John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

The life of General Ulysses S. Grant. Containing a brief but faithful narrative of those military and diplomatic achievements which have entitled him to the confidence and gratitude of his countrymen online

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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottThe life of General Ulysses S. Grant. Containing a brief but faithful narrative of those military and diplomatic achievements which have entitled him to the confidence and gratitude of his countrymen → online text (page 1 of 21)
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THE LIFE

OF

General Ulysses S. Grant.



CONTAINING



A BRIEF BUT FAITHFUL NARRATIVE



OF THOSE



MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ACHIEVEMENTS



WHICH HAVE ENTITLED HIM TO THE



CONFIDENCE AND GRATITUDE OE HIS COUNTRYMEN.



BY

JOHN" S. C. ABBOTT,

AUTHOR OP "LIFE OF NAPOLEON," "HISTORY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION," "HISTORY OP
THE CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA," "LIVES OF THE PRESIDENTS," ETC.



ILLUSTRATED.




BOSTON:
B. B. RUSSELL, PUBLISHER, 55 OORNHILL.

CINCINNATI: WHITE, CORBIN, BOUVE, & CO.
SAN FRANCISCO : H. H. BANCROFT & CO.

1868.






Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

B. B. RUSSELL,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.



Geo. C. Rand & Avery,

Stereotypers and Printers,

3 Cornhill, Boston.



PREFACE.




ENERAL GRANT is emphatically a man, not
of words, but of deeds. His eloquence is the
eloquence of action. He will be renowned,
through all future time, for the achievements
which he has performed, — achievements which,
every impartial student of history will declare, give him posi-
tion among the ablest men the world has known.

"We are, in our day, apt to give undue importance to fluency
of speech. There is a charm in popular eloquence which cap-
tivates the mind. And one is led to suppose that the man who
can give utterance to noble thoughts in glowing sentences,
who can soar in dazzling flight upon the wings of imagination,
who, with fluency which never fails him, can on all occasions
make an apt and taking speech, must. surely be a man of wide
reach of intellect, of sound judgment, of executive ability.

But no student of the past, no careful observer of the pres-
ent, need be informed that such a conclusion may be very erro-
neous. The voluble talker is often the very inefficient actor.
The man who can elicit shouts of applause upon the platform
may be the very last man to plan and execute an important
enterprise. In fact, speech-making has become the pest of the
present day in legislative halls, consuming the time, and clog-



4 PREFACE.

ging the wheels of action. Moses, whom God chose as the
ruler of Israel, was " slow of speech."

In these few pages we present the character of a thoughtful,
reserved, taciturn man, — a man of tireless energies, of great
breadth of comprehension, of the highest order of administrative
genius. No man can read these pages without being convinced
that General Grant is, in mental capacity, one of the foremost
men of the present age.

To lead a charge on the field of battle requires but little
save the heroism of courage. But to conduct a campaign like
that of Vicksburg, or Chattanooga, or Richmond demands the
highest order of intellect. All the resources of which the mind
is capable are called into exercise. The man who has thus
been tested proves himself qualified for any administrative duty
which may be assigned to him.

We speak of General Grant as not being a man of words.
And yet there is great power in the few words which he does use.
His despatches are models : brief, comprehensive, clear, no
man can misunderstand them. The energy with which General
Grant grappled with the Rebellion, the self-denying patriotism
with which he consecrated himself to the service of the country,
and the achievements to which he led the glorious armies of the
Republic, giving our nation new renown throughout the world,
surely entitle him to the confidence and affection of every
American citizen.

JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
New Haven, April, 1868.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

COMMENCEMENT OP HIS CAREER.

PAGE.

Parentage.— Anecdotes of his Childhood. — Enters West Point. — Develop-
ment of Character. — Studies and Rank. — Stationed on the Frontiers.—
Ordered to Mexico. — Battle of Palo Alto ; of Resaca de la Palma. — Cap-
ture of Monterey. — Joins the Army of General Scott. — Promotions.—
Battle of Molino del Rey; of Chapultepec — Conquest of Mexico. — With-
drawal of the Troops H

CHAPTER II.

THE BATTLE OF BELMONT.

General Grant stationed in Oregon. — Life on the Frontier. — Resigns his
Commission. — A Farmer. — A Merchant. — Commencement of the Re-
bellion.— Raises a Company. — Promoted to a Colonelcy. — A Brigadier-
General.— Seizes Paducah. — In Command at Cairo. — Expedition to
Belmont. — The Battle. — Its Results 23

CHAPTER III.

THE CAPTURE OF FORT HENRY, AND THE MARCH TO DONELSON.

The Military Line of the Rebels.— The Strategic Importance of the Posts. —
General Grant's Views. — The Co-operation of Commodore Foote. — The
Naval and Land Force. — Plan of Attack. — The Battle and Capture of
Fort Henry. — Preparation for the Attack upon Donelson. — Strength of
the Works. — Peril of the Attack 35

CHAPTER IV.

THE CAPTURE OF FORT DONELSON.

The March to Donelson. — Investment of the Fort. — The Bivouac. — Com-
mencement of the Conflict. — The Wintry Storm. — Action of the Gun-
boats.— The Repulse. — Interview between Foote and Grant. — Despera-
tion of the Foe. — The Attempt to Escape. — Energy and Sagacity of
Grant. — The Final Conflict. — The Capture and its Results . . . .47



6 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.

THE BATTLE OF 8HILOH.

PAGE.

Opening of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. — Generals Grant and
Sherman. — Disembarkation at Pittsburg Landing. — The Situation. — Plan
of the rebel General Johnston and its Success. — Valiant Defence.—
General Lewis Wallace unjustly censured. — His Vindication. — Prompt
Action of Colonel Webster ^61



CHAPTER VI.

THE VICTORY AT PITTSBURG LANDING.

Renewal of the Battle. — Retreat of the Rebels. — General Grant's Charge.—
Spectacle of the Battle-field. — Testimony of General Sherman. — Grant's
Congratulatory Order. — The Unfavorable Impression. — Speech of Hon.
E. B. Washburne.— General Halleck assumes the Command. — The Ad-
vance upon Corinth. — The Investment. — Impatience of the Troops . . 73

CHAPTER VII.

THE SIEGE OF CORINTH, AND THE ADVANCE TO VICKSBURG.

The Secret Evacuation. — Chagrin of the Army. — General Grant restored to
his Command. — His Headquarters at Corinth. — Plans of Price, Bragg, and
Van Dorn. — The Rebel Batteries at Vicksburg. — The Advance upon
Vicksburg. — Failure of the Canal. — The Lake-Providence Enterprise.—
The Moon-Lake Enterprise. — The Yazoo Enterprise ... . . .84

CHAPTER VIH.

RUNNING THE BATTERIES.

Bitter Feeling towards General Grant. — President Lincoln approves his
Course. — His Movement upon Vicksburg. — Opposition to Ids Plans. —
March to New Carthage. — Self-reliance of General Grant. — Admiral
Porter. — Enthusiasm of the Sailors. — Conflict on the River. — Running
the Batteries. — Secessionist Revenge 100

CHAPTER IX.

THE MARCH TO THE REAR.

Bombardment of Grand Gulf. — Crossing at Bruinsburg. — Friendly Negroes.
— Advance upon Tort Gibson. — The Battle.— Repulse of the Foe. —
Flight and Consternation. — Grant's Despatches. — His Caution and Dan-
ger. — Personul Habits.— Testimony of General Badeau . . . .in



CONTENTS. 7

CHAPTER X.

THE ADVANCE TOWARDS VICKSBURG.

PAGE.

Innumerable Cares of the General. — The March along the Big Black. — Cap-
ture of Jackson. — Strategy and Tactics.— Youthful Combatants. — Advance
upon Edwards's Station. — Battle of Champion Hill. — Capture of Edwards's
Station. — Despatch from General Halleck. — Battle of Black-river Bridge.

— Entire Discomfiture of the Foe 123

CHAPTER XI.

THE CAPTURE OF TICKSBURG.
Crossing the Big Black. — Singular Interview between Grant and Sherman.—
The Investment of Vicksburg. — Magnitude of the Achievement. — Progress
of the Siege. —Johnston's unavailing Endeavors. — Explosion of the Mine.

— Distress of the Besieged. — The Capitulation. — Rebel "Chivalry." —
Letter from President Lincoln 136

CHAPTER XII.

THE PERIL AT CHATTANOOGA.
Results from the Fall of Vicksburg. — Humanity of General Sherman. —Peril
of the Army in East Tennessee. — Disaster at Chattanooga. — General Grant
placed in Command. — His Wonderful Energy. — Opening Communications.

— The Pontoon Bridge. — Movement of Hooker and Howard. — The Repulse

of the Rebels 155

CHAPTER XIII.

PREPARATIONS FOR BATTLE.
Extent of General Grant's Command. — March of Sherman. — Chagrin of
the Rebels. — Characteristics. — Peril of Burnside. — Anxiety of Grant.—
Grandeur of the Military Movements. — Grant's Despatches. — Position of
General Thomas.— Arrival of Sherman. — Meeting of Sherman and How-
ard. — Assuming the Offensive 168

CHAPTER XIV.

THE BATTLE OF MISSIONARY RIDGE.
Lookout Mountain. — General Hooker's Advance. — The Battle in the Clouds.

— Retreat of the Foe. — Position of the Armies. — Plan of the Battle.—
Characteristics of General Grant. — Movements of Sherman ; of Hooker —
The Decisive Charge by Thomas. — The Victory. — Sheridan's Pursuit.

— Activity of General Grant. — The great Ability he displayed . . .180

CHAPTER XV.

THE PURSUIT.
Night-Scene. — Grant's Despatches. — The Pursuit. — Destruction of Chatta-
nooga Depot. — Speech of Jefferson Davis. — The Contest at Ringgold. —
The Campaign and the Great Battle. — Lincoln's Proclamation and Letter.

— Halleck's Report. — Movements for the Relief of Burnside. — Grant's
Despatches ..".,,,,,..,,,, 191



8 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XVI.

THE BELIEF OF KNOXVILLE.

PA6K.

The Siege of Knoxville. — Preparations for Defence. — Rebel Attack upon
Fort Sanders. — Bloody Repulse. — Flight of Longstreet. — Arrival of Sher-
man. — Grant's Congratulatory Order. — His Energy. — Testimony of the
Indian Chief. — National Testimonials. — Speeches in Congress. — Medal. —
Sherman's Raid. — Exploring Mountain Passes. — Visit to St. Louis . . 202

CHAPTER XVII.

NATIONAL HONORS CONFERRED UPON GENERAL GRANT.

Revival of the Grade of Lieutenant-General. — Speech of Hon. Mr. Farns-
worth. — Of Hon. Mr. Washburne. — Action of Congress. — General Grant
nominated by the President. — His Letter to Sherman. — The Reply. —
Public Enthusiasm. — Conferring the Commission. — New Plans for the
Conduct of the War 217

CHAPTER XVILL

THE BATTLES OF THE WILDERNESS.
The Plan of the Campaigns. — Crossing the Rapidan. — The First Day's Battle.
— Picturesque Spectacle. — The Second Day's Battle. — The Third Day's
Battle. — Peculiarity of the Conflict. — Terrible Losses. — Battle of Spott-
eylvania Court-house. — Defeat of the Rebels. — Death of Wadsworth and
Sedgwick.— Anecdotes of General Grant 227

CHAPTER XIX.

THE MARCH FROM SPOTTSYLVANIA TO THE PAMTJNKEY.

Scenes on the Battle-field. — General Hancock's Midnight Charge. — The Bat-
tle of Spottsylvania. — The Retreat of the Foe. — Grant's Congratulatory
Order. — The Mud Blockade. — Advance to Guinea's Station. — The Race
for Richmond. — The Pageantry of War. — Magnitude of the Army. — Ad-
vance to the North Anna. — Positions of the Two Armies. — Secret March
to the Pamunkey. — New Base of Supplies 239

CHAPTER XX.

THE MARCH FROM THE CHICKAHOMINY TO PETERSBURG.

The Union Lines on the Chickahominy. — The Opposing Rebel Lines. — The
Desperate Battle. — Days of Intrenching and of Battle. — Preparations for
another Flank Movement. — The Wonderful March to Petersburg. — Sur-
prise and Alarm of the Enemy. — Change of Base of Supplies. — Conflicts
around Petersburg. — The Siege Commenced 251

CHAPTER XXI.

THE SIEGE OF PETERSBURG.
Investing Petersburg. — The Railroads. — General Birney's Raid. — The Cav-
alry Raid of Generals Wilson and Kautz. — General Grant's Despatch. —
Feelings of the Soldiers. — The Bombardment of the City. — Sympathy
between President Lincoln and General Grant. — Ewell's Raid . . .262



CONTENTS. 9

CHAPTER XXII.

PROGRESS OF THE SIEGE.

PAGE.

Labors of a Beleaguering Army. —Attack upon Richmond from the North. —
The Mine: its Construction, Explosion, Results. — Gregg's Raid to the
Weldon Road. — Its Seizure. — Desperate but Unsuccessful Struggles of
the Rebels. — Treachery of the Rebels. — Military Railroad. — Tidings of the
Capture of Atlanta. — Obduracy of Jeff. Davis. — Immensity of General
Grant's Cares 275

CHAPTER XXQI.

grant's battles and Sherman's march.

General Grant's Report. — General Butler's Movement upon Richmond.—
March to the South-side Railroad. — Midnight Bombardment. — Renewed
Attempt upon the South-side Railroad. — President Lincoln's Second Inau-
gural. — Sherman's Wonderful March. — Ravages of the March. — Capture
of Savannah 286

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE final victory.

Pride of the Rebels. — Anxiety of the North for Peace. — Sherman's March
through the Carolinas. — The Ravages of War. — Grant's Comprehensive
Plans. — Continued Battles. — Lee's Plan of Escape. — The Last Struggle.
—Lee's Utter Discomfiture. — His Flight. — The Surrender. — Overthrow
of the Rebellion. —Grant's Farewell Address .297



LIFE OF GENERAL' GRANT.



CHAPTER I.



COMMENCEMENT OF HIS CAREER.



Parentage. — Anecdotes of his Childhood. — Enters West Point. — De-
velopment of Character. — Studies and Bank. — Stationed on the
Frontiers. — Ordered to Mexico. — Battle of Palo Alto ; of Besaca de
la Palma. — Capture of Monterey. — Joins the Army of Gen. Scott. —
Pi-omotions. — Battle of Molino del Bey ; of Chapultepec. — Conquest
of Mexico. — Withdrawal of the Troops.

PON the banks of the Ohio River, about
twenty-five miles above the city of Cincin-
nati, there is the little village of Point
Pleasant, containing three or four hun-
dred inhabitants. It is a pleasant point of
the beautiful stream (la belle riviere, as the French call
the Ohio), and lies on the northern or Ohio side, in
what is now known as Clermont County. Not quite
half a century ago, a very worthy young man of Scotch
descent drifted to that remote region on the tide of migra-
tion which was then, as now, sweeping, with ever-increas-
ing flood, towards the setting sun. He had brought with
him from his Pennsylvania home the Bible in his chest,
and its principles in his heart, and became a respected
member of the Methodist persuasion. He found him a




12 LIFE OF GENERAL GRANT.

bride in an excellent maiden who had accompanied her
parents to this frontier settlement from Pennsylvania.

On the 27th of April, 1822, a son was born to them,
who received the baptismal name of Ulysses S. Grant.
The babe was scarcely a year old, when the parents
removed about twenty miles up the river, to George-
town, Brown County, Ohio, about seven miles back from
the stream. Here the little family found themselves in a
more progressive region, and in the midst of a more
energetic, intelligent, and thriving community. Ulysses
was sent to the village school, where he obtained the
rudiments of his education. He developed at that early
period no qualities which indicated that he was destined
to distinction. He was a good boy, — faithful in his
duties, peaceably disposed, of sober character, and solid
endowments. A few incidents have been gleaned from
parents and friends, so few and so trivial as only to
prove, that, in those early years, there was nothing par-
ticularly to distinguish him from the other farmers' boys
who were his companions and friends.

We are told, that, when the child was but two years old,
his father was one morning holding him in his arms, in a
public part of the village, when a boy came along with a
loaded pistol. Curious to see how the babe would stand
the fire, the boy asked the father of the child to let
Ulysses pull the trigger. They curled the tiny finger
around it. The child pulled, and the charge was ex-
ploded. Delighted with the loud report, the little fel-
low shouted, " Fick it again ! " One standing by said,
" That boy will make a general." None will question but
that the prediction has been verified.

The father of General Grant, in an account of his



COMMENCEMENT OF HIS CAREER. 13

childhood published in " The Ledger," gives the follow-
ing interesting narrative : —

" The leading passion of Ulysses, almost from the time
he could go alone, was for horses. The first time he
ever drove a horse alone, he was about seven and a half
years old. I had gone away from home, to Ripley,
twelve miles off. I went in the morning, and did not
get back until night. I owned, at the time, a three-year
old colt, which had been ridden under the saddle to
carry the mail, but had never had a collar on. While I
was gone, Ulysses got the colt, and put a collar and the
harness on him, and hitched him up to a sled. Then he
put a single line -on to him, and drove off, and loaded up
the sled with brush, and came back again. He kept at
it, hauling successive loads, all day ; and, when I came
home at night, he had a pile of brush as big as a cabin.

" At about ten years of age he used to drive a pair
of horses alone, from Georgetown, where we lived, forty
miles, to Cincinnati, and bring back a load of passengers.

"When Ulysses was a boy, if a circus or any show
came along, in which there was a call for somebody to
come forward and ride a pony, he was always the one to
present himself, and whatever he undertook to ride he
rode. This practice he kept up until he got to be so
large that he was ashamed to ride a pony.

" Once, when he was a boy, a show came along in
which there was a mischievous pony, trained to go round
the ring like lightning, and he was expected to throw
any boy that attempted to ride him.

" < Will any boy come forward and ride this pony ? '
shouted the ring-master.

"Ulysses stepped forward, and mounted the pony.
The performance began. Round and round and round



14 LIFE OF GENERAL GRANT.

the ring went the pony, faster and faster, making the
greatest effort to dismount the rider. But Ulysses sat
as steady as if he had grown to the pony's back. Pres-
ently out came a large monkey, and sprang up behind
Ulysses. The people set up a great shout of laughter,
and on the pony ran ; but it all produced no effect on
the rider. Then the ring-master made the monkey
jump up on to Ulysses's shoulders, standing with his feet
on his shoulders, and with his hands holding on to his
hair. At this there was another and a still louder shout,
but not a muscle of Ulysses's face moved. There was
not a tremor of his nerves. A few more rounds, and
the ring-master gave it up: he had come across a boy
that the pony and the monkey both could not dismount."

We are told, that, when he was twelve years of age, his
father sent him to a neighboring farmer to close the
bargain for a horse which he was wishing to purchase.
Before Ulysses started, his father said to him, —

" You can tell Mr. Ralston that I have sent you to buy
the horse, and that I will give him fifty dollars for it.
If he will not take that, you may offer him fifty-five ;
and I should be willing to go as high as sixty, rather
than not get the horse."

This is essentially an old story, probably having a mere
foundation in fact ; but the peculiarity in this case was,
that when Ralston asked Ulysses directly, " How much
did your father say you might give for the horse ? " he did
not .know how to prevaricate, but replied, honestly and
emphatically, —

" Father told me to offer you fifty dollars at first ; if that
would not do, to give you fifty-five dollars ; and that he
would be willing to give sixty, rather than not get the
horse."



COMMENCEMENT OF HIS CAREER. 15

" Well, I cannot sell the horse for less than sixty
dollars," Mr. Ralston replied.

" I am sorry for that," was the rejoinder of young
Grant, in a tone of decision which satisfied the farmer
that he meant what he said ; " for, since I have seen the
horse, I have determined not to give more than fifty dol-
lars. If you cannot take that, we must look elsewhere
for a horse."

Mr. Ralston took the fifty dollars ; and Ulysses rode the
horse home.

A brother of Ulysses' father had settled in Canada.
As there was no school in his settlement, he sent his
son John, who was about the age of Ulysses, to George-
town, to board with his uncle, and to go to school with
his cousin. We are told, that, on one occasion, John, who
was imbued with British prejudices, said, —

" Your boasted Washington was a rebel and a traitor.
He fought against his king."

" Repeat that," said Ulysses, " and I will whip you."

The pluck of both boys was roused. There was a fierce
battle between the American Eagle and the British Lion.
Though the eagle suffered severe handling, and had its
pinions ruffled, and showed some crimson spots, the lion
was compelled to retire from the field smothered with
bewildering blows. It is said, that, many years afterwards,
the two cousins met in Canada, when stalwart young
men. As they were m pleasantly talking, John suddenly
exclaimed, —

"I say, U. S.,do you remember the thrashing you gave
me at school for calling Washington a rebel ? "

" Yes," Ulysses replied with a quiet smile ; " and I
should do the same thing again under a similar provoca-



16 LIFE OF GENERAL GRANT.

In the year 1839, Ulysses, then seventeen years of age,
entered the Military Academy at West Point as a cadet.
His progress here, as at school, was steady, not rapid ;
his qualities solid, not brilliant. Whatever he gained in
advancement he kept, never falling back. He was faith-
ful in every duty ; securing the approbation of his
teachers, and the affection of his associates. The four
years passed at West Point were four years of intense
application, devoted to the attainment of all those sciences,
and all that knowledge, which pan be rendered available
in the art of war. He was led through the various
branches of a thorough English education ; studied the
French and Spanish languages, chemistry, experimental
philosophy ; was taught the essential art of drawing ;
received instruction in ethics, and in constitutional, mili-
tary, and international law ; in mineralogy and geology ;
and was thoroughly drilled in infantry and artillery
tactics ; in the use of rifled, mortar, siege, and seacoast
guns ; in small-sword and bayonet exercise ; in the con-
struction of field-works and fortifications, and in the
fabrication of munition and materiel of war. Thus he
became, by long and severe training, a highly-accom-
plished man, well prepared to meet the emergencies
and great struggles which lie across every one's path
through life.

Such are the legends which have floated to us from
Grant's early years. We do not vouch for their accuracy.
They merely show the general character which Ulysses
S. Grant had established as a boy, for patriotism, firm-
ness, and unboastful bravery. He graduated in June, 1843,
standing in rank about the middle in his class, and imme-
diately entered the United-States army as brevet second
lieutenant of infantry. He was despatched as a super-



COMMENCEMENT OF HIS CAREER. 17

numerary lieutenant to join a company of infantry sta-
tioned far away on the frontiers of the Missouri Territory,
to watch the Indians. The region was then a wilderness,
which civilization was just beginning to penetrate. The
Indians, exasperated by the treatment which they were
continually receiving from vagabond white men, had be-
come very menacing and dangerous. Ignorant, degraded,
and brutal, they knew not how to discriminate between
the innocent and the guilty. In retaliation of their
wrongs, they often inflicted vengeance upon the families
of the peaceful settlers, — vengeance the recital even of
which causes the blood to curdle in one's veins.

Nearly two years Lieutenant Grant passed in these dis-
tant and dreary solitudes, far removed from the intel-
lectual and refining influences of civilized life. But
there was a cloud gathering in our southern horizon. A
war with Mexico was manifestly approaching. Quite a
little army of United-States troops was gradually being
concentrated in Texas. The boundary-line between
Texas and Mexico was disputed.

The American troops took possession of Corpus Christi,
an important Texan post upon the Gulf of Mexico. In
the year 1845, Lieutenant Grant was sent, with his regi-
ment, to this place, commissioned as full second lieutenant


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Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottThe life of General Ulysses S. Grant. Containing a brief but faithful narrative of those military and diplomatic achievements which have entitled him to the confidence and gratitude of his countrymen → online text (page 1 of 21)