Reliability


Grant’s 9:30 a.m. arrival at Pittsburg Landing, April 6, 1862 8 comments

It turns out that I have too kind to General Grant in at least one area. The time of his arrival at Pittsburg Landing—after hearing cannon-fire at his headquarters ten miles downriver in Savannah and boarding his flagship Tigress for the trip upriver—has been a subject of controversy.   Grant and many of his friends and supporters selected earlier-than-actual times (with those of J.F.C. Fuller and William Rowley being absurdly […]


Ulysses S. Grant Launched an Illegal War Against the Plains Indians, Then Lied About It

Smithsonianmag.com just published an article by Peter Cozzens: Ulysses S. Grant Launched an Illegal War Against the Plains Indians, Then Lied About It The president promised peace with Indians — and covertly hatched the plot that provoked one of the bloodiest conflicts in the West http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ulysses-grant-launched-illegal-war-plains-indians-180960787/?no-ist In this article, Cozzens cogently argues—and his deep-delving research proves it—that modern biographers of Ulysses S. Grant “have either misinterpreted the beginnings of the […]


Errors in U.S. Grant Biographies (Part One: Missionary Ridge) 2 comments

Although the standard version of Ulysses S. Grant’s war-time history portrays him to be a military genius and a reliable chronicler of the American Civil War, his biographers have exaggerated, distorted, or omitted certain, salient facts. One of the most stark examples of this practice is from the Chattanooga campaign, which featured many of the most famous Union generals: Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, Joseph Hooker, […]


Errors in Grant’s official map for the Battle of Belmont 2 comments

A close reading of the official reports for the Battle of Belmont indicates that Ulysses S. Grant’s official map, echoed by authors afterward, incorrectly portrayed Jacob Lauman’s move to the right side of the battle line during the engagement. Although this detailed map of the action, which accompanied Grant’s report of the battle, showed Henry Dougherty’s Second Brigade (22nd Illinois and 7th Iowa) moving to the right soon after forming […]


Grant on crutches at Shiloh? 2 comments

Although it is a rather common assertion in many biographies of Grant and in battle histories of Shiloh, there seems to be little reliable evidence that the General was using crutches when he boarded Tigress at Savannah on April 6th and debarked to ride around the battlefield. This may be one of the stories which had their genesis in his Personal Memoirs (“As it was, my ankle was very much […]


Directions for Lew Wallace at Shiloh on April 6, 1862 1 comment

Although Grant tried to argue that he wanted Lew Wallace merely to march to Pittsburg Landing and had ordered him there, the evidence contradicts him. Even John Rawlins used a different destination while defending Grant and assailing Wallace.The Third Division’s destination was assuredly William Sherman’s right flank. Lew Wallace and four of his subordinates identified the orders’ stated objective as the right of the army, denoting Sherman’s right. Algernon Baxter, […]


Who’s to blame for the Hornets’ Nest surrender at Shiloh? 8 comments

The valiant stand in the Hornets’ Nest position at Shiloh by Union generals William H.L. Wallace and Benjamin M. Prentiss helped to save the rest of the Union army from ignominious defeat on April 6, 1862. Instead of honoring their achievement, General Ulysses S. Grant offered two implausible assertions in his Personal Memoirs. First, he unjustly cast blame on one of his subordinates for the surrender: “In one of the […]


Fallacies concerning the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant 1 comment

Michael B. Ballard’s review of Chris Mackowski’s Grant’s Last Battle: The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (November 2015 Civil War News Book Review), exemplifies the mind-set that my book, Grant Under Fire, so comprehensively opposes. Grant “did not rewrite history,” Dr. Ballard maintains, “he wrote it as he understood and lived it.” The reviewer does refer to “the accuracy, or lack thereof, of the memoirs,” yet […]


The Taking of Paducah 1-2-3

On the CivilWarTalk website, several individuals attempted to refute the fact that Grant (admitted in his own, unsubmitted report) had received Frémont’s authorization before setting out to occupy Paducah, Ky. One person, going by the moniker “DanSBHawk” wrote: “Seems like you could put the matter to rest by showing this one telegraph of Grant acknowledging receipt of Fremonts[sic] orders on the 5th. Here it is. In his unsubmitted report, Grant […]


Grant’s first “victory”?

Almost universally, Ulysses S. Grant, his biographers, and his other supporters make the claim, when they describe the incident, that he took Paducah, Kentucky, despite the absence of orders from his superior officer, General John Frémont. Grant was quite clear about this in his Personal Memoirs: “Not having received an answer to my first dispatch, I again telegraphed to department headquarters that I should start for Paducah that night unless […]