was obviously the cor- 
rect thing to do, preferred to hold the Tennessee from Decatur 
to Eastport, when, on the 25th, Hood appeared in force be- 
fore the former of these towns, and then on the 29th, marched 
to Florence. Again Thomas was ordered to concentrate, 63 and 
again he refused to abandon his advanced posts ; this order was 
repeated, but as Badeau says: "Thomas's way of making war 
was different from Sherman's." 64: 

From this initial failure to concentrate arose all Thomas's 
troubles; for, on November 2, Forrest with his cavalry ap- 
peared before Johnsonville, and the Federal forces in Tennes- 
see were still scattered. Schofield at the head of some 22,000 
men, was rushed from Nashville to meet him, and then moved 
to PulaskL On the 20th, Thomas's army numbered 59,500 
men, but of these 25,000 were still scattered, and the remain- 
der was now confronted by Hood at the head of a concen- 
trated force of 30,600 infantry and 7,000 cavalry. 65 

As Hood advanced, Schofield, in accordance with Thomas's 
orders, fell back towards Nashville, where a general concen- 
tration was to be effected. In place, had Thomas been in any 
way ready to advance, he should have moved forward and 
supported Schofield, but as Grant says, he made no effort to 
do so. 66 Schofield's position was now a critical one, for on 
the 30th, at Franklin, he was compelled to accept battle; but, 

60 Cox, p. 12. In B. & L., IV, p. 435, Hood gives his strength as 30,600. 

61 79, W.R., p. 191, 
2 79 , W.R., p. 252. 
6 * 79, W&-, P. 497- 
^Badeau, III, p. 186. 

65 Badeau, III, p. 188. 

66 Grant> II, p. 379. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 329 

most fortunately for Thomas, he beat off every assault, and 
at a loss of 2,326 men inflicted no less than 6,300 casualties on 
Hood's army. 67 

Now was Thomas's chance, and had he been a great gen- 
eral he would have seized it. Hood's intention to crush Scho- 
field before he could reach Nashville had been frustrated, his 
losses had been severe, his position was now a desperate one, 
Thomas should have advanced at once and 'have overwhelmed 
him; in place, what did he do? On December i he wrote to 
Halleck that he intended to retire to the fortifications round 
Nashville until his cavalry were equipped. 68 

It is necessary, so I think, in a study of Grant's generalship, 
to examine in some detail the situation which now faced him, 
especially so as we are confronted by the only occasions upon 
which he personally directed the operations of a subordinate. 
Hood's army was reduced to 44,000 men; 69 Thomas, on No- 
vember 20, had under his command "present for duty" 
7 1, 463 ; 70 deducting recent casualties and non-effectives, 
Thomas must have considerably outnumbered Hood. Why 
then did he not assume the offensive? The reason is that he 
was not certain of winning ; he would not accept any risks, and 
he could not see that the situation demanded them, otherwise 
the whole of Grant's campaign in Virginia might be jeopar- 
dized, for at any moment political panic might dissolve his 
grand operation by diverting forces to Tennessee. 

Thomas was one of the great historical figures of this war, 
and he has been handed down to history as one of its leading 
generals, because of his gallant behaviour at Chickamauga, 71 
and because of his eventual overwhelming success at Nash- 
ville; yet, in my opinion, his generalship was, except in battle 
itself, beneath contempt. I will now justify this statement, 
and prove that Grant's decisions in this campaign were sound. 

Thomas was old as generals went in this war, having been 

" Cox, pp. 96, 97. 
es 94 , W.R., p. 3 . 

69 Cox t p. 101; according to B. f L. f IV, p. 474 39,000; and according to 
Hood 23,000 (B. & L. f IV, p. 435). 

70 93, WJR.., p. 52. 

71 He was, however, largely responsible for the crucial mistake in this battle. 
See M.HJSJM., X, pp. 229-230. 

330 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

born in 1 8 1 6. At West Point his fellow cadets had nicknamed 
him "Slow Trot," and as so often is the case, youth, with un- 
failing accuracy, appreciated his predominant characteristic. 
He was a man of firm and fervent loyalty, deliberate, cautious 
and sure. He once said to a battery commander who had 
carelessly allowed his harness to break, that "the fate of a 
battle may depend on a buckle," and he undoubtedly believed 
that such small things were of supreme importance in war. 
"He made it a rule . . . to finish up all his work to the 
minutest detail before any important movement was begun. 
. . . Wherever his signature was required, even if it were 
only in a copy-book, he invariably signed his name himself." 73 
He had the mind of a quartermaster, and would have made a 
most valuable one, for he did not like the responsibility of 
command. 73 Of his present delay, Colonel Stone, his assistant 
adjutant-general at the battle of Nashville, says: "He real- 
ised too keenly the importance of victory to allow anything 
that might help secure it to be neglected. Compared with 
the destruction of Hood's army nothing else was of any ac- 
count." 74 This is not meant only to be a statement of facts, 
but a proof of his generalship; in my opinion it is proof posi- 
tive that he was totally lacking in strategical sense. 

On December 2, Stanton informed Grant, that "the Presi- 
dent feels solicitous about the disposition of Thomas to lay 
in fortifications for an indefinite period, 'until Wilson [his 
cavalry general] gets equipped'"; whereupon Grant tele- 
graphed Thomas : "Should he [Hood] attack you it is well, 
but if he does not you should attack him before he fortifies" ; 
and again: "After the repulse of Hood at Franklin it looks to 
me that instead of falling back to Nashville we should have 
taken the offensive against the enemy." To which Thomas 
replied: "I earnestly hope, however, that in a few more days 
I shall be able to give him a fight." 

t*M.H.S.M., X, p. 199. He was called "Old Safety." "Maj.-Gen. George 
H. Thomas, if it can be so put with due respect, may be called the elephant of 
our army animals slow, ponderous, sagacious, not easily roused to wrath, but 
when aroused terrible and invincible" (Iowa and the Rebellion, Ingersoll, 
p. 644). 

73 23 , WX, pp. 539, 555. 

M.H.S.M., VII, p. 496. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 3 1 

On the 5th Grant telegraphed Thomas: "It seems to me, 
whilst you should be getting up your cavalry . . . Hood 
hould be attacked where he is. Time strengthens him, in all 
>robability, as much as it does you." To which Thomas an- 
wered on the 6th: u As soon as I get up a respectable force 
f cavalry I will march against Hood." Grant losing patience 
rired: "Attack Hood at once, and wait no longer for a re- 
nount of your cavalry. There is great danger in delay re- 
ulting in a campaign back to the Ohio River." Thomas's 
eply was: "I will make the necessary disposition and attack 
'food at once . . . ;" but no move was made. 

On the 7th, Stanton telegraphed Grant: "Thomas seems 
inwilling to attack because it is hazardous, as if all war was 
anything else but hazardous. If he waits for Wilson to get 
eady, Gabriel will be blowing his last horn." Thereupon 
Srant telegraphed Halleck: "If Thomas has not struck yet he 
mght to be ordered to hand over his command to Schofield." 
To which Halleck replied: "If you wish General Thomas re- 
ieved [from command] give the order." Realizing that 
Jncoln did not support Thomas's removal, Grant telegraphed 
Thomas: "Now is one of the fairest opportunities ever pre- 
>ented of destroying one of the three armies of the enemy." 
To which Thomas answered : that his cavalry were not in a 
'ondition to pove. 

On the gth Halleck telegraphed Thomas: "If you wait till 
General Wilson mounts all his cavalry, you will wait till 
ioomsday, for the waste equals the supply." Thereupon 
Thomas replied that the weather had broken, and that the 
oads were impassable. Before this telegram was received, 
3rant had asked Halleck to replace him by Schofield. This 
3rder was made out but not sent, and Grant learning from 
Thomas that the roads were now covered with sheets of ice, 
suspended the relieving order, and again urged Thomas on. 

On the nth, Grant telegraphed Thomas: "If you delay 
ittacking longer the mortifying spectacle will be witnessed of 
i rebel army moving for the Ohio River, and you will be 
Forced to act, accepting such weather as you find. Let there 
3e no further delay." To which Thomas answered: "I will 

332 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

obey the order as promptly as possible, however much I may 
regret it"; and the next day to Halleck he telegraphed: 
"Under the circumstances, I believe that an attack at this 
time would only result in a useless sacrifice of life." 

At length Grant could tolerate Thomas's inaction no 
longer, and on the I3th he ordered General Logan to pro- 
ceed to Nashville and take over the command of the Army 
of the Cumberland, On the following day, he set out from 
City Point to assume command in person. Meanwhile Hal- 
leck had telegraphed Thomas: "Every day's delay on your 
part, therefore, seriously interferes with General Grant's 
plans." On his arrival at Washington on the I5th, Grant 
learnt that Thomas had attacked/ 5 

Having massed at least 55,000 men 76 against Hood, 
Thomas won by able tactics, as well as through force of num- 
bers, a decisive victory. He captured 53 guns and 4,500 pris- 
oners; Hood's killed and wounded are unknown, but they 
probably numbered rather less than the 3,000 lost by the army 
of the Cumberland. That he was able to gain so complete a 
victory is proof positive that his prolonged delay was unnec- 
essary. His chief concern was the mounting of his cavalry, 
but by postponing the battle until the middle of December he 
found that the road was so broken up that an effective pur- 
suit was impossible. 

Though victory is the aim of a general, it is not necessarily 
a measure of his worth; for whilst popular opinion sees only 
greatness in results, the student of war should seek for great- 
ness in the steps which lead up to results. To make certain 
of winning a battle, and thereby risk losing a campaign is no 
qualification towards earning the laurels bestowed on a great 


On May 5, 1864, Grant opened the throttle of his great 
combined campaign. He hoped that before the summer had 

75 This correspondence will be found in 94, WJH,> pp. 15, 16, 17, 18, 55, 70, 
84, 96, 97, "4, n6, 143, 155 and 180. 
"B.&L.,1V, p. 473. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 333 

run its course the war would be ended, but he in no way 
founded his strategy on this hope. His grand tactical idea 
of holding and encircling has already been explained; but be- 
cause it demanded, not an exorbitant but a continuous loss of 
life in Virginia and a crowding of these losses into a brief 
period May and June its costliness appeared exaggerated, 
and undoubtedly had an adverse influence on the political 
mind. Realizing this, Grant was faced by a dual problem, 
namely, how to maintain the strategy of his combined cam- 
paigns, and simultaneously gain such tactical successes as 
would raise the moral of the North and consequently assure 
Lincoln's re-election. 

Because of his able strategical distribution, as long as Lee 
could be held within the Richmond fortifications, which meant 
that a sufficiently powerful army must constantly threaten the 
city, it was possible for Grant to divert a large force to the 
Valley, which simultaneously prevented the Confederate Gov- 
ernment diverting reinforcements to Johnston. By a shifting 
of force towards the circumference, Grant was able, without 
destroying his centre of gravity, to solve the intricate grand 
strategical problem which grew more and more intense as the 
autumn approached. 

Within his government, tlie opposition to Lincoln was that 
"He was felt to be too easy-going ... to be unbusinesslike 
in his methods . . . and ... in capacity and temperament 
. . . inadequate to the responsibility of the head of the 
Nation at such a momentous period." 77 When early in July 
Lincoln was nominated for re-election at Baltimore, within 
the ranks of his own party there existed a group of influential 
men who wished him to withdraw his candidature. In August, 
General McClellan was nominated to oppose him, when the 
Charleston Courier amongst other things said: "Our success 
in battle insures the success of McClellan. Our failure will 
inevitably lead to his defeat." 7S Then came the battle of 
Mobile Bay (August 5) ; the occupation of Atlanta (Septem- 
ber 2); the battle of Opequon Creek (September 19) ; the 

it Memoirs and Letters of Charles. Sumner, IV, p. 195. 
78 Nicolay and Hay, IX, p. 353. 

334 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

battle of Fisher's Hill (September 22), and the battle of 
Cedar Creek (October 19). These battles were not only of 
great value to Grant in furthering the war, but of immense 
importance to Lincoln in gaining his election, without which 
the war would in all probability have collapsed. So strong 
had these victories made Lincoln's position, that when, on 
October 17, E. B. Washburne, of Illinois, wrote to him: "It is 
no use to deceive ourselves. . . . There is imminent danger 
of our losing the State," Lincoln scribbled on the envelope 
"Stampeded." 79 

Then came November 8, a dull rainy day in Washington, 
and Lincoln was re-elected, receiving 212 electoral votes, 
whilst 22 went to McClellan. Though this event "was a 
greater triumph over the principles of the rebellion than any 
military victory could be," 80 it must not be overlooked that it 
was mainly the effect of military causes, the most important of 
which were : the occupation of Atlanta and Sheridan's success 
in the Valley; a success so close to the physical Washington 
that the moral Washington was revitalized as if by magic. 

The influence of Lincoln's second election was felt not only 
in every corner of the immense theatre of war, but through- 
out the civilized world. It halved Grant's difficulties by en- 
abling him to concentrate solely on the strategy of the war. 
It daily increased his strength by daily weakening Lee's. Ten 
days after this election, Lee wrote to President Davis: "De- 
sertion is increasing in the army notwithstanding all my ef- 
forts to stop it." 81 Then came the battle of Franklin (No- 
vember 30) ; the battle of Nashville (December 15-16), and 
Sherman's entry into Savannah (December 21) ; and on this 
last mentioned day we find a Lieutenant-Colonel /. H. Duncan 
in Hill's corps writing: "Desertions are becoming amazingly 
numerous." 82 At the time desertion was attributed to an "in- 
sufficiency of rations and the failure of the paymaster to pay 
the men off." 83 Shortage of rations may have been a cause, 

79 Nicolay and Hay, IX, p. 372. 

80 Letters of Charles Eliot Norton, I, p. 282. 

81 89, W.R., p. 1213. 

82 96, W.R., pp. 1144-1145. 

8 3 96, W.R., p. 1148. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 335 

but it was not the cause. "To what end is the struggle pro- 
longed?" This thought, above all others, was the dry rot 
of the Confederacy. 

The end of the war was now in sight; the political founda- 
tions of the North were sound and deep rooted; Grant's at- 
trition had paralyzed Lee, and his grip held him fast in Rich- 
mond; Sheridan had given moral to the North, and beyond 
the silence of winter in Virginia "there came," as Swinton 
says, "rolling across the plains of the Carolinas, beating 
nearer and nearer, the drums of Champion's Hill and Shi- 
loh." 84 Unless Sherman were stopped, come what might, the 
Confederacy was doomed. This was the tactical problem of 
1865 : could the South win, even only as their forefathers had 
won at Guildf ord Court House ? 85 If so, then they might yet 
aspire to a second Yorktown. 86 

84 Decisive Battles, p. 4.80. 

85 March 16, 1781. 

86 October 19, 1781. 



As the year 1864 closed, Grant's problem of how to continue 
to hold Lee became an anxious one. He realized what Lee 
himself realized, namely, that the only hope of stopping Sher- 
man advancing northwards from Savannah was to oppose him 
in force, and that this could not be done unless the Richmond 
defences were evacuated. To effect such a movement during 
the winter months would in any case be difficult, but what 
was far more uncertain than the weather was Grant's inten- 
tion: what did he intend to do with Sherman? Would he 
move him by sea to the James; or march him inland; or for 
the time being keep him at Savannah? Besides, to evacuate 
Richmond not only meant a moral loss which was altogether 
Incalculable, but the loss of Wilmington, and consequently of 
nine-tenths of the blockade runner traffic, which daily was be- 
coming more and more necessary to the maintenance of the 
war. The fact is, that though physically still unconquered, 
Grant's campaigns had through moral and economic pressure, 
as well as through physical attrition, fixed Lee to Richmond. 
It was not because Lee did not see the danger of his position 
that he determined for a while to hold on to the capital, but 
because he saw the extreme moral and economic danger of 
evacuating it. 

Though Grant may not have appreciated Lee's situation as 
clearly as Lee himself did, he realized the importance of bring- 
ing the war to an end. The finances of the North were stead- 
ily growing worse, and what he feared was that Lee might 
break away into the interior and set the whole centre of the 
United States ablaze with a guerrilla war. He determined, 
therefore, whilst winter rendered it difficult for Lee to move, 


Grant as General-in-Chief 337 

to encompass him in a circle of advancing columns, and by con- 
tinuing his economic attack, more and more demoralize the 
civil will of the Confederacy. 

His first problem was to occupy the sea ports. Charleston, 
Mobile and Wilmington still held out ; but the first two were 
now of little importance, Charleston having been closed as a 
port of entry in September 1863, and Mobile in August the 
following year. Why, In the spring of 1864, Grant had not 
insisted upon the closing, if not capture, of Wilmington, it is 
hard to guess; unless his attention was so fixed on the land 
operations that he overlooked the enormous value of this port. 
It is no exaggeration to say, that towards the end of 1864 it 
had become the jugular vein of the South, for from July 1862 
until the fall of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865, at least one 
hundred vessels were engaged in running in and out of Wil- 
mington. The capture of Fort Fisher, which protected the 
entrance to the harbour, was, says Vice-President Stephens, a 
blow equal to the loss of Vicksburg? 

Grant never realized that Wilmington was of greater im- 
portance to the Confederacy than either Atlanta or Lynch- 
burg, and it was not until Sherman was marching through 
Georgia that he decided 2 an effort must be made to occupy 
this town, and that if it fell a force must be sent from there 
to co-operate with Sherman* In this suggestion we see the 
beginning of a general plan to tighten the circle, that is com- 
pletely to envelop Lee. 

Once Hood had been disposed of by Thomas, Grant de- 
cided on the general idea of his spring campaign. With the 
Army of the Potomac he intended to watch Lee rather than 
attack him, and to hold this army in readiness to spring on 
Lee should he attempt to break away. Next he considered 
moving Sherman north by sea, and then decided, as we shall 
see, to move him inland on to a point south of Richmond to 
be decided on by Sherman himself. In co-operation with 

1M.H.SM., XIII, p. 406. In September, 1864, Sherman wrote to Grant: "The 
utter destruction of Wilmington is in importance only in ... cutting off all 
foreign trade to our enemy* (78, PF.R. f p. 412). Italics are mine. 

2 92, W.R., pp. 611, 612. 

338 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Sherman, a force was to take Wilmington s and move towards 
Raleigh, and Sheridan was to move on Lynchburg, whilst 
Thomas moved a force of cavalry eastwards on Columbia. 
These four columns were to close in on Lee whilst Grant held 
him; or should Lee break away, they were to hem him 
in whilst Grant pursued. Subsidiary to this grand opera- 
tion, Grant intended to take Mobile, and in co-operation with 
this attack Thomas was to move south from Nashville to- 
wards Selma. Mobile-Montgomery once occupied, should 
Lee break away and slip past Sherman he would be confronted 
by this second net. 

On December i6, 4 Grant suggested to Sherman that when 
he had taken Savannah he should make it a base for an opera- 
tion against Charleston or Augusta. In answer, on the 24th, 
Sherman said that from Savannah his idea was to advance on 
Branchville, thence on Columbia, and after Wilmington was 
occupied, to move on Raleigh. "The game," he writes, "is 
then up with Lee, unless he comes out of Richmond, avoids 
you, and fights me, in which case I should reckon on your 
being on his heels." 5 Grant was pleased with this Idea, as it 
would demoralize the South, "and prevent the organization of 
new armies from their broken fragments," and so on the 
2yth 6 he ordered Sherman to prepare to start the northern 
march as soon as he was able to do so. 

The march began on February I ; Sherman's army was 
60,000 strong, and the distance to be travelled to Goldsboro 
was 425 miles. Of this operation Sherman says: "Were I to 
express my measure of the relative importance of the march 
to the sea, and of that from Savannah northwards, I would 
place the former at one, and the latter at ten, or the maxi- 
mum." 7 

3 The entrance to Wilmington was protected by Fort Fisher. Towards the 
end of December General Butler made an attempt to carry the fort, and failed. 
In consequence he was relieved of his command of the Army of the James, and 
was replaced by General Ord. In January a second attempt was made, and 
Fort Fisher fell on the i5th. 

4 92, WR., p. 636 ; this letter is signed by Halleck. 

5 92, W.R., p. 797. 

6 92, JP.R. f p. 820. 

7 Sherman 

., p. 820 
\, II, p. : 

Grant as General-in-Chief 339 

When Sherman was ordered to move into the Carolinas, 
Thomas was instructed to send Schofield from Clifton on the 
Tennessee to the Potomac; this move taking place on Janu- 
ary 15. Three days later, hearing that Beauregard had gone 
west "to gather up what he can save from Hood's army to 
bring against Sherman," Grant informed Halleck that Selma 
and Montgomery could now be reached. "I do not believe, 
though," he writes, "that General Thomas will ever get there 
from the North. He is too ponderous in his preparations and 
equipments to move through a country rapidly enough to live 
off it." He then suggests that Canby should make a winter 
campaign from Mobile Bay, and that Thomas should move on 
Selma. 8 

Schofield, on arriving from the West, was at once placed 
in command of all forces in North Carolina. On the 3ist, 
Grant gave him the following instructions: first to secure 
Wilmington, and secondly to occupy Goldsboro, repairing the 
railway as he advanced. "The enterprise under you," he 
writes, "has two objects. The first is to give General Sher- 
man material aid, if needed, in his march north; the second, 
to open a base of supplies for him on his line of march." 
On February 22 Wilmington was abandoned, and Schofield 
entered the town. 

On the day upon which Schofield received the above instruc- 
tions, Thomas was ordered to send a strong force of cavalry 
under General Stoneman towards Columbia in South Carolina 
to visit such portions of this State as could not be reached by 
Sherman, Knowing Thomas's habitual slowness, Grant ended 
by saying, "Let there be no delay in the preparation for the 
expedition, and keep me advised of its progress." ' 10 On Feb- 
ruary 14, he again wrote to Thomas pointing out that as 
Canby's movement against Mobile and the interior of Ala- 
bama would "attract all the attention of the enemy and leave 
an advance from your stand-point easy," that he should move 
south "to attract as much of the enemy's force as possible, to 

8 94, W.R. f pp. 609, 610. 
99, /F.R., p. 190. 
10 103, W.R., p. 617- 

340 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

ensure success to Canby ... to destroy the enemy's line of 
communications and military resources," and "to destroy or 
capture their forces brought into the field. . . ." ai 

These movements should have taken place about February 
20, yet on March 16 Stoneman was still at Louisville, Ken- 
tucky. This quite inexcusable delay on the part of Thomas 
is even more flagrant than his dawdling before Nashville. As 
an independent commander he was an impossible subordinate. 

The snows in the mountains having sufficiently melted, on 
February 28, Sheridan set out for Staunton. Already on 
February 8, Grant had ordered 12 him, as soon as the weather 
permitted, to move a force of 10,000 cavalry on Lynchburg. 
Between Staunton and Charlottesville Early was met, and his 
army annihilated. Sheridan then occupied Charlottesville, 
and broke up the railway towards Gordonsville and Lynch- 
burg; the condition of the roads, however, prevented him 
reaching Lynchburg itself, so he turned south to join up with 
Grant, arriving at White House on March 19. 

Whilst these various operations were in progress, Grant 
maintained a waiting attitude. On February 4 he wrote to 
Stanton: "I do not want to do anything to force the enemy 
from Richmond until Schofield carries out his programme. 
... I shall necessarily have to take the odium of apparent 
inaction, but if it results, as I expect it will, in the discomfiture 
of Lee's army, I shall be entirely satisfied." 13 On March 3 
he said to Meade: "for the present, it is better for us to hold 
the enemy where he is than to force him south. . . . To drive 
the enemy from Richmond now would endanger the success of 
these two columns [Sherman and Schofield].' 5 14 On the I4th, 
however, his encircling manoeuvre had so far succeeded that 
he sent Meade the following instructions: "From this time 
forward keep your command in condition to be moved on the 
very shortest possible notice, in case the enemy should evacu- 
ate, or partially evacuate Petersburg, taking with you the 
maximum of supplies your trains are capable of carrying." 15 

103, W.R., p. 708. 

12 96, W.R., pp. 495, 553, 605, 606. 

9, ^.K.,p. 365- 
** 96, !TJR., p. So6. 
15 96, W&., p. 962. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 341 

He did so because he had heard that everything possible was 
being moved from Richmond to Lynchburg, and that Rich- 
mond would have been evacuated had not Sheridan's destruc- 
tion of the railway delayed this move. 

The grand manoeuvre was now about to give way to the 
grand attack. On March 23, Sherman and Schofield joined 
hands at Goldsboro, and on the 24th Sheridan set out from 
White House to rejoin the Army of the Potomac. That day 
Grant issued his orders 16 to Meade and Sheridan for a move- 
ment against Lee's right. 


If Grant's difficulties were many, Lee's were legion. He 
knew that the Confederacy was sinking, and that nothing short 
of a miracle could save it. All he could hope for was to wait 
until the situation had grown so critical, that the public mind 
would be dumbfounded, and under cover of this coma, to slip 
away, move south and deal Sherman a staggering blow. Such 
an attack he thought might revive the moral of the South, 
and, reinforced by this sudden elation, he might be able to 
carry the war eastwards, not to win it but to gain a surrender 
on terms. On January 19, by an act of Congress, he was ap- 
pointed commander-in-chief of all the Confederate forces, 
whereupon he recalled Joseph Johnston from unemployment, 
placing him in command of all the troops which could be con- 
centrated against Sherman. Some writers think that he now 
lost his nerve, but though a man advanced in years and faced 
by a situation which would have paralyzed many a younger 
general, it seems to me that seldom before was he more alert, 
active and resolute. 

The people had lost heart in the war, discontent was rife, 
many of the newspapers were openly hostile. A Raleigh edi- 
tor voiced this feeling when he wrote: "Peace and equality 
might be had now by conciliation and compromise; but if we 
go on and lose, we lose all and become the slaves of the con- 
querors, . . . This is the people's war, and we are satisfied 

16 95 WR. t pp. 50, 51; for Meade's order issued on the 27th, see 97, 
pp, 198, 199, 

342 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

from our intercourse with them that an immense majority are 
for stopping it." 17 Conscription had become odious, deser- 
tions were increasing daily "This morning forty-five came in 
a single squad, from a single regiment a South Carolina 
regiment at that." 1S North Carolina regiments were equally 
affected, 19 which points to the demoralizing influence of Sher- 
man's advance. Soon it became apparent to Lee that the 
army could only be kept together by military executions; 20 
thus the cement of moral had to be replaced by tamping down 
fear, and when discipline is maintained only by terror an army 
may at any moment expect an explosion. A hundred thousand 
deserters were now scattered over the Confederacy, and so 
common had this crime become, that in popular estimation 
its stigma disappeared. Nor was this all: "The States of 
North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia . . . passed laws 
to withdraw from service men liable to it under existing laws," 
and these laws had the support of local authorities. 21 Thus, 
writes General Preston, head of the Confederate Bureau of 
Conscription. On March 16, a call for negro recruits was 
published in the Richmond papers, 22 and eight days later Lee 
wrote to Davis saying: "The services of these men are now 
necessary to enable us to oppose the enemy." 23 

What remained of the railways of the South was rapidly 
falling to pieces, and means of repairing them did not exist. 
The commissariat was in a state of chaos, and the army was 
standing on the brink of starvation. 24 The whole situation 
pointed to one possible solution only, namely, the move south; 
not solely to halt Sherman, but in order to live, for in North 
Carolina supplies were still plentiful. On February 19, Lee 
wrote to the Secretary of War as follows : "I fear It may be 
necessary to abandon all our cities, and preparation should be 

" History of the United States, Rhodes, V, p. 75. 

is 99, w& t> p. 558. 

" MJUSM., XIV, p. 223. 

20 96, W.R., p. 1258. 

21 108, W.R., p. 1065. 

22 Jones, II, pp. 444, 450. 

23 97, W&. 9 p. 1339- 

24 96, W.R., pp. 1034, 1035, i2ir, 1216-1218, 1220, 1223-1225, 1240 and 1285. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 343 

made for this contingency." 25 Then he proposed * 6 that 
should he have to abandon his present position he would 
march to Burksville; and on the 22nd he wrote 27 to Johnston, 
"until I abandon James River nothing can be sent from this 
army. Grant, I think, is now preparing to draw out by the 
left with the intent of enveloping me. . . ." Three days 
later he issued orders to begin removing stores from Rich- 
mond to Lynchburg. 28 

The question now arises, why did not Lee abandon Rich- 
mond early in March and unite with Johnston? Some South- 
ern writers say that President Davis refused to leave the city. 29 
This is contradicted by Davis himself, who writes so that Lee 
had informed him that his horses were not in condition for 
such a move, and Fitzhugh Lee says much the same thing. 31 
This probably was a reason, but I am of opinion that it was 
not the whole reason. In spite of the roads, Lee could have 
moved earlier than he did, and it appears to me that why he 
did not move was that he saw the war was already lost; that 
his personal pride was against such a move; and, more im- 
portant still, that he could not trust his army away from im- 
mediate danger. As long as his men faced their enemy they 
would fight; but it seems to me what he feared was: should 
they break their clinch, would not they break away altogether? 
On March 23, he heard from Johnston 82 that Sherman had 
joined hands with Schofield, and in reply he sent back a cheer- 
ful answer. 83 In a way it almost seems that he was relieved 
by this event; for now that the chance of falling upon Sher- 
man before Schofield could reinforce him had vanished, he 
could pause yet a little longer. Then of a sudden he decided 
to assume the offensive, 34 the first since Spottsylvania. 
25 9 8, w .R., p. 1044. 

26 96, W.R., p. 1244. 

2T 9 6, W.R., p. 1247. 

28 96, W.R., p. 1257- 

29 Four Years with General Lee, Taylor, p. 146; and Reminiscences of the 
Civil War, Gordon, p. 393. 

30 Davis, II, p. 648. 
^Fitzhugh Lee, p. 371. 

32 99 , W.R., pp. 1453, 1454; too, W.R., p. 682. 

33 99, W.R., p. 1454. 

344 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

On March 24 he ordered Fort Stedman to be assaulted 
early the next day, for from one of his many spies he had 
learnt of Grant's projected advance. Grant, as we shall see, 
had planned to hold his entrenchments lightly, and under cover 
of this screen to move 80,000 men round Lee's right flank. 
Colonel Livermore is of opinion 35 that as Lee recognized he 
could not hold his entrenchments, and simultaneously meet 
such a force, his object was to throw Grant's right back in 
confusion, and under cover of this attack withdraw and rein- 
force his own right. Personally, I doubt this explanation, and 
consider that General Gordon is more correct when he says, 
that Lee told him "there seemed but one thing that we could 
do fight. To stand still was death. It could only be death 
if we fought and failed." President Davis bears out this state- 
ment in part, for he informs us that Lee's idea was to strike 
at City Point to compel Grant to weaken his left In order to 
reinforce his right. 36 Finally, General Walker, who com- 
manded the assault on Fort Stedman, states that the object of 
this attack was to penetrate the Federal army, pass a force 
of cavalry through to City Point and capture Grant himself. 37 
If such were really Lee's idea, then his attack on the brain 
of his enemy's army (a counter-thrust to disorganize the Fed- 
eral army) is one of the most remarkable tactical conceptions 
of this war. The attack, however, failed, Lee losing 4,000 
men to Grant's 2,o8o. 38 The initiative was now Grant's ab- 


Grant's determination to move was, so I think, based on 
the fact that Sherman would not be able to advance to the 
Roanoke river until April 10, and that, as Lee's army was 
rapidly crumbling, a chance was offered to him to end the war 
without Sherman's immediate assistance. The suggestion that 
it was made for political reasons 89 is, I consider, secondary, be- 

* 5 M.H.S.M. f VI, p. 478. 

36 Davis, II, p. 649. 

**S.H.S. f XXXl, p. 29. 

88 95, W.R., p. 156, and Humphreys, p. 321. 

*Badeau, III, p. 441, and B. & L., IV, p. 718, 

Grant as General-in-Chief 345 

cause to wait for Sherman might mean that Lee, in place of 
uniting with Johnston, would retire into the mountains, and a 
prolonged guerrilla war might result. Grant determined, there- 
fore, to advance, and as usual his plan was a flexible one, 
based on the idea of turning Lee's right, not only to interpose 
his forces between him and Johnston, but to cut him off from 
the still fertile districts of the South. 

First, he considered advancing his left in order to attenu- 
ate Lee's already over-extended front, moving Sheridan and 
his cavalry against the Danville railroad; and if then it were 
found impossible to break Lee's centre, secondly, he planned 
"to swing the Army of the Potomac entirely to the left, cut- 
ting loose from his base, and leaving only sufficient troops at 
City Point and in front of Petersburg to take care of them- 
selves." 40 Finally, on March 24, he issued his orders, 41 modi- 
fying this plan as follows : 

The whole of the Army of the Potomac, except the Ninth 
Corps (Parke), 42 and for the time being the Sixth Corps 
(Wright), and three divisions of the Army of the James 
(Ord) were to constitute the turning force; whilst the Ninth 
and Sixth Corps were to hold the trenches in front of Peters- 
burg, and the Twenty-fifth Corps (Weitzel) those north of 
the James and at Bermuda Hundred. The turning force 
would then comprise 66,000 men, and the holding force 
34,000. Sheridan with 14,000 cavalry 43 was to advance 
ahead of the Army of the Potomac under special instructions. 

On the night of the 2yth Ord was to proceed to the left of 
the Army of the Potomac and relieve the Second Corps now 
under Humphreys. On the morning of the 29th, the Fifth 
Corps (Warren) and the Second Corps were to move off in a 
southwesterly direction crossing Hatcher's Run, and Sheridan 
was to pass through Dinwiddie and then turn north and west 
against the Danville railway. The Sixth Corps was to re- 
main in the trenches between the Twenty-fifth and the Ninth 

u, III, p. 134. 
*i 95, WR., pp. 50-52. 

42 Burnside was replaced by Parke after the Petersburg Mine fiasco, 

43 For calculations as to numerical strengths, see Livermore's table 
VI, 502-506). For Grant's order of battle, see Appendix VL 

346 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Corps and await the turn of events. The Ninth and Sixth 
Corps were to be massed ready to break the enemy's front 
should Lee strip it. "A success north of the James," says 
Grant, "should be followed up with great promptness" but 
only if "the enemy has detached largely." Foreseeing that 
Lee would most certainly be compelled to weaken his front in 
order to strengthen his right, Grant says : "It cannot be im- 
pressed too strongly upon commanders left in the trenches, 
not to allow this to occur without taking advantage of it ... 
in case of an attack from the enemy (Lee's normal action be- 
fore withdrawing), those not attacked are not to wait for 
orders . . . they will move promptly, and notify the com- 
mander of their action. ... In like manner I would urge 
the importance of following up a repulse of the enemy." 

On the 28th Sheridan's instructions 44 were, after passing 
through Dinwiddie, to "cut loose and push for the Danville 
road," then he was to destroy the South Side railroad be- 
tween Petersburg and Burksville, after which he was to re- 
turn or join Sherman. On the night of the 29th, Grant modi- 
fied this order, saying: "I now feel like ending the matter. 
... I do not want you, therefore, to cut loose at once and 
go after the enemy's roads at present. In the morning push 
around the enemy if you can and get onto his right rear." * 5 

On the night of the 29th, Grant's army south of the James 
was distributed in the following order: from left to right 
Warren, Humphreys, Ord, Wright and Parke; the head of 
the column, Warren's left, being at Mrs. Butler's at the in- 
tersection of the Boydton and Quaker roads. Meanwhile, 
Lee } learning of Grant's advance, immediately reduced his 
forces east of Hatcher's Run and reinforced those west of 
this stream in order to attack Grant's advancing columns. By 
this means, on the 3ist, he was able to oppose 23,000 to 
Grant's 48,000 west of the Run, holding to the east of it 
only 11,000 to face Grant's 54,ooo. 46 Hearing that a concen- 

* 4 97, W.R. f p. 234. According to Grant (II, p. 437), Sheridan was disap- 
pointed with these instructions, consequently Grant said to him: "General, this 
portion of your instructions I have put in merely as a blind. . . ,' I told him 
that ... I intended to close the war right here, with this movement, and that 
he should go no farther." 

* 5 97, W.R., p. 266. 

46 For strengths, see Livermore (M.H.S.M., VI, p. 485). 

Grant as General-in-Chief 347 

tration towards Lee's right was in progress, Grant, on the 
3Oth, at once planned to take advantage of it, and withdraw- 
ing Ord from the turning force, he prepared to deliver a gen- 
eral assault 47 east of Hatcher's Run directly the weather be- 
came favourable, for during the night of the 29th/3Oth the 
rain had rendered the ground impassable for wheeled traffic. 48 

On the night of the 29th, Grant, seeing that should he be 
able to occupy Five Forks Lee could no longer remain in 
Petersburg, ordered 49 Sheridan to seize this road centre early 
the next morning; but when Sheridan moved out he found it 
already occupied in force; whereupon Grant determined to 
send Warren's corps to Sheridan's assistance, and also to 
penetrate the weakened lines in front of his right front. 

Lee, recognizing the danger he was exposing himself to by 
stripping his front, heavily attacked Warren on the morning 
of the 3 ist, driving him back from White Oak road, which 
was, however, reoccupied by the Fifth Corps that evening. 

This same morning Picket!;, who had arrived at Five Forks 
on the 3Oth, advanced against Sheridan who was forced back 
on Dinwiddie. "Here, 55 Grant says, "Sheridan displayed 
great generalship." 50 He dismounted his cavalry and com- 
pelled his enemy to deploy in a wooded and broken country, 
and though for a time he was able to hold back Pickett's in- 
fantry, at length he reported his position as critical. Lee's 
audacity had once again told, but his front was now a mere 
skeleton, and as Pickett was separated from his left wing, he 
also was critically situated. 

In place of being discouraged, Grant, was elated. At last, 
after many weary months of trench fighting, he had drawn a 
large enemy force out of its works. At 8.45 P.M. he in- 
structed 51 Meade to order Warren to draw back to the Boyd- 
ton road and to send an infantry division to Sheridan's sup- 
* 7 97, w.R. t pp. 267, 268, 286, 289, 305. 

48 "The roads had become sheets of water ; and it looked as if the saving of 
that army (Sheridan's) would require the services, not of a Grant, but of a 
Noah. Soldiers would call out to officers as they rode along: *I say, when are 
the gun-boats coming up.* " (B. & ., IV, p. 709.) 

97, W&; PP. 266, 323. 

o 95, WJSL. t p. 54- 

97, J37JR., p. 340. 

348 The Generalship of 'Ulysses S. .Grant 

Warren had already a brigade on the Crump road, and by 
moving by this road, his division would be brought directly 
on to the rear of Picket fs force fronting Dinwiddie. At 9.45 
P.M. Meade asked 52 Grant for authority to send the whole of 
Warren's corps by this road to attack Pickett in rear; to which 
Grant at once answered: 53 "Let Warren move in the way 
you propose, and urge him not to stop for anything." At 
10.15 P.M. Meade ordered 5 " 1 Warren to make this advance: 
to "strike the enemy in rear," and to be "very prompt in this 


Warren, a brave and able soldier, was over given to de- 
tailed preparations; further the roads were bad, the country 
was unfamiliar to him, the night was dark, and his men were 
tired. He was expected to gain touch with Sheridan at mid- 
night, but some of his units did not leave their position until 
5 A.M. on April i, and others were hours late. 55 

At 3 A.M. on the ist, supposing Warren to be in position, 
Sheridan sent him the following order: "Attack at daylight 
anyway, and I will make an effort to get the road this side of 
Adam's house; and if I do, you can capture the whole of 
them." 56 Warren did not, however, appear, but knowing 
that he could not be far off, Sheridan moved out against 
Pickett, who learning of Warren's advance crossed Chamber- 
lain's bed, and thus escaped the impending rear attack. 

Whether Warren was really to blame for this lost oppor- 
tunity is doubtful, for the situation which confronted him on 
the night of March 31 was an exceptionally difficult one. 
Sheridan considered, however, that he was to blame; never- 
theless, not waiting to discover the reasons of the delay, he 
determined to drive Pickett into his works at Five Forks, en- 
gage his right with his cavalry and roll up his left with the 
Fifth Corps. 

Warren reported to Sheridan at n A.M. and was ordered 
to advance towards Five Forks, then to move off the road to- 

' 97, W&., p. 341- 

97, /^..R., p. 342- 

i 97, /^JR., P. 367. 

5 95, /F.R., pp. 838, 869. 

J 97, /T.R., p. 420. 

350 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

wards Gravelly Run Church and take up position obliquely to 
Pickett's left flank on the White Oak road. He was In- 
structed to place two divisions in front and hold one in re- 
serve, so that as soon as he struck the enemy's left he could 
wheel the reserve division to his right and carry out a com- 
plete envelopment. Directly Warren was engaged, the cav- 
alry were to assault the enemy's front. 57 

Warren, in place of advancing at the best speed his tired 
troops were capable of, approached with great deliberation 
taking three hours to move two miles. 58 At about 4 P.M. the 
Fifth Corps advanced, Ayres's division on the right, Craw- 
ford's on the left, and Griffin's in reserve. Ayres's met with 
a repulse, his right flank being uncovered by Crawford fail- 
ing to wheel to his left. Warren could not be found in the 
densely wooded country; but Sheridan, who was on Ayres's 
right flank, seeing his men falling back, at once placed him- 
self at their head, and led them forward breaking through 
Pickett's left, and carrying his works at the bayonet point. 
Shortly after this gallant charge he relieved Warren, order- 
ing him to hand over the command of the Fifth Corps to 
Griffin. 59 

Sheridan's success was complete, for not only was Plckett 
routed with a loss of 4,500 prisoners, 60 but the South Side 
railroad was now at Grant's mercy, consequently the fate of 
Petersburg was sealed. 


On the night of the battle of Five Forks Grant was at 
Dabney's saw-mill; the rain had ceased falling, and he was 

67 When they did, Horace Porter says: "The natty cavalrymen with tight fit- 
ting uniforms, short jackets, and small carbines, swarmed through the pine 
thickets and dense undergrowth, looking as if they had been especially equipped 
for crawling through knot-holes. Those who had magazine guns created a 
racket in those pine woods that sounded as if a couple of army corps had opened 
fire." (B. & L., IV, p. 714.) 

5 *95, Jf.R. } pp. 825-827, 838-840. 

59 Sheridan, in his Memoirs (II, p. 161) is very unfair to Warren. For the 
Court of Enquiry on Warren, see B. & L. f IV, pp. 723, 724; and Humphrey's, 
PP- 357-36i. For praise of Warren, see Swinton, pp. 598-600. 

GO Humphreys, pp. 353, 354. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 5 1 

seated outside his tent wrapped in the blue overcoat of a pri- 
vate soldier, when the silence was broken by a cheer. An 
aide-de-camp galloped up with the first news of Sheridan's 
victory; soon he was followed by another, Colonel Horace 
Porter, who leaping off his horse, in his excitement clapped 
the general-in-chief on the back. Grant was unperturbed; 
already during the afternoon he had issued a warning order 
to Humphreys, Wright and Parke to assault at 4 A.M. the 
next day. Having heard what Porter had to say, he went 
into his tent, and by the light of a candle wrote the following 
despatch to Meade : u Generals Wright and Parke should both 
be directed to feel for a chance to get through to the enemy's 
line at once, and if they can get through should push on to- 
night. All our batteries might be opened at once, without 
waiting for preparing assaulting columns. Let the corps com- 
manders know the result on the left, and that it is still being 
pushed." 61 He then came out of his tent, and said to those 
standing by the camp fire : "It is a windy night, I have ordered 
an immediate assault along the lines." 62 

Grant's one idea now was to engage the enemy along the 
whole entrenched front, so as to prevent a concentration 
against Sheridan. Having sent the above despatch to Meade, 
he instructed 8S Ord to "f eel the enemy and push him if he 
shows signs of giving way," and Weitzel he ordered 64 to "be 
ready also to push any wavering that may be shown in your 
front." A little later on he ordered 65 Meade not to assault 
without a bombardment, and to Ord he wrote: ee "If it is im- 
practicable for you to get through in your front, I do not 
want you to try it. ... I want you to see, though, if the 
enemy is leaving, and if so follow him up." He sent out these 
instructions because he realized that Lee must fall back, and 
that the time to attack him was as he retreated. The assault 
was fixed for 4 A.M. 67 on the 2nd, and Sheridan was instructed 

97, W.R.., p. 397. 
Badeau, III, p. 502. 
97j W.R. f p. 431. 

*3 97j W.R. f p. 431. 

"97, PT.R.,1?. 438. 

as 97, W.R., p. 399- 

66 97j W.R., p. 431. 

352 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

to advance on the South Side railway moving towards Lee's 
right flank, Miles's division being sent down the White Oak 
road to protect his right. At midnight an Intense bombard- 
ment was opened. 

Lee, in spite of his defeat at Five Forks, seems to have be- 
lieved that Grant would not assault the Petersburg front. He 
could have retired on the night of the ist/2nd to Amelia 
Court House, but in place he ordered Field's division, about 
4,000 strong from the Richmond front to Petersburg, 68 and 
awaited Grant's next move. It came swiftly, for at 4 A.M. 
the men of the Armies of the Potomac and James swept 
through the Confederate works west of Petersburg, 69 and 
penetrating to the Appomattox cut Lee's army in two. 

Lee now recognized that Richmond was untenable, so he 
notified 70 the Confederate Secretary of War that he intended 
to withdraw north of the Appomattox, concentrating his di- 
vided forces on the Danville railway; simultaneously he ad- 
vised that Richmond should be evacuated that night. 

All west of Lee's centre was now being driven by Sheridan 
beyond the Appomattox, and all east of it was forced into 
Petersburg by Grant wheeling his left flank inwards. The 
question then arose: should the Inner works be assaulted? 
Meade and others strongly urged that they should be carried 
by the bayonet, but Grant wished to avoid unnecessary slaugh- 
ter, consequently no assault was ordered for that evening; in 
place, at 7.40 P.M., he wrote 71 Meade: "I believe it will pay 
to commence a furious bombardment at 5 A.M. to be followed 
by an assault at 6, only if there Is good reason for believing 
the enemy is leaving." 

At 4 A.M. on the 3rd, Parke succeeded in penetrating the 
enemy's works, and an hour and ten minutes later Meade 
reported 72 to Grant that Petersburg was in his hands. 

Meanwhile, In Richmond all was in confusion. Jefferson 
Davis had fled; the people had not been warned of the dis- 

6897, W.R., p. 1373. 

69 95, W.R., pp. 603, 1017. 

70 97> W.R., p. 1378; see also 97, W.R., pp. 1370, 1379. 

7 * 97, W.R-, p. 5". 

Grant as General-in-Chief 

aster; no steps to police the city were attempted, so the mob 
ruled that night. Casks of liquor were rolled into the streets 
and their heads knocked in. White and black, men, women 
and children fought around them; then they pillaged the com- 
missariat stores, the shops and the houses. The jails were 
broken open and the city was set on fire, smoke and flame 
struggling to bbscure and to reveal the drunken orgy. An 
orgy of riot and lust, a pandemonium now and again shaken 
into the terror of panic as the shock of the explosion of a 
ram or a gunboat on the James, fired by the flying govern- 
ment, brought the flaming houses crashing into the streets, 
and threw high into the blackness of the night, amidst sparks, 
dust and smoke the doom of the Confederacy. 

An hour after dawn, whilst the rioters were still trampling 
each other in their search for plunder, a cry arose in the 
streets of "Yankees! Yankees !" It was the advanced guard 
of General Weitzel's corps, and a few minutes later the Stars 
and Stripes once again floated over Richmond. 

Thus Richmond fell: and symbolic of the strange oneness 
of peace and war, of the conflict of man with nature and of 
man with man, as Colonel George A. Bruce approached the 
burning city "on the verge of this maelstrom of smoke and 
fire" he saw "a farmer ploughing in a field while cinders from 
the burning capital were falling at his feet." 73 


Directly Grant heard from Meade that Petersburg had 
fallen, he ordered 74 him to leave one division to hold the 
city, and with the rest of his army to take the river road and 
advance to the Appomattox. Correctly surmising that Lee 
would have to follow the Danville railway in order to gain 
the Roanoke and to supply himself, Grant at once decided 
not to follow him and become involved with his rear guards, 

73 M.H.SM., XIV, p. 130. This reminds me of an incident during the World 
War. A French peasant woman came to me one day in a great state of excite- 
ment and said a soldier had stolen her pickaxe. I attempted to pacify her by 
informing her that her countrymen had just gained a great victory. To which 
she replied: "Ca m'est egal mais oft est ma pioche?" 

M 97, /PA, p. 512. 

354 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

but instead to get ahead of him and so intercept his line of 
retreat. 75 Sheridan, anticipating the fall of Petersburg, had 
not waited for orders, and was already in hot pursuit of Lee's 
right wing which was marching northwards for Bevil's Bridge. 
The advanced guard of Lee's left wing reached Amelia Court 
House on the 4th, and what remained of the Army of North- 
ern Virginia was reunited there the next day. 76 

On the 3rd, before leaving Petersburg, Grant had written 
to Sheridan saying: "The first object of present movement will 
be to intercept Lee's army and the second to secure Burks- 
ville," 7T consequently Sheridan continued his movement west- 
wards, and on the evening of the 4th, occupied Jetersville Sta- 
tion, there learning that Lee was at Amelia Court House. 
Thereupon he ordered the Fifth Corps to entrench across the 
railway, and urged Meade to push up the Second Corps and 
attack. 78 Meade decided, however, not to do so until the ar- 
rival of the Sixth Corps, and by the time it came up night was 
beginning to close in. 79 Irritated by Meade's lack of audacity, 
the impetuous Sheridan wrote to Grant: "I wish you were 
here yourself. I feel confident of capturing the Army of 
Northern Virginia if we exert ourselves. I see no escape for 
Lee." 80 On receiving this call, Grant, who was at Nottoway 
Court House, at once set out for Jetersville, sixteen miles 
away. A scout "rode at the head of the little column [four 
or five staff officers and fourteen men]," writes Badeau, "with 
one of the aides-de-camp by his side, who silently cocked a 
pistol, and all through that march was ready to fire at the 
slightest symptom of treachery. They peered into the woods 
on either hand lest the forest should conceal a foe, and some- 
times caught sight of rebel camp fires twinkling in the dis- 
tance. But the scout was loyal, and at ten o'clock, after a 
four hours' ride, the party came upon Sheridan's outposts." 8I 

Lee's road was blocked; his retreat on Danville had been 

75 Grant, II, p. 456. 

76 95, W.R., pp. 1283, 1285, 1289, 1301. 

77 97, JFJfc., p. 528. 

78 97 , /FjR., pp . 557 , 55 8. 

79 97, W&., p. 576- 
so 97, WX-, P. 582. 

81 Badeau, III, p. 562; 97, W.R., p. 577 and Grant, II, p. 469. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 355 

intercepted. He himself says that his delay at Amelia Court 
House "was fatal and could not be retrieved"; he attributes 
it to the cutting of the Danville railway which "rendered it 
impracticable to procure from Danville the supplies ordered 
to meet us at points of our march" ; S2 but the true reason was 
that he had started his retirement too late. The road to the 
Roanoke being cut, he decided to march upon Farmville to 
which place supplies had been ordered by rail. 

On the afternoon of the 5th, Longstreet's corps set out for 
Farmville, but unaware of this move, Meade at 7 P.M., or- 
dered 83 the three corps at Jetersville, namely, the Second, 
Fifth and Sixth, to advance on Amelia Court House at 6 A.M. 
on the 6th and attack the enemy. Grant was, however, of 
opinion 84 that Lee would retire during the night; he explained 
to Meade that he did not want to follow the enemy but to get 
ahead of him, 85 to intercept his line of retreat and not to push 
him along it. According to Sheridan, Meade was instructed 
to modify his orders ; but this was not done, and it was not 
until 9.30 A.M. the following morning, when a Confederate 
column was seen moving west, that he changed his direction 
and moved on Deatonsville. 86 This movement brought Sheri- 
dan and the Sixth Corps parallel to and abreast of the enemy's 
left; the Fifth Corps on his right, and the Second Corps in 
his rear, which corps before nightfall captured many wagons, 
six guns and 1,700 prisoners. 

Meanwhile, Ord's corps was pressing on to Rice's Station; 
and hearing of its approach, Lee urged on Longstreet to that 
place, 87 with the result that he became separated from the 
troops following him, and Sheridan and the Sixth Corps in- 
terposing between him and these troops, overwhelmed the lat- 
ter and captured 6,000 men. 88 Longstreet, pushing on, anni- 

82 95 WJL. 9 p. 1265. The story that a supply train had been sent on to Rich- 
mond past Amelia Court House without unloading is a myth. See MH t S.M., 

VI, pp. 493, 494- 
ss 97 , /pjR., pp. 577> S7 8. 

a* 97, JT.JR., p. 577- 

85 Grant, II, p. 469; Sheridan, II, pp. 177-178. 

* 6 95, JF.., pp. 681, 682. 

^ Long street j p. 6n. 

88 Humphreys, pp. 383, 384. 

356 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

hilated a small force sent forward by Ord to destroy the 
bridge at Farmville. Thus ended the operations on the 6th. 

Grant, thinking that Lee would attempt to reach Danville 
by Prince Edward Court House, ordered the Fifth Corps and 
three divisions of cavalry to march to that place on the yth, 
Ord's corps proceeding to Farmville. 89 Lee was, however, 
unable to gain time for such a move, for at Farmville he had 
to halt to ration his men from a supply train. In place he 
decided to cross to the left bank of the Appomattox at Farm- 
ville and High Bridge, gaining Danville by the road leading 
through Appomattox Court House. 

On the yth, the Second Corps crossing High Bridge before 
the Confederate rear guard could destroy it, came up with 
Lee's main body at Cumberland Church, and so hotly engaged 
it that he was compelled to form line and halt there for the 
rest of the day. 90 At nightfall, Lee disengaged his weary 
troops and marching thirty-five miles westwards to Appomat- 
tox Court House, the battle-worn Army of Northern Virginia 
reached its last bivouac on the evening of the 8th. 91 Whilst 
this retirement was taking place, Grant ordered 92 the Second 
and Sixth Corps to move north of the Appomattox and press 
the enemy's rear, whilst south of the river, Sheridan, followed 
by the Fifth and Ord's corps, was directed on Appomattox 
Station, information having been received that Lee intended 
to resupply his army at that place. 

On the evening of the 8th, Sheridan reached Appomattox 
Station, from where he pushed Lee's advanced troops back 
towards the Court House. On the morning of the 9th, Lee 
advanced to attack him, when Sheridan's cavalry "parting to 
the right and left," disclosed the Fifth and Ord's corps in 
line behind them. Simultaneously the Second and Sixth Corps 
arrived in rear of Lee's men. The white flag was then 
r'aised. 98 

On the yth, Grant realized that the Confederate cause was 
lost; consequently, to prevent further bloodshed he wrote to 

9 95, WJR.., pp. 841, 906, 1109; 97, W&.> pp. 620, 634, 635. 

90 Long 'street, p. 167. 

M 95, W.R., p. 1266. 

97, W&., PP. 621, 633. 

93 95, W.R. t pp. 1109, mo. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 357 

Lee asking him to surrender "that portion of the C. S. Army 
known as the Army of Northern Virginia." 94 Lee also knew 
that the end had come; his army was rapidly disintegrating, 
in fact he no longer had any idea of the number of men he 
commanded, and in answer he asked what terms of surrender 
would be offered? 95 On the 8th, Grant replied that the only 
condition was, "that the men and officers surrendered shall be 
disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government 
of the United States until properly exchanged." 96 Lee an- 
swered that he did not think that the emergency had arisen 
to call for the surrender of his army, but as his sole object 
was the restoration of peace he was willing to meet Grant. 9T 
To which Grant rightly replied, on the morning of the gth, 
that he had no authority to treat on the subject of peace, and 
that "the terms upon which peace can be had are well under- 
stood." 9S Lee then asked for an interview." 

The meeting took place at McLean's house,' 100 in "a naked 
little parlor, containing a table and two or three chairs." 
After a brief general conversation Lee said: 

"I asked to see you, General Grant, to ascertain upon what 
terms you would receive the surrender of my army?" 

Grant explained that the officers and men must become pris- 
oners of war, all munitions, weapons and supplies being sur- 
rendered. Then he said: "Do I understand, General Lee, 
that you accept these terms?" 

"Yes," replied Lee, "and if you will put them into writing, 
I will sign them." 

Grant then wrote out the terms, 101 and whilst he did so he 
glanced at Lee, and noticing the sunlight glinting on his sword, 
he added a paragraph that the officers should be allowed to 
retain their swords, horses and personal property. He then 
handed the paper to Lee. 

Lee put on his spectacles, and after reading the draft was 

a* 97, W.R., p. 619. 

95 97, W.R., p. 619. 

97, WJR.., p. 641. 

** 97, W.R., p. 641. 

98 97, W.R., p. 664. 

99 97, W.R., p. 664. 

100 The following facts are mainly taken from Badeau* III, pp. 602-612. 

101 97 , W&. t p. 665. 

358 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

much touched by this unexpected indulgence, which he said 
would have a very good effect upon his army. He then asked 
whether the horses of the cavalry and artillery, which were 
the property of the soldiers, might not also be exempted* 

Grant answered that he could not alter the terms of sur- 
render, but that he would instruct his officers who received the 
paroles "to allow the cavalry and artillery men to retain their 
horses and take them home to work their little farms." 

Lee then wrote out his letter of surrender, 102 after which 
he made one further request; he asked that his starving men 
might be fed. Grant enquired of him the number of rations 
he wanted, but Lee did not know, so 25,000 rations were de- 
cided upon. 103 

Lee then left the house, and said to his soldiers as they 
crowded round him: "Men, we have fought through the war 
together. I have done the best I could for you." 

Grant rode over to his lines, and, hearing the firing of sa- 
lutes, he at once ordered them to cease, saying: "The war is 
over, the rebels are our countrymen again, and the best sign 
of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all dem- 
onstrations in the field." 

The loth was a lovely day, the sky was blue and cloudless, 
and spring was in the air; Grant rode out to the Confederate 
picket line. There he met Lee, also Longstreet who had been 
at his wedding, Cadmus Wilcox who was his groomsman, 
Heth a subaltern with him in Mexico, and many others whom 
he had known and who had known him in days long before 
the war. They thanked him for being allowed to retain their 
swords, and one said to him: "General, we have come to con- 
gratulate you on having wound us up." To which Grant re- 
plied: "I hope it will be for the good of us all." 

102 97, W.R., p. 666. 

103 When Lee's army surrendered, there were in it only 7,892 "organised in- 
fantry with arms" (97, W.R., p. 1266). The numbers paroled were 22,349 in- 
fantry, 2,576 artillery, 1,559 cavalry and 1,446 miscellaneous troops. (M.H.S.M., 
VI, p. 501.), 



IN my opinion, few periods in military history have been so 
misunderstood as the one under review ; and consequently few 
generals-in-chief have suffered greater injustice than Grant. 
The reason for this misunderstanding is obvious, directly it 
is appreciated that the Civil War was the first of its kind; by 
which I do not mean that it was the first of all such wars, but 
the first of all modern wars; and though strategically it can 
be compared to wars which preceded it, tactically it can only 
be judged correctly by those which followed it. In fact, a 
writer who possessed no knowledge of the tactics of previous 
wars, and some knowledge of tactics since 1865, could not 
possibly have displayed so intense an ignorance of the nature 
of the tactics of this war as has been done by so many of the 
learned yet purblind historians who 'have obscured the very 
nature of the war through excess of strategical knowledge 
and paucity of tactical understanding. 

For instance, Ropes, and no man can doubt his knowledge 
or interest in the war, has but a faint idea of its tactical na- 
ture. To him there is no trace of Marlborough, Wellington 
or Napoleon in Grant's last campaign "its terribly bloody 
battles, its encounters of every day . . . the noble trees cut 
down by musket bullets . . . the thousands upon thousands 
of brave men slain and maimed, and, above all, the indecisive 
results, amaze, terrify, repel, dishearten us. n And again: 
'The experience of the Army of the Potomac in the campaign 
was in fact a new experience for soldiers. Sacrifices were 
demanded every day of the rank and file of the army which 
had hitherto been required only occasionally, and then only 
from those selected for some special post of honour or dan- 
ger." These things he cannot understand: "To lie in a new- 


360 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

dug rifle-pit a hundred yards from the enemy for several days 
under constant fire is much like the experience of the engineer 
troops in a siege. To rush from this rifle-pit upon the enemy's 
works is the act of a forlorn hope, whose gallant perform- 
ance is the admiration of a storming column, itself selected for 
a special and dangerous service. But it is not every day that 
the sap is pushed forward or the breach assaulted." 1 

Why cannot he understand them ; why does he talk of Marl- 
borough and Wellington, of new experiences, of rifle-pits, pro- 
longed battles, siege-works and indecisive results? Because 
he does not understand that the rifle bullet has completely 
revolutionized tactics. His knowledge enables him to place 
his finger on the pulse of war, yet he cannot count its heart 
throbs, nor can he diagnose its fever. He is blind to the 
reality of rifle warfare; yet, though he wrote the above ex- 
tracts in 1884, he was no blinder than the majority of generals 
of thirty years later, or many of to-day. The rifle bullet 
utterly changed tactics, and unless this is understood all knowl- 
edge is a blank, worse a danger. 

The 1864-1865 campaign in Virginia was the first of the 
modern campaigns; it initiated a tactical epoch, and did not 
even resemble the wars of ten years before Its date. It was 
not a campaign of bayonets but of bullets; bayonets were 
rarely crossed, and there were few bayonet wounds "except 
accidental ones" writes Surgeon-Major Albert G. Hart; then 
he says: "I think half a dozen would include all the wounds 
of this nature that I ever dressed." 2 It was a campaign of 
bullets. On the battlefields of the Wilderness and of Spott- 
sylvania the Confederate ordnance officers collected for re- 
casting more than 120,000 pounds of lead, 3 and even if this 
amount represents a twentieth part of the bullets fired, then, 
at two ounces apiece the number expended was 19,000,000. 
When did Marlborough, or Wellington, or Napoleon face 
such a hail of projectiles? 

It was the bullet which created the trench and the rifle-pit; 
which killed the bayonet; which rendered useless the sword; 

., IV, pp. 365, 405. 
*MJIJSM. 9 XIII, p. 263. 
s. f Z,.,IV, p. 244. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 361 

which chased away guns and horsemen; which, from May 5, 
1864, to April 9, 1865, held the contending forces in "con- 
stant close contact, with rare intervals of brief comparative 
repose," 4 and which prevented the rapid decisions of the bat- 
tles of preceding centuries. In 1861-1865 the rifle bullet was 
the lord of the battlefield as was the machine gun bullet in 

Yet in spite of this deadly instrument of war, and in spite 
of the fact that Grant never fully appreciated its powers, his 
achievements are remarkable. From his camps north of the 
Rapidan, in a little over a month, he fought his way through 
a hundred miles of most difficult country; he crossed three 
rivers In face of the enemy; he made nine flanking movements; 
he changed his base of supplies four times, fed his army, shel- 
tered it and transported his sick and wounded to the rear. 5 
He moved forward 4,000 wagons and an immense train of 
reserve artillery without the loss of a gun, a wagon or an ani- 
mal captured by the enemy, and he was never once surprised 
or compelled to halt for more than a few days at a time. 
How were these things possible? They were possible because 
Grant realized that weapon power is the secret of tactics. He 
was not afraid to use the rifle, and he was not afraid to meet 
the rifle. Had he only carried this supreme understanding of 
what fighting demands to its logical conclusion, namely, that 
high superiority in weapon-power is ninety-nine per cent, of 
victory, he would have more fully realized the value of ar- 
tillery, and have never ceased to call for more and more maga- 
zine rifles and carbines. What he did not understand, and 
what no general of his day understood, and few since have 
understood, was that the art of war had been revolutionized 
by the rifle, and to apply old tactics to new weapons was tan- 
tamount to applying a whip to a locomotive. 

4 Humphreys, p. 118. 

5 The daily percentage of sick in May was less than, and in June almost the 
same as, it was in camp in April (Medical & Surgical History of the Rebellion, 
Pt. I, p. 329). Typhoid fever and dysentery were the scourges of the war. 
According to Phisterer (p. 70), the total deaths in the Union forces were 304,- 
369, out of which 186,216 were accountable to disease, and 24,184. died of un- 
known causes. Roughly, two men died from sickness in hospital to each man 
killed or mortally wounded in battle. 

362 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 


In reviewing Grant's generalship during the last year of 
the war, it is all important to keep his object clearly in mind, 
and especially so because those who criticize his strategy and 
tactics frequently overlook it. It was to establish unity of 
strategical direction and to end the war in the shortest pos- 
sible time, because, as we have seen, the political condition of 
the North brooked no delay. Had Grant felt certain of Lin- 
coln's re-election, his problem would have been a less difficult 
one; but not knowing this, his aim in May, 1864, was to end 
the war before the presidential elections took place. Through- 
out this period, the spring and summer of 1864, politics dom- 
inated strategy as strongly as topography dominated tactics, 
and though Grant never failed to realize this, many of his crit- 
ics have, and by forgetting the political foundations of his 
campaign, they have suggested strategical edifices, which, in 
the circumstances, either could not have been built, or would 
have toppled over at the first shock. 

To bring the war rapidly to an end demanded concentra- 
tion of force against the decisive point, which does not mean 
concentrating against the front of the enemy's main army, but 
against its rear. To effect this concentration, the Army of 
Northern Virginia had to be held as in a vice, and we have 
seen how Grant held it, and this holding did not depend only 
on hitting, but also on an elaborate combination of manoeuvres 
carried out on the James and in the Shenandoah Valley, as 
well as a frequent shifting of the main base of supply under 
protection of the fleet. 

The primary strategical localities were Washington, Chat- 
tanooga and Fort Monroe; the secondary strategical locali- 
ties, Lynchburg, Atlanta, Mobile and Wilmington the 
economic outposts of Richmond and of Lee's army. Grant's 
grand strategy included all these points, and with the excep- 
tion of Wilmington, the value of which Grant never seems to 
have fully appreciated, the others he kept constantly in mind. 
Whilst no other of the Federal generals, such as Sherman, 
Sheridan and Butler, had at any time to consider more than 

Grant as General-in-Chief 363 

one or two of these centres, Grant had constantly to keep all 
in view, and as conditions fluctuated, to readjust his plan of 
operations without changing his strategical direction. This 
point is also commonly overlooked by those who criticize 
Grant, and especially by those who compare his campaign to 

If the point I have so often mentioned is kept in mind, 
namely, failing the annihilation of Lee's army early in the 
campaign, the whole of Grant's strategy depended upon his 
ability to hold this force, the various movements he carried 
out and ordered become clear. He opened his campaign by a 
manoeuvre round Lee's right flank, and he ended the war by a 
similar movement, a movement so ably and speedily carried 
out that the pursuit of his enemy to Appomattox Court House 
remains a model of its kind. As the summer advanced, his 
strategical problem became more and more intense. By hold- 
ing Lee f which meant hitting Lee, he was able to detach large 
forces to the Valley when Early threatened it. It may be said 
that this shows that his holding operation had failed, for 
Sheridan was only sent there because Lee had detached Early. 
Strategically this is correct, but tactically Early' s force was 
never strong enough to compel Grant to abandon his cam- 
paign; and had it not been for Lee's losses In the Wilderness 
and at Spottsylvania, this might not have been the case. Fur- 
ther, it must not be overlooked that throughout this campaign, 
Grant's subordinates missed opportunity after opportunity. 
Butler, Smith, Meade and Sheridan, each in turn failed to 
take advantage of circumstances which seldom occur in war, 
until at length Grant's strategy was almost overwhelmed by 
impatient popular opinion. In the late summer and autumn 
these failures compelled him to carry out a number of opera- 
tions, not only to maintain the direction of his strategy but to 
stimulate the moral of the North. His attempts to strike the 
Richmond railways may be compared to his Bayou campaign 
before he moved south of Vicksburg ; for they had a dual aim 
to hold Lee and to maintain political enthusiasm. Had he 
simply laid siege to Petersburg, he would have been accused 
of doing nothing. 

364 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Whilst these operations were in progress, Sherman's lever, 
supported on Grant's fulcrum, was steadily moving eastwards. 
"Sherman's repose at Savannah," so announced the Richmond 
Dispatch in January, 1865, u is the repose of a tiger," and 
only because Lee, the hunter, was penned up in Richmond, 
and could not get out and stalk his prey. As Swinton says: 
"The splendidly appointed legions which Sherman led out of 
Atlanta were able to journey unmolested to the sea. They 
marched whithersoever they listed; the few squads of gray 
beards and boys whom they met got briskly out of their way 
or were trampled under foot* It was indeed less a campaign 
than a tour of triumph." G Though somewhat of an exaggera- 
tion, this is a picturesque paraphrase of what took place, and 
what was only possible because of Lee's losses in May and 

Sherman was without question one of the great generals of 
the war, in spite of the fact that he never fought a great, let 
alone 'a decisive, battle. His superb march captivated popular 
imagination; but this is no reason why the student of war 
should be thrown off his balance. 

To compare Sherman's strategy with Grant's is really fatu- 
ous, and though I have already touched on this subject, for a 
moment I will return to it, as it will help to explain Grant's 
tactics which I intend to examine later on. 

Sherman never manoeuvred his enemy into a position where 
he was brought to bay, for the very good reason that Johnston 
never gave him an opportunity of fighting him until he reached 
Atlanta, and as Johnston was there relieved by the impetuous 
Hood, in his turn Sherman was relieved from a pitched battle 
at that place. It is true that both Sherman's and Grant's 
armies were in constant and close contact with their enemies, 
nevertheless, whilst Sherman forced Johnston back from Dai- 
ton to Atlanta, a distance of about a hundred miles in a little 
over two months, Grant pushed Lee back a similar distance, 
that is from the Rapidan to Petersburg, in forty days. He as- 
saulted field works on eight days and Sherman on seven, and 
whilst Sherman carried out eight outflanking movements Grant 

* Decisive Battles of the War, Swinton, p. 471. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 365 

undertook nine; the last of which, his move to the James, was 
the most brilliant manoeuvre of its kind during the war. Here 
the comparison ends, and is, in truth, utterly superficial; be- 
cause the ideas behind these two campaigns are utterly differ- 
ent. Grant's, I will again repeat, was either to annihilate or 
hold through hitting, whilst Sherman's was to advance through 
holding based on threatening to hit. Whilst Grant through 
losses paralyzed his opponent, and under cover of this paraly- 
sis outflanked him, Sherman, and to his credit, adopted a sys- 
tem of strategical entrenchments, works constructed to cover 
his outflanking movements. By entrenching his centre, he was 
able to secure these movements, in other words, he threatened 
his enemy's front in order to turn his flank. Though Grant, 
after his failure to take Petersburg, adopted similar tactics, it 
would have been suicidal for him to have done so before; be- 
cause Lee would simply have fallen back on Richmond, and 
had he refrained from attacking Grant on May 5, which was 
an act of doubtful wisdom, he would have reached Richmond 
with his army almost intact. Had he done so, he could then 
have detached a formidable force to strike at Washington or 
to reinforce Johnston. What most historians quite inexcusably 
overlook is, that throughout his campaign Grant had Wash- 
ington behind him whilst Sherman had Chattanooga. The 
one was a political centre and the seat of government, the 
other was a strategical centre and a base of supply. 


As a strategist Grant has been understood, but as a tactician 
he has been misunderstood, because critics will separate these 
two branches of the art of war, examining each as if it were 
enclosed in a water-tight compartment. It is possible to de- 
velop an offensive tactics from a defensive strategy, as Han- 
nibal did; equally is it possible to develop an offensive strategy 
from a defensive tactics, as was done by Quintus Fabius ; but 
normally a general who is called upon to conquer a foreign 
land, or a hostile people, is compelled by circumstances to act 
offensively in both these branches of his art. This is the point 

366 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

which so many critics of the Civil War have overlooked. It 
was not an ordinary war, a war in which victory depended on 
the vanquishing of the enemy's armed forces, but a war against 
a nation in which the will of the people had to be broken. 
The one highly trained army corps, suggested by Lord Wolse* 
ley, had it existed, and had it defeated the Confederate forces 
in 1861, and had it occupied Richmond, would have been no 
nearer winning the war than Beauregard was, or would have 
been, had he occupied Washington after the battle of Bull 
Run. What soldier critics, even more so than civilian, so fre- 
quently fail to understand is, that in most modern wars, and 
certainly so in such wars as the Civil War, there is a vast dif- 
ference between gaining a victory and winning a war, because 
a war in Its full sense can only be won when the defeated na- 
tion, or people, agree to accept the will of their conqueror, and 
not merely acknowledge that his army is more powerful than 
their own. This was the reason why wars originating from 
religious causes were so long and so terrible. 

In a former chapter I have shown that to the North the 
war could only be won by the destruction of a civilization 
which was antagonistic to its own, and that consequently no 
satisfactory conclusion could be arrived at through mere ad- 
justments between its civilization and that of the South. I 
pointed out that conquest was forced upon the North, there- 
fore, I am of opinion, that Grant was right in deciding that 
both his tactics and strategy must be offensive; for it was ob- 
vious to him that the longer the war lasted the less likely 
would the North hold out; for the North was fighting for a 
wounded principle, and the South for the life of its ideal. 

When examining his tactics, it is generally overlooked that 
to him the physical attack was but one of three forms of at- 
tack, the other two being the moral and economic (or mate- 
rial) attacks; attacks which were waged against the will and 
resources of the Confederacy, and not merely against the 
strength of her armies. The attacks of Sheridan in the Val- 
ley and of Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas were in na- 
ture moral and economic, whilst his own in Virginia was a 
physical onslaught so unrelenting and fierce that it shielded 

Grant as General-in-Chief 367 

these attacks from physical interference. To turn a fertile 
valley into a wilderness has little effect on the civil will, should 
the invader be driven away and the wilderness be occupied by 
a friendly army. This Grant understood, but what he did not 
realize was that as the Confederacy possessed few industries, 
and was consequently dependent on Europe for most of the 
luxuries and many of the necessities of life and of war, In 
place of destroying vast quantities of cotton the "gold" of 
the South it would have proved far more economical had he 
tightened up the blockade and left the cotton bales intact, to 
help towards paying for the war once peace was re-estab- 
lished. 7 

To turn to the physical attack the conquest of armed 
forces Grant's difficulties have already been examined, and 
all that Is necessary for me to repeat here Is, that his outstand- 
ing tactical difficulties were the power of the rifle and forest 
warfare. The Minie rifle had trebled the range of the old 
musket, and not only did this result in the zone of fire sep- 
arating the combatants being considerably increased, but, in 
consequence, by prolonging the time taken to assault, it en- 
abled the defender to utilize this time In throwing up breast- 
works, and so rendered defensive action stronger than the 
attack. Behind an earthwork the infantry soldier was su- 
preme, 8 and though at the beginning of the war trenches were 
seldom, dug, the instinct of self-preservation rather than the 
faculty of reason soon sought their alliance. Grant, so I am 
of opinion, never really understood the relationship between 
rifle and trench. At Shiloh he overlooked trenches altogether, 
at Missionary Ridge he treated them with caution, and In the 

7 On November 6, 1864, Sherman suggested (79, W.R., p. 660) to Grant a va- 
riety of possible moves forward from Atlanta, one being to the Appalachicola 
river, because near Albany and Fort Gaines he could destroy 400,000 bales of 
cotton. "This, at the price of the day, would have meant a loss to the country 
greater than the burning of Chicago." (M.H.S.M., VIII, p. 523.) The Chi- 
cago fire in 1871 destroyed $196,000,000 worth of property. 

8 This should have been as obvious as 2 X2 = 4, because the infantryman in a 
trench can fire steadily, can load rapidly, and only presents one-fifth of the 
target, frequently less, when compared to his counterpart in the open. Never- 
theless, in 1914, when the range of the rifle had been trebled, and the average 
rate of fire quintupled, attempt after attempt was made by German, French, 
3ritish and Russian generals to carry entrenched fronts by assault 

368 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Wilderness, and at Spottsylvania, because trees and under- 
growth partially reduced the depth of the zone of aimed fire, 
he rushed them with masses of men. It is curious that he 
never learnt the secret of this relationship, seeing that he had 
a wonderful grasp of the value of the rear attack. He saw 
the end, but he failed to see the means the tactics of the rear 
attack. He did not understand that given artillery, infantry 
and cavalry, a combination of these three arms was required. 
First, a strong skirmishing line to gain contact; secondly, a 
mass of artillery to bombard; thirdly, a powerful line of in- 
fantry to assault, should the enemy attempt to overwhelm the 
guns or to withdraw from their fire; and fourthly, a force of 
cavalry to manoeuvre round one of the enemy's flanks, and by 
attacking or threatening to attack his rear distract his front. 
What Grant did not understand was that a battle, like a cam- 
paign, is a combination of physical, moral and economic pres- 
sure : the artillery bombardment, the fear of infantry assault, 
and the cavalry manoeuvre against the communications suffi- 
ciently close to the rear of the hostile army so as to compel 
it, or part of it, to face about. Tn this respect he was on a 
footing with all other generals of his day, and what is still 
more extraordinary with most generals of to-day; further 
still, the enclosed country he was compelled to fight in was the 
very worst possible for artillery and cavalry action. Failing 
to realize the power of the Spencer carbine, and frequently 
not being able to haul his guns through the forests, he relied 
on infantry assaults, made not only with the idea of disrupt- 
ing the enemy's front, but of so disorganizing it, that under 
cover of its reorganization he could gain time to carry out a 
flank march. In the circumstances it is difficult to say that 
Grant was wrong, seeing that the attack was forced upon him. 
In open country those out-flanking manoeuvres would cer- 
tainly have been carried out by cavalry, but in thickly wooded 
country cavalry operations are normally excessively slow, not 
because the troopers cannot move rapidly, but because their 

9 "I never knew a well-directed assault by troops armed with Spencers to fail, 
nor have I ever seen any line that could stand before seven successive dis- 
charges of Spencer carbines," (Major-General James H. Wilson in 
XIII, p. Ss.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 369 

trains are confined to a few and usually Indifferent roads. The 
main trouble is of course the forage carts, which for only a 
moderate force of cavalry run into hundreds. Grant has been 
criticized for detaching Sheridan's cavalry before the battle of 
Spottsylvania and before his advance on Petersburg. In the 
first case, as I have already stated, I consider that he should 
have left a division or part of a division with Meade, but in 
the second case Meade had with him quite sufficient cavalry*to 
carry out all necessary reconnaissance. He has also been crit- 
icized for having at first ordered Sheridan to cut loose from 
the army on March 29, 1865 ; but apparently he did so because 
at the time he was afraid that unless Lee's communications 
were cut he might slip away altogether. Directly he found 
that Lee had not moved, whether on his own initiative or on 
Sheridan's recommendation, he cancelled this order. 

The true use of cavalry, for cavalry could still operate in 
this war, is well set forth by General Wilson who says : 

"To make a proper use of cavalry, you must get it into 
such a position that it can assail the flank or rear of an enemy, 
or operate upon his communications with effect. If I were 
called upon to command a force of 60,000 men, with au- 
thority to organize it as I pleased, I would have at least 
20,000 on horseback. By using the mounted force to assail 
the flank and rear of the enemy, I should expect to conduct 
a more successful campaign than could be done by any other 
possible means in these days. The scattering of cavalry pro- 
miscuously along the front of an army is no longer necessary. 
Of course you must use cavalry to find out where the enemy 
is, and to gain early information of his movements, but a few 
squadrons can do it as well as a whole division." 

Grant understood this better than Lee, for he never wasted 
his cavalry as did his great opponent when he detached Stuart 
to operate against McClellan's rear in the Peninsula cam- 
paign, or when he sent this same general into the blue before 
the battle of Gettysburg, which operation did not perturb 
Meade. 10 But it was not until the battle of Five Forks that 

370 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

he fully understood that "With good cavalry, acting in con- 
junction with good infantry, you can accomplish almost any- 
thing in modern warfare. It is simply marvellous what can 
be done with men who are properly mounted. You can get 
them onto the flank and rear of the enemy every time." " 
Such is General Wilson's conclusion, 


To turn from combined tactics to Grant's use of Infantry, 
as I have explained in a former chapter, in his day, as to-day, 
the theory of the attack was based on the assault, that slowly 
dying rudiment of old pike warfare. This is clearly expressed 
by McClellan when, early in the war, he wrote to Buell saying: 
"I believe in attacks by concentrated masses." 12 Lee also be- 
lieved In such attacks, and frequently ordered them, notably 
at the battle of Gettysburg where the Confederates advanced 
in a solid wedge and were repulsed with fearful slaughter. 
But like Grant after his second assault at Vicksburg, and after 
his assault at Cold Harbor, Lee possessed the moral courage 
to acknowledge his mistake, for after this battle he wrote to 
Longstreet: "If I had only taken your counsel, even on the 3rd 
[July, 1863], an d moved around the Federal left, how differ- 
ent all might have been." 1S Again, at this battle, had Meade 
only delivered a counter-attack when Lee was repulsed, his 
victory might well have been a decisive one. 14 

Throughout the war we are faced by this difficult problem: 
assault after assault failed; three were carried out on May 5, 
four on May 6, two on May 8, five on May 10, an unknown 
number on May 12, one on May 18, and one on May 19, and 
none of them led to decisive results; yet at Missionary Ridge 
and Fort Harrison, to quote only two examples, results were 
decisive ; in the first case, because Bragr/s front was distracted 
by Hooker's outflanking attack, and In the second, because the 
., XIII, pp. 87-88. 

is B. & L., Ill, p. 349. 

14 Lincoln always felt tbat this assault should have been made, and regretted 
that he did not go to Gettysburg himself "and push matters on the field." 
(Nicolay & Hay, VII, p. 278.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 371 

most careful preparations were made. Again, had McCler- 
nand assaulted at Champion's Hill, or had Smith assaulted 
at Petersburg, in the first case the siege of Vicksburg would 
have been unnecessary, and in the second the war would un- 
doubtedly have been shortened. Here we are confronted by 
a choice between two evils to assault and risk heavy casual- 
ties, or to refrain from assaulting and so prolong the war, a 
war in which two men died from sickness to every man killed 
on the battlefield. Rightly or wrongly, Grant chose what he 
believed to be the lesser evil of these two, and in spite of the 
fact that the tactical theatre favoured the defence. There can 
be little doubt that his assaults did shorten the war, and that, 
in the long run, in all probability, they led to an economy 
in life ; yet there can be no doubt that they were costly, though 
not more costly, as I will show, than those carried out by Lee 
and other generals. 

The criticism on these assaults has been both general and 
severe: a good example, and not altogether an unfair one, is 
the following taken from General Francis A. Walker's book 
History of the Second Army Corps: 15 

"The terrible experiences of May and June in assaults on 
intrenched positions; assaults made, often, not at a carefully 
selected point, but 'all along the line'; assaults made as if it 
were a good thing to assault, and not a dire necessity, assaults 
made without adequate concentration of troops, often with- 
out time for careful preparation, sometimes even without ex- 
amination of the ground these bitter experiences had nat- 
urally brought about a reaction, by which efforts to outflank 
the enemy were to become the order of the day, so that the 
months of July and August were largely to be occupied in 
rapid movements, now to the right and now to the left of a 
line thirty to forty miles in length, in the hope of somewhere, 
at some time, getting upon the flank of the unprepared enemy 
the sentiment of headquarters, and perhaps the orders, 
being adverse to assaults." 

What General Walker does not however appreciate is the 
difference between the overland campaign and the Petersburg 

i 5 Quoted by Church, p. 276. 

372 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

campaign; nor does he make due allowance for the topograph- 
ical difficulties which faced Grant. It is easy enough to talk 
of "carefully selected points'' and "examination of the 
ground," but when a battle is fought in a jungle selection and 
examination are impossible. Napoleon once wrote of Turenne, 
that he "constantly observed the two maxims: first, never at- 
tack a position in front, when you can obtain it by turning it; 
secondly, avoid doing what the enemy wishes, and that simply 
because he does wish it. Shun the field of battle which he has 
reconnoitred and studied, and the more particularly that in 
which he has fortified and entrenched himself. n 1(J Grant did 
not always follow these excellent maxims, not because he did 
not appreciate their value, but because circumstances did not 
allow of his following them. Whenever he could he aimed at 
a rear attack, and when he could not a frontal attack did not 
terrify him. He did not, however, purposely seek frontal at- 
tacks as has been so often implied. Even at Cold Harbor 
when he definitely decided to attack frontally, he did so, be- 
cause had he moved south of the Totopotomoy entrenchments, 
Lee would have extended his works to the Chickahominy, and 
an equally dangerous frontal attack would have had to be 
made, some distance south of his actual one, and obviously 
such an attack would have strategically been more unfavour- 
able to Grant. Further still, it must be remembered that all 
tactical details were left to Meade. Colonel Lyman, one of 
Meade's aides-de-camp, says: "I recall but one instance in 
which the details of attack were arranged at headquarters 
[Grant's], and that was for the explosion of the Petersburg 
mine; and, had those orders been obeyed, the town would 
have fallen." 1T Both he and Meade have been blamed again 
and again for failing to reconnoitre, and the best answer to 
this criticism is given by Meade himself, who, two days after 
the battle of Cold Harbor, said: "In this country I must fight 
a battle to reconnoitre a position." 18 

To turn now to the vexed question of the casualties result- 

16 Memoirs of Napoleon, Monotholon, III, p. 95, 
., V, p. 6. 
. 9 Vp. 9. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 373 

ing from these assaults. From the common criticism levelled 
against Grant's last campaigns, the only conclusion is that he 
was a callous butcher. Yet, as is well known, Grant had a 
horror of bloodshed. His usual question after a fight, writes 
Horace Porter, was "How many prisoners have been taken?" 
Further "No man ever had such a fondness for taking pris- 
oners. I think the gratification arose from the kindness of 
'his heart, a feeling that it was better to win in this way than 
by the destruction of human life." And again When a num- 
ber of his officers urged him to assault the inner lines at 
Petersburg on the afternoon of April 2 "he was firm in his re- 
solve not to sacrifice the lives necessary to accomplish such 
a result. He said the city would undoubtedly be evacuated 
during the night, and he would dispose the troops for a paral- 
lel march westward, and try to head off the escaping army." ld 

Losses in themselves convey much to the imagination but 
little to the reason, and as the popular mind is always gov- 
erned by emotions and spectacles, there is some excuse why 
popular imagination was stampeded by Grant's casualties; but 
there is absolutely no excuse why students of war should accept 
popular opinion as historical truth, for popular opinion is 
nearly always wrong. To judge losses correctly, circum- 
stances, results, and the initial and final strengths of the con- 
tending forces must be examined and compared. 

On May 4 Grant's army numbered about 115,000 officers 
and men of all arms, and Lee's 62,000; between this date 
and June 14 he received in all 46,934 reinforcements, 20 and 
Lee received about 12,000; 21 Grant's losses in killed, wounded 
and missing were 54,9 26, 22 Lee's, as far as can be estimated 
31,800; but this figure leaves out of account cavalry casual- 
ties, and the operations on May 8-9 on the North Anna. Ac- 
cepting Lee's losses at 33,000 and Grant's at 55,000, then the 
percentages of losses to totals were as follows : Grant 34 per 
cent, and Lee 43 per cent. Considering the nature of the 
country, there was nothing exceptional in this, for in the Pen- 

. &L.,IV, pp. 7i5,7iS. 
*o M.H.S.M., IV, p. 450. 

21 Humphreys, pp. 124, 125. 

22 67, W., p. 188. 

374 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

msula campaign McClellan lost about 43,000, or 31 per cent, 
of his total force, and Lee about 28,500, or 40 per cent, of 
his. Nor was there a marked disproportion in the battles 
themselves: thus, in the Wilderness, Grant lost 15.5 per cent. 
of the effective force of his army, and about 17.3 per cent, of 
those actually engaged; whilst Lee lost 17.1 per cent of his 
total force, and iS.i per cent. 23 of his effective force. At 
Spottsylvania it was much the same, as mentioned in Chap- 
ter XL 

It is true that in actual bulk numbers Grant's losses ex- 
ceeded Lee's by about 20,000; but as after the battle of the 
Wilderness Lee remained on the defensive there is nothing re- 
markable in this. Nor in single battles were Grant's losses 
excessive when compared to the battles fought by many of 
the other generals: thus, at Gettysburg, Meade's losses were 
23,049, and Lee's 28,063 > at Chickamauga, Rosecrans lost 
1 6,336, and Bragg 20,950; and at Malvern Hill McClellan 
lost 15,849, and Lee 20,634. If anything, Lee rather than 
Grant, deserves to be accused of sacrificing his men. Accord- 
ing to Lieutenant-Colonel George A. Bruce, an able writer, 
"Lee in five months of 1862 . . . lost nearly 60,000 men in 
four battles, and still found Jackson's part of his army one 
hundred miles south and the remainder only sixty miles north 
of their starting-points," whilst in 1864 Grant moved forward 
a hundred miles in a little over a month, and moved "toward 
final victory. 5524 Further still, it will be remembered that 
Sherman in his Atlanta campaign, so frequently held up as the 
model Grant should have followed, lost some 32,000 men, or 
approximately 33 per cent, of his original force. Though 
these figures do not convey much* they do show, so I think, 
that Grant's losses have been greatly exaggerated by his- 
torians, and that much of their criticism has consequently been 

23 N. & L., p. III. 

24 JA.HJSM., XIII, pp. 452-453, According to Colonel Livcrmore, the losses 
of the Armies of the Potomac and James, from May 4, 1864 * April 9, 1865, 
was 124,166; and that in the same period Le<?s losses were 112,563, possibly 
20,000 more "if full reports of the Confederate commanders were at hand." 
(MJMM., IV, pp. 455-456.) 

Grant as General-in-Chief 375 


It was the drift of circumstances rather than premeditation 
which compelled Grant to play on the stage of this war the 
part of a destroyer. Not only a destroyer of men, but a de- 
stroyer of everything and anything which could be utilized 
in war, and above all the destruction of the will of the Con- 
federacy to continue the conflict. On June 7, 1864, Major 
John Tyler, an officer on Lee's staff, expressed this feeling 
clearly in a letter to General Price when he wrote : "From first 
to last Grant has shown great skill and prudence combined 
with remorseless persistency 'and brutality. He is a scientific 
Goth resembling Alaric, destroying the country as he goes and 
delivering the people over to starvation. . . . The game 
going on upon a military chessboard between Lee and Grant 
has been striking and grand, surpassing anything I have here- 
tofore witnessed, and conducted on both sides with consum- 
mate mastery of the art of war. It Is admitted that Lee has 
at last met with a foe who watches [matches] his steel, al- 
though he may not be worthy of it. Each guards himself per- 
fectly and gives his blow with a precise eye and cool sanguinary 

nerve." 25 

In this conflict, a close examination will show that whilst 
Lee fought like a paladin, as a general-in-chief he was inferior 
to Grant. Grant maintained his direction by a most careful 
adjustment, and constant readjustment, between concentration 
and distribution of force; he never changed his controlling 
idea, though he frequently modified his means of action. Lee t 
I maintain, was an indifferent general-in-chief, not because he 
failed to win battles, but because his strategy, though it often 
led to brilliant "tactical successes, was not of the type which 
could win the war. This then is their difference : Grant under- 
stood the meaning of grand-strategy, Lee did not. He never 
seems to have realized the uselessness of squandering strength 
in offensive actions as long as the policy of the Richmond gov- 
ernment remained a defensive one. He never seems to have 
been able to focus the war as a whole, as one picture. He 
25 108, w^ t P . 994. 

376 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

could see bits of it clearly enough, but the whole was beyond his 
vision; consequently, outside the Army of Northern Virginia, 
his influence on the grand strategy of the w r ar was negligible. 
His strategy, so I think, is very justly appraised by Colonel 
Bruce when he says: "If a manufacturer or merchant worth a 
million dollars should enter into a trade warfare with a com- 
petitor worth two millions, and so aggressively carry it on as 
to entail a loss to each of $250,000 a year, the result would be 
that at the end of four years one would be bankrupt and the 
other still rich. This was the kind of war inaugurated by Gen- 
eral Lee." 2G 

In truth, Lee's one and only chance was to imitate the great 
Fabius, and plot to win the war, even if in the winning of it 
he lost every battle fought His instincts were, however, 
against such a course. Aristocratic, imperious, proud, and 
above all temperamental, against Burnsides, Popes and Hook- 
ers he cultivated such a god-like disdain for his enemy the 
tradesmen of the North that his "embattled" cotton grow- 
ers swept all before them, throwing the enemy back as the sea 
hurls the shingle up the beach only to drag it down again as 
the waves recede. Unlike Grant, he never seems to have an- 
alyzed his victories, to discover how and why It was he had 
won Malvern Hill, Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancel- 
lorsville, and this lack of self-searching led him to the folly of 
Gettysburg. u The disastrous movement of Lee Into Pennsyl- 
vania," writes Mr. Dargan, a member of Congress from 
Mobile, to the Confederate Secretary of War, "and the fall 
of Vicksburg, the latter especially, will end in the ruin of the 
South without foreign aid In some shape. . . . The failure of 
the Government to reinforce Vicksburg, but allowing the 
strength and flower of our army to go North, when there could 
be but one fate attending them, has so broken down the hopes 
of our people that even the little strength yet remaining can 
only be exerted In despair." 2T 

Here at Vicksburg and Gettysburg we have presented to 
us in practical values the measure of the generalship of Grant 

XIII, p. 
w 128, W JR., p. 6*54. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 377 

and Lee. The one had a clear object in view, though still far 
distant, for Vicksburg was but a stepping stone towards it; the 
other rushed forth to find a battlefield, to challenge a contest 
between himself and the North. 

The truth is, the more we enquire into the generalship of 
Lee, the more we discover that Lee, or rather the popular con- 
ception of him, is a myth ; by which I do not mean that he was 
not a great soldier, but that he was not a great general-in- 
chief. Unlike Grant, he did not create a strategy in spite of 
his government; in place, by his restless audacity, he ruined 
such strategy as his government created. His outflanking 
movement against Pope was audacious in the extreme, and it 
succeeded. His battle strategy was hazardous, but he ably 
improved upon the mistakes of his antagonists. His move- 
ments before the battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, are noth- 
ing short of reckless. In this battle, as I have already men- 
tioned, he neglected to entrench, though entrenchments would 
have been as serviceable to him as to Grant at Shiloh, and as 
one writer says: "In a struggle In which he was forced to play 
the part of a Wellington without a Blucher, but in which for- 
tunately for him, he was not opposed by a Napoleon." 2S 
Again at Fredericksburg, 'his audacity is superb; estimating 
the inertia of Burnside, he accepts risks which are so patent to 
the occasion as to be valueless as a general lesson. At Chan- 
cellorsville he emulates Kutusoff at Austerlitz but success- 
fully, his outflanking movement being secured by Hooker's in- 
ertia. Then, suddenly at Gettysburg, there is a blank; his 
magic fails him. 

At 5 P.M., on July I, Longs treet turned to Lee: "We could 
not [he said] call the enemy to a position better suited to 
our plans. All that we 'have to do is to file around his left and 
secure good ground between him and his capital." "If he is 
there to-morrow [said Lee"] I will attack him." [Longstreet 
was astonished.] "If he is there to-morrow it will be because 
he wants you to attack. . . ." 29 

28 Journal of the Military Service Institution^ March, 1898, p. 230. 

29 Fitzhugh Lee, p 276; Military Memoirs of a Confederate^ Alexander, p. 
386 ; Long street, p. 358. 

378 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Then on July 3 he carried out his famous and costly frontal 
attack, of which Fitzhugh Lee writes : 

"A consummate master of war such as Lee was would not 
drive en masse a column of fourteen thousand across an open 
terrene thirteen or fourteen hundred yards, nearly every foot 
of it under a concentrated and converging fire of artillery, to 
attack an army, on fortified heights, of one hundred thousand, 
less its two days* losses, and give his entering wedge no sup- 
port! Why, if every man in that assault had been bullet proof, 
and if the whole of those fourteen thousand splendid troops 
had arrived unharmed on Cemetery Ridge, what could have 
been accomplished? Not being able to kill them, there would 
have been time for the Federals to have seized, tied, and taken 
them off In wagons, before their supports could have reached 
them. Amid the fire and smoke of this false move these 
troops did not know 'some one had blundered.* " 30 

Though this is written to exonerate Lee, It really condemns 
him, for there can be little doubt that it was he who blun- 
dered. He had never analyzed Fredericksburg and Chancel- 
lorsville, and failing to do so, these successes led him to be- 
lieve that he could take any risks he liked with his enemy. He 
was a wonderful judge of character, but over apt to rely en- 
tirely upon such judgments. He could sum up McClellan, 
weigh Pope and Burnside, and measure up Hooker; but Meade 
he failed to appraise, though Meade was quite an ordinary 
general, and Grant he never understood. 

The ability to judge character Is certainly as valuable a gift 
as a general can possess, but unless It is weighed against the 
circumstances of each situation It is apt at times to prove a 
dangerous one. Here we find a marked difference between 
the personalities of Grant and Lee. Of Grant, Badeau tells 
us that: "He often said of those opposed to him: C I know ex- 
actly what that general will do*; C I am glad such an one is In 
my front* ; C I would rather fight this one, than another' ;" 81 
but he never relied entirely upon this knowledge. He would 
use it as a plummet line but not as a trowel : he did not build 
with it, but in place rectified his plan by it. Only with his own 

80 Fitzhugh Lee, p. 289. 

81 Badeau f III, p. 141. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 379 

subordinates, when once he had gauged their value and 
sounded their worth, would he leave all detail to them, hand- 
ing over to them his idea. What his trusted subordinates were 
to him, in many ways the Federal generals were to Lee, but 
in place of giving them an idea Lee extracted his idea from 
them, and once he had done so, the normal detail of the art 
of war he frequently abandoned to chance. Whilst Lee's in- 
tellect was almost feminine in nature, Grant's was entirely 
masculine; the one sensed a situation, the other reasoned it 
out, not possessing that quick and subtle imagination which 
electrified Lee. 

Lee realized, however, the weakness of his strength, when 
he said that he was sorry to part with McClellan, because the 
Federal government might eventually find a general whom he 
would not understand. Unfortunately for him, this premoni- 
tion came true, for he never understood Grant; had he done 
so he would never have attacked him as he did on May 5, and 
he would never have allowed Grant to cross the James. Even 
at the very end he failed to understand him; he went to Mc- 
Lean's house to meet Grant, and he went there with a mental 
reservation as to the surrender of his army* Before sending 
his last letter to Grant he ordered his men to be prepared to 
cut their way through the enemy, should Grant demand the 
surrender of his army as prisoners of war. 82 In place, the 
"crude" democrat of the North, the son of a tanner, offered 
terms more liberal than Lee ever hoped for, and behaved with 
a delicacy and consideration as if he were dealing with a sen- 
sitive woman. Lee's intuition never fathomed Grant's per- 
sonality, and why? I think the answer to this question is best 
given in the words of Colonel Bruce : 

"It has been said more than once that General Grant had 
not the gift of imagination. It is true that he had not that 
kind of imagination that sees an enemy where none exists ; that 
multiplies by five the number of those who happened to be in 
his front; that discovers obstacles impossible to overcome 
whenever there is a necessity to act; that sees the road open 
and the way clear to victory when the foe is far away and not 
threatening; that conjures up, on his near approach, a multi- 

82 Army of Northern Virginia^ Memorial Volume, p. 4.7. 

380 The Generalship of Ulysses S* Grant 

tude of impossible movements being made on the flanks and 
on the rear; that sets the brain of a commander into a whirl 
of doubt and uncertainty which generally ends in a hasty re- 
treat or ignominious defeat. , ." 

This type of imagination Lee could grasp as if it were a 
material thing; but Grant was not of this type. 

"It was not through knowledge gained from books but 
through the gift of an historic imagination in part that he was 
enabled to see the true character of the great conflict in which 
he was engaged, its relation to the past and its bearing on the 
future; that enabled him to take in at a glance the whole field 
of the war, to form a correct opinion of every suggested and 
possible strategic campaign, their logical order and sequence, 
their relative value and the interdependence of one upon an- 
other; and finally at Appomattox, the moment Lee let drop 
his flag, to see that the end had come and the whole South- 
land was once more a part of a common country and her con- 
quered soldiers were again his countrymen." S3 

This type of imagination Lee could not understand, because 
in Lee, with all his greatness, there was something parochial; 
whilst in Grant there was something cosmic. At the outbreak 
of the war Lee joined the South, because he was a Virginian; 
Grant threw in his lot with the North because he believed in 
the United States. Lee could penetrate the provincially 
minded man, the man who thinks in units, Hookers, Burnsides 
and such like; but he could not grasp the nature of a man 
who, however uncultured he might be, possessed the soul of 
Browning's Grammarian 

"That low man seeks a little thing to do, 

Sees it and does it: 
This high man, with a great thing to pursue, 

Dies ere he knows it. 
That low man goes on adding one to one, 

His hundred^ soon hit: 
This high man, aiming at a million, 

Misses an unit." 

** M.H.S.M., VII, pp. 7-8. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 3 8 1 

Lee's misfortune as a soldier was that, ever since the open- 
ing of the war, he had been fighting in the political theatre, 
and Grant had been fighting in the strategical theatre, a 
theatre of war in which he, more than any other man, in- 
cubated the strategy of 1864-1865. Then he came East, bring- 
ing with him his strategy, and Lee was confronted not only by 
a man he could not understand, but by a problem and a war 
which were utterly novel to him. He had been fighting gen- 
erals who lacked direction, and who had no conception of how 
to win peace; who, possessing little or no strategy, floundered 
through a tactical gloom, only to be derided by the politicians 
who should have supported them. Then came Grant; Lincoln 
stood like a rock behind him, when, on May 5, he opened the 
first of the modern battles in the history of war. Not a day's, 
or a two, or even a three days', engagement, but a relentless 
tussle of weeks and months. 

Grant's difficulties were many, but they were minor and in- 
cidental when compared to Lee's. Lee had no political foun- 
dation to work from; he had no clear-cut plan of campaign, 
and he served a waning cause. The fight he put up exceeded 
in courage and grandeur anything he had as yet accomplished; 
for at last he was confronted by an antagonist worthy of his 
steel. Hitherto his strategy and tactics had been offensive, 
now they were defensive; and by combining rapidity of move- 
ment with earthworks he blocked Grant's advance at every 
turn, holding Richmond and Petersburg for nine months 
against every attack. What is so supremely heroic is, that 
after his failure to crush Grant in the Wilderness, it must 
have been apparent to him that ultimate victory had eluded 
his grasp; yet, in spite of every discouragement the fall of 
Atlanta, the triple defeat of Early, the destruction of Hood's 
army, the loss of Savannah and Wilmington and the capture 
of Fort Harrison, with his back against the wall, he parried 
every thrust, until Sherman's advancing columns and Grant's 
unceasing pressure brought the Confederacy to collapse. As a 
general, Lee must stand or fall by his last campaign; for, 
though he won no battle, it was the most skilful, masterful and 
heroic he was ever engaged in. 

382 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

Grant's difficulties are of another kind. The government 
and the people of the North are behind him, and though they 
quibble and question, on the whole they are loyal. Sea power 
is at his elbow, consequently the base of his strategy is secure. 
Unlimited resources are at his call, and his army knows that 
it is approaching victory. Yet the theatre of war is hostile to 
him; the forests frown on him; the swamps sneer at him he 
is beset by many difficulties. Every movement is, however, 
well secured, and his forward movement is unceasing. But 
Grant is not a subtle tactician; he realizes the value of each 
arm, yet time has been insufficient for him to weld this knowl- 
edge into an amalgam. His losses compel him to adopt the 
simplest possible methods, because the man-power of his army 
is always changing. His tactics are simplicity itself the for- 
ward thrust , under cover of which each successive flanking 
movement is made; but failure to understand the true use of 
artillery, and the great difficulty of using this arm in wooded 
country, threw the onus of his numerous holding attacks onto 
his infantry, which, consequently, suffered heavy casualties. 
Battling with earthworks, rivers, swamps and men, here again 
we find another heroic soul ; accepting all consequences, never 
being obsessed by misfortune, fearing no danger, bearing up 
against disappointments, Grant strode onwards from battle- 
field to battlefield, fashioning each loss into a stepping stone 
towards the next hoped-for success. 

Then came the end, peace was once again established, but 
not the peace Grant had prayed and fought for a peace as 
cruel as war, for it was, 

"Dawn not Day! 
While scandal is mouthing a bloodless name at her cannibal 

And rake-ruin'd bodies and souls go down in a common 

And the press of a thousand cities is prized for it smells of 

the beast, 
Or easily violates virgin Truth for a coin or a cheque. 

Grant as General-in-Chief 383 

"Dawn not Day! 
Is it Shame, so few should have climb'd from the dens in the 

level below, 
Men, with a heart and a soul, no slaves of a four-footed 

But if twenty million of summers are stored in the sunlight 

We are far from the noon of man, there is time for the race 

to grow," 

Perhaps Grant saw it so, I think he must have, and that the 
dawn was turning "a fainter red," for in war and peace he 
was a man possessed of the 'larger hope." 




THE surrender of Lee to all intents and purposes brought the 
Civil War to an end; yet, within five days of this event, the 
assassination of President Lincoln flamed through the smoke 
of departing war heralding in a new conflict: the struggle of 
reconstruction and of peace; a struggle which for a time was 
to prove as bitter as the war itself and far less honourable. 
The loyalty of Lee and the fortitude of Grant those spells 
"by which to re-assume an empire o'er the disentangled 
doom," were forgotten, and all that might have been learnt 
from the war was left unlearnt in a scramble for place, power 
and plunder. 

For a moment let us pause and consider this problem, for 
the problem of war is worth understanding, and, so it seems 
to me, is no better understood to-day was in 1865. 
William James, one of the most lucid of philosophers, once 
wrote: "Every up-to-date dictionary should say that 'peace' 
and 'war' mean the same thing, now in posse, now in actu. It 
may even reasonably be said that the intensely sharp competi- 
tive preparation for war by the nation is the real war, perma- 
nent, unceasing; and that battles are only a sort of public veri- 
fication of mastery gained during the 'peace' intervals." * 

Much wisdom lurks in these words, and sufficient to unbar 
this mystery; for if war is so closely related to peace as to be 
Its obverse, surely then, by examining war and peace as phases 
of one activity, we shall be able to discover why nations pre- 
pare for war, and why wars are waged, and perhaps how they 
can be restricted. 

To-day the Civil War appears to have been but little short 
of an act of madness, for it would now be difficult to find a 

i **The Moral Equivalent of War," in Memories Gf Studies f p. 273. 


388 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

single individual of intelligence prepared to say that It would 
have been advantageous to the United States and the World 
had the South won. This has long been recognized; already 
many years ago General E. P* Alexander, the commander of 
the Confederate artillery at Gettysburg, said: "The world has 
not stood still in the years since we took up arms for what 
we deemed our most invaluable right that of self-govern- 
ment. We now enjoy the rare privilege of seeing what we 
fought for in the retrospect. It no longer seems desirable, 
It would now prove only a curse. We have good cause to 
thank God for our escape from it, not only for our sake, 
but for that of the whole country, and even of the world. 2 
Yet in 1861 there were over five millions of men and women 
who fervently believed the contrary; who were willing to 
face the turmoil of war; to assist in the slaughter of their 
fellow countrymen, and carry fire and sword over half a con- 
tinent for an idea which we now know to have been a veritable 
illusion. Nevertheless it is impossible to conceive, as condi- 
tions then were, of any other test except that of war, of the 
hollowness of this myth* So also, accepting the conditions 
which prevailed when the conflict was over, it Is equally Im- 
possible to suggest how the turmoil of the first twenty years 
of the peace which followed the war could have been avoided. 
The military chaos of 1861-1862 was rapidly replaced by 
a military cosmos : mobs of men were organized into armies, 
were ably officered, trained, well led and well equipped. On 
April 6, 1865, two divisions of the Federal Second Corps 
formed a line of battle over a mile long, and preceded by skir- 
mishers and supported by a third division, marched fourteen 
miles across country through forests, undergrowth and 
swamps "with a precision which would have been creditable on 
parade," s and "with a rapidity and nearness of connection" 
which astonished General Humphreys. 4 Yet, less than three 
years before what do we see? Mobs of men dressed as sol- 
diers, followed by congressmen in carriages, women in ba- 

2 Military Memoirs of a Confederate, E. P. Alexander. p vul. 
*MJ1,$M., VI, p. 498. 
* 95, /T.JR., p. <J82. 

The Generalship of Peace 389 

rouches, sightseers, psalm singers, tricksters, venders and 
newspaper men climbing trees and what do they see? A 
regiment and a battery turn about and march off the field of 
Bull Run, because their term of enlistment has expired. Then 
pell-mell one regiment after another breaks, and barouches, 
carriages, journalists, women and soldiers stampede towards 
Washington. So also after the war, the. emotionalism of un- 
tasted battle is replaced by the gross materialism of plunder- 
ing peace, a materialism which sucked all classes into its vor- 
tex, and belched into the Southern States political adventurers, 
speculators and "carpet baggers" who spared no trouble in 
purloining the public funds, and in seizing all cotton they 
could lay their hands on. Scandal followed scandal; the 
"Whiskey Ring 11 shocked the government, and the "Credit 
Mobilier" shocked the nation; yet out of this turmoil of graft 
and swindling crept a Gargantuan power the United States 
as we know her to-day. 

The drama of this age of reconstruction, like a brach- 
hound following close on the trail of the wolf, is profound. 

Behind the ploughshares over the newly turned earth came 
a multitude of frenzied sowers casting the seeds of future 
greatness to the winds of speculation, some to fall on fertile 
ground and some on rock. Waste is seen at every turn, but 
out of it there sprouted forth an ever-increasing prosperity; 
for the overthrow of the patriarchal system of the South 
opened the whole land to the conquest of steam-power the 
real, the creative conflict. Even during the war itself, the in- 
dustries and population of the North refused to shrivel be- 
fore the blaze of the guns. Between 1860 and 1865, the in>- 
habitants of the North increased by over 3,000,000, and 
4,500,000 acres of public land were taken up by settlers. 
Then, from 1865 to 1890, what do we see? The population 
of the entire land is doubled and the capital invested in man- 
ufactures rises from one thousand million dollars to six thou- 
sand million, whilst the cotton crop of the South, which in 
1860 was about two thousand million pounds, in 1890 rises to 
four thousand million. 

In spite of the devastation wrought by the war, what other 

390 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

human activity could have wielded over this land so magical a 
wand; could, through changing an idea, have whispered an 
"Open Sesame" throughout a continent? 

By breaking a political shackle the war bound North and 
South into a unity by means of an economic link; for the eco- 
nomic independence of the Southern workers led directly to 
the economic interdependence of the whole United States, now 
truly united, being freed from economic barriers and internal 
moral frontiers. And in this dramatic change, this magical 
growth, the factor which governed the strategy of the war, 
governed the strategy of the peace, namely, communications. 

In 1860, the Alleghany mountains severed the West from 
the East, and the great river system of the Mississippi drew 
the West from the North and led her towards the South. 
Then, when the war was ended, the greatest creation of the 
Industrial Revolution the railway challenged the rivers. 
In 1865, the railroad mileage of the country was 35,000 miles, 
in 1890 166,000 miles; this reverberating band of steel, like 
an immense tuning fork, brought harmony to the land, not only 
through freedom of movement but through freedom of inter- 
course, creating new ideals. 

u . . . When I think how the railroad has been pushed 
through this unwatered wilderness and haunt of savage tribes; 
how at each stage of the construction, roaring impromptu 
cities, full of gold and lust and death, sprang up and then died 
away again, and are now but wayside stations in the desert; 
how in these uncouth places Chinese pirates worked side by 
side with border ruffians and broken men from Europe, gam- 
bling, drinking, quarrelling and murdering like wolves; and 
then when I go on to remember that all this epical turmoil was 
conducted by gentlemen in frock coats, with a view to nothing 
more extraordinary than a fortune and a subsequent visit to 
Paris it seems to me as -if this railway were the one typical 
achievement of the age in which we live, as if it brought to- 
gether into one plot all the ends of the world and all the de- 
grees of social rank, and offered to some great writer the 
busiest, the most extended, and the most varied subject for an 
enduring literary work. If it be romance, if it be contrast, 
if it be heroism that we require, what was Troy to this? 11 

The Generalship of Peace 3 9 1 

Thus writes Robert Louis Stevenson in Across the Plains; 
and to me it seems that this glowing picture of might and vice 
and progress triumphant, depicts more truly than volumes of 
dry statististics, the spirit of the peace which was begotten of 
this war. 


Turning now to the period in which we live, the spirit which 
emanated from out the World War was very similar to that 
which emerged from the American Civil War, not only be- 
cause the main causes of both these wars were in nature eco- 
nomic, but because the World War was in fact an European 
Civil War, a duel between two political doctrines, on the one 
side the right of nations to control their destinies, and the 
thinly veiled attempt of Germany to establish a hegemony, 
Caesarism, or European federation, on the other. There is 
little doubt in my mind that had Germany succeeded in re-es- 
tablishing the Roman Empire (and I do not say that she 
would have or could have), that is a union of European na- 
tions, the results might in time have been as beneficial to 
Europe as those in America which accrued from the conquest 
of the South by the North. Accepting conditions as they were 
during the generation which preceded the World War, then it 
would appear that the only instrument which could have ac- 
complished this federation was war, for to attempt it diplo- 
matically was obviously out of the question. 

During the World War, science and industry played the 
leading parts, and, as in 1861-1865; the power of the bullet 
rapidly began to replace the power of the bayonet, that is, the 
scientific weapon replaced the barbaric weapon : so do we find 
during 1914-1918 that the supreme tactical problem is the 
elimination of the bullet, which problem is solved by the rein- 
troduction of armour and its carriage by petrol-driven ma- 
chines ; that is, by weapons which are the military expression 
of the economic age which gave birth to the war. 

After the war the same process continued; for, as in 1865, 
out of its emotionalism emerged a vindictive spirit. Whilst in 

The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

America the plundering of the South was carried out by "car- 
pet baggers" and such like people, in Europe the plundering 
of the defeated powers was legislated for by the treaty of 
Versailles. Between 1865 and 1875 ^ was not realized that 
to plunder the South was to plunder the United States, and 
even to-day, more than ten years after the conclusion of the 
World War, it is not yet realized by millions of Europeans 
that to plunder Germany is to plunder Europe; for though 
politically European nations are not federated, economically 
they are interdependent, and are becoming more and more so 
every year. 

To-day the fashion is to blacken war, carefully avoiding any 
examination of its causes. The will of the proletariat, which 
in every democratic country still remains the final arbiter in 
politics, has decided that the easiest way to destroy the weeds 
of war is to cut off their heads, leaving their roots firmly em- 
bedded in the peaceful soil. Their intellectual method it 
seems almost an insult to call it such is identical to their spir- 
itual method during the Middle Ages. Then it was to blacken 
the Devil in order to save souls; now It is to blacken war in 
order to save bodies. The apotheosis of the value of human 
life is quite a fictitious one. There are few things cheaper 
in this world than the lives of men and women; their value 
is an illusion begotten of the instinct of self-preservation which 
controls each separate person. The 500,000 men killed and 
died in 1861-1865 were not long missed, nor did their death 
detrimentally influence the prosperity of their country. In the 
World War the same applies to the 10,000,000 who perished 
during It, and could they be raised from the dead they would 
seriously encumber our social difficulties, their return being 
far more disastrous to the present peace than their departure 
was to the past war. 

Because 10,000,000 men died In the war, war is anathema- 
tized, but when 10,000,000 men, women and children died 
during the winter ojf 1918-1919 of so common a complaint as 
influenza, what did rational people do? They said: "Isn't it 
terrible?" and a few sniffed oil of eucalyptus. * 

Cannot we introduce into this subject of war a little com- 

The Generalship of Peace 393 

mon sense? Cannot we bring ourselves to look at war as we 
look at influenza or diphtheria? Because we have an ulcer- 
ated throat, do we attempt to anathematize the infection 
away? In place, do we not examine the drains of our peaceful 
and frequently ill-built houses? Yet when it comes to a ques- 
tion of war, we go off our heads, and behave like mediaeval 

The destructiveness of war is always apparent, but its crea- 
tive influences are generally hidden away from even the more 
highly educated of the multitude. If the drains in a house are 
defective the alternative to sore throats is to repair them. 
Repair means destruction in one form or another, and if the 
drains are in a terrible condition it may become necessary to 
replace them altogether, that is to destroy them utterly so that 
a new condition of life may be established* Destruction is not 
necessarily evil, and, in my opinion, had the Civil War in 
America been better understood, the causes of the Civil War 
in Europe quite possibly might have been eliminated. 


Grant's cold reasoning and common sense perceived an 
angle of this question when he stated that u the Southern rebel- 
lion was largely the out-growth of the Mexican war." His 
philosophy was that nations, like individuals, are punished for 
their transgressions; in other words wars, like fevers, may 
be traced to certain poisons which sicken nations as they do 
individuals. Had he lived to-day he would have been amazed 
at the idea that disarmament could prevent wars; he, so I 
think, would have argued: armaments are the outward and 
visible sign of some inward discontent, and to disarm a na- 
tion in order to prevent war is about as sensible as depriving a 
surgeon of his instruments in order to do away with tumours. 
From this he might well have concluded that the World War 
was nothing more than the military apotheosis of the Indus- 
trial Revolution, and that its materialistic orgy of destruction 
was but the counterpart of the materialistic orgy of construc- 
tion which preceded it. That this war, like the Civil War, 

394 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

was but an effect following a cause, rendering tangible and 
visible to all the virtues and vices of the state of peacefulness 
which preceded its outbreak. Further still, when once the 
war was at an end, should popular opinion condemn it as bru- 
tal, then the masses must realize that its brutality was no more 
and no less than a reflection of the brutality of the age which 
gave it birth. 

Had he been of a studious nature and an acute observer of 
events, his common sense might have led him to see that 
though it was a coincidence that the year which witnessed the 
birth of Napoleon also saw the patenting of Watt's pumping 
engine, it was no coincidence that the theory of absolute war 
and the general utilization of steam-power evolved from out 
the same period, for in idea they are blood relations. The 
spirit of both is coercion through physical force, and their aim 
the conquest of human and physical spaces. Though Napo- 
leon may never have contemplated the establishment of a 
world empire, that is, a fusing of national spaces into one com- 
plete federation, his destiny was to manifest this idea. 
Though the dream of James Watt, a somewhat petty-minded 
man, seems seldom to have soared above that of an average 
mechanic's, his destiny was to liberate the idea of the unity 
of geographical spaces, and the possibility of converting the 
world into one intricate self-supporting city. Finally, it might 
have struck Grant how extraordinarily alike were these two 
wars, and what a crime It was to Western Civilization that the 
natural history of the Civil War was not studied by European 
statesmen; for had it been, the events which were about to 
take place In Europe would have been better understood, 

In 1870 there occurred a sudden change In the economic 
structure of the Old World. From 1830 onwards Great Brit- 
am, now highly Industrialized, flooded her neighbours with 
her manufactures, and was confronted by no serious competi- 
tor. Then came the Franco-Prussian War; the defeat of 
France, and an influx into Germany of ^200,000,000 of 
French gold. Though the first effect of this bullion was to un- 
hinge the stability of German finances, within a few years it 
enabled Germany to follow the course trodden by England, 

The Generalship of Peace 395 

and, passing from an agricultural to an industrial footing, she 
soon became the competitor of Great Britain. 

Once Germany was industrialized the result was a disloca- 
tion of world markets. Not only did competition take place 
between her and Great Britain, but between all manufacturing 
countries. These, to defend themselves against what was 
called ''peaceful penetration," resorted to protective tariffs and 
customs. Thus did protection, that is, economic pressure and 
resistance, become a diplomatic weapon. Strictly speaking it 
is no weapon at all, because trade is mainly international, and 
for its health depends upon interdependence and not inde- 
pendence. When in the pre-industrial period a nation decided 
to go to war with another, the war was normally a duel be- 
tween the two nations, and all or most other nations were on- 
lookers. But when a diplomatist exerts economic pressure, by 
resisting or imposing a tariff, he influences all countries, some 
more and some less, and not merely the country he intends 
to coerce. The result is immediate, it is a hostile international 
feeling, and it is this feeling which sometimes begets arma- 
ments, as between the years 1871-1914, and which sometimes 
does not, as was the case during 1815-1861; but which if not 
checked, armaments or no armaments, inevitably leads to war. 

The result was that shortly after the Franco-Prussian War 
down to the outbreak of the World War, the law of economic 
interdependence was constantly infringed. Trade, which for 
the prosperity of all nations should be free, was dammed and 
restricted by political action. To circumvent protection the 
eighties witnessed a frenzied search after new markets and 
new sources of supply. The uncivilized world was rapidly di- 
vided up among the competing powers. Germany, then con- 
trolled by the nationally minded Bismarck, was a bad last in 
the land grabbing race, and by the time her growing industries 
had satisfied her home needs there was little left for her to 

Governments acted as they did, because the political part 
attempted to swallow the international whole, by which I 
mean that when each country was self-supporting, each po- 
litically and economically was autonomous, but once every 

396 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

industrial country began to depend on the world as a wholc^ 
each became economically so intricately interwoven with the 
other that all except political autonomy was shared in common. 
As this was not realized, a solution to economic difficulties was 
sought through political pressure, just as in years gone by the 
Papacy, a religious organization, attempted to solve temporal 
problems by spiritual power. The result of this earlier inter- 
mixture of two incompatibles was a series of devastating reli- 
gious wars, and so also, from about 1890, the attempt to solve 
an international problem by political means resulted in a series 
of economic wars which eventually embroiled the entire civil- 
ized world in the war of 1914-1918. Thus it happened that 
this war was the culminating act of a war period which In itself 
was symptomatic of the economic friction and chaos produced 
throughout the world during the preceding generation by 
statesmen attempting to solve international problems by na- 
tional means. An economic war was declared, which was the 
true war, and its sole object was national profit at any price. 
Wages were kept low, and the result w r as social unrest; protec- 
tive tariffs were imposed, and the result was international irri- 
tation. As things were, the civilized world was riding for a 
fall a World Revolution or a World War; and as politicians 
and statesmen naturally dread the former more than the lat- 
ter, because it means their overthrow, when economic pressure 
could be carried no further they appealed to the guns, and 
from 1894 to 1918 artillery seldom ceased its thunder. 

When war was declared in 1914, each nation blamed the 
other for its outbreak. This was natural enough, but what 
none could see was that a war between any two great indus- 
trial nations must rapidly evolve into a world war, and di- 
rectly influence every civilized man and woman. For years 
past the citizens of each separate country had been proud to 
consider themselves as nationals; the war very soon estab- 
lished conditions which showed them that In spite of their 
patriotism, the world was an economic whole, and that eco- 
nomically they were far more international than national- 
Stocks fell, and people became bankrupt; food grew scarce, 

The Generalship of Peace 397 

and rationing had to be resorted to. The Englishman, glory- 
ing in the fact that he was English to the backbone, for year 
after year had sat down at his dinner table entirely oblivious 
that on it was daily placed before him the spoil of five conti- 
nents, and that nearly everything he ate and drank came from 
any other land except his own. The very foundations of his 
life were international, yet he was delighted when he heard 
that Germany was nearing industrial ruin. 

How different in detail and yet how closely related in es- 
sential causes were the origins of these two wars. Both were 
expressions of the Industrial Revolution, both were preceded 
by an economic turmoil, the one originating largely out of the 
1870 war, the other out of the invention of the cotton gin, 
for both this war and this invention resulted in an enormous 
influx of gold Into Germany and the Southern States respec- 
tively. Once the South became a cotton-growing region, and 
once Germany became industrialized, an economic war began, 
In the one case with the Northern States and in the other with 
Great Britain. Then, in both cases followed a series of tariff 
skirmishes and battles, and extensive land-grabbing operations 
on the one hand in Africa and Oceania, and on the other in 
Mexico. The Mexican War added vast territories to the 
United States; then occurred the clash between North and 
South who should control them? The clash in Europe was 
very similar; for Germany, finding no more unoccupied land 
to grab, cast an envious eye on the colonies of other nations. 
Ultimately came war, and it showed, as nothing else could 
have, that South and North were interdependent, so also did 
the World War show that Europe was interdependent; but it 
resulted in no union of the nations. Within a generation of 
the reunion of the North and South on an economic founda- 
tion which was free from friction, not only were the entire 
ravages of the war made good, but a prosperity was experi- 
enced totally undreamt of by the wildest visionary in 1861. 

We see, therefore, that the Americans solved their problem, 
and by establishing a more perfect peace proved their war to 
have been a legitimate one. As regards the World War, this 

398 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

proof still rests a heavy load on the shoulders of European 
statesmen, and it Is not likely to be off-loaded until they learn 
that peace can only be rendered certain through unity, and 
that unity can only be established through harmonizing differ- 
ences in place of building ramparts around them. To set up 
economic barriers between nations, reinforced by trade bas- 
tions and commercial sally-ports, in order to restrict the flow 
of wealth and to raid the wealth of foreign countries, is, In 
conception, purely mediaeval, and but little removed from the 
brigandage of the old barons who built castles on hill tops 
from which they could swoop down and plunder the neigh- 
bouring valleys. 

Grant, who by most of his countrymen has been denied the 
faculty of imagination, was nevertheless a man of quite ex- 
traordinary vision; a vision which was prophetic. He saw 
that the Civil War was the first and the last war of Its kind 
in the United States, and that it had eliminated the economic 
cause of war In the Republic. He said: U I think that if there 
ever Is another war in this country it will be one of ignorance 
and superstition combined against education and intelli- 
gence"; 5 consequently the somewhat comic skirmishes which 
have recently taken place between Fundamentalists and Mod- 
ernists are interesting to watch. In 1877, when In Glasgow, 
he said: "Though I may not live to see the general settlement 
of National difficulties by arbitration, it will not be many years 
before that system of settlement will be adopted, and the im- 
mense standing armies that are depressing Europe by their 
great expense will be disbanded, and the arts of war almost 
forgotten In the general devotion of the people to the devel- 
opment of peaceful industries. I want to see, and I believe 
I shall see, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada 
joined with common purpose In the advance of civilisation; 
an invincible community of English-speaking nations that all 
the world beside could not conquer." 6 And finally "I be- 
lieve that our Great Maker Is preparing this world In His 
good time to become one nation, speaking one language, and 

5 Church f p. 435. 
Church, p. 429. 

The Generalship of Peace 399 

when armies and navies will no longer be required." 7 It is 
remarkable, and in a way mysterious, that this man who more 
than any other assisted towards maintaining the Union, should 
towards the end of his life glance longingly towards a still 
greater federation. 

7 Woodward, p. 370. 



THE peace which followed the Civil War and the peace which 
followed the World War were equally chaotic, because, during 
each of these conflicts, statesmen lost sight of the legitimate 
object of war, which is to establish a better peace; and, in place 
of aiming at this ideal, mistook the means for the end, substi- 
tuting for it the destruction of the enemy* Then, when the 
enemy's fighting power was destroyed, not realizing that the 
object of peace is contented prosperity, they set about to pun- 
ish the defeated side, which, disarmed, was unable to resist 
their "legalized" forays. 

In both cases the immediate peace is indeed a sorry picture, 
for the heroism of war is replaced by a bullying spirit, and its 
self-sacrifice by greed. As long as these things are possible, 
and as long as statesmen behave as they did in 1865 and in 
1919, and are applauded by their nation for doing so, just so 
long will war remain the lesser evil to purge the world of 
this greater one. 

It might be thought, even by the most ignorant and irra- 
tional, that sufficient blood had been shed in both these wars, 
yet no sooner were they ended than the demagogues of the 
North demanded the blood of Lee, and the demagogues of 
Great Britain the life of the German Emperor. Grant, rec- 
ognizing the criminal folly of indicting Lee of treason, went 
to President Johnson, and told him, that if the paroles which 
he had granted were violated he would resign his commission; 
this brought Johnson to book. In the second disgraceful 
blood-lust, Lloyd George, having been returned to power on 
the plank of "a la lanterne 1" was astute enough to turn the 
light out 


The Generalship of Peace 40 1 

As the object of peace is to establish a state of contented 
prosperity, and as wars find their origin In discontent, until 
discontent ceases to inflame peacefulness it logically follows 
that this object must remain unattainable. The two main 
sources of war are fear and greed in their many forms; yet 
it must not be assumed that fear and greed are absolute evils, 
for they spring from the instincts of self-preservation and 
acquisitiveness which are as essential to life and progress as 
are those of self-sacrifice and charity. Without fear man 
would plunge into every danger, and the human race would 
soon be annihilated; and without the desire to acquire things 
society would be bankrupted by prodigality and sloth* It is 
not in themselves that these qualities are undesirable, but only 
in so far as circumstances convert them into evils. Thus, in 
peace and war, fear is the sentinel of armies and peoples, and 
possession the reserves which stand behind both, ever ready 
to repulse or make good unexpected dangers and disasters. 

When, with an impartial mind, we examine the whole ques- 
tion of peace, we see how closely it Is related to the organi- 
zation of war: the bands of workers, guilds, companies, trades, 
professions and associations; the tools, machines and imple- 
ments they use, and the various forms of management which 
direct their course and administer to their needs, all have their 
counterparts in war. Secondly we are faced by the conditions 
of labour, which may be divided into two groups those which 
are national and which can be controlled by the people them- 
selves, and those which are international and which can only 
be controlled by the various peoples in co-operation. As sta- 
bility of peace is an essential of growth, because no crop can 
be harvested if the fields are constantly being ploughed up, 
out of their instruments of peace nations have evolved spe- 
cialized instruments of war militias, armies, navies and air 
forces the object of which is to canalize fear along two main 
lines of action: to establish and maintain internal order and 
tranquillity, without which a nation must be in ceaseless an- 
archy; and by a readiness to meet in battle any foreign in- 
vader, to maintain the integrity of a nation's frontiers the 
walls and roof of a people's grand residence. 

4O2 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

For thousands of years, such have been the national and 
international means of security, which on the whole have 
proved themselves to be of profound service and utility to 
the progress of civilization. To-day they are anathematized, 
because they are not understood, and because peace itself Is 
not understood. Often is it asserted that another war would 
wreck Western Civilization; but, if I am correct in my theory 
that wars are the purgatives of peaceful rottenness, unless by 
some other means peace Is cleansed of its diseases, the elimi- 
nation of the power to wage war, that is to evacuate social 
excrement, must certainly end in the destruction not only of 
our present civilization but of civilization itself. 

Sloth and internal corruption, when they can find no outlet 
in foreign wars or in creative rebellions, simmering on in the 
intestines of nations, constitute the dry rot of kingdoms, em- 
pires and republics. War has had its use, for hitherto prog- 
ress has demanded that from time to time things be thrown 
into its melting pot; for progress is fed on the mixed cultures 
evolved in conflict, yet in itself there can be no doubt that 
the military spirit is antagonistic to civilization, because it is 
the child of its imperfections. 

This is forgotten by the prohibitionists of war. They over- 
look, in the excess of their zeal, its enormous creative in- 
fluences. Their fervour and fear blind them to the facts of 
history, for few if any of the greater wars this world has 
witnessed, such as the Crusades, the Seven Years' War, the 
Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War have been fol- 
lowed by periods of decadence or of prolonged poverty. Ob- 
sessed by faith in an ideal, they cannot realize the moral ne- 
cessity of war in the past. It was, as Maudsley writes in 
The Pathology of Mind, "the divinely appointed instrument 
of human progress," and "carnage the immoral seeming 
means by which the slow incarnation of morality in mankind 
has been effected." * It has hardened races to withstand 
changes in social structure; it has constituted a school for 
heroism and a playground for valour. "That which invests 
war, in spite of all the evils that attend it, with a certain moral 

1 The Pathology of Mind, Henry Maudsley, p. 26, 

The Generalship of Peace 403 

grandeur, is the heroic self-sacrifice it elicits," thus writes 
Lecky in his History of European Morals* The era of great 
wars is the era of great empires, and as Ruskin noted: great 
nations are born in war and decay in peace. Nor must it be 
supposed that virtue is patent to modern warfare, for as an- 
cient as the code of Manu is the chivalry of war; in this code 
poisoned arrows and other cunning devices are prohibited. 
Even In the turbulent days of the Religious Wars in Europe, 
Rabelais pointed out that "according to right military disci- 
pline, you must never drive your enemy to despair." 8 

Is this an apologia for war? "Yes," as long as peace re- 
mains corrupt; but "No" should mankind, in place of anathe- 
matizing war diagnose the diseases of peace and eliminate 
them. As long as we fail to do so, we are faced on the one 
side by slaughter, destruction, pestilence and famine, and on 
the other by decadence; a decadence well depicted by Boticelli 
in his famous painting 4 in which satyrs may be seen stripping 
Mars of his armour as he lies sleeping by the side of Venus. 

Hitherto, in order to maintain peace, mankind has relied 
on a cure armaments, and to replace cure by total preven- 
tion, that is by the eradication of fear and greed, the causes 
of war, is in conception as absurd as an attempt to prevent 
gluttony and immorality by interdicting eating and union be- 
tween the sexes. Does this mean that- we must leave things 
as they are ? No, it means that we are faced by an extremely 
difficult and consequently interesting problem. It means that 
in place of attempting to eliminate fear and greed we should 
change those conditions in which fear and greed must lead 
either to war or decadence. 

Where then is our starting point? It is the Industrial Revo- 
lution, which a hundred and seventy years ago began to con- 
vert a "muscular" world into a "mechanical" one. This revo- 
lution founded our present-day civilization; it was the direct 
cause of the Civil War, it was the direct cause of the World 
War, and if we are guided by its current in place of eddying 

2 History of European Morals, 1902, W. E. H. Lecky, Vol. I, p. 95. 
* The Works of Rabelais, Chap. XLIIL 
4 In the National Gallery, London. 

404 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

about in its backwash we shall find in it the direction of world 

Peace means work, work leads to trade, and during the 
modern period of history, trade has expanded until it has be- 
come international. In Europe no country is self-contained or 
self-supporting* and daily is America becoming less so. To 
work and to barter, these are the abutments of the arch of 
our civilization; consequently prosperity depends on output, 
and contentedness on wages. 

In 1866 the peace which was established was an economic 
peace, its nature was radically different from the peace of 
1860, because slavery was abolished, and as trade within the 
United States was free and unrestricted, the placing of all 
men, black and white, on a wage-earning footing resulted in 
establishing a higher degree of contentedness than existed be- 
fore the war. In 1919 the change in the organization of peace 
was negligible; for though during the war trade became so 
completely internationalized that belligerents pooled their 
economic resources (and even their commands), directly the 
war ended governments re-established their old tariff barriers 
which had played so large a part in causing its outbreak. 

The old systems of work and of fighting were by hand and 
hand-to-hand, they were based on rule-of-thumb derived from 
years of blind experimental work, of trial and error; they 
were a dodge rather than an art, for there was no true sci- 
ence behind them. The new systems of work and of fighting 
are more complex, because tools and weapons are the product 
of science, and to attain simplicity these systems, which de- 
pend for production on scientific instruments, must themselves 
be organized scientifically, 

We thus obtain two major series of peace problems: the 
first is to establish contentedness in work through scientific 
management; and the second to free trade of all restrictions, 
so that it may become completely internationalized and the 
common property of mankind, in place of the individual prop- 
erty of separate nations. To attain this freedom demands 
scientific statesmanship. Grant was supremely right when he 
said, that in the United States there could never be another 

The Generalship of Peace 405 

war except between ignorance and superstition and education 
and intelligence. To attain to a clean and contented world 
peace, which will lead to a federation even greater than that 
of the United States, we must bend all our might towards 
eliminating, not war, but the causes of war the ignorance 
and superstitions which still grip the mind and heart of the 
civilized world. As these are modified, so will that spirit of 
conflict which begets revolutions and foreign wars subside, and 
this is what I believe Grant had in mind, perhaps in an in- 
articulate form, when he said he believed that "our Great 
Maker is preparing this world ... to become one nation." 
It was a vision of the future, the stepping stones towards 
which were unseen. 


During the first half of the Civil War its predominant fea- 
ture was its lack of discipline, and I have called these two 
and a half years the experimental period out of which, through 
trial and error, were evolved soldiership and generalship; 
which, with reference to civil work, I will examine in turn. 

The establishment of order and of discipline, of manage- 
ment and the replacement of rule-of-thumb by common sense, 
that is action and thought adapted to circumstance, in no way 
destroyed the virtues of war heroism, valour, self-sacrifice, 
obedience, duty and comradeship in place It enhanced them. 
As the output of victory grew greater suffering grew less, not 
because men did not frequently suffer as greatly, but suffering 
had now a purpose, it was accomplishing a common aim, each 
dead or maimed soldier pointing gloriously towards the birth 
of a better peace. Thus, to the few who could see, the war 
became a visible symbol of the spirit of the peace which should 
follow it; a spirit which of its own accord could not embue 
peace with the heroism of self-sacrifice of soldiership, but 
which halting by the road-side of the commercial world si- 
lently waited for the workers to adopt it. 

Grant, a dismal failure in the peace which preceded this 
war, like this spirit, halted by the way-side, because this spirit 

406 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

was of himself. Then It lurked out, for like no common 
worker we find him ever looking ahead. He meditates on the 
present and projects it into the future; thus he renders visible 
a goal, and having rendered it visible he maintains his direc- 
tion towards it, believing that every success is only the ful- 
crum upon which to rest the lever of yet another effort. 
Surely, we have presented to us here one of the greatest se- 
crets of civil progress: always to be looking ahead, to main- 
tain the right and righteous course in spite of all obstacles, 
and never to be satisfied with our poor little accomplishments, 
and never to be obsessed by our greater ones. 

To-day the world is beginning to realize what this spirit 
means, and in the form of scientific management, the cradle 
of which rightly belongs to America, 

Henry Ford in one of his books sa^s : "The farmer follows 
luck and his forefathers/* s and is not this exactly what the 
soldiers of the North did In the years 1861-1863? Further: 
"We fortunately did not inherit any traditions and we are 
not founding any," and was not this one of the great mili- 
tary advantages of the Southern soldier, for whilst the North- 
ern soldier was attempting to copy the systems of European 
generals, he was adapting his tactics to the circumstances of 
each field? 

Frederick Winslow Taylor is just as informative. He 
writes : That employers and employees are organized for war 
rather than for peace; "that every single act of every work- 
man can be reduced to a science"; that rule-of-thumb methods 
are inefficient; that the aim of scientific management is to 
accomplish work "with the smallest combined expenditure of 
human effort," and that management consists in responsibility, 
in co-operation and in developing a science of work and a 
science of training. 7 Surely these were the military lessons of 
this war discipline, applying principles to conditions, avoid- 
ing shibboleths, maintaining and aming at economy of force, 
and the responsibility and co-operation of generalship* 

p, i& 

6 Ford, p. 98. 

7 Taylor, F. W. t pp. 10, 64, i6 t n t 36. 

The Generalship of Peace 407 

Surely these lessons could have been learnt from this war, had 
writers I dare not call them students ceased to hallucinate 
themselves by looking upon war in the following terms : 

a A great -mind and a fine soul are unnecessary baggage 
among the qualities that go into the making of a successful 
general. War is an anachronism in the modern world, a sur- 
vival from primitive society. It has no more place in the 
complex modern social structure than a dinosaur has in a 
drawing-room. The most successful generals are primitive 
men, whose opinions on everything outside of war and soldiers 
are often and, indeed generally extremely naive and 
childish." 8 

Though this sweeping condemnation must include such men 
as Philip of Macedon, Alexander, Caesar, Edward III, Wil- 
liam the Silent, Gustavus, Cromwell, Marlborough, Freder- 
ick, Clive, Washington and Napoleon, and many another of 
the great statesmen of the world, and though the Dinosaur 
disappeared because the world got too clean for it, it is curi- 
ous and perplexing to find this particular writer saying: "It 
ought to be an axiom of history that economic issues are the 
inspiring motives behind all moral attitudes. The story of 
mankind, in its broadest sense, is nothing but a record of the 
successive adjustments of social status to economic facts. 
Sometimes these adjustments are leisurely and slow in move- 
ment, and society adapts itself by almost imperceptible de- 
grees to new forms of existence. At other times they are 
projected with a high initial velocity because their explosive 
elements are too powerful to be controlled. In that case his- 
tory records a war or a revolution. The fundamental differ- 
ence between social evolution and war is simply a matter of 
their respective rates of speed." 9 A most wise and pene- 
trating conclusion, but one which, so it seems to me, has too 
much brain in it to fit even a literary Brontosaur. 10 

8 Woodward, p. 182. 

9 Woodward, p. 109. 

10 The "Thunder-Lizard." Its body is supposed to have weighed about two 
hundred tons, and its brain a little less than two ounces. 

40 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

To return to the drawing-rooms of civilized society, where 
incidentally most wars are hatched, what we want here is less 
gossip and dawdling and more thought and work. On the 
one hand we find generals who know nothing of the process 
of peace, and on the other captains of industry who know even 
less of the procedure of war; and yet peace and war are but 
one conflict at different rates of speed, as Mr, Woodward so 
admirably puts it. Napoleon's ideal general is as much a cap- 
tain of industry as a captain of war, and a great employer 
of labour, if he would succeed, must possess the penetration 
of Henderson's great general as well as the judgment and in- 
dustry of Faraday's philosopher. When he does, then shall 
we find not so much a division between management and work 
as a harmony between these two. On the one side must there 
be knowledge, and on the other discipline, and between these 
must come harmony created by the staff. Not only must the 
master know what the men can do, but the men must under- 
stand what the master wants them to do, and this is only 
possible when the staff is in closest touch with the conditions 
which surround the workers and the direction of the manage- 

Work, like fighting, demands the expenditure of intelli- 
gence, of good-will and of muscular energy; consequently we 
are faced by three spheres of work the mental, moral and 
physical, and one law governing these three spheres, the law 
of economy of force. Henry Ford writes: "Save ten steps a 
day for each of twelve thousand employees and you will have 
saved fifty miles of wasted motion and misspent energy," xl 
Clausewitz says: u Every unnecessary expenditure of time, 
every unnecessary detour, Is a waste of power, and therefore 
contrary to the principles of strategy." " This Is a case of 
great minds thinking alike, not coincidentally, but because the 
main problem In peace and In war Is Identical, it Is to effect 
economy, that Is to avoid waste. The science of work and 
the science of war are based on this law, and, as I will show, 
the principles of war are just as applicable to working as to 

11 ford, p. 76. 

n n War, Clausewitz, III, p. 153. 

The Generalship of Peace 409 

fighting, forming the foundations of the art of both these ac- 
tivities. In this art the strategical side is management and 
the productive side tactics; and in both, this art is nothing 
more than action, mental and physical, correctly adapted to 

Just as the object of a campaign is to gain victory at the 
least possible loss and cost, so the object of all productive 
work is to secure the maximum prosperity of employer and 
employed at the least cost to the public: the instruments are 
the workers and their tools; the theatre of work the mar- 
kets; the conditions of work time, space, material, law, 
finance and service, and the enemy not only trade competition 
but lack of efficiency. In war, a grand strategist, general, or 
statesman, does not fix his final object at the destruction of 
the enemy, which is but a means of attaining it, but at estab- 
lishing a condition from out of which a better peace can be 
evolved. In civil trade it is the same. To destroy by under- 
selling, and then to aim at high profits through over-charging 
does not establish a better condition of trade but a worse one, 
because it is not to the advantage of the public. 

To turn now to the principles, all of which are expressions 
of economy of force; direction, which aims at attaining the 
object, is obviously as necessary in industry as in fighting, and 
as obviously does it depend for Its stability on the proper dis- 
tribution of work and concentration on essentials. Glass- 
topped tables and morocco-covered chairs are as unessential 
in an office as aides-de-camp and French chefs in the field; they 
are luxuries and not necessities. 

In the moral sphere, determination and endurance are as 
essential in peace as in war. A business in which the manage- 
ment is lacking in fortitude, in perseverance and in sympathy, 
and the workers in courage, discipline, loyalty and comrade- 
ship, is in either an actual or a latent state of mutiny. And 
again, surprise, which in civil work is better named originality, 
is one of the most potent factors or principles of all. With- 
out foresight and research, the best-founded business may sud- 
denly find itself attacked in rear by some new invention or by 
some change in taste or demand, and if it has not an ample 

4i o The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

reserve of capital in hand it may rapidly be reduced to bank- 
ruptcy. Originality in all its many forms is the soul of 

Turning to the physical sphere of work: offensive action is 
the energy expended in work; security is the avoidance of 
useless loss of energy, and mobility the rapidity in accom- 
plishing the task set. When some new tool or means of work 
is invented, every task becomes an experiment; and those busi- 
nesses which apply old methods to new means, and adhere to 
this application, are generally doomed because mobility is vio- 
lated and security is overlooked. Activity is a great asset in 
work, but it must carry with it flexibility, that is power to 
change as circumstances change, and power to adapt Itself 
rapidly to new conditions* 

I think I have now written sufficient to show that a study 
of war need be no less barren to the civilian than a study of 
business to the soldier. As in war human nature is put to the 
highest test, the study of the psychology of war forms an ad- 
mirable foundation to the psychology of work. When once 
the psychological problems of industry are solved, and all 
our present industrial difficulties are in one form or another 
expressions of human nature, social discontent will disappear, 
and the cause of rebellions, revolutions and civil wars will be 
eliminated. This condition established, our remaining prob- 
lem is to remove economic friction between foreign powers. 


When we turn to the foreign policies of nations, the natu- 
ral history of the Civil War is most instructive, and had states- 
men closely studied It during the years following the Franco- 
Prussian war they must have become aware of the fact that 
international relationships were tending towards a catastrophe- 
They would have seen that as out of the myth of slavery 
emerged the Civil War, so out of the myth of the economic 
autonomy of nations must emerge a still greater conflict Be- 
fore the coming of the Industrial Revolution, slavery though 
morally wrong was an economic reality, and it did not sen- 

The Generalship of Peace 41 1 

ously influence the relationship between North and South; but 
once industry crept into the North, and steam-power began 
to weave the separate States into an economic whole, it lost 
its value and this was definitely proved after the war. 

To-day, European statesmen are obsessed by a similar 
myth, the myth of National rights in place of State rights, 
which include not only the political right of a nation to con- 
trol its internal affairs, but the economic right of controlling 
its external trade which is only partly its own. It Is not real- 
ized that, whilst before the Industrial Revolution, the bulk 
of trade being national, such a right did exist, since its com- 
ing, steam-power having woven the civilized world into an 
economic unit, this right no longer exists. To maintain the 
politics of an agricultural age in an Industrial age, is, as I have 
stated In the last chapter, equivalent to the attempt made by 
the Papacy after the Crusades to solve temporal problems by 
spiritual power. This attempt led to several hundred years 
of conflict terminating only in 1648; and the present attempt 
to solve international problems by national politics must in- 
evitably follow a similar course. As in 1861, old tactical ideas 
were applied to new tactical conditions, so to-day are states- 
men, in spite of the lessons of the Civil and World Wars, at- 
tempting to apply the machinery of old political myths to cre- 
ate, destroy, or modify new international realities. 

The world of fifteen years ago, a world which is fast crystal- 
lizing into a myth, for it is losing its reality, was pre-eminently 
a world of forces kept stable until it exploded through the fear 
of war. This fear was the undercurrent of all foreign poli- 
cies, and it swamped the growing reality that the world was 
becoming yearly more and more an economic wTiole. Since 
the war, this fear has largely disappeared; consequently Euro- 
pean equilibrium has vanished. Politically this is most notice- 
able, for we now find two definite classes of politicians the 
new autocrats and the old opportunists. The first whether 
they hail from Italy, or Spain, are Russian in essence, for they 
rule by* force whether anti-democratic or anti-aristocratic. 

The second class Is mainly composed of the old profes- 
sionals, men of the hoplite mind, and men of the force-world 

412 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

of before-war days; men who then may have been big men, 
but who, having been brought up In a war atmosphere, and 
who having lost their nerve in the present peace atmosphere, 
know of no other implements than the old ones, and are un- 
able to use them because present conditions are unsuited to 
their use. They are men of peace, in that they desire to get 
back to a state which is dead, but in no way are they creators 
of peace, that is they know not how to render the present 
state of peacefulness creative; consequently in place of work- 
ing they fall back on talking away difficulties. These men are 
as dangerous in winning the peace as they were dangerous in 
attempting to win the war; because, obsessed by a myth, the 
reality In which they live Is obscured to their minds. Unity 
of command is lacking, government is mainly by conferences 
and committees councils of war and the onus of responsi- 
bility is passed round the table much as It was by the Confed- 
erate generals at Fort Donelson. No man stands out a grand 
and solitary figure; mental pictures are constantly painted of 
what the people think and as to what the people will or may 
do: when the bulk of the people do not think at all; for as 
Henry Ford long ago discovered, to most minds thought is 
Absolutely appalling," 1S and what very naturally the masses 
want to do is to enjoy themselves thoroughly and cheaply. 
When a crisis takes place, these men are paralyzed as Rose- 
crans was at Chattanooga, and feverishly they stoop to the 
ground, scoop up dust, which they throw into the air, not to 
blind only the credulous, but to cut out from their own sight 
the hideous glimpses of reality which each crisis evokes. 

The real difficulty Is that politicians as well as captains of 
industry "must be trained right as well as born right"; 14 the 
old idea that men are born to a job, whether ever true, is 
to-day fallacious. Grant was not born to win the Civil War 
he trained himself to win It, and In his training myths played 
a small part. By close observation and reflection, he brought 
himself to realize the Interdependence of politics and strategy; 
and not until present-day statesmen create a grand strategy of 

18 Pord t p, 103. 

** Taylor, P. W. t p. 6. 

The Generalship of Peace 413 

peace as Grant created a grand strategy of war, that is a re- 
lationship between national politics and international affairs, 
will a solution to world difficulties be discovered, and a line of 
direction established between the pressure and resistance of 
these two* 

A study of history, and especially a study of the history of 
the Civil War, the period which immediately preceded it, and 
the period which followed it, a post mortem examination in 
fact for this is the object of historical study will show 
where the statesmen of Europe are right and where they are 
wrong; because this study will teach them the anatomy of fed- 
eration, and without economic federation there can be no cer- 
tainty of peace. It will also show them that the world of 
to-day is a world in which the forces of the past are in con- 
flict with the ideals of the future, as liberty was once In con- 
flict with slavery. To-day slavery consists in binding ourselves 
to the myth that nations are economically independent and 
that prosperity can be cultivated by trade barriers and pro- 
tective tariffs. Were it possible to-morrow to establish uni- 
versal free-trade throughout the world, then within a genera- 
tion would nations be so completely de-capitalized, for wealth 
would become so distributed, that international war would be 
deprived of its reason and would become inane. 

The problem of peace is therefore one of realizing which 
Ideas will do the least harm and the greatest good to human- 
ity, and what existing forces must be dissolved so that ideas 
are not crippled or killed. It is of necessity a" choice between 
two evils, a new conflict for an old conflict creation in place 
of destruction. The creative spirit, and not the offensive, or 
protective, or competitive, or subversive, is the soul of con- 
tented and prosperous peace. "Let us have peace," said 
Grant; then, it seems to me, that free trade following free 
labour Is its royal road, for as service to a people is the ulti- 
mate object of national work, service to all peoples is the ulti- 
mate object of international trade. 



IN this final chapter I come to the keystone In the arch of 
human conflict man. Man establishes peace and creates 
war; he works and he fights, ever building up things and sys- 
tems as mortal and moral as he is himself. Yesterday one 
thing was good, to-day it is evil, and to-morrow it is gone. 
Thus progress marches onwards over dead things, lifeless 
Ideas and phantom forces, moribund empires and decayed civ- 
ilizations. No end is permanent; there is no final goal: but 
the means are ever the same, expression of the will of man 
and the powers of his body; for tools and weapons are but 
servants accomplishing his desires and economizing these 

Whatever type of war we examine, man is the predominant 
factor; he fights as he thinks, and he thinks as he sees and 
feels, and these in their turn shape and form themselves ac- 
cording to the surroundings in which he lives. If barbarous, 
then his warfare is barbarous; if cultured, then according to 
the degree of culture is his warfare less barbarous. 

Grant* though born but a little over a hundred years ago, 
and still remembered by many living men, for he died on 
July 23, 1885, lived in a rough-and-tumble age, an age of con- 
flicting ideas and struggling energies, in which the Civil War 
was but its climax. Of all types of men he seems to have been 
the least suited by nature to find his place in this turmoil ; for 
he was a peace-loving man, one who frankly hated war, who 
was sickened by the sight of bloodshed, and one who, had he 
only realized that there is no essential difference between 
peace and war, and that brutality is sometimes as necessary 

as kindliness, and shrewdness more productive than simplicity, 


The Generalship of Peace 415 

might well have done better for himself and better for others 
before the war and after it. 

Like many men of a retired nature he required the pressure 
of necessity to bring out his strength. He never seems con- 
sciously to have realized this, he was so matter of fact not 
only as regards others but as concerned himself, that when 
circumstances drew his greatness out into visible manifesta- 
tion, he appears never to have noticed it. In activity or in 
rest, when selling faggots or when retrieving a disaster on the 
battlefield, his balance is unaltered; he is neither carried away 
by success nor Is he depressed by failure. Outwardly he is a 
very ordinary man, inwardly a philosopher, a fatalist, a man 
who refuses to pass under the yoke of events as long as an 
opening has been left unexplored; and then, if none can be 
found, a man who accepts fate, not as an ultimate end but as 
a stepping stone towards another beginning. 

It was because the conditions of peace seemed so unreal 
when compared to those of war, that as a civil worker and a 
politician, he was a failure. He had a true political sense, for 
he could see big things and big ideas; but he possessed no 
political cunning, he could not see the littleness of the little 
men who surrounded him. Honesty to him was always the 
best policy, and not being a man of the world, he failed to 
see that though honesty is necessary to social evolution, at 
times cunning is vital, and that the more animal human so- 
ciety is the more vital does cunning become. In war he could 
always differentiate between the lesser or greater of two evils ; 
but in peace time he could not, because he so often failed to 
understand that conditions were evil, or that there was a 
choice. The simplicity and honesty of war unconsciously ap- 
pealed to him, whilst the complexity and dishonesty of peace, 
being so alien to his nature, he left to be entangled rather than 
disentangled by others. 

The age was against him ; it was a formative age, the age 
of a nation's adolescence. Creative impulses were many; the 
commingling of steam-power and man-power was churning up 
human affairs and throwing the scum to the top. The war 
had detonated an enormous energy, an energy which could not 

4i 6 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

at once be canalized towards productive ends; which has not 
even as yet been fully absorbed, for It can still be seen boll- 
ing over in the great cities of the United States in the form 
of a virile criminality a throw-back to the commercial spirit 
of the Dark Ages, and therefore but an out-of-date, or un- 
fashionable, counterpart of present-day trading, banking and 
money-making generally. Such criminals are not decadent; 
their vices are virile not senile. Monsters dreaming of lech- 
eries they are too indolent to perform disgust us; but a scalp 
hunt or a hold-up will fascinate even the most cultured of 
men, because in every healthy man there still lurks the bar- 

Grant was plunged Into this turmoIL The idol of the 
people, for eight years he was enthroned in the temple of 
their rascality. For eight years he stood there a symbol of a 
past and future greatness, a solitary figure without a present, 
remaining himself, not changing or being able to change, wit- 
nessing corruption, injustice and dishonesty, and hardly realiz- 
ing that they were such because of his unshakeable incorrupti- 
bility, sense of justice and faith in men. Had he been less 
obedient to his ideals, had he been more of the soldier who 
destroys to create and less of the man, the farmer he once 
was, who sows and waits on God's good will to ripen his 
crops, he might have influenced his generation more fully than 
he did. 

That he had a political sense is proved by his visions of 
future greatness. I have mentioned his ideas of an Anglo- 
Saxon bond and of universal peace; but besides these he had 
more practical visions, such as the construction of a canal 
across Nicaragua, and the absorption of the smaller"*nations 
by the greater In order to reduce the causes of wan But the 
immediate problems, which in war he had always seen, in 
peace either he could not see or seeing could not understand. 

Grant at Galena and Grant at Donelson are two totally dif- 
ferent personalities; but Grant with his carpet bag setting 
out to visit McClellan at Cincinnati, and Grant as general-in- 
chief carrying a portmanteau and accompanied by his son en- 

The Generalship of Peace' 4 1 7 

termg Willard's Hotel on March 8, 1864, are In every respect 
the same persons. 

He had signed the hotel register as "U. S. Grant and son, 
Galena, 111.," and not knowing who he was the clerk allotted 
to him a room on the fifth floor. Then looking at the book he 
could not have been more astonished "had he been struck by 
a cyclone." He said: "I expected General Grant to appear 
with a retinue of staff officers and servants, and could not sup- 
pose that the plainly attired and unassuming officer, who 
looked as if he might be a captain or major, was about to take 
command of all the Union armies." x 

This incident goes a long way towards explaining Grant's 
failure as a politician he could not change the man within 
him. He could fight men but he could not fight systems 

"But these are the days of advance, the works of the men 

of mind, 
When who but a fool would have faith in a tradesman's 

ware or his word? 
Is it peace or war? Civil war, as I think, and that of a 

The viler, as underhand, not openly bearing the sword." 

Generalship in this type of war was beyond him. 


Turning to Grant as man, we find a simple, unostentatious 
and lovable character. Very human, sincere and generous. 
Very American, for he revered success, and wealth as a sym- 
bol of success. When he voyaged round the world he met, 
so he said, only four great men Beaconsfield, Bismarck, 
Gambetta and Li Hung Chang, a curious quartette, and espe- 
cially so when compared to Grant himself; for no one of 
these four bore the slightest resemblance to him; they all had 
succeeded in things at which he had failed, yet he and they 
had been in their own way successful. 

His common sense I have already examined. Johnston, one 

* General Grant, James Grant Wilson, p, aia. 

4i 8 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

of his biographers, says : "His success was the success of sheer 
common sense which is almost the same thing as generalship 

and of American democracy." * This is largely true, for 

precedents, conventionalities, and normal behaviour had no in- 
fluence over him. When, in March, 1863, Halleck wrote a 
letter to Grant and Rosecrans offering a major-generalship to 
whomever of the two first gained a decisive victory, Rosecrans 
adopted the conventional attitude: he felt "degraded at such 
an auctioneering of honors/' Otherwise Grant: he folded 
his copy up, put it in his pocket, and went on with his plan of 
campaign* Halleck was born a tactless ass, consequently no 
anger or offended dignity would alter this fact Grant's ac- 
tion saved time, Rosecrans's only increased friction. 

His common sense was due to his reasoning nature; he al- 
ways had a reason for what he did, good, bad or indifferent; 
chance and luck he did not believe in. "He was accustomed," 
writes Greene, "to take things as they were and to devote his 
whole energies to making the best of them." 3 He had little 
of the poet in his composition and much of the mechanic, in 
that he was extremely practical, accepting situations rather 
than creating them, and working without complaint with^ the 
means he had at hand. "Venice would be a fine place if it 
were drained," he said, and many have thought the same, 
especially in summer time, but have not had the moral courage 
to belittle their eyes in order to support their noses. 

General James B. Fry, who met Grant when a cadet at 
West Point and then again in the last year of his life, says of 
him: "He had no readiness in showing off his acquirements; 
on the contrary, his acquirements did not appear until forced 
to the front, and then they showed him off without his know- 
ing it. ... He did not hesitate in choosing the best course, 
no matter who proposed it; and in military affairs he would 
execute a plan prescribed by higher authority with as much 
vigor and fidelity as if it had been his own. . * Neither re- 
sponsibility, nor turmoil, nor danger, nor pleasure, nor pain, 
impaired the force of his resolution, or interrupted the steady 

2 Leading American Soldiers, R, M. Johnston, p. 137. 
* Greene, p. 108. 

The Generalship of Peace 419 

flow of his intellect ... He could not dwell upon theories, 
or appear to advantage in hypothetical cases, and even in 
practical matters his mental processes were carried on beneath 
the surface. Until he was ready to act he gave no sign by 
word or expression of his own train of thought or the im- 
pression made upon him by others though they might make 
him change his mind and induce action different from what 
he had intended. He generally adhered to his first convic- 
tions, but never halted long between two opinions. When he 
changed he went over without qualification or regard of con- 
sequences, and was not disturbed by lingering doubts or 
regrets." 4 

Matter of fact in his views on life, he was equally so as 
regards religion. His faith, as W. E. Woodward writes, ap- 
pears to have been tc a kind of ethical paganism." 6 He be- 
lieved that "all evil must be punished In some form at some 
time," whether the evil be personal or national. In brief, his 
beliefs do not appear to have been far removed from those of 
Thomas Paine; for reason, honesty, truth, justice and human- 
ity were the chief articles of his faith. In his last letter to 
his wife he says: "Look after our dear children and direct 
them in the paths of rectitude. It would distress me far more 
to hear that one of them could depart from an honourable, 
upright and virtuous life than it would to know that they 
were prostrated on a bed of sickness from which they were 
never to arise alive." 6 Loyal citizenship and duty in this 
world were his creed, and if religion consists in living up to 
an accepted standard of faith, and daily reflecting this faith 
In thought and deed, then Grant was a truly religious man. 

To turn now to his relationship with his fello^ws, General 
Burnside once said of him:- "If there is any quality for which 
General Grant Is particularly characterised, it is that of mag- 
nanimity. He is one of the most magnanimous men I ever 
knew. He Is entirely unambitious and unselfish." 7 In his 
many reports and despatches, there Is never a boastful word, 

* Fry, pp. 295, 296, 301, 
s Woodward^ p. 369. 

6 Wood<ward f p. 500, 

7 Church, p. 3. 

42O The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

or an exaggeration as to his actions, and those of others he 
always considered first, and was unstinting in his praise where 
praise was due. Jealousy was entirely foreign to his nature, 
and when he placed his trust in others, it was implicit, for in 
those whom he once took to his heart he had unlimited faith. 
"It was a principle with him never to abandon a comrade 
'under fire'; and a friend In disgrace, as well as a friend in 
trouble, could depend upon him until Grant himself found 
him guilty." 8 Probably the bitterest moment in his life was 
the day he discovered that Ferdinand Ward had speculated 
away his fortune and violated his trust; then he said sorrow-- 
fully: "I have made it the rule of my life to trust a man long 
after people gave him up; but I don't see how I can trust any 
human being again." 

Grant felt this wrong more than most men would have, not 
because his financial loss was overwhelming, but because to 
him his moral loss was crushing. Outwardly unperturbable 
and self-composed, like most Americans he was of an emo- 
tional nature, but living in an unemotional age he was slow 
to show it. When McPherson was killed he was overcome 
with grief, as Alexander was when he lost Hephaestion. Re- 
tiring to his tent, he wept for his departed friend* His feel- 
ings for others, friend or foe, were deep and sincere. I have 
already mentioned his delicacy towards Lee when he surren- 
dered, and how the glint on his sword set him thinking, as he 
himself says, (t that it would be an unnecessary humiliation to 
require the officers to surrender their swords 1 '; 9 and how he 
stopped the salute of a hundred guns in order not to triumph 
over his fallen enemy. 

Many other cases of this gentleness of nature might be 
quoted, and of these three, I think, will suffice. When on 
April 8, 1863, Sherman wrote to Rawlins objecting to Grant's 
proposed move south of Vicksburg, and recommending the 
calling of a council of war to settle on "the best general plan 
of campaign," 10 Grant read this letter carefully, made no 
comment, carried on with his plans, and never after mentioned 

8 Fry, p, 297, 
*<>Badeav t I, p. 6x6. 

The Generalship of Peace 42 r 

its existence, in spite of the fact that, after the investment of 
the city, several prominent politicians attributed the concep- 
tion of the campaign to Sherman. Similarly, when Grant hur- 
ried from City Point to Charleston in September, 1864, in 
order to visit Sheridan, he had a plan of campaign in his 
pocket. "Rut I found him so thoroughly ready to move," he 
said to Badeau, in 1878, "so confident of success when he did 
move, and his plan so thoroughly matured, that I did not let 
him know this, and gave him no order whatever except the 
authority to move. ... I was so pleased that I left, and got 
as far as possible from the field before the attack, lest the 
papers might attribute to me what was due to him.'* 1J> Again 
on May 12, 1864, when General Edward Johnson, who had 
been captured in the attack on the salient, was sent to his 
headquarters, "Grant, out of consideration for his feelings, 
passed round the dispatches from Hancock instead of reading 
them aloud." 12 

Of his friendships, the one which has always appealed to 
me most was Buckner's, an old classmate of his, and whose 
surrender to him at Donelson was the beginning of his fame. 
When in 1854 Grant resigned his commission, soon after- 
wards he found himself in New York with but a dollar or two 
in his pocket, and it was Buckner, then a captain, who supplied 
him with sufficient funds to pay his way home. Grant never 
forgot this kindness, and when Buckner surrendered to him at 
Fort Donelson he said: "Look here, Buckner, I fear you may 
be short of money before you can communicate with your 
friends; if so, let me be your banker, and repay me at your 
convenience." 18 And then right towards the end, in the sum- 
mer of 1885, when Grant had been moved to a cottage at 
Mount McGregor, near 'Saratoga, Buckner would, from time 
to time, come and see him, and talk over with him the days 
which had gone, when they were at West Point and when 
they met at Donelson. 

Though reticent and normally a silent man, Grant was by 
no means devoid of humour and wit. He disliked doubtful 

11 Badeau, III, p. 28. 

12 Atkinson, p. 287. 
18 Formby> p. 444. 

422 The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant 

stories and spiteful jokes, gossip he could not tolerate, never- 
theless at times he could be sarcastic, and was not slow with 
a pointed reply. He disliked Charles Sumner heartily, one 
of the few men he really did dislike, because he thought he 
had secured his support on the question of the annexation of 
San Domingo, and then found that he opposed it. One day, 
when informed that Sumner did not believe in the Bible, he 
promptly exclaimed, "Oh, no; he wouldn't he didn't write 
it." When Meade opened the Wilderness campaign by un- 
furling a headquarter flag of magenta, gold and silver, he 
looked at it for a moment, and then said: "Is Imperial Caesar 
about here?" And one day seated outside his tent at Vicks- 
hurg, when asked by some politicians from Illinois to state 
his views, the answer they got was as follows: "There is one 
subject with which I am perfectly acquainted, and if you like 
to talk about that, I am your man." "What is that, General ?" 
"Tanning leather," replied Grant. 14 


Such was the man, the man in himself, who won the Civil 
War for the North and for the World; who ruled his coun- 
try to the best of his ability during eight tumultuous years of 
reconstruction; who witnessed one great era in American life 
founder, and another emerge from out of chaos. A massive 
and solitary figure in peace and war, simple in his life, pos- 
sessed of no false pride of self, faithful to his friends, gener- 
ous to his enemies, enduring and resolute in battle, patient in 
toil, in sickness, and in misfortune; to me it seems, that the 
greatest lesson he can still teach his fellow countrymen is : that 
the heroism which fashions great men and great nations is 
above all to be sought in self-control, in discipline of body and 
mind: for "Wisdom is glorious, and never fadeth away," and 
"the very true beginning of her Is the desire of discipline; and 
the care of discipline is love" lfi the enthusiasm of youth 1 

14 New York Her aid f January 5, 1864. 

15 Wisdom of Solomon, VI, 12, 17. 



BEFORE publication, the MS. of this book was submitted by me to an 
eminent military writer, and as his opinion was emphatically that the 
Federal Forces at Shiloh were not tactically surprised, and as he said, "to 
picture Sherman as dominating and leading Grant astray like a child is 
simply laughable/* I consider it only right to enter into greater detail 
than I originally intended, and this, I think, can be better done in an 
appendix than in the text of this book. 

The root cause of the surprise is to be discovered in the question of 
command. Six general officers are concerned: namely, Halleck in su- 
preme command but at a distance; Smith at Pittsburg landing; then 
Grant at Savannah with Smith still in control at the landing, and a 
very sick man; Sherman, the moving spirit at the landing; McClernand 
an unknown quantity as regards seniority, and finally Buell under 
Halleck but not under Grant until April 5. 1 

On March 16 2 Buell was ordered by Halleck to advance on Savannah 
and join Grant, presumably with the idea of carrying out an offensive 
against Corinth under Halleck. On the lyth Grant arrived at Savan- 
nah and, again presumably, because Smith was too ill at the time he 
wrote 3 to Sherman, then "Commanding U. S. Forces, Pittsburg, 
Tenn." "I have ordered all troops here to report to you immediately, ex- 
cept McClernand's division." On the 2Oth this fact was corroborated 
by Sherman himself, when, from Headquarters, Pittsburg landing, 
he wrote to 4 Colonel Lauman, Commanding Second Division: "Sir, 
General Smith is on board the Hiawatha, unwell, and requests that I 
should give the necessary directions for encamping the troops as they 
arrive/* Some muddle over this dual and nominal command must 
have occurred, for on March 26 the following order was published 5 by 
Grant: "Major-General C. F. Smith, the senior officer at Pittsburg, 
is hereby appointed to command that post during the continuance of 
headquarters of the district at this place or until properly relieved. He 
will be obeyed and respected accordingly." The next day Grant learnt 

* ii, W&.> p. 94, *n, WJR.., p. 53- 

ii, W&.> p. 42. , W.R., p. 67. 

p. 43. 


424 Appendix 

of McCIernand's promotion to the rank of llajor-Oencral "without 
the date of promotion of either him or General Smith being known, " 
and referred this question to Halleck, who referred it to the Secretary 
of War, answering 7 Grant on March 31, U I know nothing about it, 
except that General MeClcllan directed me to place General Smith in 
command of the expedition until you were ordered to join it." On 
receipt of this information. Grant, who was receiving "feeble support" 
from many of his officers, 8 decided to remain at Savannah until Bueli 
arrived, but in order to overcome the difficulty as to whether Sherman 
or McClernand should control affairs at Pittsburg landing, he opened 
an advanced headquarters at this place. 

On April 4 the situation was as follows: Sherman, according to his 
own statement in the United Staffs Service ^Magazine, 186$, was "form- 
ing as it were the outlying picket," and as Prentiss's division was in the 
middle of his command, for three of Sherman's brigades were on Pren- 
tiss's right and one on his left, it may be concluded that Prentiss was 
under his orders, or at least affiliated to him. This day Grant, hearing 10 
from Lewis Wallace that enemy reinforcements had arrived at Purdy, 
ordered II W. H. L. Wallace to be prepared to reinforce him at once, 
Informing 12 Sherman of this order, Grant went on to say: "I would 
direct, therefore, that you advise your advance guards to keep a sharp 
lookout for any movement in that direction [towards Purdy], and 
should such a thing be attempted, give all the support of your division 
and General Hurlbut's, if necessary," 

In spite of certain gaps in the evidence, there Is no doubt in my own 
mind, that from the day he arrived at Savannah Grant looked upon 
Sherman as the controlling spirit at the landing, and that shortly before 
the battle took place Sherman was in command (nominal, if the critic 
wishes to stress this point) of three divisions his own, Premiss's and 
Hurlbut's, that McClernand, for obvious reasons, was not placed under 
him, and that Lewis Wallace and W. H. L. Wallace were under 
Grant, who feared an attack on Crump's landing but not on Pittsburg 
landing. This is borne out by Sherman in his report 13 in which he 
says: "On Sunday morning early, the 6th instant, the enemy drove our 
advance guard back on the main body, when I ordered under arms my 
division, and sent word to General McClernand asking him to support 
my left; to General Prentiss, giving him notice that the enemy was in 

p. 70. 10 xx, W&., n. 90. 

p. 82. 11 n, W&., p. 91. 

p. 73. 12 ii, W&., p. 9x. 

t p. 84. ,o yy& p. H s. 

Appendix 425 

our front in force, and to General Hurlbut, asking him to support 
General Prentiss." 

That Grant did rely on Sherman's judgment seems to me self-evident. 
Sherman selected the sites of the forward encampments with two ideas in 
his head that an advance was shortly to be made, and that room should 
be left for Buell's army. No continuous line of battle, offensive or de- 
fensive, was contemplated, and this can be seen from the gaps left 
between the forxvard groups. There were no entrenchments, and though 
Grant was to blame for this, Sherman stated at the trial of Colonel T. 
Worthington : "To have erected fortifications would have been an evi- 
dence of weakness, and would have invited an attack/' 14 In fact he 
did not believe that the Confederates would attack. On April 4 Colonel 
Buckland and Major Ricker carried out 15 a reconnaissance and were 
fired on by "three or four pieces of artillery, at least two regiments of 
infantry and a large cavalry force." According to Buckland, 16 Sherman 
was displeased with what he had done, as he "might have drawn the 
whole army into a fight before they were ready"; yet as to the events of 
this day (in the Worthington trial report) Sherman said: "On Friday, 
the 4th, nor officer, nor soldier, not even Colonel Worthington, looked 
for an attack, as I can prove." Major Ricker says: "When we got back 
to the picket lines we found General Sherman there with infantry and 
artillery in line of battle, caused by the heavy firing of the enemy on 
xis. General Sherman asked me what was up. I told him I had met 
and fought the advance of Bcauregard's army, that he was advancing 
on us. General Sherman said it could not be possible. Beauregard 
was not such a fool as to leave his base of operations and attack us in 
ours mere reconnaissance in force/* 1T 

The critic may say that Buckland and Ricker are unreliable wit- 
nesses, since they are quoted by Boynton, who did not like Sherman. If 
so, I will turn to Sherman himself. In his report on the battle he 
wrote: "On Saturday [April 5] the enemy's cavalry was again very 
bold, coming well down to our front, yet I did not believe that he de- 
signed anything but a strong demonstration." 18 To Grant he tele- 
graphed: "The enemy has cavalry in our front, and I think there are 
two regiments of infantry and one battery of artillery about 2 miles 
out" 19 This despatch was followed up by a report to which was at- 
tached Colonel Buckland's. In this report Sherman said : 20 "I infer 
that the enemy is in some considerable force at Pea Ridge, that yesterday 

p. 28, * 8 10, W.R., p. 248. 

JO, IP JR., pp. 91, 92. 19 xi, W.R., p. 93- 

1 See Boynton, p. 32. 20 10, W&.> p. 90. 
71 See Boynton, p. 32. 

426 Appendix 

morning they crossed a brigade of two regiments of infantry, one regi- 
ment of cavalry, and one battery of field aitillery to the ridge on which 
the Corinth road lays." The idea of "some considerable force" did not 
alarm Sherman for the reasons given in his report on the battle, already 
quoted. Otherwise surely he would have elaborated his sketchy defence 
order issued on the 4th u ln case of alarm, night or day, regiments 
and brigades should form promptly on their parade grounds and await 
orders. Of course, if attacked, the immediate commanders present 
must give the necessary orders for defense." 21 Had Sherman on the 
5th considered that "some considerable force" meant the bulk, or whole, 
of Johnston's army, then his action was criminal in not making this 
fact clear to Grant, and in leaving his defence orders as they were. 
This day Grant telegraphed Halleck: "The main force of the enemy 
is at Corinth," 22 That Sherman never intended to convey the idea of 
the presence of the whole of Johnston's army is obvious from his report 
dated April io. 33 In it he says that shortly after 7 A.M. on the 6th 
he rode forward to an open field before Appier's regiment, was fired 
on and had his orderly killed, "About 8 A.M. 1 saw the glistening 
bayonets of heavy masses of infantry to our left front in the woods . . . 
& became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a deter- 
mined attack on our whole camp." This evidence is conclusive the 
attack was unexpected, but was this unexpected attack a surprise? 

It is true that the firing of the Federal pickets gave just sufficient 
warning of the enemy's approach, and that as Grant wrote; "the five 
divisions stationed at this place were drawn up in line of battle." 24 
But where? Not on a carefully selected position, but in most cases in 
their camps or immediately outside of them ; a broken line offering to the 
enemy a number of flanks, the turning of which resulted in a number 
of local surprises, and a considerable amount of panic. Here are a few 
extracts from regimental and other reports. 


Colonel Hildebrand, Commanding Third Brigade: "The Seventy- 
seventh and Fifty-seventh Regiments were thrown forward to occupy a 
certain position, but encountered the enemy in force within 300 yards 
of our camp." 25 

Lieutenant-Colonel Parker, Forty-eighth Ohio: "Our regiment met 

21 ii, W.R. t p. 92 a* 10, //',., p. 109. 

22 ix, WJR,., p. 94. 25 1 

23 io, W.R, f p. 249. 

Appendix 427 

the enemy about 200 yards in front of our color line. They came up so 
suddenly that for a short time our men wavered." 26 

Colonel Cockcrill, Seventieth Ohio: Formed up 200 paces from the 
color line and opened fire.' 27 

Major Taylor, Chief of Artillery, Fifth Division: "The enemy ap- 
peared in large masses, and opening a battery to the front and right of 
the two guns, advanced across Owl Creek." 2S 

Captain Barrett, First Illinois Light Artillery: "We were stationed 
near the outposts, and on the alarm being given, at about 7.30 o'clock on 
Sunday morning, the battery was promptly got in readiness, and in ten 
minutes thereafter commenced firing on the right of the log church, 
some hundred yards in front of General Sherman's headquarters, where 
the attack was made by the enemy in great force." 29 


Colonel Quinn, Acting Commander Sixth Division: "At 3 o'clock 
A.M. of that day several companies were ordered out from the First 
Brigade of this division to watch, and endeavour, if possible, to capture 
a force of the enemy who were prowling near our camp. . . . The 
firing grew closer and closer. . , . The division was ordered into line 
of battle by General Prentiss, and immediately advanced in line about 
one quarter of a mile from the tents, where the enemy were met in 
short firing distance." 8a 

Colonel Moore, Twenty-first Division: "A terrific fire was opened 
upon us from the whole front of the four or five regiments forming the 
advance of the enemy, which my gallant soldiers withstood during 
thirty minutes." 81 


General McClernand, Commanding First Division: "Early on the 
morning of Sunday, the 6th of April, hearing sharp firing at short 
intervals on my left and front, in the direction of Sherman's and 
Prentiss's divisions, I sent a messenger to General Sherman's headquar- 
ters to inquire into the cause of it. Soon after my messenger returned 
with General Sherman's request that I should send a battalion of my 

10, W.R., p. 270. 7.0, fP.R. f p. 276. 

27 10 , W.R.., p. 270. 80 10, W.R., p. 280. 

28 10, W.R., p. 273. 31 10, IF,R. t p. 282. 

428 Appendix 

cavalry to join one of his, for the purpose of discovering the strength 
and design of the enemy/' n2 

Colonel Marsh, Twentieth Illinois: "Moving rapidly to the left I 
was assigned a position by General McClernand, which I had scarcely 
assumed when the enemy were seen approaching in large force and fine 
style, column after column moving on us with a steadiness and piecision 
which I had scarcely anticipated." n3 

Lieutenant-Colonel Enffdmann, Forty-third Illinois: "My orders to 
turn out were met by the inquiry, 'For what purpose? 7 And to my 
response, 'That it was to meet the enemy which was engaged with our 
troops but a short distance in front/ they said that the firing then 
heard was none other than our own men firing off their pieces to unload 
them. The infatuation that no enemy was about was so general, that 1 
was also to a great extent affected by it, and rode forward in the direction 
from which the firing proceeded to obtain certainty." 3 * 

Lieutenant Nispel, Second Illinois Light Artillery: <{ On the morn- 
ing of the 6th instant, the company being on the drill ground, I received 
an order from Major Schwartz to "prepare for immediate action/* w 


Colonel Mclienry, Seventeenth Kentucky: "My regiment was or- 
dered into line early on Sunday, 6th instant, upon a sudden and unex- 
pected attack which had been made upon our front lines by the enemy/' 8<J 


Colonel Preston, Aide-de-Gamp to General Johnston : "Through this 
field General Clcburne's Brigade moved in fine order, with loud and in- 
spiring cheers, to attack the camp. The surprise was complete. It [the 
camp] was carried between 7 & 8 o'clock, and its colors, arms, stores, 
and ammunition were abandoned. The breakfasts of the men were on 
the table, the officers 1 baggage and apparel left In the tents, and every 
evidence remained of unexpected conflict and sudden attack/' a7 

Captain Dubroca f Thirteenth Louisiana: * f We first encountered the 
enemy in one of their camps, which I suppose was the first of their camps 
still occupied. There we were formed in line of battle/* m 

82 10, /sPjfc., pp. 114, 115. * ro, /r.&., pp. 240, 241. 

10, W.R., p. 133. *T I0 , #',*., p. 403. 

34 10, /FJ?., p. 143, as I0 jrx n 49 ,. 
10, irjl. t p. 14 6. 

Appendix 429 

Colonel Hodge, Nineteenth Louisiana: tl l continued to move for- 
ward rapidly until we came in sight of the enemy's camp, when . . . I 
halted the regiment, having previously deployed them into line/' 89 

That when the attack came the bulk of the Federal troops fought 
gallantly is borne out by many of the Confederate reports: 40 that 
Sherman's leadership was heroic is also certain; 41 but that the whole 
of the Federal army was not surprised is to my mind contrary to facts. 
It is true that the Federal pickets may not have been surprised, for they 
were already in contact with their enemy ; they appear to have been for 
the most part only three-quarters of a mile in advance of the camps, with 
no cavalry vedettes in front of them. Behind them was no defensive 
line, the troops falling in inside and outside their encampments which 
is a proof that no attack was expected. Once their flanks were turned, 
as in the circumstances was inevitable, they broke or were driven back, 
the greater part in confusion, the surprise detonating like a delay action 
bomb. For this, in my opinion, Grant and Sherman must share the 

39 10, JF.R., p. 492. 

< 10, IF JR., pp. 408, 568, 574, 581- 

41 10, W.R., pp. 98, no, 



The following account of the attack by the Army of the Cumberland 
on November 24 is summarized from The Army of the Cumberland 
at Chattanooga, by Joseph E. Fullerton, Brevet Brig.-Gt k n M U.S.V., 
Assistant Adj.-Gen., Fourth Army Corps, an eye witness of the event. 
(See B. &r L. f II L, pp. 724-726.) 

General Grant ordered the attack at 3.30 P.M. In Sheridan's division 
the order was: "As soon as the signal is given, the whole line will ad- 
vance, and you will take what is before you." No mention of rifle- 
pits is made. 

At 4.20 P.M. the signal guns were fired. On the first line of rifle 
pits being captured "There was a halt of but a few minutes, to take 
breath and to re-form lines; then, with a sudden impulse, and without 
orders, all started up the ridge, ... As soon as this movement was seen 
from Orchard Knob, Grant quickly turned to Thomas, who stood by 
his side, and I heard him say angrily; 'Thomas, who ordered those men 
up the ridge?* Thomas replied, in his usual slow, quiet manner: *I don*t 
know; I did not/ Then addressing General Gordon Granger, he said, 
'Did you order them up, Granger?* *No* said Granger, *they started 
up without orders. When those fellows get started all hell can't stop 
them/ General Grant said something to the effect that somebody would 
suffer if it did not turn out well, and then, turning, stoically watched 
the ridge. . . /* 

"As soon as Granger had replied to Thomas, he turned to me, his 
chief -of -staff, and said: 'Ride at once to Wood, and then to Sheridan, 
and ask them if they ordered their men up the ridge, and tell them, if 
they can take it, to push ahead.* As I was mounting Granger added : 
'It is hot over there, and you may not get through. I shall send Captain 
Avery to Sheridan, and other officers after both of you/ As fast as 
my horse could carry me, I rode first to General Wood, and delivered 
the message, *I didn't order them up* said Wood, *they started up on 
their own account, and they are going up, too! Tell Granger, if we are 
supported, we will take and hold the ridge!* As soon as I reached 


Appendix 43 1 

General Wood, Captain Avery got to General Sheridan, and delivered 
his message. *I didn't order them up/ said Sheridan; 'but we are going 
to take the ridge !' " Before Sheridan received the message taken by 
Captain Avery, he had sent a staff-officer to Granger, to inquire whether 
"the order to take the rifle-pits meant the rifle-pits at the base, or those 
on the top of the ridge." 

Governor John A, Martin, of Kansas, colonel of the 8th Kansas 
Volunteers, of Willich's brigade, Wood's division, in a letter to General 
Fullerton, dated November 16, 1886, says; 

On reaching the first line of rifle-pits "General Willich came up, and 
I said to him, *We can't live here, and ought to go forward.' He gave 
me directions to move ahead, and I at once ordered my regiment for- 
ward. By that time, or about that time, it seemed to me that there 
was a simultaneous advance of many of the regiments in different parts 
of the line, and I got the impression that possibly orders had been com- 
municated for an advance on the ridge, which I had not received,* hence 
I hurried my regiment forward as rapidly as possible. ... I was im- 
pressed with the idea, I know, that a sharp rivalry had sprung up be- 
tween several regiments, including my own, as to which should reach 
the summit first.* " 


General Headquarters. General R. E. Lee T Commanding; Brig.-Gen- 
eral W. N. Pendleton, Chief of Artillery. 

Cavalry Corps. Maj.-General J. E. B. Stuart, Commanding (Suc- 
ceeded by Maj.-Gencral W, Hampton) ; Hampton's Division, Rlaj.- 
General W. Hampton (succeeded by Maj. -General M. C. Butler) ; 
Fitzhugh Lee's Division, Maj.-Gcneral F. Lee; W. H. F. Lee's 
Division, Maj.-General W, H. F. Lee, 

First Corps. Lieut-General J. Longstreet, Commanding (Maj.-General 
R. H. Anderson from May 7); Pickett's Division, Maj.-General 
G. E. Picfcett; Field's Division, Maj.-General J. B, Field; Ker- 
shaw's Division, Maj.-General J. B. Kershaw. 

Second Corps. Lieut.-General R. S. Ewell, Commanding (May 25, 
Maj.-General J. A. Early) ; Early's Division, Maj.-Gencral J. A. 
Early (May 8-21, Brig.-General J. B. Gordon; May 21-25, Maj.- 
General J. A. Early; from May 25, Maj.-General S. D. Ramseur). 
Rodes's Division, Maj.-General R. E. Rodes; Johnson's Division, 
Maj.-General E. Johnson (after May 12 reformed as Gordon's 
Division, Maj.-General J. B. Gordon). 

Third Corps. Lieut-General A. P. Hill, Commanding (May 7-20, 
Maj.-General J. A. Early) ; Anderson's Division, Maj.-General 
R. H. Anderson (May 7, Brig.-General W. Mahone) ; Heth's 
Division, Maj.-General H, Heth; Wilcox's Division, Maj.-General 
C. M. Wilcox. 



General Headquarters. Maj.-General G. G. Meade, Commanding; 
Maj .-General A. A. Humphreys, Chief of Staff; Brig.-General H. 
J, Hunt, Chief of Artillery ; Brig.-General R. Ingalls, Chief Quar- 
termaster; Brig.-General S. Williams, Assistant Adjutant General. 

Cavalry Corps. Maj.-General P. H. Sheridan, Commanding; 1st Divi- 
sion, Brig.-General A. T. A. Torbert; 2nd Division, Brig.-General 
D. McM. Gregg; 3rd Division, Brig.-General J. H. Wilson. 

Second Corps. Maj.-General W. S. Hancock, Commanding; 1st Divi- 
sion, Brig.-General F. C. Barlow; 2nd Division, Brig.-General J. 
Gibbon; 3rd Division, Maj.-General D. B. Birney; 4th Division, 
Brig.-General G. Mott (discontinued May 14) ; 4th Division 
(Heavy Artillery), Brig.-General Tyler (from May 16, discon- 
tinued May 26). 

Fifth Corps. Maj.-General G. K. Warren, Commanding; ist Division* 
Brig.-General C. Griffin ; 2nd Division, Brig.-General J. C. Robin- 
son (broken up May 9) ; 3rd Division, Brig.-General S. W. Craw- 
ford; 4th Division, Brig.-General J. S. Wadsworth (May 6, Brig.- 
General L. Cutler). 

Sixth Corps. Maj.-General J. Sedgwick, Commanding (May 9, Maj.- 
General H. G. Wright) ; ist Division, Brig.-General H, G. Wright 
(May 9, Brig.-General D. A. Russell) ; 2nd Division, Brig.-General 
G. W. Getty (May 6, Brig.-General F. Wheaton; May u, Brig.- 
General T. H. Neill) ; 3rd Division, Brig.-General J. B. Ricketts. 

Ninth Corps. Maj.-General A. E. Burnside, Commanding; ist Divi- 
sion, Brig.-General T. G. Stevenson (May n, Col. D. Leasure; 
May 12, Maj.-General T. L. Crittenden) ; 2nd Division, Brig.- 
General R. B. Potter; 3rd Division, Brig.-General O. B. Willcox; 
4th (Coloured) Division, Brig.-General E. Ferrero, 




WHO originated the idea of the march to Savannah? From the War 
Records there can he little doubt that it was Grant. 

In his Memoirs Sherman writes : 

"I have often been asked by well-meaning friends when the thought 
of that march first entered my mind, I knew that an army which had 
penetrated Georgia as far as Atlanta could not turn back. It must go 
ahead, but when, how, and where, depended on many considerations. 
As soon as flood had shifted across from Lovejoy*s to Palmetto I saw 
the move in my 'mind's eye* ; and, after Jeff, Davis's speech at Palmetto, 
of September 26th, I was more positive in my conviction, but was in 
doubt as to the time and manner. When General Hood first struck 
our railroad above Marietta we were not ready, and I was forced to 
watch his movements further till he had 'cammed* off to the west of 
Decatur. Then I was perfectly convinced, and had no longer a shadow 
of doubt. The only possible question was as to Thomas's strength 
and ability to meet Hood in the open field/* * 

This places Sherman's claim from September 20 T 1864, onwards. 

In my opinion the Idea arose out of Grant's Mobile project, for 
directly after he assumed supreme command he sent Sherman a map 
marked with red and blue lines, the former showing the territory occu- 
pied by the Federal forces at the opening of the campaign of 1864, and 
the latter the proposed lines of operations for the campaign, The blue 
lines were as follows: 

(1) From Saluda, Va. via Richmond and the James River to Lynch- 
burg: thence via Liberty to the Blue Ridge. 

(2) From New Berne to Raleigh, N, C 

(3) From Tunnel Hill to Atlanta, Ga. 

(4) From Atlanta via Milledgeville to Savannah, 

(5) From Atlanta via Montgomery and Selma to Mobile. 

(6) From Sabine Pass to Shreveport, La., then up the Red River. 

1 Sherman, xi, pp, 166, 167* 


Appendix 435 

The letter accompanying this map has been lost, 2 but the map itself 
shows quite clearly Grant's idea of the rear approach, or manoeuvre, 
and the general encirclement of the Confederate armies in an ever-con- 
tracting area. From it can be seen at a glance that the forces at Chat- 
tanooga were to move on Atlanta, there divide, one half moving on 
Mobile, and the other via Milledgeville on Savannah, 

On April 2 Sherman received the above letter, and on the 5th 
wrote in reply: 

"From that map I see all, and glad am I that there are minds now 
at Washington able to devise; and for my part, if we can keep our 
counsels I believe I have the men and ability to march square up to the 
position assigned me and to hold it. ... No time shall be lost in putting 
my forces in mobile condition, so that all I ask is notice of time, that 
all over the grand theater of war there shall be simultaneous action." 3 

Again on April 10 he wrote: "Your two letters of April 4th [in which 
Grant outlined his plan of campaign] are now before me, and afford me 
infinite satisfaction. That we are now all to act in a common plan on 
a common center, looks like enlightened war." 4 

The occupation of Mobile Bay on August 5 caused Grant to modify 
his plan, and on September 10 he wrote to Sherman the letter quoted on 
p. 321 of the text. On the same day Sherman replied as follows: 

"I do not think we can afford to operate farther, dependent on the 
railroad. ... If I could be sure of finding provisions and ammunition 
at Augusta or Columbus, Ga., I can march to Milledgeville and com- 
pel Hood to give up Augusta or Macon- ... If you can manage to 
take the Savannah River as high as Augusta, or the Chattahoochee as 
far up as Columbus, I can sweep the whole State of Georgia. Other- 
wise I would risk our whole army by going too far from Atlanta." 5 

From this telegram it would appear that on September 10, only in 
certain contingencies which depended on Grant, did Sherman consider 
an advance east of Atlanta a feasible operation. 

On the 1 2th, in reply, Grant sent Colonel Porter to Sherman with 
a letter in which he explained his forthcoming campaign, and that he 
intended to operate against Wilmington. Then, evidently perturbed by 
Sherman's difficulties, he continued: "What you are to do with the 
forces at your command I do not see. The difficulty of supplying your 
army except when you are constantly moving beyond where you are, I 
plainly see. If it, had not been for Price's movements Canby could 

a 59, W*R. f p. 261. For the map, See Church, p. 230. 
* 59 , #M2,,p. 262. 
*59, JFJR., p. 312. 

p p. 355, 356. 

436 Appendix 

have sent 12,000 more men to Mobile. From your command on the 
Mississippi an equal number could have been taken. With these forces 
my idea would have been to divide them, sending one half to Mobile 
and the other half to Savannah, You could then move, as proposed in 
your telegram, so as to threaten Maeon and Augusta equally. . . * My 
object now in sending a stall officer is not so much to suggest opera- 
tions for you as to get 3*011 r views, 11 '* Sherman sent these in his letter 
of the 20th, quoted on p. 322 of the text* 

From the above there can be little doubt as to who originated the 
march to Savannah. The idea was Grant's, the elaboration and even- 
tual execution Sherman's* 

78, r j? v p. 364. 



General Headquarters. Maj.-General G. G. Meade, Commanding; 

Brig.-General H. J. Hunt, Chief of Artillery. 

Cavalry Corps. Maj.-General P. H. Sheridan, Commanding; 1st Divi- 
sion, Brig.-General T. C. Devin; 2nd Division, Maj.-General G. 

Crook; 3rd Division, Brig.-General G. A. Custer. 
Second Corps. Maj.-General A. A. Humphreys, Commanding; ist 

Division, Brig.-General N. A. Miles; 2nd Division, Brig.-General 

W. Hays; 3rd Division, Brig.-General G. Mott. 
Fifth Corps. Maj.-General G. K. Warren, Commanding; ist Division, 

Brig.-General C, Griffin; 2nd Division, Brig.-General R. B. Ayres; 

3rd Division, Brig.-Ge teral S. W. Crawford. 
Sixth Corps. Maj.-General H. G. Wright, Commanding; ist Division, 

Brig.-General F. Wheaton; 2nd Division, Brig.-General G. W. 

Getty; 3rd Division, Brig.-General T. Seymour. 
Ninth Corps. Maj*-General J. G. Parke, Commanding; ist Division, 

Brig.-General O. B. Willcox; 2nd Division, Brig.-General R. B. 

Potter ; 3rd Division, Brig.-General J. F. Hartranft. 


General Headquarters. Maj.-General O. C. Ord, Commanding. 

Cavalry Division. Brig.-General R. S. MacKenzie, Commanding. 

Defences of Bermuda Hundred. Maj.-General G. L. Hartsuff, Com- 

Twenty-fourth Corps. Maj.-General J. Gibbon, Commanding; ist 
Division, Brig.-General R. S. Foster; 3rd Division, Brig.-General 
C. Devens; Independent Division, Brig.-General J. W. Turner. 

Twenty-fifth Corps. Maj.-General G. Weitzel, Commanding; ist 
Division, Brig.-General A. V. Kautz ; 2nd Division, Brig.-General 
W. Birney. 



Alcibiades, 39 n. 

Alexander, General E. Porter, quoted, 
4i 53> 289, 388 

Alexander the Great, tactics of, 191, 

Alleghany mountains, strategic impor- 
tance, 45 

Allen, Colonel Robert, 135 

Amelia Court House, Virginia, 354, 


Ammunition train, in Vicksburg cam- 
paign, 141 

Anderson, General /. R. f in battle of 
Spottsylvania, 240-42, 248, 255; bat- 
tle of Cold Harbor, 276; Petersburg 
campaign, 295 

Antietam, battle of, 34, 43, 56 

Appalachicola river, 367 

Appier, Colonel, , 104 

Appomattox campaign, 336-58 

Appomattox Court House, 41, 356; 
Lee's surrender, 357-58; Grant's 
strategy at, 363 

Appomattox Station, 356 

Arkansas operations, 44 

Arkansas Post, 130 

Arkansas river, strategic importance, 


Armaments vs. disarmament, 393 

Arminius, 229 

Army of the Cumberland, in Atlanta 
campaign, 310 

Army of the James, 260 

Army of the Ohio, 55 ; in Atlanta 
campaign, 310 

Army of Northern Virginia, 221, 354; 
strength, 1864, 3 02 J ^ ast bivouac at 
Appomattox Court House, 356; sur- 
render, 357-58 

Army of the Potomac, 210, 223, 264, 
359; strength, 1864, 302 

Army of the Tennessee, 211; in At- 
lanta campaign, 310 

Army supplies, abundance in central 
Mississippi, 129 

Artillery, value of, 50; tactics, 5; use 
in rear attack, 368 - 

Assault, value of, 202-204 

Atkinson, Captain, quoted, 248, 254, 

Atlanta, strategic importance, 44, 219, 

362-63; back door of Lee's army, 

177; occupation of, 333 
Atlanta campaign, 308, 310-19 ; strength 

of Union army, 310; losses, 374 
Augereau, Marshal of France, quoted, 

Augur, General Christopher C., in 

Wilderness campaign, 221 
Averell, General William W., 56, 316 
Avery, Captain W. L., at Chattanooga, 

App. II, 430-31 
Ayres, General Romeyn B., at Five 

Forks, 350 

Badeau, General Adam, quoted, 72-3, 
128, 134, 140, 142, 154, 158, 201-202, 
208, 209-10, 287, 328, 354, 378 

Baker's Creek, Mississippi, 148 

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 316 

Banks, General N. P., 139, 140, 208; 
in Red River campaign, 220 

Barlow, General Francis C., quoted, 
250-52; in battle of Spottsylvania, 
250; in battle of Cold Harbor, 283 

Barrett, Captain Samuel E., at battle 
of Shiloh, App. I, 427 

Baton Rouge, surrender, 123; Grier- 
son's arrival at, 136 

Battlne, Cecil Williams, quoted, 57 

Bayonets, 50 

Bayou Pierre, Louisiana, 138 

Bayou routes to Vicksburg, 131 

Bayou warfare, 134 

Bazaine, Marshal, 28 

Beauregard, General P. G. TV, 82, 107, 
in, 114, 116, 212, 339; quoted, 29- 
30, 106-07; succeeded in command 
by Bragg at Chattanooga, 159; sur- 
prise attack at Drury's Bluff, 261; 
weakness of force at Petersburg, 
292 ; generalship in Petersburg cam- 
paign, 293, 295 

Belisarius, tactics of, 192 




Belmont, battle of, 72-4, plan, 7* ; les- 
sons from, 1 86, 195; Grant 1 ** heroism 
at, 188 

Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, 290 
Beverly House, Virginia, 250 
Big Black river, 128, 142, 151 
Bigelow, Major John, quoted, 53, 


Birge, General Henry \V., 88 
Birney, General IX B n in battle of 

Spottsylvania, 250 

Blockade of the Southern ports, 31; 
importance not understood by Grant, 

Blockade running, 32 
Boer War. See South African War 
Bolton, Mississippi, 147, 14$ 
Bowftti General John $. t *45 
Bowling Green, Kentucky, 78, 193; 

evacuation of, 82. 
Boynton, C. B, f quoted, 164 
Braddock*s campaign in 1755, 230 
Br&ffff t General Rr&xtow f 94, XG*>, 116, 
158, 163, 37o; v quoted, 9&; succeeded 
J&taurtg&rd in command against 
BueO, 159; occupied Chattanooga, 
i6oj quarrel with JLongstreet, 167; 
plan of attack on Chattanooga, 168; 
tactics at Chattanooga, 173 
Brandy Station, Virginia, 224 
Breckenndge, General John ,, io6 t 
212, 266, 287; in war on railways, 

Breech-loading rifle, 53, 26% 
Bridgeport, Alabama, 165 
British War in South Africa, Set 

South African War 
Browning, Robert, quoted, 380 
Brown's Ferry, Tennessee, 165, 198 
Brown's House, Virginia, #50 
Bruce, Colonel George A., quoted, 83, 

90* 353* 374* 375.379*80 
Bruinsburg, Mississippi, 137, 138 
ftuckner, General S. B>, 74, SE, 173 ; 

Grant's friendship for, 421 
Buell, General Don Carlos, 75-9, 93, 
93-4, 96, 9$, ixa, 125; march on 
Chattanooga, 115; failure in Chat- 
tanooga campaign, 159-60 
Bull Run, first battle of, 6, 37, 39, 41 
Bunksville, Virginia, strategic impor- 
tance, 44 ; Wilson's raid on, 300 
Burmide, General A. E., xx, 213; 
quoted, 419; defeat at Fredericks- 
burg, ^125; position at Knoxville, 
167; in the Wilderness campaign, 

224, 237-38; in baffle of Spotfn*!- 
vania, ^42, 248, 2*50, 264; in batik 
of Cold Harbor, 280; Petersburg 
campaign, 296 

Burnsville, MisnisMppi, n6 

Butler, General Bcnjaniiii F. f 6x, 123, 
208, 2tH; generalship* 2s6 218-19; 
in Wilderness campaign, 323, 225; 
battle of Spottftylvania, call for rc- 
>crvcs t 242; operation on the James, 
25*;; blunders in tactics 2to-6r; 
Petersburg campaign, verbal orders 
to Smith, 290; te le graphic commu- 
nication with Smith, 291-93; driven 
back by Longstrett, 306 

Cairo, Illinois, 70; strategic impor- 
tance, 45, 192 

Calhoun, Mississippi, 147 

California, slavery question in, ax 

Cambrai, battle of World War, 195 

Canada, frontier of, 221 

Carey, Surgeon, quoted, in 

Carleton, General James H,, in Wil- 
derness campaign, 2ax 

Casualties. See Losses 

Cavalry, ues of, 48, 369; effect of rifle 
on, 51; at Chattanooga, 1^7; useless 
in wood fighting, 262; i World 
War, 262; use in rear attack, 36$; 
use of at Five Forks,, 369-70 

Cavalry raids, 160 

Cedar Creek, battle of, 37, 318-19, 
334; losses, 320 

Champion'* Hill, battle of, 148-51, 199, 
371 ; plan, 149 

Chancellornvilfe, battle of, 39, 43, 140 

Charles XII of Sweden, 190 

Charleston Court fr t quoted, 333 

Charlottesville, Virginia, strategic im- 
portance, aw; Sheridan ordered to, 

Chattanooga, strategic importance, 44, 
75, 362-63; name, xa 

Chattanooga, battle of, 158-77; Grant 
takes command, 161; plan of at- 
tack, x68; detailed account of bat- 
tle, 17^-77; Sherman's tactics, 171; 
losses 177 ; results, 177; use of re- 
serves, 186; effect of <Jrant T person- 
ality, 191, 194, 195; Grant's distri- 
bution of forces, 196; surprise at- 
tack, 198; App. II, 430-31 

Chatham* Oemral JB. F* 9 94, 174 



Chickamauga, battle of, 161 ; effect at 
Washington of Confederate victory, 
161 ; losses, 374 

Chickasaw Bluff, battle of, 124-30 
Church, Captain William O, quoted, 

. 66 6S 
City Point, Virginia, 242, 260 

City Point railway, 299 

Civil War, generalship in, 3, 61 ; 
average age of generals in, 5 ; im- 
mensity of, 15; naval warfare, 23, 
121 ; results, 25 ; strategy, 26-46, 74, 
324, 362; compared with World 
War, 41, 181, 391-97; theatre of, 
43-5; military objectives, 44; rear- 
attack strategy, 47; artillery in, 53, 
59; tactics, 54, 61, 359-6i 365-74; 
fraternizing, 56, 166; infantry tac- 
tics, 57; cavalry tactics, 59; 
cavalry raids, 160, 261-62; unity 
of command necessary, 182; effect of 
Lincoln's re-election, 334; Lee's sur- 
render, 357-58; political dominance 
of strategy, 362; moral elements of 
victory defined, 366; failure of as- 
saults, 370; losses, 37 2 -74; strength 
of opposing armies, 373; generosity 
of Granfs. terms of surrender, 379; 
spirit of the peace, 387-90; post-war 
plundering, 389; economic gains, 
390; establishment of national har- 
mony, 405 ; natural history of the 
war, 410-11 

Clausewitz, quoted, 186, 408 

Chburne, General Patrick R. f 173-741 
quoted, 311 

Clinton, Mississippi, 146 

Cobbett, William, quoted, 17 

Colt rifle, 53 

Cockerill, Colonel Joseph R., at battle 
of Shiloh, App. I, 427 

Cold Harbor, Virginia, battle of, 153, 
274-84; Lee's plan for, 275; political 
importance, 277; plan, 279, 281; 
effect of defeat, 284; Granfs tactics 
at, 372 

Confederacy, naval measures, 32; 
strategy, 29, 46; political power, 


Confederate army, 35, 39; arms of, 52; 
lack of discipline in, 55; strength in 
1864, 212; desertions, 222, 334, 342; 
advantages in Wilderness campaign, 
230-31; withdrawal of men by three 
states, 342; disorganization, 342. 
See also Army of Northern Virginia 

Confederate cavalry, 59; virtually 
mounted infantry, 54 

Conoidal bullet, 51 

Conscription Act, Confederate, 39; 
Federal, 40 

Corinth, Mississippi, strategic impor- 
tance, 44, 96-101 ; occupation, 114 

Corinth, battle of, 116-20; plan, 119; 
manoeuvres, 193, 195, 198 

Cotton, destruction of, 367 

Cotton gin, 23 

Couch, General Darius N., in Wilder- 
ness campaign, 221 

Courage, first quality of soldiership, 

Cox, General Jacob D., quoted, 55-56 

Crawford, General Samuel W., at 
Five Forks, 350 

Crimean War, 52 

Crocker, General Marcellus M., 150 

Crook, General George, 216, 316 

Cullen, Colonel Edgar M., in Peters- 
burg campaign, 305 

Culpeper Court House, Virginia, 224 

Cumberland Church, battle of, 356 

Cumberland river, strategic impor- 
tance, 45 

Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, 74 

Curtis, General Samuel R., 90, 127 


Dabney's saw-mill, Virginia, 350 
Dana, Charles A., quoted, 164-65 
Danville, Virginia, 356 
Dardanelles operations in World War, 

Dargan, member of Congress, quoted, 

Davis, Admiral Charles Henry, 

Davis, Jefferson, 27, 35, 128, 322, 324; 

quoted, 18; lack of policy, 28, 29, 

30; as president of the Confederacy, 

30; selection of officers, 36; flight 

from Richmond, 352 
Deatonsville, Virginia, 355 
Declaration of Independence, 26 
Deer Creek, Mississippi, 136 
Department of the Mississippi, 210 
Department of West Virginia, 216 
Disarmament, 393 
Dix, General John A., in Wilderness 

campaign, 221 
Draft riots, 40 
Drury's Bluff, battle of, 6i 261 



a* Captain^ at battle of Shtioh, 
App. I, 429 
Duncan, Lifutfitant-Golonfl J, //., on 

desertions in Confederate army, 334 

Early* General Jubal A., in battle of 
Spottttylvama, 241, 242; in IVters- 
burg campaign, 287; war on rail- 
ways, 300; advance toward Wash- 
ington, 301-02; in Shenandoah Val- 
ley battles, 316-20; defeated near 
Charlottesville, 340 

East Tennessee and Virginia railway, 

Edward III, tactics of, 102 

Edward's Station, Mississippi, 145, 
147, 148, 150 

Eggleston, G. C, quoted, 24 

Ely's Ford, Virginia, 228 

Emory, General William !L, 316 

Engelmann, Lieutenant-Colonel, at bat- 
tle of Shiloh, App, I, 428 

England, blockade running, 32 

European intervention as a menace to 
the North, 27 

Ewflf, General Richard S*, 212; In 
Wilderness campaign, 222, 231 -32, 
23$; in battle of Spottsylvania, 242, 
248, 266, 267 

Faraday, Michael, quoted, 2 
Farmville, Virginia, 355, 356 
F*rragut, Admiral David G., 123 
Federal army. See Union army 
Ferrero, General Edward, 303 
Fisher's Hill, Virginia, battle of, 317, 

Five Forks, battle of, 347-50; plan, 

349; Grant's order of battle, App. 

VI, 437 

Floyd, General J0hn R, 82, 83* 86, 8$ 
Foch, General^. 39 n. 
Foote, Rear-Admiral, 79, 85 
Force, General Manning F., quoted, 

88, 9S-< 
Ford, Henry, My Lift and t?orh> 

12 ; quoted, 406, 408, 4x3 
Formby, quoted, 6 

Forrest, General N. $,> 128, x6a, 328 
Fort Donelson, importance of, 74; size 

of, 80 
Fort Donel$on, battle of, 7, 41, 82-91, 

ns from, 

186; Grant's personality responsible 
for victory, 191 

Fort Fisher, capture of, 337 
Fort Harrison, capture of,' 305^6 ; tac- 
tics at, 370-77 
Fort Hriman, 78, 80-81 
Fort Henry, 74, 78, B0-x< 103, 195 
Kurt Jackson, 59 
Fort Monroe, strategic importance, 214, 


Fort Pillow, 1x4 
Fort Puwharan, aflo 
Fort Stedman, battle of, 344 
Fort Sumtpr, attack n t 15' 
Fourteen Mile Creek, NnsMMtippi, 144 
Kranro-Pruftitian War, 59; economic 

resuit*, 394-95 
Frauklin, Tennessee, battle of, 3^8-49, 


Fraternizing between armies, 56, 166 
Frederick the Great, military tactics 

of, 49 t 194, 2ox 
Fredericksburg, battle of, 27, 34, 39, 


Frederxcksburpf railway, 263, 299 
Free trade and peace, 413 
Fremont, Major-General John C, 70, 
72, 75 

Fry, Genera! James B n quotedf 418-19 
FuIIerton, Ctcnerat Joseph E, quoted, 

App. II, 430-31 


Catling gtins, 53 

G-eddes, Sir Eric, 37 

Generals, average age of in Civil 
^War, 5 

Generalship^ x; training for> S; youth 
as asset to, 5 

Georgia, source of supplies for Con- 
federate army t 158. Set at*& Sher- 
man's march through Georgia 

Germtnna Ford, Virginia, 22$ 

Germany, indu*trtft!ixtion of, 395 

Gettysburg, battle, of, 43* s, 376; ar- 
tillery tactics, 59; louse*, 374 

Gibbon, General Jolio, m battle of 
Spottsylvania, 250 

Gillmore, General, 260 

Gladstone, William Ewart, sympathy 
with South, 28 

Globe Tavern, occupied by Warren In 
Petersburg campaign, 304 

GordonsvilJe, Virginia, aa 



Grand Gulf, Mississippi, 135, 136, 137, 

Grand Junction, occupation, 123 

Granger, General Gordon, at Chatta- 
nooga, App. II, 430 

Grant, General Ulysses $., strategical 
plan of the War due to, 46; early 
years, 65-6; ancestry, 66; Mexican 
War experience, 67; first command 
in Civil War, 68; courage, 70; pro- 
moted to* rank of brigadier-general, 
70; first battle, generalship in, 73; 
Halieck's treatment of, 78-9, 94; 
tactics at Fort Donelson, 83 ; "un- 
conditional surrender" letter to 
Buckner, 89; responsibility for the 
surprise at Shiloh, 103-04; general- 
ship at Shiioh, no; eclipse after 
Shiloh, 115; distribution of forces 
before luka, 1x6; development of 
strategic power, 121 ; placed in 
charge of Department of the Ten- 
nessee, 122 ; plan for advance on 
Vicksburg, 127, 135; plan for cap- 
ture of Vicksburg, 131; strategy at 
Vickshurg, 140; lack of support in 
Vicksburg campaign, 142; general- 
ship in Vicksburg attack, 154, 183; 
promoted to rank of major-general, 
r 5&) giv^n command of Military 
Division of the Mississippi, 162; 
plan for attack on Chattanooga, 
168; generalship at Chattanooga, 
176; letter to Halleck on Mobile 
project, 177; dislike of war, 185, 
414; opinion of slavery, 185; on the 
value of military history, 185-86; 
use of reserves, 186; personality, 
187-89; energy, 189; originality, 
197; as strategist, 191-98; commis- 
sion as lieutenant-general, 207; situ- 
ation on assuming supreme com- 
mand, 208 ; minor duties as general- 
in*chief, 221 ; plan against Lee, 212- 
16 ; generalship in campaign against 
Lee, 215; grand tactical distribution 
In 1864 plan, 217; strategy in Wil- 
derness campaign criticized, 224; 
generalship in Wilderness cam- 
paign, 232-38; quoted on battle of 
Wilderness, 237; personality con- 
trasted with Lee's, 238-39; decision 
to head Lee off from Richmond, 
239; advance orders for battle of 
Spottsylvania, 240; object in battle 
of Spottsylvania, 243; letter to Lin- 

coln during battle of Spottsylvania, 
248 ; generalship in battle of Spott- 
sylvania, 254-55; newspaper vilifi- 
cation, 278 ; generalship in battle of 
Cold Harbor, 278, 283; Petersburg 
campaign, success of strategy, 289; 
character under defeat, 298-99 ; gen- 
eralship in Atlanta campaign, 312; 
generalship contrasted with Sher- 
man's, 312; plan for attack on 
Lynchburg, 317; strategical prob- 
lems, 332-33; plan for final cam- 
paign, 337-38; plan for advance on 
Lee t 345; orders attack on Peters- 
burg and Richmond, 351 ; orders ad- 
vance to Appomattox, 353; ride to 
Jetersville, 354; urges Lee to sur- 
render, 356-57? surrender, 357-58; 
tactics misunderstood, 359-60, 365; 
analyzed, 365-74; achievements in 
warfare, 361; strategy, 362-70; hor- 
ror of bloodshed, 373 ; generalship 
compared with Lee's, 375-82 ; diffi- 
culties analyzed, 382-83 ; failure as 
a politician, 415; unpretentiousness, 
4x6-17; reverence for success, 4x7- 
18; religious beliefs, 4x9; relation- 
ship with his fellows, 419-20; grief 
at death of McPherson, 420; on 
future of warfare in United States, 
398; on arbitration, 398; on inter- 
nationalism, 398-99; examples of 
generosity, 420-21; examples of hu- 
mour and wit, 421-22; battle of 
Shiloh, App. I, 423-26; order of bat- 
tle, App. IV, 433 

Greeley, Lieutenant-Colonel, Peters- 
burg campaign, 295 
Greene, General George S., quoted, 

126, 156, 418 

Gregg, General David M., in Wilder- 
ness campaign, 227 
Greffff, General John, 144-45 
Grenada, Mississippi, 128, 195 
Grierson, Colonel Benjamin H., 136 
Guinea's Station, Virginia, 266 
Gwin, Lieutenant-Commander Wil- 
liam U., 95 


Haig, Sir Douglas, 192 

Haines's Bluff, Mississippi, 127, 137, 

138, 141, 151, 152, 195 
Halleck, effect of his promotion on 

Grant, 122 



Halleck, General, 210, quoted, 40 

Halleck, General Henry VV., 75-79> 
89; lack of generalship, 92; ap- 
pointed to command Department of 
the Mississippi, 93 ; plan after battle 
of Shiloh, 114; appointed general- 
in-chief, 115; orders to Grant re- 
garding Vicksburft, 125-26; disgust 
with McCleruand's intrigue, 127; 
orders to Grant in Vicksburg cam- 
paign, 140; rejection of Mobile 
project, 158-59; proposal to Grant 
to invest Richmond, 285; orders to 
Thomas in Tennessee campaign, 

1 33*-3^ 

Hamlin, Colonel A. C. t 319 

Hampton, General ffade, war on rail- 
ways, 300-302 

Hancock, General W. $,, 57, 2x1, 264; 
in Wilderness campaign, 224, 228, 
236-37; battle of Spottsylvania, z^ 
244; assault, 250; plan, 251; faulty 
organization of assault, 256; ad- 
vance on Petersburg, 293-94; gen- 
eralship, 298; advance on Weldon 
line, 300, 304 

Hankinson*& Ferry, 144 

Hannibal, 192, 229 

Hanover Town, Virginia, 270 

Hard Times, Mississippi, 137, 141 

Hardee, General William /., 102, 106; 
quoted, 169 ; replaced by Johnston* 

Hardens Tactics, 57 

Harpers Ferry, strategic importance, 
44 _ 

Harris, Colonel Thomas* 69 

Hart, Surgeon-Major, Albert G., 
quoted, 360 

Hatcher's Run, Virginia, manoeuvres 
near, B 34^-47 

Hay, Sir John, quoted, 23 

Heintzelman, General Samuel P., in 
Wilderness campaign, 221 

Henderson, Colonel C. M, quoted, 2, 
19, 21-2, 26, 30-1, 58 

Henry rifle, 53 

Hereros, German South- West African 
War against, 47 

Hftht General Henry f 358 

Hildebrand, Colonel Jesse, at battle of 
Shiloh, App. I, 427 

Hill, General Ambrose P., 212; in 
Wilderness campaign, 222, 231, 236- 
38; at North Anna, 267, 270; battle 
of Cold Harbor, 275 

Hindman t General Thomas C, f 176 

History of the Second *4rm$ Corps, 
quoted, 371 

Hodge, Colonel, at battle of Shiloh, 
App. I, 429 

Hoke, General Robert F., 266; in Pe- 
tersburg campaign, reinforces Beau- 
regard, 294 

Holly Springs, battle of, 124-28; raid 
on, 12$, x$7 

Hotid f General John B, t 179; Atlanta 
campaign: succeeds Johnston, 3*4; 
attack on Sherman at Peach-Tree 
Creek, 314; lohse^, 314; evacuates 
Atlanta, 314; in Sherman's march 
through Georgia, 322-27; against 
Thomas, 327-32; strength of com- 
mand in battle of Nashville, 32$ 

Hooker, General Joseph, 27, 141 ; po- 
sition at Bridgeport, 165; capture of 
Lookout Mountain, 172, 213 

Hovey, General Alvin P., 150 

Howitzer, value of, 50 

Human life, value of, 392 

Humphreys, General Andrew A. 
quoted, 223, 254, 264 

Hunter, General David, 35; in Peters- 
burg campaign, 286 

Hurlbut, General Stephen A., at battle 
of Shiloh, App. I, 42$ 

Husf, Major, 52 

Huxley, Thomas, definition of science, 


Illinois, secessionists in, 36 

India, frontier wars, 47 

Indian warfare, 230 

Industrial revolution, 17, 22, 403; re- 
lation of World War to, 393 

Infantry, need of in Wilderness cam- 
paign, 238; Grant's use of, 370 

Infantry attack, 48 

International problems, solution of, 

Internationalism w, nationalism, 396 

Inventions, effect on the Civil War, 


luka, battle of, 116-20, 195, 198; plan, 
1x7; manoeuvres, 193 

Jackson, General Thomas J. (Stone- 
wall), 57; views on slavery, x# 



Jackson, Mississippi, strategic impor- 
tance, 44, 193-94, 195 
James f Captain George S. } 15 
James, William, quoted, 387 
James river, strategic importance, 45, 

213, 215; manoeuvres near, 346-47 
JetersvilJe Station, Virginia, 354, 355 
Johnson, General B. J., in Petersburg 

campaign, 294, 295 
Johnson, General Edward, 421 
Johnston, General Albert Sidney, 48, 
74, 80-81, 82, 92, 94; quoted, 55, 56; 
death 107 

Johnston, General Joseph E. t 128, 145- 
51, 154-56, 179-80, 212-19, 22021; 
generalship, 308; tactics in Atlanta 
campaign, 310; retreat, 313; re- 
placed by flood, 314; Grant's esti- 
mate of tactics, 315; recalled by Lee,' 
341; in Atlanta campaign, 364 
Johnston, Colonel William P., quoted, 

89-90, 96, 102 

Jomini, Baron de, 184, 218 
Jones, J. B,, quoted, 306-07 
Jordan f General Thomas, 107 


Kanawha region, 216 

Kautz, August V., Petersburg cam- 
paign, 290, 291 

Kelly's Ford, 60 

Kemble, Fanny, Journal of a Resi- 
dence on a Georgian Plantation, 19 

Kejmon, Lieutenant L. W. V., quoted, 

Kentucky, neutrality, 74 

King's Mountain, battle of, 230 

Kitchener, Lord, 36 

Klucfc, General von, 195 

Knoxville, Tennessee, 75; relief of 
Burnside at, 167; siege raised, 177 

Labor, in peace and war, 401 ; factor 

in peace, 404-06 
La Grange, Mississippi, occupation, 


Lake Ponchartrain, 158 
La Vendee, 47 

Lecky, W* E. H., quoted, 403 
Ledlie, General James H., Petersburg 

campaign, 296, 303 
Lee, Pit%hugh t 56, 287, 343; quoted, 


Lee f General Robert E. f 30, 59, 140, 
208; generalship, i, 253-55; views 
on slavery and emancipation, 19, 
35 ; power conferred upon, 39; 
headquarters, 212; in Wilderness 
campaign, 219-26; distribution of 
forces in, 221 ; fear of heavy casu- 
alty list, 222; tactics in Wilderness 
campaign, 231 ; effect of Wilderness 
battle on, 238; personality contrasted 
with Grant's, 238-39 ; battle of Spott- 
sylvania, 240-54; reasons for not 
attacking Warren on North Anna, 
268-70; plan for battle of Cold Har- 
bor, 275; strong position at begin- 
ning of Petersburg campaign, 285; 
deceived by Grant's strategy, 289; 
causes of surprise, 295; Appomattox 
campaign, 336-58; difficulties, 341- 
43, 381 ; appointed command er-in- 
chief of Confederate forces, 341; 
plan for moving army south, 342- 
43 ; orders assault on Fort Stedman, 
344; order of battle, May, 1864, 
App. Ill, 432; surrender at Ap- 
pomattox, 357-58; tactics, 370; at 
Gettysburg, 377; generalship com- 
pared with Grant's, 375-81 

Lee> General S. D, t quoted, 153- 


Lee f General W. H. F., Petersburg 
campaign, 294 

Lee's army. See Army of Northern 

Lincoln, Abraham, 26, 42, 75, 161; 
quoted, 57; military policy, 27; se- 
lection of officers, 36; confidence in 
Grant, 134; lack of military judg- 
ment, 158-59; importance of re- 
election, 309, 326, 362; re-election 
opposed, 333; re-elected, 334 

Livermore, Colonel Thomas L., 
quoted, 34, 138, 163, 254, 263 

Lloyd, General, quoted, 11-12 

Logan General John A., 36, 150; op- 
position to Grant's Vicksburg plan, 


Longstreet f General James f night at- 
tack on Hooker at Wauhatchie, 166; 
quarrel with Bragg, 167; ordered 
to Knoxville, 167, 178-80, 208, 212; 
In Wilderness campaign, 222, 231- 
32, 236-38; as controlling factor, 
238; drives back Butler in Peters- 
burg campaign, 306; Appomattox, 
355-56, 358 



Lookout Mountain, 161, 163; Hooker's 
capture of, 172 

Lookout Valley, as key to Chatta- 
nooga, 165 

Loring* General William /r,, 145 

Losses, comparative, in Vicksburg 
campaign, 156; in battle of Chatta- 
nooga, 177 ; in Wilderness cam- 
paign, 237, 374; in battle of Spott- 
sylvania, 254; in Peninsula cam- 
paign, 373-74; in Atlanta campaign, 


Louisiana Territory, slavery pro- 
hibited in, 20 

Lushania, 35 

Lyman, Colonel Theodore, 239; quoted, 

372 . . 

Lynchburg, Virginia, strategic impor- 
tance, 44, 362-63; in Wilderness 
campaign, 222 ; protection of, In 
Petersburg campaign, 287 


McClellan, Major-General George B f 
68, 78; quoted, 76-77, 92; and poli- 
ticians, 38; appointed commander- 
in-chief, 75 ; intrigues against Grant, 
134; generalship, iSg, 201, 212; 
nominated for presidency, 1864, 
333; on assaults, 370 

McCIernand, Major-General John A., 
36, 83, 87, 136, 137, 138, 183, 199; 
promoted to rank of major-general, 
98; appointed to command of expe- 
dition against Vicksburg, 128 ; in- 
trigue against Grant, x6; relieved 
of command, 130; promotion to rank 
of major-general, App, I, 424; posi- 
tion at battle of Shiloh, App. I, 428 

McDowell, General Irvin, 6, 37, 78; 
quoted, 39 

McHenry, Colonel, at battle of Shiloh, 
App. I, 428 

Machine guns, 53 

McKean, General Thomas J., 118 

McMaster, J. B., quoted, x8 

McPherson, General James B,, 85, 98, 
118, 144, ^ 199, 210; opposition to 
Grant's Vicksburg plan, 135; march 
through Spake Creek Gap, 311; 
Grant's grief at his death, 420 

Magazine carbines, Torberfs, 275; 
value at battle of Cedar Creek, 

Maine, a free state, 20 

Malvern Hill, artillery tactics 59; 

losses, 374 
Man as predominant factor in war, 


Manassas, Virginia, 37. See also Bull 
Run, first battle of 

Aftirriffault, General >L *V. f quoted, 

March discipline, 5<& 

A\Iarch to the sea, Sherman's. See 
Sherman's march through Georgia 

Marne, battle of the, 195 

Marsh, Colonel C. Carroll, at battle 
of Shiloh, App. I, 42$ 

Martin, Governor John A, at Chat- 
tanooga, App. II, 431 

Martineau, Harriet, 19 

Mattapony river, high tactical value 
in Wilderness campaign, 223 

Maudsley, Henry, quoted, 403 

Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, 2$ 

Meade, General George G, 59, 208, 
2x0, 244, 264; quoted, 432, 373; in 
Wilderness campaign, 221, 223 ; plan 
of attack on Lef> 223 ; orders for 
advance in Wilderness campaign, 
227-28, 232; mistake in order* to 
Sheridan, 240; quarrel with Sheri- 
dan, 242 ; generalship in battle of 
Spottnylvama, 255; directed to move 
to Hanover Town, 270; battle of 
Cold Harbor, 283; blunders In Pe- 
tcrnburg campaign, 292-93, 298; at 
Petersburg and Richmond, 351-55; 
ordered to advance to Appomattox, 

Memphis, strategic importance! 45; 

occupation, xi4 

Memphis-Charleston railroad, 94 
Meridian, Mississippi, strategic impor- 
tance, 44, 178 
Merrimac, 37 

Meurer, Vice-Admiral, quoted, 32 
Mexican War, Grant's part in, 67; 

value of assault in, 202-03 
Mexico, slavery abolished in t ao; 
French interference in, 28; neu- 
trality, 44^ 

Middle Military Division, 302 
Military Division of the Mississippi, 
Grant given command of, 162, 219 
Military tactics. Ste Ttctics 
Mill Springy battle of, 7$ 
Milliken's Bend, 129, 130, 135, 13$ 
Mine operation at Petersburg, 302-04. 
Mine Run, Virginia, 2 



Mini* 1 rifle, 51 

MisftiitMppi liver, strategic importance, 

45; blockade of, 33^ 
Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, 162; 

Forming of, *7s; tactics at, 370-71 
MivsihMppi Springs, 146 

Missouri Compromise, 20 

Mobile, Alabama, 158, 220; strategic 
importance, 363*63 

Mobile Bay, Federal occupation, 321; 
battle of I 333 

Mobile project, 158; Halleck's rejec- 
tion of, 158-59; renewed, 177-80 

Mobility, as a principle of war, 201 

Mohkc, von, quoted, 15 

Monroe Doctrine, 20 

Monterey, battle of (Mexican War), 

Montgomery, Alabama, first Confed- 
erate capital, 43, 220 

Moore, Colonel David, at battle of 
Shilofa, App, I, 427 

Moore, Sir John, 49 

Morgan^ G^nfral John H, t 160 

Mott, General Gershom, battle o 
Spottsylvania, 246, 248, 250 

Murfreesboro, battle of, 160 

Murphy, Colonel R. C, 128 


Napoleon, 51, 143, 192; quoted, 1,^4, 
S> 7 49 3 2 7 372; famous defensive 
order of, 50; first conference with 
his generals, 188-89; description of 
a general-in-chief, 298 
Napoleon III, ^Mexican interference, 

28; machinations in Texas, 158 
Napoleonic wars, value of bullet- 
power in, 49 

Nashville, Tennessee, strategic value, 
44; evacuated, 90, 94; Thomas* 
objection, 328-32; Thomas' victory 
at, 332 

National rights vs. State^ rights, 411 
Nationalism w. internationalism, 396 
Natchez, Mississippi, surrender, 123 
Nelson, General William, 99 
New Carthage, occupation, 136 
New Market, Virginia, battle of, 260 
New Orleans, strategic importance, 

45; occupation, 123 
New River Bridge, 216 
New York City, draft riot, 40 
Newspaper correspondents, attacks on 
Grant, 115 

Nicolay, John George, quoted, 15, 22 
Ninth Corps, Union army, 253 
Nispel, Lieutenant, at battle of Shiloh, 

App. I, 428^ 
North Anna river, manoeuvre to, 263- 

70; plan, 265, 269 

North Carolina, revolt against con- 
scription, 40 

North, population increase during 
war, 389; post-war increase in 
population, 389. See also Union 


Officers, selection of, 36 
Qglesby, Colonel Richard J., 72, 73 
Ohio river, strategic importance, 45 
Old Cold Harbor, Virginia, strategic 

importance, 274 

Opequon Creek, battle of, 317, 333 
Orchard Knob, Tennessee, 174 
Orange and Alexandria railway, 221, 


Orange Court House, Virginia, 222 
Ord, General E. O. C., 116, 305, 351, 

355, 35^ 

Paducah, Kentucky, strategic impor- 
tance, 192 

Palfrey, General Francis W., quoted, 

Palmetto Station, Georgia, 322 

Pamunkey river, high tactical value 
in Wilderness campaign, 222; in 
manoeuvre to Totopotomy Creek, 271 

Paris, strategic importance in World 
War, 195 

Paris, Comte de, quoted, 55 

Parker, Lieutenant-Colonel, at battle 
of Shiloh, App, I, 427 

Parker's Store, Virginia, 234 

Partisan warfare, 47 

Patterson, General Robert, 78 

Peabody, Colonel Everett, 105 

Peace, relation to war, 387, 401 ; foun- 
dations of, 400-405 ; object of, 401 ; 
value of, 401; problems of, 403-15, 
413 ; industrial and economic factors, 
404; essentials of, compared with 
war, 408-10 

Peace Party, in the Confederacy, 40 

Peach-Tree Creek, Georgia, 314 

Pea Ridge, battle of, 90, 98 

Peebles Farm, Virginia, 304 

44 8 


, 127, 

r*** 1 *" 

ses ar- 

Peloponnesian War, 39 

Pemherton, General J>>hn C 12 

134, 136-40, 143-51. *55*^>; 

forces Vicksburg, 130; propo 
mistice, 155 
Peninsula campaign, 39, 431 

waste of cavalry in, 369; losses, 


Pennsylvania, as Key state, 43 
Percussion cap, 51 
Perkins* plantation, 1^-37 
Personal Memoirs, Ulysses S. <*rant 


Perrybllle, battle of, 160 
Petersburg, Virginia, strategic impor- 
tance, 44, 219, 260; "Citadel of the 
Confederacy," 290; fall of, 35'5* 
tactics at, 371 

Petersburg campaign 285-307; diffi- 

culties of operation, $7; intrench* 

ments t 287; success of Grant's ma- 

noeuvre, 289; object of, 290; rea- 

sons for failure, 297-99; mine op- 

eration, 303-304; effects on Confed- 

erate government, 306 

Petersburg and Norfolk railway, 299 

Philip the Great, tactics, 19^ 

Pickett, General George ,, 26^; at 

Five Forks, 347-50 
Pike, Corporal, 167 
Pitto*w f General Gideon J* f 72-3, 83, 


PIney Branch Church, Virginia, 243 
Pittsburg Landing, occupation of, 95 
Plundering, post-war, 389 
Politicians, old and new, 411 
Polk, General Leonidas, 72, 80, 106 
Pope, General John, 70, 114; in 

Wilderness campaign, 221 
Porcupine* it 7 

Port Gibson, battle of, 138, 142 
Port Hudson, 139, 145; unconditional 

surrender, 157 
Port Royal, Virginia, 263 
Porter, Captain Charles I!,, quoted, 

303 ; in Wilderness campaign, aaS 
Porter, Admiral David D., 12$, 136- 

Porter, Colonel Horace, 350, 351; 

quoted, 350, 373; brings news of 

Five Forks victory, 351 
Potomac river, strategic importance, 45 
Potter, General Robert B., Petersburg 

campaign, 296 
Prentiss, General Benjamin, M,, 103, 

105 ; at battle of Shiloh, App. I, 437 

Pmtnn, (tenfrut, quoted, 342 ; report 

at battle of Shiloh, App, I, 42H-2*? 
Price, General Stfrltrtff, 72 ; cwn- 

niantls Confederate army of the 

Mississippi* uk 
Proclamation of Emancipation, 33; 

effects 34-35 

Professionalism* military, 3, iHt 
Proletariat, attitude toward war, 39* 
Psychology, in war, 410; in work, 4x0 
Pulaskt* Tennessee, 3^8 


Quinn f Colonel Francis, at battle of 
Shiioh, App. ! f 427 

Rabelab, Francois, quoted, 403 
Raiding operation*, use of cavalry for, 

Railways, importance to armies, 44; 

war on, 298-306, 363; post-war mile- 

age, 390, 
Rapidan river, strategic importance, 

45, 224 
Rappahannock river, strategic impor- 

tance, 45 

Raymond, MiKM.ssippi, 147, 148 
Rear attack, tactics of, 47, x<w, 368; in 

Vicksiimrg campaign, I37"3S 
Recruits, danger from, 40 
Reel River, strategic importance, 45 
Red Ri\*er campaign, 44 
Renaca, <, Georgia, 31* 
Reserves, use of, 186-87 
Rice* Station, Virginia, 355 
RichardsviUe, Virginia, 224 
Richmond, Virginia, 43, 74, 2x6; outer 

defence?* entered by Sheridan 263; 

Haileck'fl proposal to invest, 8; 

B fa!l of, 350-51 
Richmond and Petersburg railway, 


Richmond and York River railway, 

RuhmQnd Dispatch t quoted, 364 
Richmond-Fredericktburg railway, 2x 
Ricochet fire, 59 
Rifle, influence of, 51; power of, 203; 

effect on warfare* 360; and trench, 

relationship, }$7-6$ 
Rijt and Fall &f ih# Confederate 

urnmmtt xS 
Rivers, strategic importance, 45 



Roberts, Colonel Benjamin $., Peters- 
burg campaign, 306 

Rock of Chickamauga, see Thomas, 
General George BL 

Rodney, Mississippi, 137 

Rolling Fork, Kentucky, 136 

Ropes* John Cadman, quoted, 38, 81, 
99, 107-08, x*o, ur, 213,^284, 359- 
60 j as historian, 108; criticism of 
Grant's strategy in East, 216-19; 
criticism of Grant's Wilderness cam- 
paign, 224; criticism of Petersburg 
campaign, 298 

Rosecrans, General William S., 159, 
x6o, 190; at battle o luka, 116; at 
battle of Corinth, 120; in command 
of Army of the Cumberland, 160; 
position after battle of Chicka- 
mauga, 162; in Wilderness cam- 
paign, 221 

Russell, General David A,, 271 

Russo-Japanese war, 61 

Stdowa campaign, 59 

St. John, Gtnsrat J. M. r on Wilson's 
BurksvIIle raid, 300-01 

St Louis, strategic importance, 45 

Salt River, 69, Grant's heroism at, 

Savannah, Georgia, occupied by Sher- 
man, 326 

Saxe, Marshal, quoted, 3 

SchlieflFen, General von, 195 

Schofield, General John A,, 179, 208, 
328; command of forces in North 
Carolina, 339; orders from Grant 
to aid Sherman, 339 

Science of war, 9 

Scientific management, applied to gen- 
eralship, 12; applied to peace prob- 
lems, 404, 406 

Scott, General Winfield, 36, 67, 75; 
quoted, 55 

Sea, as backbone of Grant's strategy 
in Bast, 214 

Sea-power, in the Civil War, 31-32 

Second Corps, Union army, 253 

Security, as a principle of war, 

Secrecy, difficulty of, 213 

Sedgwicfc, General John, 211; in the 
Wilderness campaign, 224, 228, 236- 
37; battle of Spottsylvania, 242 

Seven Years' War, 49 

Seward, William H., 37; on eman- 
cipation, 34 

Shady Grove Church, Virginia, 234 

Shand House Ridge, Virginia, 296 

Shenandoah river, strategic impor- 
tance, 45 

Shenandoah Valley, strategic impor- 
tance, 215; Grant's decision to dev- 
astate, 301-02 

Sheridan, General Philip H., 211, 240, 
241, 271 ; in Wilderness campaign, 
223-24; quarrel with Meade, 242; 
Richmond raid, 261-63 ; battle of 
Cold Harbor, 276; in Petersburg 
campaign, 286; war on railways, 
300; placed in command of Middle 
Military Division, 302; generalship 
compared with Sherman's, 315-16; 
in command of Army of the Shen- 
andoah, 316; objections to Grant's 
plan against Lynchburg, 317-18; 
called to Washington, 318; part in 
battle of Cedar Creek, 319; gen- 
eralship in Shenandoah battles, 320; 
advance toward Staunton, 340-41 ; 
occupies Charlottesville, 340; at 
Chattanooga, App. II, 430-31; gen- 
eralship at battle of Five Forks, 347- 
50; pursues Lee's army, 354-56; at 
Appomattox Station, 356 

Sherman, General William Tecumseh, 
146, 208, 210; quoted, 112, 239; At- 
lanta campaign, 41, 310-19; rear at- 
tack on Johnston, 48 ; replaced by 
Buell, 75; at Pittsburg Landing, 95; 
blame for the surprise at Shiloh, 
103; App. I, 423; part in advance 
on Vicksburg, 127, 129 ; opposition to 
Grant's Vicksburg plan, 135; part 
in Vicksburg campaign, 141 ; in bat- 
tle of Chattanooga, 168, 171; part 
in Grant's Mobile project, 178 ; raid 
on Meridian, 179; Grant's letter ex- 
plaining rear attack on Lee, 219-20; 
objectives in Atlanta campaign, 308- 
09; generalship, 364; compared to 
Grant's, 312; to Sheridan's, 315-16; 
northern march, 338; position of his 
division at battle of Shiloh, App. I, 


Sherman's march through Georgia, 
56, 320-27, App. V, 434-35J corre- 
spondence between Grant and Sher- 
man, 321; objects of march, 323; 
effect of, 326-27; estimated damage, 
327; Swinton on, 364 



Shiloh, battle of, 6t, 92-113; plan 
101; nature of battlefield, 102-03; 

composition of two armies, 103 ; 
movements of Union army, 109 ; ef- 
fects on Confederates, 113; lessons 
from, 186, 198, 200-201, 202; cause 
of surprise, App. I, 423 ; position of 
Union troops, App. 1, 427*29; reports 
of Confederate troops, App, I, 428- 

Shiloh Church, 102 

Shreveport, Louisiana, 220 

Shreveport-Vicksburg railway, 129-30 

Sidney Street "siege/ 1 47 

Sigcl, General Franz, 208, 216; in 
Wilderness campaign, 223; battle of 
Spottsylvania, 242; battle of New 
Market, 260 

Sixth Corps, Union army, 253 

Skirmishers, value of, 49 

Slavery, the main isbue of the Civil 
War, iS; question of, In California, 
21 j In Southwest, ax; abolished in 
Mexico, 20; economic myth of, 410 

Smith, General A. J,, in Wilderness 
campaign, 220 

Smith, General Charles F. t 7, 83, 85, 
87, 88, 94-S, 96, App. I, 423-24 

Smith General . Kirby, 324 

Smith, General Sooy, 179 

Smith, General William F., quoted, 
163, 171, 261; crosses Tcnnewe 
river, 165; plan for attack on $raff f 
167; Army of the James, 260; in 
battle of Cold Harbor, 274-75; *^" 
vance on Petersburg, 289-94; over- 
cautiousness, 291-92; characterized 
by hia men, 291 ; blunder at Peters- 
burg, 293-94 

Snake Creek Gap, Georgia, 310-13 

Soldiers, Southern, 41, 55 

South, post-war increase in population, 
389. $te also Confederacy 

South African War, 47 

South Chickamauga Creek, bridging 
of, 1 68, 171 

Southside railway, Virginia, 299 

Sparta, Infantry tactics, 48 

Spectator (London), 27 

Spencer carbine, 368 

Spencer rifle, 53 

Spottsylvania, Virginia, battle of, ad- 
vance orders, 240; details, 243-57; 
position of opposed armies, 243 ; 
plan* 245, 249, 259; Confederate 
counter-attacks, 253; losses, 254; 

casualties, Atkinson on, 3^4; fight- 
ing: at the salient, 25H; ride war- 
fare in, 3$o 
Springfield, Illinois, aece$si<ini<tts in, 3$ 

Stannard, General George j., Peters- 
burg campaign, 305 
Stanton, Edwin M 12$; cjuotei!, 37, 

331; as secretary of war, 38 
State rights vs. National right!*, 411 
Staunton, Virginia, 216, 340 

Steam power, relation to war, 394 
Steele, General Frederick, 136; in 

Wilderness campaign, 211 
Stephens, Alexander IL, iS 
Stevenson, Genera! Carter L. 14?, 174 
Stevenson, Robert Louis, quoted, 390- 

9* l3 

Stone, Colonel Henry, quoted, 90, iu, 
Stoneman, <JeneraI George, 339, 340 
Strategy, 5; denned, 192. $tt alst 

Civil War, strategy 
Stuart, Central /. E. B. t ax% 241 ; 

death, 262, 263 

Sullivan, Colonel Peter J., 103 
Sumner, Charles, Grant's dislike of, 

Surprise attacks, x 97-98. $fir aha 

Shiloh, battle of 
Swinton, William, quoted* 209, 229, 

Tactics, defined, 199, nature of in 
Civil War, $59-60; change* in, 48, 
359-60; effect of rifles on, 360 

Tariff Act of 1828, 20 

Tariffs, as economic weapon, 395 

Taylor, Frederick Wlrwlow, quoted, 
406; Prinfipttt of Scitntifc Man* 

Taylor, Major, at battle of 

App. I, 427 
Taylor, General t quoted, 56 
Taylor, CJeneral Zachary, 67 
Telegraph Road Bridge, 267 
Tennessee, eat, 75 
Tennewee river, strategic importance, 

Terry, Genera! Alfred !!,, in Peters- 

burg campaign, 9S"9^ 
Texas, machinations of Napoleon III, 


Thayer, Colonel John M,, 83, 85 
Thomas, General George H* (Rock of 

Chicktmtuga), 78, 161, aoS; given 


command of Army of the Cumber- 
land, 162; telegram to Halleck, 166; 
lack of generalship, 167; gallantry 
of assault on Missionary Ridge, 176; 
generalship, 201, 329-32; character- 
ized, 190, 329-30; in Atlanta cam- 
paign, 311; in Tennessee campaign, 
328-32; ordered to send cavalry to 
South Carolina, 339; attack at Chat- 
tanooga, App. II, 430-31 
Tilghm&n, General Lloyd, 80-81 
Todd'a Tavern, Virginia, 241, 242 
Torbcrt, General Alfred T. A., In 
Wilderness campaign, 227; maga- 
zine carbines, 275; In Army of the 
Shenandoah, 316 
Totopotomy Creek, manoeuvre to, 270- 

77; plan, 273 
Trade, restriction of, as cause of war, 

395; factor in peace, 404 
Treaty of Versailles, 41, 392 
Trench warfare, 6x, 367-68 
Tyler f Major John, quoted, 375 


"Unconditional surrender," 89 

Union, strategy, 31, 46 

Union Army, organization, 35, 39; 
lack of discipline in, 36, 55; arms 
of, 53; drill, 57; demoralization, 
1863-64, 134, 208; scattered, 159; 
lack of supplies at Chattanooga, 
164, 165; Grant's reorganization of, 
210-11; distribution of forces in 
Wilderness campaign, 223-24; sup- 
plies in Wilderness campaign, 226. 
See also Army of the Potomac; 
Army of the Tennessee; Depart- 
ment of the Mississippi; Depart- 
ment of West Virginia ; Middle 
Military Division; Ninth Corps; 
Second Corps; Sixth Corps 

Union Cavalry, 59; arms of, 54; ad- 
vance orders in Wilderness cam- 
paign, 227; in battle of Spottsyl- 
vania, 240 

Union Navy, 31-32 

Upton, Colonel Emory, assault at bat- 
tle of Spottsylvania, 246; plan, 247 

Vallandigham, 28 

Fan Dorn, General Earl, 90, 114, 
116, 118; at battle of Corinth, 120; 

raid on Holly Springs, 128, 187 
Venice, Grant's opinion of, 418 
Versailles, Treaty of, 41, 392 
Vicksburg, 41, strategic importance, 
45, 125; advance on, 114-34; naval 
attack on, 121-24; experimental ap- 
proaches, 132; plan adopted, 133; 
strength of, 138 

Vicksburg campaign, 135-57; rear at- 
tack In, 137-38 ; strength of opposed 
armies, 139, 144; defeat of Confed- 
erates at Champion's Hill, 151; 
losses, 156, 196; surrender on terms, 
155-56; importance of, 157; Grant's 
generalship in, 183 ; use of reserves, 
187; rear manoeuvres, 193, 198; 
Grant's change of tactics, 194; er- 
rors of assault, 202 
Vicksburg-Jackson railway, 145 
Virginia campaign, rifle warfare in, 
360-61. See also Appomattox cam- 
paign; Petersburg campaign; Wil- 
derness campaign 

Virginia and Tennessee railway, 216 
Virginia Central Railroad, 216, 263, 

266, 286, 299 
Volunteering, 40 


Walker, General Francis A., quoted, 

Walker t General John G f) 170, 344 

Wallace, General Lewis, 83, 85, 100, 
App. I, 424; quoted, 87; in Wil- 
derness campaign, 221 

Wallace, General W. H. L., 96, App. 
I, 424 

Walnut Hills, Mississippi, 130, 152 

War, foundations of, 387-90; economic 
causes of, 394-95; creative power 
of> 39 4 O2 relation to peace, 387, 
401 ; attitude of proletariat toward, 
392; relation of steam power to, 
394; influence of tariffs on, 395; 
politics as factor in, 395; fear and 
greed, sources of, 401; as purgative, 
402; code of, 403; and peace-essen- 
tials compared, 408-10 

Ward, Ferdinand, 420 

Warren, General Gouverneur 1C, 211; 
in the Wilderness campaign, 224, 
227, 232, 236-37; in battle of Spott- 
sylvania, 242, 248, 250, 264; attacked 
on North Anna, 267; battle of Cold 
Harbor, 280; Petersburg campaign, 


287; occupies Globe Tavern, 504; 
at Five Forks, ^47- Sp 

Warrenton, Mississippi* 135, 14-* 

Washburne, E. B,, quoted, 334 

Washington, P. C M defence of, 37", ** 
objective, 43 ; Grant's plai^ for pro- 
tection of, 212-13; protection from 
Early, 301 ; strategic importance, 

Wauhatchie, Tennessee, x6f> 

Wehster, Colonel J. I)., Sy 

Weitzel> General Godfrey, quoted, ^6x ; 
at attack on Petersburg and Rich- 
mond, 351, 353 

Weld, General Stephen M. t quoted, 

Weldon railway, high tactical value, 

299 30S 

Wellington, Duke of, tactics, 50; 

Grant's resemblance to, 19 
m heeler, General Josfpk, *6$ 
White House, Virginia, 274, 300 
White Oak, Virginia, 347, 350 
Whiting* General W. H. C., 261 
WHcox, General, quoted, 29^ 
Wilcox, General Cadmus A/., 3S& 
Wilderness of Virginia, 148, 153; <*^- 

scription of, 229; maps valueless, 

2 3 . ^ 

Wilderness campaign, 58 ; ^Grant s 

strategy criticized, 224; details, 228- 
29; plan, 233, 235; losses, 237, 374; 
forest fires, 237; Lte's order of hat- 
tie, App. Ill, 43*; Grant's order of 
battle, App, III, 43 a * r * fi warfare 
in, 360 

Wilderness Tavern, 234, 237 

Willcox, General Orlando B,, mistake 
concerning gate in battle of Spott* 
^Ivania, 243-44, 55 

Williams, Colonel Thoraat, 123, 124 

Willich, General August, at Chatta- 
nooga, App. II, 4$* 

Wilmington, North Carolina, impor- 

tance to Confederacy* 33, 4* 3371 
strategic importance, 362-6$ 

Wilson, H. W, t quoted, U 

Wilson, General James Harrison, 133, 
234; quoted, 368, 369-70; opposition 
to Grant 1 * Vicksburg plan, 135; in 
Wilderness campaign, 227, 228 ; raid 
on Burksvtilc, 300; Army of the 
Shenamioah, 316 

Winchester rifle* 53 

Wire entanglements, ^i 

Wolsfley, Lord, quoteti, 3 

Wood and Edmondtf, $9 

Wood, General Thomas J,, at Chit- 
tanooga, App. II, 4$o-3 x 

Woodward^ W, E, quoted, 23, 407, 419 

Work, essentials of, compared with 
those of war, 408-10; object of, 409; 
adaptability in, 4x0 

World War, 22* 39, sfo; generahhip 
in, 6; strategy compared with Civil 
War, 41, xtx; comparison of Dar- 
danelles operations with attacks on 
Yicksburgt 1*4; science and industry 
in, 391 ; compared with Civil War, 
391-97; relation to Industrial Kevo* 
iution, 393; post-war plundering, 
391-92; economic factors in, 394-95- 
AV<r also Cambrai, battle of 

Wright, <Jenera1 Horatio G. aai, jt6; 
battle of Spottxylvania, 4^ ^* 
advance on Weidon line* 300; ia 
battle of Cedar Creek, 318-19 

Yates, Governor Richard, 6S 

Yaseoo river, iaS^i3o 

Youngf* Point, Misiippi f 5:30, 135 

Zatttfofftr, Cm^ml Ftlix A',, 74, 

s QQ