Fw: US Grant Obituary
- Certainly he greatest soldier of the war, passing on July 23, 1885.You can read a man's life in how he is remembered.Here, he is remembered large.Gettysbrg connecion, Mclaws does a nice bit at the end.
July 24, 1885
The Career of a Soldier
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
A survey of the events of two-thirds of a century--telling a story thrilling to every patriot, instructive to every observer of these times, and helpful to citizens in every station and of all beliefs who wish their country well--this man, humbly born, taught only in the nation's school, conquers a place among the great ones of the earth, restores unity to a divided people, and dies a plain American citizen, lamented alike by grateful countrymen, loyal comrades, and admiring foes.
Events in a Great Career
I. West Point andMexico
On the 27th of April, 1822, in the village of Point Pleasant, Ohio, 25 miles above Cincinnati on the Ohio River, was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, the eldest of the six children of Jesse R. and Hannah Simpson Grant. His great grandfather, Noah Grant, and Noah's brother Solomon, ofConnecticut , commissioned officers in the French and Indian war, were killed in 1756. His grandfather, Noah Grant, served all through the Revolutionary War. His father and also his mother's father were born in Pennsylvania . The father of Ulysses was a tanner by trade, and removed, the year after his son's birth, to Georgetown , in the neighboring country, where the lad's boyhood was passed. At the age of 17, he received a cadetship in the Military Academy through the Congressman of his district, who erroneously registered him as Ulysses S. Grant, and so his name remains in history.
Graduated from West Point in 1843, No. 21 in a class of 39 members, young Grant was attached as Brevet Second Lieutenant to the Fourth Infantry, which, after various garrison service, two years later joined Gen. Zachary Taylor's army, assembling in Texas . War with Mexico broke out in the Spring of 1846, and Grant, then a full Second Lieutenant, took part with his regiment in many of Taylor's operations in Scott's campaign from the siege of Vera Cruz to the capture of the city of Mexico, being present at the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec. For gallantry at Molino del Rey he was brevetted First Lieutenant, and for gallantry at Chapultepec Captain, while his brigade commander, Col. Garland, said of him: "I must not omit to call attention to Lieut. Grant, Fourth Infantry, who acquitted himself most nobly, upon several occasions, under my own observation." His commission as First Lieutenant was dated Sept. 16, 1847, two days after the surrender of the Mexican capital.
Seven years of garrison life at Atlantic , Pacific, and lake stations followed. In 1848 he married Miss Julia T. Dent, of St. Louis , sister of a West Point man, Lieut. Frederick T. Dent. He had been Quartermaster of the Fourth Infantry in the Mexican war and again served four years in that capacity until promoted to a Captaincy, in 1853. The following Summer, July 31, 1854, he resigned from the army. Seven years nearly of civil life ensued, in which he was successively a farmer at Gravois, near St. Louis ; a real estate agent in St. Louis , and finally an assistant of his father and brother in the leather business at Galena , Ill.
II. At the Outbreak of War
At Galena the outbreak of the civil war found him. Fort Sumter fell on the 14th of April, 1861. Ten days later Capt. Grant was inSpringfield , the State capital, offering for service a company of his townsmen which he had drilled. Gov. Yates, however, found better employment for his military training as a mustering officer of volunteers, and a month later commissioned him Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry to date from June 17, 1861. Volunteer troops came forward in throngs, and there was a great demand for West Point officers of war experience for brigade and division commands. Hardly had Col. Grant joined Fremont 's department inMissouri when he was appointed, on the 7th of August, one of the new Brigadier-Generals of volunteers, to date from May 17. Assigned by Fremont to the charge of the district of Southeast Missouri, including the important region around Cairo , on the 4th of September he established his headquarters in that city, and at once seized Paducah at the junction of the Tennessee with the Ohio . This he did on the 6th of September, having learned only the day before that the Confederate General Polk had occupied Columbus and threatenedPaducah .
This first act of importance in the career of Grant as a General officer singularly typified what was to follow. It was on the 5th, as has been said, that he heard of Polk's advance to Columbus and Hickman, belowCairo . He instantly notified both Gen. Fremont at St. Louis and the Kentucky Legislature at Frankfort of this movement, and presently sent another dispatch to Fremont : "I am getting ready to go toPaducah . Will start at 6:30 o'clock." This he followed with a third notification to Fremont : "I am now nearly ready for Paducah , should not telegram arrive preventing the movement." Still no reply came from St. Louis , and at 10:30 o'clock that night he was off, with two gunboats, two regiments, and a light battery. Reaching Paducah the next morning at 8:30 o'clock, he entered the town without firing a gun, Gen. Tilghman and a few Confederate recruits hurrying off at his approach. Leaving a garrison in the place he started back at noon for Cairo, where he found Fremont's permission to take Paducah "if he felt strong enough," and also, soon after, a reminder from the same source that Brigadiers ought not to communicate with State authorities except through the Major-General commanding. Still, the Kentucky Legislature did not take ill this friendly communication from Grant, which seemed to confidently call for patriotic action on its part. It passed a resolution that " Kentucky expects the Confederate orTennessee troops to be withdrawn from her soil unconditionally." Kentucky thus committed herself to a demand which was not heeded by the Confederates, and as a State she thenceforth cast her lot with the Union . The noteworthy feature of thisPaducah affair was its exhibition of Grant's promptitude, his entire willingness to take responsibility, and his instinct not to suffer the delay of others to interfere with the progress of his own plans. Four days later he gave a second proof of aggressive energy in an unheeded hint to the department commander: "If it was discretionary with me, with a little addition to my present force, I would take Columbus ."
Early in November Grant received orders to demonstrate against Columbus , 20 miles below Cairo on the Mississippi , so as to prevent Polk from reinforcing Price in Missouri . On the 7th, accordingly, he presented himself with a force of 3,114 men near a little settlement called Belmont , on the Missouri side, oppositeColumbus , and dominated by its 140 guns. Leaving his two gunboats and some infantry to protect the landing, Grant moved forward to Belmont his remaining troops, 2,850 strong, including a battery. Polk meanwhile reinforced his outpost at Belmont so that there were five regiments and a battery under Gen. Pillow, in all about 2,500 men. The troops on both sides were raw, but a sharp combat ensued, in which the Union forces drove the enemy through his camp toward the river. There, however, they came under the fire of the heavy guns ofColumbus , while four more regiments and a battalion were sent across to Pillow's aid under Cheatham, Polk in person accompanying them. Grant, who had had a horse killed under him, finding these heavy reinforcements vigorously pressing him, set fire to the captured camp and ordered a withdrawal to the transports. An officer at this juncture repeated to him a cry, "We are surrounded!" heard among some of the men. "Well," quietly replied Grant, "if we are surrounded we must cut our way out, as we cut our way in." The embarkation Grant personally superintended, and then the whole expedition returned toCairo . The Union loss was 368 killed and wounded and 117 prisoners or missing; total, 485. Polk's was 524 killed and wounded and 117 prisoners or missing; total, 641. Grant captured and brought off two guns and lost two caissons. He probably accomplished the exact task assigned to him, which was not, as we need hardly say, that of capturing Columbus, with its 140 guns, by the movements of one field battery and 3,000 men on the opposite shore.
During this combat at Belmont, which will perhaps be known in history less for its intrinsic importance than for being the first action fought by Grant in command on the field, an incident occurred which was near putting an end to his career at the outset. While McClernand, who had two or three horses shot under him, Col. Logan, afterward so distinguished, and many other officers set a good example to the men, yet Grant, as the only professional soldier present on the Union side, found that, in the retreat to the transports, he had nearly everything to supervise. Riding back from the bank alone, in order to observe the enemy, on glancing at a cornfield in front, he discovered a Confederate line of battle, not 50 yards off, firing on his transports. Turning his horse, he rode rapidly back to the shore, the animal sliding down the bank on its haunches, and trotting, under musketry fire, across the gangplank of a transport thrust out to receive him.
III. Forts Henry and Donelson
The Tennessee and the Cumberland , emptying into the Ohio at points about 25 and 35 miles east of Cairo , offered obvious advantages for a combined military and naval advance. The Confederates, to check such an advance, established Fort Henry on the right bank of the former river, and Fort Donelson, 12 miles eastward, on the left bank of the latter, near the boundary between Kentucky and Tennessee. With these forts, and with Columbus on the west and Bowling Green on the east, they had a defensive chain, and Grant, like Halleck and other military observers, saw that to break the line in the centre was to break it everywhere. Gen. C. F. Smith, having reported to Grant on his return from an expedition that the capture of Fort Henry was easy and that "two guns would make short work of it," Grant six days later, on January 28, 1862, telegraphed to St. Louis as follows: "With permission, I will take and hold Fort Henry on the Tennessee and establish and hold a large camp there;" and the next day, with his customary persistence, he reverted to the subject, saying: "I would respectfully suggest the propriety of subduing Fort Henry, near the Kentucky and Tennessee line, and holding the position. If this is not done soon there is but little doubt that the defenses on both the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers will be materially strengthened. From Fort Henry it will be easy to operate either on the Cumberland (only 12 miles distant), Memphis , orColumbus ." On the 2nd of February, 1862, having at length obtained authority and instructions from Halleck, commending the Department of the Missouri, Grant started from Cairo with 17,000 men on transports, accompanied by Flag Officer Foote with seven gunboats, to ascend the Tennessee and attack Fort Henry. This was an earthwork mounting seventeen guns. Recognizing that his works could not be held, Gen. Tilghman drew out over 3,000 troops for retreat to Fort Donelson , retaining his single company of trained artillerists to serve the guns. On the 6th Grant ordered forward his troops, which had been landing and taking positions, and Foote simultaneously opened fire. After a severe artillery duel of about two hours, Tilghman hauled down his flag and surrendered to Foote his gallant little garrison of ninety-odd officers and men, with all his guns and garrison equipage.
"I shall take and destroy Fort Donelson ," said Grant quietly, in announcing to Halleck the fall of Fort Henry ; and this was the first mention of Fort Donelson in any dispatches between Grant and Halleck. The latter answered, "Hold on to Fort Henry at all hazards, and transfer guns to resist a land attack. Picks and shovels are sent you. Large reinforcements will soon join you." But for Grant Fort Henry was a bygone landmark; and without awaiting attacks from the land side, or picks and shovels, or even reinforcements, in spite of drenching rains that reduced all the roads to quagmires, by the 12th his column of 15,000 men (2,500 being left at Fort Henry) and eight light batteries drew up in front of Fort Donelson, a strong work, on rugged heights, mounting 21 guns in position, besides the field pieces of eight light batteries, garrisoned that night probably by 16,000 men-- according to some authorities by 18,000. At evening of the next day the fleet came up theCumberland , bringing supplies and reinforcements, so that Grant had in the end nearly 30,000 men under his command. On the 12th and 13th there was heavy skirmishing. On the 15th a desperate effort was made by the Confederate garrison to cut its way out, but the struggle, though costing a Union loss of 2,000 men and six guns, was unsuccessful, Gen. C. F. Smith making a splendid and decisive counter-assault at the critical moment. That night the senior Confederate Generals, Floyd and Pillow, escaped with many hundred troops, and the next morning, the 16th, Gen. Buckner proposed an armistice until noon in order to agree on terms of capitulation. "No terms," replied Grant, "except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The terms were agreed to, and Fort Donelson was surrendered, with its garrison, stores, small arms, and field and heavy guns. The total Union loss was 3,329; the Confederate from 1,500 to 2,000 in killed and wounded and probably about 12,000 prisoners. The gunboats had been of minor service, being exposed to a plunging fire, which disabled them. A. S. Johnston, who had fallen back from Bowling Green through Nashville , retreated to Murfreesborough, and Polk from Columbus to Island No. 10. The North rang with plaudits over this sorely needed victory and Grant was made a Major-General of Volunteers, dating from the fall of Fort Donelson .
In this capture of Fort Donelson, not less remarkable than the energy with which Grant pushed on from Fort Henry while Halleck was mainly anxious to "resist an attack" against the latter, was the indomitable resolution with which he clung to his purpose under unexpected obstacles. The rains and floods which impeded his advance suddenly gave place to intense cold, with the mercury below zero, and then to a driving storm of snow and hail. Grant's troops in bivouac around Fort Donelson, with little shelter and no fires, suffered intensely through two days and nights, being mostly unused to the hardships of war, and it was under such circumstances that the enemy made his desperate attack to break a way of escape through the national lines. The news of that attack was brought to Grant, who had just returned to the field from a consultation with Foote, and it was added that the Confederate soldiers had come out with knapsacks and haversacks. Grant promptly inquired if the haversacks were filled, and on examining some prisoners it was ascertained that they had three days' rations. "Then they mean to cut their way out," he said; "they have no idea of staying here to fight us." There was still at that moment great disorder among the Union troops, from the fierceness of the Confederate assault; but Grant, intuitively grasping the exact situation, said: "Whichever party now attacks first will whip, and the rebels will have to be very quick if they beat me." The decisive attack of Smith followed at once, and the result showed the correctness of Grant's judgment, as it illustrated also the force of his will. As at Belmont Grant had much responsibility for details thrown upon him, the only other professional soldier present besides C. F. Smith being McPherson, of Grant's staff. However, the Union volunteers were already developing genuine and admirable soldiers through the stern schooling of the battlefield.
IV. Shiloh's Two Days of Blood
With the Tennessee now open and the Confederates strongly holding the Mississippi an advance up the former river would obviously threaten the eastern railroad communications of Memphis , besides getting in the rear of the works above at Forts Pillow and Randolph and Island No. 10. Halleck arranged such an expedition and gave its command to C. F. Smith, after receiving some complaints of Grant's alleged carelessness of discipline in an anonymous letter, but soon restored it to Grant, to whom a gross injustice would otherwise have been done. The Confederates meanwhile were alert. Their chief line of railroad threatened was the Memphis and Charleston , which crosses the Mobile and Ohio at Corinth , in the northeastern corner of Mississippi , about 20 miles distant from the bend of the Tennessee , near Pittsburg Landing. To Corinth , then, A. S. Johnston took his Bowling Green army, which was speedily swelled by Bragg's forces from the South, and others collected by Polk and Beauregard. At Pittsburg Landing, on the other hand, Grant's army, reinforced to nearly 40,000 men, was encamped, only waiting the arrival of Buell's, 37,000 strong, from Nashville , to march, combined under Halleck, against Corinth . Johnston determined to strike Grant before Buell should come up, and accordingly, on the morning of April 6, 1862, with an army 40,000 strong, fell upon the Union camps. These camps were not intrenched, and indeed had been chosen with a view to the expected advance rather than for defense, while one division was several miles distant at another landing. The opening attack fell on the three Union divisions encamped about two miles out from the landing, on either side of Shiloh Church , a point on the Corinth road, and they were driven back to the river. Grant, however, at no time despaired, and at night, aided by his artillery, well massed on a bluff near the landing, and by the difficult ground, as well as by the cross-fire of two gunboats, he resisted all attempts to drive him into the Tennessee. Beauregard, who succeeded Johnston when the latter was fatally wounded, at length drew off his exhausted troops until the next day. Then, however, they encountered not only their old opponents, but Buell's army, whose advance indeed had reached the field the evening before, as well as Grant's fresh division from Crump's Landing. Grant assumed the offensive, and after more hard fighting the Confederates abandoned the field and retreated to Corinth . In this battle of Shiloh, the bloodiest till then ever fought on the continent, the Confederate losses were about 11,000; the Union about 12,200. The Union army lost much camp equipage and stores. The losses in artillery were about equal.
Gen. Bragg, in his official report of the battle of Shiloh , declared that the Confederate movement was one which, if successful, "would have changed the entire complexion of the war." There can be no doubt of its dangerous character, but the resulting battle was fought on both sides with a lack of that perfected knowledge of the military art which could only be developed by experience. If the Confederates criticised their opponents for a lack of field intrenchments to protect their positions and for not encamping their troops on the right bank of the Tennessee until ready to advance, the Union forces were equally able to retort that the conduct of the Confederate attack might have been made more effective. And if
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