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ANSTER FROM C. Q.
IN 1861, when the guns of Sumter awoke the country, a resigned army captain, in his fortieth year, was living at Galena, Illinois. His civil life of seven years had been a hard struggle. Though healthy, temperate, and most industrious, he had found serious difficulty in supporting the wife and children to whom he was devotedly attached. He had failed as a farmer, and as a real-estate agent, and was now clerk in his father's leather store, at a salary of eight hundred dollars per year.
He was hardly known to a hundred persons in the little city. His few intimates 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 patronizing 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-but 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 eleven 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-captain during his last year in the army, and in the circumstances of his leaving it, this had been something marred.
And now when he offered his services to the Government, the adjutantgeneral 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
anywhere else. Had he died then, he would have been remembered only as a pure, shy, kindly gentleman, of moderate abilities.
But a destiny almost incredible awaited him. In one year he was a laureled hero. In three, he had risen to the command of a million of soldiers. In seven he was elected 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. In these pages it is not attempted to give all the minute details of Grant's achievements in the field. The world knows them by heart. But rather to show what made him the man he became-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 administration of national and international affairs; his re-adjustment of the political and industrial relations of ten millions of people, occupying half a continent; finally his retirement to private life; and through all, the little things indicating the interior life of the man-what he thought, and hoped, and feared. Hence many incidents are related in the belief 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 said, "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 such perfect, super-human Washington. But there was a Washington, full of human weaknesses and faults, yet of such practical wisdom, such longsuffering patience, such radiant integrity, that those who knew him best loved and honored-not the moral Apollo we substitute for him, but the living man, infirmities and all, just as he was.
This volume can not hope to have escaped altogether the dangers which beset this path of literature. But it has been the aim to record facts, without any theory to vindicate, any case to make out, or any party to serve. Nothing has consciously been added, nothing concealed, nothing explained away. It has been the object, not to paint the ideal, but to photograph the man-or, rather, to let the man photograph himself. Wherever it was practicable, verbatim copies from his letters, orders, and reports are given. In conversations it is not attempted to give his language in a single case, unless some record, or some person believed trustworthy, recited the language.
In consulting previous works, Badeau's admirable volume has been the most drawn upon. For new material, official records have been opened with great freedom and kindness, enabling the use of many letters and dispatches upon important points of our past history, never before given to the public.
Thousands of miles have been traveled to visit the various
scenes of Grant's checkered life, and to meet with the hundreds of his lifelong acquaintances, civil and military. All have afforded cheerful assistance, and all have expressed hearty love and admiration for his character.
Our war might have developed a leader profligate, corrupt, or uneasily ambitious, as so many great captains have been in the past. It gave us instead this pure, modest, simple-hearted man, who, loyal and admirable in private life, loved himself last, and who always believed most enthusiastically in the United States of America. Invincibility in war, magnanimity in victory, wisdom in civil government, and unselfishness in all thingswhat are these, if they be not greatness?
"What is writ is writ; would it were 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.
17. THE CHARGE AT MISSION RIDGE...........
18. GENERAL GRANT'S FAather and MOTHER. 1868.
24. SOME OF GEN. GRANT'S RESIDENCES........
1. 1755-NOAH GRANT'S HANDWRITING.......
2. 1859-BUSINESS CARD OF BOGGS & GRANT.....
8. 1859-CAPTAIN GRANT'S APPLICATION FOR ST. LOUIS COUNTY ENGINEERSHIP.. ........156-7
8. 1868-A LETTER FROM SHERIDAN...
1. BELMONT, HENRY, DONELSON, SHILOH, CORINTH, AND IUKA...
2 THE FIELD AND THE UNION LINES AT SHILOH..
8. THE SEVEN CAMPAIGNS AGAINST VICKSBURG
4. THE CHATTANOOGA CAMPAIGN..
5. THE VIRGINIA CAMPAIGN OF 1864..
6. THE FINAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST LEE..