More from Grant’s MemoirsPosted: November 16, 2019
Any time Grant meets Lincoln it’s tremendous.
I explained to him that it was necessary to have a great number of troops to guard and hold the territory we had captures, and to prevent intrusions into the Northern States. These troops could perform that service just as well by advancing as by remaining still; and by advancing they would compel the enemy to keep detachments to hold them back, or else lay his own territory open to invasion. His answer was “Oh yes! I see that. As we say out West if a man can’t skin he must hold a leg while somebody else does.”
Mr. Lincoln, supposing I was asking for instructions, said, in reply to that part of Governor Smith’s letter which inquired whether he with a few friends would be permitted to leave the country unmolested, that his position was like that of a certain Irishman (giving the name) he knew in Springfield who was very popular with the people, a man of considerable promise, and very much liked. Unfortunately he had acquired the habit of drinking, and his friends could see the habit was growing on him. These friends determined to make an effort to save him, and to do this they drew up a pledge to abstain from all alcoholic drinks. They asked Pat to join them in signing the pledge, and he consented. He had been so long out of the habit of using plain water as a beverage that he resorted to soda-water a substitute. After a few days this began to grow distasteful to him. So holding the glass behind him, he said, “Doctor, couldn’t you drop a bit of brandy in that unbeknownst to myself?”
An interesting detail: after Spottsylvania and the Wilderness, Grant is convinced the Union has more artillery than could ever be brought into action at any given time. The extra artillery was serving only to clog the roads. The North had so many guns they couldn’t use them all – that was the situation in the Civil War.
Grant is forever on the move. He is either attacking or maneuvering to attack. Moving on the enemy, that is his goal. Putting the enemy where he wants him and then moving upon him. Investing his towns.
The role of Sheridan in taking the initiative in the Shenandoah Valley comes through in this book. (Sheridan, more than the equal of Stonewall Jackson? A question for the real military historians).
I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. I might say the same thing of the assault of the 22nd of May, 1863, at Vicksburg.
I didn’t know that Grant, when president, attempted to buy what’s now the Dominican Republic with the idea of repatriating black Americans there.
The proposal (I read on Wikipedia) was stopped by Charles Sumner.
The memoirs don’t cover Grant’s presidency, so we don’t get much more about that. What would’ve happened if the plan had gone through, and there’d been a mass resettlement of African Americans to Santo Domingo? An alt-history collab for Junot Diaz and Colson Whitehead –> limited series on HBO starring Rihanna?