Infomotions, Inc.On the Trail of Grant and Lee / Hill, Frederick Trevor, 1866-1930



Author: Hill, Frederick Trevor, 1866-1930
Title: On the Trail of Grant and Lee
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): lee; army; grant; confederate; union; troops; confederates; washington
Contributor(s): Schreiber, Charlotte, Lady, 1812-1895 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 56,716 words (short) Grade range: 15-19 (graduate school) Readability score: 41 (average)
Identifier: etext4098
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Title: On the Trail of Grant and Lee

Author: Frederick Trevor Hill

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On the Trail of Grant and Lee

By Frederick Trevor Hill





To Howard Ogden Wood, Jr.





Forward




During the early years of the Civil War someone tauntingly asked
Mr. Charles Francis Adams, the United States Minister to England,
what he thought of the brilliant victories which the confederate
armies were then gaining in the field.  "I think they have been
won by my fellow countrymen," was the quiet answer.

Almost half a century has passed since that reproof was uttered,
but its full force is only just beginning to be understood.  For
nearly fifty years the story of the Civil War has been twisted to
suit local pride or prejudice in various parts of the Union, with
the result that much which passes for American history is not history
at all, and whatever else it may be, it is certainly not American.

Assuredly, the day has now arrived when such historical "make-believes"
should be discountenanced, both in the North and in the South.
Americans of the present and the coming generations are entitled
to take a common pride in whatever lent nobility to the fraternal
strife of the sixties, and to gather equal inspiration from every
achievement that reflected credit on American manhood during those
years when the existence of the Union was at stake.  Until this is
rendered possible by the elimination of error and falsehood, the
sacrifices of the Civil War will, to a large extent, have been
endured in vain.

In some respects this result has already been realized.  Lincoln
is no longer a local hero.  He is a national heritage.  To distort
or belittle the characters of other men who strove to the end that
their land "might have a new birth of freedom," is to deprive the
younger generations of part of their birthright.  They are entitled
to the facts from which to form a just estimate of the lives of
all such men, regardless of uniforms.

It is in this spirit that the strangely interwoven trials of Grant
and Lee are followed in these pages.  Both were Americans, and
widely as they differed in opinions, tastes and sympathies, each
exhibited qualities of mind and character which should appeal to
all their fellow countrymen and make them proud of the land that
gave them birth.  Neither man, in his life, posed before the public
as a hero, and the writer has made no attempt to place either of
them on a pedestal.  Theirs is a very human story, requiring neither
color nor concealment, but illustrating a high development of those
traits that make for manhood and national greatness.

The writer hereby acknowledges his indebtedness to all those
historians whose scholarly research has made it possible to trace
the careers of these two great commanders with confidence in the
accuracy of the facts presented.  Where equally high authorities
have differed he has been guided by those who, in his judgment, have
displayed the most scrupulous impartiality, and wherever possible
he has availed himself of official records and documents.

The generous service rendered by Mr. Samuel Palmer Griffin in testing
the vast record upon which these pages are based, his exhaustive
research and scientific analysis of the facts, have given whatever
of authority may be claimed for the text, and of this the writer
hereby makes grateful acknowledgment.  To Mr. Arthur Becher he is
likewise indebted for his careful studies at West Point and elsewhere
which have resulted in illustrations conforming to history.

Frederick Trevor Hill.

New York, September, 1911.





Contents




Chapter                                               Page
      I.--Three Civil Wars . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
     II.--Washington and Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
    III.--Lee at West Point  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
     IV.--The Boyhood of Grant . . . . . . . . . . . .  15
      V.--Grant at West Point  . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
     VI.--Lieutenant Grant Under Fire  . . . . . . . .  35
    VII.--Captain Lee at the Front . . . . . . . . . .  44
   VIII.--Colonel Lee After the Mexican War  . . . . .  52
     IX.--Captain Grant in a Hard Fight  . . . . . . .  59
      X.--Grant's Difficulties in Securing a Command .  67
     XI.--Lee at the Parting of the Ways . . . . . . .  75
    XII.--Opening Moves  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  83
   XIII.--Grant's First Success  . . . . . . . . . . .  93
    XIV.--The Battle of Shiloh . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
     XV.--Lee in the Saddle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
    XVI.--A Game of Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
   XVII.--Lee and the Invasion of Maryland . . . . . . 133
  XVIII.--The Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg . . . . 141
    XIX.--Lee Against Burnside and Hooker  . . . . . . 148
     XX.--In the Hour of Triumph . . . . . . . . . . . 163
    XXI.--Grant at Vicksburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
   XXII.--The Battle of Gettysburg . . . . . . . . . . 180
  XXIII.--In the Face of Disaster  . . . . . . . . . . 193
   XXIV.--The Rescue of Two Armies . . . . . . . . . . 201
    XXV.--Lieutenant-General Grant . . . . . . . . . . 213
   XXVI.--A Duel to the Death  . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
  XXVII.--Check and Countercheck . . . . . . . . . . . 238
 XXVIII.--The Beginning of the End . . . . . . . . . . 248
   XXIX.--At Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256
    XXX.--The Surrender  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
   XXXI.--Lee's Years of Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
  XXXII.--The Head of the Nation . . . . . . . . . . . 294





List of Illustrations




Illustrations in Color


Grant running the gauntlet of the Mexicans at Monterey
  in riding to the relief of his comrades . . Frontispiece
          September 23, 1846.

Lee with Mrs. Lewis (Nellie Custis) applying to General
  Andrew Jackson to aid in securing his cadetship at
  West Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
                1825.

Grant on his horse, "York," making exhibition jump in
  the Riding Academy at West Point . . . . . . . . . .  32
             June, 1843.

Lee sending the Rockbridge battery into action for the
  second time at Antietam or Sharpsburg  . . . . . . . 144
          September 17, 1862.

Lee rallying his troops at the Battle of the
  Wilderness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232
              May 6, 1864.

Grant at the entrenchments before Petersburg . . . . . 260
              March, 1865.


Illustrations in the Text


Signature of Grant on reporting at West Point  . . . .  25
  (From the original records of the U. S. Military
   Academy.)

First signature of Grant as U. S. Grant  . . . . . . .  27
  (From the original records of the U.S. Military
   Academy.)

Grant's letter demanding unconditional surrender of
  forces at Fort Donnelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

Diagram map (not drawn to scale) showing strategy of
  the opening of the Battle of Chancellorsville, May
  1 and 2, 1863  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

Diagram map (not drawn to scale) showing Grant's series
  of movements by the left flank from the Wilderness
  to Petersburg  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

Facsimile of telegraphic message drafted by Lieutenant-
  General Grant, announcing Lee's surrender, May 9,
  1865 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

Lee's letter of August 3, 1866, acknowledging receipt of
  the extension of his furlough  . . . . . . . . . . . 283





Chapter I




Three Civil Wars


England was an uncomfortable place to live in during the reign
of Charles the First.  Almost from the moment that that ill-fated
monarch ascended the throne he began quarreling with Parliament;
and when he decided to dismiss its members and make himself the
supreme ruler of the land, he practically forced his subjects into
a revolution.  Twelve feverish years followed--years of discontent,
indignation and passion--which arrayed the Cavaliers, who supported
the King, against the Roundheads, who upheld Parliament, and finally
flung them at each other's throats to drench the soil of England
with their blood.

Meanwhile, the gathering storm of civil war caused many a resident
of the British Isles to seek peace and security across the seas,
and among those who turned toward America were Mathew Grant and
Richard Lee.  It is not probable that either of these men had ever
heard of the other, for they came from widely separated parts of
the kingdom and were even more effectually divided by the walls of
caste.  There is no positive proof that Mathew Grant (whose people
probably came from Scotland) was a Roundhead, but he was a man of
humble origin who would naturally have favored the Parliamentary
or popular party, while Richard Lee, whose ancestors had fought
at Hastings and in the Crusades, is known to have been an ardent
Cavalier, devoted to the King.  But whether their opinions on
politics differed or agreed, it was apparently the conflict between
the King and Parliament that drove them from England.  In any event
they arrived in America at almost the same moment; Grant reaching
Massachusetts in 1630, the year after King Charles dismissed his
Parliament, and Lee visiting Virginia about this time to prepare
for his permanent residence in the Dominion which began when actual
hostilities opened in the mother land.

The trails of Grant and Lee, therefore, first approach each other
from out of the smoke of a civil war.  This is a strangely significant
fact, but it might be regarded merely as a curious coincidence were
it not for other and stranger events which seem to suggest that
the hand of Fate was guiding the destinies of these two men.

Mathew Grant originally settled in Massachusetts but he soon moved
to Connecticut, where he became clerk of the town of Windsor and
official surveyor of the whole colony--a position which he held for
many years.  Meanwhile Richard Lee became the Colonial Secretary and
a member of the King's Privy Council in Virginia, and thenceforward
the name of his family is closely associated with the history of
that colony.

Lee bore the title of colonel, but it was to statesmanship and not
to military achievements that he and his early descendants owed
their fame; while the family of Grant, the surveyor, sought glory
at the cannon's mouth, two of its members fighting and dying for
their country as officers in the French and Indian war of 1756.  In
that very year, however, a military genius was born to the Virginia
family in the person of Harry Lee, whose brilliant cavalry exploits
were to make him known to history as "Light Horse Harry."  But
before his great career began, the house of Grant was represented
in the Revolution, for Captain Noah Grant of Connecticut drew his
sword in defense of the colonies at the outbreak of hostilities,
taking part in the battle of Bunker Hill; and from that time
forward he and "Light Horse Harry" served in the Continental army
under Washington until Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.

Here the trails of the two families, AGAIN DRAWN TOGETHER BY A
CIVIL STRIFE, merge for an historic moment and then cross; that of
the Grants turning toward the West, and that of the Lees keeping
within the confines of Virginia.

It was in 1799 that Captain Noah Grant migrated to Ohio, and during
the same year Henry Lee delivered the memorial address upon the
death of Washington, coining the immortal phrase "first in war,
first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Ulysses Grant, the Commander of the Union forces in the Civil War,
was the grandson of Captain Grant, who served with "Light Horse
Harry" Lee during the Revolution; and Robert Lee, the Confederate
General, was "Light Horse Harry's" son.

Thus, for the THIRD time in two and a half centuries, a civil
conflict between men of the English-speaking race blazed the trails
of Grant and Lee.





Chapter II




Washington and Lee


"Wakefield," Westmoreland County, Virginia, was the birthplace of
Washington, and at Stratford in the same county and state, only
a few miles from Wakefield, Robert Edward Lee was born on January
19, 1807.  Seventy-five years had intervened between those events
but, except in the matter of population, Westmoreland County remained
much the same as it had been during Washington's youth.  Indians,
it is true, no longer lurked in he surrounding forests or paddled
the broad Potomac in their frail canoes, but the life had much of
the same freedom and charm which had endeared it to Washington.
All the streams and woods and haunts which he had known and loved
were known and loved by Lee, not only for their own sake, but because
they were associated with the memory of the great Commander-in-Chief
who had been his father's dearest friend.

It would have been surprising, under such circumstances, if Washington
had not been Lee's hero, but he was more than a hero to the boy.
From his father's lips he had learned to know him, not merely as
a famous personage of history, but as a man and a leader of men.
Indeed, his influence and example were those of a living presence
in the household of "Light Horse Harry;" and thus to young Lee
he early became the ideal of manhood upon which, consciously or
unconsciously, he molded his own character and life.  But quite
apart from this, the careers of these two great Virginians were
astonishingly alike.

Washington's father had been married twice, and so had Lee's; each
was a son of the second marriage, and each had a number of brothers
and sisters.  Washington lost his father when he was only eleven
years old, and Lee was exactly the same age when his father died.
Mrs. Washington had almost the entire care of her son during his
early years, and Lee was under the sole guidance of his mother until
he had almost grown to manhood.  Washington repaid his mother's
devotion by caring for her and her affairs with notable fidelity,
and Lee's tenderness and consideration for his mother were such that
she was accustomed to remark that he was both a son and a daughter
to her.

Washington's ancestors were notable, if not distinguished, people
in England; while Lee could trace his descent, through his father,
to Lancelot Lee, who fought at the battle of Hastings, and through
his mother to Robert the Bruce of Scotland.  Neither man, however,
prided himself in the least on his ancestry.  Indeed, neither of
them knew anything of his family history until his own achievements
brought the facts to light.

Washington was a born and bred country boy and so was Lee.  Both
delighted in outdoor life, loving horses and animals of all kinds
and each was noted for his skillful riding in a region which was
famous for its horsemanship.  There was, however, a vast difference
between Washington's education and that of Lee.  The Virginian schools
were very rudimentary in Washington's day; but Lee attended two
excellent institutions of learning, where he had every opportunity,
and of this he availed himself, displaying much the same thoroughness
that characterized Washington's work, and the same manly modesty
about any success that he achieved.

By reason of his father's death and other circumstances Washington
was burdened with responsibility long before he arrived at manhood,
making him far more reserved and serious-minded than most school
boys.  This was precisely the case with Lee, for his father's
death, the ill health of his mother and the care of younger children
virtually made him the head of the family, so that he became unusually
mature and self-contained at an early age.  Neither boy, however,
held aloof from the sports and pastimes of his schoolmates and
both were regarded as quiet, manly fellows, with no nonsense about
them, and with those qualities of leadership that made each in turn
the great military leader of his age.

Never has history recorded a stranger similarity in the circumstances
surrounding the youth of two famous men, but the facts which linked
their careers in later years are even stranger still.





Chapter III




Lee at West Point


As his school days drew to a close, it became necessary for Lee to
determine his future calling.  But the choice of a career, often so
perplexing to young men, presented no difficulty to "Light Horse
Harry's" son.  He had apparently always intended to become a soldier
and no other thought had seemingly ever occurred to any member of
his family.  Appointments to the United States Military Academy
were far more a matter of favor than they are to-day, and young
Lee, accompanied by Mrs. Lewis (better known as Nellie Custis, the
belle of Mount Vernon and Washington's favorite grandchild), sought
the assistance of General Andrew Jackson.  Rough "Old Hickory" was
not the easiest sort of person to approach with a request of any
kind and, doubtless, his young visitor had grave misgivings as to
the manner in which his application would be received.  But Jackson,
the hero of the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, only
needed to be told that his caller was "Light Horse Harry's" son to
proffer assistance; and in his nineteenth year, the boy left home
for the first time in his life to enroll himself as a cadet at West
Point.

Very few young men enter that institution so well prepared for military
life as was Lee, for he had been accustomed to responsibility and
had thoroughly mastered the art of self-control many years before
he stepped within its walls.  He was neither a prig nor a "grind,"
but he regarded his cadetship as part of the life work which he
had voluntarily chosen, and he had no inclination to let pleasure
interfere with it.  With his comrades he was companionable,
entering into all their pastimes with zest and spirit, but he let
it be understood, without much talk, that attention to duty was a
principle with him and his serious purpose soon won respect.

Rigid discipline was then, as it is to-day, strictly enforced at
West Point, and demerits were freely inflicted upon cadets for even
the slightest infraction of the rules.  Indeed, the regulations
were so severe that it was almost impossible for a cadet to avoid
making at least a few slips at some time during his career.  But
Lee accomplished the impossible, for not once throughout his entire
four years did he incur even a single demerit--a record that still
remains practically unique in the history of West Point.  This and
his good scholarship won him high rank; first, as cadet officer of
his class, and finally, as adjutant of the whole battalion, the
most coveted honor of the Academy, from which he graduated in 1829,
standing second in a class of forty-six.

Men of the highest rating at West Point may choose whatever arm
of the service they prefer, and Lee, selecting the Engineer Corps,
was appointed a second lieutenant and assigned to fortification
work at Hampton Roads, in his twenty-second year.  The work there
was not hard but it was dull.  There was absolutely no opportunity
to distinguish oneself in any way, and time hung heavy on most of
the officers' hands.  But Lee was in his native state and not far
from his home, where he spent most of his spare time until his mother
died.  Camp and garrison life had very little charm for him, but
he was socially inclined and, renewing his acquaintance with his
boyhood friends, he was soon in demand at all the dances and country
houses at which the young people of the neighborhood assembled.

Among the many homes that welcomed him at this time was that of
Mr. George Washington Parke Custis (Washington's adopted grandson),
whose beautiful estate known as "Arlington" lay within a short
distance of Alexandria, where Lee had lived for many years.  Here
he had, during his school days, met the daughter of the house and,
their boy-and-girl friendship culminating in an engagement shortly
after his return from West Point, he and Mary Custis were married
in his twenty-fifth year.  Lee thus became related by marriage to
Washington, and another link was formed in the strange chain of
circumstances which unite their careers.

A more ideal marriage than that of these two young people cannot be
imagined.  Simple in their tastes and of home-loving dispositions,
they would have been well content to settle down quietly to country
life in their beloved Virginia, surrounded by their family and
friends.  But the duties of an army officer did not admit of this,
and after a few years' service as assistant to the chief engineer
of the army in Washington, Lee was ordered to take charge of
the improvements of the Mississippi River at St. Louis, where, in
the face of violent opposition from the inhabitants, he performed
such valuable service that in 1839 he was offered the position of
instructor at West Point.  This, however, he declined, and in 1842
he was entrusted with the task of improving the defenses of New
York harbor and moved with his family to Fort Hamilton, where he
remained for several years.  Meanwhile, he had been successively
promoted to a first lieutenancy and a captaincy, and in his
thirty-eighth year he was appointed one of the visitors to West
Point, whose duty it was to inspect the Academy and report at stated
intervals on its condition.  This appointment, insignificant in
itself, is notable because it marks the point at which the trails
of Grant and Lee first approach each other, for at the time that
Captain Lee was serving as an official visitor, Ulysses Grant was
attempting to secure an assistant professorship at West Point.





Chapter IV




The Boyhood of Grant


Deerfield, Ohio, was not a place of any importance when Captain Noah
Grant of Bunker Hill fame arrived there from the East.  Indeed, it
was not then much more than a spot on the map and it has ever won
any great renown.  Yet in this tiny Ohio village there lived at one
and the same time Owen Brown, the father of John Brown, who virtually
began the Civil War, and Jesse Grant, the father of Ulysses Grant,
who practically brought it to a close.

It is certainly strange that these two men should, with all the
world to choose from, have chanced upon the same obscure little
village, but it is still stranger that one of them should have become
the employer of the other and that they should both have lived in
the very same house.  Such, however, is the fact, for when Jesse
Grant first began to earn his living as a tanner, he worked for
and boarded with Owen Brown, little dreaming that his son and his
employer's son would some day shake the world.

It was not at Deerfield, however, but at Point Pleasant, Ohio,
that Jesse Grant's distinguished son was born on April 27, 1822, in
a cottage not much larger than the cabin in which Abraham Lincoln
first saw the light.  Mr. and Mrs. Grant and other members of
their family differed among themselves as to what the boy should
be called, but they settled the question by each writing his or
her favorite name on a slip of paper and then depositing all the
slips in a hat, with the understanding that the child should receive
the first two names drawn from that receptacle.  This resulted in
the selection of Hiram and Ulysses, and the boy was accordingly
called Hiram Ulysses Grant until the United States government
re-christened him in a curious fashion many years later.  To his
immediate family, however, he was always known as Ulysses, which
his playmates soon twisted into the nickname "Useless," more or
less good-naturedly applied.

Grant's father moved to Georgetown, Ohio, soon after his son's
birth, and there his boyhood days were passed.  The place was not
at that time much more than a frontier village and its inhabitants
were mostly pioneers--not the adventurous, exploring pioneers who
discover new countries, but the hardy advance-guard of civilization,
who clear the forests and transform the wilderness into farming
land.  Naturally, there was no culture and very little education
among these people.  They were a sturdy, self-respecting, hard-working
lot, of whom every man was the equal of every other, and to whom
riches and poverty were alike unknown.  In a community of this sort
there was, of course, no pampering of the children, and if there
had been, Grant's parents would probably have been the last to
indulge in it.  His father, Jesse Grant, was a stern and very busy
man who had neither the time nor the inclination to coddle the boy,
and his mother, absorbed in her household duties and the care of a
numerous family, gave him only such attention as was necessary to
keep him in good health.  Young Ulysses was, therefore, left to
his own devices almost as soon as he could toddle, and he quickly
became self-reliant to a degree that alarmed the neighbors.  Indeed,
some of them rushed into the house one morning shouting that the
boy was out in the barn swinging himself on the farm horses' tails
and in momentary danger of being kicked to pieces; but Mrs. Grant
received the announcement with perfect calmness, feeling sure that
Ulysses would not amuse himself in that way unless he knew the
animals thoroughly understood what he was doing.

Certainly this confidence in the boy's judgment was entirely
justified as far as horses were concerned, for they were the joy
of his life and he was never so happy as when playing or working
in or about the stables.  Indeed, he was not nine years old when
he began to handle a team in the fields.  From that time forward
he welcomed every duty that involved riding, driving or caring for
horses, and shirked every other sort of work about the farm and
tannery.  Fortunately, there was plenty of employment for him in
the line of carting materials or driving the hay wagons and harrows,
and his father, finding that he could be trusted with such duties,
allowed him, before he reached his teens, to drive a 'bus or
stage between Georgetown and the neighboring villages entirely by
himself.  In fact, he was given such free use of the horses that
when it became necessary for him to help in the tannery, he would
take a team and do odd jobs for the neighbors until he earned enough,
with the aid of the horses, to hire a boy to take his place in the
hated tan-yard.

This and other work was, of course, only done out of school hours,
for his parents sent him as early as possible to a local "subscription"
school, which he attended regularly for many years.  "Spare the
rod and spoil the child" was one of the maxims of the school, and
the first duty of the boys on assembling each morning was to gather
a good-sized bundle of beech-wood switches, of which the schoolmaster
made such vigorous use that before the sessions ended the supply
was generally exhausted.  Grant received his fair share of this
discipline, but as he never resented it, he doubtless got no more
of it than he deserved and it probably did him good.

Among his schoolmates he had the reputation of talking less than
any of the other boys and of knowing more about horses than all of
them put together.  An opportunity to prove this came when he was
about eleven, for a circus appeared in the village with a trick
pony, and during the performance the clown offered five dollars to
any boy who could ride him.  Several of Ulysses' friends immediately
volunteered, but he sat quietly watching the fun while one after
another of the boys fell victim to the pony's powers.  Finally,
when the little animal's triumph seemed complete, Grant stepped
into the ring and sprang upon his back.  A tremendous tussle for
the mastery immediately ensued, but though he reared and shied and
kicked, the tricky little beast was utterly unable to throw its
fearless young rider, and amid the shouts of the audience the clown
at last stopped the contest and paid Ulysses the promised reward.

From that time forward his superiority as a horseman was firmly
established, and as he grew older and his father allowed him to
take longer and longer trips with the teams, he came to be the most
widely traveled boy in the village.  Indeed, he was only about
fifteen when he covered nearly a hundred and fifty miles in the
course of one of his journeys, taking as good care of his horses
as he did of himself, and transacting the business entrusted to him
with entire satisfaction to all concerned.  These long, and often
lonely, trips increased his independence and so encouraged his
habit of silence that many of the village people began to think
him a dunce.

His father, however, was unmistakably proud of the quiet boy who
did what he was told to do without talking about it, and though
he rarely displayed his feelings, the whole village knew that he
thought "Useless" was a wonder and smiled at his parental pride.
But the smile almost turned to a laugh when it became known that
he proposed to send the boy to West Point, for the last cadet
appointed from Georgetown had failed in his examinations before he
had been a year at the Academy, and few of the neighbors believed
that Ulysses would survive as long.  Certainly, the boy himself had
never aspired to a cadetship, and when his father suddenly remarked
to him one morning that he was likely to obtain the appointment,
he receive the announcement with uncomprehending surprise.

"What appointment?" he asked

"To West Point," replied his father.  "I have applied for it."

"But I won't go!" gasped the astonished youth.

"I think you will," was the quiet but firm response, and Grant, who
had been taught obedience almost from his cradle, decided that if
his father thought so, he did, too.

But, though the young man yielded to his parent's wishes, he had
no desire to become a soldier and entirely agreed with the opinion
of the village that he had neither the ability nor the education
to acquit himself with credit.  In fact, the whole idea of military
life was so distasteful to him that he almost hoped he would not
fulfill the physical and other requirements for admission.  Indeed,
the only thought that reconciled him to the attempt was that
it necessitated a trip from Ohio to New York, which gratified his
longing to see more of the world.  This was so consoling that it
was almost with a gay heart that he set out of the Hudson in the
middle of May, 1839.

For a boy who had lived all his life in an inland village on the
outskirts of civilization the journey was absolutely adventurous,
for although he was then in his eighteenth year, he had never even
as much as seen a railroad and his experiences on the cars, canal
boats and steamers were all delightfully surprising.  Therefore,
long as the journey was, it was far too short for him, and on May
25th he reached his destination.  Two lonely and homesick weeks
followed, and then, much to his astonishment and somewhat to his
regret, he received word that he had passed the examination for
admission and was a full-fledged member of the cadet corps of West
Point.





Chapter V




Grant at West Point


Grant's father had obtained his son's appointment to the Academy
through the intervention of a member of Congress, who, remembering
that the boy was known as Ulysses and that his mother's name before
her marriage was Simpson, had written to the Secretary of War at
Washington, requesting a cadetship for U. S. Grant.  This mistake
in his initials was not discovered until the young man presented
himself at West Point, but when he explained that his name was
Hiram Ulysses Grant and not U. S. Grant, the officials would not
correct the error.  The Secretary of War had appointed U. S. Grant
to the Academy and U. S. Grant was the only person they would
officially recognize without further orders.  They, therefore,
intimated that he could either enroll himself as U. S. Grant or
stay out of the Academy, making it quite plain that they cared very
little which course he adopted.  Confronted with this situation,
he signed the enlistment paper as U. S. Grant and the document,
bearing his name, which thus became his, can be seen to-day
among the records at West Point.  This re-christening, of course,
supplied his comrades with endless suggestions for nicknames and
they immediately interpreted his new initials to suit themselves.
"United States," "Under Sized" and "Uncle Sam" all seemed to be
appropriate, but the last was the favorite until the day arrived when
a more significant meaning was found in "Unconditional Surrender"
Grant.

The restrictions and discipline of West Point bore much more harshly
on country-bred boys in those years than they do to-day when so
many schools prepare students for military duties.  But to a green
lad like Grant, who had been exceptionally independent all his
life, the preliminary training was positive torture.  It was then
that his habitual silence stood him in good stead, for a talkative,
argumentative boy could never have survived the breaking-in process
which eventually transformed him from a slouchy bumpkin into a smart,
soldier-like young fellow who made the most of his not excessive
inches.  Still, he hated almost every moment of his first year and
ardently hoped that the bill for abolishing the Academy, which was
under discussion in Congress, would become a law and enable him
to return home without disgrace.  But no such law was passed and
more experience convinced him that West Point was a very valuable
institution which should be strengthened rather than abolished.  He
had not reached this conclusion, however, at the time of his first
furlough, and when he returned to his more and found that his
father had procured a fine horse for his exclusive use during his
holiday, it was hard to tear himself away and resume his duties.
Nevertheless, he did so; and, considering the fact that he was not
fond of studying, he made fair progress, especially in mathematics,
never reaching the head of his class, but never quite sinking to
the bottom.  Indeed, if he had not been careless in the matter of
incurring demerits from small infractions of the rules, he might
have attained respectable, if not high rank in the corps, for he
was a clean living, clean spoken boy, without a vicious trait of
any kind.  Even as it was, he became a sergeant, but inattention
to details of discipline finally cost him his promotion and reduced
him again to the ranks.  At no time, however, did he acquire any
real love for the military profession.  His sole ambition was to
pass the examinations and retire from the service as soon as he
could obtain a professorship at some good school or college.  At
this, he might easily have succeeded with his unmistakable talent
for mathematics, and it is even conceivable that he might have
qualified as a drawing master or an architect, if not as an artist,
for he was fond of sketching and some of his works in this line
which have been preserved shows a surprisingly artistic touch.

Graduation day at the Academy brought no distinguished honors to
Grant, where he stood twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine, but
it did win him one small triumph.  As almost everyone knows, the
West Point cadets are trained for all arms of the service, sometimes
doing duty as infantry, sometimes as artillery and at other times
acting as engineers or cavalry; and during the closing week of the
year, they give public exhibitions of their proficiency before the
official visitors.  On this particular occasion the cavalry drill
was held in the great riding hall, and after the whole corps
had completed their evolutions and were formed in line ready to
be dismissed, the commanding officer ordered an extraordinarily
high hurdle to be placed in position, and while the great throng
of spectators were wondering what this meant they heard the sharp
command, "Cadet Grant."

A young man of slight stature, not weighing more than a hundred
and twenty pounds, and mounted on a powerful chestnut horse, sprang
from the ranks with a quick salute, dashed to the further end of
the hall and, swinging his mount about, faced the hurdle.  There
was a moment's pause and then the rider, putting spurs to his steed,
rushed him straight at the obstruction and, lifting him in masterly
fashion, cleared the bar as though he and the animal were one.  A
thunder of applause followed as the horseman quietly resumed his
place in the ranks, and after the corps had been dismissed Grant
was sought out and congratulated on his remarkable feat.  But his
response was characteristic of the boy that was, and the man that
was to be.  "Yes, 'York' is a wonderfully good horse," was all he
said.

A lieutenancy in the engineers or cavalry was more than a man of
low standing in the Academy could expect, and Grant was assigned
to the Fourth Infantry, with orders to report for duty at Jefferson
Barracks, St. Louis, Missouri, at the end of a short leave of
absence.  The prospect of active service, far from his native state,
was anything but pleasing to the new officer; but he had come home
with a bad cough, and had he not been ordered to the South, it is
highly probable that he would have fallen a victim to consumption,
of which two of his uncles had already died.  The air of Camp
Salubrity, Louisiana, where his regiment was quartered, and the
healthy, outdoor life, however, quickly checked the disease, and
at the end of two years he had acquired a constitution of iron.

Meanwhile, he had met Miss Julia Dent, the sister of one of
his classmates whose home was near St. Louis, and had written to
the Professor of Mathematics at West Point, requesting his aid in
securing an appointment there as his assistant, to which application
he received a most encouraging reply.  Doubtless, his courtship
of Miss Dent made him doubly anxious to realize his long-cherished
plan of settling down to the quiet life of a professor.  But all
hope of this was completely shattered by the orders of the Fourth
Infantry which directed it to proceed at once to Texas.  Long
before the regiment marched, however, he was engaged to "the girl
he left behind him" and, although his dream of an instructorship
at West Point had vanished, he probably did not altogether abandon
his ambition for a career at teaching.  But Fate had other plans
for him as he journeyed toward Mexico, where the war clouds were
gathering. Lee was moving in the same direction and their trails
were soon to merge at the siege of Vera Cruz.





Chapter VI




Lieutenant Grant Under Fire


The movement of the United States troops towards Mexico did not take
the country by surprise.  It was the direct result of the action
of Congress admitting Texas to the Union.  Ever since it had won
its independence from Mexico, Texas had been seeking to become part
of the United States; but there had been violent objection in the
North to the admission of any new slave state, and this opposition
had effectually prevented its annexation.  At the last election
(1844), however, a majority of the voters apparently favored the
admission of Texas, which was accordingly received into the Union,
and the long-standing dispute which it had waged with Mexico as to
its proper boundaries was assumed by the United States.

Texas claimed to own far more territory than Mexico was willing to
concede, but the facts might easily have been ascertained had the
United States government desired to avoid a war.  Unfortunately, it
had no such desire, and General Zachary Taylor was soon ordered to
occupy the disputed territory with about 3,000 men.  This force,
of which Grant's regiment formed a part, was called the Army
of Observation, but it might better have been called the Army of
Provocation, for it was obviously intended to provoke an attack
on the part of Mexico and to give the United States an excuse for
declaring war and settling the boundary question to suit itself.

Probably, there were not many in the army who thought much about
the rights or the wrongs of the impending war.  There had been no
fighting in the United States for more than thirty years, and most
of the officers were more interested in seeing real service in the
field than they were in discussing the justice or injustice of the
cause.  Grant was as anxious for glory as any of his comrades, but
he cherished no illusions as to the merits of the dispute in which
his country was involved.  With the clear vision of the silent
man who reads and thinks for himself, he saw through the thinly
disguised pretenses of the politicians and, recognizing that force
was being used against a weaker nation in order to add more slave
states to the Union, he formed a very positive opinion that the war
was unjustifiable.  But though he was forced to this disagreeable
conclusion, the young Lieutenant was not the sort of man to
criticize his country once she was attacked, or to shirk his duty
as a soldier because he did not agree with his superiors on questions
of national policy.  He thought and said what he liked in private,
but he kept his mouth closed in public, feeling that his duties as
an officer were quite sufficient without assuming responsibilities
which belonged to the authorities in Washington.

War was inevitable almost from the moment that Texas was annexed,
but with full knowledge of this fact neither the President nor
Congress made any effective preparations for meeting the impending
crisis, and when hostilities actually began, General Taylor was
directed to advance under conditions which virtually required him
to fight his way to safety.  Indeed, he was practically cut off
from all hope of reenforcement as soon as the first shot was fired,
for his orders obliged him to move into the interior of the country,
and had his opponents been properly commanded, they could have
overwhelmed him and annihilated his whole force.  The very audacity of
the little American army, however, seemed to paralyze the Mexicans
who practically made no resistance until Taylor reached a place
called Palo Alto, which in Spanish means "Tall Trees."

Meanwhile Grant had been made regimental quartermaster, charged
with the duty of seeing that the troops were furnished with proper
food and caring for all property and supplies.  Heartily as he
disliked this task, which was not only dull and difficult, but also
bade fair to prevent him from taking active part in the prospective
battles, he set to work with the utmost energy.  By the time the enemy
began to dispute the road, he had overcome the immense difficulty
of supplying troops on a march through a tropical country and
was prepared to take part in any fighting that occurred.  But the
Mexicans gathered at TALL TREES on May 8, 1846, were not prepared
for a serious encounter.  They fired at the invaders, but their
short-range cannon loaded with solid shot rarely reached the
Americans, and when a ball did come rolling towards them on the
ground, the troops merely stepped to one side and allowed the missile
to pass harmlessly through their opened ranks.  After the American
artillery reached the field, however, the enemy was driven from its
position and the next day the advance was resumed to Resaca de la
Palma, where stronger opposition was encountered.

Grant was on the right wing of the army as it pressed forward through
dense undergrowth to drive the Mexicans from the coverts in which
they had taken shelter.  It was impossible to give any exact orders
in advancing through this jungle, and the men under Grant's command
struggled forward until they reached a clearing where they caught
sight of a small body of Mexicans.  The young Lieutenant instantly
ordered a charge and, dashing across the open ground, captured the
party only to discover that they were merely stragglers left behind
by other American troops who had already charged over the same
ground.  No one appreciated the humor of this exploit more than
Grant.  It reminded him, he said, of the soldier who boasted that
he had been in a charge and had cut off the leg of one of the
enemy's officers.  "Why didn't you cut off his head?" inquired
his commander.  "Oh, somebody had done that already," replied the
valiant hero.

Slight as the fighting was at Resaca, it completely satisfied the
Mexicans, and for over three months they left the Americans severely
alone.  Meanwhile, General Taylor received reenforcements and in
August, 1846, he proceeded against the town of Monterey, which the
enemy had fortified with considerable skill and where they were
evidently prepared to make a desperate resistance.  Grant was again
quartermaster, and the terrific heat which forced the army to do
its marching at night or during the early hours of the morning,
greatly increased his labors and severely tested his patience.
Almost all the transportation animals were mules, and as very few
of them were trained for the work, they were hard to load and even
harder to handle after their burdens were adjusted.  One refractory
animal would often stampede all the rest, scattering provisions
and ammunition in their tracks, driving the teamsters to the point
of frenzy and generally hurling confusion through the camp.  Even
Grant, who never uttered an oath in his life, was often sorely
tried by these exasperating experiences, but he kept command of his
temper and by his quiet persistence brought order out of chaos in
spite of beasts and men.

His disappointment was bitter, however, when the attack on Monterey
began and he found himself left without any assignment in the field.
Lieutenant Meade, destined at a later date to command the Union
forces at Gettysburg, was one of the officers entrusted with the
preliminary reconnoissance against the city, and when the fighting
actually commenced on September 21st, 1846, the deserted Quartermaster
mounted his horse and rode to the scene of the action, determined to
see something of the battle even if he could not take part in it.
He arrived at the moment when his regiment was ordered to charge
against what was known as the Black Fort, and dashed forward
with his men into the very jaws of death.  Certainly "someone had
blundered," for the charge which had been intended merely as a
feint was carried too far and scores of men were mowed down under
the terrible fire of the enemy's guns.  Temporary shelter was at
last reached, however, and under cover of it the Adjutant borrowed
Grant's horse; but he fell soon after the charge was renewed and the
Colonel, noticing the impetuous Quartermaster, promptly appointed
him to take the fallen officer's place.  By this time the troops
had fought their way into the town and the enemy, posted in the
Plaza or Principal Square, commanded every approach to it.  As long
as the Americans kept in the side streets they were comparatively
safe, but the moment they showed themselves in any of the avenues
leading to the Plaza, they encountered a hail of bullets.  This
was serious enough; but at the end of two days the situation became
critical, for the ammunition began to run low, and it was realized
that, if the Mexicans discovered this, they would sweep down and
cut their defenseless opponents to pieces.  Face to face with this
predicament, the Colonel on September 23rd, called for a volunteer
to carry a dispatch to Headquarters, and Grant instantly responded.

To reach his destination it was necessary to run the gantlet of the
enemy, for every opening from the Plaza was completely exposed to
their fire.  But trusting in the fleetness of his horse, the young
lieutenant leaped into the saddle and, swinging himself down, Indian
fashion, on one side of his steed so as to shield himself behind
its body, he dashed away on his perilous mission.  A roar of muskets
greeted him at every corner, but he flashed safely by, leaping
a high wall which lay across his path and then, speeding straight
for the east end of the town, reached the commanding General and
reported the peril of his friends.

Meanwhile the Americans began one of the most curious advances
ever made by an army, for General Worth, finding that he could not
force his troops through the streets leading to the Plaza without
great loss of life, ordered them to enter the houses and break down
the intervening walls, so that they could pass from one adjoining
house to another under cover, directly to the heart of the city.
This tunneling maneuver was executed with great skill, and when
the walls of the houses nearest the Plaza were reached and masses
of men stood ready to pour through the openings into the Square,
its astonished defenders gave up the fight and promptly surrendered
the city.





Chapter VII




Captain Lee at the Front


Astonishing as General Taylor's success had been, the authorities
at Washington decided, largely for political reasons, to appoint
a new commander, and three months after the battle of Monterey,
General Winfield Scott, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States
army, was ordered to the seat of the war.

It would be impossible to imagine two officers more utterly different
than Taylor and Scott, but each in his own way exerted a profound
influence upon the careers of Grant and Lee.  Taylor was a rough,
uncultivated man, fearless, shrewd and entirely capable, but with
nothing to suggest the soldier in his appearance, dress or dignity.
On the contrary, he usually appeared sitting slouchily on some
woe-begone old animal, his long legs dangling on one side of the
saddle, the bridle rein looped over his arm and a straw hat on his
head, more like a ploughman than an officer of high rank.  Indeed,
he seldom donned a uniform of any description, and his only known
appearance in full dress occurred during an official meeting with
an admiral, when, out of regard for naval etiquette, he attired
himself in his finest array.  But this effort at politeness was not
calculated to encourage him, for the admiral, knowing his host's
objection to uniforms, had been careful to leave his on his ship
and appeared in civilian attire.

Scott, on the other hand, was a fussy and rather pompous individual,
who delighted in brass buttons and gold lace and invariably presented
a magnificent appearance.  But, like Taylor, he was an excellent
officer and thoroughly competent to handle an army in the field.
He was, moreover, entirely familiar with the material of which the
American army was composed, and his first move on assuming command
was to order practically all the regular United States troops and
their officers to join him near Vera Cruz, leaving Taylor virtually
nothing but volunteer regiments.  The Fourth Infantry accordingly
parted with its old commander and reported to Scott, where it was
assigned to the division of General Worth, and for the first time
Grant met many of the men with and against whom he was to be thrown
during the Civil War.

It was certainly a remarkable body of officers that Scott gathered
about him at the outset of his campaign, for it included such men
as Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, McClellan, Joseph Johnson,
Jubal Early, A. P. Hill, Meade, Beauregard, Hooker, Longstreet,
Hancock, Thomas and, last but not least, Ulysses Grant and Robert
Lee.  Lee had arrived in Mexico soon after the battle of Monterey,
but he had no opportunity for distinction until the spring of 1847,
when preparations were begun for the siege of Vera Cruz.  He had,
however, already demonstrated his ability as an engineer, and with
Lieutenant Beauregard who, fourteen years later, commanded the
attack on Fort Sumter, he was entrusted with posting the American
batteries at Vera Cruz.  This he did to such advantage that they
made short work of the city which fell into the invaders' hands,
March 29, 1847, after a week's siege.  Scott was quick to recognize
the merit of officers, and Lee was straightway attached to his
personal staff, with the result that when the army began its forward
movement most of the difficult and delicate work was confided to
his care.

Scott's object was the capture of the City of Mexico, the capital
of the Republic, and against this stronghold he moved with energy
and skill.  At Cerro Gordo the Mexicans opposed him with considerable
force, but maneuvers, suggested by Lee, enabled him to outflank the
enemy and drive them, without much trouble, from his path.  Again
at Contreras a check occurred, part of the army having advanced
over a well-nigh impassable country and lost touch with the
Commander-in-Chief.  One after another seven officers were dispatched
to carry the necessary orders, but all returned without effecting
their purpose.  But at midnight, in the midst of a torrential storm
Lee arrived from the front, having overcome all difficulties--an
achievement which Scott subsequently described as "the greatest
feat of physical and moral courage performed by any individual in
my knowledge, pending the campaign."

But Lee was more than merely brave and daring.  He was thorough.
When work was entrusted to his care he performed it personally,
never relying on others further than was absolutely necessary, and
never resting satisfied until he was certain that he had accomplished
his task.  On one of his most important reconnoissances he rode
into the interior of the country at night to locate the position
of the enemy, and after he had proceeded a considerable distance
his guide informed him that if he went any further he would be a
prisoner, for the whole Mexican army lay directly in his path.  He,
accordingly, advanced more cautiously, but the guide again begged
him to halt, declaring that he could already see the enemies' tents
lying on the hillside below.  Peering through the darkness in the
direction indicated, Lee discovered what appeared to be an encampment
of many thousand men, and for the moment he was tempted to accept
his companion's conclusion that this was the main force of the
Mexicans.  Second thoughts, however, convinced him that he ought
not to make a report based upon the eyes of the guide, and, despite
the man's frightened protests, he decided to stay where he was and
see the situation for himself by daylight.  But, before the morning
fairly dawned, it was apparent that the supposed army of Mexicans
was nothing but a huge flock of sheep and, galloping back with the
news that the road was clear, he led a troop of cavalry forward and
located the enemy posted many miles away in an entirely different
position.

The Mexicans stubbornly, though unsuccessfully, resisted the American
army as it pushed toward their capital, and in the battles which
ensued Lee was so active that his gallant conduct was praised in
almost every dispatch of his Chief, who subsequently attributed much
of his success "to the skill and valor of Robert E. Lee," whom he
did not hesitate to describe as "the greatest military genius in
America."  Continuous praise from such a source would have been
more than sufficient to turn the average officer's head, but Lee
continued to perform his duties without showing the least sign of
vanity or conceit.  Quiet, thoughtful, quick to take advantage of
any opportunity, but greedy of neither honors nor personal distinction
of any kind, he won the admiration of his comrades as well as the
confidence of his superiors, and his promotion, first to the rank
of major and then to that of lieutenant-colonel, was universally
approved.

Meanwhile, Grant had been acquitting himself with high credit in
all the work which fell to his share.  He was in no position to
render service of anything like the importance of Lee's, but he
did what he was ordered to do and did it well, being brevetted a
first lieutenant for conspicuous gallantry at the battle of Molino del
Rey, September 8, 1847.  Again, on September 13, in the fighting
around Chapultepec, where Lee, though wounded, remained in the saddle
until he fell fainting from his horse, Grant gained considerable
distinction by his quick action in relieving a dangerous pressure
on part of the American lines by posting a small gun in the belfry
of a church and galling the enemy with his deadly accurate fire.
It was characteristic of the man that when complimented upon this
achievement and told that a second gun would be sent to him, Grant
merely saluted.  He might, with truth, have informed his commanding
officer that the belfry could not accommodate another gun, but it
was not his habit to talk when there was no need of it, or to question
the wisdom of his superior officer.  He, therefore, quietly accepted
the praise and the superfluous gun and, returning to his post,
resumed his excellent service.  This and other similar conduct won
him further promotion, and on September 14, 1847, when the Americans
marched triumphantly into the Mexican capital, he was brevetted a
captain.

The war practically ended with this event and within a year Grant
was married to Miss Julia Dent and stationed at Sackett's Harbor,
New York, while Lee was assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, not
far from his old home.





Chapter VIII




Colonel Lee After the Mexican War


It is probable that Lee would have been well content to remain
indefinitely at Baltimore, for his duties there enabled him to be
more with his family than had been possible for some years.  To his
boys and girls he was both a companion and a friend and in their
company he took the keenest delight.  In fact, he and his wife
made their home the center of attraction for all the young people
of the neighborhood, and no happier household existed within the
confines of their beloved Virginia.

It was not to be expected, however, that an officer of Lee's reputation
would be allowed to remain long in obscurity, and in 1852, he was
appointed Superintendent at West Point.  A wiser selection for this
important post could scarcely have been made, for Colonel Lee,
then in his forty-sixth year, possessed rare qualifications for
the duties entrusted to his charge.  He was not only a man whose
splendid presence, magnificent physique and distinguished record
were certain to win the admiration and respect of young men, but
he combined in his character and temperament all the qualities of
a tactful teacher and an inspiring leader.  Quiet and dignified,
but extremely sympathetic, he governed the cadets without seeming
to command them and, as at his own home, he exerted a peculiarly
happy influence upon all with whom he came into personal contact.
Among the cadets during his service at West Point were J. E. B.
Stuart, who was to prove himself one of the greatest cavalry leaders
that this country has ever produced, and his elder son, Custis Lee,
who, improving on his father's almost perfect record, graduated
first in his class.

About this time certain important changes were effected in the
organization of the regular army, and the popular Superintendent
of West Point was immediately appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the
newly formed Second Cavalry, with orders to proceed to Texas and
protect the settlers against the attacks of hostile Indians.  It
was with keen regret that Lee received this assignment, for, though
intended as a promotion, it removed him from the corps of engineers
to which he had always been attached and obliged him to break all
his home ties for what was practically police duty in the wilderness.
Nevertheless, no thought of resigning from the army apparently
crossed his mind.  He soon joined his regiment in Texas, where, for
almost three years, he patrolled the country, ruling the Indians
by diplomacy or force, as occasion required, practically living in
the saddle and experiencing all the discomforts and privations of
garrison life at an outpost of civilization.

Almost his only relaxation during this lonely and exhausting service
was his correspondence with his wife and children, and his letters
to them, written in rough camps and on the march, show that his
thoughts were constantly with his home and loved ones.  "It has
been said that our letters are good representations of our minds,"
he wrote his youngest daughter from Texas in 1857; and certainly
Lee's correspondence, exhibiting as it does, consideration for
others, modesty, conscientiousness, affection and a spirit of fun,
affords an admirable reflection of the writer.

"Did I tell you that 'Jim Nooks,' Mrs. Waite's cat, was dead?" he
wrote one of his girls.  "He died of apoplexy.  I foretold his end.
Coffee and cream for breakfast, pound cake for lunch, turtle and
oysters for dinner, buttered toast for tea and Mexican rats, taken
raw, for supper! He grew enormously and ended in a spasm.  His beauty
could not save him....  But I saw 'cats as is cats' at Sarassa....
The entrance of Madame [his hostess] was foreshadowed by the
coming in of her stately cats with visages grim and tails erect,
who preceded, surrounded and followed her.  They are of French
breed and education, and when the claret and water were poured out
for my refreshment they jumped on the table for a sit-to....  I
had to leave the wild-cat on the Rio Grande; he was too savage and
had grown as large as a small sized dog.  He would pounce on a kid
as Tom Tita [his daughter's cat] would on a mouse and would whistle
like a tiger when you approached him."

But it was not always in this chatty fashion that he wrote, for
in 1856, when the question of slavery was being fiercely discussed
throughout the country, he expressed his views on the subject with
a moderation and broadmindedness exceedingly rare in those excited
times.

"In this enlightened age," he wrote his wife, "there are few,
I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as an institution is
a moral and political evil in any country.  I think it, however,
a greater evil to the white than to the black race; and while
my feelings are strongly interested in behalf of the latter, my
sympathies are stronger for the former.  The blacks are immeasurably
better off here than in Africa--morally, socially and physically.
The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their
instruction as a race and I hope it will prepare and lead them to
better things.  How long this subjection may be necessary is known
and ordered by a wise and merciful Providence.  Their emancipation
will sooner result from a mild and melting influence than from the
storms and contests of fiery controversy.  This influence though
slow is sure."

Such were the views of Robert Lee on this great question of the day,
and even as he wrote the country was beginning to notice a country
lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, who was expressing almost identically
the same opinions in no uncertain terms.

But the calm advice of Lincoln and Lee did not appeal to the hot-heads
who were for abolishing slavery instantly at any and every cost.
In October, 1859, when Lee was on a short visit to Arlington, John
Brown, whose father had once lived with Grant's father, attempted
to take the whole matter into his already blood-stained hands.
It is a strange coincidence that Lee should have chanced to be in
Virginia just at this particular crisis, and still stranger that
the errand which had called him home should have related to the
emancipation of slaves.  But the facts were that Mr. Custis, his
father-in-law, had died a few weeks previously, leaving him as the
executor of his will, which provided, among other things, for the
gradual emancipation of all his slaves.  Lee had accordingly obtained
leave of absence to make a flying trip to Virginia for the purpose
of undertaking this duty, and he was actually making arrangements
to carry out Mr. Custis's wishes in respect to his slaves when
the news of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry reached Arlington.
Word of this reckless attempt to free the slaves by force reached
him in the form of a dispatch from the Secretary of War, ordering
him to take immediate charge of the United States marines who were
being hurried to the scene of action.  He instantly obeyed and,
with Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart as his second in command, hastened
to Harper's Ferry and, directing his troops to storm the engine-house
where Brown and his followers had taken refuge, effected their
capture almost without striking a blow.  Then, after delivering
his prisoners to the proper authorities, he completed his work at
Arlington and returned to Texas and the rough life of guarding the
frontier line.

From this duty he was recalled to Washington in March, 1861, when
the Southern States were rapidly forming the Confederacy, the
whole country was in wild confusion and the nation was facing the
prospect of a terrific civil war.





Chapter IX




Captain Grant in a Hard Fight


Meanwhile, what had become of Grant?  The War Department did not
know and apparently did not care.  Jefferson Davis, the Secretary
of War, responded to his father's anxious inquiry that Captain
U. S. Grant had resigned from the army in July, 1854, but that he
had no official knowledge as to why he had taken this action.  Mr.
Grant, however, soon learned the facts from other sources, and in
his bitter disappointment was heard to exclaim that "West Point
had ruined one of his boys for him."

It was natural enough that the stern and proud old gentleman
should have blamed West Point for the heart-breaking failure of
his favorite son, but, as a matter of fact, West Point was in no
way responsible for what had occurred.  Neither during his cadetship
at the Academy nor for some years after his graduation from that
institution had Ulysses Grant touched wine or stimulants in any
form.  He had, indeed, tried to learn to smoke during his West
Point days but had merely succeeded in making himself ill.  During
his hard campaigning in Mexico, however, he had learned not only
to smoke, but to drink, though it was not until some years after
the war closed that he began to indulge to excess.  As a matter
of fact, he ought never to have touched a drop of any intoxicant,
for a very little was always too much for him, and the result was
that he soon came to be known in the army as a drinking man.  Had
he been at home, surrounded by his wife and children and busily
engaged, perhaps he might not have yielded to his weakness.  But
his orders carried him to lonely posts on the Pacific, many hundreds
of miles away from his family, with no duties worthy of the name,
and the habit grew on him until the exasperated Colonel of his regiment
at last gave him the choice of resigning or being court-martialed
for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.  Face to face
with this ugly alternative, he chose resignation, and the army,
officially, knew him no more.

It was not only social and professional disgrace, but financial
ruin which confronted the broken officer as he bade good-bye to
his regiment at its desolate quarters in California, after fifteen
years of service to the army.  He was absolutely without money
and, at the age of thirty-two, it was by no means easy for him to
begin life all over again and earn his own living at a new calling.
His fellow officers provided him with enough cash for his immediate
wants, and with their help he managed to find his way back to
Sackett's Harbor, New York, where there was a little money owing
him.  But he failed to collect this and remained hopelessly stranded
until another officer came to his rescue and provided him with
sufficient funds to take him to his home.  This friend in time of
need was Simon B. Buckner, whom he was to meet again under strange
and dramatic circumstances.

It was hardly to be expected, under such conditions, that stern
old Jesse Grant would welcome the home-coming of his eldest son.
Nevertheless, he helped him on his way to his wife and children,
and, sick at heart and broken in health, the young man joined his
family and began a desperate struggle to earn his own living.  Mrs.
Grant's father was a slave owner and a sympathizer with the South
in the growing trouble between that section of the country and the
North.  But the quarrel had not yet reached the breaking point,
and although he did not approve of his son-in-law's northern views
and heartily disapproved of his conduct, he gave him a start as a
farmer and then left him to work out his own salvation.

Farming was the only occupation at which Grant could hope to make
a living, but he soon found that he did not know enough about this
to make a success of it, and gradually fell back on his youthful
experience as a teamster, hauling wood to the city where he sold
it to the railroad or to anyone that would buy.  At this he was
fairly successful and, encouraged by his wife who stood bravely by
him, he built a house with his own hands, which, although it was
not much more than a log cabin, was sufficiently large to shelter
his small family.  All this time he was making a hard fight to
conquer his drinking habits, but the vice had taken a terrible hold
on him and he could not easily shake it off.  It was only a matter
of time, therefore, before his experiment at farming failed and with
the aid of his father-in-law he entered business as a real estate
broker in St. Louis.  But for this calling he had no qualification
whatsoever, and after a disheartening experience in attempting
to secure the post of county engineer, he accepted his father's
suggestion that he join his brothers in the leather business in
Galena, Illinois, and retired there with his family in the spring
of 1860.

The position which his father had made for him was not much more
than a clerkship and the work was dull for a man who had been
accustomed to active, outdoor life; but he was received with tact
and kindness, no reference was made to his past record of failure
and all this helped him to continue the successful struggle which
he was making to regain control of himself and his habits.

Indeed, from the time he began his residence in Galena he already
had the battle well in hand and he fought it out with such grim
resolution that before a year had passed his victory was complete.
Scarcely anyone in the little town knew of this silent struggle for
self-mastery.  Indeed, very few people knew anything at all about
the newcomer, save that he was a quiet, hard-working man who
occasionally appeared on the streets wearing a blue army overcoat
which had seen rough service.  This weather-stained garment,
however, forced Grant to break his habitual silence, for he fully
shared General Taylor's prejudice against a uniform and felt
obliged to apologize for wearing even part of one.  So one day he
explained to a neighbor that he wore the coat because it was made
of good material and he thought he ought to use it as long as
it lasted.  That was all the citizens of Galena then learned of
the record of the man who had served with high honor in well-nigh
every battle of the Mexican War.  Had it depended upon him, their
information would probably have begun and ended there.

During all this time the feeling between the North and the South
was growing more and more bitter, but Galena was a town divided
against itself on the slavery question.  Grant himself was a Democrat.
If he was not in favor of slavery, he certainly was not opposed to
it, for he favored Douglas and not Lincoln in the contest for the
Presidency, and Douglas was strongly against any interference with
slavery.  Indeed, it is a curious coincidence that at or about the
time when Lee's family was ceasing to own slaves, Grant's family
acquired some.  Such, however, is the fact, for on the death of
her father, Mrs. Grant inherited several Negroes and there is some
evidence that Grant himself sold or attempted to sell them.

But, though he was at that time no champion of the black race, Grant
was always a strong Union man, opposed heart and soul to secession.
Indeed, when news of the attack upon Fort Sumter arrived in Galena,
he arrayed himself with the defenders of the flag gathered at a
mass meeting held in the town to form a company in response to the
President's call for 75,000 volunteers.  Moreover, this meeting
had no sooner been called to order than someone proposed him as
chairman, and to his utter astonishment, he found himself pushed
from the rear of the room to the front and from the front to the
platform.  Probably few in the audience knew who or what he was,
and his embarrassment was such that for a few minutes no words came
to his lips.  Finally, however, he managed to announce the object
of the meeting, warning those who intended to enlist that they would
be engaged in serious business involving hard work and privation,
expressing his willingness to aid in forming the Galena Company
and ending with a simple statement of his own intention to reenter
the army.

There was nothing eloquent about his short speech but it had the
tone of a man who knew what he was talking about, and the audience,
availing itself of his military experience, immediately voted
to entrust the organization and drilling of the volunteers to his
care, and from that moment he never again entered his father's
place of business.





Chapter X




Grant's Difficulties in Securing a Command


The command of the local company was, of course, offered to Grant
as soon as it was formed, but he declined, believing himself
qualified for somewhat higher rank than a captaincy of volunteers.
Nevertheless, he did all he could to prepare the recruits for active
service in the field and when they were ordered to Springfield,
the capital of Illinois, he journeyed there to see them properly
mustered into the service of the state.

Springfield was a hubbub of noise and a rallying point for well-meaning
incompetence when he arrived upon the scene.  New officers in new
uniforms swaggered in every public meeting place, bands of music
played martial airs at every street corner and volunteers sky-larked
and paraded in all sorts of impossible uniforms and with every form
of theatric display.  But system and order were absolutely lacking,
and the adjutant-general's office, littered with blanks and well-nigh
knee deep with papers, was the most helpless spot in the welter of
confusion.  All the material for a respectable army was at hand,
but how to form it into an effective force was more than anyone
seemed to know.  The mass of military forms and blanks intended
for that purpose was mere waste paper in the hands of the amiable
but ignorant insurance agent who bore the title of adjutant-general,
and no one of the patriotic mob had sufficient knowledge to instruct
him in his duties.  In the midst of all this hopeless confusion,
however, someone suggested that a man by the name of Grant, who had
come down with the Galena Company, had been in the army and ought
to know about such things.  The Governor accordingly sought out
"the man from Galena" just as he was starting for his home, with
the result that he was soon at a desk in the adjutant's office,
filling out the necessary papers at three dollars a day, while the
brand new captains, colonels and generals posed in the foreground
to the tune of popular applause.

From this time forward order gradually took the place of chaos and
the political generals and comic-opera soldiers were slowly shifted
from the scene.  But scarcely anyone noticed the silent man, hard
at work in his shirt sleeves in a corner of the adjutant's room, and
such inquiries as were made concerning him elicited the information
that he was a cast-off of the regular army, with a dubious reputation
for sobriety, who had been hired as a clerk.  But the Governor
of Illinois was an intelligent man, and he was well aware of the
service which the ex-Captain of regulars was performing for the
State, and on the completion of his work in the adjutant's office
Grant was given a nominal title and assigned to visit the various
regiments at their encampments to see that they were properly
mustered in.  He, accordingly, straightway set to work at this
task, and his brisk, business-like manner of handling it made an
impression upon those with whom he came in contact, for one of the
temporary camps became known as Camp Grant.

Meanwhile, seeing his duties coming to an end without much
hope of further employment, he wrote the following letter to the
Adjutant-General of the United States Army at Washington:


"Sir:

"Having served for fifteen years in the regular army, including four
years at West Point, and feeling it the duty of every one who has
been educated at the Government expense to offer their services for
the support of that Government, I have the honor, very respectfully,
to tender my services until the close of the war in such capacity
as may be offered.  I would say in view of my present age and length
of service, I feel myself competent to command a regiment, if the
President, in his judgment, should see fit to entrust one to me.
Since the first call of the President I have been serving on the
staff of the Governor of this State, rendering such aid as I could
in the organization of our State militia, and am still engaged in
that capacity.  A letter addressed to me at Springfield, Ill., will
reach me."


But the authorities at Washington took no notice whatsoever of
this modest letter, which was evidently tossed aside and completely
forgotten.  Indeed, it was so completely buried in the files of
the War Department that it disappeared for years and, when it was
at last discovered, the war was a thing of the past.

This silent rebuff was enough to discourage any sensitive man and
Grant felt it keenly, but he did not entirely despair of accomplishing
his end.  He tried to gain an interview with General Fremont who
was stationed in a neighboring state and, failing in this, sought
out McClellan, his comrade in the Mexican War, who had been made a
major-general and was then in the vicinity of Covington, Kentucky,
where Grant had gone to visit his parents.  But McClellan either
would not or could not see him.  Indeed, he had about reached the
conclusion that his quest was hopeless, when he happened to meet a
friend who offered to tell the Governor of Ohio that he wished to
reenter the army, with the result that before long he was tendered
the colonelcy of an Ohio regiment.  In the meantime, however, he
had unexpectedly received a telegram from the Governor of Illinois,
appointing him to the command of the 21st Illinois regiment, and
this he had instantly accepted.  Had he known the exact circumstances
under which this post was offered him, perhaps he might not have
acted so promptly, but he knew enough to make him aware that the
appointment was not altogether complimentary and it is quite likely
that he would have accepted it in any event.

The facts were, however, that the Colonel of the 21st Regiment had
proved to be an ignorant and bombastic adventurer, who had appeared
before his troops clothed in a ridiculous costume and armed like
a pirate king, and there was such dissatisfaction among both the
officers and men that a new commander was urgently demanded.  Of
this Grant already knew something, but he was not advised that
the regiment had become so utterly demoralized by its incompetent
leader that it was nothing less than a dangerous and unruly mob,
of which the Governor could not induce any self-respecting officer
to take charge.  He had, indeed, offered the command to at least
half a dozen other men before he tendered it to Grant, and he must
have been intensely relieved to receive his prompt acceptance.

The new Colonel did not wait to procure a new uniform before reporting
for duty, but, hastening to the Fair Grounds close to Springfield
where his troops were stationed, ordered them to assemble for
inspection.  But incompetent leadership had played havoc with the
discipline of the regiment, and the men shambled from their tents
without any attempt at military formation, more from curiosity than
in obedience to orders.

The new Colonel stepped to the front, wearing a rusty suit of
civilian's clothes, his trousers tucked into his dusty boots, a
battered hat on his head, a bandanna handkerchief tied around his
waist in place of a sash and carrying a stick in place of a sword.
Altogether he presented a most unimpressive figure and it would
not have been surprising if a wild guffaw of laughter had greeted
him, but the troops, studying his strong, calm face, contented
themselves with calling for a speech.  Then they waited in silence
for his response and they did not have to wait long.

"Men!" he commanded sharply.  "Go to your quarters!"

The regiment fairly gasped its astonishment.  It had never heard
a speech like that before and, taken completely by surprise, it
moved quietly from the field.

Sentries were instantly posted, camp limits established and
preparations made for enforcing strict discipline.  It was not to
be supposed that such prompt reforms would pass unchallenged, but
arrests followed the first signs of disobedience and punishment
swiftly followed the arrests.

"For every minute I'm kept here I'll have an ounce of your blood!"
threatened a dangerous offender whom the Colonel had ordered to be
tied up.

"Gag that man!" was the quiet response.  "And when his time is up
I'll cut him loose myself."

Before night, all was quiet in the camp of the 21st Regiment of
Illinois Volunteers.

Grant was in command.





Chapter XI




Lee at the Parting of the Ways


While Grant was thus striving to reenter the army, Lee was having
a struggle of a very different sort.  Summoned from his distant
post in Texas, where only an occasional rumble of the coming tempest
reached his ears, he suddenly found himself in the center of the
storm which threatened to wreck the Republic.  In the far South seven
states had already seceded; in Washington, Congressmen, Senators,
and members of the Cabinet were abandoning their posts; in the army
and navy his friends were daily tendering their resignations; and
his own state, divided between love for the Union and sympathy with
its neighbors, was hovering on the brink of secession.

The issue in Lee's mind was not the existence of slavery.  He had
long been in favor of emancipation, and Virginia had more than once
come so close to abolishing slavery by law that its disappearance
from her borders was practically assured within a very short period.
All his own slaves he had long since freed and he was gradually
emancipating his father-in-law's, according to the directions of
Mr. Custis's will.  But the right of each state to govern itself
without interference from the Federal Government seemed to Lee
essential to the freedom of the people.  He recognized, however, that
secession was revolution and, calmly and conscientiously examining
the question, he concluded that, if force were used to compel any
state to remain in the Union, resistance would be justifiable.
Most Virginians reached this decision impulsively, light-heartedly,
defiantly or vindictively, and more or less angrily, according to
their temperaments and the spirit of the times, but not so Lee.  He
unaffectedly prayed God for guidance in the struggle between his
patriotism and his devotion to a principle which he deemed essential to
liberty and justice.  He loved his country as only a man in close
touch with its history and with a deep reverence for its great
founder, Washington, could love it; he had fought for its flag; he
wore its uniform; he had been educated at its expense; and General
Scott, the Commander of the army, a devoted Union man, was his
warm personal friend.  Patriotism, personal pride, loyalty and even
gratitude, therefore, urged him toward the support of the Union,
and only his adherence to a principle and the claims of his kinsmen
and friends forbade.

For a time Virginia resisted every effort to induce her to cast
her lot with the Confederacy.  Indeed she actually voted against
secession when the question was first presented.  But when Fort
Sumter resisted attack on April 12, 1861, and the President called
upon the various states to furnish troops to enforce the national
authority, practically all affection for the Union disappeared and
by a decisive vote Virginia determined to uphold the Southern cause.

At that crisis President Lincoln made a strong effort to induce
Lee to support the Union, for he actually offered him the command
of the United States Army which was about to take the field.  The
full force of this remarkable tribute to his professional skill
was not lost upon Lee.  He had devoted his whole life to the army,
and to be a successor of Washington in the command of that army
meant more to him than perhaps to any other soldier in the land.
Certainly, if he had consulted his own ambition or been influenced
by any but the most unselfish motives, he would have accepted the
call as the highest honor in the gift of the nation.  But to do
so he would have been obliged to surrender his private principles
and desert his native state, and it is impossible to imagine that
a man of his character would, even for an instant, consider such a
course.  Gravely and sadly he declined the mighty office, and two
days later he tendered his resignation from the service he had
honored for almost six and thirty years.

For this and his subsequent action Lee has been called a traitor and
severely criticized for well-nigh fifty years.  But, when a nation
has been divided against itself upon a great issue of government,
millions upon one side and millions upon the other, and half a
century has intervened, it is high time that justice be given to
the man who did what he thought right and honorably fought for a
principle which he could have surrendered only at the expense of his
conscience and his honor.  Lee was a traitor to the United States
in the same sense that Washington was a traitor to England.  No more
and no less.  England takes pride to-day in having given Washington
to the world.  Americans deprive their country of one of her claims
to greatness when they fail to honor the character and the genius
of Robert Lee.

It was in a letter to his old commander, Scott, that Lee announced
his momentous decision, and its tone well indicated what the parting
cost him.


"Arlington, Va., April 20, 1861.

"General:

"Since my interview with you on the 18th inst., I have felt that I
ought not longer to retain my commission in the army.  I, therefore,
tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend for
acceptance.  It would have been presented at once but for the struggle
it has cost me to separate myself from a service to which I have
devoted the best years of my life and all the ability I possessed.
During the whole of that time...I have experienced nothing but
kindness from my superiors and a most cordial friendship from my
comrades.  To no one, General, have I been as much indebted as to
yourself for uniform kindness and consideration....  Save in the
defense of my native State, I never desire again to draw my sword."


Lee was fully aware of the serious nature of the conflict in which
the country was about to engage.  Americans were to be pitted
against Americans and he knew what that meant.  Wise men, both North
and South, were prophesying that the war would not last more than
ninety days, and foolish ones were bragging of their own powers and
questioning the courage of their opponents, quite oblivious of the
adage that when Greek meets Greek there comes a tug of war.  But Lee
did not concern himself with such childish exhibitions of judgment
and temper.

"Do not put your faith in rumors of adjustment," he wrote his wife
before serious fighting had begun.  "I see no prospect of it.  It
cannot be while passions on both sides are so infuriated.  MAKE
YOUR PLANS FOR SEVERAL YEARS OF WAR.  I agree with you that the
inflammatory articles in the papers do us much harm.  I object
particularly to those in the Southern papers, as I wish them to
take a firm, dignified course, free from bravado and boasting.  The
times are indeed calamitous.  The brightness of God's countenance
seems turned from us.  It may not always be so dark and He may in
time pardon our sins and take us under his protection."

Up to this time his son Custis, who had graduated first in his class
at West Point, was still in the service of the United States as
a lieutenant in the Engineers and of him Lee wrote to his wife in
the same comradely spirit that he had always shown toward his boys.
"Tell Custis he must consult his own judgment, reason and conscience,
as to the course he may take.  The present is a momentous question
which every man must settle for himself, and upon principle.  I do
not wish him to be guided by my wishes or example.  If I have done
wrong let him do better."

Virginia was not slow in recognizing that she had within her borders
the soldiers whom the chief general of the United States described
as the greatest military genius in America, and within three days
of his resignation from the old army, Lee was tendered the command
of all the Virginia troops.  Convinced that the brunt of the heavy
fighting would fall on his native state, to whose defense he had
dedicated his sword, he accepted the offer and thus there came to
the aid of the Confederacy one of the few really great commanders
that the world has ever seen.





Chapter XII




Opening Moves


It was to no very agreeable task that Lee was assigned at the
outset of his command.  The forces of the Confederacy were even
less prepared to take the field than those of the United States,
and for three months Lee was hard at work organizing and equipping
the army for effective service.  This important but dull duty
prevented him from taking any active part in the first great battle
of the War at Bull Run (July 21, 1861), but it was his rare judgment
in massing the troops where they could readily reenforce each other
that enabled the Confederate commanders on that occasion to form
the junction which resulted in the overwhelming defeat of the Union
army.  This fact was well recognized by the authorities and, when
the situation in western Virginia assumed a threatening aspect, he
was ordered there with the highest hopes that he would repeat the
success of Bull Run and speedily expel the Union forces from that
part of the state.

A more unpromising field of operation than western Virginia could
scarcely have been selected for the new commander.  The people of
that region generally favored the Union, and the Federal troops
had already obtained possession of the strongest positions, while
some of the Confederate commanders were quarreling with each other
and otherwise working at cross purposes.  For a time, therefore,
Lee had to devote himself to smoothing over the differences which
had arisen among his jealous subordinates, but when he at last
began an aggressive movement, bad weather and a lack of cooperation
between the various parts of his small army defeated his designs,
and in October, 1861, the three-months' campaign came to an inglorious
close.

This complete failure was a bitter disappointment to the Confederate
hopes and Lee was severely blamed for the result.  Indeed, for the
time being he was regarded as an overrated individual who had had
his opportunity and had proved unequal to the task of conducting
military operations on a large scale.  It was not easy to suffer
this unjust criticism to pass unnoticed, but the discipline of
the army life had taught Lee to control his tongue, and he made
no protest even when he found himself removed from the front to
superintend the fortifying of the coast.  A small-minded man would
probably have retired in sulky silence under such circumstances, but
Lee entered upon his new duties with cheerful energy, and in four
months he devised such skillful defenses for Charleston, Savannah
and other points on the Confederate coast line, that they were
enabled to defy all assaults of the Union army and navy until
almost the close of the war.  This invaluable service attracted no
public attention, but it was fully appreciated by the Confederate
authorities, who in no wise shared the popular opinion concerning
Lee's talents.  On the contrary, President Jefferson Davis, himself
a graduate of West Point, continued to have the highest regard for
his ability, and in March, 1862, he reappointed him as his chief
military adviser at Richmond.

It was about this time that the roar of cannon in the West attracted
the attention of the country, making it realize for the first time
how far flung was the battle line of the contending armies; and
on hard-fought fields, hundreds and hundreds of miles away from
Washington and Richmond, the mud-splashed figure of Grant began to
loom through heavy clouds of smoke.

It was by no brilliant achievement that Grant regained his standing
in the army.  The unruly 21st Illinois had been sufficiently
disciplined within a fortnight after he assumed command to take
some pride in itself as an organization and when its short term of
service expired, it responded to the eloquence of McClernand and
Logan, two visiting orators, by reenlisting almost to a man.  Then
the Colonel set to work in earnest to make his regiment ready for
the field, drilling and hardening the men for their duties and
waiting for an opportunity to show that this was a fighting force
with no nonsense about it.  The opportunity came sooner than he
expected, for about two weeks after he had assumed command, his
regiment was ordered to northern Missouri, and a railroad official
called at his camp to inquire how many cars he would need for
the transportation of his men.  "I don't want any," was the bluff
response; and, to the astonishment of the local authorities who,
at that period of the war, never dreamed of moving troops except
by rail or river, the energetic Colonel assembled his regiment
in marching order and started it at a brisk pace straight across
country.

But, though he had moved with such commendable promptness, Grant
was not nearly so confident as his actions seemed to imply.  In
fact, before he reached his destination, he heartily wished himself
back again, and by the time he arrived at the point where the enemy
was expected his nerves were completely unstrung.  It was not the
fright of cowardice that unmanned him, but rather the terror of
responsibility.  Again and again he had braved death in battle but
now, for the first time, the safety of an entire regiment depended
solely upon him as he approached the summit of the hill from which
he expected to catch sight of his opponents he dreaded to fight
them, lest he prove unequal to the emergency.  But, while he was
tormenting himself with this over-anxiety, he suddenly remembered
that his opponent was just as new at his duties as he was and
probably quite as nervous, and from that moment his confidence
gradually returned.  As a matter of fact, Colonel Harris, who
commanded the Confederate force, displayed far more prudence than
valor, for, on hearing of the advance of the Union troops, he
speedily retreated and the 21st Illinois encountered no opposition
whatever.  But the march taught Grant a lesson he never forgot and,
thereafter, in the hour of peril, he invariably consoled himself
by remembering that his opponents were not free from danger and
the more he made them look to their own safety the less time they
would have for worrying him.

It was in July, 1861, when Grant entered Missouri, and about a month
later the astonishing news reached his headquarters that President
Lincoln had appointed him a Brigadier General of Volunteers.  The
explanation of this unexpected honor was that the Illinois
Congressmen had included his name with seven others on a list of
possible brigadiers, and the President had appointed four of them
without further evidence of their qualifications.  Under such
circumstances, the promotion was not much of an honor, but it placed
Grant in immediate command of an important district involving the
control of an army of quite respectable size.

For a time the new General was exclusively occupied with perfecting
the organization of his increased command, but to this hard, dull
work he devoted himself in a manner that astonished some of the other
brigadiers whose ideas of the position involved a showy staff of
officers and a deal of picturesque posing in resplendent uniforms.
But Grant had no patience with such foolery.  He had work to do
and when his headquarters were established at Cairo, Illinois, he
took charge of them himself, keeping his eyes on all the details
like any careful business man.  In fact he was, as far as appearances
were concerned, a man of business, for he seldom wore a uniform and
worked at his desk all day in his shirt sleeves, behind ramparts
of maps and papers, with no regard whatever for military ceremony
or display.

A month of this arduous preparation found his force ready for active
duty and about this time he became convinced that the Confederates
intended to seize Paducah, an important position in Kentucky at
the mouth of the Tennessee River, just beyond the limits of his
command.  He, accordingly, telegraphed his superiors for permission
to occupy the place.  No reply came to this request and a more
timid man would have hesitated to move without orders.  But Grant
saw the danger and, assuming the responsibility, landed his troops
in the town just in time to prevent its capture by the Confederates.
Paducah was in sympathy with the South, and on entering it the Union
commander issued an address to the inhabitants which attracted far
more attention than the occupation of the town, for it contained
nothing of the silly brag and bluster so common then in military
proclamations on both sides.  On the contrary, it was so modest
and sensible, and yet so firm, that Lincoln, on reading it, is said
to have remarked:  "The man who can write like that is fitted to
command."

Paducah was destined to be the last of Grant's bloodless victories,
for in November, 1861, he was ordered to threaten the Confederates
near Belmont, Missouri, as a feint to keep them from reenforcing
another point where a real assault was planned.  The maneuver was
conducted with great energy and promised to be completely successful,
but after Grant's raw troops had made their first onslaught and
had driven their opponents from the field, they became disorderly
and before he could control them the enemy reappeared in overwhelming
numbers and compelled them to fight their way back to the river
steamers which had carried them to the scene of action.  This they
succeeded in doing, but such was their haste to escape capture
that they actually tumbled on board the boats and pushed off from
the shore without waiting for their commander.  By this time the
Confederates were rapidly approaching with the intention of sweeping
the decks of the crowded steamboats before they could get out of
range, and Grant was apparently cut off from all chance of escape.
Directly in front of him lay the precipitous river bank, while below
only one transport was within hail and that had already started
from its moorings.  Its captain, however, caught sight of him as
he came galloping through a corn field and instantly pushed his
vessel as close to the shore as he dared, at the same time throwing
out a single plank about fifteen feet in length to serve as an
emergency gangway.  To force a horse down the cliff-like bank of the
river and up the narrow plank to the steamer's deck, was a daring
feat, but the officer who was riding for his life had not forgotten
the skill which had marked him at West Point and, compelling his
mount to slide on its haunches down the slippery mud precipice, he
trotted coolly up the dangerous incline to safety.

The battle of Belmont (November 7, 1861), as this baptism of fire
was called, is said to have caused more mourning than almost any
other engagement of the war, for up to that time there had been but
little loss of life and its list of killed and wounded, mounting into
the hundreds, made a painfully deep impression.  In this respect,
it was decidedly ominous of Grant's future record, but it accomplished
his purpose in detaining the Confederates and he was soon to prove
his willingness to accept defeats as necessary incidents to any
successful campaign and to fight on undismayed.





Chapter XIII




Grant's First Success


Up to this time the war in the West had been largely an affair of
skirmishes.  A body of Union troops would find itself confronting
a Confederate force, one of the two commanders would attack and
a fight would follow; or the Confederates would march into a town
and their opponents would attempt to drive them out of it, not
because it was of any particular value, but because the other side
held it.  "See-a-head-and-hit-it" strategy governed the day and no
plan worthy of the name had been adopted for conducting the war on
scientific principles.

But Grant had studied the maps to some purpose in his office at
Cairo and he realized that the possession of the Mississippi River
was the key to the situation in the West.  As long as the Confederates
controlled that great waterway which afforded them free access to
the ocean and fairly divided the Eastern from the Western States,
they might reasonably hope to defy their opponents to the end of
time.  But, if they lost it, one part of the Confederacy would be
almost completely cut off from the rest.  Doubtless, other men saw
this just as clearly and quite as soon as Grant did; but having
once grasped an idea he never lost sight of it, and while others
were diverted by minor matters, he concentrated his whole attention
on what he believed to be the vital object of all campaigning in
the West.

The Tennessee River and the Cumberland River both flow into the
Ohio, not far from where that river empties into the Mississippi.
They, therefore, formed the principal means of water communication
with the Mississippi for the State of Tennessee, and the Confederates
had created forts to protect them at points well within supporting
distance of each other.  Fort Henry, guarding the Tennessee River,
and Fort Donelson, commanding the Cumberland River, were both
in Grant's district, and in January, 1862, he wrote to General
Halleck, his superior officer in St. Louis, calling attention to
the importance of these posts and offering suggestions for their
capture.  But Halleck did not take any notice of this communication
and Grant thereupon resolved to go to St. Louis and present his
plans in person.  This was the first time he had been in the city
since the great change in his circumstances and those who had
known him only a few years before as a poverty-stricken farmer and
wagoner could scarcely believe that he was the same man.  He had,
as yet, done nothing very remarkable, but he held an important
command, his name was well and favorably known and he had already
begun to pay off his old debts.  All this enabled his father and
mother to regain something of the pride they had once felt for
their eldest son, and his former friends were glad to welcome him
and claim his acquaintance.

Pleasant as this was, the trip to St. Louis was a bitter disappointment
in other respects, for Halleck not only rejected his subordinate's
proposition for the capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, but
dismissed him without even listening to the details of his plan.
Most officers would have been completely discouraged by such
treatment, but Grant had been accustomed to disappointments for
many years and did not readily despair.  Meeting Flag-Officer Foote
who had charge of a fleet of gun boats near Cairo, he explained
his idea and finding him not only sympathetic, but enthusiastic,
he and Foote each sent a telegram to Halleck assuring him that Fort
Henry could be taken if he would only give his consent.  These
messages brought no immediate response, but Grant continued to
request permission to advance until, on the 1st of February, 1862,
the necessary order was obtained and within twenty-four hours the
persistent officer had his expedition well upon its way.

His force consisted of some 15,000 men and seven gun boats, and
Halleck promised him reenforcements, sending a capable officer to
see that they were promptly forwarded.  This officer was Brigadier
General Sherman who thus, for the first time, came in touch with
the man with whom he was destined to bring the war to a close.
Four days after the troops started they were ready to attack and
the gun-boats at once proceeded to shell the fort, with the result
that its garrison almost immediately surrendered (February 6, 1862),
practically all of its defenders having retreated to Fort Donelson
as soon as they saw that their position was seriously threatened.

Grant promptly notified his Chief of this easy conquest, at the
same time adding that he would take Fort Donelson within forty-eight
hours, but he soon had reason to regret this boast--one of the
few of which he was ever guilty.  Indeed, his troops had scarcely
started on their journey when rapid progress became impossible,
for the rain descended in torrents, rendering the roads impassable
for wagons and cannon, and almost impracticable for infantry or
cavalry.  Moreover, many of the men had foolishly thrown away their
blankets and overcoats during the march from Fort Henry and their
suffering under the freezing winter blasts was exceedingly severe,
especially as camp fires were not permitted for fear that their smoke
would attract the gunners in the fort.  Under these circumstances
the advance was seriously delayed, and it was February 14, 1862--six
days after he had prophesied that he would take the place--before
Grant had his army in position.  By this time, however, the gun-boats
had arrived and he determined to attack at once, although Halleck
had advised him to wait for reenforcements to occupy Fort Henry,
lest the Confederates should recapture it while his back was turned.
There was, of course, a chance of this, but Grant felt sure that
if he delayed the Confederates would seize the opportunity to
strengthen Fort Donelson, and then 50,000 men would not be able to
accomplish what 15,000 might immediately effect.  He, accordingly,
directed Foote to bombard the fort at once from the river front
and try to run its batteries.  Desperate as this attempt appeared
his orders were instantly obeyed, the fearless naval officer forcing
his little vessels into the very jaws of death under a terrific
fire, to which he responded with a hail of shot and shell.

Grant watched this spectacular combat with intense interest,
waiting for a favorable moment to order an advance of his troops,
but to his bitter disappointment one after another of Foote's
vessels succumbed to the deadly fire of the water batteries and
drifted helplessly back with the current.  Indeed, the flagship
was struck more than sixty times and Foote himself was so severely
wounded that he could not report in person, but requested that the
General come on board his ship for a conference, which disclosed
the fact that the fleet was in no condition to continue the combat
and must retire for repairs.

There was nothing for Grant to do, therefore, but prepare for a
siege, and with a heavy heart he returned from the battered gun-boat
to give the necessary orders.  He had scarcely set his foot on
shore, however, before a staff officer dashed up with the startling
intelligence that the Confederates had sallied forth and attacked
a division of the army commanded by General McClernand and that
his troops were fleeing in a panic which threatened to involve
the entire army.  Grant knew McClernand well.  He was one of the
Congressmen who had made speeches to the 21st Illinois and, realizing
that the man was almost wholly ignorant of military matters and
utterly incapable of handling such a situation, he leaped on his
horse and, spurring his way across the frozen ground to the sound
of the firing, confronted the huddled and beaten division just in
the nick of time.  Meanwhile, General Lew Wallace--afterwards famous
as the author "Ben Hur"--had arrived and thrown forward a brigade
to cover the confused retreat, so that for the moment the Confederate
advance was held in check.  But despite this, McClernand's men
continued to give way, muttering that their ammunition was exhausted.
There were tons of ammunition close at hand, as the officers ought
to have known had they understood their duties, but even when assured
of this the panic-stricken soldiers refused to return to the field.
They were in no condition to resist attack, they declared, and the
enemy was evidently intending to make a long fight of it, as the
haversacks of those who had fallen contained at least three days'
rations.  This excuse was overheard by Grant and instantly riveted
his attention.

"Let me see some of those haversacks," he commanded sharply, and
one glance at their contents convinced him that the Confederates
were not attempting to crush his army, but were trying to break
through his lines and escape.  If they intended to stay and defend
the fortress, they would not carry haversacks at all; but if they
contemplated a retreat, they would not only take them, but fill
them with enough provisions to last for several days.  In reaching
this conclusion Grant was greatly aided by his knowledge of the
men opposing him.  He had served in Mexico with General Pillow, the
second in command at Fort Donelson, and, knowing him to be a timid
man, felt certain that nothing but desperation would ever induce
him to risk an attack.  He also knew that Floyd, his immediate
superior, who had recently been the United States Secretary of War,
had excellent reasons for avoiding capture and, putting all these
facts together, he instantly rose to the occasion.

"Fill your cartridge boxes, quick, and get into line," was his
order to the men as he dashed down the wavering lines.  "The enemy
is trying to escape and he must not be permitted to do so!"

The word flew through the disordered ranks, transforming them as
it passed, and at the same time orders were issued for the entire
left wing to advance and attack without a moment's delay.  This
unexpected onslaught quickly threw the Confederates back into the
fortress, but before they again reached the shelter of its walls the
Union forces had carried all the outer defenses and had virtually
locked the door behind their retreating adversaries.

From that moment the capture of the imprisoned garrison was only
a question of time, and within twenty-four hours Grant received
a communication from the Confederate commander asking for a truce
to consider the terms of surrender.  To his utter astonishment,
however, this suggestion did not come from either General Floyd
or General Pillow but from Simon Buckner, his old friend at West
Point, who had so generously aided him when he reached New York,
penniless and disgraced after his resignation from the army.  This
was an embarrassing situation, indeed, but while he would have done
anything he could for Buckner personally, Grant realized that he
must not allow gratitude or friendship to interfere with his duty.
He, therefore, promptly answered the proposal for a truce in these
words:


"No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be
accepted.  I propose to move immediately upon your works."


[NOTE from Brett:  The full letter is also shown in Grant's
handwriting which leaves something to be desired.  I will do my
best to transcribe it below:

Hd Qrs. Army in the Field
Camp Fort Donelson, Feb. 16th 1862

Cmdr. S. B. Buckner
Confed. Army.

Sir,

Yours of this inst. proposing armistice, and appointment of
Commissioners to settle terms of Capitulation is just received.  No
terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be
accepted.

I propose to move immediately upon your works.

I am Sir, very respectfully,
your obt. svt. [obedient servant],
U. S. Grant
Brig. Gen.

A portion of this letter is found at
http/www.livinghistoryonline.com/surrendr.htm]


But no more fighting was necessary, for Buckner yielded as gracefully
as he could, and on February 16, 1862, he and the entire garrison
of about 15,000 men became prisoners of war.  Generals Pillow and
Floyd, it appeared, had fled with some 4,000 men the night before,
leaving Buckner in charge and as Grant's force had by that time
been increased to 27,000 men, further resistance would have been
useless.

The capture of these two forts gave the Union forces command of
the Tennessee and the Cumberland Rivers, and to that extent cleared
the way for the control of the Mississippi.  It was the first real
success which had greeted the Union cause and it raised Grant to
a Major-Generalship of Volunteers, gave him a national reputation
and supplied a better interpretation of his initial than West
Point had provided, for from the date of his letter to Buckner he
was known as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.





Chapter XIV




The Battle of Shiloh


Grant did not waste any time in rejoicing over his success.  The
capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson was an important achievement
but it was only one step toward the control of the Mississippi River,
which was the main object of the campaign.  The next step in that
direction was toward Corinth a strategically important point in
Mississippi, and he immediately concentrated his attention upon
getting the army in position to attack that stronghold.  Some of
his fellow commanders, however, were extremely cautious and he had
to labor for days before he could persuade General Buell, who was
stationed at Nashville, Tennessee, with a large army, to advance
his troops to a point where they could be of service.  But in the
midst of this work he was suddenly interrupted by an order which
removed him from his command and virtually placed him under arrest
on charges of disregarding instructions and of being absent from
his department without permission.

These astonishing accusations were caused by his failure to answer
dispatches from Headquarters which had never reached him, and by
his visit to General Buell which had obliged him to travel beyond
the strict limits of his command.  The whole matter was soon
explained by the discovery that a Confederate had been tampering
with the dispatches in the telegraph office, but it was exceedingly
annoying to Grant to find himself publicly condemned without a hearing.
Nevertheless, it supplied a very fair test of his character, for
he neither lost his temper nor displayed any excitement whatsoever.
On the contrary, he remained perfectly calm in the face of
grave provocation, replying firmly but respectfully to the harsh
criticisms of his superiors, and behaving generally with a dignity
and composure that won the silent approval of all observers.

Of course, as soon as the facts were known he was restored to his
command with an ample apology, but his preparations for the advance
against Corinth had been seriously interrupted and it was some time
before he again had the work in hand.  Nevertheless, within five
weeks of the surrender of Fort Donelson, he was headed toward
Mississippi with over 30,000 men, having arranged with General Buell
to follow and support him with his army of 40,000, the combined
forces being amply sufficient to overpower the Confederates who
were guarding Corinth.  This vast superiority, however, probably
served to put Grant off his guard, for on March 16, 1862, his
advance under General Sherman reached Pittsburg Landing, not far
from Corinth, and encamped there without taking the precaution
to intrench.  Sherman reported on April 5th that he had no fear
of being attacked and Grant, who had been injured the day before
by the fall of his horse and was still on crutches, remained some
distance in the rear, feeling confident that there would be no
serious fighting for several days.

But the Union commander, who had studied his opponents with such
good results at Fort Donelson, made a terrible mistake in failing
to do so on this occasion, for he knew, or ought to have known,
that General Albert Sidney Johnston and General Beauregard, the
Confederate commanders were bold and energetic officers who were
well advised of the military situation and ready to take advantage
of every opportunity.  Indeed, their sharp eyes had already noted
the gap between Grant's and Buell's armies and at the moment Sherman
was penning his dispatch to his superior, informing him that all was
well, a force of 40,000 men was preparing to crush his unprotected
advance guard before Buell could reach the field.

It was Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, when the ominous sound of
firing in the direction of Shiloh Church smote Grant's ears.  For
a few moments he could not believe that it indicated a serious attack,
but the roar of heavy guns soon convinced him that a desperate
battle had begun and, directing his orderlies to lift him into
the saddle, he dashed to the nearest boat landing and proceeded to
the front with all possible speed.  Before he reached the ground,
however, the Confederates had driven the Union outposts from
the field in frightful disorder and were hurling themselves with
ferocious energy upon those who still held fast.  The surprise had
been well-nigh complete and the first rush of the gray infantry
carried everything before it, leaving the foremost Union camp
in their hands.  Indeed, for a time the Federal army was not much
more than a disorganized mob, completely bewildered by the shock
of battle, and thousands of men blindly sought refuge in the rear,
heedless of their officers who, with a few exceptions, strove
valiantly to organize an effective defense.

The tumult and confusion were at their worst when Grant reached the
field and it seemed almost hopeless to check the panic and prevent
the destruction of his entire army.  But in the midst of the maddening
turmoil and wild scenes of disaster he kept his head and, dashing
from one end of the line to the other, ordered regiments into
position with a force and energy that compelled obedience.  There
was no time to formulate any plan of battle.  Each officer had to
do whatever he thought best to hold back the Confederates in his
immediate front, and for hours the fight was conducted practically
without orders.  But Grant supplied his gallant subordinates with
something far more important than orders at that crisis.  Undismayed
by the chaos about him he remained cool and inspired them with
confidence.  Not for one instant would he admit the possibility of
defeat, and under his strong hand the huddled lines were quickly
reformed, the onrush of the Confederates was gradually checked and
a desperate conflict begun for every inch of ground.

For a time the victorious gray-coats continued to push their opponents
back and another line of tents fell into their hands.  But their
advance was stubbornly contested and knowing that Buell was at
hand, Grant fought hard for delay, using every effort to encourage
his men to stand fast and present the boldest possible front to the
foe.  Meanwhile, however, Sherman was wounded, and when darkness
put an end to the furious combat the shattered Union army was on
the verge of collapse.  So perilous, indeed, was the situation that
when Buell arrived on the field his first inquiry was as to what
preparations Grant had made to effect a retreat.  But the silent
commander instantly shook his head and announced, to the intense
astonishment of his questioner, that he did not intend to retreat
but to attack at daylight the next morning with every man at his
disposal, leaving no reserves.

Such was Grant at one of the darkest moments of his career.  Behind
him lay the battered remnants of regiments, screening a welter of
confusion and fear; before him stretched the blood-soaked field of
Shiloh held by the confident Confederate host; while at his elbow
stood anxious officers, well satisfied to have saved the army from
destruction and ready to point out a convenient line of retreat.
All his surroundings, in fact, were calculated to discourage him
and the intense pain of his injured leg, which allowed him neither
rest nor sleep, was a severe strain upon his nerves.  Yet he would
not yield to weakness of any kind.  He was responsible for the
position in which the Union army found itself and he determined to
retrieve its fortunes.  Therefore, all night long while reenforcements
were steadily arriving, he developed his plans for assuming the
offensive, and at break of day his troops hurled themselves against
the opposing lines with dauntless energy.

Meanwhile the Confederates had sustained an irreparable loss,
for Albert Sidney Johnston, their brilliant leader, had fallen.
Moreover, they had no reserves to meet the Union reenforcements.
Nevertheless, they received the vigorous onslaught with splendid
courage and another terrible day of carnage followed.  Again and
again Grant exposed himself with reckless daring, narrowly escaping
death from a bullet which carried away the scabbard of his sword
as he reconnoitered in advance of his men, but despite his utmost
efforts the gray lines held fast, and for hours no apparent advantage
was gained.  Then, little by little, the heavy Union battalions
began to push them back until all the lost ground was recovered,
but the Confederates conducted their retreat in good order and
finally reached a point of safety, leaving very few prisoners in
their pursuers' hands.

Grant had saved his army from destruction and had even driven his
adversary from the field, but at a fearful cost, for no less than
10,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded in the two days'
desperate fighting at Shiloh and almost 3,000 had been captured.
The Confederates, it is true, had lost nearly 10,000 men, but their
army, which should have been crushed by the combined efforts of
Grant and Buell, was still in possession of Corinth and had come
dangerously near to annihilating half of the Union forces.

The results of the battle were, therefore, received at Washington
with surprise and indignation; the country at large, horrified at
the frightful slaughter, denounced it as a useless butchery; Halleck
hastily assumed charge of all the forces in the field and from that
time forward Grant, though nominally the second in command, was
deprived of all power and virtually reduced to the role of a mere
spectator.  Indeed, serious efforts were made to have him dismissed
from the service, but Lincoln after carefully considering the charges,
refused to act.  "I can't spare this man," was his comment.  "He
FIGHTS."

Lincoln intended to imply by that remark that there were generals
in the army who did not fight, and Halleck was certainly one
of them, for he took thirty-one days to march the distance that
the Confederates had covered in three.  Indeed, he displayed such
extraordinary caution that with an army of 100,000 at his back
he inched his way toward Corinth, erecting intrenchments at every
halt, only to find, after a month, that he had been frightened
by shadows and dummy guns and that the city had been abandoned by
the Confederates.  No commander responsible for such a ridiculous
performance could retain the confidence of an army in the field,
and Sherman assured Grant that Halleck would not long survive the
fiasco.  This advice was sorely needed, for Grant had grown tired
of being constantly humiliated and had already requested Halleck
to relieve him from duty when Sherman persuaded him to remain and
wait for something to happen.

Something happened sooner then either man expected, for Halleck
was suddenly "kicked up stairs" by his appointment to the chief
command with headquarters in Washington, and on July 11, 1862,
about three months after the battle of Shiloh, Grant found himself
again at the head of a powerful army.





Chapter XV




Lee in the Saddle


While Grant was earning a reputation as a fighting general in the
West, Lee had been at a desk in Richmond attending to his duties as
chief military adviser to the Confederate President, which prevented
him from taking active part in any operations in the field.  As a
matter of fact, however, there had been no important engagements
in the East, for "On to Richmond!" had become the war cry of the
North, and all the energies of the Federal government had been
centered on preparations for the capture of the Southern capital.
Indeed, if Richmond had been the treasure house and last refuge of
the Confederacy, no greater efforts could have been made to secure
it, although it was by no means essential to either the North or
the South and the war would have continued no matter which flag
floated above its roofs.  Nevertheless, the idea of marching into
the enemy's capital appealed to the popular imagination and this
undoubtedly dictated much of the early strategy of the war.

At all events, while the opening moves in the campaign for the
possession of the Mississippi were being made, a vast army was
being equipped near Washington for the express purpose of capturing
Richmond.  The preparation of this force had been entrusted to
General George B. McClellan whose ability in organizing, drilling
and disciplining the troops had made him a popular hero and given
him such a reputation as a military genius that he was universally
hailed as "the young Napoleon."  He had, indeed, created the most
thoroughly equipped army ever seen in America, and when he advanced
toward Virginia in April, 1862, at the head of over 100,000 men the
supporters of the Union believed that the doom of the Confederacy
was already sealed.

From this office in Richmond Lee watched these formidable preparations
for invading the South with no little apprehension.  He knew that
the Confederates had only about 50,000 available troops with which
to oppose McClellan's great army and had the Union commander been
aware of this he might have moved straight against the city and
swept its defenders from his path.  But McClellan always believed
that he was outnumbered and on this occasion he wildly exaggerated
his opponents' strength.  In fact, he crept forward so cautiously
that the Confederates, who had almost resigned themselves to losing
the city, hastened to bring up reenforcements and erect defensive
works of a really formidable character.  The best that was hoped
for, however, was to delay the Union army.  To defeat it, or even
to check its advance, seemed impossible, and doubtless it would
have proved so had it not been for the brilliant exploits of the
man who was destined to become Lee's "right hand."

This man was General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, who had earned the
nickname of "Stonewall" at Bull Run and was at that time in command
of about 15,000 men guarding the fertile Shenandoah Valley, the
"granary of Virginia."  Opposing this comparatively small army were
several strong Union forces which were considered amply sufficient
to capture or destroy it, and McClellan proceeded southward, with
no misgivings concerning Jackson.  But the wily Confederate had
no intention of remaining idle and McClellan's back was scarcely
turned before he attacked and utterly routed his nearest opponents.
A second, third and even a fourth army was launched against him,
but he twisted, turned and doubled on his tracks with bewildering
rapidity, cleverly luring his opponents apart; and then, falling on
each in turn with overwhelming numbers, hurled them from his path
with astonishing ease and suddenly appeared before Washington
threatening its capture.

Astounded and alarmed at this unexpected peril, the Federal authorities
instantly ordered McDowell's corps of 40,000 men, which was on
the point of joining McClellan, to remain and defend the capital.
This was a serious blow to McClellan who had counted upon using
these troops, though even without them he greatly outnumbered the
Confederates.  But the idea that he was opposed by an overwhelming
force had taken such a firm hold on his mind that he was almost
afraid to move, and while he was timidly feeling his way General
Joseph Johnston, commanding the defenses at Richmond, attacked
his advance corps at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862.  A fierce contest
followed, during which Johnston was severely wounded, and Jefferson
Davis, who was on the field, promptly summoned General Lee to the
command.

It was a serious situation which confronted Lee when he was thus
suddenly recalled to active duty, for McClellan's army outnumbered
his by at least 40,000 men and it was within six miles of Richmond,
from the roofs of whose houses the glow of the Union campfires
was plainly visible.  Nevertheless, he determined to put on a bold
front and attack his opponent at his weakest point.  But how to
discover this was a difficult problem and the situation did not admit
of a moment's delay.  Under ordinary circumstances the information
might have been secured through spies, but there was no time for
this and confronted by the necessity for immediate action, Lee
thought of "Jeb" Stuart, his son's classmate at West Point, who
had acted as aide in the capture of John Brown.

Stuart was only twenty-nine years old but he had already made a name
for himself as a general of cavalry, and Lee knew him well enough
to feel confident that, if there was any one in the army who could
procure the needed information, he was the man.  He, accordingly,
ordered him to take 1,200 troopers and a few field guns and ride
straight at the right flank of the Union army until he got near
enough to learn how McClellan's forces were posted at that point.

This perilous errand was just the opportunity for which Stuart had
been waiting, and without the loss of a moment he set his horsemen
in motion.  Directly in his path lay the Federal cavalry but within
twenty-four hours he had forced his way through them and carefully
noted the exact position of the Union troops.  His mission was
then accomplished, but by this time the Federal camp was thoroughly
aroused and, knowing that if he attempted to retrace his steps his
capture was almost certain, he pushed rapidly forward and, passing
around the right wing, proceeded to circle the rear of McClellan's
entire army.  So speedily did he move that the alarm of his approach
was no sooner given in one quarter than he appeared in another and
thus, like a boy disturbing a row of hornets' nests with a long
stick, he flashed by the whole line, reached the Union left, swung
around it and reported to Lee with his command practically intact.

That a few squadrons of cavalry should have been able to ride
around his army of 100,000 men and escape unscathed astonished and
annoyed McClellan but he utterly failed to grasp the true purpose
of this brilliant exploit, and Lee took the utmost care to see that
his suspicions were not aroused.  Stuart's information had convinced
him that the right wing of the Union army was badly exposed and might
be attacked with every prospect of success, but to insure this it
was necessary that McClellan's attention should be distracted from
the real point of danger.  The Confederate commander thoroughly
understood his opponent's character and failings, for he had taken
his measure during the Mexican War and knowing his cautious nature,
he spread the news that heavy reenforcements had been forwarded to
Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley.  This he felt sure would confirm
McClellan's belief that he had such overwhelming numbers that he
could afford to withdraw troops from Richmond, and the ruse was
entirely successful, for the Union commander hesitated to advance,
and the Federal authorities, hearing of Jackson's supposed reenforcement,
became increasingly alarmed for the safety of Washington.

Meanwhile, a courier had been secretly hurried to Jackson, ordering
him to rush his troops from the Shenandoah Valley and attack
McClellan's right wing from the rear while Lee assaulted it from
the front.  But the Union right wing numbered fully 25,000 men and
Jackson had only 15,000.  So to make the attack overwhelming it
was necessary for Lee to withdraw 40,000 men from the defenses of
Richmond, leaving the city practically unprotected.  Unquestionably,
this was a most dangerous move, for had McClellan suspected
the truth he might have forced his way into the capital without
much difficulty.  But here again Lee counted upon his adversary's
character, for he directed the troops that remained in the trenches
to keep up a continuous feint of attacking the Union left wing, in
the hope that this show of force would cause McClellan to look to
his safety in that quarter, which is precisely what he did.  Indeed,
he was still busy reporting the threatening movements against his
left, when Lee and Jackson's combined force of 55,000 men fell
upon his right with fearful effect at Gaines' Mill (June 27, 1862).
From that moment his campaign for the capture of Richmond became
a struggle to save his own army from capture or destruction.

The only safety lay in flight but at the moment of defeat and
impending disaster it was not easy to extricate the troops from
their dangerous position, and McClellan showed high skill in masking
his line of retreat.  Lee did not, therefore, immediately discover
the direction in which he was moving and this delay probably prevented
him from annihilating the remnants of the Union army.  Once on the
trail, however, he lost no time and, loosing "his dogs of war," they
fell upon the retreating columns again and again in the series of
terrible conflicts known as the "Seven Days' Battles."  But the
Union army was struggling for its life and, like a stag at bay, it
fought off its pursuers with desperate courage, until finally at
Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862), it rolled them back with such slaughter
that a bolder leader might have been encouraged to advance again
toward Richmond.  As it was, however, McClellan was well content
to remove his shattered legions to a point of safety at Harrison's
Landing, leaving Lee in undisturbed possession of the field dyed
with the blood of well-nigh 30,000 men.





Chapter XVI




A Game of Strategy


While the remnants of McClellan's fine army were recuperating from
the rough handling they had received, Lee was developing a plan to
remove them still further from the vicinity of Richmond.  Harrison's
Landing was too close to the Confederate capital for comfort and
the breastworks which the Union commander erected there were too
formidable to be attacked.  But, though he could not hope to drive
his adversary away by force, Lee believed that he could lure him from
his stronghold by carrying the war into another part of Virginia.
The opportunity to do this was particularly favorable, for the
Union forces in front of Washington, consisting of about 45,000
men, had been placed under the command of General John Pope.  Pope
had served with Grant in the Mississippi campaign and had begun his
career in the East by boasting of the great things he was about to
accomplish, referring contemptuously to his opponents and otherwise
advertising himself as a braggart and a babbler.  He had come, so
he told his soldiers in a flamboyant address, from an army which
had seen only the backs of its enemies.  He had come to lead them
to victories.  He wanted to hear no more of "lines of retreat"
or backward movements of any kind.  His headquarters were "in the
saddle" and his mission was to terrorize the foe.

These absurd proclamations pretty thoroughly exposed Pope's
character, but he had been at West Point with General Longstreet,
one of Lee's ablest advisers, and that officer speedily acquainted
his chief with the full measure of his opponent's weaknesses.  This
was exceedingly useful to Lee and when he discovered that McClellan
and Pope were pulling at different directions like balky circus
horses, while Halleck with one foot on each was in imminent peril
of a fall, he determined to take advantage of the situation and
hasten the disaster.

McClellan, having 90,000 men, wanted Pope to reenforce him with his
45,000, and thus insure a renewal of his campaign against Richmond.
But this, of course, did not suit Pope who wished McClellan's army
to reenforce him and march to victory under his banner.  But while
each of the rivals was insisting that his plan should be adopted
and Halleck, who held the chief of command, was wobbling between
them, trying to make up his mind to favor one or the other, Lee
took the whole matter out of his hands and decided it for him.  He
did not want McClellan to be reenforced; first, because he was the
abler officer and, second, because he had or soon would have more
than sufficient men to capture Richmond and might wake to a realization
of this fact at any moment.  From the Confederate standpoint it
was much safer to have Pope reenforced, for he did not have the
experience necessary to handle a large army.  Therefore, the more
troops he had to mismanage the better.  Moreover, Lee knew that
McClellan would cease to be dangerous as soon as he was obliged to
send any part of his forces away, for, as usual, he imagined that
his opponents already outnumbered him and that the withdrawal of
even a single regiment would place him practically at their mercy.

Carefully bearing all these facts in mind and thinking that it was
about time to force Halleck to transfer some of McClellan's troops
to Pope, Lee ordered Jackson to attack the man who thus far had
seen "only the backs of his foes."  But at the Battle of Cedar
Mountain, which followed (August 9, 1862), his enemies would not turn
their backs and the fact evidently alarmed him, for he immediately
began shouting lustily for help.  Perhaps he called a little louder
than was necessary in order to get as many of his rival's men as
possible under his own command, but the result was that McClellan's
army began rapidly melting away under orders to hurry to the rescue.

Lee's first object was, therefore, accomplished at one stroke and,
as fast as McClellan's troops moved northward, he withdrew the forces
guarding Richmond and rushed them by shorter routes to confront
Pope, whom he had determined to destroy before his reenforcements
reached the field.  Indeed, a very neat trap had already been
prepared for that gentleman who was on the point of stepping into
it when he intercepted one of his adversary's letters which gave
him sufficient warning to escape by beating a hasty retreat across
the Rappahannock River.  This was a perfectly proper movement
under the circumstances, but in view of his absurd ideas concerning
retreats it opened him up to public ridicule which was almost
more than a man of his character could endure.  He was soon busy,
therefore, complaining, explaining, and protesting his readiness
to recross the river at a moment's notice.

But, while he was thus foolishly wearing out the telegraph lines
between his headquarters and Washington, Lee was putting into
operation a plan which would have been rash to the point of folly
against a really able soldier but which was perfectly justified
against an incompetent.  This plan was to divide his army, which
numbered less than 50,000 men, into two parts, sending "Stonewall"
Jackson with 25,000 to get behind the Union forces, while he attracted
their commander's attention at the front.  Of course, if Pope had
discovered this audacious move, he could easily have crushed the
divided Confederate forces in turn before either could have come
to the other's rescue, for he had 70,000 at his command.  But the
armies were not far from Manassas or Bull Run, where the first
important engagement of the war had been fought and Lee know every
inch of the ground.  Moreover, he believed that all Pope's provisions
and supplies upon which he depended for feeding his army were behind
him, and that, if Jackson succeeded in seizing them and getting
between the Union army and Washington, Pope would lose his head
and dash to the rescue regardless of consequences.

Great, therefore, as the risk was he determined to take it, and
Jackson circled away with his 25,000 men, leaving Lee with the
same number confronting an army of 70,000 which might have swept
the field.  But its commander never dreamed of the opportunity
which lay before him and he remained utterly unsuspicious until the
night of August 26, 1862, when his flow of telegrams was suddenly
checked and he was informed that there was something the matter
with the wires connecting him to Washington.  There was, indeed,
something the matter with them, for Jackson's men had cut them
down and were at that moment greedily devouring Pope's provisions,
helping themselves to new uniforms and shoes and leaving facetious
letters complaining of the quality of the supplies.

For a while, however, the Union general had no suspicion of what was
happening, for he interpreted the interference with the telegraph
wires as the work of cavalry riders whom a comparatively small
force could quickly disperse.  But when the troops dispatched for
this purpose came hurrying back with the news that Jackson's whole
army was behind them, he acted precisely as Lee had expected, and
completely forgetting to close the doors behind him, dashed madly
after "Stonewall," whom he regarded as safe as a cat in a bag.

The door which he should have closed was Thoroughfare Gap, for that
was the only opening through which Lee could have led his men with
any hope of arriving in time to help his friends, and a few troops
could have blocked it with the utmost ease.  But it was left unguarded
and Pope had scarcely turned his back to spring on Jackson before
Lee slid through the Gap and sprang on him.

The contest that followed, called the Second Battle of Bull Run or
Manassas (August 30, 1862), was almost a repetition of the first,
except that in the earlier battle the Union soldiers had a fair
chance and on this occasion they had none at all.  Indeed, Lee and
Jackson had Pope so situated that, despite the bravery of his men,
they battered and pounded him until he staggered from the field
in a state of hysterical confusion, wildly telegraphing that the
enemy was badly crippled and that everything would be well, and
following up this by asking if the capital would be safe, if his
army should be destroyed.  It is indeed possible that his army would
have been reduced to a mere mob, had it not been for the proximity
of the fortifications of Washington, into which his exhausted
regiments were safely tumbled on the 2nd of September, 1862.

Thus, for the second time in two months, Lee calmly confronted the
wreck of an opposing host, which, at the outset, had outnumbered
him and confidently planned for his destruction.





Chapter XVII




Lee and the Invasion of Maryland


Lee's masterly defense of Richmond, and his complete triumph over
McClellan and Pope had, in three months, made him the idol of the
Confederacy.  In all military matters his word was law, while the
army adored him and the people of the South as a whole regarded
him with a feeling akin to reverence.  This was not entirely the
result of his achievements on the field.  Jackson had displayed an
equal genius for the art of war and in the opinion of many experts
he was entitled to more credit than his chief.  But Jackson was
regarded with awe and curiosity rather than affection.  He was
hailed as a great commander, while Lee was recognized as a great
man.

It was not by spectacular efforts or assertiveness of any kind that
Lee had gained this hold upon his countrymen.  He avoided everything
that even tended toward self-display.  His army reports were not
only models of modesty, but generous acknowledgements of all he
owed to his officers and men.  He addressed none but respectful
words to his superiors and indulged in no criticisms or complaints.
He accepted the entire responsibility for whatever reverses occurred
to the forces under his command and never attempted to place the
blame on the shoulders of any other man.  In a word, he was so
absolutely free from personal ambition that the political schemers
unconsciously stood abashed in his presence, and citizens and
soldiers alike instinctively saluted the mere mention of his name.

Never by any chance did he utter a word of abuse against the North.
Even when his beloved Arlington was seized, and the swords, pictures,
silverware and other precious mementos of Washington were carried
off, his protest was couched in quiet and dignified language, well
calculated to make those to whom it was addressed (and later every
American) blush with shame.  Likewise in the heat of battle, when
wild tongues were loosed and each side accused the other of all
that hate could suggest, he never forgot that his opponents were
Americans.  "Drive those people back," or "Don't let those people
pass you," were the harshest words he ever uttered of his foes.

To him war was not a mere license to destroy human life.  It was
a terrible weapon to be used scientifically, not with the idea of
slaughtering as many of the enemy as possible, but to protect the
State for whose defense he had drawn his sword.  This was distinctly
his attitude as he watched Pope's defeated columns reeling from
the field.  Neither by word nor deed did he exult over the fallen
foe or indulge in self-glorification at his expense.  His sole
thought was to utilize the victory that the war would be speedily
brought to a successful close; and, spreading out his maps in the
quiet of his tent, he proceeded to study them with this idea.

Almost directly in front of his victorious army stretched the
intrenchments of Washington but, although he knew something of
the panic into which that city had been thrown by the last battle,
he had not troops enough to risk assaulting fortifications to the
defense of which well-nigh every able-bodied man in the vicinity
had been called.  The fall of Washington might perhaps have ended
the war, but the loss of the neighboring state of Maryland and an
attack on some of the Pennsylvania cities, such as Harrisburg and
Philadelphia, promised to prove equally effective.  The chances
of wresting Maryland from the Union seemed particularly favorable,
for it had come very close to casting its lot with the Confederacy
and thousands of its citizens were serving in the Southern ranks.
He, accordingly, made up his mind to march through Maryland, arousing
its people to the support of the Confederate cause, and then carry
the war into Pennsylvania where a decisive victory might pave the
way to an acknowledgment of the independence of the Southern States
and satisfactory terms of peace.

Thus, four days after Pope's defeat at Manassas saw Lee's tattered
battle flags slanted toward the North, and on September 6, 1862,
the vanguard under "Stonewall" Jackson passed through the streets
of Frederick City, singing "Maryland, My Maryland!"  This was the
moment which Whittier immortalized in his verses recording the
dramatic meeting between "Stonewall" and Barbara Frietchie [Note
from Brett:  The poem is entitled "Barbara Frietchie" and there is
some question as to the accuracy of the details of the poem.  In
general, however, Whittier retold the story (poetically) that he
claims he heard ("from respectable and trustworthy sources") and
Barbara Frietchie was strongly against the Confederacy and was not
a fictional character.  It is believed that Ms. Frietchie, who was
95 at the time, was sick in bed on the day the soldiers marched
through, but did wave her flag when the Union army marched through
two days later.  A Ms. Quantrill and her daughters, however, did
wave the Union flag as the Confederate soldiers marched through
the town, so there is some thought that the two got combined.];
but, though no such event ever took place, the poet was correctly
informed as to the condition of Jackson's men, for they certainly
were a "famished rebel horde."  Indeed, several thousand of them
had to be left behind because they could no longer march in their
bare feet, and those who had shoes were sorry-looking scarecrows
whose one square meal had been obtained at Pope's expense.  For
all practical purposes Maryland was the enemy's country, but into
this hostile region they advanced carrying very little in the way
of provisions except salt for the ears of corn that they might pick
up in the fields.

The authorities at Washington watched Lee's movement with mingled
feelings of anxiety and relief.  They were relieved because he was
evidently not aiming at the national capital.  They were alarmed
because the real point of attack was unknown.  Sixty thousand men,
flushed with triumph and under seemingly invincible leadership were
headed somewhere, and as the rumor spread that that "somewhere" was
Harrisburg or Philadelphia, the North stood aghast with consternation.

Face to face with this desperate crisis, McClellan, who had been
practically removed from command, was restored to duty and given
charge of all the Union forces in the field.  Had he been invested
with supreme authority, at least one grievous blunder might have
been avoided, for as he proceeded to the front, calling loudly as
usual for reenforcements, he advised the evacuation of Harper's
Ferry, garrisoned by some 12,000 men who were exposed to capture by
Lee's advance on Frederick City.  But Halleck rejected this advice
and on September 15, 1862, "Stonewall" Jackson, with about 20,000
men, swooped down upon the defenseless post and gobbled up almost
the entire garrison with all its guns and stores.  To accomplish
this, however, he was forced to separate himself from Lee, and while
McClellan, with over 87,000 men, was protesting that his opponent
had 120,000 and that it was impossible to win against such odds,
Lee's strength had been reduced to about 35,000 and his safety
absolutely depended upon his adversary's fears.  It was hardly to
be hoped, however, that McClellan's imagination would cause him to
see three men for every one opposed to him, but such was the fact,
and even when one of Lee's confidential orders fell into his hands,
revealing the fact that Jackson's whole force was absent, he still
thought himself outnumbered.

The discovery of this order was a serious blow to Lee, for it not
only exposed his immediate weakness, but actually disclosed his entire
plan.  How it was lost has never been explained, for its importance
was so fully realized that one of the officers who received a copy
pinned it in the inside pocket of his coat, another memorized his
copy and then chewed it up and others took similar precautions to
protect its secret.

Some officer, however, must have been careless, for when the Union
troops halted at Frederick City, through which the Confederates
had just passed, a private in an Indiana regiment found it lying on
the ground wrapped around some cigars and, recognizing its value,
carried it straight to his superiors who promptly bore it to
Headquarters.

Had Lee remained ignorant of this discovery it is possible that
McClellan might have effected the capture of his army.  But a
civilian, favoring the South who happened to be present when the
paper reached Headquarters, slipped through the Union lines and
put the Confederate commander on his guard.

Lee had already noted that McClellan was moving toward him at unusual
speed for so cautious an officer and, this was readily explained by
the news that his plans were known and Jackson's absence discovered.
He accordingly posted his troops so that he could form a junction
with the rest of the army at the earliest possible moment and halted
in the vicinity of Sharpsburg near Antietam Creek.





Chapter XVIII




The Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg


Had McClellan not absurdly overestimated the number of troops opposed
to him when his army neared Sharpsburg on the 15th of September,
1862, he might have defeated Lee and possibly destroyed or captured
his entire force.  Never before had a Union commander had such an
opportunity to deliver a crushing blow.  He had more than 80,000
men under his control--fully twice as many as his adversary; he
had the Confederate plan of campaign in his hands and such fighting
as had occurred with the exception of that at Harper's Ferry had
been decidedly in his favor.  Moreover, Lee had recently met with
a serious accident, his horse having knocked him down and trampled
on him, breaking the bones of one hand, and otherwise injuring him
so severely that he had been obliged to superintend most of the
posting of his army from an ambulance.  By a curious coincidence,
too, "Stonewall" Jackson had been hurt in a similar manner a few
days previously, so that if the battle had begun promptly, it is
highly probable that he, too, would have been physically handicapped,
and it is certain that his troops could not have reached the field
in time to be of any assistance.

To Lee's immense relief, however, McClellan made no serious attack
on either the 15th or 16th of September, but spent those two days
in putting his finishing touches on his preparations, and before
he completed them that Opportunity "which knocks but once at each
man's gate" had passed him by, never to return.

The battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg began at dawn of the 17th, but
by that time Jackson had arrived and both he and Lee had so far
recovered from their injuries that they were able to be in the saddle
and personally direct the movements of their men.  The Confederate
position had been skillfully selected for defense on the hills
back of Antietam Creek and McClellan's plan was to break through
his opponent's line, gain his rear and cut him off from retreat.
But Lee, who had closely watched the elaborate massing of the Union
forces for this attempt, was fully prepared for it and the first
assault against his line was repulsed with fearful slaughter.  No
subtle strategy or brilliant tactics of any kind marked McClellan's
conduct of the battle.  Time and again he hurled his heavy battalions
against his opponent's left, center and right in a desperate effort
to pierce the wall of gray, and once or twice his heroic veterans
almost succeeded in battering their way through.  But at every
crisis Lee rose to the emergency and moved his regiments as a
skillful chess player manipulates his pieces on the board, now massing
his troops at the danger point and now diverting his adversary's
attack by a swift counter-stroke delivered by men unacquainted
with defeat.  Both his hands were heavily swathed in bandages and
far too painful to admit of his even touching the bridle rein, but
he had had himself lifted into the saddle and for fully fourteen
hours he remained mounted on "Traveller," his famous war horse,
watching every movement with the inspiring calmness of a commander
born to rule the storm.

The situation was perilous and no one realized its dangers more
keenly than he, but not a trace of anxiety appeared upon his face.
Only twice was he betrayed into an expression of his feelings, once
when he asked General Hood where the splendid division was which
he had commanded in the morning and received the reply:  "They are
lying in the field where you sent them," and again when he directed
the Rockbridge battery to go into action for a second time after
three of its four guns had been disabled.  The captain of this
battery had halted to make a report of its condition and receive
instructions, and Lee, gazing at the group of begrimed and tattered
privates behind the officer, ordered them to renew their desperate
work before he recognized that among them stood his youngest son,
Robert.

Very few men in the Confederate commander's position would have
suffered a son to serve in the ranks.  A word from him would, of
course, have made the boy an officer.  But that was not Lee's way.
To advance an inexperienced lad over the heads of older men was,
to his mind, unjust and he would not do it even for his own flesh
and blood.  Nor had his son himself expected it, for he had eagerly
accepted his father's permission to enter the ranks and had cheerfully
performed his full duty, never presuming on his relationship to
the Commander-in-Chief or asking favors of any kind.  All this was
known to Lee but this unexpected meeting at a moment when privates
were being mowed down like grass was a terrible shock and strain.
Nevertheless, it was characteristic of the man that no change was
made in the orders of the Rockbridge battery, which continued on its
way to the post of danger and, with young Lee, gallantly performed
the work he had called on it to do.

By night the Confederates still held the field, but the struggle
had cost them nearly 11,000 men, reducing their force to less than
45,000, while McClellan, despite even heavier losses, had more than
74,000 left.  Lee, accordingly, withdrew his army under cover of
darkness to another part of the field and again awaited attack.  But
McClellan neither attacked nor attempted anything like a pursuit
until his opponent was safely out of reach, being well satisfied
with having checked the advance of his formidable foe and spoiled
his plans.  This he was certainly entitled to claim, for Lee's
campaign against Maryland and Pennsylvania was effectually balked
by his enforced retreat.

Indeed, it is quite possible that had McClellan been adventurous he
might have ended the war at Antietam, for the day after the battle
he outnumbered his opponents at least two to one and possessed
enormous advantage in the way of equipment and supplies.  But the
Union commander, though he possessed a genius for army organization
and knew the art of inspiring confidence in his men, was no match
for Lee in the field, and he probably realized this.  At all events,
he displayed no anxiety to renew hostilities and when urged, and at
last positively ordered to advance, he argued, protested, offered
excuses for delay and in fact did everything but obey.

Weeks thus slipped by and finally Lee himself became impatient to
know what his adversary was doing.  He, accordingly, again summoned
Stuart and ordered him to repeat the experiment of riding around
the opposing army.  News of this second, almost derisive defiance
of McClellan soon reached the North, for Stuart, swiftly circling
his right flank, suddenly appeared with 1,800 men at Chambersburg,
Pennsylvania, terrorizing the country and destroying vast quantities
of stores.  Stern and indignant orders from Washington warned
the Union Commander that this time he must not permit the daring
troopers to escape.  But only a few scouts were captured, and once
more Stuart sped safely back to his chief with full information as
to the strength and position of the Federal lines.

Even this did not arouse McClellan, and two more weeks of inaction
passed before he again set his vast army in motion.  But by this
time, the demand for his dismissal had become clamorous and, on
November 5, 1862, President Lincoln reluctantly removed him from
command.





Chapter XIX




Lee against Burnside and Hooker


Lincoln had good reason for hesitating to change commanders,
for, unsatisfactory as McClellan had proved, the President was by
no means sure that any of his other generals would do better.  In
fact, with all his defects, there was much to be said in McClellan's
favor.  As an organizer of troops or chief of staff he had displayed
talents of the highest possible order, transforming the armed mob
which had flocked to the defense of the Union at the opening of
the war into a well-drilled and disciplined army.  That he had not
accomplished much with this great engine of war after it had been
constructed, had not been wholly his fault, for he had never been
entirely free from interference at the hands of incompetent superiors,
and he had had the misfortune to be pitted against a past master of
the art of war.  Moreover, he had been called to the chief command
at a moment of panic and peril and, if he had not succeeded
in defeating Lee, he had, at Antietam, given the North the only
semblance of victory which it could claim in all its campaigning
in the South.  But that one taste of triumph had whetted the public
appetite for more.  Despite McClellan's continuous talk about the
overpowering numbers of his foes, the supporters of the Union knew
that they outmatched the Confederacy in men, arms, ships, money,
and resources of every kind.  They accordingly insisted that the
immense army which had lain idle in its camps for almost two months
after the drawn battle at Antietam should be set to work.

In response to this popular demand, General Ambrose Burnside was
appointed to take McClellan's place, and a more utterly unfitted
man for prosecuting a successful campaign against Lee could scarcely
have been selected.  He himself fully realized this.  Indeed, he
had already twice refused the chief command on the ground that he
did not feel competent to conduct a great campaign.  But the public,
which had become disgusted with boasters, admired his modesty,
and his preparations for carrying the war again into Virginia were
followed with high hopes for his success.  The officers of the army,
however, did not share the popular confidence in their new chief
and some of those highest in authority gave him only a half-hearted
support.

But nothing could have saved Burnside's extraordinary campaign.  Had
he been assigned to lead a forlorn hope, regardless of consequences,
his plan, if it can be called a plan, might have been justified,
but under the existing circumstances it was reckless to the point
of madness.  His first moves, however, were characterized by an
excess of caution and so slowly did he advance that before he was
fairly started for the South, Lee blocked the road, concentrating
his whole army on the hills behind the City of Fredericksburg in
a position practically defying attack.

To attempt a direct assault against this fortress-like post was
suicidal, but apparently no thought of maneuvering crossed Burnside's
mind.  His one idea was to brush aside the foe.  But before he could
even reach him his army had to cross the Rappahannock, a formidable
river, and march over an open plain, absolutely at the mercy of its
intrenched opponents, who could, as one of their artillery officers
expressed it, "comb the ground" with their cannon.  Nevertheless,
into this death trap the Union troops were plunged on the 13th of
December, 1862, and they advanced to destruction with a dash and
courage that won the admiration of friends and foes alike.  The
result was, of course, inevitable.  No human beings could withstand
the storm of shot and shell which burst upon them, and though some
of the devoted columns actually reached the foot of the Confederate
breastworks, they could do no more, and over 12,000 men fell victims
to the disastrous attack.

For once, Lee was at an utter loss to comprehend his adversary's
plan.  He could not believe that this wanton butchery of men was
all there was to the contest.  To his mind such an awful sacrifice
of human life would never have been made unless for the purpose of
paving the way for another enterprise absolutely certain of success.
But nothing more was attempted and the battle of Fredericksburg,
reflecting the conception of a disordered brain rather than the
trained intelligence of a graduate of West Point, was added to the
already long list of blunders which prolonged the war.

Burnside brought severe charges against several of his generals for
their failure to support his sorry tactics, and even went so far
as to demand their dismissal from the army.  There was undoubtedly
some ground for his complaints, but such obviously incompetent
leadership was enough to demoralize any army, and not long after
his crippled battalions retreated behind the Rappahannock he was
relieved of his command, which was given to General Joseph Hooker,
one of the officers he most seriously accused.

Hooker was familiarly known to the country as "Fighting Joe,"
a name he had well earned on many a hard-fought field.  He, like
his predecessors, was a graduate of West Point and his record, in
many respects worthy of the best traditions of that famous school,
inspired the army with the belief that it had, at last, found a
leader who would pilot it to victory.

Certainly, the new commander was not troubled with Burnside's
self-distrust.  His confidence in himself and in his plans was
unbounded, and there was no little justification for his hopes,
for his campaign was well thought out and he had a force of over
130,000 men under his orders--fully 70,000 more than his adversary
could bring into the field.

Lee still lay intrenched on the hills behind Fredericksburg, and
there Hooker ordered General Sedgwick to hold him with part of the
army while he himself, with another and more powerful part, crossed
the Rappahannock River by a ford twenty-seven miles above.  By this
move he hoped to get behind Lee and then crush him, as nut-crackers
would crush a nut, by closing in on him with a front and rear
attack.

This was not a strikingly original plan.  It was in fact merely
a flanking movement on a huge scale, but compared to Burnside's
performance it was highly scientific and the vast superiority of
the Union forces almost insured its success.  Hooker was certainly
convinced that he had at last solved the great problem of the war
and that Lee was practically in his power.  Indeed, as his flanking
army forded the river, he issued an address of congratulation
in which he informed his troops that they had the Confederates in
a position from which they must either "ingloriously fly" or come
out in the open where certain defeat awaited them.  But "Fighting
Joe" was soon to learn the folly of crowing until one is out of the
woods, for as he emerged from the forests sheltering the fords,
he discovered that Lee's army had not remained tamely in its
intrenchments, but had quietly slipped away and planted itself
squarely across his path.

For a moment the Union commander was fairly astounded.  He had
prophesied that his adversary would fly from Fredericksburg, but he
had not expected him to move so soon or in this direction.  Indeed,
his well-matured plans were based on the supposition that Lee would
remain where he wanted him to be until he was ready to spring his
trap, quite forgetting that though it is easy to catch birds after
you have put salt on their tails, it is rather difficult to make
them wait while you salt them.  As a matter of fact, Lee had taken
alarm the moment his cavalry scouts reported his opponent's movement
towards the fords and, realizing that he would be caught if he
remained where he was, he had rapidly departed from Fredericksburg,
leaving only enough force to occupy Sedgwick's attention.  Even
then he was in a precarious position, for Hooker's flanking army
alone outnumbered him and the force threatening Fredericksburg
would certainly start in pursuit of him as soon as it discovered
that the bulk of his army had withdrawn from that city.  All this
was equally clear to Hooker after his first gasp of astonishment,
and as he hurriedly ordered Sedgwick to attack Fredericksburg with
part of his forces and to send the rest as reenforcement against
Lee, he confidently believed that his foe had delivered himself
into his hands.

But Lee, though cornered, was not yet caught.  He had to think and
act quickly but though he had only 45,000 men and Hooker had 70,000
on the spot, his idea was not to escape but to attack.  A close
examination of the opposing lines in front and at the Federal left
disclosed no weakness, but the right beyond Chancellorsville looked
more hopeful.  Then a brilliant idea suddenly occurred to his mind.
The Union commander was evidently awaiting or meditating a direct
attack and had no fear except that his prey might escape him.  Might
it not be possible to keep him busily occupied in front, while a
force stole behind his right wing and caught it between two fires?

This was precisely what Hooker had been endeavoring to do to him,
but Lee was well aware that what was safe for a large army might
be ruinous for a small one and that his proposed maneuver would
require him to divide his small army into two smaller parts, both
of which would be annihilated if the move was discovered.  But
capture or destruction stared him in the face any way, so, learning
from a certain Colonel Welford that a road used by him in former
years for transporting materials to a local furnace could be utilized
to swing a considerable force behind Hooker's right, he determined
to take the desperate chance.

The necessary orders were accordingly issued during the night of
May 1, 1863, and by daylight the next morning Jackson started off
on the back trail with about 30,000 men, leaving Lee with only
15,000 to face Hooker's overwhelming array.  The success of the
whole enterprise depended upon the secrecy and speed with which it
was conducted, but Jackson had already proved his ability in such
work and his men set off at a brisk pace well screened by vigilant
cavalry.  It was not possible, however, wholly to conceal the
march, and not long after it began several quite definite reports
of its progress reached Hooker.  But though he duly warned his
Corps Commanders to be on their guard against a flank movement,
he himself evidently interpreted it as the beginning of a retreat.
Indeed, by four o'clock in the afternoon of May 2nd he became
convinced that his victims were striving to escape, for he advised
Sedgwick, "We know that the enemy is fleeing, trying to save his
trains."  But even as he dispatched this message Jackson was behind
at the Union right and his men were forming in line of battle under
cover of a heavy curtain of woods.

Meanwhile, some of the division commanders at the threatened
position had become disquieted by the reports that a large body
of Confederates was marching somewhere, though just where no one
seemed to know.  Two of them accordingly faced their men toward
the rear in readiness for an attack from that direction.  But the
assurances which reached them from headquarters that the enemy
was in full flight discouraged precautions of this kind, and when
Jackson crept up a neighboring hill to examine the Union position,
he found most of the troops had their backs turned to the point of
danger.  In fact, the camp, as a whole presented a most inviting
spectacle, for the soldiers were scattered about it, playing
cards or preparing their evening meal, with their arms stacked in
the rear, little dreaming that one of their most dreaded foes was
watching them from a hilltop, behind which crouched thousands of his
men.  Every detail of the scene was impressed on Jackson's memory
when he quietly slipped back into the woods, and for the next two
hours he busied himself posting his troops to the best advantage.

It was six o'clock when the order to attack was given and most of
the Union soldiers were still at their suppers when deer, foxes,
rabbits and other animals, alarmed by a mass of men advancing through
the forest, began to tear through the camp as though fleeing from
a prairie fire.  But before the startled soldiers could ask an
explanation of this strange stampede, the answer came in the form
of a scattering musketry fire and the fearsome yells of 26,000
charging men.

The panic that followed beggars description.  Regiments huddled
against regiments in helpless confusion; artillery, infantry
and cavalry became wedged in narrow roads and remained hopelessly
jammed; officers and men fought with one another; generals were
swept aside or carried forward on the human waves, hoarsely bellowing
orders which no one heeded, while into the welter the Confederates
poured a deadly fire and rounded up masses of bewildered prisoners.
It was well-nigh dusk before even the semblance of a line of defense
could be formed to cover the disorganized masses of men, but the
gathering darkness increased the terror of the hapless fugitives,
who, stumbling and crashing their way to safety, carried confusion
in their wake.

Meanwhile Lee, advised of what was happening at the Union right,
vigorously attacked Hooker's left, and a fierce conflict at that
point added to the general turmoil until the contending forces
could no longer distinguish each other, save by the flashing of
their guns.  The fighting then ceased all along the line and both
sides busied themselves with preparations for renewing the struggle
at the earliest possible moment.  Jackson, accompanied by some of
his staff, instantly began a reconnoissance of the Union position.
He had just completed this and was returning to his lines when some
of his own pickets, mistaking his party for Union cavalry, fired on
them killing a captain and a sergeant.  The Confederate commander
immediately turned his horse and sought safety at another point,
but he had not progressed far before he drew the fire of another
picket squad and fell desperately wounded.

General A. P. Hill then assumed command, but fighting had scarcely
been resumed the next morning before he was wounded and Jeb Stuart
took his place.  Meanwhile, Hooker had been injured and the next
day Lee fiercely assailed Sedgwick.  For the best part of two days
the battle raged with varying success.  But, little by little, the
Confederates edged their opponents toward the Rappahannock, and by
the night of May 5th, 1863, Hooker withdrew his exhausted forces
across the river.

The battle of Chancellorsville cost Lee over 12,000 men; but with
a force which never exceeded 60,000, he had not only extricated
himself from a perilous position, but had inflicted a crushing
blow on an army of 130,000, an achievement which has passed into
history as one of the most brilliant feats of modern warfare.





Chapter XX




In the Hour of Triumph


Great as Lee's reputation had been before the battle of Chancellorsville,
it was immensely increased by that unexpected triumph.  But no trace
of vanity or self-gratulation of any kind marked his reception of
the chorus of praise that greeted him.  On the contrary, he modestly
disclaimed the honors from the very first and insisted that to
Jackson belonged the credit of the day.  "Could I have directed
events," he wrote the wounded General, "I should have chosen to have
been disabled in your stead.  I congratulate you on the victory
which is due to your skill and energy."  Indeed, when the news
first reached him that Jackson's left arm had been amputated, he
sent him a cheery message, saying, "You are better off than I am,
for while you have only lost your LEFT, I have lost my RIGHT arm."
And when, at last, he learned that "Stonewall" had passed away,
he no longer thought of the victory but only of his dead comrade
and friend.  "Any victory would be dear at such a price," was his
sorrowful comment on the day.

Jackson was indeed Lee's "right arm" and his place among the great
captains of the world is well indicated by the fact that a study
of his campaign is to-day part of the education of all English
and American officers.  Nevertheless, it was unquestionably Lee's
genius that enabled his great Lieutenant to accomplish what he did,
and this Jackson himself fully realized.  "Better that ten Jacksons
should fall than one Lee," was his response to his commander's
generous words.

But though Lee had won an international reputation, anyone seeing
him in the field among his soldiers might well have imagined that
he was wholly unaware that the world was ringing with his fame.  He
steadily declined all offers to provide comfortable quarters for
his accommodation, preferring to live in a simple tent and share
with his men the discomforts of the field.  Indeed, his thoughts
were constantly of others, never of himself, and when gifts of fruit
and other dainties for his table were tendered him, he thanked the
givers but suggested that they were needed for the sick and wounded
in the hospitals, where they would be gratefully received.

"...I should certainly have endeavored to throw the enemy north
of the Potomac," he wrote his wife, "but thousands of our men were
barefooted, thousands with fragments of shoes, and all without
overcoats, blankets or warm clothing.  I could not bear to expose
them to certain suffering....  I am glad you have some socks for
the army.  Send them to me....  Tell the girls to send all they
can.  I wish they could make some shoes, too."

Even the hardships of the dumb animals moved him to a ready sympathy,
and he was constantly planning to spare them in every possible way.

"Our horses and mules suffer most," he wrote one of his daughters.
"They have to bear the cold and rain, tug through the mud and suffer
all the time with hunger."

And again on another occasion he wrote his wife:

"This morning the whole country is covered with a mantle of snow,
fully a foot deep....  Our poor horses were enveloped.  We have dug
them out...but it will be terrible....  I fear our short rations
for man and horse will have to be curtailed."

The whole army realized the great-hearted nature of its Chief,
and its confidence in his thought and care is well illustrated by
a letter which a private addressed to him, asking him if he knew
upon what short rations the men were living.  If he did, the writer
stated, their privations were doubtless necessary and everyone
would cheerfully accept them, knowing that he had the comfort of
his men continually in mind.

War had no illusions for this simple, God-fearing man.  He regarded
it as a terrible punishment for the shortcomings of mankind.  For
him it had no glory.

"The country here looks very green and pretty, notwithstanding the
ravages of war," he wrote his wife.  "What a beautiful world God,
in His loving kindness to His creatures, has given us!  What a
shame that men endowed with reason and knowledge of right should
mar His gifts."

The awful responsibility of his public duty was almost more than
any man could bear, but he had also to endure personal anxiety and
sorrow of the keenest kind.  During his absence in the field one
of his daughters died, his wife was in failing health and his three
sons were in the army daily exposed to injury and death.  Fitzhugh
and Custis had been made generals, and Robert had been promoted to
a lieutenancy and assigned to his elder brother's staff.  Up to
the battle of Chancellorsville they had escaped unharmed, but while
the contending armies lay watching each other on either side of the
Rappahannock, Fitzhugh was severely wounded in a cavalry engagement
and Lee's first thought was to comfort and reassure the young man's
wife.

"I am so grieved," ...he wrote her, "to send Fitzhugh to
you wounded....  With his youth and strength to aid him, and your
tender care to nurse him, I trust he will soon be well again.  I
know that you will unite with me in thanks to Almighty God, who
has so often sheltered him in the hour of danger."

Then came the news that the young General had been captured by
Federal troops who surrounded the house to which he had been removed,
and again Lee sought, in the midst of all his cares, to cheer his
daughter-in-law who was herself becoming ill.

"I can see no harm that can result from Fitzhugh's capture except
his detention....  He will be in the hands of old army officers
and surgeons, most of whom are men of principle and humanity.  His
wound, I understand, has not been injured by his removal, but is
doing well.  Nothing would do him more harm than for him to learn
that you were sick and sad.  How could he get well?  So cheer up
and prove your fortitude....  You may think of Fitzhugh and love
him as much as you please, but do not grieve over him or grow sad."

But the young wife grew steadily worse and, when her life was
despaired of, Custis Lee offered to take his brother's place in
prison, if the authorities would allow him to visit his dying wife.
But, when this was refused and news of her death reached Lee, he
refrained from all bitterness.

"...I grieve," he wrote his wife, "...as a father only can grieve
for a daughter, and my sorrow is heightened by the thought of the
anguish her death will cause our dear son, and the poignancy it
will give to the bars of his prison.  May God in His mercy enable
him to bear the blow...."

It was in the midst of such severe afflictions that Lee conducted
some of the most important moves of his campaign, and while family
anxieties were beginning to crowd on him, the condition of his army
and the political situation were already demanding another invasion
of the North.  As far as spirit and discipline were concerned, his
troops were never more ready for active service and their numbers
had been so considerably increased during the weeks that followed
the battle of Chancellorsville that by the 1st of June, 1863, he
could count on almost 70,000 fairly well-armed men, supported by
over two hundred cannon.

But the question of supplying food for this great array was every
day becoming more urgent, and the remark of the Commissary-General
that his Chief would soon have to seek his provisions in Pennsylvania
was significant of the situation.  Lee thoroughly realized that the
strength of the Confederacy was waning and that unless some great
success in the field should soon force the Union to make terms,
the end of the struggle was in sight.  Great victories had already
been won, but always on Southern soil, and the news that Grant was
closing in on Vicksburg demanded that a supreme effort be made to
offset that impending disaster in the West.

If the Southern army could force its way into the North and there
repeat its triumphs, England and France would probably recognize the
Confederacy and the half-hearted supporters of the Union, already
murmuring against the war, would clamor for peace.  With this idea
Lee devoted the month following the battle of Chancellorsville
to recruiting his strength and watching for some move on Hooker's
part.  But Hooker remained quietly within his lines, so on June
3, 1863, his opponent, concealing his purpose, moved rapidly and
secretly toward Pennsylvania.





Chapter XXI




Grant at Vicksburg


While Lee had been disposing of McClellan, Pope and Burnside, Grant
had remained in comparative idleness near Corinth, Mississippi.
He had, it is true, been assigned to high command in the West when
Halleck was ordered to Washington, but the battle of Shiloh had
prejudiced the authorities against him and his troops were gradually
transferred to other commanders, leaving him with an army barely
sufficient to guard the territory it already held.  This treatment
seriously depressed him and with plenty of time to brood over his
troubles, he was in some danger of lapsing into the bad habits
which had once had such a fatal hold upon him.  But at this crisis
his wife was by his side to steady and encourage him, and the
Confederates soon diverted his thoughts from his own grievances by
giving him plenty of work to keep them at arm's length.  Meanwhile,
however, something much more disturbing occurred, for he suddenly
discovered that preparations were being made to place his long-cherished
campaign for the opening of the Mississippi River in the hands of
McClernand, the political General whose conduct at Fort Donelson
had demonstrated his ignorance of military affairs.

That aroused Grant to action and hastily summoning Admiral Porter
and General Sherman to his aid, he started towards Vicksburg,
Mississippi, on November 2, 1862, determined to be the first in the
field and thus head off any attempt to displace him from the command.

McClernand's project was accordingly nipped in the bud, for, of
course, he could not be authorized to conduct a campaign already
undertaken by a superior officer, and the troops which had been
intended for him were immediately forwarded to Grant.  Doubtless,
the President was not displeased at this turn of affairs, for
although McClernand was a highly important person in the political
world and had rendered valuable services in raising troops, his
defects as a general were widely recognized, and there had been grave
doubts as to the wisdom of permitting him to attempt so difficult
an undertaking as the capture of Vicksburg.  Within a few months,
however, there were even graver doubts as to the wisdom of having
entrusted the enterprise to Grant, for by the end of March, 1863,
the general opinion was that no one could have made a worse mess of
it than he was making, and that it was hopeless to expect anything
as long as he was in authority.

As a matter of fact, the immense difficulty of capturing a city such
as Vicksburg had not been realized until the work was actually
undertaken.  It was practically a fortress commanding the
Mississippi, and whoever held it ruled the river.  The Confederate
leaders understood this very thoroughly and they had accordingly
fortified the place, which was admirably adapted for defense,
with great care and skill.  In front of it flowed the Mississippi,
twisting and turning in such snake-like conditions that it could
be navigated only by boats of a certain length and build, and
on either side of the city stretched wide swamp lands and bayous
completely commanded by batteries well posted on the high ground
occupied by the town.  All this was formidable enough in itself,
but shortly after Grant began his campaign, the river overflowed
its banks and the whole country for miles was under water which,
while not deep enough for steamers, was an absolute barrier to the
approach of an army.

Indeed, the capture of the city seemed hopeless from a military
standpoint, but Grant would not abandon the task.  Finding traces
of an abandoned canal, he attempted to complete it in the hope of
changing the course of the river, or at least of diverting some of
the water from the overflowed land, but the effort was a stupendous
failure almost from the start.  Then he ordered the levees of the
Mississippi protecting two great lakes to be cut, with the idea
of flooding the adjacent streams and providing a waterway for his
ships.  This gigantic enterprise was actually put into operation,
the dams were removed, and gun-boats were forced on the swollen
watercourses far into the interior until some of them became hopelessly
tangled in the submerged forests and their crews, attacked by the
Confederate sharpshooters, were glad to make their escape.  Week
after week and month after month this exhausting work continued,
but, at the end of it all, Vicksburg was no nearer capture than
before.  Indeed, the only result of the campaign was the loss of
thousands of men who died of malaria, yellow fever, smallpox, and
all the diseases which swamp lands breed.  For this, of course,
Grant was severely criticized and the denunciations at last became
so bitter that an order removing him from the command was entrusted
to an official who was directed to deliver it, if, on investigation,
the facts seemed to warrant it.

But the visiting official, after arriving at the front, soon learned
that the army had complete confidence in its commander and that it
would be a mistake to interfere with him.  Indeed, by this time "the
silent General," who had neither answered the numerous complaints
against him nor paid the least attention to the storm of public
indignation raging beyond his camp, had abandoned his efforts to
reach Vicksburg from the front and was busily engaged in swinging
his army behind it by a long overland route in the face of appalling
difficulties, but with a grim resolution which forced all obstructions
from his path.  Meanwhile, the gun-boats under Admiral Porter were
ordered to attempt to run the land batteries, and April 16, 1863,
was selected as the date for their perilous mission.  Each vessel
had been carefully protected by cotton bales, and the crews stood
ready with great wads of cotton to stop leaks, while all lights
were extinguished except one in the stern of each ship to guide
the one that followed.

It was a black night when the Admiral started down the river in his
flagship, and for a while it was hoped that the fleet would slip
by the batteries under cover of darkness.  The leading vessels did,
indeed, escape the lookouts of the first forts, but before long a
warning rocket shot into the sky and the river was instantly lit by
immense bonfires which had been prepared for just this emergency,
and by the glare of their flames the gunners poured shot and shell
at the black hulls as they sped swiftly by.  Shot after shot found
its mark, but still the fleet continued on its course.  Then,
after the bonfires died down, houses were set on fire to enable the
artillerists to see their targets, but before daylight the whole
fleet had run the gauntlet and lay almost uninjured below Vicksburg,
ready to cooperate with Grant's advancing army.

By this time the Confederates must have realized that they were
facing defeat.  Nevertheless, for fully a month they stubbornly
contested every foot of ground.  But Grant, approaching the rear
by his long, roundabout marches, handled his veteran troops with
rare good judgment, moving swiftly and allowing his adversaries no
rest, so that by the 17th of May, 1863, General Pemberton, commanding
the defenses of Vicksburg, was forced to take refuge in the town.
Grant immediately swung his army into position, blocking every
avenue of escape and began a close siege.  The prize for which he
had been struggling for more than half a year was now fairly within
his grasp, but there was still a chance that it might slip through
his fingers, for close on his heels came General Joseph Johnston
with a powerful army intent upon rescuing General Pemberton and
his gallant garrison.

If Johnston could come to Pemberton's relief or if Pemberton
could break through and unite with Johnston, they could together
save Vicksburg.  But Grant had resolved that they should not join
forces, and to the problem confronting him he devoted himself body
and mind.  Constantly in the saddle, watching every detail of the
work as the attacking army slowly dug its way toward the city and
personally posting the troops holding Johnston at bay, his quiet,
determined face and mud-splashed uniform became familiar sights
to the soldiers, and his appearance on the lines was invariably
greeted with inspiring cheers.  By July, the trenches of the besieged
and the besiegers were so close together that the opposing pickets
could take to each other, and the gun-boats threw shells night and
day into the town.  Still Pemberton would not surrender and many
of the inhabitants of Vicksburg were forced to leave their houses
and dig caves in the cliffs upon which the city was built to protect
themselves and their families from the iron hail.

It was only when food of every kind had been practically exhausted
and his garrison was threatened with starvation that Pemberton
yielded.  On July 3, 1863, however, he realized that the end had
come and raised the white flag.  Nearly twenty-four hours passed
before the terms of surrender were agreed upon, but Grant, who had
served in the same division with Pemberton in the Mexican War, was
not inclined to exact humiliating conditions upon his old acquaintance
whose men had made such a long and gallant fight.  He, accordingly,
offered to free all the prisoners upon their signing a written promise
not to take arms again unless properly exchanged, and to allow all
the officers to retain their side arms and horses.  These generous
terms were finally accepted, and on July 4, 1863, the Confederate
army, numbering about 30,000, marched out in the presence of their
opponents and stacked their arms, receiving the tribute of absolute
silence from the 75,000 men who watched them from the Union ranks.

Four months before this event, Halleck, the Commander-in-Chief,
had advised Grant and other officers of his rank that there was a
major generalship in the Regular Army for the man who should first
win a decisive victory in the field.  The captor of Vicksburg had
certainly earned this promotion, for with its fall the Mississippi
River was controlled by the Union and, in the words of Lincoln,
"The Father of Waters again ran unvexed to the sea."





Chapter XXII




The Battle of Gettysburg

The news that Grant was slowly, but surely, tightening his grip
upon Vicksburg, and that nothing but an accident could prevent its
capture, was known to the whole country for fully a week before
the surrender occurred, but it neither encouraged the North nor
discouraged the South.  To the minds of many people no victory in
the West could save the Union, for Lee was already in Pennsylvania,
sweeping northward toward Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and
even threatening New York.  Hooker, in the field, and Halleck, in
Washington, were squabbling as to what should be done, and the Union
army was groping blindly after the invaders without any leadership
worthy of the name.

It was certainly a critical moment demanding absolute harmony
on the part of the Union leaders; but while the fate of the Union
trembled in the balance, Hooker and Halleck wrangled and contradicted
each other, apparently regardless of consequences, and the climax
of this disgraceful exhibition was a petulant telegram from Hooker
(June 27, 1863) resigning his command.  Had "Fighting Joe" been
the greatest general in the world this resignation, in the presence
of the enemy, would have ruined his reputation, and the moment
President Lincoln accepted it Hooker was a discredited man.

To change commanders at such a crisis was a desperately perilous
move, but the President knew that the army had lost confidence in
its leader since the battle of Chancellorsville and the fact that
he could even think of resigning on the eve of a battle demonstrated
his utter unfitness for the task at hand.  It was, therefore,
with something of relief that Lincoln ordered General Meade to
take immediate charge of all the troops in the field, and the new
commander assumed the responsibility in these words, "As a soldier
I obey the order placing me in command of this army and to the
utmost of my ability will execute it."

At the moment he dispatched this manly and modest response to the
unexpected call to duty, Meade knew little of Hooker's plans and
had only a vague idea of where his troops were posted.  Under such
conditions success in the coming battle was almost impossible, but
he wasted no time in complaints or excuses, but instantly began
to move his forces northward to incept the line of Lee's advance.
Even up to this time, however, the exact position of the Confederate
army had not been ascertained, for Lee had concealed his infantry
behind his cavalry, which effectually prevented his adversaries
from getting near enough to discover the direction of his march.

Another "cavalry screen," however, covered the Union forces and
though Lee dispatched Stuart to break through and discover what
lay behind it, the daring officer for once failed to accomplish his
purpose and Lee had to proceed without the information he usually
possessed.  This was highly advantageous to Meade, for his forces
were badly scattered and had Lee known that fact he might have
crushed the various parts of the army before they united, or at
least have prevented some of them from reaching the field in time.
He soon learned, of course, that Meade had taken Hooker's place,
but if he had not heard the news directly, he would have guessed
that some great change had occurred in the generalship of his
opponents, for within twenty-four hours of his appointment Meade
had his army well in hand, and two days later the rapid and skillful
concentration of his force was clear to Lee's experienced eyes.
By this time both armies had passed beyond their cavalry screens,
and on the 30th of June, 1863, the advance of the Confederate troops
neared the little town of Gettysburg.

But Lee was not yet ready to fight, for, although he was better
prepared than his adversary, he wanted to select the best possible
ground before joining battle.  By a strange chance, however, it was
not Lee but his bare-footed followers who decided where the battle
should be fought, for as his advance-guard approached Gettysburg
one of the brigade commanders asked and received permission from
his superior to enter the town and procure shoes for his men.  But
Gettysburg was found to be occupied by Union cavalry and the next
day (July 1st) a larger force was ordered forward to drive them
away and "get the shoes."  Meanwhile, the Union cavalry had been
reenforced and, to offset this, more Confederates were ordered to
the support of their comrades.  Once more Union reenforcements were
hurried to the front, and again the Confederates responded to the
challenge, until over 50,000 men were engaged in a savage conflict,
and before noon the battle of Gettysburg, one of the greatest
battles of history, had begun.

The men in gray, who thus unwittingly forced the fighting, were
veterans of many campaigns and they attacked with a fury that
carried all before them.  The Union troops fought with courage,
but General Reynolds, their commander, one of the ablest officers
in the army, was soon shot through the head and instantly killed,
and from that moment the Confederates crowded them to the point of
panic.  Indeed, two of Meade's most effective fighting corps were
practically annihilated and the shattered remnants of the defenders of
Gettysburg were hurled through the town in headlong flight toward
what was known as Cemetery Hill, where their new commander, General
Hancock, found them huddled in confusion.

Meade had displayed good judgment in selecting Hancock to take
Reynolds' place, for he was just the man to inspire confidence in
the disheartened soldiers and rise to the emergency that confronted
him.  But, though he performed wonders in the way of restoring
order and encouraging his men to make a desperate resistance, it
is more than probable that the Confederates would have swept the
field and gained the important position of Cemetery Hill had they
followed up their victory.  Fortunately for the Union cause, however,
the pursuit was not continued much beyond the limits of Gettysburg
and, as though well satisfied to have got the shoes they came for,
the victors contented themselves with the undisputed possession of
the town.

Neither Lee nor Meade took any part in this unexpected battle, but
Lee arrived during the afternoon while the Union troops were in
full flight for the hills and, seeing the opportunity of delivering
a crushing blow, advised Ewell, the commanding General, to pursue.
His suggestion, however, was disregarded, and being unwilling to
interfere with another officer in the midst of an engagement, he
did not give a positive order, with the result that Cemetery Hill
was left in possession of the Federal troops.  Meanwhile Meade,
having learned of the situation, was hurrying to the scene of
action, where he arrived late at night, half dead with exhaustion
and on the verge of nervous collapse from the fearful responsibilities
which had been heaped upon him during the previous days.  But
the spirit of the man rose superior to his physical weakness and,
keeping his head in the whirlwind of hurry and confusion, he issued
orders rushing every available man to the front, made a careful
examination of the ground and chose an admirable position for
defense.

To this inspiring example the whole army made a magnificent response,
and before the 2nd of July dawned the widely scattered troops began
pouring in and silently moving into position for the desperate work
confronting them.  Meade had determined to await an attack from
Lee and he had accordingly selected Cemetery Ridge as the position
best adapted for defense.  This line of hills not only provided
a natural breastwork, but at the left and a little in front lay
two hillocks knows as Round Top and Little Round Top, which, when
crowned by artillery, were perfect fortresses of strength.  Strange
as it may seem, however, Round Top was not immediately occupied by
the Union troops and had it not been for the quick eye and prompt
action of General Warren, Little Round Top, the key to the entire
Union position, would have been similarly neglected.

Lee was reasonably assured, at the end of the first day's fighting,
that his adversary had not succeeded in getting all his troops
upon the field and, realizing what an advantage this gave him, he
determined to begin the battle at daylight, before the Union reenforcements
could arrive.  But for once, at least, the great commander received
more objections than obedience from his subordinates, General
Longstreet, one of his most trusted lieutenants, being the principal
offender.  Longstreet had, up to this moment, made a splendid
record in the campaigns and Lee had such confidence in his skill
that he seldom gave him a peremptory order, finding that a suggestion
carried all the weight of a command.  But, on this occasion, Longstreet
did not agree with the Chief's plan of battle and he accordingly
took advantage of the discretion reposed in him to postpone making
an attack until he received a sharp and positive order to put his
force in action.  By this time, the whole morning had passed and
every hour had brought more and more Union troops into the field,
so that by the afternoon Meade had over 90,000 men opposing Lee's
70,000 veterans.

There was nothing half-hearted about Longstreet once he was in
motion and the struggle for the possession of Little Round Top was
as desperate a conflict as was ever waged on any field.  Again and
again the gray regiments hurled themselves into the very jaws of
death to gain the coveted vantage ground, and again and again the
blue lines, torn, battered and well-nigh crushed to earth, re-formed
and hurled back the assault.  Dash and daring were met by courage
and firmness, and at nightfall, though the Confederates had gained
some ground, their opponents still held their original position.
Both sides had paid dearly, however, for whatever successes they
had gained, the Union army alone having lost at least 20,000 men
[Note from Brett:  While this is possible, it is highly unlikely
as the total casualties for the three day battle from the Unionist
side were 23,053 according to official records.  Current (circa
2000) estimates are that both sides lost about 9,000 soldiers on
this day.].  Indeed, the Confederate attack had been so formidable
that Meade called a council of war at night to determine whether
the army should remain where it was for another day or retreat to
a still stronger position.  The council, however, voted unanimously
to "stay and fight it out," and the next morning (July 3rd) saw
the two armies facing each other in much the same positions as they
had occupied the day before, the Unionists crowding the heights
of Cemetery Ridge and the Confederates holding the hills known as
Seminary Ridge and clinging to the bases of Round Top and Little
Round Top, to which point the tide of valor had carried them.

A mile of valley and undulating slopes separated Cemetery Hill from
Seminary Ridge, and their crests were crowded with artillery when
the sun rose on July 3, 1863.  But for a time the battle was confined
to the infantry, the Confederates continuing fierce assaults of the
previous evening.  Then, suddenly, all their troops were withdrawn,
firing ceased and absolute silence ensued along their whole lines.
At an utter loss to understand this complete disappearance of
the foe, the Union commanders peered through their glasses at the
silent and apparently deserted heights of Seminary Ridge, growing
more and more nervous as time wore on.  What was the explanation
of this ominous silence?  Was it possible that Lee had retreated?
Was he trying to lure them out of their position and catch them in
some giant ambuscade?  Was he engaged in a flanking movement such
as had crumpled them to pieces at Chancellorsville?  Doubtless,
more than one soldier shot an apprehensive glance toward the rear
during the strange hush as he remembered the terrifying appearance
of Jackson on that fearful day.

But no Jackson stood at Lee's right hand, and suddenly two sharp
reports rang out from the opposing height.  Then, in answer to this
signal, came the crash of a hundred and thirty cannon and instantly
eighty Union guns responded to the challenge with a roar which shook
the earth, while the air was filled with exploding shells and the
ground was literally ploughed with shot.  For an hour and a half
this terrific duel continued; and then the Union chief of artillery,
seeing that his supply of ammunition was sinking, ordered the
guns to cease firing and the Confederates, believing that they had
completely demolished the opposing batteries, soon followed their
example.  Another awful silence ensued and when the Union troops
peered cautiously from behind the stone walls and slopes which had
completely protected them from the wild storm of shot and shell,
they saw a sight which filled them with admiration and awe.

From the woods fringing the opposing heights 15,000 men [Note
from Brett:  (circa 2000) just under 12,000 men] were sweeping in
perfect order with battle flags flying, bayonets glistening and
guidons fluttering as though on dress parade.  Well to the front
rode a gallant officer with a cap perched jauntily over his right
ear and his long auburn hair hanging almost to his shoulders flying
in the wind.  This was General Pickett, and he and the men behind
him had almost a mile of open ground to cross in the charge which
was to bring them immortal fame.  For half the distance they moved
triumphantly forward, unscathed by the already thundering artillery,
and then the Union cannon which had apparently been silenced by
the Confederate fire began to pour death and destruction into their
ranks.  Whole rows of men were mowed down by the awful cannonade,
but their comrades pressed forward undismayed, halting for a moment
under cover of a ravine to re-form their ranks and then springing
on again with a heroism unsurpassed in the history of war.  A hail
of bullets from the Union trenches fairly staggered them, yet on
and on they charged.  Once they actually halted in the face of the
blazing breastworks, deliberately fired a volley and came on again
with a rush, seized some of the still smoking guns that had sought
to annihilate them and, beating back the gunners in a hand-to-hand
conflict, actually planted their battle flags on the crest of
Cemetery Ridge.  Then the whole Union army seemed to leap from the
ground and hurl itself upon them.  They reeled, turned, broke into
fragments and fled, leaving 5,000 dead and wounded in their trail.

Such was Pickett's charge--a wave of human courage which recorded
"the high-water mark of the Rebellion."





Chapter XXIII




In the Face of Disaster


As the survivors of Pickett's heroic legion came streaming back
toward the Confederate lines Lee stood face to face with defeat
for the first time in his career.  His long series of victories had
not spoiled him and the hour of triumph had always found him calm
and thankful, rather than elated and arrogant.  But many a modest
and generous winner has proved himself a poor loser.  It is the
moment of adversity that tries men's souls and revels the greatness
or smallness of character, and subjected to this test more than one
commander in the war had been found wanting.  McClellan, staggering
from his campaign against Richmond, blamed almost everyone but
himself for the result; Pope, scurrying toward the fortifications
of Washington, was as ready with excuses as he had been with boasts;
Burnside, reeling from the slaughter-pen of Fredericksburg, had
demanded the dismissal of his principal officers, and Hooker hurled
accusations right and left in explaining the Chancellorsville
surprise.

But Lee resorted neither to accusation nor excuse for the battle of
Gettysburg.  With the tide of disaster sweeping relentlessly down
upon him, he hastened to assume entire responsibility for the
result.  "It is all my fault," he exclaimed, as the exhausted and
shattered troops were seeking shelter from the iron hail, and then
as calmly and firmly as though no peril threatened, he strove to
rally the disorganized fugitives and present a bold front to the
foe.  It was no easy task, even with a veteran army, to prevent a
panic and restore order and confidence in the midst of the uproar
and confusion of defeat, but the quiet dignity and perfect control
of their commander steadied the men, and at sight of him even the
wounded raised themselves from the ground and cheered.

"All this will come right in the end," he assured the wavering
troops, as he passed among them.  "We'll talk it over afterwards,
but in the meantime all good men must rally."

Not a sign of excitement or alarm was to be detected in his face,
as he issued his orders and moved along the lines.  "All this has
been my fault," he repeated soothingly to a discouraged officer.
"It is I that have lost this fight and you must help me out of
it the best way you can....  Don't whip your horse, Captain," he
quietly remarked, as he noted another officer belaboring his mount
for shying at an exploding shell....  "I've got just another foolish
horse myself, and whipping does no good."

Nothing escaped his watchful eyes, nothing irritated him, and
nothing provoked him to hasty words or actions.  Completely master
of himself, he rose superior to the whirling storm about him and,
commanding order out of chaos, held his shattered army under such
perfect control that had Meade rushed forward in pursuit he might
have met with a decisive check.

But Meade did not attempt to leave his intrenchments and the
Confederate army slowly and defiantly moved toward the South.  The
situation was perilous--desperately perilous for Lee.  His troops
were in no condition to fight after battling for three days, their
ammunition was almost exhausted, their food supply was low and they
were retreating through a hostile country with a victorious army
behind them and a broad river in their path.  But not a man in the
gray ranks detected even a shadow of anxiety on his commander's
face, and when the Potomac was reached and it was discovered that
the river was impassable owing to an unexpected flood, the army faced
about and awaited attack with sublime confidence in the powers of
its chief.

Meanwhile Meade, who had been cautiously following his adversary,
began to receive telegrams and dispatches urging him to throw
himself upon the Confederates before they could recross the Potomac
and thus end the war.  But this, in the opinion of the Union
commander, was easier said than done, and he continued to advance
with the utmost deliberation while Lee, momentarily expecting
attack, ferried his sick and wounded across the river and prepared
for a desperate resistance.  Absolute ruin now stared him in the
face, for no reenforcements of any kind could reach him and a severe
engagement would soon place him completely at his opponent's mercy.
Nevertheless, he presented a front so menacing and unafraid that
when Meade called his officers to a council of war all but two
voted against risking an attack.

In the meantime the river began to fall, and without the loss of
a moment Lee commenced building a bridge across which his troops
started to safety on the night of July 13th, ten days after the
battle.  Even then the situation was perilous in the extreme, for
had Meade discovered the movement in time he could undoubtedly
have destroyed a large part of the retreating forces, but when he
appeared on the scene practically the whole army was on the other
side of the river and only a few stragglers fell into his hands.

Great as Lee's success had been he never appeared to better advantage
than during this masterly retreat, when, surrounded by difficulties
and confronted by overwhelming numbers, he held his army together
and led it to safety.  Through the dust of defeat he loomed up
greater as a man and greater as a soldier than at any other moment
of his career.

Even the decisive victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg failed to
offset President Lincoln's bitter disappointment at Lee's miraculous
escape, and had it not been for his success on the field of battle,
Meade would undoubtedly have been removed from the chief command.
As it was, however, he retained his position and for months he lay
comparatively idle, watching his opponent who busied himself with
filling the broken ranks of his army for a renewal of the struggle.

Meanwhile, the Confederate newspapers began a bitter criticism of Lee,
charging that he had displayed bad judgment and worse generalship
in attempting to invade the North.  A man of different caliber
would, doubtless, have answered these attacks by exposing some of
the officers whose conduct was largely responsible for the failure
of the campaign.  Indeed, the facts would have justified him
in dismissing more than one of his subordinates from the army in
disgrace, and had he chosen to speak the word he might easily have
ruined the reputation of at least one distinguished general.

But no such selfish or vindictive thought ever crossed Lee's mind.
Keenly as he suffered from the abuse which was heaped upon him, he
endured it without a murmur and, when at last he felt obliged to
notice it, his reply took the form of a letter to the Confederate
President requesting his permission to resign.

"The general remedy for the want of success in a military commander
is his removal," he wrote a month after the battle of Gettysburg.
"I do not know how far the expressions of discontent in the public
journals extend in the army.  My brother officers have been too
kind to report it and, so far, the troops have been too generous
to exhibit it.  I, therefore, beg you to take measures to supply
my place, because if I cannot accomplish what I myself desire,
how can I fulfill the expectations of others?  I must confess, too
that my eyesight is not good and that I am so dull that in making
use of the eyes of others I am frequently misled.  Everything,
therefore, points to the advantages to be derived from a new
commander.  A younger and abler man can readily be obtained--one
that would accomplish more than I can perform and all that I have
wished.  I have no complaints to make of anyone but myself.  I
have received nothing but kindness from those above me and the most
considerate attention from my comrades and companions in arms."

This generous, dignified statement, modest to the point of
self-effacement, instantly hushed all discontent and, before it,
even the newspaper editors stood abashed.

"Where am I to find the new commander who is to possess that greater
ability which you believe to be required?" wrote Jefferson Davis in
reply.  "If Providence should kindly offer such a person I would
not hesitate to avail myself of his services.  But my sight is
not sufficiently penetrating to discover such hidden merit, if it
exists.  To ask me to substitute you by someone more fit to command
is to demand an impossibility."

In the face of this graceful response Lee could no longer urge
his resignation, and after waiting for more than three months for
Meade to attack, he suddenly assumed the offensive and during the
next five months he and Meade maneuvered their armies as two chess
experts handle the pieces on the board.  Again and again, Meade
swung his powerful army into a favorable position and, again and
again, Lee responded with a move which placed his opponent on the
defensive.

But while this game of check and countercheck was being played, the
North was becoming more and more impatient and events were rapidly
bringing another player to the fore.





Chapter XXIV




The Rescue of Two Armies

The defeats and disappointments of the various campaigns in Virginia
had gradually convinced the authorities at Washington that too many
people were trying to direct the Union forces.  With Lee there was
practically no interference; but the commanders who opposed him
were subject to the orders of the General-in-Chief at Washington,
who was, to some extent, controlled by the Secretary of War, whose
superior was the President, and after almost every engagement a
Congressional Committee, known as the "committee on the conduct of
the war," held a solemn investigation in which praise and blame were
distributed with the best intentions and worst possible results.
All these offices and officials were accordingly more or less
responsible for everything that occurred, but not one of them was
ever wholly to blame.  This mistake, however, was at last fully
realized and a careful search began for some one man to whom the
supreme command could be entrusted.  But for a long time no one
apparently thought that the Western army contained any very promising
material.  Nevertheless, Grant, Sheridan, Sherman and Rosecrans
were then in that army and, of these four; Rosecrans was regarded
by many as the only real possibility.

Indeed, at the moment when Grant was closing in upon Vicksburg,
and Lee and Meade were struggling at Gettysburg, Rosecrans, who had
been entrusted with the important duty of conducting a campaign to
drive the Confederates out of Tennessee, was fully justifying the
high opinions of his admirers.  Between June 24, 1863, and September
9th of that year he certainly outmaneuvered his opponents, occupying
the all-important position of Chattanooga, and forcing the able
Confederate General Bragg to fall back with more speed than order.

During all this time the North had been insisting that the army
should be placed in charge of some commander who could master Lee,
and this demand had found expression in a popular poem bearing
the refrain "Abraham Lincoln!  Give us a Man!"  To the minds of
many people Rosecrans had clearly demonstrated that he was "the
Man," and it is possible that his subsequent acts were prompted
by over-eagerness to end his already successful campaign with a
startlingly brilliant feat of arms.  At all events, he determined
not to rest satisfied with having driven the Confederates from the
field, but to capture or destroy their entire force.

With this idea he divided his army and rushed it by different routes
over the mountains in hot pursuit of the foe.  But the trouble with
this program was that Bragg had not really retreated at all, having
merely moved his army aside waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Indeed, Rosecrans had barely plunged his troops into the various
mountain passes on their fruitless errand before the whole Confederate
force loomed up, threatening to destroy his widely-separated,
pursuing columns, one by one, before they could be united.

This unexpected turn of affairs utterly unnerved the Union General,
and although he did manage by desperate exertions to collect his
scattered army, he completely lost his head when Bragg attacked
him at Chickamauga, Georgia, on the 19th of September, 1863, and
before the savage battle of that name had ended he retired from
the field, believing that his army had been totally destroyed.

Such, undoubtedly, would have been its fate had not General Thomas
and his brave troops covered the retreat, by holding the whole
Confederate army in check for hours and even forcing it to yield
portions of the bloody field.  From that day forward Thomas was
known as "The Rock of Chickamauga," but the heroic stand of his
gallant men barely sufficed to save the Union army, which reached
the intrenchments of Chattanooga only just in time, with the
Confederates hot upon its trail.

Had Bragg overtaken his flying opponent, he would doubtless
have made an end of him then and there, but it was not altogether
with regret that he saw him enter Chattanooga, for with the roads
properly blocked he knew the place would prove a perfect trap.
He, accordingly, began a close siege which instantly cut off all
Rosecrans' communication with the outside world, except by one road
which was in such a wretched condition as to be impossible for a
retreating army.  Indeed, the heavy autumn rains soon rendered it
impracticable even for provision wagons, and as no supplies could
reach the army by any other route, it was not long before starvation
began to stare the besieged garrison in the face.

Meanwhile, Rosecrans, almost wild with anxiety and mortification,
sent dispatch after dispatch to Washington describing his condition
and imploring aid, but though he still had an effective army under
his command and plenty of ammunition, he made no attempt whatever
to save himself from his impending doom.  Day by day the situation
grew more and more perilous; thousands upon thousands of horses and
mules died for lack of food and the men were so nearly reduced to
starvation that they greedily devoured the dry corn intended for
the animals.

All this time the authorities in Washington were straining every
nerve to rescue the beleaguered army.  Sixteen thousand men under
General Hooker were rushed to its relief, provisions were forwarded
within a day's march of the town, awaiting the opening of new
roads, and finally, when the stream of frantic telegrams from the
front showed that the army had practically no leadership, hurried
orders were forwarded to Grant, authorizing him to remove Rosecrans,
place Thomas temporarily in control and take the field himself at
the earliest possible moment.

This unexpected summons found Grant in a serious condition, for some
weeks earlier his horse had fallen under him, crushing his leg so
severely that for a time it was feared he might be crippled for
life, and he was still on crutches suffering intense pain when the
exciting orders were placed in his hands.  Nevertheless, he promptly
started on his desperate errand, traveling at first by rail and
steamer and then in an ambulance, until its jolting motion became
unbearable when he had himself lifted into the saddle with the grim
determination of riding the remainder of the way.  Even for a man
in perfect physical condition the journey would have been distressing,
for the roads, poor at their best, were knee deep in mud and a wild
storm of wind and rain was raging.  Time and again his escort had
to lift the General from his horse and carry him across dangerous
washouts and unaffordable streams, but at the earliest possible
moment they were always ordered to swing him into the saddle again.

Thus, mile after mile and hour after hour, the little cavalcade
crept toward Chattanooga, Grant's face becoming more haggard and
furrowed with pain at every step, but showing a fixed determination
to reach his goal at any cost.  On every side signs of the desperate
plight of the besieged garrison were only too apparent.  Thousands
of carcasses of starved horses and mules lay beside the road amid
broken-down wagons, abandoned provisions and all the wreckage of
a disorganized and demoralized army.

But if the suffering officer noted these ominous evidences of
disaster, his face afforded no expression of his thought.  Plastered
with mud and drenched to the skin, he rode steadily forward,
speaking no word and scarcely glancing to the right or left, and
when at last the excruciating journey came to an end, he hastened
to interview Thomas and hear his report, without even waiting to
change his clothes or obtain refreshment of any kind.

It was not a very cheerful story which Thomas confided to his
Chief before the blazing headquarters' fire, but the dripping and
exhausted General listened to it with no indication of discouragement
or dismay.  "What efforts have been made to open up other roads for
provisioning the army?" was the first question, and Thomas showed
him a plan which he and Rosecrans had worked out.  Grant considered
it in silence for a moment and then nodded his approval.  The only
thing wrong with the plan was that it had not been carried out, was
his comment, and after a personal inspection of the lines he gave
the necessary authority for putting it into immediate operation.
Orders accordingly began flying right and left, and within twenty-four
hours the army was busily engaged in gnawing a way out of the trap.

Additional roads were essential for safety but to gain them the
Confederates had to be attacked and a heavy force was therefore
ordered to seize and hold a point known as Brown's Ferry.  This
relieved the situation at once and meanwhile the new commander
had hurried a special messenger to Sherman, ordering him to drop
everything else and march his Vicksburg veterans toward Chattanooga
without an instant's delay.  The advance of this strong reenforcement
was promptly reported to Bragg, who saw at a glance that unless
it could be stopped there was every prospect that his Chattanooga
victims would escape.

He accordingly determined upon a very bold but very dangerous move.
Not far away lay General Burnside and a small Union army, guarding
the important city of Knoxville, Tennessee, and against this the
Confederate commander dispatched a heavy force, in the hope that
Grant would be compelled to send Sherman to the rescue.

But the effect of this news upon Grant was very different from Bragg's
expectations, for realizing that his adversary must have seriously
weakened himself in sending the expedition against Burnside, he
ordered Hooker, whose 16,000 men were already on hand, to make an
immediate attack with a force drawn from various parts of the army,
and on November 24, 1863, after a fierce engagement known as the
battle of Lookout Mountain, the Union troops drove their opponents
from one of the two important heights commanding Chattanooga.

In this success Sherman had effectively cooperated by attacking and
holding the northern end of Missionary Ridge and Grant determined
to follow up his advantage by moving the very next morning against
this second and more formidable range of hills.  Therefore, ordering
Hooker to attack the Confederate right on Missionary Ridge and get
in their rear at that point while Sherman assaulted their left, he
held Thomas's troops lying in their trenches at the front awaiting
a favorable opportunity to send them crashing through the center.

The main field of battle was plainly visible to the silent commander
as he looked down upon it from a hill known as Orchard Knob, and he
watched the effect of the attacks on both wings of the Confederate
line with intense interest.  Reenforcements were evidently being
hurried to the Confederate right and left and Hooker, delayed by
the destruction of a bridge, did not appear at the critical moment.
Nevertheless, for some time Sherman continued to advance, but as
Grant saw him making slower progress and noted the heavy massing of
troops in his path, he ordered Thomas's waiting columns to attack
the center and carry the breastworks at the foot of Missionary
Ridge.

With a blare of bugles, 20,000 blue-coated men seemed to leap from
the ground and 20,000 bayonets pointed at Missionary Ridge whose
summits began to blaze forth shot and shell.  Death met them at
every stride but the charging troops covered the ground between
them and the rifle pits they had been ordered to take in one wild
rush and tore over them like an angry sea.  Then, to the utter
astonishment of all beholders, instead of halting, they continued
charging up the face of Missionary Ridge, straight into the mouths
of the murderous cannon.

"By whose order is this?" Grant demanded sternly.

"By their own, I fancy," answered Thomas.

Incredible as this suggestion seemed, it offered the only possible
explanation of the scene.  No officer would have dared to order
troops to such certain destruction as apparently awaited them
on the fire-crowned slopes of Missionary Ridge.  Spellbound Grant
followed the men as they crept further and further up the height,
expecting every instant to see them hurled back as Pickett's heroes
were at Gettysburg, when suddenly wave upon wave of blue broke over
the crest, the Union flags fluttered all along the line and before
this extraordinary charge the Confederates broke and fled in
disorder.

Setting spur to his horse, Grant dashed across the hard-fought
field and up the formidable ridge, issuing orders for securing all
that had been gained.  An opening wedge had now been inserted in
Chattanooga's prison doors, and by midnight the silent captain had
thrown his whole weight against them and they fell.  Then calmly
turning his attention to Burnside, he ordered him to hold his
position at every hazard until he could come to the rescue and,
setting part of his victorious veterans in motion toward Knoxville,
soon relieved its garrison from all danger.

With the rescue of two Union armies to his credit Grant was generally
regarded as the most fitting candidate for the chief command of
the army, but by this time it was fully realized that the man who
held that position would have to be invested with far greater powers
than any Union general had thus far possessed.  Halleck expressed
himself as only too anxious to resign; Congress passed a law
reviving the grade of lieutenant-general with powers which, up to
that time, had never been entrusted to anyone save Washington, and
responded to the cry, "Abraham Lincoln!  Give us a MAN!" the President,
on March 1st, 1864, nominated Ulysses Grant as Commander-in-Chief
of all the armies of the United States.





Chapter XXV




Lieutenant-General Grant

Until he arrived in Washington Lincoln had never met the man to
whom he had entrusted the supreme command of the army, and the new
General was a very different individual from those who had been
previously appointed to high rank.  Some of his predecessors had
possessed undoubted ability, but most of them had soon acquired an
exaggerated idea of their own importance, surrounding themselves
with showy staffs in gorgeous attire, delighting in military pomp
and etiquette of every kind, and generally displaying a great weakness
for popular admiration and applause.  Moreover, all of them, with
the exception of Meade, had talked too much for their own good
and that of the army, so that many of their plans had become known
in Richmond almost as soon as they had been formed.  Indeed, they
not only talked, but wrote too much, and in discussions with their
superiors and wrangling with their fellow officers more than one
proved far mightier with the pen than with the sword.  All this, to
a very large extent, was the fault of the public, for it had made
an idol of each new General, deluging him with praise, flattering
his vanity and fawning on him until he came to regard the war as a
sort of background for his own greatness.  Thus, for almost three
years, the war was conducted more like a great game than a grim
business, and not until it began visibly to sap the life blood and
resources of the nation did the people, as a whole, realize the
awful task confronting them.

Both sides had begun the conflict in much the same careless
fashion, but the South had immediately become the battle ground,
and the horrors of war actually seen and felt by its people quickly
sobered even the most irresponsible.  But from the very first Lee
had taken a serious view of the whole situation.  Every word he
spoke or wrote concerning it was distinctly tinged with solemnity,
if not sadness, and his sense of responsibility had a marked influence
upon the whole Confederacy.  It had taken the North almost three
years to respond in a similar spirit, but by that time it was ready
for a leader who knew what war really meant and for whom it had no
glory, and such a leader had undoubtedly been found in Grant.

In the evening of March 8, 1864, the new commander arrived in
Washington and made his way, without attracting any attention, to
one of the hotels.  There was nothing in his presence or manner
to indicate that he was a person of any importance.  Indeed, he
presented a decidedly commonplace appearance, for he walked with
an awkward lurch and bore himself in a slouchy fashion which made
him even shorter than he was.  Moreover, his uniform was faded and
travel-stained, his close-cropped beard and hair were unkempt, and
his attire was careless to the point of slovenliness.  There was,
however, something in the man's clear-cut features, firm mouth and
chin and resolute blue eyes which suggested strength, and while his
face, as a whole, would not have attracted any particular notice
in a crowd, no one in glancing at it would have been inclined to
take any liberties with its owner.

But though Grant had arrived unheralded and unrecognized at
the national capital, he had barely given his name to the hotel
clerk before the whole city was surging about him eager to catch
a glimpse of the new hero and cheer him to the echo.  But however
much notoriety of this sort had pleased some of his predecessors,
Grant soon showed that he wanted no applauding mob to greet him
in the streets, for he quickly escaped to the seclusion of his
own room.  But the same public that had cheered itself hoarse for
McClellan, Pope and Hooker, and then hissed them all in turn, had
found another hero and was not to be cheated of its prey.  Indeed,
the newcomer was not even allowed to eat his dinner in peace, for
a crowd of gaping and congratulating enthusiasts descended upon him
the moment he reappeared and soon drove him from the dining room
in sheer disgust.

Possibly the fate of the fallen idols had warned Grant against
making a public exhibition of himself or encouraging the hysterical
acclamations of the crowd, but he was naturally a man of sound,
common sense, entirely free from conceit, and he had no idea of
allowing the idle or curious mob to amuse itself at his expense.
He, therefore, quickly made it plain that he had serious work to
do and that he intended to do it without nonsense of any kind.

Ceremonies and forms with such a man would have been impossible,
and on March 9, 1864, President Lincoln handed him his commission
as a Lieutenant-General, with a few earnest words to which he made
a modest reply, and then, with the same calmness he had displayed
in assuming the colonelcy of the 21st Illinois, he turned to the
duties involved in the command of half a million men.

From that time forward no more councils of war were held at the
White House and no more military secrets were disclosed to the
Confederate chiefs.  "I do not know General Grant's plans, and I do
not want to know them!" exclaimed Lincoln with relief.  But other
people did want to know them and the newspaper reporters and busybodies
of all sorts incessantly buzzed about him, employing every device
from subtle flattery to masked threats to discover his designs.
But Grant knew "how to keep silent in seven different languages"
and no one could beguile him into opening his lips.  Neither had
he time nor inclination to listen to other people talk.  His troops
were spread over a thousand miles of territory, and never before
had they been under the absolute control of any one man.  With the
Army of the Potomac he had had but little practical experience;
of the country in which its campaigns had been conducted he knew
nothing at first hand; with a few exceptions he had no personal
acquaintance with the officers under his immediate command, and
there were countless other difficulties which had to be overcome.
He, therefore, had no leisure for trifling and quickly sent all
intruders about their business while he attended to his own.

The problem involved in a grand campaign was in many respects new
to him, but doing his own thinking in silence, instead of puzzling
himself with the contradictory opinions of other men, Grant reached
a more accurate conclusion in regard to the war than any of his
predecessors.  In the first place, he saw that the various campaigns
which had been conducted in different parts of the country would
have been far more effective had they all formed part of one plan
enabling the different armies to cooperate with each other.  He,
accordingly, determined to conduct the war on a gigantic scale,
keeping the Confederates in the West so busy that they would not
be able to reenforce Lee and giving Lee no chance to help them.  In
a word, he intended to substitute team play for individual effort
all along the line.

Again, he saw the capture of Richmond, upon which the Army of the
Potomac had expended all its efforts, would be futile if Lee's
army remained undefeated in the field, and he resolved that Lee and
not Richmond should thereafter be the main object of the campaign.
"Where Lee's army goes, there you will go also," was the substance
of his first order to Meade who virtually became his Chief of Staff,
and those who were straining every nerve to discover his plan and
expecting something very brilliant or subtle never guessed that
those nine words contained the open secret of his whole campaign.

Such, however, was the fact.  "I never maneuver," he remarked
to his Chief of Staff; and Meade, who had spent the best part of
a year in a great series of maneuvers with Lee, listened to this
confession with astonishment and dismay, scarcely believing that
his superior really meant what he said.  But Grant did mean it.
No elaborate moves or delicate strategy had been employed in any
of his campaigns and he had yet to meet with a serious defeat.  To
make his first experiment in maneuvering against such an expert
in the science of war as Lee, would have been to foredoom himself
to defeat.  With a far smaller force then either McClellan, Pope,
Burnside, Hooker or Meade had possessed, the Confederate leader had
practically fought a drawn battle with them for three years.  His
science had not, it is true, been able to overcome their numbers,
but their numbers had not overpowered him.  This, as far as anyone
could see, might go on forever.

But Grant knew that the North had long been tiring of the war and
that unless it were speedily closed the Union might be sacrificed
in order to obtain peace.  Moreover, he saw that every day the war
lasted cost an enormous sum of money, and that the loss of life
on the battle field was nothing compared to that in the hospitals
and prisons, where disease and starvation were claiming scores of
victims every hour.

He, therefore, determined to fight and continue fighting until
he pounded his opponent to pieces, well knowing that almost every
able-bodied man in the South was already in the army and that there
was practically no one left to take the place of those who fell.

This policy, in the minds of many people, proves that Grant was no
general, but merely a brute and a butcher.  But history has never
yet revealed a military leader who, having the advantage of numbers,
did not make the most of it.  Had Grant been waging war for war's
sake, or been so enamored with his profession as to care more for
its fine points than for the success of his cause, he might have
evolved some more subtle and less brutal plan.  But he had no love
for soldiering and no sentimental ideas whatever about the war.
Common sense, with which he was liberally supplied, told him that
the only excuse for fighting was to uphold principles which were
vital to the national life and the only way to have those principles
upheld was to defeat those who opposed them and to do this he
determined to use all the resources at his command.

The two men whom Fate or Chance had been drawing together for over
two hundred years were utterly different in appearance and manner,
but in other respects they were singularly alike.  Lee was, at
the time of their meeting, already in his 58th year, his hair and
beard were almost white, but his calm, handsome face, clear eyes
and ruddy complexion, made him appear younger than he was.  His
bearing also was that of a young man, for his erect, soldierly
carriage showed his height to full advantage; his well-knit figure
was almost slight for a man standing over six feet, and, mounted
on his favorite horse "Traveller," he was the ideal soldier.  Grant
was barely forty-two years of age, short of stature, careless in
dress and generally indifferent to appearances.  His face, though
strong, was somewhat coarse, his manners were not polished and he
had nothing of the cultivation or charm which Lee so unmistakably
possessed.

But though Grant thus reflected his Roundhead ancestors and Lee his
Cavalier descent, the contrast between them was mainly external.
Both were modest and courageous; both were self-contained; each had
his tongue and temper under complete control; each was essentially
an American in his ideas and ideals; each fought for a principle
in which he sincerely believed, and neither took the least delight
in war.  Had they met in times of peace, it is not probable that
they would have become intimate friends, but it is certain that
each would have respected, if not admired the other for his fine
qualities, and this was undoubtedly their attitude toward each
other from the beginning of the struggle.





Chapter XXVI




A Duel to the Death

For nearly two months after Grant assumed command no important move
was attempted by either the Union or the Confederate forces except
in Mississippi.  Both sides realized that a desperate struggle was
impending and each needed all the time it could gain to prepare
for the coming fray.  Heavy reenforcements were hurried to Grant,
until the Army of the Potomac under his immediate command included
over 120,000 men; a hundred thousand more were assembled at Chattanooga
in charge of Sherman; and two other forces of considerable size
were formed to cooperate with Grant--one being entrusted to General
Benjamin Butler and the other to General Franz Sigel.

To oppose this vast army Lee had less than 65,000 men in the Army
of Northern Virginia and the only other formidable Confederate
force in the field was that commanded by General Joseph Johnston,
who, with some 53,000 men, was stationed in Georgia guarding the
cotton states and the far South.  If these two armies could be
captured or destroyed, all organized resistance to the Union would be
at an end, and Grant, accordingly, determined to throw his entire
weight upon them, sending Sherman against Johnston, Butler against
the City of Richmond and Sigel against the rich Shenandoah Valley
which supplied the Confederate armies with food, while he himself
attacked Lee with an overwhelming force.

Never before had a Union general undertaken a campaign covering
such a vast extent of country and never before had such a united
effort been made to exhaust the armies and the resources of the
South.  With his own forces threatened by superior numbers Lee
would not be able to reenforce Johnston with safety and, confronted
by Sherman, Johnston would find it impossible to send assistance
to Lee.  This promised to bring the war to a speedy close, and the
supporters of the Union redoubled their praises of the Lieutenant-General
as they began to understand his plan.  Indeed, the more he avoided
publicity and applause and the more indifference he showed for
popular opinion, the more the newspapers and the general public
fawned upon him, and when, on May 3, 1864, he ordered his armies
to advance, the whole North was fairly aflame with enthusiasm.

It was certainly a momentous occasion.  Three years earlier Grant
had been utterly unknown to the country at large and the small
group who acknowledged his acquaintance had regarded him as a rather
pitiful failure, while the Government to whom he had offered his
services had ignored him altogether.  Now, at his nod, hundreds
of thousands of men instantly sprang to arms and the most powerful
armies that America had ever seen moved forward in obedience to his
will, Sherman marching southward, Butler creeping toward Richmond,
Sigel advancing into the fertile Shenandoah Valley, and the Army of
the Potomac crossing the Rapidan River to renew its struggle with
Lee.

Lee had watched the elaborate preparations of his new antagonist
with keen interest and no little apprehension, for Grant's record
as a fighting man promised a duel to the death and the South had
no more men.

The situation was certainly serious but, anxious as he was, the
Confederate commander did not by any means despair. He was familiar
with every inch of the country through which Grant would have to
advance and the chances were that this would, sooner or later, give
him not only the advantage of position, but possibly the choice of
weapons.  With this idea he allowed the Union forces to cross the
Rapidan unopposed, hoping that he would soon be able to drive them
back and that the river would then be as valuable as cavalry in
hampering their retreat.  Just beyond the Rapidan lay the dense
thickets and waste lands of scrub oak and undergrowth known as the
Wilderness, which had witnessed the Chancellorsville surprise and
virtually sealed the fate of Hooker's army.  If the Union forces
advanced directly through this jungle, there was more than a
possibility that they might outflank their opponents and gain the
road to Richmond, but Lee scarcely dared hope that his adversary
would attempt so dangerous a route.  Nevertheless, he maneuvered
to leave the trap undisturbed, and when he saw the Union columns
entering the forests he felt that they were actually being delivered
into his hands.  Once in those tangled thickets he knew that Grant's
artillery and cavalry would be practically useless and without
them his superiority in numbers disappeared.  Of course, it would
be impossible to conduct a scientific battle in such a region, for
it would virtually be fighting in the dark, but knowing that his
men were thoroughly familiar with the ground, Lee determined to
hurl them upon the advancing bluecoats, trusting to the gloom and
the terrors of the unknown to create confusion and panic in their
ranks.

But the men whom Grant commanded were no longer the inexperienced
volunteers who had been stampeded at Bull Run.  They were veterans
of many campaigns and, though they staggered for a moment under
the shock of battle, they speedily rallied and fought with stubborn
courage.  The conflict that followed was one of the most brutal
recorded in the annals of modern war.  Whole regiments sprang at
each other's throats, the men fighting each other like animals;
trees were cut down by the bullets which tore through them from
every direction; bursting shells set fire to the woods, suffocating
the wounded or burning them to death; wild charges were made, ending
in wilder stampedes or bloody repulses; the crackle of flames rose
high above the pandemonium of battle and dense smoke-clouds drifted
chokingly above this hideous carnival of death.  Thus for two days
the armies staggered backward and forward with no result save a
horrible loss of life.  Once the Union forces almost succeeded in
gaining a position which would have disposed of their adversaries,
but Lee saw the danger just in the nick of time and, rushing a Texas
brigade to the rescue, led the charge in person until his troops
recognized him and forced him to retire.

It was May 7, 1864, when this blind slaughter known as the Battle
of the Wilderness ceased, but by that time nearly 18,000 Union
soldiers and 12,000 Confederates lay upon the field.  Lee could not
claim a victory but he still held his ground and he felt confident
that Grant would fall back behind the Rapidan River to recuperate
his shattered forces.  No Union commander, thus far, had tarried
long on Virginian soil after such a baptism of blood, and when the
news that Grant's columns were retreating reached the Confederate
commander he breathed a sigh of thanksgiving and relief.

To the veterans who had served under McClellan, Pope, Burnside and
Hooker, retreats were a wretchedly familiar experience, but they had
not been long on the road before they realized that they were not
retreating but were marching southward.  As the truth of this dawned
upon the disheartened columns they burst into frantic cheers for
Grant and pressed forward with springy steps, shouting and singing
for joy.

A less able commander would have been fatally misled by Grant's
apparent retreat, but Lee knew that he might again attempt to
swing around his right flank and edge toward Richmond by way of
Spotsylvania, and to guard against this a body of troops had been
ordered to block that road.  Therefore, by the time Grant began his
great turning movement, Lee was planted squarely across his path
and another series of battles followed.  Here the Union commander
was able to make some use of his cavalry and artillery, but the
Confederates offset this by fighting behind intrenchments and they
repulsed charge after charge with fearful slaughter.  Again, as at
the Battle of the Wilderness, the gray line was pierced, this time
at a point known as the "Bloody Angle" or "Hell's Half Acre," and
twice Lee sprang forward to lead a desperate charge to recover the
lost ground.  But each time the troops refused to advance until
their beloved leader retired to a point of safety, and when he
yielded they whirled forward, sweeping everything before them.

These charges saved the battle of Spotsylvania for the Confederates.
But though Lee had again blocked his opponent, the fact that he
had thrice had to rally his troops at the peril of his life showed
that he had been harder pressed than in any of his other Virginia
campaigns.  Nevertheless, when the last furious attack had been
repulsed and Grant began moving sullenly away, it seemed as though
he had at last been compelled to abandon the campaign.  But the
wearied Confederates had yet to learn that their terrible opponent
was a man who did not know when he was beaten, for in spite of his
awful losses he had written his government May 11, 1864, "I propose
to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," and his army,
instead of retreating, continued to move southward, crossing the
North Anna River and circling once more toward the left flank.

Again Grant was on the road to Richmond, but in crossing the North
Anna River he left an opening between the two wings of his army and
before he could close it Lee threw his whole force into the breach
and, completely cutting off one part of the Union army from the
other, held both firmly in check.  This masterly move might have
brought Grant's campaign to a disastrous end, but just as he was
planning to take full advantage of it, Lee fell ill and during
his absence from the field Grant made his first backward move,
recrossing the North Anna River and, bringing the two wings of his
army together, rescued it from its perilous position.

The moment he reached a point of safety, however, the persistent
commander recommenced his march by the left flank, sidling once
more toward Richmond until he reached Cold Harbor, only eight miles
from the Confederate capital.  Here Lee once more interposed his
battered forces, strongly intrenching them in a position that fairly
defied attack.  With any other adversary against him he would have
concluded that the game was won, for by all the rules of war the
Union army was completely balked and could not avoid a retreat.  But
Grant was a man of a different caliber from any he had encountered
heretofore.  In spite of checks and disasters and unheard-of slaughter
he had pushed inexorably forward; foiled in front he had merely
turned aside to hew another bloody path.  To him defeat only seemed to
mean delay, and apparently he could not be shaken from his dogged
purpose, no matter what the cost.  At Cold Harbor, however, the
Confederate position was so strong that to assault it was madness,
and Lee could not believe that even his grim opponent would resort
to such a suicidal attempt.  But retreat or attack offered no choice
to Grant's mind, and on June 2, 1864, the troops were fiercely
hurled against the Confederate works, only to be repulsed with
fearful slaughter.  A few hours later orders were issued to renew
the assault, and then postponed for a day.

That delay gave the soldiers an opportunity to understand the
desperate nature of the work that lay before them and, realizing
that charging against murderous batteries and trenches meant rushing
into the jaws of death, they offered a silent protest.  Not a man
refused to obey orders, not one fell from his place in the line,
but to their coats they sewed strips of cloth bearing their names
and addresses so that their bodies might be identified upon the
field.

This dramatic spectacle might well have warned their commander of
the hopelessness of his attempt, but fixed in his resolve to thrust
his opponent from his path, he gave the fatal order to charge,
and twenty minutes later 3,000 of his best troops fell before the
smoking trenches and the balance reeled back aghast at the useless
sacrifice.  This horrifying slaughter, which Grant himself confessed
was a grievous blunder, brought the first stage of his campaign
to a close.  In but little over a month he had lost nearly 55,000
men--almost as many as Lee had had in his entire army, and almost
in sight of the spires of Richmond his adversary held him securely
at arm's length.

A wave of horror, indignation and disappointment, swept over the
North.  Another campaign had proved a failure.  There were, however,
two men who did not agree with this conclusion.  One was Grant,
pouring over the maps showing the movements of all his armies.
The other was Lee, looking in vain for reenforcements to fill the
gaps in his fast thinning lines.





Chapter XXVII




Check and Countercheck

The six-weeks' campaign in Virginia had been quite sufficient to
check all enthusiasm for Grant, but the fact that he was no longer
a popular hero did not trouble him at all.  Indeed, he displayed
the same indifference to the storm of angry criticism that he
had shown for the salvos of applause.  He had made no claims or
boasts before he took the field and he returned no answers to the
accusations and complaints after his apparent failures.  Had he posed
before the public as a hero or been tempted to prophesy a speedy
triumph for his army, the humiliation and disappointment might have
driven him to resign from the command.  But he had recognized the
difficulty of his task from the outset, modestly accepting it with
no promise save that he would do his best, and he silently resolved
to pursue the campaign he had originally mapped out in spite of
all reverses.

Certainly, he required all his calmness and steadfastness
to overcome his discouragement and disgust at the manner in which
the cooperating armies had been handled.  In the Shenandoah Valley
Sigel had proved utterly incompetent and the Confederates, instead
of having been driven from that important storehouse, had tightened
their hold upon it.  Moreover, Butler, who was supposed to threaten
Richmond while Grant fought Lee, had made a sorry mess of that part
of the program.  In fact he had maneuvered in such a ridiculous
fashion that he and about 35,000 troops were soon cooped up by
a far smaller force of Confederates who held them as a cork holds
the contents of a bottle; and last, but not least, the Army of
Potomac lay badly mutilated before the impassable intrenchments of
Lee.

In one particular, however, Grant's expectations bade fair to be
realized, for Sherman was steadily pushing his way through Georgia,
driving Johnston before him, and inflicting terrible damage upon the
country through which he passed.  As Grant watched this triumphant
advance he silently resolved upon another move.  The north or front
door of Richmond was closed and firmly barred.  There was nothing
to be gained by further battering at that portal.  But the southern
or rear door had not yet been thoroughly tried and upon that he
concluded to make a determined assault.  To do this it would be
necessary to renew his movement around his opponent's right flank
by crossing the formidable James River--a difficult feat at any
time, but double difficult at that moment, owing to the fact that
Butler's "bottled" force might be crushed by a Confederate attack
while the hazardous passage of the river was being effected.
Nevertheless, he decided to risk this bold stroke, and during the
night of June 12, 1864, about ten days after the repulse at Cold
Harbor, the great movement was begun.

Meanwhile Lee, confident that he had completely checked his opponent,
but disappointed that he had not forced him to retreat, determined
to drive him away by carrying the war into the North and threatening
the Federal capital.  That he should have been able to attempt this
in the midst of a campaign deliberately planned to destroy him,
affords some of the indication of the brilliant generalship he had
displayed.  But it does not fully reflect his masterful daring.
At the outset of the campaign the Union forces had outnumbered him
two to one and its losses had been offset by reenforcements, while
every man that had fallen in the Confederate ranks had left an
empty space.  It is highly probable, therefore, that at the moment
he resolved to turn the tables on his adversary and transform the
campaign against Richmond into a campaign against Washington, he had
not much more than one man to his opponent's three.  Nevertheless,
in the face of these overwhelming numbers, he maintained a bold
front towards Grant and detached General Jubal Early with 20,000
men to the Shenandoah Valley, with orders to clear that region of
Union troops, cross the Potomac River and then march straight on
Washington.

It was at this moment that Grant began creeping cautiously away
toward the rear door of Richmond.  To keep a vigilant enemy in entire
ignorance of such a tremendous move was, of course, impossible,
but the system and discipline which he had instilled into his army
almost accomplished the feat.  Indeed, so rapidly and silently did
the troops move, so perfect were the arrangements for transporting
their baggage and supplies, so completely were the details of the
whole undertaking ordered and systematized, that over a hundred
thousand men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with their horses,
hospital and wagon trains, and all the paraphernalia of a vast army
virtually faded away, and when Lee gazed from his intrenchments
on June 13, 1864, there was no sign of his opponent and he did not
discover where he had gone for fully four days.

In the meantime, Grant had thrown his entire army across the James
River and was advancing, horse and foot, on Petersburg, the key to
the approach to Richmond from the south, and Butler, whose troops
had been extricated from their difficulties, was ordered to seize
it.  Petersburg was at that moment wholly unprepared to resist a
strong attack.  Indeed, there were only a handful of men guarding
the fortification, the capture of which would case the fall
of Richmond, but Butler was not the man to take advantage of this
great opportunity.  On the contrary, he delayed his advance and
otherwise displayed such wretched judgment that the Confederates had
time to rush reenforcements to the rescue, and when Grant arrived
on the scene the intrenchments were strongly occupied.  Notwithstanding
this the Union commander ordered a vigorous assault, and for three
days the troops were hurled against the breastworks without result.
The last attack was made on June 18, 1864, but by this time 10,000
Union soldiers had been sacrificed and Lee had arrived in person
with strong support.  Grant accordingly, abandoning his efforts to
carry the place by storm, began to close in upon it for a grimly
sullen siege.

Meanwhile, General Early, to whom Lee had entrusted his counter-move,
was sweeping away the Federal forces in the Shenandoah Valley with
resistless fury, and suddenly, to the intense surprise and mortification
of the whole North, advanced upon Washington, threatening it with
capture.  Washington was almost as completely unprepared for resistance
as Petersburg had been, its defenses being manned by only a small
force mainly composed of raw recruits and invalid soldiers, while
outside the city there was but one body of troops near enough to
oppose the Confederate advance.  That little army, however, was
commanded by General Lew Wallace, later the famous author of "Ben
Hur," and he had the intelligence to see that he might at least
delay Early by offering battle and that gaining time might prove
as valuable as gaining a victory.  Accordingly, he threw himself
across the Confederate's path and, though roughly handled and at
last driven from the field, he hung on long enough to accomplish
his purpose and although his adversary attempted to make up for
lost time by rapid marching he did not succeed.  This undoubtedly
saved Washington from capture, for shortly after Early appeared
on the 7th Street Road leading to the capital, the reenforcements
which Grant had rushed forward reached the city, and before any
attack on the intrenchments was attempted they were fully defended
and practically unassailable.  Seeing this, Early retreated with
the Union troops following in half-hearted pursuit.

It was the 12th of July, 1864, when, with a sigh of intense relief,
Washington saw the backs of the retreating Confederates, but its
satisfaction at its escape was mingled with indignation against
Grant for having left it open to attack.  Indeed, he was regarded
by many people as the greatest failure of all the Union commanders,
for he had lost more men in sixty days than McClellan had lost in
all his campaigns without getting any nearer to Richmond, and by
the end of July another lamentable failure was recorded against
him.

In the intrenchments facing Petersburg lay the 48th Pennsylvania
Volunteers, largely composed of miners from the coal regions of
that state.  Late in June Colonel Pleasants of this regiment had
submitted a plan whereby his men were to dig a tunnel to a point
directly under one of the Confederate forts, plant a gunpowder
mine there and blow a breach in the defenses through which troops
could be poured and the town carried by assault.  The scheme was
plausible, provided the tunnel could be bored and Grant gave his
consent, with the result that within a month an underground passage
over 500 feet long was completed, a mine was planted with four
tons of powder and elaborate preparations made for storming the
Confederate works.  Grant's orders were that all obstructions in
front of the Union lines should be removed to enable the troops
to charge the moment the explosion occurred, and that they should
be rushed forward without delay until they were all within the
Confederate lines.  Accordingly, in the dead of night on July 29th,
the assaulting columns were moved into position and when everything
was in apparent readiness the signal was given to explode the
mine.  But though the match was applied no explosion occurred, and
in the awful hush that followed Lieut. Jacob Douty and Sergeant
Henry Rees volunteered to crawl into the tunnel and see what was
wrong.  To enter the passage at that moment was almost defying death,
but the two men took their lives in their hands and, creeping in,
discovered that the fuse had smoldered and gone out.  They then
relit it and made their escape just as a fearful explosion rent
the air and great masses of earth, stones and timbers, intermingled
with human bodies, leaped toward the sky.

For a moment the waiting troops watched this terrifying spectacle
and then, as the cloud of wreckage apparently swerved toward them
threatening to descend and bury them beneath it, they fell back
in great confusion and some time elapsed before order was restored
and the charge begun.  But Grant's orders to clear their path had
not been obeyed, and the charging troops had to climb over their own
breastworks, causing more delay and confusion.  Finally, however,
the leading brigades reached the great excavation torn by the
mine, and there they halted awaiting further orders.  But no orders
came, for their terror-stricken commander had sought safety in a
bomb-proof and when his hiding place was discovered the miserable
cur merely mumbled something about "moving forward" and remained
cowering in his refuge.  Meanwhile, other regiments rushed forward,
tumbling in upon one another, until the chasm was choked with men
upon whom the Confederates began to pour shot, shell and canister.
From that moment everything was lost and at last orders came from
Grant to rescue the struggling mass of men from the awful death
trap into which they had been plunged, but despite all exertions
fully 4,000 were killed, wounded or captured.

Again his subordinates had blundered terribly but Grant accepted
the responsibility and assumed the blame, waiting patiently for
the hour, then near at hand, when he would find commanders he could
trust to carry out his plans.





Chapter XXVIII




The Beginning of the End

The right man to conduct the Shenandoah campaign was already in
the Army of the Potomac, but it was not until about a week after
the failure of the Petersburg mine that circumstances enabled Grant
to place General Philip Sheridan in charge of that important task.

Sheridan, like Sherman, had served with Grant in the West and had
developed into a brilliant cavalry leader.  Indeed, he was the
only man in the Northern armies whose record could be compared with
that of Jeb Stuart and many other great cavalry commanders in the
South.  But Grant felt that Sheridan could handle an entire army
as well as he had handled the cavalry alone and he soon showed
himself fully worthy of this confidence, for from the moment he
took over the command of the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley,
the Confederates were compelled to fight for it as they had never
fought before.

Up to this time, the war had been conducted with comparatively little
destruction of private property on either side.  But the moment had
now arrived for harsher measures, for Sherman had occupied Atlanta
on September 2, 1864, and was preparing to march to the sea coast
and cut the Confederacy in two.  If Grant's plan of depriving Lee
of the fertile valley to the north was to be put in operation, there
was no time to lose.  Sheridan, accordingly, at once proceeded to
attack the Confederates with the utmost vigor, defeating them in
two engagements at Winchester and Fisher's Hill, and following up
this success by laying waste the fields and ruthlessly destroying
all the stores of grain and provisions which might prove useful
to Lee's army.  For a month or more he continued to sweep through
the country practically unchecked.  But on October 19.1864, during
his absence, his army was surprised and furiously attacked by
General Early's men at Cedar Creek, and before long they had the
Union troops in a perilous position which threatened to end in
their destruction and the recapture of the entire valley.

Sheridan was at Winchester on his way to the front from Washington
when the news of this impending disaster reached him and, mounting
his horse, he dashed straight across country for the scene of action.
He was then, however, fully twenty miles from the field and there
seemed but little chance of his reaching it any time to be of any
service.  Nevertheless, he spurred forward at a breakneck pace and
his splendid horse, responding gamely, fairly flew over the ground,
racing along mile after mile at killing speed in a lather of foam
and sweat, until the battle field was reached just as the Union
troops came reeling back, panic-stricken, under cover of a thin
line of troops who had at last succeeded in making a stand.

Instantly, the General was among the fugitives ordering them
to turn and follow him and inspired by his presence, they wheeled
as he dashed down their broken lines and, madly cheering, hurled
themselves upon their pursuers.  Completely surprised by this
unexpected recovery, the Confederates faltered and the Union troops,
gathering force as they charged, rolled them back with irresistible
fury and finally swept them completely from the field.  Indeed,
Early's force was so badly shattered and scattered by this overwhelming
defeat that it virtually abandoned the Valley and Sheridan continued
his work of destruction almost unopposed, until the whole region
was so barren that, as he reported, a crow flying across it would
have to carry his own provisions or starve to death.

Meanwhile, Sherman had begun to march from Atlanta to Savannah,
Georgia, where he intended to get in touch with the navy guarding
the coast and then sweep northward to Grant.  Behind him lay the
Confederate army, formerly commanded by General Joseph Johnston
but now led by General Hood, a daring officer who was expected to
retrieve Johnston's failure by some brilliant feat of arms.  Whether
he would attempt this by following Sherman and attacking him at the
first favorable moment or take advantage of his departure to turn
north and play havoc with Tennessee and the region thus exposed to
attack, was uncertain.  To meet either of these moves Sherman sent
a substantial part of his army to General Thomas at Nashville,
Tennessee, and swung off with the rest of his troops toward the sea.
Hood instantly advanced against Thomas, and Grant at Petersburg,
closely watching the movement saw a great opportunity to dispose
of one of the Confederate armies.  He, accordingly, ordered Thomas
to attack with his whole strength as soon as Hood reached Nashville,
but although the Confederates reached that point considerably
weakened by a partial defeat inflicted on them by a retreating
Union column, Thomas delayed his assault.  Days of anxious waiting
followed and then Grant hurried General Logan, one of his most
trusted officers, to the scene of action with orders to take over
the command, unless Thomas immediately obeyed his instructions.
In the meantime, however, Thomas, slow but sure, had completed his
preparations and, hurling himself upon Hood with a vastly superior
force, pursued his retreating columns (Dec. 16, 1864) until they
were split into fragments, never again to be reunited as a fighting
force.

It was not until this practical annihilation of Hood that the North
began to realize how far reaching and complete Grant's plans were.
But that event and the Shenandoah campaign made it clear that he
had determined that no army worthy of the name should be left to
the Confederacy when he finally closed in upon Lee, so that with his
destruction or surrender there should be no excuse for prolonging
the war.  It was in furtherance of this plan that Sherman left ruin
and desolation behind him as he blazed his way up from the South.
The inhabitants of the region through which he was marching had, up
to this time, been living in perfect security and Sherman intended
to make war so hideous that they would have no desire to prolong
the contest.  He, accordingly, tore up the railroads, heating the
rails and then twisting them about trees so that they could never
be used again, burned public buildings and private dwellings,
allowed his army to live on whatever food they could find in the
houses, stores or barns, and generally made it a terror to all who
lay in the broad path he was sweeping towards Petersburg.

Grant then had Lee fairly caught.  His only possible chances of
prolonging the contest lay in taking refuge in the mountains or
joining his forces with the remnants of Hood's army which had been
gathered together and again entrusted with other troops to the
command of General Joseph Johnston.  Had it been possible to do this,
nothing practical would have been achieved, for he had less than
30,000 effective men and Johnston's whole force did not amount to
much more than 30,000, while Grant, Sherman and Sheridan together had
a quarter of a million men under arms.  From a military standpoint
Lee knew that the situation was hopeless, but until the authorities
who had placed him in the field gave up the cause he felt in duty
bound to continue the fight to the bitter end.  Had the Union army
been his only opponent, it is possible that he might have succeeded
in escaping the rings of steel which Grant was daily riveting around
him.  But he had to fight hunger, and from the day that Sheridan
mastered the Shenandoah Valley and Sherman cut off all supplies
from the South starvation stared him in the face.

Meanwhile, his troops, though almost reduced to skeletons and
clothed in rags, confidently believed that in spite of everything
he would find some way of leading them out of Grant's clutches and,
inspired by this implicit faith, they hurled themselves again and
again upon the masses of troops which were steadily closing around
them.  But though they frequently checked the advancing columns and
sometimes even threw them back, inflicting heavy losses and taking
many prisoners, the blue lines soon crept forward again, closing
up gap after gap with a resistless tide of men.  At last the road
to the west leading toward the mountains beyond Lynchburg alone
remained open.  But to avail himself of this Lee knew that he would
have to abandon Petersburg and Richmond and he hesitated to take
this step; while Grant, seeing the opening and fearing that his
opponent would take advantage of it, strained every nerve to get
his troops into a position where they could block the road.

Such was the condition of affairs at the end of March, 1865, but
neither the starving soldiers in the Confederate trenches nor the
people of Richmond or Petersburg imagined that the end was desperately
near.  While "Marse Robert," as Lee's men affectionately called
him, was in command they felt that no real danger could come nigh
them, and their idol was outwardly as calm as in the hour of his
greatest triumph.





Chapter XXIX




At Bay


It would be impossible to imagine a more hopeless situation than
that which had confronted Lee for many months.  To guard the line
of intrenchments stretching around Petersburg and Richmond for
more than thirty-five miles, he had less than 30,000 effective men,
and starvation and disease were daily thinning their impoverished
ranks; the soldiers were resorting to the corn intended for
the horses, and the cavalry were obliged to disperse through the
country seeking fodder for their animals in the wasted fields; the
defenders of the trenches, barefooted and in rags, lay exposed to
the cold and wet, day and night; there were no medicines for the
sick and no great supply of ammunition for the guns.

Perhaps no one but Lee fully realized to what desperate straits
his army had been reduced.  Certainly his opponents were ignorant
of the real condition of affairs or they would have smashed his
feeble defenses at a blow, and the fact that he held over a hundred
thousand troops at bay for months with a skeleton army shows how
skillfully he placed his men.

But though his brilliant career threatened to end in defeat and
disaster, no thought of himself ever crossed Lee's mind.  Regardless
of his own comfort and convenience, he devoted himself day and
night to relieving the suffering of his men, who jestingly called
themselves "Lee's Miserables," but grimly stuck to their posts
with unshaken faith in their beloved chief who, in the midst of
confusion and helplessness, remained calm and resourceful, never
displaying irritation, never blaming anyone for mistakes, but
courageously attempting to make the best of everything and finding
time, in spite of all distractions, for the courtesy and the
thoughtfulness of a gentleman unafraid.

His letters to his wife and children during these perilous days
reveal no anxiety save for the comfort of his men, and no haste
except to provide for their wants.  At home his wife--confined to
an invalid's chair--was busily knitting socks for the soldiers,
and to her he wrote in the face of impending disaster:


..."After sending my note this morning I received from the express
office a bag of socks.  You will have to send down your offerings
as soon as you can, and bring your work to a close, for I think
General Grant will move against us soon--within a week if nothing
prevents--and no man can tell what will be the result; but trusting
to a merciful God, who does not always give the battle to the strong,
I pray we may not be overwhelmed.  I shall, however, endeavor to do
my duty and fight to the last.  Should it be necessary to abandon
our position to prevent being surrounded, what will you do?  You
must consider the question and make up your mind.  It is a fearful
condition and we must rely for guidance and protection upon a kind
Providence...."


Shortly after this letter was written Lee made a desperate effort
to force his adversary to loosen his grip but though the exhausted
and starved troops attacked with splendid courage, they could not
pierce the solid walls of infantry and fell back with heavy losses.
Then Sheridan, who had been steadily closing in from the Shenandoah,
swung 10,000 sabres into position and the fate of Petersburg was
practically sealed.  But, face to face with this calamity, Lee
calmly wrote his wife:


"I have received your note with a bag of socks.  I return the bag
and receipt.  I have put in the bag General Scott's autobiography
which I thought you might like to read.  The General, of course,
stands out prominently and does not hide his light under a bushel,
but he appears the bold, sagacious, truthful man that he is.  I
enclose a note from little Agnes.  I shall be very glad to see her
to-morrow but cannot recommend pleasure trips now...."


At every point Grant was tightening his hold upon the imprisoned
garrison and difficulties were crowding fast upon their commander,
but he exhibited neither excitement nor alarm.  Bending all his
energies upon preparations for a retreat, he carefully considered
the best plan for moving his troops and supplying their needs on the
march, quietly giving his orders to meet emergencies, but allowing
no one to see even a shadow of despair on his face.  Concerning the
gravity of the situation he neither deceived himself nor attempted
to deceive others who were entitled to know it, and with absolute
accuracy he prophesied the movements of his adversary long before
they were made.

..."You may expect Sheridan to move up the Valley," he wrote the
Confederate Secretary of War....  "Grant, I think, is now preparing
to draw out by his left with the intent of enveloping me.  He may
wait till his other columns approach nearer, or he may be preparing
to anticipate my withdrawal.  I cannot tell yet....  Everything of
value should be removed from Richmond.  It is of the first importance
to save all the powder.  The cavalry and artillery of the army are
still scattered for want of provender and our supply and ammunition
trains, which ought to be with the army in case of a sudden movement,
are absent collecting provisions and forage.  You will see to what
straits we are reduced; but I trust to work out."

At last, on March 29th, 1865, Grant pushed forward 50,000 cavalry
and infantry to execute the very move which Lee had outlined and for
which he was as thoroughly prepared as it was possible to be with
the men he had on hand.  But to check this advance which threatened
to surround his army and cut off his retreat, he had to withdraw
the troops guarding the defenses of Petersburg, abandoning some of
the intrenchments altogether and leaving nothing much more formidable
than a skirmish line anywhere along his front.  Even then he could
not stop the onrush of the Union troops, which, under Sheridan,
circled his right on April 1st and drove back his men in the fierce
engagement known as the battle of Five Forks.  With the news of this
success Grant promptly ordered an assault against the intrenchments
and his troops tore through the almost defenseless lines in several
places, encountering little or no resistance.

Petersburg was not yet taken, but Lee immediately saw that to protect
it further would be to sacrifice his entire army.  He, therefore,
sent a dispatch to Richmond, advising the immediate evacuation of
the city.  "I see no prospect of doing more than hold our position
here till night.  I am not certain that I can do that," he wrote.
But he did hold on till the Confederate authorities had made their
escape, and then on the night of April 2nd he abandoned the capital
which he had successfully defended for four years and started on
a hazardous retreat.

The one chance of saving his army lay in reaching the mountains
to the west, before Grant could bar the road, but his men were in
no condition for swift marching and the provision train which he
had ordered to meet him at Amelia Court House failed to put in an
appearance, necessitating a halt.  Every moment was precious and
the delay was exasperating, but he did his best to provide some
sort of food for his famished men and again sent them on their way.

By this time, however, the Union troops were hot upon their trail
and soon their rear-guard was fighting desperately to hold the
pursuit in check.  Now and again they shook themselves free, but
the moment they paused for food or rest they were overtaken and
the running fight went on.  Then, little by little, the pursuing
columns began to creep past the crumbling rear-guard; cavalry pounced
on the foragers searching the countryside for food and captured
the lumbering provision-wagons and the railroad supply trains which
had been ordered to meet the fleeting army, while hundreds upon
hundreds of starving men dropped from the ranks as they neared the
bypaths leading to their homes.

Still some thousands held together, many begging piteously for food
at every house they passed and growing weaker with each step, but
turning again and again with a burst of their old spirit to beat
back the advance-guard of the forces that were slowly enfolding
them.

"There was as much gallantry displayed by some of the Confederates
in these little engagements as was displayed at any time during
the war, notwithstanding the sad defeats of the past week," wrote
Grant many years later, and it was this splendid courage in the
face of hardship and disaster that enabled the remnants of the
once invincible army to keep up their exhausting flight.  As they
neared Appomattox Court House, however, the blue battalions were
closing in on them from every side like a pack of hounds in full
cry of a long-hunted quarry and escape was practically cut off.

For five days Grant had been in the saddle personally conducting
the pursuit with restless energy, and he knew that he was now in
a position to strike a crushing blow, but instead of ordering a
merciless attack, he sent the following letter to Lee:


"Headquarters Armies of the U.S.
"5 P.M. Apr. 7, 1865.

"General R. E. Lee,--Commanding Confederate States Armies.

"The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness
of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia
in this struggle.  I feel that it is so and regard it as my duty
to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion
of blood by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the
Confederate States Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.

"U. S. Grant,
"Lieut. General."


Meanwhile the retreating columns staggered along, their pace growing
slower and slower with every mile, and at last a courier arrived
bearing Lee's reply.


"General:

"I have received your note of this day.  Though not entertaining
the opinion you express on the hopelessness of further resistance
on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia I reciprocate your
desire to avoid useless effusion of blood and therefore, before
considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on
condition of its surrender.

"R. E. Lee,
"General."


Grant promptly responded that peace being his great desire, there
was only one condition he would insist upon and that was that the
surrendered men and officers should not again take up arms against
the United States until properly exchanged.

But Lee was not yet ready to yield and continuing to move forward
with his faithful veterans, he sent a dignified reply, declining
to surrender but suggesting a meeting between himself and Grant,
with the idea of seeing if some agreement could not be reached for
making peace between the two sections of the country.

This was not the answer that Grant had hoped for, but he had too
much admiration for his gallant adversary to ride rough shod over
him when he held him completely in his power, and while he gave
the necessary orders to prepare for closing in, he sent another
courteous note to Lee dated April 9, 1865:


"General.

"Your note of yesterday is received.  I have no authority to treat
on the subject of peace; the meeting proposed for 10 A.M. today
could lead to no good.  I will state, however, General, that I am
equally anxious for peace with yourself and the whole North entertains
the same feeling.  The terms upon which peace can be had are well
understood....  Seriously hoping that all our difficulties may be
settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself, etc.,

"U. S. Grant,
"Lt. General."


The courier bearing this message dashed off and disappeared and
the chase continued, masses of blue infantry pressing forward under
cover of darkness and overlapping the weary columns of gray that
stumbled on with lagging steps.  Meanwhile, the morning of April
9th dawned and Lee determined to make one more desperate effort
at escape.  Behind him an overwhelming force was crowding and
threatening to crush his rear-guard; on either flank the blue-coated
lines were edging closer and closer; but in front there appeared to
be only a thin screen of cavalry which might be pierced; and beyond
lay the mountains and safety.  At this cavalry then he hurled his
horsemen with orders to cut their way through and force an opening
for the rest of the army, who vigorously supported the attack.  It
was, indeed, a forlorn hope that was thus entrusted to the faithful
squadrons, but they responded with matchless dash and spirit,
tearing a wide gap through the opposing cavalry and capturing guns
and prisoners.  Then they suddenly halted and surveyed the field
with dumb despair.  Behind the parted screen of horsemen lay a
solid wall of blue infantry arrayed in line of battle and hopelessly
blocking the road.  One glance was enough to show them what Grant's
night march had accomplished, and the baffled riders wheeled and
reported the situation to their chief.

Lee listened calmly to the news which was not wholly unexpected.
There was still a chance that a portion of his force might escape,
if he was willing to let them attempt to fight their way out against
awful odds, but no thought of permitting such a sacrifice crossed
his mind.

"Then there is nothing left for me but to go and see Gen. Grant,"
he observed to those around him.

But desperate as their plight had been for days, his officers were
unprepared for this announcement.

"Oh, General!" one of them protested, "What will history say of
the surrender of the army in the field?"

"Yes," he replied.  "I know they will say hard things of us;
they will not understand how we were overwhelmed by numbers.  But
that is not the question, Colonel.  The question is, is it right
to surrender this army?  If it is right, then I will take all the
responsibility."

No response was offered by the little group and turning to one of
his staff, Lee quietly gave an order.  A few moments later white
flags were fluttering at the head of the halted columns and an
officer rode out slowly from the lines bearing a note to Grant.





Chapter XXX




The Surrender


While Lee's messenger was making his way toward the Union lines,
Grant was riding rapidly to the front where his forces had foiled
the Confederate cavalry.  For more than a week he had been constantly
in the saddle, moving from one point on his lines to another
and begrudging even the time for food and sleep in his efforts to
hasten the pursuit.  But the tremendous physical and mental strain
to which he had subjected himself had already begun to tell upon
him, and he had passed the previous night under a surgeon's care
endeavoring to put himself in fit condition for the final struggle
which Lee's refusal to surrender led him to expect.  The dawn of
April 9th, however, found him suffering with a raging headache,
and well-nigh exhausted after his sleepless night he rode forward
feeling more like going to the hospital than taking active command
in the field.  He had already advanced some distance and was within
two or three miles of Appomattox Court House, when an officer
overtook him and handed him these lines from Lee:


"Apr. 9, 1865.

"General:

"I received your note of this morning on the picket line whither I
had come to meet you and ascertain definitely what terms were embraced
in your proposal of yesterday with reference to the surrender of
this army.  I now ask an interview in accordance with the offer
contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose.

"R. E. Lee,
"General."


The moment Grant's eyes rested on these words his headache disappeared,
and instantly writing the following reply, he put spurs to his
horse and galloped on:


"Apr. 9, 1865.

"Your note of this date is but this moment (11:50 A. M.) received
in consequence of my having passed from the Richmond and Lynchburg
Road to the Farmville and Lynchburg Road.  I am at this writing
about four miles west of Walker's Church and will push forward to
the front for the purpose of meeting you.  Notice sent to me on
this road where you wish the interview to take place will meet me.

"U. S. Grant,
"Lt. General."


The troops under Sheridan were drawn up in line of battle when
Grant arrived on the scene and his officers, highly excited at the
favorable opportunity for attacking the Confederates, urged him to
allow no cessation of hostilities until the surrender was actually
made.  But Grant would not listen to anything of this sort, and
directing that he be at once conducted to General Lee, followed an
orderly who led him toward a comfortable two-story, brick dwelling
in Appomattox village owned by a Mr. McLean who had placed it at
the disposal of the Confederate commander.

Mounting the broad piazza steps, Grant entered the house, followed
by his principal generals and the members of his staff, and was
ushered into a room at the left of the hall, where Lee, accompanied
by only one officer, awaited him.

As the two commanders shook hands the Union officers passed toward
the rear of the room and remained standing apart.  Then Lee motioned
Grant to a chair placed beside a small marble-topped table, at the
same time seating himself near another table close at hand.  Neither
man exhibited the slightest embarrassment and Grant, recalling that
they had served together during the Mexican War, reminded Lee of
this fact, saying that he remembered him very distinctly as General
Scott's Chief of Staff but did not suppose that an older and superior
officer would remember him.  But Lee did remember him and in a few
minutes he was chatting quietly with his former comrade about the
Mexican campaign and old army days.

It would be impossible to imagine a greater contrast than that
afforded by the two men as they thus sat conversing.  Lee wore
a spotless gray uniform, long cavalry boots, spurs and gauntlets,
and carried the beautiful sword given to him by Virginia, presenting
altogether a most impressive appearance; and his tall, splendidly
proportioned figure and grave dignified bearing heightened the
effect.  His well-trimmed hair and beard were almost snow white,
adding distinction to his calm, handsome face without suggesting
age, and his clear eyes and complexion and erect carriage were
remarkable for a man of fifty-eight.  Grant was barely forty-three,
and his hair and beard were brown with a touch of gray, but his face
was worn and haggard from recent illness, and his thickset figure
and drooping shoulders were those of a man well advanced in years.
For uniform he wore the blouse of a private, to which the shoulder
straps of a lieutenant-general had been stitched; his trousers were
tucked into top boots worn without spurs; he carried no sword and
from head to foot he was splashed with mud.

He, himself, was conscious of the strange contrast between his
appearance and that of his faultlessly attired opponent, for he
apologized for his unkempt condition, explaining that he had come
straight from active duty in the field, and then as the conversation
regarding Mexico continued he grew so pleasantly interested that
the object of the meeting almost passed from his mind, and it was
Lee who first recalled it to his attention.

He then called for pencil and paper, and without having previously
mapped out any phrases in his mind, he began to draft an informal
letter to Lee, outlining the terms of surrender.  Nothing could
have been more clear and simple than the agreement which he drafted,
nor could the document have been more free from anything tending
to humiliate or offend his adversary.  It provided merely for the
stacking of guns, the parking of cannon and the proper enrollment
of the Confederate troops, all of whom were to remain unmolested
as long as they obeyed the laws and did not again take up arms
against the Government, and it concluded with the statement that
the side arms of the officers were not to be surrendered and that
all such officers who owned their own horses should be permitted
to retain them.

Lee watched the writing of this letter in silence, and when Grant
handed it to him he read it slowly, merely remarking as he returned
it that the provision allowing the officers to keep their horses
would have a happy effect, but that in the Confederate army the
cavalry and artillerymen likewise owned their own horses.  That hint
was quite sufficient for Grant, who immediately agreed to make the
concession apply to all the soldiers, whether officers or privates,
observing as he again handed the paper to Lee that his men would
probably find their horses useful in the spring ploughing when they
returned to their farms.  Lee responded that the concession would
prove most gratifying to his soldiers, and, turning to his secretary,
dictated a short, simple reply to his opponent, accepting his
conditions.

While these letters were being copied in ink, Grant introduced his
officers to Lee and strove to make the situation as easy as possible
for him.  Indeed, throughout the whole interview he displayed the
most admirable spirit, tactfully conceding all that his adversary
might reasonably have asked, thus saving him from the embarrassment
of making any request and generally exhibiting a delicate courtesy
and generosity which astonished those who judged him merely by
his rough exterior.  But Grant, though uncouth in appearance and
unpolished in manners, was a gentleman in the best sense of the
word, and he rose to the occasion with an ease and grace that left
nothing to be desired.

As soon as the letters were signed the Confederate commander shook
his late opponent's hand and turned to leave the room.  The Union
officers followed him to the door as he departed but tactfully
refrained from accompanying him further and attended only by his
secretary, he passed down the broad steps of the piazza, gravely
saluted the group of officers gathered there who respectfully rose
at his approach, mounted his old favorite "Traveller" and rode
slowly toward his own lines.

By this time the news of the surrender had reached the Union army
and cannon began booming a salute in honor of the joyful tidings.
But Grant instantly stopped this and ordered that there should
be no demonstrations or exultation of any kind which would offend
Lee's men.  In the same generous spirit he kept his men strictly
within their own lines when the Confederates stacked their guns
and no one, except the officers assigned to receive the arms, was
permitted to witness this final act of surrender[1].  He likewise
declined to visit Richmond lest his presence should be regarded as
the triumphal entry of a conqueror or smack of exulting over his
fallen foes, and with fully a million bayonets behind him ready
to win him further glory, his foremost thought was to end the war
without the loss of another life.  With this idea, on the morning
after the surrender, he sought another interview with Lee.

[1]Since the first edition of this volume was published the writer
has been furnished, through the courtesy of Mr. Jefferson K. Cole
of Massachusetts, with documentary proof that the formal surrender
of what remained of Lee's infantry was made in the presence of the
First Division of the 5th Corps of the Army of the Potomac, General
Joshua L. Chamberlain commanding.  Therefore, although it is true
that Grant avoided all humiliation of the Confederates, it is
evident that a small portion of his troops did witness the final act
of surrender, and the statement in the text should be accordingly
amended.





Chapter XXXI




Lee's Years of Peace


Desperate as their plight had been for many days, Lee's men had
not wholly abandoned the hope of escape, but when their beloved
commander returned from the Federal lines they saw by his face that
the end had come, and crowding around him, they pressed his hands,
even the strongest among them shedding bitter tears.  For a time
he was unable to respond in words to this touching demonstration,
but finally, with a great effort, he mastered his emotion and
bravely faced his comrades.

"Men," he said, "we have fought through the war together; I have
done my best for you; my heart is too full to say more."

Brief as these words were, all who heard them realized that Lee
saw no prospect of continuing the struggle and meant to say so.  He
was, of course, well aware that the Confederates had many thousand
men still in the field, and that by separating into armed bands
they could postpone the end for a considerable period.  But this
to his mind was not war and he had no sympathy with such methods
and no belief that they could result in anything but more bloodshed
and harsher terms for the South.  A word from him would have been
quite sufficient to encourage the other commanders to hold out and
prolong the cruelly hopeless contest, but he had determined not to
utter it.

Grant was firmly convinced that this would be his attitude, but
whether he would actually advise the abandonment of the cause was
another question, and it was to suggest this course that the Union
commander sought him out on the morning after the surrender.  This
second interview occurred between the lines of the respective
armies and as the former adversaries sat conversing on horseback,
Grant tactfully introduced the subject of ending the war.

He knew, he told Lee, that no man possessed more influence with
the soldiers and the South in general than he did, and that if he
felt justified in advising submission his word would doubtless have
all the effect of law.  But to this suggestion Lee gravely shook
his head.  He frankly admitted that further resistance was useless,
but he was unwilling to pledge himself to give the proposed advice
until he had consulted with the Confederate President, and Grant
did not urge him, feeling certain that he would do what he thought
right.  Nor was this confidence misplaced, for though Lee never
positively advised a general surrender, his opinions soon came
to be known and in a short time all the Confederate forces in the
field yielded.

But though peace was thus restored, the war had left two countries
where it had found one, and to the minds of many people they could
never be united again.  It was then that Lee showed his true greatness,
for from the moment of his surrender he diligently strove by voice
and pen and example to create harmony between the North and South
and to help in the rebuilding of the nation.  To those who asked his
opinion as to whether they should submit to the Federal authorities
and take the required oath of allegiance, he unhesitatingly replied,
"If you intend to reside in this country and wish to do your part
in the restoration of your state and in the government of the
country, which I think is the duty of every citizen, I know of no
objection to your taking the oath."

He denounced the assassination of Lincoln as a crime to be abhorred
by every American, discountenanced the idea of Southerners seeking
refuge in foreign lands, scrupulously obeyed every regulation of
the military authorities regarding paroled prisoners and exerted
all the influence at his command to induce his friends to work with
him for the reconciliation of the country.  Even when it was proposed
to indict and try him for treason he displayed no resentment or
bitterness.  "I have no wish to avoid any trial that the Government
may order.  I hope others may go unmolested," was his only comment.
But no such persecution was to be permitted, for Grant interfered
the moment he heard of it, insisting that his honor and that of
the nation forbade that Lee should be disturbed in any way, and
his indignant protest straightway brought the authorities to their
senses.

In the meanwhile, innumerable propositions reached Lee, offering him
great monetary inducements to lend his name and fame to business
enterprises of various kinds, but although he had lost all his property
and was practically penniless, he would not consent to undertake
work that he did not feel competent to perform and would listen
to no suggestion of receiving compensation merely for the use of
his name.  His desire was to identify himself with an institution
of learning where he could be of some public service, and at the
same time gain the peaceful home life of which he had dreamed for
so many years.  As soon as this was understood offers came to him
from the University of Virginia and the University of the South
at Suwannee, Tennessee, but he feared that his association with a
State institution like the University of Virginia might create a
feeling of hostility against it on the part of the Federal Government,
and the Vice-Chancellorship of the Tennessee university would have
required him to leave his native state.

Finally, the Trustees of Washington College offered him the
Presidency of that institution and the fact that it bore the name
of the first President and had been endowed by him straightway
appealed to his imagination.  At one time the college had been in
a flourishing condition but it had suffered severely from the war,
much of its property having been destroyed and only a handful of
students remained when he was invited to take charge of its tottering
fortunes.  Indeed, the Trustees themselves were so impoverished
that none of them possessed even a decent suit of clothes in which
to appear before Lee and submit their proposition.  Nevertheless,
one of them borrowed a respectable outfit for the occasion and
presented the offer with much dignity and effect and Lee, after
modestly expressing some doubts as to whether he could "discharge
the duties to the satisfaction of the Trustees or to the benefit
of the country," accepted the office at a merely nominal salary,
closing his formal acceptance of Aug. 11, 1865, with these words:
"I think it the duty of every citizen in the present condition of
the country to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of
peace and harmony and in no way to oppose the policy of the state
or general Government directed to that object."

This was the key-note of his thought from this time forward.  "Life
is indeed gliding away and I have nothing of good to show for mine
that is past," he wrote shortly after assuming his new duties.  "I
pray I may be spared to accomplish something for the benefit of
mankind and the honor of God."

It was no easy task to reestablish an institution practically
destitute of resources in a poverty-stricken community struggling
for a bare subsistence after the ravages of war.  But Lee devoted
himself body and soul to the work, living in the simplest possible
fashion.  Indeed, he refused to accept an increase in his meager
salary, which would have provided him with some of the ordinary
comforts of life, on the ground that the institution needed every
penny of its funds for its development.  But though the work was
hard he took keen pleasure in seeing it grow under his hands, and,
little by little, the college regained its prestige, while with
the help of his daughters he made his new home a place of beauty,
planting flowers about the little house and doing all in his power
to make it attractive for his invalid wife.

Thus, for five years he lived far removed from the turmoil of public
life, performing a constant public service by exerting a direct
personal influence upon the students who came under his charge, and
by doing everything in his power to reunite the nation.  Suggestions
were constantly made to him to enter politics and had he cared to
do so, he could undoubtedly have been elected to the Governorship
of Virginia.  But he steadily declined to consider this, declaring
that it might injure the state to have a man so closely identified
with the war at its head and that he could best help in restoring
harmony to the country in the capacity of a private citizen.

During all this time he took an active interest in his sons,
encouraging them in their efforts to establish themselves and earn
their own living, visiting their farms and advising them in the
comradely spirit which had always characterized his relations with
them.  Indeed, every moment he could spare from his collegiate
duties was devoted to his family, and his letters to his children,
always cheerful and affectionate and sometimes even humorously gay,
expressed contentment and unselfishness in every line.

At times it required great self-restraint to avoid bitterness toward
the Government, but even when Congress refused his wife's petition
for the restoration of the mementos of Washington, taken from her
home in Arlington during the war, he refrained from making any
public protest and his private comment showed how completely he
subordinated his personal wishes to the good of the country.

"In reference to certain articles which were taken from Arlington..."
he wrote, "Mrs. Lee is indebted...for the order from the present
Administration for their restoration to her.  Congress, however,
passed a resolution forbidding their return.  They were valuable
to her as having belonged to her great grandmother (Mrs. General
Washington) and having been bequeathed to her by her father.  But
as the country desires them she must give them up.  I hope their
presence at the capital will keep in the remembrance of all Americans
the principles and virtues of Washington."  [These articles were
restored to Lee's family by the order of President McKinley in
1903.]

Toward the individuals, however, who had looted his house
and appropriated its treasures to their own use, he felt rather
differently.  But his rebuke to them was written rather more in
sorrow than in anger and it likewise reflects the regard for his
country which was ever the uppermost thought in his mind.

"...A great many things formerly belonging to General Washington,
bequeathed to Mrs. Lee by her father, in the shape of books, furniture,
camp equipage, etc., were carried away by individuals and are now
scattered over the land," he wrote.  "I hope the possessors appreciate
them and may imitate the example of their original owners whose
conduct must at times be brought to their recollection by these
silent monitors.  In this way they will accomplish good to the
country...."

For his first four years at Washington College Lee accomplished
his arduous duties with scarcely a sign of fatigue, but from that
time forward his health began to fail and though he kept at his
work, it told so heavily upon him that his friends at last persuaded
him to take a vacation.  He, accordingly, started south with his
daughter in March, 1870.  Had he permitted it, his journey would
have been one continual ovation, for this was the first time he had
traveled any considerable distance from his home since the war and
people flocked to greet him from all sides with bands and speeches
and cart-loads of flowers and fruits.  Indeed, it was extremely
difficult to escape the public receptions, serenades and other honors
thrust upon him, and though he returned to his duties in somewhat
better condition, he was soon obliged to retire to Hot Springs,
Virginia, for another rest, from which he returned toward the end
of the summer vacation apparently restored to health.

Meanwhile he had undertaken various other duties in addition to
his collegiate work and some two weeks after the reopening of the
college he attended a vestry meeting of the Episcopal Church.  At
this meeting the subject of rebuilding the church and increasing
the rector's salary was under discussion and the session lasted
for three hours, at the close of which he volunteered to subscribe
from his own meager funds the sum needed to complete the proposed
increase of the clergyman's salary.  By this time it was seven in
the evening and he at once returned to his own house, and finding
his family ready for tea, stood at the head of the table as he
usually did to say grace.  But no words came from his lips, and
with an expression of resignation on his face he quietly slipped
into his chair and sat there upright as though he had heard an order
to which he was endeavoring to respond by remaining at "attention."

Physicians were immediately called who diagnosed the trouble as
hardening of the arteries combined with rheumatism of the heart, and
though their patient never quite lost consciousness, he gradually
fell asleep, and on October 12, 1870, passed quietly away.

Three days later "Traveller," led by two old soldiers and followed
by a small but distinguished assemblage, accompanied his master to
the grave outside the little chapel which Lee had helped to build
for the college which soon thereafter changed its name to Washington
and Lee University.

Nothing could have been more grateful to Lee then to have his name
thus associated with that of the man whom he revered above all
other men and upon whom he had patterned his whole life, and in
this graceful tribute he had his heart's desire.





Chapter XXXII




The Head of the Nation


While Lee was passing the closing years of his life in tranquility,
Grant was entering upon a stormy career in politics.  But before
he had any thought of the honors that lay before him he proved
himself a good friend to the South and a really great American.
Toward his late adversaries he maintained that the true policy was
"to make friends of enemies," and by word and deed he earnestly
strove to accomplish that result, never losing an opportunity to
protect the people of the South from humiliation and injustice.
Indeed, if he and some of the other Union commanders had been given
complete authority directly after the war, the South would have
been spared much suffering and the nation would have escaped some
of the evils which inflict it to this day.  But Grant's service
to the country, as a whole, was far greater than that which he
undertook on behalf of any particular section, for at a critical
moment he held the destiny of the nation in the hollow of his hand
and a word from him would have subjected the people to a military
control from which they might never have recovered.

At the time of Lee's surrender the United States had probably the
most powerful and the most perfectly equipped army in the world.
It was absolutely at Grant's disposal and there were plenty of
excuses for employing it in the field, had he been ambitious for
military glory.  An attack on the French in Mexico or the English
in Canada would have been regarded by many people as perfectly
justified by their treatment of the United States during the Civil
War.  But no idea of perpetuating his own power or of making his
country a military nation entered Grant's mind.  On the contrary,
his first thought was to hasten by every possible means the disbanding
of the mighty army which hailed him as its chief.

At the close of the war that army numbered over a million men.  Six
months later only 183,000 remained in the service, and in eight
months more the whole force of volunteers had disappeared.  No
other great commander in the history of the world ever strove thus
to deprive himself of power, or with a gigantic instrument of war
under his control thought only of peace.  Grant was not the greatest
military genius of the ages, or even of his own time, but when,
with a million bayonets responsive to his nod, he uttered the
benediction, "Let us have peace," he took a place apart among those
Americans whose fame will never die.

One great triumphant pageant marked the success of the Union
cause when the returning armies were reviewed by the President in
Washington, cavalry, infantry and artillery by the tens of thousands
passing down Pennsylvania Avenue for two whole days, presenting
a magnificent spectacle never surpassed in the military annals of
any land.  But the same spirit which had actuated Grant in refusing
to visit Richmond caused him to shun any part of this historic parade,
and those who expected to see him on a prancing horse at the head
of his veteran troops had little knowledge of his character.  He
had never made an exhibition of himself at any time during the war,
and though he was present on this occasion, he kept in the background
and few people caught even a glimpse of him as the well-nigh endless
ranks of blue swept by in proud array.

For a time the work of disbanding the army obliged him to remain at
Washington, but at the first opportunity he started west to revisit
Galena, Georgetown and the scenes of his boyhood days.  But, if
he hoped to renew his acquaintance with old friends without public
recognition and acclaim he was speedily disillusioned, for the whole
countryside turned out to welcome him with processions, banners and
triumphal arches, hailing as a hero the man who had lived among them
almost unnoticed and somewhat despised.  Many people had already
declared that he would be the next President of the United States,
but when some prophecy of this kind had been repeated to him, he
had laughingly replied that he did not want any political office,
though he would like to be Mayor of Galena long enough to have a
sidewalk laid near his home, and this rumor had reached the town.
The first sight that greeted his eyes, therefore, as he entered Galena
was an arch bearing the words "General, the sidewalk is laid!" and
his fellow townsmen straightway carried him off to inspect this
improvement, at the same time showing him a new house built and
furnished by his neighbors for his use and in which they begged
that he would make himself at home.

It was a proud moment for his father and mother when they saw the
son who had once disappointed them so deeply received with such
marks of affection and honored as the greatest man of his day,
and their joy was the most satisfying reward he was ever destined
to obtain.  But gratifying as all these kindly attentions were
the returning hero was somewhat relieved to find that Georgetown,
which had largely sympathized with the Confederacy, offered him
a less demonstrative welcome.  Nevertheless, even there curiosity
and admiration combined to rob him of all privacy, and he at last
decided to avoid the public gaze by slipping away for one of those
long solitary drives which had been his delight in boyhood days.
But the residents of the village toward which he turned received
word of his coming and started a delegation out to meet him half
way.  After journeying many miles, however, without seeing any signs
of the cavalcade they were expecting, the procession encountered
a dusty traveler driving a team in a light road wagon, and halting
him asked if he had heard anything of General Grant.  "Yes," he
reported, "he's on the way," and clicking to his horses quickly
disappeared from view.  Then someone suggested that perhaps the
General might not be traveling on horseback surrounded by his staff
and that the dusty traveler who had reported Grant as on the way
looked somewhat like the man himself.  But the solitary stranger
"who looked like Grant" was miles away before this was realized,
and when the procession started on his track he was safely out of
reach.  Doubtless, the sight of this unpretentious man in citizen
attire was disappointing to many who expected to see a dashing hero
in a gorgeous uniform, but his dislike of all military parade soon
came to be widely known.  His hosts at one village, however, were
not well informed of this, for they urged him to prolong his stay
with them in order that he might see and review the local troops
which were to assemble in his honor, but he quickly begged to
be excused, remarking that he wished he might never see a uniform
again.

Certainly there was nothing of the conquering hero or even of the
soldier about him when a little later in the course of his duty,
he made a tour of the South in order to report on its general
condition, and in many places he came and went entirely unnoticed.
But though the mass of the people did not know of his presence,
he formed an unusually accurate estimate of their views on public
questions.  "The citizens of the Southern States,..." he reported,
"are in earnest in wishing to do what is required by the Government,
not humiliating them as citizens, and if such a course was pointed
out they would pursue it in good faith."  Happy would it have been
for the South and for the whole country if this advice had been
followed, but the President and Congress were soon engaged in
a violent struggle over the reconstruction of the seceded states,
and anger, rather than wisdom, ruled the day.  In the course of
this quarrel Stanton, the Secretary of War, was removed and Grant,
temporarily appointed in his place (Aug. 12, 1867), held the office
for about five months, thus taking the first step in the long
political career which lay before him.

Ten months later he was elected President of the United States and
at the end of his term (1872) he was reelected by an overwhelming
vote.  Those eight years were years of stress and strain, and his
judgment in surrounding himself with men unworthy of his confidence
made bitter enemies of many of those who had once supported him.
He was, however, intensely loyal by nature and having once made
a friend he stuck to him through thick and thin, making his cause
his own and defending him, even in the face of the facts, against
any and all attack.  He, accordingly, assumed a heavy burden of
blame that did not rightly rest upon his shoulders, but in spite of
this many people desired to see him again elected to the presidency
and they were sorely disappointed when he refused to become a
candidate.  On the whole, he had deserved well of the country and
the people recognized that he had done much to uphold their honor
and dignity, even though he had been too often imposed upon by
unreliable and even dangerous friends.

A long tour around the world followed his retirement from the
Presidency and his reception in the various countries was a magnificent
tribute to his record as a general and a ruler.  Meanwhile, an
effort was being made by his friends to secure his nomination for
a third Presidential term, and shortly after he returned home (1880)
he was persuaded to enter the field again.  At first he regarded
the result with indifference, but as time wore on he warmed with the
enthusiasm of his friends and keenly desired to secure the honor.
But no man had ever been elected three times to the Presidency and
there was a deep-centered prejudice against breaking this tradition.
Grant's candidacy therefore encountered bitter opposition, and
though a large number of his friends held out for him to the last
and almost forced his nomination, General Garfield was finally
selected in his place.

This virtually retired him from politics, and to occupy himself
and make a living he went into business with one of his sons who
had associated himself with certain bankers in Wall Street.  Here,
however, his notoriously bad judgment of men and his utter ignorance
of the business world soon brought him to grief, for he and his
son left the management of their firm to the other partners who
outrageously imposed upon them for a time and then left them face
to face with ruin and disgrace.

The shock of this disaster fairly staggered Grant, but he bravely
met the situation and stripping himself of every vestige of his
property, including the swords that had been presented him and the
gifts bestowed by foreign nations, strove to pay his debts.  But,
though reduced to penury, he was able to prove his entire innocence
of the rascality of his partners and the general verdict of the
country acquitted him of any dishonorable act.

To earn sufficient money for his family in their dire necessity he
then began to write the story of his military life and campaigns,
but in the midst of this employment he was stricken with a most
painful disease which incapacitated him for work and left him
well-nigh helpless.  At this crisis Congress came to his rescue
by restoring him to his former rank in the army, with sufficient
pay to meet his immediate needs.  Then, to the amazement of his
physicians, he rallied, and, though still suffering intensely and
greatly enfeebled, he at once recommenced work upon his book.

From that time forward his one thought was to live long enough
to complete this task, and to it he devoted himself with almost
superhuman courage and persistence, in the hope of being able
to provide for his wife and family after he had gone.  Indeed, in
this daily struggle against disease and death he showed, not only
all the qualities that had made him invincible in the field, but
also the higher qualities of patience and unselfishness with which
he had not been fully credited.  Uncomplaining and considerate
of everyone but himself, he looked death steadily in the face and
wrote on day after day while the whole nation, lost in admiration of
his dauntless courage, watched at his bedside with tender solicitude.

At last, on July 23, 1885, the pencil slipped from his fingers.
But his heroic task was done and no monument which has been or
ever will be erected to his memory will serve as will those pages
to insure him immortality, for "Grant's Memoirs," modest as the
man himself, have become a part of the literature of the world.





Authorities




The following is a partial list of the authorities relied upon in
the text:

Grant's Personal Memoirs; Recollections and Letters of General
Robert E. Lee (Captain R. E. Lee); Life of Robert E. Lee (Fitzhugh
Lee); Robert E. Lee--Memoirs of His Military and Personal History
(Long); Military History of U. S. Grant (Badeau); Grant in Peace
(Badeau); R. E. Lee--The Southerner (Page); Robert E. Lee (Trent);
Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy (White); McClelland's Own
Story; Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (Henderson); The
Story of the Civil War (Ropes); The Rise and Fall of the Confederate
Government (Davis); History of the United States (1850-1877 Rhodes);
The Campaign of Chancellorsville (Bigelow); Personal Memoirs
(Sheridan); Memoirs of General Sherman; Reminiscences of Carl
Shurz; From Manassas to Appomattox (Longstreet); Abraham Lincoln--A
History (Nicolay and Hay); The Army Under Pope (Ropes); The Antietam
and Fredericksburg (Palfrey); The Virginia Campaign of 1864 and
1865 (Humphreys); Chncellorsville (Doubleday); Life and Letters of
Robert E. Lee (Jones); Ulysses S. Grant (Wister); Ulysses S. Grant
(Garland); Campaigning with Grant (Porter); Autobiography of O. O.
Howard.


End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of On the Trail of Grant and Lee
by Frederick Trevor Hill


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