Abraham Lincoln appointed Ulysses S. Grant to the position of lieutenant-general in charge of all the Union armies. Grant received his commission as such in Washington, D.C., in March 1864.Following several years of frustration with an endless parade of unsuitable commanders, President Lincoln had finally found the man who would defeat Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.Grant's choice was surprising to many who had known him in the past.Ten years before, in April 1854, Captain Grant had resigned under cloudy circumstances.
As commander of the Union Army, Grant's forebears were far more accomplished in military art and science.Since 1841, Winfield Scott had led the army, with experience spanning the War of 1812.In the middle of the Civil War, McClellan replaced the aging Scott as chief administrator of the Army of the Potomac.McClellan had studied the Crimean War from first hand perspectives as a member of an official delegation of American observers in the 1850s.The author of Elements of Military Art & Science, Henry W. Halleck, was regarded as a master theorist.
WEST POINT - How it Prepared Ulysses S. Grant for Civil War
Still, both McClellan and Halleck hesitated to take decisive action.The Confederate forces almost a month after the Battle of Shiloh to attack an important railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi.Lincoln became so frustrated by McClellan's inaction that he replied to the general's October 1862 request for more horses with an exasperated telegram: "I read your report about the horses that are sore tongued and fatiguing.".Please forgive me for asking what the horses of your army have done since Antietam that has worn them out?””
Grant, on the other hand, was not an enthusiastic student of military art and science. .In the process of becoming one of the most extraordinary military tkclo.com leaders in American history, Grant's faith was justified by a serendipitous combination of qualities.
A Map of Ulysses S. Grant's Civil War Battles: An Interactive Tour
He didn’t let up.
Grant wasn't very interested in doctrine, but he brought an aggressive approach to warfare.He was not afraid of movement or activity over stagnation.His subordinates' failure to pursue retreating enemies would frustrate him, even if he won.
In his memoirs, he describes an incident that illustrates his philosophy. .A loss in two decisive battles fought on the same day is bad, but winning them is not all that bad."
.Neither am I.Gripe a bulldog gripe, chew and choke as much as you can."
Why Lincoln and Grants Partnership Won the Civil War
The man lacked fear.
.There's nothing he cares about what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me to death!”””
It was an epiphany Grant had early in the war when he was leading a regiment for the first time, in pursuit of Confederate Colonel Thomas Harris in Missouri, that made him incapable of being paralyzed by fear.According to Grant, as we approached the brow of the hill where it was expected we would see Harris' camp, and possibly meet his men, my heart kept growing higher and higher until it felt as if it were in my throat.In finding the camp abandoned, Grant's "heart resumed its place." He learned the vital lesson that his adversary "had been as terrified of me as I had been about him"..After that experience, I never felt trepidation when confronting an enemy, though I felt anxiety more or less whenever I had to face him."