Albert Deane Richardson.

A personal history of Ulysses S. Grant: and sketch of Schuyler Colfax online

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PUBLISHERS' ANNOUNCEMENT.



RicharcUoD*8 ** Field, Daneeon and Escape," which we issued in 1865, reached
the enormous sale of upwards of ninety thousand copies. His ** Beyond the Miss-
issippi,'' in no wise a sensational book, and brought out during the dull season of
1^, circulated seventy thousand copies within the first thirteen months— a sale
unequalled by any other American work during the same period — and is still, in
the midst of a Presidential campaign, selling at the rate of three thousand copies
a month.

WenowoflTer to the public, his "Illustrated Personal History of General Grant**
It is the result of long, unremitting labor ; and would have appeared sooner but
for the author's desire, in which we heartily concurred, to make it, not a mere
hasty compilation for a campaign document, but a work of permanent historical
Talue. Without dispara^ng other biographies, we call attention to some features
of this.

1. I^aonal Its fresh and very ample details of Grant's early civil and military
life, as well as his acts and utterances during and since the rebellion, give, we be-
lieve, a far more complete and just idea of his career, character and capacity than
can be gained from any other source whatever.

2. lUitieaL It sets forth with great minuteness, and always in his own words,
the Gt^neral's views and sympathies on leading public questions before the war, dur-
ing the war and since the war. As a single example, his advancing opinions on
the slavery question, are shown on pages 210, 211, 207, 268. 271, 276, 2i^, 345, 437,
585, 536, etc. His expressions on soldier's voting, reconstruction, French inter-
venUon in Mexico, administering the War Department, and other successive topics
of the hoar, are every where interwoven with the story of his life.

3. MUUary. A complete military history of its subject, would fill several vol-
umes, and is not within the scope of this. But it gives the main thread clearly
and comprehensively, and throws new light upon disputed points. Its figures,
compiled frt>m official documents with great care and painstaking, and all capable
of authentication, exhibit minutely the relative strength of Grant and Lee at vari-
oos periods, with complete tables of Grant's aggregate losses and captures, certi-
fied to by the Assistant Adjutant General. See pages, 411, 412, 491, 492, 493, 494,
495, 496. They furnish data indispensable to an intelligent discussion of Grant's
generalship in the great Virginia campaigns.

4. New Documents. Among these, Lincoln's letter, explaining his permission for
the Virginia Legislature to convene, (page 475) is now, we befleve, first given to
the public. Lee's correspondence with Grant, proposing a peace conference, (448,
449, 450,) has never before been in print; nor haveany of the important dispatches
and letters on French intervention in Mexico, which begin on page 506, and are
continued on many later pages. There are also many characteristic minor dis-
patches from Grant, Lincoln, etc.

We respectfully ask a fair examination of the work, and believe that it will be
found graphic, trustworthy and valuable ; not only for its facts, but also as pre-
serving the life and spirit of the times it treats of. On the dav of its issue our
books contained the names of 12,471 subscribers already received for it.

THE AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY.

Hartford, Omn., August, 1868.



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A PERSONAL HISTORY



OF



ULYSSES S. GEANT,



ILLUSTRATED BY TWENTY-SIX ENGRAVINGS;



XIGHT rAC4IMILEB OF LSTTBS8 FBOH 0BA2!rr, LINOOLN, 8HEBIDAN, BUOENER,

LEE, Era;



AND SIX MAPS.



WITH A PORTRAIT AND SKETCH OF SCHUYLER COLFAL
\



ALBERT D. :|ICHARDSON,

▲OTBOB OF " raU), DUVCTON, AHD B80AP1»" AND ^'BSTOND THB HIBSIBSIPPL'*



P— d hf w fci wim oa — ly, 14 BO* iir »W h ttw took-rtwm l lm d tm U of lygtotolm tU Unkm dwMac • copy
•kMM sMnH th« P^lbbm, ib4 aa afMl win caU apoa IWb.]



12'

ffARTFORD, OONN.:
AMERICAN PUBLISHING COMPANY.

NEWARK, K. J.:

BLISS AND COMPANY.

CHICAGO, ILL.:

G. AC. W. SHERWOOD.

1868.



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OCT I 1917*^^



HhuMrj^^^^^



Botered Moordtng to Act of CJongreM, in the jwt 1868,

Bt ALBBBT D. BICHABD60K,

In tlie Okrk'ft 0flloe of the Dlftriot Court of the Sonthern District of New York.



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"JDUR QREATBST YET WITH LEAST PRBTBN3B»
pI^AT IN COUNCIL, AND GREAT IN WAR,
j^'OREMOST pAPTAIN OF HIS TIME,
jllCH IN SAVING COMMON SENSE,
And, AS THE GREATEST ONLY ARE,
Jn HIS SIMPLICITY SUBLIME.

^ThO NETBR SOLD THE TRUTH TO 8SRYB THE HOUI^
JfOR PALTERED WITH ETERNAL pOD FOR POWBI^;
^ThO LET THE TURBID STREAM OF RUMOR FLOW^

Jhi^uoh either babbling woi^d of high or low^ ;

^ThOSS life W^AS work, WHOSE LANGUAGE RIPE
JflTH RUGGED MAXIMS HEWN FROM LIFE.

jiR ON W^HOM, FROM BOTH HER OPEN HANDS^

J^AYISH J!ONOR SHOWERED ALL HEI^ STAINS,

AXD AFFLUENT J^'ORTUNE EMPTIED ALL HER HOI^N"

TENNrSOlPS ODE— DEATH OF WELLINGTON.



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PEEFAOE.



br 1861, when the gnns of Sumter awoke the coantrj, a resigned armj
captain, in hia fortieth year, was living at Galena, Illinois. His civil life of
seven years had been a hard struggle. Though healthy, temperate, and
mo$t indnstrious, he had found serious difficulty in supporting the wife and
children to whom he was devotedly attached. He had failed as a farmer,
tnd as a. real-estate agent, and was now clerk in his father^s leather store, at
t salary of eight hundred dollars per year.

He was hardly known to a hundred persons in the little city. His few in-
thnates esteemed and loved him ; but he seemed so out of place in the
scramble of life, that even they regarded him with something of that patron-
izing sympathy which those who earn their bread and butter easily, feel for
the '^unpractical " who are baffled by that first problem of existence.

He had shown little interest in politics, and had never voted but once.
Though a very close reader of newspapers, he lacked the culture derived
from books. In hours of leisure he wooed not history, philosophy, nor
poetry — ^bnt euchre, whist, and chess ; smoking his clay pipe, and, between
the games, relating incidents of the Mexican war and of garrison life in Oregon.

At the Military Academy he had been unnoticeable, and he graduated near
the middle of a class which was by no means brilliant. His military life of
deven years gave no distinguishing promise. His reputation was very high
for amiability, truthfulness, and fair-mindedness. While campaigning in
Mexico, and while busy as a quartermaster both in Mexico and on the
frontier, it was above the average for bravery, energy, and business efficiency ;
but in the idle routine of a line-captdn during his last year in the army, and
in the drcumstanoes of his leaving it, this had been something marred.

And now when he ofibred his services to the Government, the a^utant-
general did not even answer his letter ; his native Ohio had no commission
for him, and the governor of his adopted Illinois gave him a half-clerical,
half-advisory position, only on the persisting demands of two Galena
gentlemen.

*^ Many meet the gods, but few salute them.^' The obscure ex-captain
had reached middle life without much honor, either in his own country or



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vi Pbepace.

anTwhere else. Had he died then, lie would haye been remembered only
as a pare, shy, kindly gentleman, of moderate abilities.

But a destiny almost incredible awdted him. In one year he was a
laareled hero. In three, he had risen to the command of a million of
soldiers. In seven he was the predestined President of the Great Republic.
At a period requiring the highest statesmanship, he had won the enthusiastic
confidence of thirty millions of people in his ability to conduct their civil
affairs ; and the leather-dealer's clerk was the foremost man of all the world.

The bare outline of this strange, eventful history, reads like a leaf from the
Arabian Nights. I have endeavored to fill in details which make it more
intelligible.

I first met General Grant on his way to Donelson. His unassuming
modesty, and a oertcun quiet earnestness, which seemed to **mean business^'*
won greatly upon me, but kindled no suspicion that he was the Ooming
Man. My fancy painted that expected hero in the good old colors, as quite
the opposite of this prosaic brigadier. In my mind's eye I saw him charg-
ing at the head of his body-guard in the supreme moment of battle, while
he cried, ** God and the Union I " and flaming out in proclamations which
rang through the land like a trumpet — all in the high Roman fashion.

But every general of whom I predicted greatness, failed to achieve
it. Meanwhile, I saw more of Grant, sitting beside him around nightly
camp-fires, at the most trying period of his life. Even then I defended
him a little haltingly, agfdnst bitter assailants. I held him a pure man,
an energetic fighter, but by no means one of the few, th' immortal names.

At last, educated to humility of opinion through *' the long, dull anguish
of patience,'' it dawned upon me that he was winning great successes, be-
cause he was a great general — rising into the key position of the national
batteries, solely because he was our gun of heaviest metal and largest caliber.

In these pages I do not give all the minute details of his achievements in
the field. The world knows them by heart. I seek rather to show what
made him the man he is — the stock from which he sprang ; the molding
influences of his boyhood ; his early military and civil life ; his intellectual
growth, and political education during the great rebellion; his opinions
since on national and international affairs — chiefly the difficult and ever-
changing questions involved in the stupendous problem of re-a4justing tiie
political and industrial relations of ten millions of people, occupying half a
continent ; and through all, the little things indicating the interior life of
the man — what he thought, and hoped,* and feared. Hence I relate many
incidents, believing that those, even, which seem trivial and pointless, may
help to throw light upon his organization and development.

Personal histories so abound in colorings, suppressions, and half-truths,
that it has been sdd, *^ A biography is either a satire or a panegyric." For
example, documents still in existence prove the George Washington of
popular repute as fabulous as Liliput or Bluebeard. There never was any
saoh perfect, supra-human Washington. But there was a Washington^ full
of human weaknesses and faults, yet of such practical wisdom, such long-



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Pbbpace. vU

floffering patience, each radiant integrity, that those who knew him best
loved and honored — not the moral Apollo we substitute for him, bnt the
living man, infirmities and all, just as he was.

I can not hope to have escaped altogether the dangers whi<$h beset this
path of literature. But I have tried to write without any theory to vin-
dicate, any case to make out, or any party to serve. I have not aske<l
** Whom will this or that fact help or iiyuie ?" but only, " Is it a fact ?" I
have consciously added nothing, concealed nothing, explained away nothing,
I have endeavored, not to paint the ideal, but to photograph the man — or,
rather, to let the man photograph himself. Wherever it was practicable,
I have copied verbatim from his letters, orders, and reports. In conversations
I have not professed to give his language in a single case, unless some
leoord, or some person I believe trustworthy, has given his language to me.

In consulting previous works, I have drawn most upon Badeau^s admi-
rable volume. For new material, official records have been opened to me
with great freedom and kindness, enabling me to use many letters and dis-
patches upon important points of our recent history, never before given to
the public. I have journeyed thousands of miles to visit the various scenes
of Grant^s checkered life, and talked with hundreds of his life-long acquaint-
ances, civil and military. All have afforded me cheerful assistance, and all
have expressed hearty love and admiration for his character.

There are men who still see in him only the darling of fortune— ener-
getic Mediocrity which has blundered into success. I think such are misled
by two of his peculiar qualities : —

L He is unimaginative. When he has nothing to say, he says nothing.
In private he fills no interstices of conversation with remarks upon the
weather, or inquiries after the babies of his visitor. In public he can make
DO speeches simply of form or compliment ; and since the world cared to
bear his opinions on affairs, his official position has seldom allowed him to
speak freely. But in public or in private, when he has any thing to utter
by tongne or pen, he says it with extreme rapidity and clearness, in terse,
marrowy, idiomatic English. His final report as lieutenant-general, his
oorreq>ondence on the Mexican question, his instructions to military subor-
dinates in the South, and other documents in the closing chapters of this
volume, afford many examples. But he clothes his thoughts in no fiowers
of rhetoric ; he presents them in tlie plainest, homeliest words. Napoleon^s
memorable sayings are all of this order : " From these summits forty cen-
turies look down upon you." *' We will carry our victorious eagles beyond
the pillars of Hercules." Grant^s are the exact antipodes: " I have no
terms bnt unconditional surrender." **I propose to move immediately
upon your works." '* I shall fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."
The armies were ^^ like a balky team." His army was *^ in a bottle strongly
corked." Said the dramatic Oorsican after Austeditz: *' Soldiers, I am
Mtisfled with you. You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory."
Said the matter-of-fact American to his shouting men after Port Gibson :
** Soldiers, I thank yon. That is all I can say. Ton have done a good day's



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viii Preface.

work to-day, bat 70a most do a better one to-morrow." Ko gashing
rhetorio — only the simple, unadorned fact

n. He is utterly nndramatic. Scott was nicknamed bj his enemies,
" Fqss and Feathers.'' Qrant has less fass and fewer feathers than any
other pnblio man of his day. He believes that " That which is, u." He
accepts things jnst as he finds them, not troubling himself about the ** Eter-
nal Verities,'' but doing promptly, thoroughly, and subordinately, the duty
which lies right before him, however prosaic and disagreeable. He acts his
convictions instead of talking them. So he is called ^* common-place :" for
we Americans are prone to confound brilliancy with greatness ; to admire
any special shining gift, even though accompanied by some corresponding
weakness, rather than that large development and harmonious adjustment
of all the faculties — clear judgment, or good common-sense. But even
genius, according to Buffon, is " only great patience."

Barely has so much greatness been disfigured by so few littlenesses ; so
much goodness marred by so trivial faults. I believe Orant's character —
peculiarly unique and American — one of the most beautiful in history ; a
worthy companion to that of the great President, murdered through the foul
conspiracy which was aimed' at his life also. Happily he remains to com-
plete the work of Abraham Lincoln — to whom he is so unlike, and yet so
like — with the same steadfastness and sagacity, the same ^* charity for all,
and malice toward none."

He is singularly genuine and guileless. He still preserves in his high estate
the sweetness and simplicity of his country boyhood. Altogether free from
cant, his lips, obeying the teachings of his mother, have uttered no oath,
been soiled by no coarseness. He is a miracle of serenity and self-poise.
During the terrors of Belmont, when an lude, with pallid cheeks, cried,
" Why, General, we are surrounded I" there was no perceptible change in
his pleasant face or calm voice as he answered, " Then we will cut our way
out" Nearly four years later, as he read Lee's dispatch proposing the sur-
render of the Army of Northern Virginia, he was equally unmoved ; no elation
shone in his face, or sounded in the ordinary tone in which he asked :
** Well, General Rawlins, how do you think that will do ?" ** Tried by both
extremes of fortune, and never disturbed by either," he remains as simple
and unaffected to-day as in his years of poverty and obscurity.

Our war might have developed a leader profligate, corrupt, or uneasily
ambitious, as so many great captains have been in the ]>ast. It gave us in-
stead this pure, modest, simple-hearted man, who is loyal and admirable in
private life, who loves himself last, and who believes most enthusiastically
in the United States of America. Invincibility in war, magnanimity in vic-
tory, wisdom in civil government, and unselfishness in all things — what are
these, if they be not greatness ?

** What is writ is writ ; would It wer« worthier.'*

It is the imperfect record of a life which carries a striking lesson of
charity, of faith in human nature, of certainty that the highest talents may
sleep undiscovered until opportunity comes, without which no man is great

Vbw Yoek, Auffu$t 1, 1968.



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OONTEN"TS.



' CHAPTBB L— Genealoot.

PA6B

Matthew Grant lands at Nantasket — Milk one penny a quart— On the verge of
Starvation — A Quaint old Epitaph — Fighting Famine and Indians —
Surveyor, Town Clork, and Church Clerk — Matthew Grant's Church
Record — An Umbrella as a Weapon — Solomon Grant makes his Will —
Noah Grant^s Handwriting — Solomon and Noah Grant killed — Noah
Grant, junior, in the Revolution — Settles in Western Pennsylvania —
Removes to the Ohio Wilderness — The Grant Genealogical Record. 17

CHAPTER IL - PAREirrAOH and Bihth.
End of the last Century — How the People lived — Boston, Albany, and St
Louis — ^From Cmcinnati to Pittsburg — A Glance at Famous Men — And
those to become Famous — Many Digressions intended — ^Ingenuity of young
Jesse— The Boy's Mother dies — How the Ohio Settlers lived—Jesse on
Spoons and Bowls — ^The last War with England — iTesse looks for a Wife —
And meets with Ill-Fortune — But finally Marries wisely — And Ulysses is
Bom 33

CHAPTER IIL— Boyhood.
The Baby Named by Ballot — Jesse moves to Georgetown — A great place for
Drinking — " I can't take Powder " — A Correspondence in Rhyme — Ulysses
the Favorite Child — Early exploits with Horses — Boyish feats of Horse-
manship—A curious juvenile Bargain — Skating^ Fishing, and Swimming; —
A New and Improved Version — '* When the Cat's away " 49

CHAPTER IT.— Early Youth.
A Joomey to Deerfield — ^A thoroughly boyish Trick — ^Working in the Bark
Mill — " Dave and Mo " — Ulysses sent to Louisville — Driving a good
Bareain — The Hills "Judgment and Mercy" — Ulysses* Father and
Mother — At School and in Sports — ^The Military Spirit fervent — A Student
at Maysville and Ripley — ^Ulysses' standing at Seventeen. 61

CHAPTER v.- West Point.
Plans for Future Life— A Vacancy at West Point — ^Ulysses "Simpson"
Grant Appointed — Reaches the Military Academy^— Its SJcenery and Stirring
Memories — Moll Pitcher's Life and Death — Obstructing Rivers with Chains
— Darkest days of the Revolution — Arnold escapes to the Enemy — ^The Ro-
mantic Memory of Andre — ^Winfleld Scott on West Point — West Point
saves the Country 73

CHAPTER TL— Graduates.
How Cadets are treated — Only an Inch to Spare — ^Routine of Study and Drill —
How Offenses are punished — What the Graduate has learned — Ulysses
thrashes a Classmaie^Nicknames of the Cadets — ** Leave it to Uncle
Sam " — " I can't die but once." — Graduates and returns Home 86

CHAPTER VIL— Mexican War— with Taylor.
Lieotenant Grant at Jefferson Barracks— Where he falls hi Love— Origin of the
Mexican War — How Annexation was received — ^Lieutenant Grant and his
Jovial Colonel— Stationed at Corpus Chriati, Texas— How Taylor obtained



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X Contents.

P40B

Ifules — ^The Anny marches for Mexico— And encamps opposite Kata-
j] , moras — Grant fights his first Battle — And the next day his second — War
" upon our own Soil "—Scott's '* Fire in the Rear "—Pillow's Ditch and
Breastwork— The Battle of Monterey— Three Days of Hard Fighting —
Grant runs a Gantlet of Death — " Green " rendered into Spanish 95

CHAPTER VIIL— Mehoan Wabt-with Scott.
Taylor is attacked at Buena Vista — ^And wins a Splendid Victory — "Generals
made out of any thing " — ^The battle of Oerro Gordo— A Solitary Relic of
the Aztecs — Grant's Reg^ent seizes San Aug^istine— Battles of CoDtreras
and Churubusoo — The Attack on Molino del Rey — Lively times for Lieu-
tenant Grant^-Chepultepec Stormed and Captured — Lieutenant Grant



Online LibraryAlbert Deane RichardsonA personal history of Ulysses S. Grant: and sketch of Schuyler Colfax → online text (page 1 of 50)