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Grant made Lieutenant-General.
to the time when he was summoned to the command of all the armies then engaged in its suppression.
On the 9th of March, being upon official business at Washington, the General was invited to the White House, and addressed as follows by the President, who handed him his commission:
"GENERAL GRANT :-The expression of the nation's approbation of what you have already done, and its reliance on you for what remains to do in the existing great struggle, is now presented with this commission, constituting you LieutenantGeneral of the Army of the United States.
"With this high honor devolves on you an additional responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need add, that with what I here speak for the country, goes my own hearty personal concurrence."
Sherman having been left in command in the south-west, with instructions to capture Atlanta, the vital point in Georgia, commenced that grand series of flanking movements, which, for a time, seemed to occasion intense satisfaction to the rebels, whose commander, Johnston, upon all occasions had Sherman exactly where he wished him; while Granttaciturn, cool, and collected, with no set speeches, no flourish of reviews-proceeded with the difficult task which he had taken in hand-the annihilation or capture of Lee's army, the mainstay of the rebels' military resources, and the occupation of Richmond.
On the 30th of April, the President addressed the following letter to the new Commander:
'LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT :-Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plan I neither know, nor seek to know. You are vigilant
and self-reliant; and pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in great numbers shall be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine.
"If there be any thing wanting which is in my power to give, do not fail to let me know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you!
"Yours, very truly,
To which the General, from Culpepper Court House, Va., on the 1st of May, thus replied:
"TO THE PRESIDENT :-Your very kind letter is just received. The confidence you express for the future and satisfaction for the past, in my military administration, is acknowledged with pride. It shall be my earnest endeavor that you and the country shall not be disappointed.
"From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country 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.
"Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command of all the armies, and in view of the great responsibility and importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thing 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.
"Very truly, your obedient servant,
"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."
Beginning at the right end-profiting by the experience of others-wasting no time nor strength in mere display
Army of the Potomac Moves.
promptly breaking up, as an essential preliminary, the cliques and cabals which had so long hindered the usefulness of the Army of the Potomac-when the Lieutenant-General was at last ready, he moved across the Rapidan, was attacked impetuously by Lee with his whole army before he had fairly posted his own-"Any other man," said Mr. Lincoln, "would have been on this side of the Rapidan after the first three days' fighting"-still fought-moved by the left flank-fought on-prepared, after six days very heavy work, as he telegraphed the President, "to fight it out on that line, if it took all summer"-outgeneralled Lee at Spottsylvania Court House-secured his position-and held it till the contemplated movements in other quarters should place the prize he aimed at within his grasp.
Grant secures his Position
Holding his ground, undeterred by an attempted diversion, in July, in the shape of a rebel raid toward Washington and an invasion of Maryland-a favorite summer pastime, in those days, for the Confederates-he bided his time, his teeth fixed, and the utmost efforts of his wily opponent could not induce him to relax that grim hold. Richmond papers sneered and scolded and abused-proved that he ought to have acted entirely otherwise-asseverated that he was no strategist, but simply a lucky blunderer, a butcher on a vast scale; and rebel sympathizers in the North served up, in talk and print, approved re-hashes of the same staple, and were in the highest dudgeon that General McClellan was not recalled instanter to save the Capital at least, if not to take Richmond. But Grant still held on-the teeth still set-and could not be moved.
While this campaign was progressing, the President addressed the following letter to the Committee of Arrangements of a mass meeting in New York, which had been called as a testimonial of confidence in General Grant, and of satisfaction that his efforts had been crowned with so large a measure of success:
President's Letter. Grant's Remarkable Campaign,
Republican National Convention.
"Executive Mansion, Washington, June 3d, 1864. "GENTLEMEN :-Your letter inviting me to be present at a mass meeting of the loyal citizens to be held at New York on the 4th instant, for the purpose of expressing gratitude to Lieutenant-General Grant for his signal services, was received yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I approve, nevertheless, whatever may tend to strengthen and sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his direction. My previous high estimate of General Grant has been maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the remarkable campaign he is now conducting; while the magnitude and difficulty of the task before him do not prove less than I expected. He and his brave soldiers are now in the midst of their great trial, and I trust that at your meeting you will so shape your good words that they may turn to men and guns moving to his and their support.
On the 7th of June, the Republican National Convention met at Baltimore for the purpose of nominating candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency.
For some time prior to the assembling of this body, the popular voice had pronounced decidedly in favor of the renomination of Mr. Lincoln. State Legislatures, mass meetings, State Conventions, the large majority of the loyal press demanded that the man, to whose election, constitutionally effected, the rebels had refused to submit and who, during three years of the most arduous labors, had evinced his patriotism, his ability, and his integrity, should have the satisfaction of seeing the work commenced by himself as President brought to a successful completion while an incumbent of the same high office.
A few, however, in the ranks of the loyal and patriotic, were not satisfied that the good work, whose consummation they so ardently and perhaps, impatiently, desired, had been
Republican National Convention.
pushed forward as vigorously and earnestly as it might have been under other auspices. A portion of these favored the postponement of the Convention till a later day, after the fourth of July ensuing, in the expectation that the country would be in a better condition to judge whether, indeed, Mr. Lincoln was the best man for the place. Another portion had already assembled at Chicago and put in nomination, upon a platform devoted mainly to criticisms of Mr. Lincoln's Administration without any practical or pertinent suggestion as to the points wherein improvement was to be made, General Fremont for the Presidency and General Cochrane as Vice-President. The former had therefore resigned his commission in the army, not having been in active service for some time, and accepted the nomination conditionally that the Baltimore Convention nominated no other candidate than Mr. Lincoln.
This opposition, however, was more apparent than real. The general feeling throughout the country was to support that man heartily who should secure the nomination of the Republican Convention, waiving all minor questions for the sake of the common weal.
On the second day, the convention adopted by acclamation the following platform:
"Resolved, That it is the highest duty of every American citizen to maintain against all their enemies the integrity of the Union and the paramount authority of the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that, laying aside all differences of political opinion, we pledge ourselves as Union men, animated by a common sentiment, and aiming at a common object, to do every thing in our power to aid the Government in quelling by force of arms the rebellion now raging against its authority, and in bringing to the punishment due to their crimes, the rebels and traitors arrayed against it.