Chapter One – Generalship

U.S. Grant and History

Was Ulysses S. Grant a brilliant and unparalleled general who won the American Civil War, a magnanimous and incorruptible man, and an honest and accurate chronicler of history? Or was he remarkably untruthful, careless, persistent, indolent, aggressive, unjust, biased, impetuous, and lucky? His favorite wartime reporter, Sylvanus Cadwallader, declared that, due to his military achievements, General Grant “was soon surrounded by a halo of hero worship, and thenceforth was a mythical as well as a historical character.” That magnificent aura continued through the years, and with far less tarnish than was often alleged. As judgments on generalship changed over time, Robert E. Lee’s image as a “marble man” eroded over the years, and recent writers turned him into a blunderer, a commander ill-suited for modern conflict, and even the general who brought about Confederate defeat. U.S. Grant (also referred to as “Ulysses,” “the General,” the “Lieutenant-General,” the “President,” etc.) assumed Lee’s former position, in turn, and was pronounced the best general of the American Civil War—or even one of the greatest military leaders ever. Grant, in time, became the new marble man.[1]

According to William T. Sherman, “Grant is the greatest commander of modern times, and with him only three others can stand—Napoleon, Wellington and Moltke.” Another friend and fellow general, John Logan, went further: “As a military commander he was greater than Washington, Napoleon, Wellington, Marlborough, the Prince of Orange, Frederick, Charlemagne, Hannibal or Scipio Africanus.” The General’s final wartime report, which explained his strategies, kindled Dwight D. Eisenhower’s respect.[2]

Numerous uncritical biographies of Grant appeared in his lifetime, even before the war ended. In more recent times, authors continued this trend, with only a few added quibbles. His former staffer, Horace Porter, thought him “unquestionably the most aggressive fighter in the entire list of the world’s famous soldiers.”[3] British military historian J.F.C. Fuller called the “never defeated” Grant, “the greatest strategist of his age, of the war, and, consequently, its greatest general.” “Grant was the greatest general of the war,” one of Fuller’s countrymen, historian John Keegan, proposed, “one who would have excelled at any time in any army.”[4] Ulysses S. Grant—not General George H. Thomas, who earned the epithet at Chickamauga—“was the real Rock,” extolled Lloyd Lewis in a letter, and “once he settled to a course, nothing could swerve him. Lee hadn’t a chance.” More recently, prolific Grant scholar Brooks Simpson supposed that no one waged war more successfully than Grant, despite the numerous commanders with better records. Edward Bonekemper praised him as “the greatest general of the Civil War and one of the greatest in history,” while Steven Woodworth insisted that he “performed with amazing skill and fortitude” and “turned out to be one of the greatest military geniuses in American history.”[5] Even biographers who distinctly criticized certain of Grant’s various failings, accorded him high honors for his reputed Civil War accomplishments. William Woodward, author of the debunking book, Meet General Grant, nevertheless determined that this modern Ulysses “stands at the head of all American generals in the matter of actual accomplishment,” with his “genuine and great ability.” Disparaging the President far more than the General, William McFeely determined that the Vicksburg Campaign turned Grant into “a frighteningly effective warrior,” whereas “his conversion of defeat into victory at Chattanooga proclaimed his military greatness.”[6]

Not everyone agreed with Grant’s vaunted military or personal greatness, but those who disapproved often stood accused of jealousy or were ignored. British historian Alfred H. Burne determined that the General, although a great American, performed rather poorly in Virginia. Winston Churchill wrote of Grant’s “unflinching butchery” during the Overland Campaign and judged that “more is expected of the high command than determination in thrusting men to their doom,” and his performance in the Eastern theatre of war “must be regarded as the negation of generalship.”[7] Stephen Z. Starr, an historian specializing in the Union cavalry, critiqued how “Grant had shortcomings so fundamental as to negate his right to occupy the very high place his modern-day admirers have sought to award to him.” In studying history, he ruled, “it is not only proper but necessary, to go behind the final success.”[8]

Post-war writers defending the South’s “Lost Cause” also took a dim view of the General’s abilities, although politics sharpened and often distorted their critique. His defenders used the exaggerations to dismiss any criticism of their hero. New works, such as Frank Varney’s General Grant and the Rewriting of History and Diane Monroe Smith’s Command Conflicts in Grant’s Overland Campaign, detailed Grant’s unfair treatment of his subordinates and the unreliability of his Memoirs. Calling him “an outstanding general,” Varney still recognized that, in the case of William Starke Rosecrans, Grant did “unfairly impugn his subordinate, rob him of credit rightfully due him, ruin his reputation, and result in some historians not looking beyond the myth.” Although deviating from standard writings on the war, these authors amply documented differences between the General’s rendition and accurate history. Such revisionism illustrated the opposing view to the current penchant for upgrading Grant’s mixed record of military accomplishments and reversing his terrible ratings as president, as well. These negative reassessments of Grant and his generalship, supported by ample documentation, were as necessary as Eric Wittenberg’s incisive evisceration of Philip Sheridan’s leadership abilities or Albert Castel’s devastating deprecation of William Sherman’s generalship and honesty during the Atlanta campaign. But no comprehensive and critical evaluation of Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy, tactics, and character—testing the typically reverential view—yet existed in American Civil War historiography.[9]

Appraisals of Grant, or any other officer, needed to take into account what made a good commander. Effective generalship entailed the ability to translate mission objectives, established by superior military and political authorities, into a comprehensive plan of action and then to implement this through multifarious directives. Tactics on the battlefield involved the careful coordination of the various arms: infantry, cavalry, and artillery. And a general did more than fight. He had to effectively communicate both up and down the chain of command, choose and manage subordinates, train and discipline and equip new soldiers, and inspire his men on and off the battlefield. A good commander supervised, or even assumed when necessary, staff functions of engineering, intelligence, mapping, logistics, commissary and quartermaster affairs, ordnance, signals, and the like. Added to this were such important intangibles as moral and physical courage, integrity, and creativity.

Grant’s unquestioned personal bravery and persistence stood him in good stead throughout the war. His marked aggressiveness, however, was a two-edged sword, depending on the situation. Serious failings, on the other hand, highlighted by favoritism, grudge-holding, alcoholism, politicking, impulsiveness, lack of tactical ability, indolence, etc. worked against Union success. The war was won, nonetheless. But credit and praise were never due to a single individual—no matter how great. It belonged to one’s soldiers, staff, subordinates, and superiors, as well. Henry Halleck received little recognition for his handling and support of Grant during 1862 and 1863, because the General, despite having once judged Halleck as “one of the greatest men of the age,” turned against him shortly after the war. Sharing some of the acclaim, Edwin Stanton and Abraham Lincoln remained steadily on Grant’s side. Numerous biographers barely acknowledged his essential assistant, John A. Rawlins, even though those who watched or worked closely with this team throughout the conflict remarked on how indispensable he was to Grant. The invaluable assistance of Elihu Washburne and Charles A. Dana was likewise underrated. While Grant’s Personal Memoirs minimized the work of all of these men, he was positively merciless to his presumed enemies, such as John A. McClernand and William S. Rosecrans, who then became caricatures in the writings of his supporters. These officers deserved better.[10]

Determining who merited the glory presented difficulties in the best of situations. Many commentators judged generalship solely on a battle’s or a campaign’s or the war’s outcome, a far too simplistic—and frequently deceptive— measure of ability. As with his purportedly winning the war, authors often unfairly awarded Grant sole credit for a battle’s outcome. Andrew H. Foote at Fort Henry and Don Carlos Buell at Shiloh deserved as much or more acclaim than Grant for those battles, but frequently received little or none. The General, at the Battle of Chattanooga, did more wrong than right, but still carried away the honors. Civil War combat sometimes hinged on a single event, such as mistaken or lost orders, the death of a leader, unexpected weather, or an acoustic shadow (where sounds of a nearby engagement were muted). The fortunes of war were just that. The strategic effects of combat sometimes proved equally misleading. In the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson’s superior generalship in the Battle of New Orleans had no bearing on the conflict, as the treaty terminating hostilities had already been drawn up. Casualties served as an overriding standard for certain writers, with some comparing the percentages of troops lost by each side, regardless of a host of inherent methodological problems, much less the underlying illogical mathematics. Instead, the myriad factors to be considered mandated a thoughtful critical analysis, cutting through a fog of wartime reports and discounting the fallacy of unqualified hindsight. Historians had to choose from the vast number of primary and secondary sources. But these contradicted each other so much, that a leader in any particular engagement could have been seen as either gifted or imbecilic, depending upon the sources utilized; Grant at Chattanooga was a fine example of this. Inconsistencies arose from differences in time, perspective, location, proximity, or partiality. Participants in Charles F. Smith’s attack at Fort Donelson put him at the front and the rear of the advancing column, although riding a horse, he could have been at both. One of Grant’s staff, William Rowley, disagreed with himself, first describing Lew Wallace’s division as “coming in where the enemys forces were the strongest & running the risk of being cut off” on its way to Shiloh. He later criticized Wallace for “heading in the opposite direction of the battle-field.”[11]

Vagaries in the assignment of grade, rank, and command afforded highly disparate opportunities. Independent commanders, with greater responsibility and visibility, more easily garnered praise in the newspapers and promotion above their peers. Two Massachusetts politicians, Benjamin Butler and Nathaniel Banks, received major-general’s commissions in the volunteer army early in the war. Despite checkered careers, their high rank kept them in charge of important military departments for years. Grant had the splendid fortune to spend almost all of the war in independent or semi-independent command. His transfer to the crucial post at Cairo, Illinois, with a complementary force of powerful gunboats, greatly increased his prospects for success.

As his star rose higher, he provided favorites such as Sherman and Sheridan with greater possibilities for glory, while Halleck supported Grant, especially against so-called “political” generals. McClernand kept proposing autonomous commands for himself, but only got one chance, achieving a resounding success at Arkansas Post before being quickly deposed by Grant. Virginian George H. Thomas lacked the political backing to acquire an early brigadier-general’s star in the Union army, when over thirty were handed out, including ones to an untested Grant and to many of the losing colonels at Bull Run. They now all out-ranked him, although he had been senior to most of them. After he won one of the more momentous federal victories early in the war at Mill Springs, the administration ignored him. Only when Halleck wanted a West Pointer to command much of Grant’s army in the aftermath of Shiloh did Thomas receive a major-general’s two stars—although insufficiently back-dated. He, consequently, spent most of the war in a subordinate capacity.

The Union officer corps was hardly a strict meritocracy. Many factors entered into the competition for promotions and assignments. Friends in government and fellow officers offered immense assistance. Prominent U.S. Representative Elihu Washburne and other Illinois politicos, especially as they had supported Lincoln for president, proved instrumental in Grant’s rise. William T. Sherman provided a fine illustration of influence. John Sherman, a U.S. senator, helped secure a colonelcy in the regular army for his brother at the start of the insurrection. Politicians then chose William for a brigadier-generalcy. Halleck shepherded him back to high command after blunders and a mental breakdown in Kentucky and Missouri, overlooked his failings before Shiloh, and pushed for Sherman’s second star after that engagement.

Grant assumed much of the stewardship after that, and he and Halleck speedily propelled another protégé, James B. McPherson, up the military ladder. West Point graduates regularly assisted each other in protection and advancement. Nepotism was rife; numerous generals placed relatives on their personal staffs. Sherman helped his Ewing foster-brothers (and brothers-in-law, as he married their sister) into generalcies. State officials or the enlisted men chose company and even field officers in many volunteer regiments, frequently based on political or social connections. Commanders attended to their pet units, staff members, and subordinates and curried favor with their superiors. The absence or insufficiency of information made writing about certain Civil War events difficult. Generals lost or destroyed written orders, left verbal orders never committed to paper, or failed to submit reports. In Grant’s disorganized headquarters records, up to eight copies of a letter supplemented the original. The absence of standardized times further complicated matters. Added to that, actors and spectators misremembered facts, minimized mistakes, confused accounts, lied outright, or engaged in personal mythmaking in their after-battle reports. Officers seemingly did everything immediately or under a galling fire, as they repulsed the enemy. Generals claimed victory whenever possible or, after a failure, nominated scapegoats. Their biographers and friends engaged in apologetics, while accepting unreliable sources or misusing better ones. The victors, many of them friends of Grant, wrote much of the war’s history. He, Sherman, Sheridan, and John M. Schofield lived longer than many of their comrades, commanded the U.S. Army in succession, and wrote self-serving autobiographies. Oliver O. Howard, Grenville Dodge, Admiral David D. Porter and other supporters similarly penned memoirs. Sherman and Porter presented particularly untrustworthy accounts.[12]

Grant’s Memoirs, however, stood out as the most influential work, aside from the Official Records, in Civil War historiography. His eminence as the victorious General-in-Chief (and a two-term president), with a reputation for veracity, quashed all of the critics. Addressing the Society of the Army of the Cumberland in 1893, General Joseph Fullerton decried the wartime and post-war atmosphere in which a cautious individual “would not dare even to hint at the mistakes or shortcomings of a popular hero unless he wished to meet the fate of a martyr, and be stoned to social and political death.” And he identified one source of inaccurate history by quoting, via Sherman, Grant’s claim “that his memory of ‘acts and incidents of the war was so perfect that it was not necessary for him to refer to reports in preparing his memoirs.’”[13]

Carswell McClellan revealed numerous inaccuracies and omissions of conflicting evidence in both the Memoirs and Adam Badeau’s Military History of Ulysses S. Grant, concerning the Overland Campaign. He highlighted how Grant treated Badeau, his most notorious apologist, as a “reliable authority,” while the two men’s writings were “so identical in subject matter, so harmonious in style and treatment, so consistent in mutual inconsistency, and so united in intent … that each is but the duplicate and authorized complement of the other.”[14] Other friends besides Badeau refused to disparage Grant. Another staffer, James H. Wilson, epitomized this loyalty in assuring Badeau shortly after the war: “How could you imagine me capable of writing anything to injure the reputation or inimical to the character of General Grant? Fie on you for a doubter.” Wilson went on to write a glowing volume on Grant in 1868. Much later, after a falling-out with his old chief, he composed biographies of several of the war’s other participants, as well as an autobiography. More recently, John Y. Simon edited the comprehensive and authoritative Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, the best resource on their subject.[15]

The one hundred twenty-eight volumes of the War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, upon their publication, became the most important primary source about the conflict, referred to here as the “Civil War,” its commonly accepted, although not strictly accurate, name. Despite its size, this set embraced only a fraction of the correspondence and reports from the Union side. Confederate records were scantier, particularly during the final collapse. Even with one hundred supplemental volumes and another thirty-one containing records of the two navies, large amounts of material remained unpublished. Some after-battle reports were written long after events (e.g., Benjamin Prentiss’ for the Battle of Shiloh, Phil Sheridan’s for the Valley campaign, and Grant’s final report), and many others were never compiled or submitted. Engagements lacking crucial reports included the Battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and the Wilderness (as Charles F. Smith, William H.L. Wallace, and John Sedgwick, respectively, died shortly after) and the Atlanta campaign (due to Thomas Sweeny’s relief two days after the Battle of Atlanta). As did Grant’s expanded version of the Battle of Belmont, a revised report replaced the original on occasion.[16]

Oftentimes, more reliable evidence came from accounts before, during, or just after combat, such as diaries, correspondence, and especially pre-battle orders. Grant, bemoaning in his Memoirs about the injustice of the Mexican War and blaming Halleck for the slow advance on Corinth, disguised his contemporary sentiments. Despite his partisanship, former newspaperman Charles Dana’s regular updates from the General’s camp provided a more unvarnished perspective than reports written after the fact. The multitude of correspondents covering the war brought with them their own prejudices and those of their newspapers, and the potential for bias increased further when officers selected a pet newspaperman. Receiving favors and inside information from Grant’s headquarters, such reporters as William C. Carroll, Albert D. Richardson, Joseph A. Ware, Sylvanus Cadwallader, and William F.G. Shanks offered positive coverage of the General. Unfriendly reporters were discouraged, ostracized, threatened, or arrested. Still, current newspaper articles often divulged facts that later, official accounts covered up.

Politics influenced the historical record, as well. Radical Republicans made military service difficult for a number of Democratic officers during the war. The General’s post-war status as war-hero, Republican party standard-bearer, and president skewed descriptions of his Civil War career. Over two administrations, he appointed or rejected numerous office-seekers and assisted or antagonized various officials and politicians, all of whom could shape his reputation for better or worse. The opposition overstated his failings, while his defenders embellished—or invented—incidents to display his exceptional qualities. Controversies were debated and scores settled in a plethora of post-war writings for the Century magazine, Southern Historical Society Papers, National Tribune newspaper, war papers of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and myriad other publications.

Inaccuracies of all kinds saturated Civil War writings. Errors passed from one generation of books to the next. As one example, astoundingly erroneous accounts—even by participants—credited Sherman for a hard-fought struggle to seize Tunnel Hill at Chattanooga on November 24, 1863. Albert Richardson (1868): After “having surprised and driven back the enemy,” there was “some sharp fighting as he pushed forward his left toward the summit of Missionary Ridge.” Ephraim Wilson (1893): “The order came, and on we went like the wind,” and the “enemy offering stubborn resistance, was forced back.”[17] James Grant Wilson (1897): “With a hundred guns playing on them, and with as many more answering … climbed it through storms of shot and shell, beat back the bayonets that wreathed its top, clambered over the hot muzzles of the guns upon its summit, and at half-past three planted their banners there.” Samuel H.M. Byers (1911): “All that day we maneuvered under heavy cannonading and drove the enemy from hill to hill at our front. Some of the troops did heavy fighting … .”[18] Lloyd Lewis (1932): Sherman “found that he must climb a series of fortified hills and batter his way up valleys choked with canister.” Bruce Catton (1956): Sherman’s men climbed hill after hill, “with cold-eyed Rebel marksmen shooting at them every step of the way—and occasionally rolling huge rocks down on them. By the end of the day the Army of the Tennessee had had some very hard fighting.” And Jean Edward Smith (2001): “Sherman encountered heavy opposition.” In actuality, the rebels had offered negligible resistance to Sherman’s tardy, unhurried, and prematurely halted advance against an initially unoccupied Tunnel Hill.[19]

Other authors incorporated time-worn anecdotes without investigating the source. William Marvel’s article, “Be careful—the postwar accounts of Federal and Confederate veterans can be more myth than memoir,” thoroughly illustrated the danger of indiscriminately accepting an alleged participant’s recollections. He revealed how Frank Wilkeson inserted himself into the Battle of the Wilderness, when his battery was actually stationed ten miles away. Yet, many authors used this artilleryman’s vivid book without qualification. And highly partisan biographies prevailed in the 1800s. The works of Adam Badeau, Albert Richardson, John S.C. Abbott, James Harrison Wilson and Charles A. Dana, James Grant Wilson, Hamlin Garland, and John W. Emerson, among others, promoted a well-nigh perfect Grant. The first four of these biographies served as campaign literature for Grant’s presidential run in 1868. Another spate of books came out four years later, during his reelection campaign, and even more appeared just after his death. Misrepresentations in these older volumes, almost always without citations, subsequently formed much of the basis for more modern, but still-flawed, works in a chain of error.[20]

Of relatively recent authors, biographer Lloyd Lewis found barely a fault in Sherman’s generalship—despite the egregious and manifold failures of that fighting prophet—and he was well on the way toward a similar treatment of General Grant before his premature death. Bruce Catton, in earlier histories, had faulted certain of Grant’s operations. But upon assuming Lewis’ unfinished project, he reversed previous critical judgments. He replaced the perfectly correct conclusion in Mr. Lincoln’s Army, that “Grant fought the battle of Shiloh—fought it inexpertly, suffering a shameful surprise, losing many men who need not have been lost,” with a tortured defense in Grant Moves South, which admitted little more than that Grant and Sherman erred in responding to accusations of a complete surprise. Catton gave the General the benefit of almost every doubt on his purported intention to charge up Chattanooga’s Missionary Ridge, his plan to pass through the Wilderness, his delay in requesting a truce at Cold Harbor, and his hectoring of George H. Thomas at Nashville. As Grant disliked Thomas, Catton changed his stance, too. The author originally concluded that the “aggressive and mobile” Thomas “could move fast and he could hit with pulverizing impact.” Rating him very nearly as good as Lee, Catton decided that “perhaps this man actually was the best of them all.” Writing as Grant’s biographer, on the other hand, Catton now asserted that the “notoriously deliberate” Thomas showed “genius’s legendary capacity for taking infinite pains, and while he was taking them there was no rushing him.” New research did not apparently account for these revisions.[21]

General Grant certainly deserved much of the acclaim awarded him; he courageously persevered in battle and constantly brought the fight to the enemy. But a thorough investigation of each facet of his plans and actions, battle by battle, campaign by campaign, and for the war as a whole would have cast grave doubts about his overall generalship, much less his being an heroic genius. Almost from the beginning, the U.S. Navy with its control of the western waters, along with other waterborne assets, played an essential role in Grant’s western campaigns, allowing him to safely and easily move armies long distances—even in mid-winter—subdue or bypass enemy strongholds, and pin his opponents against a Union-dominated river. John Pope’s similar feat in capturing Island No 10 and its garrison demonstrated the power of the Union’s land and water forces acting in concert. And General Grant would have been more subject to delay and defeat due to the interdiction of vulnerable supply routes, as often occurred to the central and eastern armies. The U.S. Navy, both blue- and brown-water, was indispensable in winning the war, yet the extent of its contributions was consistently downplayed. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles performed superbly, but Grant denigrated him and his deeds. These overwhelming advantages in waging war against the Confederacy were often dismissed as a measly, Lost Cause rationalization.

And the more Grant and his biographers kept competing generals down, the more glory remained for him and his friends. Grant-centric history meant more than just over-glorifying one man. Countless supporters, following Grant’s lead during and after the war, refused to criticize his protégés. Philip Sheridan, John M. Schofield, James B. McPherson, and the very uneven William T. Sherman usually received congratulations all round. The standard histories and biographies followed suit in overlooking or minimizing the blunders of his friends. An even-handed approach would likely have lowered the estimations of generalship for this close-knit cadre, while similarly raising those of the officers he unreasonably deprecated in his reports and memoirs. The reputations of John A. McClernand, Don Carlos Buell, Lew Wallace, William S. Rosecrans, George H. Thomas, Gordon Granger, and Gouverneur K. Warren, among others, suffered from Ulysses Grant’s unwarranted and self-serving censure. The same held true for Robert E. Lee. The General and his followers somehow considered the Southerner to be an inferior and old-fashioned commander, despite Lee’s having consistently outperformed his federal opponent in the Overland Campaign’s head-to-head confrontations.

Even modern works, with far more information available, presented a distorted, censored, or plainly erroneous narrative. Utilizing the ex post facto excuses that populated earlier books, many biographers, while praising Grant to the heavens, overlooked his usually mediocre talents, his serious personal flaws, and many of his major mistakes as a commander, all of which defined his military career. And they blamed the usual scapegoats. Almost no one doubted, whatever the verdict on his generalship, that Grant became a legend in his own time and had an immense impact on the course of the American Civil War and the ensuing period of reconstruction. But his reputation as a superlative military commander who won the war for the Union, simplistically confused results with ability. Authors eschewed, until now, a full examination of Grant’s darker side, which would put his wartime career and achievements in correct perspective, challenge the partisan accounts, disprove the folk tales, and comprehensively catalog the blunders and the missed opportunities, the favoritism and the grudges, the drinking and the negligence that culminated in unnecessary death and destruction to his men, gross injustice to his enemies, and an almost certainly longer war.

[1] Sylvanus Cadwallader, Three Years with Grant: As Recalled by War Correspondent Sylvanus Cadwallader, Benjamin P. Thomas, ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956), 121.

[2] Boston Globe, June 6, 1885; Washington Post, October 2, 1885; Merle Miller, Ike the Soldier: As they knew him (New York: Perigee, 1987), 14. Logan predicted that Grant’s presidency “will shine out with all the brilliancy and glory of any administration that preceded it.”

[3] Horace Porter, Campaigning with Grant (New York: Century, 1897), 513.

[4] J.F.C. Fuller, The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1929), xi; J.F.C. Fuller, Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), 57–58, 93; John Keegan, “A Brit Rates our Generals: One of the World’s Foremost Military Historians Evaluates the War’s Top Commanders” Civil War Times, vol. 48, no. 6 (2009), 58.

[5] Lloyd Lewis, Letters from Lloyd Lewis, Showing Steps in the Research for His Biography of U.S. Grant, Robert Maynard Hutchins, ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1950), 29–30; Brooks D. Simpson, introduction to The Rise of U.S. Grant, by Arthur L. Conger (New York: Da Capo, 1996), vii; Edward H. Bonekemper III, A Victor Not a Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant’s overlooked military genius (Washington: Regnery, 2004), 270; Richard McMurry, et al., “The Union didn’t win the War, the Confederacy lost it,” North & South, vol. 14, no. 2 (July 2012), 19.

[6] William E. Woodward, Meet General Grant (New York: Horace Liveright, 1928), 4, 7; William S. McFeely, Grant: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981), 139.

[7] Winston Churchill, Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Henry S. Commager, arr. (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1965), 424; Alfred H. Burne, Lee, Grant and Sherman: A Study in Leadership in the 1864–65 Campaign (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), 201–2, 207.

[8] Stephen Z. Starr, “Grant and Thomas: December, 1864,” A Cincinnati Civil War Round Table Presentation, 2002, grant_thomas.html.

[9] Eric Wittenberg, Little Phil (Washington: Potomac, 2002), 135–46; Albert Castel, “Prevaricating through Georgia,” Civil War History, vol. 40, no. 1 (March 1994), 51; Frank Varney, General Grant and the Rewriting of History: How the Destruction of General William S. Rosecrans Influenced Our Understanding of the Civil War (El Dorado Hills, Calif.: Savas Beatie, 2013), 274, 276–77. Historian Albert Castel told how William Sherman’s account of the Atlanta campaign “is filled with exaggerations, dubious assertions, omissions and distortions of facts and with deliberate and sometimes malicious prevarications, fabrications, and falsifications.” Sherman proved himself equally if not more untruthful when it came to the battles of Shiloh and Chattanooga. And historian Stephen Newton joined Eric Wittenberg in disclosing Phil Sheridan’s overblown reputation. Stephen H. Newton, et al., “The Most Overrated Generals: A panel of historians discussed which Civil War generals currently enjoy undue esteem,” North & South, vol. 11, no. 6 (December 2009), 14–15.

[10] Ulysses S. Grant, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (PUSG), John Y. Simon, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967–2012), 5:102.

[11] William Rowley to Edward Hempstead, April 19, 1862, Elihu B. Washburne Papers, Library of Congress (LoC); New York Evening Telegram, January 30, 1885.

[12] William K. Jackson, “Time marches on—but at what time did Civil War armies march?” America’s Civil War, vol. 17 no. 6 (January 2005), 10, 59; Manuscript Division staff, “Ulysses S. Grant Papers: A Finding Aid to the Collection in the Library of Congress,”

[13] Carswell McClellan, Notes on the Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan (St. Paul, Minn.: Wm. E. Banning Jr., 1880), 2; Society of the Army of the Cumberland (AotC), Society of the Army of the Cumberland: Twenty-fourth Reunion 1893 (Cleveland: Robert Clarke, 1894), 59–60, 61.

[14] Carswell McClellan, The Personal Memoirs and Military History of U.S. Grant Versus the Record of the Army of the Potomac (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1887), 4.

[15] James H. Wilson to Adam Badeau, July 18, 1866, James H. Wilson Papers, LoC.

[16] James Compton, “The Second Division of the Sixteenth Army Corps in the Atlanta Campaign,” Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) (Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot, 1991–1996), Minnesota 5:104.

[17] Albert Deane Richardson, A Personal History of Ulysses S. Grant (Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing, 1868), 362; Ephraim A. Wilson, Memoirs of the War (Cleveland: W.M. Bayne, 1893), 258.

[18] James Grant Wilson, General Grant (New York: D. Appleton, 1897), 197; Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers, With Fire and Sword (New York: Neale, 1911), 105.

[19] Lloyd Lewis, Sherman: Fighting Prophet (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1932), 319; Bruce Catton, This Hallowed Ground: The Story of the Union Side of the Civil War (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1956), 297; Jean Edward Smith, Grant (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 275.

[20] William Marvel, “Be careful—the postwar accounts of Federal and Confederate veterans can be more myth than memoir,” America’s Civil War, vol. 17 no. 5 (November 2004), 66–67. Racism and the use of stereotypical dialects, anti-Semitism, and other bigoted attitudes, especially against Irish- and German-Americans, also tainted the historical record.

[21] Bruce Catton, Mr. Lincoln’s Army (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1951), 154; Bruce Catton, Terrible Swift Sword (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963), 63–64; Bruce Catton, “Reading, Writing, and History,” American Heritage, vol. 13, no. 2 (February 1962), 109– 10; Bruce Catton, Grant Moves South (Boston: Little, Brown, 1960), 255–64; Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command (Boston: Little, Brown, 1969), 396–99.

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