Ulysses S. Grant
July 24, 1885OBITUARY
The Career of a Soldier
By THE NEW YORK TIMESA survey of the events of two-thirds of a century--telling a story thrilling to every patriot, instructive to every observer of these times, and helpful to citizens in every station and of all beliefs who wish their country well--this man, humbly born, taught only in the nation's school, conquers a place among the great ones of the earth, restores unity to a divided people, and dies a plain American citizen, lamented alike by grateful countrymen, loyal comrades, and admiring foes.
Events in a Great Career
I. West Point and Mexico
On the 27th of April, 1822, in the village of Point Pleasant, Ohio, 25 miles above Cincinnati on the Ohio River, was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, the eldest of the six children of Jesse R. and Hannah Simpson Grant. His great grandfather, Noah Grant, and Noah's brother Solomon, of Connecticut, commissioned officers in the French and Indian war, were killed in 1756. His grandfather, Noah Grant, served all through the Revolutionary War. His father and also his mother's father were born in Pennsylvania. The father of Ulysses was a tanner by trade, and removed, the year after his son's birth, to Georgetown, in the neighboring country, where the lad's boyhood was passed. At the age of 17, he received a cadetship in the Military Academy through the Congressman of his district, who erroneously registered him as Ulysses S. Grant, and so his name remains in history.
Graduated from West Point in 1843, No. 21 in a class of 39 members, young Grant was attached as Brevet Second Lieutenant to the Fourth Infantry, which, after various garrison service, two years later joined Gen. Zachary Taylor's army, assembling in Texas. War with Mexico broke out in the Spring of 1846, and Grant, then a full Second Lieutenant, took part with his regiment in many of Taylor's operations in Scott's campaign from the siege of Vera Cruz to the capture of the city of Mexico, being present at the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec. For gallantry at Molino del Rey he was brevetted First Lieutenant, and for gallantry at Chapultepec Captain, while his brigade commander, Col. Garland, said of him: "I must not omit to call attention to Lieut. Grant, Fourth Infantry, who acquitted himself most nobly, upon several occasions, under my own observation." His commission as First Lieutenant was dated Sept. 16, 1847, two days after the surrender of the Mexican capital.
Seven years of garrison life at Atlantic, Pacific, and lake stations followed. In 1848 he married Miss Julia T. Dent, of St. Louis, sister of a West Point man, Lieut. Frederick T. Dent. He had been Quartermaster of the Fourth Infantry in the Mexican war and again served four years in that capacity until promoted to a Captaincy, in 1853. The following Summer, July 31, 1854, he resigned from the army. Seven years nearly of civil life ensued, in which he was successively a farmer at Gravois, near St. Louis; a real estate agent in St. Louis, and finally an assistant of his father and brother in the leather business at Galena, Ill.
II. At the Outbreak of War
At Galena the outbreak of the civil war found him. Fort Sumter fell on the 14th of April, 1861. Ten days later Capt. Grant was in Springfield, the State capital, offering for service a company of his townsmen which he had drilled. Gov. Yates, however, found better employment for his military training as a mustering officer of volunteers, and a month later commissioned him Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry to date from June 17, 1861. Volunteer troops came forward in throngs, and there was a great demand for West Point officers of war experience for brigade and division commands. Hardly had Col. Grant joined Fremont's department in Missouri when he was appointed, on the 7th of August, one of the new Brigadier-Generals of volunteers, to date from May 17. Assigned by Fremont to the charge of the district of Southeast Missouri, including the important region around Cairo, on the 4th of September he established his headquarters in that city, and at once seized Paducah at the junction of the Tennessee with the Ohio. This he did on the 6th of September, having learned only the day before that the Confederate General Polk had occupied Columbus and threatened Paducah.
This first act of importance in the career of Grant as a General officer singularly typified what was to follow. It was on the 5th, as has been said, that he heard of Polk's advance to Columbus and Hickman, below Cairo. He instantly notified both Gen. Fremont at St. Louis and the Kentucky Legislature at Frankfort of this movement, and presently sent another dispatch to Fremont: "I am getting ready to go to Paducah. Will start at 6:30 o'clock." This he followed with a third notification to Fremont: "I am now nearly ready for Paducah, should not telegram arrive preventing the movement." Still no reply came from St. Louis, and at 10:30 o'clock that night he was off, with two gunboats, two regiments, and a light battery. Reaching Paducah the next morning at 8:30 o'clock, he entered the town without firing a gun, Gen. Tilghman and a few Confederate recruits hurrying off at his approach. Leaving a garrison in the place he started back at noon for Cairo, where he found Fremont's permission to take Paducah "if he felt strong enough," and also, soon after, a reminder from the same source that Brigadiers ought not to communicate with State authorities except through the Major-General commanding. Still, the Kentucky Legislature did not take ill this friendly communication from Grant, which seemed to confidently call for patriotic action on its part. It passed a resolution that "Kentucky expects the Confederate or Tennessee troops to be withdrawn from her soil unconditionally." Kentucky thus committed herself to a demand which was not heeded by the Confederates, and as a State she thenceforth cast her lot with the Union. The noteworthy feature of this Paducah affair was its exhibition of Grant's promptitude, his entire willingness to take responsibility, and his instinct not to suffer the delay of others to interfere with the progress of his own plans. Four days later he gave a second proof of aggressive energy in an unheeded hint to the department commander: "If it was discretionary with me, with a little addition to my present force, I would take Columbus."
Early in November Grant received orders to demonstrate against Columbus, 20 miles below Cairo on the Mississippi, so as to prevent Polk from reinforcing Price in Missouri. On the 7th, accordingly, he presented himself with a force of 3,114 men near a little settlement called Belmont, on the Missouri side, opposite Columbus, and dominated by its 140 guns. Leaving his two gunboats and some infantry to protect the landing, Grant moved forward to Belmont his remaining troops, 2,850 strong, including a battery. Polk meanwhile reinforced his outpost at Belmont so that there were five regiments and a battery under Gen. Pillow, in all about 2,500 men. The troops on both sides were raw, but a sharp combat ensued, in which the Union forces drove the enemy through his camp toward the river. There, however, they came under the fire of the heavy guns of Columbus, while four more regiments and a battalion were sent across to Pillow's aid under Cheatham, Polk in person accompanying them. Grant, who had had a horse killed under him, finding these heavy reinforcements vigorously pressing him, set fire to the captured camp and ordered a withdrawal to the transports. An officer at this juncture repeated to him a cry, "We are surrounded!" heard among some of the men. "Well," quietly replied Grant, "if we are surrounded we must cut our way out, as we cut our way in." The embarkation Grant personally superintended, and then the whole expedition returned to Cairo. The Union loss was 368 killed and wounded and 117 prisoners or missing; total, 485. Polk's was 524 killed and wounded and 117 prisoners or missing; total, 641. Grant captured and brought off two guns and lost two caissons. He probably accomplished the exact task assigned to him, which was not, as we need hardly say, that of capturing Columbus, with its 140 guns, by the movements of one field battery and 3,000 men on the opposite shore.
During this combat at Belmont, which will perhaps be known in history less for its intrinsic importance than for being the first action fought by Grant in command on the field, an incident occurred which was near putting an end to his career at the outset. While McClernand, who had two or three horses shot under him, Col. Logan, afterward so distinguished, and many other officers set a good example to the men, yet Grant, as the only professional soldier present on the Union side, found that, in the retreat to the transports, he had nearly everything to supervise. Riding back from the bank alone, in order to observe the enemy, on glancing at a cornfield in front, he discovered a Confederate line of battle, not 50 yards off, firing on his transports. Turning his horse, he rode rapidly back to the shore, the animal sliding down the bank on its haunches, and trotting, under musketry fire, across the gangplank of a transport thrust out to receive him.
III. Forts Henry and Donelson
The Tennessee and the Cumberland, emptying into the Ohio at points about 25 and 35 miles east of Cairo, offered obvious advantages for a combined military and naval advance. The Confederates, to check such an advance, established Fort Henry on the right bank of the former river, and Fort Donelson, 12 miles eastward, on the left bank of the latter, near the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee. With these forts, and with Columbus on the west and Bowling Green on the east, they had a defensive chain, and Grant, like Halleck and other military observers, saw that to break the line in the centre was to break it everywhere. Gen. C. F. Smith, having reported to Grant on his return from an expedition that the capture of Fort Henry was easy and that "two guns would make short work of it," Grant six days later, on January 28, 1862, telegraphed to St. Louis as follows: "With permission, I will take and hold Fort Henry on the Tennessee and establish and hold a large camp there;" and the next day, with his customary persistence, he reverted to the subject, saying: "I would respectfully suggest the propriety of subduing Fort Henry, near the Kentucky and Tennessee line, and holding the position. If this is not done soon there is but little doubt that the defenses on both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be materially strengthened. From Fort Henry it will be easy to operate either on the Cumberland (only 12 miles distant), Memphis, or Columbus." On the 2nd of February, 1862, having at length obtained authority and instructions from Halleck, commending the Department of the Missouri, Grant started from Cairo with 17,000 men on transports, accompanied by Flag Officer Foote with seven gunboats, to ascend the Tennessee and attack Fort Henry. This was an earthwork mounting seventeen guns. Recognizing that his works could not be held, Gen. Tilghman drew out over 3,000 troops for retreat to Fort Donelson, retaining his single company of trained artillerists to serve the guns. On the 6th Grant ordered forward his troops, which had been landing and taking positions, and Foote simultaneously opened fire. After a severe artillery duel of about two hours, Tilghman hauled down his flag and surrendered to Foote his gallant little garrison of ninety-odd officers and men, with all his guns and garrison equipage.
"I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson," said Grant quietly, in announcing to Halleck the fall of Fort Henry; and this was the first mention of Fort Donelson in any dispatches between Grant and Halleck. The latter answered, "Hold on to Fort Henry at all hazards, and transfer guns to resist a land attack. Picks and shovels are sent you. Large reinforcements will soon join you." But for Grant Fort Henry was a bygone landmark; and without awaiting attacks from the land side, or picks and shovels, or even reinforcements, in spite of drenching rains that reduced all the roads to quagmires, by the 12th his column of 15,000 men (2,500 being left at Fort Henry) and eight light batteries drew up in front of Fort Donelson, a strong work, on rugged heights, mounting 21 guns in position, besides the field pieces of eight light batteries, garrisoned that night probably by 16,000 men-- according to some authorities by 18,000. At evening of the next day the fleet came up the Cumberland, bringing supplies and reinforcements, so that Grant had in the end nearly 30,000 men under his command. On the 12th and 13th there was heavy skirmishing. On the 15th a desperate effort was made by the Confederate garrison to cut its way out, but the struggle, though costing a Union loss of 2,000 men and six guns, was unsuccessful, Gen. C. F. Smith making a splendid and decisive counter-assault at the critical moment. That night the senior Confederate Generals, Floyd and Pillow, escaped with many hundred troops, and the next morning, the 16th, Gen. Buckner proposed an armistice until noon in order to agree on terms of capitulation. "No terms," replied Grant, "except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The terms were agreed to, and Fort Donelson was surrendered, with its garrison, stores, small arms, and field and heavy guns. The total Union loss was 3,329; the Confederate from 1,500 to 2,000 in killed and wounded and probably about 12,000 prisoners. The gunboats had been of minor service, being exposed to a plunging fire, which disabled them. A. S. Johnston, who had fallen back from Bowling Green through Nashville, retreated to Murfreesborough, and Polk from Columbus to Island No. 10. The North rang with plaudits over this sorely needed victory and Grant was made a Major-General of Volunteers, dating from the fall of Fort Donelson.
In this capture of Fort Donelson, not less remarkable than the energy with which Grant pushed on from Fort Henry while Halleck was mainly anxious to "resist an attack" against the latter, was the indomitable resolution with which he clung to his purpose under unexpected obstacles. The rains and floods which impeded his advance suddenly gave place to intense cold, with the mercury below zero, and then to a driving storm of snow and hail. Grant's troops in bivouac around Fort Donelson, with little shelter and no fires, suffered intensely through two days and nights, being mostly unused to the hardships of war, and it was under such circumstances that the enemy made his desperate attack to break a way of escape through the national lines. The news of that attack was brought to Grant, who had just returned to the field from a consultation with Foote, and it was added that the Confederate soldiers had come out with knapsacks and haversacks. Grant promptly inquired if the haversacks were filled, and on examining some prisoners it was ascertained that they had three days' rations. "Then they mean to cut their way out," he said; "they have no idea of staying here to fight us." There was still at that moment great disorder among the Union troops, from the fierceness of the Confederate assault; but Grant, intuitively grasping the exact situation, said: "Whichever party now attacks first will whip, and the rebels will have to be very quick if they beat me." The decisive attack of Smith followed at once, and the result showed the correctness of Grant's judgment, as it illustrated also the force of his will. As at Belmont Grant had much responsibility for details thrown upon him, the only other professional soldier present besides C. F. Smith being McPherson, of Grant's staff. However, the Union volunteers were already developing genuine and admirable soldiers through the stern schooling of the battlefield.
IV. Shiloh's Two Days of Blood
With the Tennessee now open and the Confederates strongly holding the Mississippi an advance up the former river would obviously threaten the eastern railroad communications of Memphis, besides getting in the rear of the works above at Forts Pillow and Randolph and Island No. 10. Halleck arranged such an expedition and gave its command to C. F. Smith, after receiving some complaints of Grant's alleged carelessness of discipline in an anonymous letter, but soon restored it to Grant, to whom a gross injustice would otherwise have been done. The Confederates meanwhile were alert. Their chief line of railroad threatened was the Memphis and Charleston, which crosses the Mobile and Ohio at Corinth, in the northeastern corner of Mississippi, about 20 miles distant from the bend of the Tennessee, near Pittsburg Landing. To Corinth, then, A. S. Johnston took his Bowling Green army, which was speedily swelled by Bragg's forces from the South, and others collected by Polk and Beauregard. At Pittsburg Landing, on the other hand, Grant's army, reinforced to nearly 40,000 men, was encamped, only waiting the arrival of Buell's, 37,000 strong, from Nashville, to march, combined under Halleck, against Corinth. Johnston determined to strike Grant before Buell should come up, and accordingly, on the morning of April 6, 1862, with an army 40,000 strong, fell upon the Union camps. These camps were not intrenched, and indeed had been chosen with a view to the expected advance rather than for defense, while one division was several miles distant at another landing. The opening attack fell on the three Union divisions encamped about two miles out from the landing, on either side of Shiloh Church, a point on the Corinth road, and they were driven back to the river. Grant, however, at no time despaired, and at night, aided by his artillery, well massed on a bluff near the landing, and by the difficult ground, as well as by the cross-fire of two gunboats, he resisted all attempts to drive him into the Tennessee. Beauregard, who succeeded Johnston when the latter was fatally wounded, at length drew off his exhausted troops until the next day. Then, however, they encountered not only their old opponents, but Buell's army, whose advance indeed had reached the field the evening before, as well as Grant's fresh division from Crump's Landing. Grant assumed the offensive, and after more hard fighting the Confederates abandoned the field and retreated to Corinth. In this battle of Shiloh, the bloodiest till then ever fought on the continent, the Confederate losses were about 11,000; the Union about 12,200. The Union army lost much camp equipage and stores. The losses in artillery were about equal.
Gen. Bragg, in his official report of the battle of Shiloh, declared that the Confederate movement was one which, if successful, "would have changed the entire complexion of the war." There can be no doubt of its dangerous character, but the resulting battle was fought on both sides with a lack of that perfected knowledge of the military art which could only be developed by experience. If the Confederates criticised their opponents for a lack of field intrenchments to protect their positions and for not encamping their troops on the right bank of the Tennessee until ready to advance, the Union forces were equally able to retort that the conduct of the Confederate attack might have been made more effective. And if the junction of the Union armies at the rendezvous near Pittsburg Landing was less swiftly effected than it might have been at a later period in the war, not less clear is it that Johnston's attack was also delivered a day too late to accomplish his purpose. The simple truth is that the gathering, organizing, drilling, and moving of great armies was then a novel experience on both sides. The prudence and skill of troops in constructing earthworks wherever they might camp, and the marvels of the bridge building in later days, were still to come. The Union position on the left bank of the river was originally chosen by Smith and afterward retained by Grant, in constant expectation of moving forward. Johnston, on his part, had delayed his attack with the view of receiving important reinforcements from beyond the Mississippi, which he eventually had to proceed without. So far as Grant is personally concerned, that trait of pertinacity which afterward acquired a world-wide reknown was, perhaps, never more distinctly manifested in his military conduct than at Shiloh. The battle began while he was absent at his headquarters at Savannah, several miles down the river. Hurrying forward, he exerted himself to inspire confidence in his hard-pushed troops. Reaching the division of Sherman, he reminded that officer of the experience at Donaldson. "I saw there," he said to Sherman, "that either side was ready to give way if the other showed a bold front," and he inferred that, desperate as the present battle looked, it might have a like outcome. Undoubtedly the consciousness that Buell's army was close at hand gave him confidence, but it was also the temperament of the man which caused him to say, even when his exhausted troops had been driven to within a few hundred yards of the river, "I have not despaired of whipping the enemy yet."
With the combined armies, further reinforced by Pope, Halleck's way was easy to Corinth, which Beauregard abandoned. Pope had already taken New-Madrid and Island No. 10. Fort Pillow was abandoned on the capture of Corinth. Memphis was then taken by the navy, and thus the Mississippi was open to Vicksburg. Halleck becoming General-in Chief at Washington in July, Grant was left at Corinth in charge of the Department of West Tennessee with about 60,000 men, afterward reduced about a third by reinforcements sent to Buell in Tennessee. The Confederates, in fact, had already striven to retrieve their fortunes by a bold stroke. Bragg, having first occupied Chattanooga, marched across Tennessee into Kentucky, threatening Louisville. Buell was opposing him, and to keep Grant from further reinforcing Buell Price menaced Corinth. Grant directed Rosecrans to check him, and this Rosecrans did on Sept. 19 in a battle fought at Iuka, 21 miles east of Corinth. Grant then moved his headquarters to Jackson, leaving Rosecrans in command at Corinth. There Price and Van Dorn attacked Rosecrans on Oct. 3 and 4, but after a sanguinary battle were driven off with great loss.
V. Vicksburg and Chattanooga
Grant now urged a campaign against Vicksburg, to free the Mississippi from source to sea. His first move was to send Sherman from Memphis with 32,000 men and 60 guns down the Mississippi on transports, with Porter's gunboats, to the mouth of the Yazoo, which joins the Mississippi just above Vicksburg. He himself undertook to co-operate by land in marching along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and defeating Pemberton, who had succeeded Van Dorn, or driving him to Vicksburg. Sherman and Porter started, but Grant's co-operation was foiled at the outset by the surrender to Van Dorn of Holly Springs, with its large stores of food, arms, and ammunition, and more especially by Forrest's raid on Grant's own communications. Sherman assaulting the impregnable Haines Bluff on the Yazoo, was badly repulsed, on the 29th of December, with a loss of nearly 2,000 men, the Confederates losing less than 100. Some offset was had a fortnight later in McClernand's capture of Arkansas Post with 4,791 prisoners and 17 guns, after a total Union loss of a thousand men.
Early in 1863 Grant moved his whole army down the river to work out the problem of Vicksburg's capture. Two months and more passed in fruitless operations upon the neighboring bayous, seeking to evade the formidable defenses by canals and the like devices. At length he determined to carry his army below Vicksburg and turn the left of Pemberton, who commanded the works. Sherman was sent above to feint at Haines Bluff. Porter ran the batteries, and Grant's main force, moving along the Arkansas shore of the Mississippi, crossed it at Bruinsburg, several miles below Vicksburg, and, after a sharp fight at Port Gibson, advanced along the Big Black to the rear of the city, and captured the towns of Raymond and Jackson, after combats at each. Pemberton, by direction of Gen. Joe Johnston, who was at hand to co-operate with a small force, sallied out to attack Grant, but was defeated on the 16th of May, at Champion's Hill, with the loss of 3,839 men, while the Union loss was 2,408. He was immediately defeated again on the Big Black, and fell back into Vicksburg, which Grant, after being reinforced till he had had 70,000 men and 250 guns, then regularly besieged. Assaults cost the Union arms 4,000 men and the Confederate but 500, and then Grant trusted to close investment, using a part of his force to keep off Gen. Joe Johnston, who hovered about but did not attack. On the 4th of July the starving garrison surrendered, with about 30,000 officers and men and 172 guns. The total Confederate losses in this Vicksburg campaign were from 42,000 to 45,000, with 60,000 small arms and 260 cannon. Grant's total losses were not 12,000. The Confederates also lost, when Port Hudson fell, as a corollary to Vicksburg, the great Mississippi, and its resources beyond.
The Vicksburg campaign is one of the most complex and interesting of the phases of the civil war, and it proved vastly important in its results. From the outset the determination of the West had been that the Mississippi should run "unvexed to the sea." Very slowly, however, and almost by inches, was the Confederate grip wrenched from the great river. Before Grant undertook the operations at Vicksburg several attempts upon it had failed, and all his own early efforts were abortive. These had been directed either to evading the domination of the Vicksburg batteries over the Mississippi or that of the Haines Bluff batteries over the Yazoo. All these failures nevertheless only served to set out in clearer light that characteristic trait of Grant's soldiership which, defying fate and stubbornly waiting for fortune to relent, at length achieved its purpose. The conception of moving his whole army south of Vicksburg, cutting himself entirely from his base and marching into the enemy's domain to risk everything on a series of battles in the rear of the city, may perhaps fairly be called the inevitable result of having tried every other plan first. But the surpassing merit of the execution of the project consists in the method, deliberation, and stoutness of heart with which an enterprise of apparently enormous practical difficulties, was carried into effect. Even Sherman himself, who had given abundant proofs of intrepid soldiership, advised that the army should be taken back instead to the line of the Yallabusha to begin the campaign over again. To Grant, however, the deliberate launching of his whole army as a movable column upon a new line in the rear of Vicksburg was attractive by virtue of its boldness. Beyond question, the errors of Pemberton and the failure of this officer and Johnston to effectively co-operate furnished to Grant that share of good fortune which he, like many other of the world's famous soldiers, usually received at the time when it was most needed. Nevertheless, his own skill and energy in conducting the final operations are as indisputable as the boldness of the purpose that framed them.
The country was wild with enthusiasm over this victory at the West and the simultaneous one at Gettysburg in the East. For the first time Grant's merit as a soldier was fully recognized. He was made Major-General in the regular army, and congratulations and gifts showered upon him. But serious work was to be quickly required. Buell the Autumn before, after fighting the battle of Perryville with Bragg, had been succeeded by Rosecrans, who at the close of the year had encountered the same General in the tremendous battle of Murfreesborough. In the Summer of 1863 he had made his Tullahoma campaign, pursuing Bragg to Northern Georgia, fighting the bloody engagement at Chickamauga Sept. 19 and 20, and falling back into Chattanooga, where Gen. Thomas relieved him in command of his forces, the Army of the Cumberland. To Grant was assigned in October the Military Division of the Mississippi, including that army, which was now beset by Bragg on the heights around Chattanooga. Hurrying forward Sherman's corps, which had been driving J. E. Johnston from the region back of Vicksburg, Grant took command at Chattanooga, and his first care was to open a line of supply by the Brown's Ferry road, already contemplated by Rosecrans. This was handsomely accomplished on the 27th and 28th of October by Hooker's defeat of Longstreet, who was aiding Bragg, and then the siege of Chattanooga was ended. It remained to dislodge Bragg, who was posted on the commanding heights of Missionary Ridge, with his centre across Chattanooga Valley and his left on Lookout Mountain. On the 24th of November Hooker carried this latter mountain in his "battle above the clouds" or among the mists. Sherman, in Grant's plan, was to have turned the enemy's right, while Thomas held him at the centre, but on the 25th Sherman found that the difficulties of the country were too great. Thomas accordingly was ordered to attack seriously in his front, and with amazing enthusiasm and valor his Army of the Cumberland swept up the heights and across the crest of Missionary Ridge, and Bragg was driven back into Georgia. Succor was at once sent to Burnside, who had been besieged by Longstreet in Knoxville during these latter operations, and who drew off at its approach. Thomas's loss at Missionary Ridge was about 4,000 men, Sherman's about 1,500, and with Hooker's included the total was about 7,000, while Bragg's was still heavier, as about 5,000 prisoners were captured, besides 40 guns.
VI. Command of All the Armies
Congress at once ordered that a gold medal should be struck for Gen. Grant, and voted thanks to him and his army, as did many of the Legislatures of the Northern States. A bill to revive the office of Lieutenant-General was passed, and to that grade he was appointed March 2, 1864, on the 17th assuming command of all the armies of the United States. The vote in the House of Representatives, where the bill reviving the Lieutenant-Generalcy originated, was 117 to 19 in its favor. Mr. Washburne during the debate declared that Grant had himself spoken no word to bring about this memorable result. "I say what I know to be true," added Mr. Washburne, "when I allege that every promotion he has received since he first entered the service to put down this rebellion was moved without his knowledge or consent. And in regard to this very matter of Lieutenant- General, after the bill was introduced, and his name mentioned in connection therewith, he wrote me and admonished me that he had been highly honored by the Government and did not ask or deserve anything more in the shape of honors or promotion; and that a success over the enemy was what he craved above everything else; that he only desired to hold such an influence over those under his command as to use them to the best advantage to secure that end."
The high hopes entertained of this successful officer became additionally manifest when he took his journey eastward, for the railway stations along the route were thronged with his enthusiastic countrymen. Arriving in Washington on the 8th of March, he was presented to the members of the Cabinet the following day by Mr. Lincoln, who read to him these words: "Gen. Grant, the Nation's appreciation of what you have done, and its reliance upon you for what remains to be done in the existing great struggle, are now presented, with this commission constituting you Lieutenant- General in the Army of the United States. With this high honor, devolves upon you, also, a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add that with what I here speak for the Nation goes my own hearty concurrence." The reply of the Lieutenant-General was worthy of the address: "Mr. President, I accept the commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought in so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me, and I know that if they are met it will be due to those armies, and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men." Sherman besought him to remain at the West, where extraordinary success seemed to attend him; but Grant recognized that the head and front of the Confederacy was in Virginia, and that there was the hardest work. He therefore assigned to Sherman the Spring campaign of 1864 in Georgia, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, against J. E. Johnston, who had succeeded Bragg, while he made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, then under Gen. Meade, for a simultaneous campaign against the army of Lee and Richmond.
The unity of operations now assured by Grant's command of all the armies was of immeasurable importance. Early in the war McClellan had also been intrusted with the powers of a General-in- Chief, but his career had been checkered, and had early come to a close. Halleck, in succeeding to this command, had but sparingly exercised it in the practical conduct of operations, and even when he had exercised it had commonly done so with unfortunate results. "The armies in the East and West," as Grant phrased it, "acted independently and without concert like a balky team, no two ever pulling together." His own elevation to the supreme command, however, had not come as an experiment, but as the legitimate result of his victories, which had called for higher and higher advancement and responsibility. He had also achieved a reputation for tenacity which his subordinates felt bound to imitate in the coming campaign. Added to these advantages was his long service both in the Mississippi Valley and on the line of the Alleghanies, which made the operations prepared for the West perfectly familiar to him and subject to his control, although his own presence was reserved for Virginia.
The troops he had at command numbered more than 500,000 in the field. Sherman's army comprised 100,000 men and 254 guns. The forces of Meade and Burnside, in Virginia, numbered fully 120,000 effective, and those of Butler, on the Lower James, about 40,000. Sigel and Crook had smaller columns in the Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia. Banks, who had just been defeated in Louisiana, had troops to spare for reinforcing other armies. There were various minor forces on the grand theatre of war which called for a share of attention. While the details of distant movements were left in large measure to the discretion of the commanders intrusted with performing them, it may be said with truth that Grant fully exercised the office of General-in-Chief. "So far as practicable," said Grant to Meade, "all the armies are to move together and toward one common centre." The same view was expressed to Sherman, Butler, and Sigel. It may be well to point out a little more specifically the character of the Virginia operations under his own supervision, as they appeared to him at this time. "You understand," he wrote to Butler on the 18th of April, "that with the forces here I shall aim to fight Lee between here and Richmond, if he will stand. Should Lee, however, fall back into Richmond, I will follow up and make a junction with your army on the James River." On the 29th of April he wrote to Halleck that his efforts would be "to bring Butler's and Meade's forces together;" but he contemplated the possibility of being "forced to keep in the country between the Rapidan and the Chickahominy, in which case supplies might be required by way of the York or the Rappahannock Rivers." This source of supplies, in fact, afterward came into play. "When we get once established on the James River," he proceeded, "there will be no further necessity of occupying the road south of Bull Run." He likewise notified Meade on the same day that "should a siege of Richmond become necessary, ammunition and equipments can be got from the arsenals at Washington and Fortress Monroe." These preliminary views are sufficient to indicate the nature of the great final campaign which Grant contemplated.
Just before the opening of the campaign on which so much depended President Lincoln addressed to Grant a memorable letter: "I wish to express in this way," he said, "my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant, and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. * * * And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you." Grant replied that he acknowledged with pride the confidence which the President placed in him. "From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country," he said, "to the present day, I have never had cause of complaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint, against the Administration or the Secretary of War for throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting what appeared to be my duty." He added that he had "been astonished at the readiness with which everything asked for has been yielded, without even an explanation being asked. Should my success be less than I desire and expect, the least I can say is the fault is not with you."
VII. Lee and the Wilderness
At midnight of May 3, 1864, he crossed the Rapidan with Meade's army and Burnside's Ninth Corps, afterward formally consolidated, and now aggregating 120,000 men. Butler was at the same time to make a co-operative movement up the James toward Petersburg, and Sigel to advance up the Shenandoah Valley. Lee, who, while Meade was at Culpeper, had watched him from Orange and Gordonsville, when he saw the Union army crossing the Rapidan at Ely's and Germanna fords with intent to turn his right flank, marched forward to attack it. There were at this time 62,000 officers and men present for duty in the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee's attack fell in a region aptly called the Wilderness, where for two days, May 5 and 6, raged a battle the like of which had perhaps never been known--a steady roll of musketry in a dense smoke-curtained undergrowth of scrub oaks and low pines, where save on a few roads artillery could not be used, and where the combatants could rarely even see each other. It was the desperate, prolonged struggle of Lee to crush Grant's campaign at the start. The opening shock of the encounter occurred between Warren's corps and the corps of Ewell on the Orange turnpike, near the Old Wilderness Tavern, where a murderous struggle ensued in the tangled underbrush. At length a portion of Sedgwick's corps struggled through the chaparral in support of the Fifth, while a little later in the afternoon Hancock came up on the left, and at once hotly engaged Hill, who had meantime made his way to Ewell's right. Until 8 P.M. the battle raged in Hill's front, when darkness in the forest put an end to it. During the night after this terrible and exhausting struggle, Grant formed his plan as to what do next. It was to "attack along the whole line at 5 o'clock in the morning." But resolute and prompt as was the Union General, the enemy anticipated him by resuming the conflict a few minutes before 5 on the morning of the 6th with an onset upon Sedgwick, who held the Union right. Exactly at 5 o'clock the roll and gleam of musketry in Hancock's front told that the Union line was advancing there; and after a desperate contest it succeeded in driving back the corps of Hill for more than a mile. Both sides, however, had by this time been reinforced. Longstreet, who had not been present the day before, came up to Hill's support, while Burnside moved into the space between Warren and Hancock. With these dispositions perfected, the opposing armies found it difficult to advance, and stood in a sanguinary deadlock of conflict throughout the day. Some manoeuvring took place with but little effect, and the hard contest closed with a double attack of the Confederates against the Union breastworks, both on the left and upon the extreme right flank, at which latter point several hundred Union soldiers were captured. When the third day dawned on this deadly grapple for the mastery, both combatants paused. Grant had lost 2,265 killed, 10,220 wounded, 2,902 missing--total, 15,387. Lee had lost perhaps 10,000--there is no way of knowing exactly how many. What was to be the result? The same day Grant moved out once more by his left flank and pointed onward along the road to Richmond.
Lee had the interior lines, and hurrying to foil this second effort to turn his right, stationed himself at Spottsylvania, in Grant's path. Grant had at the outset notified Meade, who commanded the Army of the Potomac, that "his objective was to be Lee's army;" and the gage of battle was again taken up, where Lee's inferior numbers were aided by familiarity with the country and, above all, by intrenched positions, covered by entanglements unprecedented in the war. For ten days Grant sought in vain to pierce or carry this position, the chief success being Hancock's capture of 4,000 prisoners and 20 guns in assaulting a salient on the 12th of May. The night before, the 11th, the Second Corps had been moved as near as possible to the position, which it was expected to storm, and at early dawn the men, with ringing cheers, tore away such abatis as there was, and dashed across the intrenchments. A brief but desperate hand-to-hand conflict resulted in the capture of nearly a whole division of Ewell's corps and the pursuit of the remainder for half a mile. There, however, a new line of breastworks was encountered, while the imminent danger in which Lee's position had been placed caused him to bring forward a large force to retake the lost ground. The result was the driving back of Hancock's corps to the line of works first captured. There, however, the Union troops held their own. Assault on assault was made by Lee with great fury, till the ground was strewn with Confederate and Union dead. The losses on both sides were very heavy, but the Union troops held their position and the honors of the day. By the 20th the Union losses at Spottsylvania had been 15,722 killed and wounded, 2,001 missing--total, 17,723. The Confederate loss is uncertain--perhaps again 10,000 or 12,000. The Union killed and wounded in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania combined were 28,207, and the missing 4,903--total, 33,110. The Confederate loss is uncertain, perhaps not far from 20,000. It was from Spottsylvania that Grant sent back to Washington the memorable dispatch: "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all Summer." Meanwhile Sheridan, the renowned leader of the Union cavalry, after pioneering the way for the infantry and beating off the Confederate horsemen, had raided on Lee's communications, defeated Stuart, and, like a forerunner, had dashed at the outer defenses of Richmond. In the Shenandoah Valley Sigel had been defeated and succeeded by Hunter. On the line of the James Butler had fought a hard battle with Beauregard, losing 3,500 men to the latter's 2,200, and had withdrawn and intrenched himself at Bermuda Hundreds, whence he forwarded 16,000 troops to Grant, while Beauregard sent reinforcements to Lee.
On the 20th of May Grant once more ordered Meade to move out by the left, and Lee, promptly marching on his interior lines, confronted Grant at the North Anna River in a position affording so obvious a check that the march by the flank was again taken up, and the opposing forces next met on the historic grounds of the Pamunkey and the Chickahominy. On crossing the Pamunkey Sheridan's cavalry developed the presence of Lee and Hampton at Hawes's Shop, where a very sharp engagement on the 28th of May ended in Sheridan's holding the important junction. The losses were very severe on both sides, those of the Confederates being the heavier. During the two or three days succeeding there was severe skirmishing as the Union Army advanced, over a region familiar to many of them two years before, with the purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy. On the 1st of June the Sixth Corps, now under Wright, aided by portions of the Tenth and Eighteenth, under W. F. Smith, from the Army of the James, found the Confederates in force at Cold Harbor. Assaulting, they carried one line of intrenchments, capturing 700 or 800 prisoners, the total Union casualties, however, being about 2,000 men. It was evident that Lee had determined to hold the line of the Chickahominy, and the other Union corps were as rapidly as possible placed so as to strengthen the position already secured by Wright and Smith. On the morning of the 3d Grant moved the army to the attack. The position held by Lee was exceedingly strong, but the forcing of it promised to have a great effect on the operations against Richmond, so near was it to the outer works of that city. The Second, Sixth, and Eighteenth Corps were assigned for the assault. They moved to the attack most gallantly, but were mowed down by a heavy combined fire of musketry and artillery. The main part of the fighting was over in an hour, in which time the number of killed and wounded, including those in the Fifth and Ninth Corps, was between 5,000 and 6,000. When it became evident that the position was too strong to be carried the assault was not renewed. Meade's aggregate losses during this stage of the campaign were 10,433 killed and wounded, with a total of 12,970 casualties. The Confederate losses were perhaps 4,000 or 5,000. About 3,000 sick were sent from the Peninsula to Northern hospitals.
Hard as had been the hammering Grant lost no jot of confidence, and persisted that the Confederacy was "a shell" that must soon break. Finding the Peninsula approaches to Richmond so difficult he crossed the James with his army in June and began to operate against Petersburg. Practically this was a continuation of the movement by the left to get around Lee's right. The Union killed and wounded during the first series of assaults on the Petersburg intrenchments numbered about 8,000, and the total losses about 10,000. Those of Lee and Beauregard were also severe. Hard fighting then ensued to cut the Weldon and Southside railroads, particularly at Reams's Station on the former, and by the cavalry on the Virginia Central. During the two months from May 1 to July 1 the losses of the Army of the Potomac were nearly 50,000 killed and wounded, with a total of 61,000; the total losses of the Army of the James were 6,903, exclusive of casualties on the picket line. The Shenandoah Valley casualties would bring the aggregate Union losses in the Virginia operations thus far above 70,000. Lee had also suffered very severely.
VIII. The Siege of Petersburg
Grant now sat down to a siege of Petersburg. During the month of July a strong line of redoubts was constructed and furnished with heavy batteries, facing the Confederate line of defense, which comprised a chain of redans and parapets whose approaches were obstructed by abatis. Toward the end of the month an officer commanding a regiment of Schuylkill miners in Burnside's corps suggested the construction of a mine that should run under a point of the enemy's works known as Elliott's salient. The scheme was approved, but the preparations for executing it were most inadequate. The mine was sprung on the 30th of July, and a yawning crater produced at the point attacked. The assaulting troops advanced to the crater with great difficulty, the entanglements in front of their own works not having been properly removed. The leading division was improperly formed and most meagrely supported. It remained in and near the crater instead of advancing to the crest beyond. At length the enemy, at first paralyzed by the explosion, after an inactivity of fully half an hour, began to attack the huddled and ill-led troops at the crater, and soon a confused retreat was made to the Union lines. Gen. Grant tersely called this "a miserable affair;" but it was the ruin by mismanagement of a project of much promise. The Union loss was 4,400 men, while a movement just previously made to the north side of the James cost 300 more.
In August the movement to the north side was renewed, under the charge of Hancock, who crossed to Deep Bottom on the 13th. During several days following severe fighting took place, with a Union loss of from 2,000 to 2,800. Meanwhile, on the other flank, Warren was dispatched with the Fifth Corps to seize and hold, if practicable, the Weldon Railroad. Warren succeeded in placing his troops along the railroad on the 18th, and repelled an assault of the enemy to recover it, losing 936 men, but probably causing a severer loss to the enemy. The following day A. P. Hill made a more determined attack on Warren, and captured over 2,500 men, besides inflicting a loss of nearly 400 in killed and wounded. Nevertheless, the Union forces still clung to the railroad. Two days after a third assault was made, but was bloodily repulsed.
Grant's next attempt was to destroy the Weldon Road as far south as possible, and for this purpose he determined to employ the corps of Hancock as soon as it returned from Deep Bottom. The road was broken in the region of Reams's Station, but at the latter point the Union forces were attacked and driven back, with a loss of 2,372 men and 9 guns.
Toward the end of September a movement of the corps of Ord and Birney was made on the north side of the James, where, in a gallant assault, Fort Harrison, on Chapin's farm, was captured. The Confederates made desperate efforts to retake the captured points, but were repulsed with heavy losses. The Union loss in the two days of fighting was 2,272. To co-operate with this movement Grant simultaneously moved out on his left again with the Fifth and Ninth Corps, the result being that that flank was extended to Peeble's Farm, and though the operation cost 2,000 men the extension was permanent.
The advance of the season now told plainly that whatever was to be done for the capture of Petersburg before going into Winter quarters must be done quickly. Grant therefore resolved to make one determined effort to lay hold of the Southside Railroad, Lee's main line of communication. The Petersburg works had been extended to Hatcher's Run, where the Confederate right rested. It was proposed to turn this, and in the meantime to press on to the railroad. The Second, Fifth, and Ninth Corps were assigned for the task, and moved on the 27th of October. Lee, however, was on the alert, and some unfortunate dispositions caused the plan to result in total failure. The losses were perhaps about 1,800 men, and the troops were withdrawn to their original positions. Simultaneously Butler made a co-operative movement on the north side of the James, where the losses were about 1,100 men.
Grant's Virginia campaign was now closing for the year. While promising everywhere, in one quarter its end had been brilliant. In the Summer Hunter had advanced up the Shenandoah Valley to Lynchburg after gaining a victory at Piedmont, but being compelled to retreat by Early, detached by Lee for that purpose, had done so through the Kanawha Valley, leaving Early's force to march through the Shenandoah to the very defenses of Washington. Wright, hurried forward by Grant from Petersburg, in his turn forced the retreat of Early, who nevertheless lingered menacingly in the valley. Thither, accordingly, Grant sent Sheridan, who gained four victories, at Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Tom's Brook, and Cedar Creek, the last giving him a great personal renown. As with his habitual generosity Grant had warmly congratulated Sherman for his capture of Atlanta, so he bestowed unstinted praise upon Sheridan for his victories in the valley. Of the one at Winchester he declared, "It has been most opportune in point of time and effect. It will open again to the Government and to the public the very important line of road from Baltimore to the Ohio, and also the Chesapeake Canal. Better still, it wipes out much of the stain upon our arms by previous disasters in that locality. May your good work continue is now the prayer of all loyal men." After the victory of Fisher's Hill he said to Sheridan: "Keep on, and your good work will cause the fall of Richmond." No trait of Grant was more marked than the heartiness with which he praised the success achieved by those to whom he had intrusted important tasks.
The Spring of 1865 told plainly that the combinations and campaigns of the year before under the Lieutenant-General had done their work, and that the end of the Confederacy was at hand. Historical records show that his command of all the armies was no mere honorary position, but that again and again in Virginia demonstrations sometimes angrily criticised as useless because having no obvious bearing on the Richmond campaign were specifically ordered in co-operation with efforts made on distant fields. Sherman had flanked and fought his way to Atlanta despite the resistance of Johnston and Hood; when Hood's army, stealing away from Sherman's front, hastened to Tennessee, Thomas had overwhelmed it at Nashville; Sherman had marched from Atlanta to Savannah, and from Savannah was now coming through the Carolinas against Joe Johnston and toward Virginia. Wilson and Stoneman were sweeping through Alabama and East Tennessee. Not only Mobile and Charleston, but Fort Fisher and Wilmington, had fallen. Sheridan, taking 10,000 horsemen up the Shenandoah Valley, had broken the neighboring railroads and the James River Canal, and now was at Grant's left, to lead off once more in that movement to turn Lee's right, present in Grant's mind ever since the Rapidan was crossed.
Lee, meanwhile, had seen that his only hope lay in abandoning Richmond and uniting with Johnston at Danville to strike Sherman. On the 25th of March he sought to do this, under cover of an attack from his left against Fort Stedman. This work Gordon carried, but was then driven back, and Lee suffered an ill-afforded loss of 4,000 men, against a Union loss of 2,000. Grant, perfectly discerning the meaning of this move, carried forward his own project. Sheridan on the 29th of March pushed out on the left, with the infantry following, and Lee, divining the purpose, soon collected everything he could on his right for a counter-blow. He struck the Union lines heavily on the White Oak road, inflicting a loss of nearly 2,000 men. Sheridan, to whom Grant had sent a dispatch to stay by the main army, "as I now feel like ending the matter," was driven to Dinwiddie; but sending for assistance and receiving the Fifth Corps, he fell upon Pickett April 1 at Five Forks, completely crushing him and capturing 4,500 men and 6 guns, with a Union loss of only 1,000.
On the night after Sheridan's great victory at Five Forks Grant's lines surrounding Petersburg, from the Appomattox to Hatcher's Run, opened a tremendous bombardment from all their guns, keeping up the portentous roar until nearly daylight. With the first flush of dawn, on Sunday, April 2, the Sixth and Ninth Corps, under Wright and Parke, and the Army of the James under Ord, made a general assault on the Petersburg works. The signal, the firing of a gun at Fort Fisher, was given at 4:40 A.M., when just light enough to see. The works to be assaulted consisted of parapets of high relief and deep ditches, with two lines of short abatis in front and batteries every few hundred yards distant. No precautions were omitted that would insure success--the pioneers were in front, and the artillerymen were provided with implements for turning captured guns against the enemy. Amid a deadly fire the Union army charged the works, rapidly cutting away the abatis, and rushing through the openings thus made. In the 15 minutes Wright alone lost 1,100 men killed and wounded; but he swept everything before him, capturing many guns and thousands of prisoners. Parke and Ord also made advances on their fronts, and the entire Union line drew close in upon the city. Humphreys, storming a redoubt, moved up the Boydton plank road to connect with Wright's left, while the remaining division of the Second Corps, under Miles, attacked Heth's brigade near Sutherland Station on the Southside Railroad, capturing two guns and 600 prisoners. Among the most sanguinary assaults was one made by Gibbon with the Twenty-fourth Corps against Fort Gregg, whose capture cost 714 men killed and wounded.
In that morning's work Lee read the fate of Richmond. He instantly notified Jefferson Davis of his purpose to abandon the Confederate capital that night; and no sooner had darkness fallen than the whole Confederate Army, both north and south of the Appomattox, stealthily withdrew from its works, and, moving with all speed westward, by the next morning was 16 miles away. Grant, who had announced his purpose to "make an end of it before going back," was already about to achieve one part of his purpose. Before daylight of the 3d the troops pushed forward again to assault, but found their work already done. Petersburg was evacuated, and great flames blazing from Richmond told that the warehouses of the Confederate capital had been fired by the retreating troops. Pillage, too, had been added to fire before the Union forces marched in to quench the conflagration; and thus, on the 3d of April, 1865, the great prize which general after general had failed to obtain during four years of struggle was in the hands of Grant.
Lee's westward race for life was to prove of no avail. Caring little for what became of Richmond, and leaving to others the gratification of entering the city, Grant instantly directed his columns in urgent pursuit westward along the south side of the Appomattox on a line parallel to the one taken by Lee on the north side. The Confederate chief was aiming to join Johnston, and, perhaps, to combine with him to overwhelm Sherman. He started with a light heart and full of hope. "To follow me," he said, "the enemy must abandon his lines, and can derive no further benefit from his railroads or the James River." He fully expected to make his escape, and either to continue the war further south or to be able to negotiate peace on terms other than those accorded to a beaten and ruined army. But he had not taken full account of Grant's relentless vigor. On arriving at Amelia Court House he found Sheridan close upon him with the cavalry and the Fifth Corps, and when he paused for rest, Sheridan, still pressing onward, drew up at Jetersville, directly across Lee's road to the Burkeville Junction, from which point he would have had an easy line of escape by rail to Danville. It only remained for Lee to fall upon Sheridan's isolated force and risk all in the attempt to sweep it out of his path, or else, moving westward once more, to seek escape by way of Lynchburg. But he had little or no food for either men or horses, having brought away but one day's rations from Petersburg, and hesitated to attempt the attack till food could be procured; in the meantime Meade brought up the Second and Sixth Corps to Jetersville, and his path was hopelessly barred. Then, at length, he moved toward Farmville, the fiery Sheridan now heading him, now hanging on his flanks, and constantly harassing him with remorseless fury. Near Sailor's Creek, on the 6th, his rear guard, consisting of Ewell's corps, was attacked by Union troops, both cavalry and infantry, and almost entirely captured--men, wagons, guns, and flags.
Nothing seemed left to the proud Army of Northern Virginia at this juncture but annihilation by piecemeal. A less magnanimous soldier than Grant might have continued to press it when at his mercy, but with a generosity prompt in the hour of his long-sought triumph, he determined to himself make the overtures for the inevitable end. On the 7th, at Farmville, Grant counseled Lee to surrender the remains of his army, and on the 9th of April that surrender was made at Appomattox. The capitulation of Johnston and of all the other Confederate armies followed as an inevitable consequence. The Confederacy was ended. It had been hammered to pieces, and amid the exhaustion of its devotees there were signs of relief that the inevitable day had come. Not less memorable in history than Grant's victories will be his conduct to the vanquished. His interview with Lee was a marvel of simplicity. Nothing was done to pass his beaten enemies under the yoke. After his liberal and magnanimous terms of surrender were fixed he added: "This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles." Under that promise, signed by Grant, his prisoners, from Lee down, were safe.
Were it required to point out the most marked traits of Grant as a soldier, the choice should fall on his ceaseless aggressive energy under a calm demeanor, and upon his inflexible stoutness of heart in whatever trial or peril. Resolute as to ends, no one was less narrow-minded or obstinate as to methods of achievement. He approached Donelson with fewer men at first than were ensconced behind its strong works, and campaigned for months against Vicksburg with hardly greater force than was assigned for its defense. Like Wellington, he was "rich in saving common sense," and the "hard pounding, but we will see who can pound the hardest," of the famous British soldier seems echoed on field after field of the American. But Grant is destined rather to be himself an exemplar for historic comparisons, and in ages to come, if a great soldier is indomitable in purpose and exhaustless in courage, endurance, and equanimity; if he is free from vanity and pettiness, if he is unpretentious, truthful, frank, constant, generous to friends, magnanimous to foes, and patriotic to the core, of him it will be said, "He is like Grant."
X. Reconstruction Days
After the war Gen. Grant placed Sheridan with a strong army of observation in the Southwest to watch the Franco-Austrian empire which had been established in Mexico, until the death of Maximilian. The gradual reduction of the volunteer forces and the reorganization of the regular army also demanded his attention, and the employment of troops during the reconstruction period.
In the intervals of official duty he made visits to various parts of the country, being everywhere received with the greatest enthusiasm. Certain citizens of Philadelphia presented him with a residence in that city at a cost of $30,000, which he took possession of in May, 1865. On occasion of a visit to his old home at Galena, Ill., a beautiful residence, completely furnished, was given him by his old friends and neighbors. On the 10th of November a magnificent reception and banquet was tendered to him in the city of New-York. In the latter part of November and the early part of December, 1865, he visited the South, and on his return made a report to President Johnson on the condition of affairs, which was submitted to the Senate in response to a resolution of inquiry. He was satisfied that the mass of thinking men accepted the "situation of affairs in good faith;" that they regarded the old questions that had divided the sections "as having been settled forever by the highest tribunal," and that they were "anxious to return to self-government within the Union as soon as possible," but that they wanted and required protection from the Government "while reconstructing." Early in 1866 the Thirty-ninth Congress passed an act creating the grade of "General of the Army of the United States," to be filled by the President "from among those officers in the military service most distinguished for courage, skill, and ability," and providing that the act should cease to be in force whenever after such appointment the office should become vacant. The grade was created for Gen. Grant, and he was appointed as a matter of course, Gen. Sherman becoming Lieutenant-General. An incident of his official life in 1866 was a visit to Buffalo in June to take measures to stop the invasion of Canada by the Fenians, which was immediately followed by a collapse of the raid. In May he had sent a letter to the Secretary of War in regard to the proposed reorganization of the army, and this was immediately laid before Congress. He urged the retention of a small military force in the States lately in rebellion, hoping that it would "not be necessary to enforce the laws, either State or national," but believing that it was needed "to give a feeling of security to the people."
In 1867 Gen. Grant held a very important relation to the work of reconstructing the States recently in rebellion. In preparation for the contest with President Johnson, the Thirty-ninth Congress, before its final adjournment on the 4th of March, had provided in a section of the Army Appropriation bill that all orders and instructions relating to military operations should be issued through the General of the Army, and that he should "not be removed, suspended, or relieved from command or assigned to duty elsewhere than at the headquarters in Washington, except at his own request, without the previous approval of the Senate." The President signed the Appropriation bill with a protest against this provision, which, he said, "virtually deprives the President of his constitutional functions as Commander-in-Chief of the army." Thus it happened that the orders to the district commanders in the course of reconstruction came from Gen. Grant. In June President Johnson obtained from Attorney-General Stanbery his famous opinion of the reconstruction acts, which was submitted to the Cabinet, and from which the Secretary of War, Stanton, vigorously dissented, and caused it to be sent to the district commanders for their guidance through the Adjutant-General's office. In reply to an inquiry from Gen. Sheridan, then in command at New- Orleans, Gen. Grant declared that the legal opinion thus distributed was not entitled to the force of an order and instructed the district commander to enforce his own construction of the law until ordered to do otherwise. By the supplemental Reconstruction act passed at the adjourned session in July the acts of the military commanders were made subject to the disapproval only of the General of the Army, giving Grant practically full control of the execution of the reconstruction laws. The President as Commander-in-Chief of the army still had the power to remove the district commanders, and after the second adjournment of Congress made several changes, including the removal of Gen. Sheridan from the Fifth District and the assignment thereto of Gen. Hancock. The Tenure of Office act prevented him from removing any Cabinet officer without the consent of the Senate, but he determined to suspend Secretary Stanton and appoint Gen. Grant Secretary of War ad interim. On the 11th of August Gen. Grant addressed a letter to the President, in reply to propositions which had been made to him verbally, expressing his sense of the "great danger to the welfare of the country" involved in the designs which had been broached. He regarded the Tenure of Office act as "intended specially to protect the Secretary of War, whom the country felt great confidence in." He defended Gen. Sheridan's administration at New-Orleans, and deprecated his removal as calculated to encourage the opponents of the reconstruction policy. Nevertheless, Mr. Stanton was suspended on the 12th of August and Gen. Grant was designated to act as Secretary ad interim. In notifying the Secretary of the fact and of his acceptance he said: "I cannot let the opportunity pass without expressing to you my appreciation of the zeal, patriotism, firmness, and ability with which you have discharged the duties of Secretary of War." After the order had been issued changing the assignments of district commanders Gen. Grant made another unavailing protest, and declared that there were "military reasons, pecuniary reasons, and, above all, patriotic reasons, why this order should not be insisted on." Failing to move the President he continued to exercise the powers of Secretary of War until the 14th of January, 1868, when he informed Mr. Johnson that he had received official notice that the Senate had refused to sanction the suspension of Mr. Stanton, and that he regarded his functions as Secretary of War ad interim as ceasing from the moment of the receipt of that notice. Being unable to retain him, the President appointed Gen. L. H. Thomas Secretary ad interim, and instructed the General of the Army to disregard any orders coming from Mr. Stanton until he knew from the President himself that they were his own orders. Gen. Grant asked that this instruction be put in writing, whereupon a correspondence followed, in which the General combated the President's view of his powers and corrected statements that had been made concerning his own conduct. The President claimed that Gen. Grant had promised to sustain and act with him, which the latter denied, reviewing his course clearly in a letter dated Feb. 3, in which he said: "The course you would have it understood I agreed to pursue was in violation of law and without orders from you, while the course I did pursue, and which I never doubted you fully understood, was in accordance with law and not in disobedience of any orders of my superior." In conclusion, he said: "And now Mr. President, where my honor as a soldier and integrity as a man have been so violently assailed, pardon me for saying that I can but regard this whole matter, from the beginning to the end, as an attempt to involve me in the resistance of law for which you hesitated to assume the responsibility in orders, and thus to destroy my character before the country. I am, in a measure, confirmed in this conclusion by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the Secretary of War--my superior and your subordinate--without having countermanded his authority to issue the orders I am to obey." President Johnson attempted to punish the General for failing to help his designs by conferring on Gen. Sherman the brevet title of General of the Army, and placing him in command at Washington. This Sherman declined, as did Gen. Thomas, whom the President tried to use for the same purpose. Johnson then turned to Hancock, who had been sent to New-Orleans to relieve Sheridan, some of whose orders while there Gen. Grant felt compelled to revoke. It was by Grant's intercession that a bill for mustering Gen. Hancock out of the service for the part he had taken was defeated. Nevertheless the latter accepted the command of the new military division with headquarters at Washington, which the President had created for the purpose of humiliating Grant.
XI. First Term as President
This controversy increased rather than diminished the popular confidence in the greatest hero of the war. Before the end of 1867 a public meeting in this city, promoted by prominent citizens, including A. T. Stewart, William B. Astor, Hamilton Fish, Moses Taylor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Peter Cooper, and Moses H. Grinnell, had declared in favor of his nomination for the Presidency. When the Republican National Convention met in Chicago on the 20th of May, 1868, there was no thought of any other candidate. A convention of soldiers and sailors, held on the preceding day, and composed of large delegations from most of the Northern States, declared that the "soldiers and sailors, steadfast as ever to the Union and its flag, fully recognize the claims of Gen. U. S. Grant to the confidence of the American people, and believing that the victories achieved under his guidance in war will be now illustrated by him in times of peace by such measures as shall secure the fruits of our exertions and a restoration of the Union upon a loyal basis, we declare it as our deliberate conviction that he is the choice of the soldiers and sailors of the Union for the office of President of the United States." His nomination by the convention was unanimous on the first call of the States. His letter of acceptance, dated May 29, was very brief and quite characteristic. He said that if elected it would be his endeavor "to administer all the laws in good faith, with economy, and with the view of giving peace, quiet, and protection everywhere." "In times like the present," he said, "it is impossible, or at least improper, to lay down a policy to be adhered to, right or wrong. Through an administration of four years new political issues not foreseen are constantly arising, the views of the public on old ones are constantly changing, and a purely administrative officer should always be left free to execute the will of the people. I always have respected that will, and always shall. Peace and universal prosperity, its sequence, with economy of administration, will lighten the burden of taxation, while it constantly reduces the national debt. Let us have peace." At the election he received the Electoral votes of all the States voting except Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New-Jersey, New-York, and Oregon. Three States, Mississippi, Virginia, and Texas gave no vote for President. The popular majority was 309,684, the whole number of votes being 5,716,082. Of the Electoral votes, 214 were cast for Grant and 80 for Seymour.
The First Cabinet
After the canvass of the Electoral vote a committee was appointed to present Gen. Grant with the certificate of his election. In his reply to the committee he announced his determination to make known his choice of Cabinet officers before his inauguration on account of the many preferences that had been urged upon him, but he declared that he should endeavor to call around him advisers who would carry out the policy of economy, retrenchment, and a faithful regard for the Government's obligations. In his inaugural address he declared that while he felt the responsibilities of his new position he accepted them without fear. He urged the strict enforcement of all laws, saying that he knew of "no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution." He dwelt especially upon the duty of paying the national debt in gold and returning to specie payments. When the names of Cabinet officers were sent to the Senate they created some surprise. They were E. B. Washburne, of Illinois, for Secretary of State; A. T. Stewart, of New-York, for Secretary of the Treasury; J. D. Cox, of Ohio, Secretary of the Interior; Adolph E. Borie, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the Navy; John M. Schofield, of Illinois, Secretary of War; J. A. J. Creswell, of Maryland, for Postmaster-General, and E. R. Hoar, of Massachusetts, Attorney-General. The appointments were promptly confirmed, but it was at once discovered that Mr. Stewart was disqualified by a law of 1789, and the President asked that he be exempted from its operation by a joint resolution. A motion was made to repeal the law, but Senator Sumner objected to its present consideration. Shortly after Mr. Stewart solved the difficulty by declining, and the President withdrew his request. George S. Boutwell was then appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Within a few days Mr. Washburne resigned to take the French mission, and Hamilton Fish was appointed to his place in the Cabinet; Gen. Schofield gave place to Gen. Rawlins, who died in September, and was succeeded by Gen. Belknap, and Mr. Borie retired, to be succeeded by George M. Robeson. During 1869 the President took a deep interest in the completion of the work of reconstruction, recommending by special message the act of Congress providing for elections in Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi, and urging the adoption of the act completing the work in Georgia. He wrote to his brother-in-law, Judge Dent, of Mississippi, to induce him not to stand as the candidate of the "Conservative Republicans" for Governor, as his success would result in the defeat of what he believed to be "for the best interest of the State and country." Judge Dent accepted the nomination nevertheless, and was defeated by the Radical candidate Alcorn. In his first annual message Gen. Grant urged still more strongly the policy of returning as speedily as practicable to specie payments, and suggested the advisability of tariff revision for the reduction of taxes. He showed his interest in the interoceanic canal question by announcing that the Minister to Colombia had been instructed to obtain authority for a survey to ascertain the practicability of the Darien route. He also discussed the Cuban rebellion and the controversy with Great Britain over the Alabama claims. Another incident of the year was the appointment of the Quaker Peace Commission to deal with the Indians.
It was in the first year of his Administration that Gen. Grant conceived his great interest in the plan of annexing a part of the island of San Domingo or acquiring a naval station in the Bay of Samana. Treaties having that in view were negotiated in 1869 and were followed by a good deal of commotion in the island and opposition to the whole scheme in this country. The opposition to the treaties was led by Senator Sumner, who had been estranged from the President by the recall of his friend Motley from the English mission. Their ratification was defeated. The President continued to urge the subject as one of great importance, and obtained authority at the beginning of 1871 to appoint a commission to go to San Domingo and inquire into the whole subject. This commission, consisting of B. F. Wado, Andrew D. White, and S. G. Howe made a favorable report, and in a message submitting this to Congress, April 5, 1871, the President said: "And now my task is finished, and with it ends all personal solicitude on the subject." He declared that his opinion was confirmed; that the "interests of our country and San Domingo alike invite the annexation of that republic," but he suggested that no immediate action be taken "beyond the printing and general dissemination of the report." His apparent belief that the sentiment of the country would sustain the policy of annexation was not justified, and in this scheme were some of the seeds of the opposition to his Administration which sprang up in the year following.
On the 30th of March, 1870, the adoption of the fifteenth amendment of the Constitution was proclaimed, and the President took occasion to notify Congress in a special message, as he considered it "a measure of grander importance than any other one act of the kind from the foundation of the Government to the present day." But he expressed the belief that it imposed upon the Government the duty of encouraging and aiding "by every means within their constitutional powers" popular education throughout the country. Other special messages, in addition to one urging upon the Senate the ratification of the treaty with San Domingo, related to measures to be taken for increasing commerce and building up the mercantile marine and one in relation to Cuban affairs. In the former he favored a subsidy policy, and in the latter urged a strict neutrality. A proclamation of neutrality in view of the war between France and Germany was issued in August, in which the duties of Americans were defined. The negotiation with Great Britain for the settlement of the difficulties relating to the Alabama claims and the fisheries resulted in the treaty of Washington in 1871 and the subsequent arbitration at Geneva. In all these proceedings Gen. Grant took a conspicuous and creditable part, his treatment of the questions involved evincing a clear understanding and a dignified firmness in support of American rights, together with a patriotic solicitude for the peaceful and equitable settlement of all difficulties.
The year 1871 was characterized by political disorders in various parts of the South. On the 23d of March the President sent a special message to Congress calling attention to these, declaring that the evils were beyond the control of the State authorities, and that it was not clear that the power of the National Executive, acting within the limit of existing law, was sufficient for the emergency, and urgently recommending "such legislation as in the judgment of Congress shall effectually secure life, liberty, and property and the enforcement of law in all parts of the United States." The result was the passage of the act to enforce the provisions of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution, which empowered the President to suspend the writ of habeas corpus under certain defined circumstances. On the 4th of May a proclamation was issued calling attention to this act and enjoining its observance. In this the President said: "Fully sensible of the responsibility imposed upon the Executive by the act of Congress to which public opinion is now called, and reluctant to call into exercise any of the extraordinary powers thereby conferred upon me, except in case of imperative necessity, I do nevertheless deem it my duty to make known that I will not hesitate to exhaust the power thus vested in the Executive whenever and wherever it shall become necessary to do so for the purpose of securing to all citizens of the United States the peaceful enjoyment of the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution and laws." Disorders continuing, especially in the State of South Carolina, a proclamation of warning was issued Oct. 12, followed on the 17th by a proclamation suspending the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus in nine counties of that State. These vigorous proceedings, followed by uncompromising efforts to enforce the law, finally put an end to what were known as Kuklux outrages. It was in 1871 that Justices Strong and Bradley were appointed to fill vacancies on the bench of the Supreme Court which resulted in the reversal of the decision of the court adverse to the constitutionality of the Legal Tender act.
Steps for Civil Service Reform
In his second annual message to Congress in December, 1870, Gen. Grant called attention to the need of reform in the civil service. He said: "I would have it go beyond the mere fixing of the tenure of office of clerks and employes who do not require the advice and consent of the Senate to make their appointments complete. I would have it govern, not the tenure, but the manner of making all appointments. There is no duty which so much embarrasses the Executive and the heads of departments as that of appointments; nor is there any such arduous and thankless labor imposed on Senators and Representatives as that of finding places for their constituents. The present system does not secure the best men, and often not even fit men, for public place. The elevation and purification of the civil service of the Government will be hailed with approval by the whole people of the United States." In March, 1871, by a clause in the Sundry Civil Appropriation bill, the President was authorized to "prescribe such rules and regulations for the admission of persons into the civil service of the United States as will best promote the efficiency thereof, and to ascertain the fitness of candidates." He was also authorized to employ suitable persons to conduct the necessary inquiries and to establish regulations for the conduct of persons who may receive appointments in the civil service. Under this authority a Civil Service Commission was appointed, consisting of George William Curtis, A. G. Cattell, Joseph Medill, D. A. Walker, E. B. Ellicott, Joseph H. Blackfan, and David C. Cox. In December the President transmitted to Congress the first report of the commission, with the rules adopted for competitive examination, & c. He said: "We propose also that in this country the places in the public service shall be restored to those who are found to be fitted for them, and if any one is disposed to think that an abuse of 40 years is a law of the republican system a little reflection will show him his error. If he believes a reform is impossible he merely shows that he is the victim of the abuse, and forgets that in America every reform is possible." He expressed his determination to enforce the rules that had been adopted, but asked for them the sanction of Congress. "The improvement of the civil service," he said, "is emphatically the people's cause, the people's reform, and the Administration which vigorously begins it will acquire a glory only less than that of the salvation of a free Union." Of the sincerity of his purposes at this time there can be no doubt, and the practical failure of this first movement for civil service reform was due to a lack of support from Congress, strong pressure from politicians, and the absence of a sufficiently mature and vigorous public sentiment on the subject.
The changes in the Cabinet near the beginning of Gen. Grant's first term were followed by others before its close. In 1870 Attorney-General Hoar resigned and was succeeded by Amos T. Akerman, of Georgia, who was followed by George H. Williams, of Oregon, in December, 1871. J. D. Cox, Secretary of the Interior, also resigned in 1870 and was succeeded by Columbus A. Delano.
XII. Re-Elected President
The course of the Administration in 1871 in the treatment of political disorders in the South elicited a strong protest from the Democratic Party, which was put in the form of an address to the people by the Democratic members of Congress. In connection with the disappointment produced by some of the President's appointments it also caused dissatisfaction among a small body of Republicans and led to the agitation which at once secured Gen. Grant's renomination and caused the Liberal Republican diversion of 1872. In April, 1871, a public reception had been tendered to the President at Indianapolis, in which Senator Morton took a leading part. This was regarded as the beginning of a movement looking to a second term, the continuance of the policy of the Administration being declared of the utmost importance to the country. Already early in the same year at St. Louis there had been public expressions of disapproval of Gen. Grant's course by Republicans. On the 10th of March, at a private meeting in Cincinnati, in which J. D. Cox, Stanley Matthews, and other Republicans took part, this opposition had assumed more tangible shape, and a committee had been appointed to draft a declaration of principles and purposes. Their report, signed by 100 Republicans, was the basis of the movement which led to the convention at Cincinnati on the 1st of May, 1872.
The political agitation of 1872 was varied. The Labor Reformers nominated David Davis for President, but after the nomination of Greeley at Cincinnati he withdrew. Subsequently, declaring that they would support neither Grant nor Greeley, they nominated Charles O'Conor, who never accepted the candidacy. Greeley had been nominated after the convention of May 1 had been deterred from naming Charles Francis Adams by a somewhat singular letter from him. A month after the nomination of Greeley the Fifth Avenue conference was held which nominated William S. Groesbeck for President, and after the Democratic Convention had accepted Greeley, a convention of straight Democrats at Louisville nominated Charles O'Conor for President and John Quincy Adams for Vice-President, both of whom declined. In the midst of these dissensions the regular Republican Convention at Philadelphia, on the 5th of June, had renominated Gen. Grant by acclamation, and put Henry Wilson on the ticket for the office of Vice-President. A brief letter of acceptance was dated June 10, in which the candidate for President said: "If elected in November and protected by a kind Providence in health and strength, I promise the same zeal and devotion to the good of the whole people for the future of my official life as shown in the past. Past experience may guide me in avoiding mistakes inevitable with novices in all professions and all occupations." He expressed the hope of leaving to his successor, whether at the end of that or another term of office, "a country at peace within its own borders, at peace with outside nations, with a credit at home and abroad, and without embarrassing questions to threaten its future prosperity." He received a popular majority at the election in November of 762, 991 and the Electoral votes of all the States except Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.
The Treaty of Washington
Gen. Grant's first term as President was characterized by the successful negotiation and execution of the treaty of Washington and its scheme of arbitration, the failure of the project for annexing San Domingo, the completion of reconstruction and a consistent adherence to the policy of protecting life and political rights in the South, a firm advocacy of honesty in the payment of the public debt in coin, and of a speedy return to specie payments. The President urged a liberal policy in building up the navy, encouraging the merchant marine by subsidies, developing internal improvements, including a system of waterways from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic seaboard, and the promotion of an interoceanic canal at the isthmus. To him, at this time, is also due the inception of the policy of civil service reform.
In his second inaugural address Gen. Grant showed some feeling at the criticism and attacks that had been made upon him. He made a brief explanation of his past course and future purposes, declared that in all his public services he had "performed a conscientious duty without asking promotion and without revengeful feeling toward any section or individual. Notwithstanding this," he added, "throughout the war, and from my candidacy for my present office in 1868 to the close of the last Presidential campaign, I have been the subject of abuse and slander, scarcely ever equaled in political history, which to-day I feel that I can disregard, in view of your verdict, which I gratefully accept as my vindication." Through his second term, as during the first, the foreign policy of the country was characterized by great dignity and firmness, a punctilious regard for the claims of other nations and an unwavering support of our own. The Cuban difficulties afforded occasion for skillful and judicious diplomacy and were successfully dealt with. In a special message to Congress near the beginning of 1874 the President explained the incident of the capture of the Virginius by a Spanish vessel and the course which had been taken by the Government, completely vindicating its authority and yet preserving amicable relations with Spain. The President recurred to the San Domingo affair frequently, and in his very last message insisted upon the purity of his motives and the soundness of his position, recalling the grounds of his action not as a "recommendation for a renewal of the subject of annexation," but "to vindicate my [his] previous action in regard to it."
In nothing was Gen. Grant more persistent and untiring than in his efforts to maintain a sound system of currency and finance. In every annual message and in several special messages he urged the importance of a strict regard for the faith of the Nation and a constant adherence to the purpose of re-establishing specie payments. After the panic of September, 1873, he wrote a number of letters, including one to a New-York bank President, on the relation of the Government to the crisis and its duty in adhering to a firm and consistent policy. An important opportunity came to him in April, 1874, when Congress passed the bill "to fix the amount of United States notes and the circulation of national banks," known as the Inflation bill. This he vetoed in a message setting forth clearly and vigorously his objections and his views on the questions involved. In insisting on the necessity of returning to specie payments he said: "I am not a believer in any artificial method of making paper money equal to coin when the coin is not owned or held ready to redeem the promises to pay; for paper money is nothing more than promises to pay, and is valuable exactly in proportion to the amount of coin that it can be converted into. While coin is not used as a circulating medium, or the currency of the country is not convertible into it at par, it becomes an article of commerce as much as any other product. The surplus will seek a foreign market, as will any other surplus. The balance of trade has nothing to do with the question." In June of the same year, in reply to an application from Senator Jones, of Nevada, who had been "deeply impressed by the clearness and wisdom of the financial views" which he had expressed in conversation, he gave out a memorandum of those views for publication. In this he set forth more explicitly than he had done before the measures which he considered important for the restoration of specie payments. He advocated the repeal of the Legal Tender act to take effect in a year, a provision for the redemption of Government notes in coin after another year and their cancellation, the process being facilitated by issuing bonds to be sold for gold as needed, and the gradual withdrawal of all bills under $10, and the removal of all restriction on free banking. In approving the resumption act in January, 1875, he transmitted a special message to the Senate, dwelling on the importance of the act and of measures which should fully prepare for the change in the condition of the currency. This he did, he said, because he felt that the subject was of such vital importance to the whole country "that it should receive the attention of and be discussed by Congress and the people, through the press and in every way, to the end that the best and most satisfactory course may be reached of executing what I deem most beneficial legislation on a most vital question to the interests and prosperity of the Nation." He did not cease so long as he was in office to exercise his utmost influence toward the permanent establishment of a sound financial policy.
Up to December, 1874, President Grant had constantly urged upon Congress the necessity of giving legislative sanction to the civil service rules. In his annual message at that time he declared that it was impracticable to maintain them "without the direct and positive support of Congress," and announced that if that body adjourned without positive legislation on the subject he should regard such action as a disapproval of the system and abandon it, "except so far as to require examinations for certain appointees to determine their fitness." Already the trouble had occurred in relation to changes in the New-York customs service which led to the resignation of Mr. Curtis as head of the commission. Nominally the system was continued until Congress failed to make appropriations for its expenses. The President was accused of disregarding the principles of the system in his own appointments, for then there was no distinct classification of the grades of the service to which the rules were applicable and no authoritative sanction for their consistent application. He always professed a desire to carry out the reform faithfully within its proper scope, but failed to get the necessary co-operation and support.
Disorders in the South
Political troubles in certain of the Southern States did not cease so long as Gen. Grant remained in the office of President. During his last term he always deprecated any interference by the Government which was not imperatively necessary to preserve peace and good order in the States. Early in 1873 he called the attention of Congress to the controversy in Louisiana on account of the disputed election of the previous November. He stated that he had recognized as the de facto Government that which had been installed as the result of the decision of the Returning Board of the State, and declared his purpose to adhere to its support if no action was taken by Congress. He said: "I am extremely anxious to avoid any appearance of undue interference in State affairs, and if Congress differs from me as to what ought to be done I respectfully urge its immediate decision to that effect. Otherwise I shall feel obliged, as far as I can by the exercise of legitimate authority, to put an end to the unhappy controversy which disturbs the peace and prostrates the business of Louisiana by the recognition and support of the Government which is recognized and upheld by the courts of the State." Congress took no action, and the trouble was renewed with violence in 1874, when a new canvass took place for the election of members of the Legislature. Adherents of the McEnery and Penn ticket of 1872 resorted to arms in New-Orleans against Kellogg, who appealed to the President for protection. A proclamation was issued Sept. 15 warning "turbulent and disorderly persons" to disperse within five days and submit themselves to the law. United States troops, under Gen. Emory, were commanded to preserve the peace. The trouble ceased for the time, and in referring to it in his December message the President defended his course as the only alternative left him by the inaction of Congress. He could only recognize the State Government that existed in form under the State laws. The trouble broke out afresh after the election, the Returning Board having left several disputes unsettled as to the return of members of the Legislature. The President sent Gen. Sheridan to New-Orleans to investigate and report, and if necessary take command of the military forces there. Gen. Sheridan took sides against Speaker Wiltz, who had been chosen with the help of persons not returned as elected to the House of Representatives. At the demand of Gov. Kellogg these persons were ejected by Gen. De Trobriand and the Republican majority was established with the aid of the military. The course of the President and Gen. Sheridan gave rise to sharp criticism, in which some prominent Republicans took part. The President submitted a special message on the proceedings at New-Orleans in January, 1875, in which he discussed the affair at length, and deplored the necessity of interference for the preservation of order and protection of life and property. He earnestly asked for Congressional action that should leave his duties perfectly clear, "giving assurance at the same time that whatever may be done by that body will be executed according to the spirit and letter of the law without fear or favor." The opponents of Gov. Kellogg, finding the national authorities on the side of the established Government of the State, gave over the contest until the campaign of 1876.
At the election in Texas, in December, 1873, the Democrats were successful for the first time since reconstruction. The constitutionality of the law under which the election was held was attacked, and it was declared invalid by the Supreme Court of the State. Gov. Davis appealed to the President for troops to sustain him in power. The President replied with the query, "The act of the Legislature of Texas providing for the recent election having received your approval, and both political parties having made nominations and having conducted a political campaign under its provisions, would it not be prudent, as well as right, to yield to the verdict of the people as expressed by their ballots?" The Governor was also reminded that his application was not made in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution and the laws. The people of the State were left to settle the controversy, and Gov. Coke was inaugurated under protection of armed men. To a statement from the United States Marshal that a conflict seemed inevitable the Attorney-General replied that there was no power to interfere with force, and the parties should be appealed to settle their differences peaceably. In Arkansas there was a long controversy, beginning with the election of 1872, between Joseph Brooks and Elisha Baxter, both Republicans, and both claiming to have been elected Governor. In the Spring of 1874 the President was appealed to for support by both sides. He replied to Baxter, expressing the hope that the difficulty could be peaceably adjusted by the Legislature, promising all assistance and protection to such adjustment that could be given under the Constitution and the laws, and hoping that the military forces on both sides would be disbanded. An attempt was made at Washington under the sanction of the President to manage a compromise between Brooks and Baxter, and an agreement to abide by the action of the Legislature. This was rejected by Brooks, but the Legislature in May having declared Baxter duly elected Governor and appealing for protection against domestic violence, the President issued a proclamation recognizing Baxter, commanding all turbulent and disorderly persons to disperse and submit to the constituted authorities. This was followed by provision for a Constitutional Convention in Arkansas; a new Constitution was adopted and a new election held, at which A. H. Garland was chosen Governor, although the old term of office extended to 1877. An attempt was made to renew the controversy, and the President was again called upon to interfere in the month of November. He declined and turned the whole business over to Congress, which had ordered an investigation. In a special message, Feb. 8, 1875, he again appealed to Congress to take definite action and "relieve the Executive from acting upon questions which should be decided by the legislative branch of the Government." Once after this, and previous to the canvass of 1876, the President was asked to interfere to protect a State Government, the appeal coming from Gov. Ames, of Mississippi, in September, 1875. In directing the Attorney-General to reply to Ames the President said: "The whole public are tired out with these annual Autumnal outbreaks in the South, and the great majority are ready now to condemn any interference on the part of the Government. I heartily wish that peace and good order may be restored without issuing the proclamation, but if it is not, the proclamation must be issued. But if it is, I shall instruct the commander of the forces to have no child's play. If there is a necessity for military interference, there is justice in such interference to deter evil doers." He urged that the local authorities should endeavor to settle their own difficulties. There was no intervention, and the Democrats carried the ensuing election.
Changes in the Cabinet
The only change in the Cabinet at the beginning of the second term was caused by the retirement of Secretary Boutwell, who was succeeded by William M. Richardson, of Massachusetts. Mr. Richardson resigned in 1874, and B. H. Bristow was appointed, accepting the office June 4. On the 24th of June, the same year, Marshall Jewell succeeded Mr. Creswell as Postmaster-General. In April, 1875, Attorney-General Williams resigned and was succeeded by Edwards Pierrepont. In July Secretary Delano, of the Interior Department, tendered his resignation, which was accepted on the 22d of September, when Zachariah Chandler, of Michigan, was appointed to the vacant place. The same year Treasurer Spinner resigned, and was succeeded by John C. New, and Commissioner of Internal Revenue J. W. Douglass gave way to Daniel D. Pratt. In 1873, on the death of Chief- Justice Chase, Morrison R. Waite, of Ohio, was appointed to the vacancy. It was in 1875 that the frauds upon the Internal Revenue Department known as the "whisky frauds" were discovered. On the 10th of May 32 distilleries and rectifying houses were seized in St. Louis by officers of the Treasury Department. Prosecutions followed, which resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of Special Agent John A. Joyce and Supervisor John McDonald. Indictments were found against William O. Avery, Chief Clerk of the Treasury Department, and Gen. O. A. Babcock, the President's private secretary. The former was convicted in December, 1875, and the latter was acquitted in February, 1876. At the time of the discovery of the frauds the President had urged Secretary Bristow to prosecute the offenders vigorously and "let no guilty man escape." Afterward he disapproved of some things in the Secretary's course, it being claimed that the latter was using the proceedings to discredit the Administration and its friends and to advance his own political fortunes. The difference resulted in Bristow's resignation June 20, 1876, and the appointment of Lot M. Morrill in his place. In the meantime, near the beginning of the year 1876, Secretary of War Belknap had been charged with corruption in disposing of a trading establishment at the military post of Fort Sill. Being threatened with impeachment, he resigned his place on the 2d of March, and his resignation was promptly accepted. Resolutions in favor of impeachment were adopted the same day, and the trial followed, ending on the 1st of August in an acquittal for lack of two-thirds of the Senate in favor of conviction. The vote was 35 to 25 on the first article, some Senators explaining that they voted "Not guilty" on the ground that the Senate had no jurisdiction, since the accused had resigned his office before the proceedings began. Alphonso Taft was appointed Secretary of War March 7, 1876, and resigned May 22 to take the post of Attorney-General on the appointment of Mr. Pierrepont as Minister to England. J. Donald Cameron succeeded Taft as Secretary of War. July 11 Postmaster-General Jewell resigned and was succeeded by James H. Tyner.
Among the incidents of Grant's second term was the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. This was first proclaimed by the President July 3, 1873, and the Commissioners for the several States were appointed by him. He also took a prominent part in the opening proceedings.
On the 4th of May, 1876, the President made a spirited and dignified reply to a resolution of the House of Representatives calling for information as to his performance of executive duties at a distance from the seat of government. In maintenance of the rights of the executive branch of the Government, he said, he was compelled to decline any specific or detailed answer to the request of the House. He was free to state, however, that it had been his habit, as it had been that of his predecessors, to absent himself at times from the capital, and that he had not neglected or foregone the performance of his duties at such times. He was not aware of any failure therein that had occurred. To this message he appended a memorandum of the absences from the seat of government of his predecessors, during which they had continued to perform executive duties.
Third Term Talk
Before the middle of Gen. Grant's second term there began to be talk of his nomination for a third term. This started the familiar anti-third term agitation, which was promoted by the ambition of other aspirants for the candidacy. In 1875 the Republican Convention of Pennsylvania, while praising Gen. Grant's Administration in the highest terms, declared itself "unalterably opposed to the election to the Presidency of any person for a third term." This induced the President to write a letter to the Chairman of that convention, in which he declared that he "never sought the office for a second nor even for a first nomination," but had vacated a congenial position because he was made to believe that the public good called him to make the sacrifice. After accepting a first term he was subject to "such a fire of personal abuse and slander," notwithstanding the conscientious performance of his duties to the best of his understanding, "that an indorsement from the people, who alone govern republics, was a gratification that it is only human to have appreciated and enjoyed." As to a third term he said, "I do not want it any more than I did the first. I would not write or utter a word to change the will of the people in expressing their choice." After expressing a doubt as to the wisdom of restricting that choice, he added: "The idea that any man could elect himself, or even nominate himself, is preposterous. It is a reflection upon the intelligence and patriotism of the people to suppose such a thing possible. Any man can destroy his chance for the office, but no one can force an election or even a nomination." He declared that he was not and had never been a candidate for renomination and would not accept it "unless it should come under such circumstances as to make it an imperative duty--circumstances not likely to arise." In September of the same year, in a speech at the reunion of the Army of the Tennessee at Des Moines, the President made some remarks upon the necessity of keeping public education free from sectarianism and maintaining the independence of Church and State, which were distorted by his enemies--or more accurately speaking, by the friends of Mr. Blaine--to represent him as seeking support for a third term by exciting prejudice against the Roman Catholics. But the anti-third term movement derived its real strength from the disfavor into which the Administration had fallen in consequence of the scandals of the Belknap trial and the whisky ring prosecution and the failure of civil service reform. There was a conference of Republicans opposed to the Administration in the city in May, 1876, which represented the demand for administrative reform. The antagonism springing from this independent element, from the supporters of Bristow and the workers for Blaine, together with a perceptible weakening of confidence in the President, was such that when the Republican Convention was held at Cincinnati, on the 14th of June, Gen. Grant's name was not brought forward for the nomination at all.
The Campaign of 1876
During the canvass which followed the conventions of 1876 the Government took measures for the preservation of order and the protection of rights in the South. By an order of the War Department, dated Aug. 15, Gen. Sherman was instructed to have all available forces "in readiness to be used upon call or requisition of the proper legal authorities, for protecting all citizens, without distinction of race, color, or political opinion, in the exercise of the right to vote, as guaranteed by the fifteenth amendment, and to assist in the enforcement of certain condign and effectual punishment upon all persons who shall attempt, by force, fraud, terror, intimidation, or otherwise, to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage, as provided by the laws of the United States; and have such force so distributed and stationed as to be able to render prompt assistance in the enforcement of law." This was followed in September by a circular of instructions from the Attorney-General to United States Marshals respecting their duties. The only call for troops prior to the election came from Gov. Chamberlain, of South Carolina. A proclamation was issued on the 17th of October commanding unlawful combinations to disperse and the same day Gen. Sherman was directed to place all available force in the division of the Atlantic at the command of Gen. Ruger at Columbia, to be stationed where they could be most effectually used, in case of resistance to the authority of the United States. After the election, and while the result was in dispute in South Carolina, the President gave orders for the use of the military to preserve order only. Gen. Augur, in Louisiana, was instructed, Nov. 10, "to preserve peace and good order, and to see that the proper and legal Canvassing Board are unmolested in the performance of the duties. Should there be any ground of suspicion of fraudulent count on either side," the President added, "it should be reported and denounced at once. No man worthy of the office of President should be willing to hold it if counted in or placed there by fraud. Either party can afford to be disappointed in the result. The country cannot afford to have the result tainted by the suspicion of illegal or false returns." It was at the President's request that a delegation of prominent Republicans from the North went to New-Orleans to supervise the canvass of votes. His subsequent course was limited to precautions against any breach of law. In signing the Electoral Commission bill, Jan. 29, 1877, President Grant submitted a special message to the Senate approving the measure as "calculated to meet the present condition of the question and of the country," but urging the necessity of "permanent general legislation to meet cases which have not been contemplated in the Constitution or laws of the country." On motion of Mr. Conkling this "important and wise message" was ordered printed and to lie on the table. In the settlement of the pending controversy the President had no part to take, and on the 4th of March he retired from the White House after an occupancy of eight years, covering a period of great importance in the history of the Republic.
XIII. The Trip Around the World
On retiring from office Gen. Grant determined to indulge his taste for foreign travel by making a trip around the world and visiting places of interest on the way. After a hasty visit to his old home at Galena, stopping at Cincinnati on his way, where a reception was tendered him, he embarked from Philadelphia May 17 on the steamer Indiana with his wife and oldest son. A distinguished party of friends accompanied him down the river and bade him adieu amid an enthusiastic demonstration of the people on shore. He arrived at Liverpool May 28, and was received by the Mayor and members of the Council in State. His tour of two years was attended by such attentions and marks of distinction as have rarely, if ever, been accorded to any living man. After a public banquet at Liverpool he visited Manchester, and reached London on the 1st of June, where he was greeted on his arrival with an address from the Lord Mayor and Corporation. His five weeks in the British metropolis was a round of festivities and compliments. He received the freedom of the city in a gold box at a splendid banquet in Guildhall June 16, visited the Queen, and dined with the royal family at Windsor June 27, received the degree of D. C. L. from Oxford and made a visit to the ancient university, where he was enthusiastically received. At a grand entertainment got up in his honor by the authorities of Liverpool he received a congratulatory address from the United Associations of British Workingmen. He left London for a quiet visit to the Continent July 6, crossing from Folkestone to Brussels. Though intending to travel quietly he could not avoid all the attentions which the people desired to bestow upon him. The King of Belgium called upon him at Brussels, he had a public reception at Cologne, was entertained at a magnificent dinner at Frankfort, and was everywhere enthusiastically greeted. At Geneva he laid the cornerstone of the American Episcopal Church July 27, and after being entertained at a banquet there crossed through the Simplon Pass into Northern Italy. After a short tour amid the picturesque scenery there he returned through Alsace-Lorraine to Great Britain, arriving Sept. 1. He now visited Scotland, receiving the freedom of the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with other flattering attentions, spent some time at the industrial centres in the North of England, where enthusiastic receptions by the working people were a gratifying incident of his experience. He visited Stratford-on-Avon on his way to Birmingham, and there a holiday was made in his honor and an address was delivered to him inclosed in a box of the wood of Shakespeare's mulberry tree. He crossed the Channel in the latter part of October and made his first visit to Paris, where he was received with the same demonstrations of admiration and respect that had attended him elsewhere. He was the frequent guest of President MacMahon, and attended numerous receptions, dinners, and other complimentary ceremonies. He left France for the Mediterranean in December, embarking on the United States steamer Vandalia. He touched at Genoa Dec. 15, visited Naples, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeii a few days later, and reached Malta on the 28th, where he was received with great distinction by the British authorities. There he dined with the Duke of Edinburgh, and after a further cruise in the Mediterranean visited Egypt and the Holy Land. At Alexandria, in February, 1878, he was received as the guest of the Khedive. He went up the Nile, visited the Suez Canal, and dined with de Lesseps, proceeded to Jaffa, and made his journey thence to Jerusalem and other points of interest in Palestine. Returning through Syria he embarked at Beyrout for Rome, where, on the 30th of March, he was presented to the Pope by Cardinal McCloskey, who had been taking part in the ceremonies attending the elevation of Leo XIII to the Pontificate. After a short stay in Rome he was taken by the Vandalia to Constantinople, where he was received by the Sultan April 6, and presented with some Arabian horses from that ruler's own stables. He next sailed for Greece, and was the guest of the King at Athens, and by May 12 he was again in Paris to attend the Exposition. He next made a trip through Holland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden to St. Petersburg, receiving the most distinguished attentions everywhere. After a short stay in Russia, visiting points of interest, he reached Vienna Aug. 18, and proceeded thence through Switzerland and Southern France to Spain and Portugal. At Madrid he was the guest of Castelar and afterward of the King, attended a grand review and other entertainments in his honor, and at the end of the year returned to Great Britain for the purpose of making a visit to Ireland. He was enthusiastically received in Dublin, and at Cork encountered the only slight he was destined to suffer on his extended tour. In January, 1879, he passed through France on his way to embark from Marseilles for India, stopping on his way to dine with Marshal MacMahon in Paris. He left Marseilles Jan. 23, passed through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, and took the steamer at Aden for Bombay Feb. 6, arriving on the 12th. He visited all the famous places in India, being everywhere received by natives and English with the most flattering attentions. At Calcutta he was received by a guard of honor and entertained at a state banquet by the Governor-General, Lord Lytton. In the latter part of March he proceeded through Burmah and Siam to China. At Bangkok he was the recipient of special attentions from the King. Passing through Cochin China, with the incident of a reception by the French authorities at Saigon, he reached Hong Kong April 30. Thence he went to Canton and Shanghai, and later to Pekin and Northern China, many receptions and entertainments being given in his honor by both native and foreign notabilities. On the 1st of July he reached Yokahama and had a special audience with the Emperor and Empress of Japan on the 4th, the Mikado delivering a eulogistic speech of welcome. On the 7th there was a brilliant review in honor of the great American General, and on the 8th a gorgeous festival in the great hall of the Kobu Dai Gaku. An incident of the visit to Japan was an invitation from Li Hung Chang, Viceroy of Tien-Tsia, by authority of Prince Kung, to act as mediator between that Government and Japan for the settlement of the Loo-Choo difficulty.
Leaving Yokohama Sept. 3, 1879, Gen. Grant and his party arrived at San Francisco on the 26th, where a most enthusiastic reception of the authorities and the people awaited them. After a short stay in San Francisco he visited other parts of California and the adjoining States, including Oregon, and then made his way eastward in a leisurely manner. In November he was once more at his old home in Galena, and before the end of the year he was in New-York and Philadelphia among admiring friends. But his travels were not yet ended. Early in January, 1880, he set out for a Southern trip. Passing through Augusta, Ga., Savannah, Charleston, and Jacksonville, he made a visit to Havana, sailed thence to Vera Cruz, and spent some time in Mexico, where he was treated with great distinction. He returned by way of Galveston, reaching that city March 22, visited New- Orleans, Mobile, and Memphis, and in the latter part of April was again at Galena. He visited Iowa and other States west of the Mississippi during the Summer, extending his journey to Santa Fe, New-Mexico, and returned East in October.
XIV. Again a Candidate
During Gen. Grant's absence from the country the question of his nomination for the Presidency for a third term was again agitated, and after his return the agitation took the form of serious efforts on the part of his political admirers to bring the nomination about. The most prominent leaders among these in their several States were Senators Conkling, Cameron, and Logan. The Pennsylvania and New-York conventions of the Republican Party were held early in 1880 and declared in favor of Grant's candidacy. The example was followed in some other States, and many delegates were chosen who were either pledged or known to be favorable to him. The party sentiment in the South was strongly in his favor, and if it had found free expression he would undoubtedly have received the nomination, but there the Federal officeholders were wont to determine the selection of delegates, and they were largely controlled in the interest of the candidacy of Senator Sherman. The anti-third-term sentiment was still agitated and used to advance the ambition of Mr. Blaine, while certain Republicans of independent proclivities were for Edmunds or Washburne. Throughout the 36 ballots in the National Convention, with the exception of the one before the last, in which the Garfield movement fairly started, from 302 to 312 votes out of a total of 756 were cast for Gen. Grant. At that time he was on his way back from a visit to Mexico, and, on hearing of the nomination of Garfield, expressed his approval, which was afterward reiterated in letters to Secretary Dorsey, of the National Committee, and to Gen. Arthur. On the 28th of September, while on his way from the West, where he had spent the Summer, he made a speech at a public meeting at Warren, Ohio, where Senator Conkling was the principal speaker. In October he accompanied Conkling on a campaign trip through this State, and gave his influence and support unreservedly to the Republican ticket. During the same month he made a short trip through New-England, one incident of which was a visit to Plymouth Rock. He was entertained in Boston and Hartford at receptions. After the election he received great attention in New-York and Brooklyn, visited Washington in December, where he was received with special honor by Congress, and Albany in January, 1881, where a reception was rendered him by the two houses of the Legislature.
XV. Last Years
It was about this time that he determined to settle down and make his home in this city. When the World's Fair enterprise was under consideration, at the beginning of 1881, he consented to accept the Presidency of the commission, but finding that, owing to division among the promoters of the undertaking and the difficulty of obtaining a proper site, there was little prospect of its being successfully carried out, he resigned on the 23d of March. He continued to take great interest in the question of an interoceanic canal at the isthmus, and publicly advocated the Nicaragua project. It was understood that if that plan were carried out by private capital he would accept the Presidency of the company. He also became interested in Mexican railroad schemes, and made a second visit to Mexico in the Spring of 1881 to obtain a concession for a company, of which he was to be the head. He also took great interest in the general question of establishing closer commercial relations with Mexico, and was largely instrumental in securing the negotiation of the reciprocity treaty which was signed Jan. 20, 1883. He was, in fact, with Mr. Trescot, a Commissioner on behalf of the United States in conducting the negotiations for that treaty, which took place the previous year. Gen. Grant's name and influence were much sought after for association with financial schemes, and he accorded a too ready assent. The banking firm of Grant & Ward, in which his sons were interested, was formed in the latter part of 1880, and he appeared as a special partner, and gave it his confidence and support while taking no active part in the business or, in fact, knowing much about its operations, which were conducted chiefly by Mr. Ward. The failure of the firm took place on the 6th of May, 1884, and its circumstances are still familiar.
Among the incidents of Gen. Grant's last years was his review of the case of Gen. Fitz John Porter, at the request of the latter's friends, and his candid avowal that he found that he had previously been mistaken in his judgment. He then, by correspondence and by a discussion of the case in a prominent review, did what he could to promote the restoration of Gen. Porter to the rank to which he would have been entitled on the retired list had the sentence of the court-martial not been pronounced. The proposition to place his own name on the retired list with the rank and pay of General, which he had given up to accept the office of President, was first made in Congress in 1881, and the bill for that purpose passed the Senate in February, 1882. Owing to his supposed association with profitable financial operations and active participation in private business, it was not zealously supported in the House. It passed the Senate again in 1884, and was taken up in the House at the following session in 1885, where it met with little direct opposition, as it was then known that Gen. Grant was out of active business, without wealth, and in a bad state of health traceable in part to a serious accident which he incurred by slipping down on the icy pavement in front of his house in Sixty-sixth-street on Christmas Even, 1883, and to his financial misfortunes. It was passed by the House, and being returned to the Senate a few moments before the hour of adjournment on March 4, it was enrolled and immediately signed by President Arthur, who at once sent to the Senate a message nominating Gen. Grant to the place upon the retired list provided in the bill, and the nomination was promptly confirmed. This act entitled Gen. Grant to the pay of a General, $13,500 a year, but only during his life.
His Fatal Illness
The Progress of the Malady to Which He Succumbed
The first evidence of the disease which has terminated the life of Gen. Grant appeared during his Summer residence in Long Branch in 1884. He had not been a well man since Christmas Eve, 1883, when he slipped and fell on the ice and received a painful injury in the hip. Pleuro- pneumonia followed, which was aggravated by boils and bed sores, due to long confinement, and it was several weeks before he was able to leave his house and hobble about on crutches. During this time, however, his throat gave him no trouble, and even his physicians had no suspicion of the existence in his system of the germs of the terrible disease which has resulted in his death.
On June 2, 1884, while eating his lunch at Long Branch, the General, as he tasted some fruit, felt a lump in the roof of his mouth, and found that swallowing was painful. The lump grew more troublesome day by day, and finally he consulted Dr. De Costa, of Philadelphia, who was also passing the summer at the Branch. Dr. De Costa at once recognized the fact that the trouble was of a serious character, and advised Gen. Grant to consult his family physician, Dr. Fordyce Barker, of this city, immediately. The General unfortunately neglected to act on this advice until late in October last, when the trouble with his throat increased to such an extent that he found great difficulty in either eating or sleeping. Dr. Barker saw that the disease was liable, if not promptly arrested, to develop into cancer. He sent the General to Dr. J. H. Douglas, a specialist in throat diseases, who had formerly treated patients of Dr. Barker's successfully, and he at once began to treat the distinguished invalid.
It was on Oct. 22, 1884, that Gen. Grant first came under Dr. Douglas's charge as a patient, and he continued to treat him until his death. At the outset Gen. Grant was not confined to his house, and for four weeks he drove in his carriage to Dr. Douglas's office nearly every day, submitted to an examination of his throat, and received treatment calculated to allay the pain. In addition to the trouble with his throat he had a very bad tooth on the left side, which was exceedingly painful and caused him much loss of sleep, which, of course, added to the irritation of the throat. Drs. Barker and Douglas advised him to have this troublesome tooth removed, which he did, and, acting on the advice of the dentist, he also had three other decaying teeth extracted, which contributed greatly to his relief. His physicians also believed that the irritation of his throat was greatly increased, if it had not been originally caused, by smoking. The General was an inveterate smoker, and his cigar on the battlefield has become as much a matter of history as the story of his life itself. To give up a life- long habit, which had been so confirmed as this, was no easy task, and the physicians, recognizing this fact, confined their advice to requesting him to limit his indulgence in tobacco. They recommended him to confine his smoking to three cigars a day, smoking only the first half of each, which would be comparatively harmless, as the bulk of the nicotine in a cigar is concentrated in the last half smoked. After complying with this suggestion for a few days the General voluntarily abandoned smoking altogether, and his abstinence, contrary to expectation, had no bad effect upon his nerves.
Under the treatment of Dr. Barker, who attended to his general system, and Dr. Douglas, who devoted himself specially to the throat trouble, Gen. Grant improved steadily, and at the end of four weeks he discontinued his visits to Dr. Douglas altogether. During the warm days of early December he felt so much relieved that he began to take morning walks, and during one of these, which was the longest he had taken since the injury sustained by his hip the previous Winter, he caught a cold. This was followed by an aggravated return of his old trouble, which took the form of a severe attack of acute pain in the throat, and prevented him from eating, speaking, or sleeping. On Dec. 16 he again placed himself under the charge of Dr. Douglas, and from that time on his treatment was continual. The difficulty, as it then existed, consisted of an irritation of the epithelium extending to the gland in the throat on the right side at the angle of the jaw. The gland was enlarged very much and was very painful. There was a slight ulceration in the tonsil of the right side, and also a point of irritation in the roof of the mouth, where the soft palate joins the hard palate. Here the epithelium was very much thickened in three patches looking very much like warts, and each about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Muriate of cocaine was applied to relieve the General from the intense pain in the angle of the mouth where the membrane is deflected from the tongue up to the soft palate. This was applied twice a day at first and gave almost instant relief from the pain. Then, as the patient sensibly improved, the cocaine was applied daily, and later on every other day. The ulceration in the tonsil was kept in a healthy condition by the application of iodoform. Under this treatment, combined with that of Dr. Barker, which was mainly constitutional, and intended to keep up the tone of the system, the trouble in the throat was relieved, so that by Jan. 13 last the congestion and inflammation had almost entirely subsided, and the General was able to eat and sleep with comparatively little difficulty. The patches in the roof of the mouth, however, refused to yield, but they were not painful, and the General was cheerful and able to work hard on his personal memoirs, which he was engaged in preparing when the disease first attacked him. Everything indicated a continued improvement, and his physicians, while they foresaw that cancer must inevitably develop, had great hopes at this time of prolonging Gen. Grant's life for a long time to come. On Feb. 17, however, the General, while making his daily visit to Dr. Douglas, caught a severe cold, which again prostrated him.
The physicians were anxious to make a more satisfactory investigation of the nature of the disease than was possible by examining Gen. Grant's mouth, and on Feb. 18 the throat was sprayed with a 41 per cent solution of the hydrochlorate of cocaine, which allayed to a great extent the irritability of affected tissue. Then Dr. F. C. Riley removed from the ulcerated edge of the posterior pillar of the fauces a piece about as large as a small pea. This, after being hardened by treatment with alcohol, was subjected to a microscopical examination by Dr. George R. Elliott, who found that the tissue examined was composed largely of epithelial elements, grouped frequently under the form of distinct lobules. The cells forming these lobules lay in close contact, and showed a marked tendency to be arranged in concentric globes or "nests." This latter arrangement of epithelia is characteristic of that form of cancer known as epithelioma. The lobulated appearance of the epithelial mass indicated a tendency of the new cell formation to burrow into the deeper parts of the underlying tissue, and extravasations of blood were also found among the epithelia. This condition Dr. Elliott regarded as pointing to a new developing growth, and cell dissolution, leading to rupture of the capillary blood channels, by which their contents escape into the surrounding tissue. The conclusion reached by Dr. Elliott from his microscopical investigation was that the more or less lobulated appearance of the epithelial mass, the actual existence of some "cell nests," the great diversity in the shape of the cell elements, the marked evidences of epithelial proliferation, and the peculiar appearance of the stroma warranted the diagnosis of epithelioma of the squamous variety.
On Feb. 19 a consultation was held in Gen. Grant's house by Drs. Fordyce Barker, the family physician; John H. Douglas, who had special charge of the throat trouble; Henry B. Sands, and T. M. Markoe. The General's throat and mouth were thoroughly examined, and although the result of the microscopical examination by Dr. Elliott was not then known, the physicians all agreed that the trouble from which the General was suffering was cancer. The only difference of opinion expressed at this consultation was as to the probable rapidity of the fatal development of the disease. The cancer was decided to be epithelial and malignant. If it were in any other part of the body medical skill might hold it in abeyance, but all that could be done for the patient was to prevent him as far as possible from suffering pain, and thus lighten his steady journey to the grave. The consulting physicians agreed that no possible good could result from an operation to remove the cancer. The ulceration had narrowed down under Dr. Douglas's treatment until it came out of the root of the tongue. There was also a perforation of the folds of the membrane which constitute the anterior border of the tonsular cavity. From the time of that consultation the certainty of Gen. Grant's death from the cancer was accepted by the doctors, and by such of the public as knew of its result.
After that time Gen. Grant sank slowly but steadily. His face showed little signs of the disease, but his limbs fell away under the double effect of sleeplessness and a lack of appetite. The food which he took was as a general thing liquid, and he seemed to have no relish for it, taking it only because it was ordered by his doctors, as he took medicine. He found it almost impossible to sleep at night, and tossed restlessly about until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning, when he generally managed to get asleep, from which he arose refreshed toward noon. Occasionally he felt well enough to do some work on his book, and the one subject of his waking thoughts seemed to be the completion of this work. He was always glad to see old friends, and would talk with them as long as they remained, but the doctors were obliged to limit these interviews, as they resulted in increasing the irritation in the patient's throat. The General was confined after March 1 to his bedroom and library on the second floor of his house, and after that date he did not go down stairs, except on such occasions as he felt well enough to take a short ride in Central Park, accompanied by Dr. Douglas. His strength gradually wasted away, and his sleeplessness increased. To overcome the insomnia anodynes and strong coffee were prescribed, but these failed to bring the desired relief, and finally, as a last resort, on March 17, a hypodermic injection of morphia was given. The dose was a very small one, but it induced the sleep which the patient required.
On March 8 a consultation of physicians was held, attended by Drs. Barker, Douglas, Sands, and George F. Shrady. Gen. Grant was quite feeble, although he was able to walk across his library and seat himself in his chair for the examination of his throat. It was found that the ulceration of the posterior pillar of the right fauces had extended, and that the perforation at the base of the anterior pillar had increased, so that its internal edge was converted into a small bridle of tissue. The entire soft palate was uniformly reddened and swollen, and the right posterior border of the tongue was indurated from a point just in front of the anterior pillar of the fauces as far back as could be reached by the finger. The most grateful local application to the throat, next to the spray of a 4 per cent solution of cocaine, was that of a hot solution of salt and water, in the proportion of five parts to the thousand, which the General used occasionally as a gargle. After the consultation the ulcerative process in the anterior pillar extended to the adjoining side of the tongue, and the bridle of tissue bounding the perforation of the anterior pillar internally gave way on March 11. The General's digestion was good at this time, and he suffered no pain, but the local malady had perceptibly increased, and the parts in the vicinity of the ulcerations were becoming more infiltrated.
On March 13 Gen. Grant astonished his family by himself asking for food. He spent a short time in writing, and then still further surprised them by ordering a chop, which he ate with apparent relish, swallowing the fibre as well as the juice. It was the first solid food he had eaten in several weeks, and his indulgence enforced its own penalty in an increased soreness of the throat. The next day, however, he ate another chop for breakfast, and was driven in the Park for a half hour. On March 15 another consultation was held by Drs. Barker, Douglas, Sands, and Shrady. The conclusion was that the local disease had shown no marked tendency during the week toward progressive ulceration. A thorough examination of the General's throat was made with a view of discussing the expediency of a radical surgical operation for the removal of the cancerous growth. Such a measure would involve the division of the lower jaw in the median line, the extirpation of the entire tongue and the greater part of the soft palate, together with the removal of the ulcerated and infiltrated fauces and the indurated glandular structures under the right angle of the lower jaw. This was decided to be mechanically possible, but the surgeons did not feel inclined to recommend the operation, as there would be no guarantee that the limits of the disease could be reached without immediate risk to life by severe shock to a constitution already much enfeebled.
Mrs. Sartoris, the General's only daughter, Nellie, arrived from Europe on March 20, and although the physicians allowed her to have but a short interview with her father for fear of unfavorable effects, her presence in the house seemed to exert a beneficial influence on the sufferer, and that night he slept remarkably well. During the week ending March 28 Gen. Grant took several drives in the Park, the effect of which was apparently good, but he continued to suffer from insomnia, to relieve which morphine in small quantities was used. At the consultation held on March 22, which was attended by Drs. Douglas, Sands, and Shrady, it was decided that the local disease was still in abeyance, and that the area of ulceration had not perceptibly increased. The swelling under the right angle of the lower jaw was somewhat greater, but the gland was not more indurated, nor had it become more firmly fixed. There was no pain in the act of swallowing, and from all the indications the doctors felt no fear of any sudden failure of the vital powers, or of any encroachment of the ulcerative process on the neighboring blood vessels. The conclusion was that the death of the General might by proper treatment be postponed for some little time. On Thursday, March 26, Gen. Grant, at his own request, was submitted to a long examination in regard to his connection with the affairs of Grant & Ward, taken in the criminal trial against James D. Fish. In this examination he was obliged to do a great deal of talking, and he arose from it somewhat exhausted, but the doctors found no permanent bad effects from his exertions.
The first alarming crisis in the General's illness, which gave rise to fears of his speedy death, occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 29. He had taken a ride late on Saturday afternoon, from which he returned apparently in good spirits, though somewhat fatigued. When Dr. Douglas left him at 11 o'clock that night he was sleeping easily, and it was thought that he would pass a good night. At about 1 o'clock Sunday morning, however, he began to toss uneasily in the bed, and awoke suddenly with a choking sensation in the throat, which prevented him from breathing except with extreme difficulty. Drs. Douglas and Shrady were hastily summoned and found the General suffering from a secretion in the throat which he could not eject. After working nearly an hour with their patient the doctors succeeded in relieving him and he was placed under the influence of chloroform. The danger was considered so great at this time that Drs. Douglas and Shrady remained at the General's bedside until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and Dr. Douglas returned at 10 in the evening and passed the night watching with his patient. The result of this violent attack of choking was to leave Gen. Grant very weak, and as a consequence less able than before to struggle with the disease which had fastened upon him.
For several days and nights he was careful not to assume a recumbent position. He used his chair for sleeping purposes as well as rest. He made no exertion of any kind, and was unusually silent. He ate liquid food impassively, and seemingly without inconvenience. Local applications reduced the secretions in the throat, and no fears were entertained of a return of the suffocating feelings of Sunday. A fit of coughing weakened him greatly and his prospects looked cheerless, but on April 1 a change for the better occurred. On the following day his physicians predicted he would live to see Easter Sunday, and the General's improvement became so marked as to be a subject of general comment. He grew bright and chatty, and asked if he might not take a drive. His family began to think that the disease had taken a permanently favorable turn. For three or four days after this, although Gen. Grant was weak and despondent, he did not become noticeably worse. Indeed, helped by anodynes, he passed the much dreaded dawning hours without a recurrence of severe attacks until April 5, when he was seized with violent coughing, and the family were summoned to what they feared would be the closing scene. On the night of April 7 a fit of coughing brought on hemorrhage, from which grave results were again feared. But that occurrence turned out to be of real benefit, for it loosened the hardened secretions that coated the mucous membranes of the affected parts, and in a few days they were dislodged, leaving a clean surface of throat.
From this time improvement continued steadily and with comparative rapidity for a week. On April 11 and 12 his physicians left him unattended during part of each day. The experiment was premature, for on the night of April 12 he had a relapse, which lasted for two days. Then his improvement gained something in permanency. He walked down stairs on April 16. On April 20 he was permitted to go to drive. He resumed work on his book during the ensuing week, during which also he celebrated his sixty-third birthday. From talking too much while engaged in dictation he was prostrated two or three times, but his condition suffered no serious impairment until the week beginning about May 13. Then the cancerous trouble, which had been quiescent since improvement began, again asserted itself.
On May 16 he seemed unusually depressed. On the advice of Dr. Douglas he took a ride through a part of Madison-avenue in a street car instead of a carriage ride through Central Park. The change was considered advisable on account of the malarious condition of the Park. Upon his return from this trip his manner gave his family much uneasiness. His physicians decided that his depression of mind was due to the state of the weather. Mind and body, they maintained, needed a change of scene and air. With occasional slight changes for the better the patient remained in this condition for a couple of weeks. The swelling in his throat became gradually enlarged, and on the beginning of June had assumed painfully large proportions. His voice also grew weaker, and at times became a mere whisper.
The advisability of removing the General to the country having been thoroughly discussed by his physicians, the latter concluded that to prolong his life a change of air had become absolutely necessary. On June 17, accompanied by the members of his family and Dr. Douglas, Gen. Grant was taken to Mount McGregor, where the cottage of Mr. Joseph W. Drexel had been placed at his disposal. He suffered much pain on the journey, and at its conclusion was greatly exhausted. He spent a wakeful night and on the succeeding day seemed ready to give up the fight. He wrote a note to Col. Fred Grant and another to Dr. Douglas. Each contained a simple death message. The General felt his end approaching and confessed his inability to continue the struggle for life. Dr. Douglas at once telegraphed for Dr. Sands, and the latter reached Mount McGregor on June 18. He found Gen. Grant had improved during the night. Both doctors pronounced him not to be in immediate danger. On the following day he was weaker than usual and passed a weary night. On the night of June 20 he slept for five continuous hours. This was the first really good sleep he had enjoyed since he had left New-York. On June 28 he was able to do some work on his memoirs. For several days his condition was encouraging, but the case thereafter was one of increasing exhaustion.
The Patient in the Sick Room
His Bravery While Suffering and His Thoughtfulness for Others
The story of Gen. Grant's patience under suffering, if it could be fully and faithfully told, would be as pathetic as anything ever written. Fortitude in the face of lingering death; a calm exterior when the truth could no longer be concealed from his family and friends, and when all the manifestations of his companions were of solicitous fear; a brave heart and placid face when hope was gone; an unceasing anxiety to do for himself while strength lasted and to save others trouble--these were conspicuous features in his demeanor.
He had been a sufferer for 19 months, almost without interruption. From first to last he bore himself the same. The fall which made him take his bed happened as he was engaged in an act of generosity. It had been his habit to make presents of money or other gifts to his servants at the holiday season. The accident happened in this way: On reaching his carriage he drew from his pocket a twenty-dollar bill and offered it to his coachman as a Christmas gift. To hand it to the coachman he had to step round the carriage stone near the curb. As he extended his arm he slipped on the icy pavement and fell heavily on his hip against the curb and stepping stone. He was carried into the house and kept his bed for several weeks, pleurisy in a severe form following the accident.
This was Gen. Grant's first real sickness. It came upon him when he was nearly 62 years old. Accustomed to outdoor life, with a constitution that had withstood hardships without number, from the malarial attacks of a Southern climate during four years of campaigning, in which he never spared himself, to the strain and harassments of two terms in the White House of exceptional excitement and responsibility, it was not unnatural to expect that he would be impatient of sick room restraint. But his self-command never failed him. He could not hide wholly the physical signs of his malady, but neither his expression nor voice betrayed him. He was always kind, always undemonstrative of pain, never murmuring, and fully disposed to bear his affliction with the least possible annoyance to those about him. When at last he was able to leave the sick room he had to do it with the aid of crutches. No one knew how much of a humiliation it was to the old soldier to go about in this way until after the crutches were laid aside. Even then he mentioned it in a bantering spirit. "Two legs were always good enough for me," he said, "and I shan't want four again."
By the time the General ceased to be an acute sufferer from his injured hip and its attendant disease neuralgic pains came upon him. Sometimes they accompanied the pleural fever, when it seemed to him as though the veins of his head and body would burst. Breathing at such times was labored and painful. He would sit in his chair or lie on the bed with his hands clinched and his jaws compressed, without a groan or syllable of complaint escaping him. When the physicians were near he would tell them simply how he felt, rather understating his sufferings. The habitual calmness and quiet manner in which he reported his condition to those who were about him professionally were for a long time misleading. Indeed, it was not until his frame began to waste and his voice to weaken that the physicians fully understood his silent endurance. He never meant to mislead any one in regard to his condition. The habit of saying little about it was due to his desire to avoid giving trouble. No patient could be more considerate than he of the feelings and comfort of those who attended him. When asked if he was suffering severely--and such was usually the case, of late months especially-- he would respond with a simple "Yes," and then rouse himself to an effort to turn the conversation to another subject. And while scrupulous never willfully to misstate his sufferings, although ever disinclined to make show of them in any way, he expected, also, that no one would mislead him.
The appearance of the cancer in June last year foreshadowed the end to him long before any one else but the doctors apprehended fatal results. One of his first questions when his throat was examined was, "Is it cancer?" His suspicions amounted almost to a conviction that it was, and when he was informed that it was epithelioma he was not long in ignorance of what was meant and implied by that term. So long as the physicians were hopeful that the cancer might be of a benign nature, meaning that there was a chance of keeping it in check by toning up the system, Gen. Grant was hopefully disposed, but the rapid progress of the disease, the decay of his strength, and the attenuation of his frame soon convinced him of what the end would be and about how long he could expect to live. He accepted the logic of this discovery without a murmur.
Visitors to the sick room, especially after it became definitely known that the cancer was of a malignant type, invariably came away impressed by the cheerful demeanor of the General. Such concern as he showed was only in regard to his memoirs. His only remaining ambition was to finish them. The completion of the first volume, in December, was hastened by the General's apprehension that he had no time to lose. Leaving the details of revision to Col. Grant he went into the preparation of the second volume with as much vigor as he could command. His library and sleeping room adjoined. The library contained his notes, and records of the war, handily arranged for reference. As soon as the General had breakfasted--his food had been almost entirely liquid since last Fall and his chief diet milk and eggs--Col. Fred Grant and Gen. Badeau were in the habit of joining him for work on his book. This was usually done in the library. The General had not been able to do dictation for a long time. It was easier for him to write, the strain on his throat making extended speech painful. The physicians had also interdicted much talking, as it would aggravate the disease, and Gen. Grant was punctilious in obeying them.
Sometimes the General could not sit at the table. When that happened his portfolio was placed on the arm of his chair, on which also he rested his elbow. Then in few words he would direct his assistants to read his notes to him as he wanted them. This work was slow, but it did not tax him heavily, and although it took him a long time to write a page he could pile up a very good showing for a sick man by night.
On days when the General felt unable to write he frequently indicated portions of his notes from which he wanted abstracts prepared. Thus frequently, when quite sick, he mapped out enough work to keep his helpers busy for two or three days. At the end of the third week in March the book had been carried to the operations attending the crossing of the James, in the Summer of 1864, about nine months before the surrender of Lee. The rapid progress made by the disease toward the close of March necessitated the discontinuance of work on his book. He laid down his pen without the expectation of writing another line of his memoirs, and gave comparatively little thought to them for a month. Toward the end of April his thoughts turned once more to his memoirs, and on the 1st day of May he surprised and delighted his family and friends by resuming work upon them.
While the preparations of the book occupied the General's mind more seriously than anything else, he was not unmindful of other demands upon him. The house naturally was overrun with callers almost daily since early in March. One of the few things about which the General allowed himself to express concern was that his friends should not be denied the privilege of seeing him. "Any one that really wants to see me," he often said, "ought not to be sent away." Despite his wishes, it was at times considered best for him to be left undisturbed, even by intimate friends. Col. Grant's discretion was relied on to meet these difficulties. That was one of the few things that were kept from the General. He never felt too sick to see his friends, even to the last. They relieved the tedium of his sufferings, and brightened up his spirits. His welcome to visitors was always cordial.
From the time he became a sufferer from neuralgia the General had to wear some indoor protection for his head. During the Fall and Winter it was a knit woolen cap. That lessened the frequency of the attacks but did not prevent them. When they recurred in conjunction with the soreness of his throat, his pain was agonizing. The most effectual and quick remedy for the neuralgia was an application of very hot cloths. Many times, the pains coming suddenly, he excused himself from visitors long enough to have the cloths applied and then resumed his talk as though nothing had happened.
It was the rule with him, whatever his pain, not to obtrude it further than was really necessary upon the attention of his visitors or his family. From Col. Grant he concealed nothing. The Colonel was his most constant attendant. He knew of every change, every step in the progress of the disease, and on that account while the physicians were giving out hopeful reports his utterances on the subject of the General's condition were despondent. But no one else in the family knew the whole truth about how the General suffered, and it seemed at times as though the doctors hardly more than suspected it. Callers on the General were thus naturally misled by his appearance and manner.
The General was sadly reduced in flesh during the Winter. From probably 180 pounds he wasted to 125 or less. His frame and limbs showed emaciation. But his face held its fullness and color quite well, and his voice was as good as could be expected in a sick man. It was the common remark of those who saw him before he left the city, but when his death was considered a matter of days, that he did not look nearly as bad as they had expected to find him. So many of them said that to him that he practiced the innocent deception on callers of receiving them with a small robe thrown over his limbs. As the emaciation was thus in some degree concealed, he had much less the appearance of a sick man.
The General was inclined, singularly, considering his habitual reticence, to talk much more than was good for him during his cancerous trouble. Whether it was a natural inclination to talk or a stubborn purpose to conquer the obstacle in his way cannot be known, but he talked more in sickness than had been his habit in health, so his friends thought, and sometimes he was so chatty that it was necessary to chide him. He was always good-tempered under correction of this kind, while evidently gratified that the disease was not powerful enough to prevent his talking if his will took a turn that way. When not in humor to try his strength of speech he was at all times a good listener. Occasionally during the last month of his residence in the city he walked about his room when visitors were there, or followed them into the hall with his woolen gown hanging about him and helped by his cane. At such times his attempts to conceal his infirmities were pitiful. "He came to the head of the stairs with me," one visitor said, "with his gown and cane and electric skullcap, walking quite briskly for a sick man, but he was a very sick man."
Until the last he took nourishment as generously as the doctors suggested. His throat was sore, and it was an effort for him to swallow. The ulceration at the root of the tongue was deadened by cocaine. To avoid irritation liquid food was prescribed. His diet rarely varied from beef soup, beef tea, and eggs beaten in milk. But at breakfast time his easy chairs were wheeled up to the grate fire and he sipped his nourishment as daintily and cozily as though it were food of his choice, although he never had appetite for it. The only instances of his eating with genuine relish were when he was allowed a little solid food. Dr. Douglas used to say of him that he was never hungry and never sleepy, but that he forced himself to eat well, and, so far as will could control sleep, it was exercised in its full strength. Unfortunately it became powerless in this respect.
Insomnia was the General's bane all Winter. He had been troubled more or less with it since his first sickness a year ago, but it grew upon him most irksomely after his frame had wasted, and when he needed nothing so much as sleep to keep his vitality up to the point of resistance to dangerous encroachments. For hours at a time he would lie in bed with his eyes closed so that his attendants might get rest, thinking him asleep, but he was perfectly awake. The doctors, too, habitually credited him with more sleep than he got, because of his way of closing his eyes and lying quietly whenever they said they wanted him to sleep.
The rooms in which the General spent a great part of his time from November last until the middle of June face the street on the second floor of his house at No. 3 East Sixty-sixth-street, extending across the front. The bow window, from which there are three angles of vision, lighted his sleeping room on the west side of the house. The library, into which the sleeping room opens, is on the east side and is lighted by two flat windows. Mrs. Grant's room is directly back of the General's sleeping room, and was connected with it by folding doors. Both the General's sleeping room and the library were plainly furnished. Two leather-covered easy chairs, which the General usually occupied; a lounge, a few plain chairs, and a mahogany bedstead, with a soft modest carpet and plain window hangings, comprised nearly all the belongings of the room. A crayon picture of Judge Dent, Mrs. Grant's father, hung over the bed, but the walls were otherwise almost without decoration. The library shelves were filled with records, memoranda, military books, and other aids to the General's crowning work. On the wall hung his commission as Lieutenant-General and certificates of membership in the Grand Army and various organizations, mostly of a military character. The office, or working room, and the sick room adjoined also at Mount McGregor. Both were at the back of the cottage--the office at the corner and the sick room inside. The latter is a medium sized apartment with two windows looking out on a wooded slope. It was plainly but comfortably furnished by Mr. Drexel, the owner of the cottage. The General's easy chairs, which were sent up from the city, were also put into it, as was a cot for the nurse, Harrison. A door opens from it into the parlor, as well as one into the office. The sick room walls got their share of the many pictures of the General that were sent from various quarters. It has been proposed that the cottage be deeded to the Government, that a fence be put around it, and that it be preserved about as the Grant family leave it. Mr. Drexel has consented to do this should it seem advisable. He has ornamented the rooms with bric-a-brac taken from his Saratoga home. These articles he would remove, but he would leave the furniture, carpets, and other belongings as they were in the General's lifetime.
When abed the General had a fashion of curling up into the smallest possible space. He lay always on a small hair pillow, but took in his arm an immense feather pillow, which he hugged close to his cheek, with his arm under it, as a child sleeps. His crouching position enabled him easily to leave the bed in an instant. He seldom gave notice of an intention to move, and surprised his attendants often by appearing in the middle of the floor on his way to his favorite easy chair. This was a square, roomy chair, upholstered and trimmed with fine leather. The seat was long ago softened for him by a feather pillow. A table, with his medicines and whatever else he had use for, usually stood close to the arm of the chair. On seating himself he almost invariably rested his arm across the corner of the table. Another armchair or a large footstool, both of which were handy, was then rolled up in front of him for his feet and legs. After he began to use a robe to cover his limbs the footstool was in demand oftener than the second easy chair.
Although the patient rarely mentioned it it was long known to his attendants that whenever he left his bed for the chair he was suffering, sometimes nervously, at times from soreness of the throat or base of the tongue, and sometimes from other pains. Such mental trouble as kept him awake bore on his book and on the future of his family All of his friends knew how anxious he was to finish the book. Few heard anything of the other source of concern. When he bought the house in which he died a mortgage remained on it for $52,000. He meant to give the house to his wife, and worried that his affairs denied him the comfort of providing a place for her that she might call home after his death. These were the only two sources of worriment. He accepted as inevitable his physical decay and said little about it. The cruel reports at one time published of his worrying over the course in Congress of the Retirement bill were utterly baseless. His mind did not descend to sordid or political considerations.
When the General was in his easy chair he liked to see his family and his friends about him, unless he felt very miserably. His daughter was his chief delight. He loved the music of her voice, and her caresses. Scarcely a day passed when they were not left for an hour or so together, that she might read to him the news and chat with him. At such times he lay back in his chair with closed eyes, commenting occasionally on what she read and enjoying every minute of her company. It was his usual custom of late to keep his eyes closed when sitting up, though there were whole days at times when he was as wide awake as a person in health. His desire for the company of his daughter was strong also during his hours of suffering. He seemed to want her always near him when the slightest danger threatened. She could comfort and cheer him quicker than any one else. This devotion was fully reciprocated, for her thoughts were all with him, and often when he slept she glided into his room to see if anything could be done for him.
His sufferings were thus lightened by cheerful and loving companionship. Some one of the family was always with him. His little grandchildren opened the day for him with sweet greetings, and through the daylight hours Mrs. Grant and the young ladies of the household were never far from him. At evening the entire family, with whoever else might be present, gathered for prayer and quiet and affectionate intercourse, and then, after the doctor's visit, the night watch began with the Colonel and the General's body servant as the regular sick room attendants. The General enjoyed these evenings. No suggestion of gloom ever marred them, although he knew that they would soon be impossible. Early in March Gen. Badeau showed him papers which he thought might be of use in the memoirs after a while. The General looked at them, passed his hand across his forehead, and returned them, saying: "They are interesting, but I shan't have time to use them. I shall last only about 30 days longer." Yet to the end, the General followed the directions of his doctors with a soldier's obedience. He knew they could do little, but he meant to help them as much as lay in his power.
An incident on Sunday afternoon, March 29, showed how Gen. Grant took his apprehension that the end was approaching. He had just fairly roused from the effects of the powerful anodyne under which the physicians had kept him during the morning. They had been with him for 12 or 13 hours, following the alarming attack of the previous night. On awaking Gen. Grant saw Dr. Shrady at his bedside.
"Well," he said, looking quizzically at his physician, "what do you think of me?"
"I think you have a good deal of backbone--a good deal of it left, General," was the cheery response.
The General was silent a moment. Then looking straight at the doctor he said, with no shade of feeling in his low voice, "I think I am nearly used up."
"Oh, no," the doctor went on, "there is a good deal to you yet. You have gone through too much to give out easily."
"Yes," the General said, somewhat reassured, "it has blown pretty hard my way sometimes."
"That is true," his companion continued, "but an oak, with its roots imbedded in the rocks and earth, can't be blown over even in its age. It takes more than one hurricane to uproot it."
The General smiled at the simile, well pleased with it evidently, and closing his eyes passed into a peaceful slumber.
"His courage is yet unshaken," Dr. Shrady said afterward to Col. Grant, in relating this incident. "I didn't expect him to be scared. Fright isn't in his nature. But I never saw such composure in a man who thoroughly comprehended his situation. Our hope and reliance are in his faith in us, which never wavers."
On the following Tuesday morning, when the General awoke, relieved somewhat from the exceeding weakness induced by Saturday night's attack, Dr. Shrady said to him: "Now, General, there is a fight on hand. We rely on you to help us out. You will have to fight for us again as you once did."
"When was that?" the patient asked.
"When you had the army behind you."
"Yes," was the grim response, "but I haven't the army behind me now."
A little later he cleared all doubt as to the character of his thoughts, when he broke the silence by saying, "What do you doctors know about me? I may go off in an hour or last a month. Can you tell which any better than I can?"
He looked for death in that dreadful attack of Saturday night, March 28. Life had hardly any more attractions for him. He had felt the glands of his throat swelling and closing tighter over the air passage, until he had to catch at every breath and when the secretions gathered in this little opening each moment was one of simple agony, a perpetual struggle for air. The terrible feeling of suffocation and pain found expression from his lips only once during that awful night, when in his torture, he exclaimed, "I cannot stand this. I shall die."
Yet no other word of complaint escaped then or since. The weary, weakening days that followed, when he felt his vitality ebbing and his breath came with a rasping sound over a surface of throat advanced to the last stages of his disease, he was unmurmuring. He saw the approach of the end and spoke of it sometimes, but without regret for himself. To the last he was kind, patient, and regardful of the comfort of those about him. Of death he spoke in his last days, as he had ever spoken, as though it were only a journey to be undertaken without fear.
The Devotion of the Family
The General's Suffering Relieved by the Tenderness of His Dear Ones
The devotion of the family to the General in his sickness was not lost upon the most casual observer here. It was never ostentatious and differed in no degree from that which had made the charm of home life in New-York. But in this retreat, where the focus of outside gaze could more easily penetrate domestic relations; where, indeed, conventional privacies were displaced by rural freedom, and where the cottage and cottage life have been the chief attractions, the happiness of the family and the mutual love that bound them to each other and to the General have always been a subject of gratified comment. One did not need to be obtrusive to see what pleasure that household derived from itself, or how comforting were these relations to the General's declining days. He was cheered to the last by the sympathy and love and hopes of those dear to him. Days when even his strong will would have despaired were brightened by these influences, and often because of his family, to spare them distress, he roused to a semblance of activity and interest when he was ill able to do so, and found that the effort rewarded itself in renewed vigor. Whatever his condition there was rarely a day when he failed to give some time to his family. They knew that when he kept his sick room it was because he could not leave it, and they were careful at such times not to disturb him, and when, that they might be with him, he sent for them their sympathy took the form of hope and cheer, calling his mind away from pain and trouble as far as might be. His delight was to have them gather around him on the porch, or in the parlor at nightfall, and to listen to their conversation, though he could take little part in it. They rarely sat with him long at a time outdoors, for mindful of his enfeebled state they preferred to leave him to himself rather than risk wearying him, but at evening, in the parlor, it was always he who decided how long the gathering should last, leaving it as he felt the approach of fatigue.
As he had been full of quiet humor when in health his inclination to the pleasantry remained with him into sickness, and many of his little written slips will be preserved as mementos of this trait of his disposition, lingering beyond his power of speech. He entered into family talk and gossip with much of his former interest, restrained, of course, by his infirmity, yet sometimes with an approach to real vivacity. He appreciated what others were doing for him, and exerted himself always to make full return, so far as he might.
The devotion of Mrs. Grant was touching. As careful as any one not to tax him when he needed only rest, she was never beyond easy call, and had no thought apparently but for his comfort. Her greeting was the first to cheer him in the morning after the doctor's treatment. It was her chair that was drawn close to his on the porch. Whenever he wanted company she was part of it, and many hours in his last days were spent with her alone. Often they could be seen together when not a word was spoken, mere companionship satisfying them. Visitors seeing them thus were wont to remark that it was as though nothing so well suited them as that their last days should be as were their first, sufficient for each in the company of the other. So anxious was she to be at his side that she would not leave the cottage at any time for any purpose, even declining to go to the hotel with the family for meals. And when the General was confined to his sick room or needed absolute rest and seclusion at any time, she would retire to privacy and comfort herself with prayer in his behalf. Her faith never wavered that her intercession spared him so long.
The devotion of Col. Grant was also most marked, as it had been at home. His services to the General were beyond value. A light burning late into the night was not specially conspicuous in New-York, for even on the quiet block on Sixty-sixth-street the sufferer's home would not be singled out on that account. But here, where early sleep is the custom, many an hour has the lamp in the office room at the cottage been the only one to be seen, while over the table the Colonel leaned, busy often past midnight with the General's affairs. The family mail did not become less here than it was in the city. Letters to the General ran from 150 upward a day; proof revision demanded attention; the thousand and one things of domestic direction and for family comfort needed an overseer. All this fell to the Colonel, assisted by Mr. Dawson, the General's secretary and stenographer. Work on the book, next to his anxiety for the happiness of the family, was the General's chief concern. In this the Colonel was an efficient helper.
The General took much pleasure also with the others of the family. The sunny, affectionate ways of Mrs. Sartoris were ever a charm. He liked the quick wit of his son Jesse and the sturdy love of the son who bears his name. The prattle and caresses of his grandchildren also pleased him. Affection lightened his sufferings.
Dr. Douglas was almost like one of the family. In devotion to the General none could surpass him. For the best part of a year he gave practically all of his time to the General, and from admiring him he grew to love him. Scarcely a night for months did he get full rest, and by day he watched the General with loyalty and diligence that could have but the most commendable inspiration. Being nearly of the General's age, the work was specially severe on him, and he showed it in his appearance. Once he had to call Dr. Shrady to his relief, because he was so much worn that his family began to fear for him rather than for the General. But even then his activity was hardly suspended, and it was soon renewed at full pace again. The General was quick to appreciate what the doctor was doing for him, and fully reciprocated the affection that prompted it. He had a way of reporting to the doctor his condition. One day, when he had written about the sort of night he had passed and how he felt the disease had progressed, noting in detail the change in his symptoms, he wrote to the doctor as follows: "I would not have you think that I am usurping your functions, but I detail to you the phases of the disease, as they appear to me, for the benefit of medical men in dealing with sufferers from the same affliction in the future."
The General's conversation, restricted as it was by his infirmities, was usually entertaining, and often instructive. One night, when the family were gathered about him in the parlor, talk turned on the origin of famous epigrammatic sentences. Some thought that such sentences were usually the result of long thought. The General's "Let us have peace" was brought up. On being asked how it was written, whether at a moment's thought, or after dwelling long upon the subject of his letter, he wrote: "The story that 'Let us have peace' was an afterthought is not true, nor was the sentence spontaneous. It followed the rest of the letter of acceptance as a natural sequence. The first part led up to it."
It did not escape the General's attention that everything he wrote was carefully preserved by those to whom he addressed his slips. One night he showed that this amused him by a pleasant allusion to it in a note to Dr. Douglas. "I notice," he wrote, "that when any one gets a slip it is carefully folded up and saved. No one throws one away. I think I shall have to stop writing, or some day I will be hauled over the coals for my English."
"Whatever may be the criticisms on what you have written, General," Dr. Douglas promptly replied, "no one can ever assail your English."
The General smiled, and his output of slips was not thereafter stinted. Every one, of course, wanted one. Dr. Douglas was the envy of people at the hotel, as he went about with a memorandum book thick with slips, and he was besieged with applications by mail for specimens; but he rarely parted with one.
How the Memoirs Were Written
Dictating to a Stenographer and Personally Revising the Proofs
Necessity prompted Gen. Grant to write his book. He might have turned to literary work late in life had not financial disaster overtaken him. He had a fine library, especially on military subjects. Mrs. Grant had urged him for a long time to utilize that and his personal records for a book of his own. Had he taken her advice he would have gone to work at a book instead of trying to become a financier. With the crash, which came too late in his life for him to recover and start ahead again, his only solicitude was for his family and the others dependent upon him. "I must provide for my family," was his frequent exclamation. "What can I do to provide for my family?"
Then recurred the suggestion that he take up literary work and write his memoirs. He had little heart for it, but as it was a case of necessity he set about finding what would be the best way of putting his memoirs into shape. The Rev. Dr. Newman suggested table talks as a way likely to be attractive and popular, and proposed that the General should take subjects singly, and after having primed himself with one should get a stenographer and talk it off to him at a sitting. Other plans were suggested, and when the General had considered all of them he made his decision. No time then was lost in beginning work, and none was wasted in prosecuting it, as every one knows. The accounts of his manifestations of solicitude about his ability to finish it would in themselves make a volume. When his intentions were known publishers besieged him. Their offers varied from 10 to 20 per cent net, all conditioned upon the completion and sale of the book. Then Samuel L. Clemens came forward. He knew that the family needed ready money. He offered 20 per cent on the gross receipts of the book, with $40,000 cash advance. The contract was made through him with C. L. Webster & Co., the money to be paid to Mrs. Grant. That ended all cavil, and the General went ahead with his immediate needs supplied. How his will kept him up to fulfill his part of the contract in spite of an agonizing sickness that was always draining his strength and vitality, and that brought him four times so low that death seemed imminent, has been many times told.
In the compilation and arrangement of his records, the General was assisted until along in the Spring by Gen. Adam Badeau, as well as by Col. Grant. Gen. Badeau, from having been the General's military secretary, and having written his military life, besides having enjoyed more substantial indications of the General's high personal esteem, was commonly regarded as the General's mainstay in the preparation of the memoirs. Reports got out that Gen. Badeau's pen had been employed in writing up whole blocks of the book, implying that Gen. Grant, on account of his sickness and his desire to have the book finished, was letting Gen. Badeau's work go out as his own. Such reports worried the General. There was no truth in them, and Gen. Badeau protested that he had nothing to do with starting them. Matters went on, with Gen. Badeau still assisting in hunting up and arranging records. One night early in April, when it was thought that the General was dying, a definite report came out that he had designated Gen. Badeau as his literary Executor. It was published in all the papers and commonly believed. Not long after that Gen. Badeau stopped going to Gen. Grant's. It was understood that a coolness had sprung up between the Grant family and Gen. Badeau. Nothing was made of it at the time, for there were too many other things to think of, and this apparently small matter did not stand beside them. The Grant family kept the matter secret, regarding it as concerning only themselves and Gen. Badeau. The latter never spoke of it, and so it dropped quietly out of public notice. The first volume of the book was supposed to be completed before the estrangement occurred.
Along in June and July evidence reached the General and his family that on or before the publication of the genuine book other books purporting to be "Memoirs of Gen. Grant" would be issued. They got wind of prospectuses so cleverly prepared as to deceive a person of average intelligence. They had reason to believe that the prospectus of Webster & Co. had been appropriated to the use of other publishers to help the sale of bogus memoirs. Suspicion was roused that piracy had been practiced, and that canvassers were out for not less than three distinct books, each claiming to be the General's memoirs. On top of these discoveries came the most painful rumor of all, which was that tempting offers had been made for Gen. Badeau's services in connection with some such work as that indicated. The family were aghast, and the General felt keen disappointment and horror at such a possibility. He was chagrined to think that his last and only possible means of providing for his family were likely to be hampered by piracy. He was shocked that the name of his old friend, to whom he had been a benefactor, whom he had trusted fully, should be connected with any such scheme. He could not believe it of him. At first he was so incredulous of that report that he would not address Gen. Badeau about it, thinking that it would be an insult to him. But with the idea of defeating, so far as might be, the ends of piracy or perversion he remodeled the first volume of the book after he came to Mount McGregor, dropping the separate campaigns in order to treat of the war as a whole, with the campaigns as incidents to it. Essential changes were made pursuant to this new plan.
Disquieting rumors continued to come in. Mr. Clemens visited the General for the purpose of disposing of certain business with the family. The rumors were casually communicated to him. He treated them lightly, saying that the publishers could take care of the pirates. The matter then rested for a while. But the General grew restless. His mind had not been reassured. He did not believe in fighting in the dark, and he grew impatient under the strictures on his old friend. On July 13, he wrote a letter to Gen. Badeau. That was the day when the General had recovered in great measure from the fatigue induced by his reception to the Mexican editors. Mrs. Grant sat in the room with him, but did not know what he was writing. None of the family knew what it was until some time after he had finished. Then it lay in the house for several days before it was copied and sent off, that it might be revised by him if any change occurred to him. It was a kind but firm letter, recalling what they had been to each other and detailing what he had heard. He was still distrustful of rumor, although apparently well authenticated, and wanted to give his old friend a chance to justify himself and deny the rumor if it was not true. The tone of the letter partook of kindness, pain, disappointment, and paternal reproof.
It must have occurred to many, remembering the announcement early in June of the completion of the book, that there was something incompatible in that announcement and frequent references from here of continued work on the book. The book was carried to a point in June at which it might have been considered complete if the General had died then. But apart from the changes made necessary as above, he felt and often said that he could work profitably on it every day up to the time of its publication, if he had strength enough. It was his ambition to make it complete and accurate. He foresaw that it would be critically read and would be an authority on the subjects treated. When he had covered everything that his original and amended plans contemplated, he had furnished enough manuscript to fill 200 pages more than the contract demanded. That did not worry him, for, indeed, he went on writing as suggestions occurred to him, adding on an average a paragraph on his working days. That was a good day's work for him. Once or twice he wrote considerably more. But the main work with which he occupied his mind, when the remodeling was done, was in elimination. The book is brightened by anecdotal reminiscences. Many of the best anecdotes were eliminated. He was exceedingly anxious not to hurt the feelings of any one, and for fear that some of his anecdotes, although related in perfect good humor, might be misconstrued, he sacrificed them. He had an innocent but funny story about a General who is now in politics. It was cut out for fear that it might be perverted. There was a good story about Gen. Burnside, but lest some of Burnside's family or friends might feel sensitive about it he struck it out. There were many instances of that kind. Some of his records were exact in figures, showing the forces that he carried into various operations. He dropped exactness several times for round numbers for the sake of avoiding controversy with other authorities on the same subjects. He did not fear criticism, but he wanted to steer clear of dispute over small matters and to keep his book above personal cavil and free from things of a personal nature that might be tortured into evil construction. Good things that would have lived in story and to which no one but himself could see objection were thus destroyed. To such corrections and to other alterations in the proofs the Colonel and Mr. Dawson attended. By their diligence all the revised proofs for the first volume of the work were mailed to the publishers on July 11. That was a great relief to all, for the General's mind could not be quieted on that part of the book until it was beyond his reach.
Faith in His Doctors' Skill
Gen. Grant's Written Expression of His Satisfaction with Their Treatment
Many of the slips on which the General wrote to Dr. Douglas will be of value in the history of the case should the treatment ever need vindication. The others the doctor chose to preserve as mementos of the affection that increased between the two men during this long and trying ordeal. The General had a keen appreciation of the jealousy and criticism to which the medical staff were subjected, and he foresaw that criticism would pick busily to find flaws after his death with the diagnosis, the treatment, and his apparent helplessness in the hands of his attendants. Outcroppings of kindly and well meant criticism which was prompted by friends reached him on the mountain. It was a common and favorite saying of one of his most devoted friends that the General never went into a battle merely to keep off the enemy but to win, and that it was out of all harmony with his life and habits that this last and most serious battle should have been undertaken on the defensive. It was recalled that the doctors from the beginning had never thought of curing the General, but merely of easing and prolonging his life. The man and the occasion, it was thus argued, demanded vigorous treatment that would set out to cure, not to delay. It was urged also that this case ought to produce a degree of aggressive medical skill which would relieve the profession of the need of saying longer that this dread disease was incurable. It was love for the General that suggested such criticism. The General did not agree with it. As indicated in all parts of the account of his sickness and at every stage to which it brought him, he believed in his physicians. They were doing, he thought, not only the best they could for him, but the best that could be done. His daily reports were made in order to place the physicians in full possession of all the facts of interest. He did not suppose them unobservant, but, knowing that the case would be studied closely, he wanted to acquaint them with what might be beyond their observation, so that the case, when written, would leave nothing to be explained. Lest his motive in this should be misunderstood he wrote notes every now and then indicating that he knew what the disease was doing and what the end must be, and that all that was possible was done for him. He wanted Dr. Douglas, his most constant attendant, to know that his care and watchfulness were not unappreciated by him; that he realized that to such devoted attendance his life was saved in the Spring and into the Summer, and that, salubrious as were his surroundings on the mountain, he felt that the relapses he suffered even then could have been combated only by constant and affectionate attention, such as Dr. Douglas bestowed. He believed Dr. Douglas was just the man for the occasion, and often said so. His feeling toward the others of the staff was also kind. Dr. Shrady came next to Dr. Douglas in the General's affection, as he was next in his acquaintance. But all these incidental notes, expressive of his satisfaction with his treatment, were naturally addressed to Dr. Douglas, and were given under circumstances that would be construed to apply to the attention and treatment of Dr. Douglas. On July 11 the General wrote a statement about this matter to stand as a defiance to criticism, after his death. He had been very weak and listless since the preceding Wednesday, when he gave a reception to the Mexican editors. Three days had passed since that reception. Dr. Douglas had been so assiduous in his care of the General in that interval that he exhausted himself, and had sent for Dr. Shrady to relieve him of part of the sick room duty so that he might recuperate. He went into the sick room that morning. The General did not need attention, and the doctor turned to go out, when he was called back.
"I notice you come in here often, day and night," the General said. "Why do you watch me so closely? Do you do it with all your patients?"
"I know I come in often when you don't need me; often when you don't know it," the doctor replied. "The reason is that I know that the gaze of the country is turned on this cottage. In one sense I represent that gaze, and it is my duty not to leave you long out of my sight. So I come often when I don't suppose you will need me, but to see, as the representative of the country, how you are getting on."
"You are very faithful," the General replied, "I am sorry you have overexerted yourself for me."
The General sat for a while reflectively. Mrs. Grant entered the sick room with a clipping from a Boston class journal which criticised the treatment. That fired the General. Taking up his pad, weak as he was, he began to write. The task occupied him steadily for nearly two hours. He put away the sheets when he had finished. That evening he handed them over to his stenographer. The transcription covered four sheets of commercial note paper. He signed and dated the document and handed it over to Dr. Douglas.
Nothing could illustrate more kindly his forethought. The paper had not been solicited, there was no previous intimation of it, and to a patient less mindful of others and less grateful than he such a thing probably would never have occurred.
The document was as earnest as his indignation could make it. It spoke of the disease and the treatment. He was satisfied, it said, that everything that could be done had been done for him. The care and watchfulness of his physicians had eased him through his lingering and painful disease and had prolonged his life. He was very grateful to them, and believed that better care and more conscientious attention than he was getting had never been given a sick man. It could not be questioned, he thought, that he might have commanded the most noted talent in the country. But he was satisfied that whatever others might have done for him it could not be more than he had received. He was perfectly content--and had been from the beginning--to leave the case to the care of the staff of physicians who were engaged upon it. He wanted no changes made: no one sent away and no one added to the staff, and his sanction might be considered as given to the resentment of criticism in regard to the treatment. He believed, he said, that he was better treated than Garfield had been, and that his staff was more competent than Garfield's regular staff, leaving Drs. Agnew and Hamilton, the consulting physicians, out of account. The General intended this document to stand against criticism, both as to the nature of the disease and the manner and skill with which it was treated, and should it appear in print before the official history of the case is written it will be provoked by seemingly earnest and well based criticism. To the last the General's confidence in his physician was implicit, and no one grieves more deeply over his death than Dr. Douglas.
The General's Sturdy Piety
His Whole Life Molded Upon Religious Principle
Gen. Grant's Christian faith was simple yet sturdy. It combined childlike trustfulness with the intellectual vigor of manhood's conviction. While never making display of that side of his nature, it was the habit of his life to look to Divine guidance in all of his undertakings, and he attributed his successes to the inspiration gathered therefrom. Nor was his faith shaken by reverses, although often in the family circle and with his closest friends he expressed the wish that he was stronger in his reliance.
"Oh, if I could only have the faith that my sister, Mrs. Cramer, has," he sometimes said, when trials beset him. "Her trusting nature would meet this trouble and see a bright outcome to it better than I can."
His admiration was equally strong for the faith of Mrs. Newman, the wife of his friend and Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Newman. Her womanly sympathy was always cheering to him, and during the reverses and harassments of the past year or two she led him to see through the darkness a promise of better days, which strengthened his purpose to bear uncomplainingly and without discouragement what fell to his lot. Family prayers were usual in the household for many years, and some of the most touching scenes of the sick room have been the gatherings for prayer, to which the family and guests were invited. Scarcely a day has passed since Dr. Newman's return from the South without one of these gatherings, always at the General's instance, the General sitting in his chair, the family and assembled friends kneeling around him.
The General's religious experiences date from childhood. He was reared at a reverential hearthstone; and often in later years he has talked with Dr. Newman about his spiritual training and belief. On that subject he was never reluctant to speak, approaching it as freely as any earthly topic. He spoke of it to few persons, regarding it as a matter with which only those whom his heart loved were concerned; but in such surroundings his nature was open and confiding.
In recalling recently the religious training and experiences of Gen. Grant, Dr. Newman said: "He was brought up in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His father's house was the home of Methodist preachers for over 40 years. The General's earliest recollections were associated with the clergy. He had to care for their horses. He remembered that the horses were good ones and that their owners always insisted on their having plenty of oats. Many a time he was sent out by his father to take off the saddlebags and put up the horses. Once a preacher was to move from the neighborhood in which the Grants lived. He was to take his family and furniture in a wagon for 200 miles, and wanted some one to drive for him. Applying to the General's father for a driver, the old gentleman detailed Ulysses, then a lad, for that work. Afterward the preacher reported to the boy's father that never in his life had he had such a good and silent driver.
"The General's father was a farmer at that time. In later years he lived at Covington, Ky. He was a churchgoer always, serving in the Methodist Church as Trustee, Steward, and class leader. Wherever he went he was a ruling spirit in church affairs. He was a man of sterling character, strong will, high purposes, and at times arbitrary. His mother was modest, intelligent, and sunny in spirit. The General inherited her nature. All of his sisters were devout Methodists. One of them, Mrs. Cramer, married a Methodist preacher, now the Minister of the Government at Berne, Switzerland.
"The General was thus indoctrinated in the faith of the church. He held to those great principles of Christianity all his life. Accepting the Bible as the word of God to man, he regarded Christianity as divine. But his mind tended to the sunny side of Christianity. The beneficent results of the Gospel promised to him the glory of the Messiah, the universal triumph of Christianity.
"I became his Pastor in 1869. I have been his guest many times. And at all times, in the White House at Washington or at his cottage in Long Branch, he always had family prayer, in which he usually requested me to lead. I called at the White House on his last Sunday there--his last night in office. Mr. Hayes was then having a reception at John Sherman's. I found the General and Mrs. Grant, with Mr. and Mrs. Sartoris, quietly sitting in the Blue Room. We talked a while. Then at the General's request we all knelt in prayer.
"I have been with him," Dr. Newman went on, "in private and in public and with all classes of people. Yet I never heard him, utter a profane word or indulge in an improper story, nor have I ever seen him smile approvingly at an immodest story which some person present happened to have the audacity to relate. He was altogether the purest man in conversation of whom I ever had knowledge. During my pastorate of six years in Washington, which included the greater part of his Presidency, he was a regular attendant at church. Storm of no kind ever kept him away. He was the most attentive and appreciative listener I ever had. To me he was an inspiration, because of his profound attention and the indirect influence I exerted through him on others. He was President of our Board of Trustees and a liberal contributor to the church. His charities were many and unostentatious. One day I was preaching on 'Lost Opportunities.' I had occasion to say that whoever desired to find worthy objects of charity could do so with little effort. I recalled a visit I had made during the preceding week to a soldier's widow, who was dying of consumption, and who, although destitute, was happy in the Christian faith. I mentioned also a man who had lost his sight at Government work, and who bore his affliction with a saintlike spirit, although he was in distressing circumstances. After the service, as soon as the President reached the White House, he sent me a twenty dollar bill pinned to his card, on which was written, 'Please give $10 to that soldier's widow and $10 to that poor blind man.' I remember receiving from him one Christmas Day the following letter:
Executive Mansion, December 23, 1869.
Dear Doctor: Inclosed please find my check for $100, for distribution among the poor. Don't forget the ragged school over on the Island.
Yours truly, U. S. Grant.
"His life was full of such deeds of quiet charity."
Recurring to his love of family prayer, the clergyman continued: "I recall a visit to his Long Branch cottage, where daily we had prayers after breakfast. One morning an English gentleman called while we were at the table. He remained so long that there was no opportunity that day for morning devotions. The next morning the President brought the old family Bible into the breakfast room with him. Handing it over to me he said, 'Doctor, we were cheated out of our prayers yesterday, but to make sure that it shall not happen again we will have devotions after this before breakfast.'
"After his term at the White House he went abroad. He was specially interested during his tour of the world in American missions, of which he visited a large number. The educational movements connected with these missions appealed strongly to his sympathy. I have a letter from him, written in Japan, in which he unfolds the wonderful improvements in moral and educational mission work which had taken place in that country under the management of American missions. That work made a deep and lasting impression on his mind. On his return to this country he attended my church in this city, manifesting the same deep religious nature as formerly; the same reverence for God and personal belief in Christianity. He had a wonderful faith in Divine Providence, and believed in special interpositions of Providence in the affairs of men and nations. I have heard him talk by the hour on that subject, giving illustrations drawn from his own life.
"Once I asked him, I remember, what he considered his most providential experience. Without hesitation he said: 'My resignation from the army in 1854. I was then a Captain. If I had staid in the army I would have been still a Captain on frontier duty at the outbreak of the war and would thus have been deprived of the right to offer my services voluntarily to the country. That opportunity shaped my future.'
"In connection with the sick room I have spoken of the prayerful spirit that pervaded it," Dr. Newman resumed. "I might add that the General never allowed suggestions for the relief of his infirmities to interfere with his reverence for the Sabbath. One Saturday night lately, when he was nervous and weary and very restless, his son, the Colonel, hoping to divert his mind, suggested some amusement. The General brightened at the idea of diversion, but presently, with a grave face, he inquired the hour. It was nearly midnight. 'Never mind,' the General said, with perfect resignation. 'It is too close to the Sabbath to commence any diversion.'"
A Talk with Sheridan
Shiloh and the Valley Campaign--No Smile at Appomattox
Washington, July 23--From day to day, and almost hourly, during Gen. Grant's illness, there has been one inquirer in this city whose concern has been manifested by the earnestness of his questions about the brave patient in New-York. In his quiet, unobtrusive, undemonstrative way, Lieut.-Gen. Sheridan, Gen. Grant's companion in arms, has shown that he was pained at the thought of the struggle that was going on between the great soldier and a disease with which his sturdy courage could not hope to successfully contend. While the dispatches have been coming in to the office of the General of the Army, and in such moments as he could spare, Gen. Sheridan has talked about his relations with Gen. Grant, their joint efforts to overcome the rebellion, and has told over again the story of some of the most memorable scenes in which both of them participated. Gen. Sheridan does not readily take to story telling, particularly when the telling of a story involves references to his own valorous deeds. His diffidence, great now as it was when he was a boy, is something remarkable in a man who showed an absolute lack of diffidence in the face of an enemy. To get anything out of him in the way of incident one must lead him carefully to the point upon which information is desired. Then, in a low, simple, straightforward way he will tell his story. It will be unimaginative, without attempt at dramatic effect, and without a shade of boastfulness. Like Gen. Grant, Gen. Sheridan has sometimes been called reticent and taciturn. This is only true of him when he speaks with strangers or with curious people whom he suspects of a desire to hear him blow his own trumpet.
Grant's Confidence In Sheridan
The writer dropped in to see him a few days before his departure for the West, and, after chatting about Gen. Grant's condition, expressed some curiosity to know when he had first come in contact with Gen. Grant. "Well," said the General, "you see, we were both attached to the same regiment in the army. He had gone out of it after the Mexican war, and my service had been continuous from the time I left West Point until I drifted down the Tennessee River as an acting Quartermaster for Gen. Halleck. The battle of Shiloh had just been fought. Our army was resting, a sort of suspension following the battle. Hearing that Grant and McPherson were both at the front, I took the first opportunity presented of reporting to them. I found Gen. Grant with Gen. McPherson. He was sitting in his tent smoking a cigar, and was in his shirt sleeves. Our greeting was pleasant, and he expressed his gratification that I had been sent to the front. I had just gone through with the Pea Ridge campaign, and he seemed to have the notion that I could be useful to him in the advance through Kentucky and Tennessee."
"I was pretty near Grant from that time on until I was sent East to take command of all the cavalry in Virginia. When I met the General at Shiloh he was the same man in manner that he has always been to me. I did not find him reticent. On the contrary, he was a very free and frank talker. He did not need much explanation from me of anything I proposed to do, but appeared to have entire confidence that I would do the best I could at all times." The General referred most pleasantly to the influence exerted by Gen. Grant in securing his transfer to the East after the brilliant services he had rendered at Perryville, Stone Ridge, and Chickamauga. "Gen. Grant agreed with me that whenever it was possible we should fight cavalry with cavalry, and infantry with infantry. He agreed with me in my plan of the valley campaign of 1864. The cavalry was taken off of guard duty about the army and put to better use. I saw Gen. Grant occasionally. He was always the same in manner. Never elated by victory, he was also never cast down by defeat. He met all sorts of fortune stolidly. His confidence in himself never failed. Under all circumstances he treated his associates with the same simple courtesy. Plainer in dress than most of his subordinates, he was so because he had no thought for dress, his mind being upon the great task he had set himself. He came to see me in September. Talked over the plans I had made for fighting Early, and having faith in my confidence that I could whip his army. Saw that no other instructions were necessary than the injunction to 'go in.' He never visited me again for the purpose of giving me orders, and in that way testified his full faith in my desire and ability to comprehend and carry out his plans. His regard for me was shown again after the valley campaign, and when I had been made a Brigadier-General in the regular army, by the order for a salute of 100 guns."
Together at Appomattox
With great interest Gen. Sheridan referred to the campaign events following his bold push of March, 1865, to the south of Richmond, preceding the brilliant events in which he was to take so conspicuous a place and win such lasting renown. "At Dinwiddie Court House," said he, "came Grant's order about ending the battle before going back. We were in bivouac. The weather was rainy and the roads muddy. Wagons were everywhere up to their hubs. The general movement forward appeared to be ended. At daybreak on the 30th, I think, when everything was swamped, I rode back to see Gen. Grant. The infantry were huddled together, wet and cold. Gen. Grant's tent was in a sand field, and was as cheerless a place as could be found. He met me cordially, and suggested that if the cavalry could move up a little it would be better than an absolute standstill. I assented to the suggestion--it was all that could be done, said 'good-bye' to Gen. Grant, rode back to my command, and gave the order to move on Five Forks. I did not see Gen. Grant again, except to get a glimpse of him at Jetersville, until ten days later, when I joined him as he went to receive the surrender of Lee at Appomattox.
"The story of the surrender of Lee has been so often told," said Gen. Sheridan, "that nothing could be added to it by me. Gen. Grant, arriving at Appomattox Court House with Col. Newhall on the 9th of April after a long and hard ride, was spattered with mud from his soft hat to his boots, in which he wore his trousers. I had been riding hard, too, and had not had much sleep for several days. Neither of us looked very nice. We greeted each other briefly. The General knew what was about to be done, and little was said about it. Gen. Grant showed no exultation. I took him to the McLean House, where Gen. Lee awaited him. Gen. Grant and one or two of his staff went in; the rest of us staid outside on the piazza until Col. Babcock came out and invited us in. Presently Gen. Lee went out to take his horse and drive away. He was dressed in a new gray uniform. We had had no chance to get at our uniforms. All of us were rather silent and serious. Gen. Grant wore no smile of victory on his face. He knew what the victory meant, but his face did not show it."
Gen. Sheridan said he had met Gen. Grant many times since then, and that their pleasant relations during the war have always been maintained. He went with him on a journey to Cuba and Mexico, and on that trip found him to be the same simple man he had known in the army. In other places he has occupied he has always been unchanged to his admired companion in arms. Soldier-like, Gen. Sheridan is not effusive in his language when expressing his affection for Gen. Grant; but it is not difficult to see that there will be no heartstrings in the country more strained at the death of Grant than those of "Gallant Phil Sheridan."
At West Point Together--Grant's Courtship--The War and After
GAINESVILLE, Ga., July 23--"He was the truest as well as the bravest man that ever lived," was the remark made by Gen. James Longstreet, when he recovered to-day from the emotion caused by the sad news of Gen. Grant's death. Gen. Longstreet lives in a two-story house of modern style about three miles from Gainesville, where, amid his vines and shrubs, he was seen by The Times's correspondent. He was dressed in a long and many colored dressing gown; his white whiskers were trimmed after the pattern of Burnside's, and he looked little like the stalwart figure which was ever in the thickest of the fight during the bloody battles of the late war.
"Ever since 1839," said he, "I have been on terms of the closest intimacy with Grant. I well remember the fragile form which answered to his name in that year. His distinguishing trait as a cadet was a girlish modesty; a hesitancy in presenting his own claims; a taciturnity born of his modesty; but a thoroughness in the accomplishment of whatever task was assigned him. As I was of large and robust physique I was at the head of most larks and games. But in these young Grant never joined because of his delicate frame. In horsemanship, however, he was noted as the most proficient in the Academy. In fact, rider and horse held together like the fabled centaur.
Two Young Lieutenants
"In 1842 I was attached to the Fourth Infantry as Second Lieutenant. A year later Grant joined the same regiment, stationed in that year at Fort Jefferson, 12 miles from St. Louis. The ties thus formed have never been broken; but there was a charm which held us together of which the world has never heard. My kinsman, Mr. Frederick Dent, was a substantial farmer living near Fort Jefferson. He had a liking for army officers, due to the fact that his son Fred was a pupil at West Point. One day I received an invitation to visit his house in order to meet young Fred, who had just returned, and I asked Grant to go with me. This he did, and of course was introduced to the family, the last one to come in being Miss Julia Dent, the charming daughter of our host. It is needless to say that we saw but little of Grant during the rest of the visit. He paid court in fact with such assiduity as to give rise to the hope that he had forever gotten over his diffidence. Five years later, in 1848, after the usual uncertainties of a soldier's courtship, Grant returned and claimed Miss Dent as his bride. I had been married just six months at that time, and my wife and I were among the guests at the wedding. Only a few months ago Mrs. Grant recalled to my memory an incident with Gen. Grant's courtship. Miss Dent had been escorted to the military balls so often by Lieut. Grant that, on one occasion, when she did not happen to go with him, Lieut. Hoskins went up to her and asked, with a pitiful expression on his face: 'Where is that small man with the large epaulets?'
In the Field of Duty
"In 1844 the Fourth Regiment was ordered to Louisiana to form part of the army of observation. Still later we formed part of the army of occupation in Corpus Christi, Texas, Here, removed from all society without books or papers, we had an excellent opportunity of studying each other. I and every one else always found Grant resolute and doing his duty in a simple manner. His honor was never suspected, his friendships were true, his hatred of guile was pronounced, and his detestation of tale bearers was, I may say, absolute. The soul of honor himself, he never even suspected others either then or years afterward. He could not bring himself to look upon the rascally side of human nature.
"While we remained in Corpus Christi an incident illustrating Grant's skill and fearlessness as a horseman occurred. The Mexicans were in the habit of bringing in wild horses, which they would sell for two or three dollars. These horses came near costing more than one officer his life. One day a particularly furious animal was brought in. Every officer in the camp had declined to purchase the animal except Grant, who declared that he would either break the horse's neck or his own. He had the horse blindfolded, bridled, and saddled, and when firmly in the saddle he threw off the blind, sunk his spurs into the horse's flanks, and was soon out of sight. For three hours he rode the animal over all kinds of ground, through field and stream, and when horse and rider returned to camp the horse was thoroughly tamed. For years afterward the story of Grant's ride was related at every camp fire in the country. During the Mexican war we were separated, Grant having been made Quartermaster of the Fourth Regiment, while I was assigned to duty as Adjutant of the Eighth. At the Battle of Molino del Rey, however, I had occasion to notice his superb courage and coolness under fire. So noticeable was his bearing that his gallantry was alluded to in the official reports.
Payment of a Debt of Honor
"In the long days of our stay in Louisiana and Texas," continued Gen. Longstreet, "we frequently engaged in the game of brag and five-cent ante and similar diversions. We instructed Grant in the mysteries of these games, but he made a poor player. The man who lost 75 cents in one day was esteemed in those times a peculiarly unfortunate person. The games often lasted an entire day. Years later, in 1858, I happened to be in St. Louis, and there met Capt. Holloway and other army chums. We went into the Planters' Hotel to talk over old times, and it was soon proposed to have an old-time game of brag, but it was found that we were one short of making up a full hand. 'Wait a few minutes,' said Holloway, 'and I will find some one.' In a few minutes he returned with a man poorly dressed in citizen's clothes and in whom we recognized our old friend Grant. Going into civil life Grant had been unfortunate, and he was really in needy circumstances. The next day I was walking in front of the Planters', when I found myself face to face again with Grant who, placing in the palm of my hand a five-dollar gold piece, insisted that I should take it in payment of a debt of honor over 15 years old. I peremptorily declined to take it, alleging that he was out of the service and more in need of it than I. 'You must take it,' said he, 'I cannot live with anything in my possession which is not mine.' Seeing the determination in the man's face, and in order to save him mortification, I took the money, and shaking hands we parted.
The Meeting at Appomattox
"The next time we met," said Gen. Longstreet, "was at Appomattox, and the first thing that Gen. Grant said to me when we stepped inside, placing his arm in mine, was: 'Pete (a sobriquet of mine), let us have another game of brag, to recall the old days which were so pleasant to us all.' Great God! thought I to myself, how my heart swells out to such a magnanimous touch of humanity! Why do men fight who were born to be brothers?
"During the war my immediate command had engaged the troops of Grant but once--at the battle of the Wilderness. We came into no sort of personal relations, however. In the Spring of 1865, one day, while awaiting a letter from Gen. Grant, Gen. Lee said to me, 'There is nothing ahead of us but to surrender.' It was as one of the Commissioners appointed to arrange the terms of peace that I met Gen. Grant at Appomattox. His whole greeting and conduct toward us was as though nothing had ever happened to mar our pleasant relations.
Friendship After the War
"In 1866 I had occasion to visit Washington on business, and while there made a call of courtesy on Gen. Grant at his office. As I arose to leave he followed me out into the hallway, and asked me to spend an evening with his family. I thanked him, promising compliance, and passed a most enjoyable evening. When leaving Grant again accompanied me into the hallway and said: 'General, would you like to have an amnesty?' Wholly unprepared for this I replied that I would like to have it, but had no hope of getting it. He told me to write out my application and to call at his office at noon the next day, and in the meantime he would see President Johnson and Secretary of War Stanton on my behalf. When I called he had already seen these men, and assured me that there was not an obstacle in the way. He indorsed my application by asking that it be granted as a special personal favor to himself.
"In the January before he was inaugurated President for the first time I paid him a passing friendly visit. He then said to me: 'Longstreet, I want you to come and see me after I am inaugurated, and let me know what you want.' After the inauguration I was walking up the avenue one day to see him when I met a friend who informed me that the President had sent in my name for confirmation as Surveyor of the Port of New-Orleans. For several weeks the nomination hung in the Senate, when I went to Grant and begged him to withdraw the nomination, as I did not want his personal friendship for me to embarrass his Administration. 'Give yourself no uneasiness about that,' he said, 'the Senators have as many favors to ask of me as I have of them, and I will see that you are confirmed.'
"From what I have already told you," said Gen. Longstreet, in conclusion, "it will be seen that Grant was a modest man, a simple man, a man believing in the honesty of his fellows, true to his friends, faithful to traditions, and of great personal honor. When the United States District Court in Richmond was about to indict Gen. Lee and myself for treason, Gen. Grant interposed and said: 'I have pledged my word for their safety.' This stopped the wholesale indictments of ex-Confederate officers which would have followed. He was thoroughly magnanimous, was above all petty things and small ideas, and, after Washington, was the highest type of manhood America has produced."
Gen. Grant and the South
His Desire When President to Befriend Its People
SAVANNAH, Ga., July 23--The Times's correspondent called upon Gen. Lafayette McLaws recently. Gen. McLaws was one of the officers who resigned his commission in the Federal Army for the purpose of following his State into secession. During the four years' war which followed he held the rank of Major-General and participated in some of the hardest fighting. In his early days he had been on terms of the closest intimacy with the young subaltern who was destined afterward to play so important a part in the history of his country. When the war was over McLaws retired to a farm in Effingham County, refusing all participation in politics. It was not until 1876 that he visited Washington, when he called at the White House. He had no sooner sent in his card to Gen. Grant than he heard the President, who was at the time busily engaged, call out to his secretary:
"Don't let McLaws go; I want to see him."
"All at once," said Gen. McLaws, "I saw a changed look on the faces of my companions in waiting when they found there was one among them whom the President was anxious to see. Meeting me on the doorstep Gen. Grant held out his hand and said: 'I am delighted to see my old army comrade. I want you to dine with me, when we can dream over the past.'
"After dinner he led me into his private room and directed the conversation so as to find out my personal condition. He listened to my narrative with interest, and turning to me he said:
"'McLaws, would you take office under an old comrade?'
"Taken aback by the question, I at length replied that I was ready to perform all the duties of American citizenship. 'I am sorry you did not come to see me before,' rejoined the President; 'I would have taken pleasure in conferring office upon you. My second term of the Presidency is now nearly ended, but there has not been an hour of that time in which I was not only willing but anxious to confer the offices upon reputable citizens. In this, however, I was foiled by the politicians. The prejudices of the Northern politicians were at work, but the great hindrance was in the Southern Congressmen. They have always held aloof, treated me as a stranger, and refused to give me an opportunity to befriend them. For a Southern man to take office under me brought him under suspicion at home.' "In fact," continued Gen. McLaws, "Gen. Grant spoke with the air of a man who felt chagrined and disappointed at the manner in which the politicians had used sectional differences to further their own purposes. Finally, Gen. Grant said to me, 'Go home and have nothing to do with the politicians, and leave your case with me, and I will take care of you.' I had not much more than reached home when I was nominated and confirmed for the Savannah Post Office, which position I held until a few months ago.
"This is not the only instance within my knowledge," said Gen. McLaws," of the interest taken by Gen. Grant in the South. A story told me by the Hon. William Dougherty, whose memory all Georgians revere, proves beyond question that there would have been no sectional bitterness if Grant had been listened to. When the policy of reconstruction had been resolved upon by Congress Gen. Pope was appointed to take control of the Third Military District, of which Georgia was a part. On assuming control of the district Gen. Pope issued an order announcing that fact, the tenor of which gave great satisfaction to the people. Judge Dougherty was so well pleased with it that he felt called upon to make a visit to Gen. Pope and to express in person his sense of gratification. This done he arose to leave, when Gen. Pope said:
"'Judge, I have known you by reputation a long time; it was my purpose to have invited you to advise me on matters of state, but now that you are here we might as well get to the point. My appointment to the command of this district was made by Gen. Grant for a special purpose. I am from Illinois, a State well settled with the children of Southern people. This fact, in Gen. Grant's opinion, would make me feel more kinship here than would some officer without these associations. Gen. Grant further instructed me to call into council in Georgia the best citizens, naming Gov. Jenkins, Chief-Justice Warner, and yourself. The Constitutional Convention required under the Reconstruction act, if held under these auspices, will perform its work quickly and intelligently. He understands the difficulty you will encounter in dealing with the negro question, but to palliate it he suggests that you adopt either a property or an educational qualification, such as is to be found in some Northern States. Gen. Grant knows that the requirements of the Reconstruction act are extreme, and does not expect that a convention of men like yourself would or could come up to them; but what he asks of you is this: send your best men to the convention; your refined, reputable citizens; let them adopt a Constitution as far advanced as the prejudices of the people will admit; let them give evidence of an honest purpose to reach an agreement with the North; and Gen. Grant promises, in return, to use the whole weight of his influence to have Georgia readmitted into the Union under that Constitution. What he desires, above all things, is a supreme effort on the part of your people to bring about that harmony which should exist between the States. He feels that Georgia is the pivotal State; that if Georgia has the courage--he knows that she has the statesmanship--to make a settlement of the question, her example will be followed by the entire South. I have offered the Presidency of the convention to Gov. Jenkins, but he has declined it on constitutional grounds. I have offered it to Chief-Justice Warner, but he declines it because the fight is too sharp and the prejudices too deep to be met. Now, Judge Dougherty, will you accept the Presidency?'"
Judge Dougherty declined the honor, stating that it was too great a task to try to overcome the prejudices of a whole people. Contrary counsels from those of Gen. Grant led the Southern people into a train of disaster which it has taken nearly 20 years to overcome.
"An officer who once served on Gen. Grant's staff once told me an incident which illustrated the quick decision of Gen. Grant. It was just after the battle of Shiloh. The officers were grouped around a camp fire, when Gen. John A. McClernand rode up to Gen. Grant, and handing him an autograph letter from President Lincoln directing Grant to turn his command over to Gen. McClernand, Gen. Grant read the letter carefully, and then, tearing it up into small pieces and throwing them into the fire, said:
"'I decline to receive or obey orders which do not come through the proper channel.'
"Pausing a moment, he turned to Gen. McClernand and said:
"'Your division is under orders to leave this department in the morning, and I advise you to go with it.' McClernand went, and that was the last that was ever heard of the order, for the culmination of events showed that Grant was right, and no President dared to remove him, for a change of commanders just after the battle of Shiloh would have led to very different results for the Federals.
"The dogged determination to do or die, which was so characteristic of Grant, was what gave backbone to the Federal army. He would never acknowledge defeat. Gen. Zachary Taylor once told me an anecdote of Grant, which occurred during the Mexican war. Lieut. Grant was in charge of a party of men detailed to clear the way for the advance of boats laden with troops from Aransas Bay to Corpus Christi by removing the oyster beds and other obstructions. Failing either by words or signs to make those under him understand him, Lieut. Grant jumped into the water, which was up to his waist, and worked with his men. Some dandy officers began making fun of him for his zeal, when Gen. Taylor came upon the scene, and rebuked it by saying:
"'I wish I had more officers like Grant, who would stand ready to set a personal example when needed.'"
The Veteran's Recent Talk About the Administration, Grant, and Others
From the Chicago Inter Ocean, July 18
"I'm a soldier, not a politician," said Gen. "Tecumseh" Sherman, as at the Grand Pacific yesterday the old warrior offered his good-natured apology for neither knowing nor caring much about politics. Said the General:
"I am on my way to Lake Minnetonka, where my family now is, and I stopped over to arrange some matters with Gen. Chetlain regarding our reunion of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee that will be held here Sept. 9 and 10. It is all arranged now, and I think we shall have a beautiful meeting. We shall not throw it open so much to the general public as heretofore. It is a reunion of soldiers, you see, to talk over old war times and keep alive our old associations, as well as the organization itself. Yes, I have been its President since its origin in 1868. How many shall we have here? Oh, yes, over 200-250, I think. The first day we shall transact our private business in some rooms Mr. Drake will give us here in the Grand Pacific, and in the evening in some public place, for everybody to hear, there will be a public address by Gen. Sanborn. The next evening we shall have a banquet of the society."
The General got to talking about the civil service institution, and he seemed cordially willing to give the system his approval. He declared he believed it in the interests of good government, and it seemed to him to furnish a great relief to Senators and Congressmen, who had but to refer their petitioners for office to the Civil Service Commission for an answer. Said the reporter: "General, does it strike you that a good many Republican soldiers have been removed from office?"
"No," promptly replied the veteran, "I don't think there have been. They seem to have been very moderate in that, and not to have removed a man except for qualifications."
The subject was introduced of Wade Hampton's recent letter regarding the particular service of his troops at Manassas, whereat Gen. Sherman speedily said: "Gen. Hampton is undoubtedly a truthful man, and I do not question that Imboden is honest, but that battle was ten miles long, from Surrey Church to Manassas, and a man is liable to write from the position he occupied. My men were new and did not have sufficient tenacity; but they were not driven by Jackson; they withdrew, and his men were not as a 'stone wall,' but they stood behind a stone wall in fact."
"Have you seen Gen. Grant lately?"
"No, not since December, but I heard three days ago from Fred, and they feel very apprehensive about the General. Save the cancer in his throat he is sound in his lungs, heart, and stomach, and I think he will live several months yet."
"He has written a valuable book, General?"
"Oh, yes, and he has written it mostly with his own hand, but still it comes too late; that is, I do not mean that it is really too late, but it would have been better if he could have written it 20, 15, or 10 years ago when he was fresh. A man commanding everything is better qualified than a colonel to write such a book, for he knows all things. I feel even now, in view of all the material that I had, that I have little to add to my memoirs."
"Shall you ever publish again?"
"No, I think not, though I may add an appendix to my memoirs, and perhaps insert something here and there."
"Shall you put in anything about Jeff Davis?" asked the reporter somewhat irrelevantly. And the General shot out his reply with a soldier's sledge-hammer emphasis:
"If Jeff Davis is a patriot, I'm a traitor, and I ain't. If Jeff Davis is a patriot, Abraham Lincoln is a traitor, and if God ever made a pure man Abraham Lincoln was he. Oh, no, I have nothing to do with Davis. He saw fit to take up something I said to a Grand Army post. No, I have never met him. I believe Davis is honest, but his ambition led him into treason to his country."
"You think Sheridan will have no trouble with the Indians?"
"Oh, no, I think not. You see the only way for an Indian to be honest is to kill a white man's ox. There is no game left; the buffalo and the elk are gone. No, the Indian question will be settled when he is given for his occupation a section of land and the remainder invested for his benefit."
Gen. Sherman got up to wish his visitor good day. The same plain, grizzly old fighter in fatigue dress he remains. He stands with his feet together like the soldier he was trained, and his tall form appears perfectly at ease in black alpaca coat and low-cut white vest, whereon army buttons declare the trade in which "Tecumseh" Sherman made his everlasting mark. When he talks he talks with the utmost good humor and straightforward simplicity. He was speaking of his home in St. Louis, his house building, and the provision he wished to make for those that remained when he was gone. When he mentioned his six children and seven grandchildren he came to speak of the families of brother officers, men his peers in the service years ago, who passed away only to leave those dependent on them beggars for office at Washington, willing to work 10 hours a day for $40 a month, simply to get bread and meat. Forty such instances he said he could recall, and the thought seemed to have its deep pathos as the General dwelt feelingly upon it.