Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 250
James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
Page 250
which were now in large measure revived. Nevertheless, Lincoln stood by his general faithfully.  45
  Grant’s despatches and letters at this time are evidently the work of a cool brain; his actions betoken a sound judgment and unflagging energy. Since the Battle of Shiloh [April 6, 7, 1862] he had, most of the time, had a responsible command, but had done nothing to attract public attention. His usefulness had been mainly in his capacity of commander of a Department, for his service in the field had been small and inconspicuous; but in these ten months he had observed and thought much about the conflict that tore his country. He was not a reader of military books, nor a close student of the campaigns of the great masters of his art, nor was he given to conning the principles of strategy and the rules of tactics; yet in his own way and within certain lines he was a deep thinker. “Rebellion,” he wrote, “has assumed that shape now that it can only terminate by the complete subjugation of the South or the overthrow of the government.” He must have believed that, if the chance should come, he could show the good stuff that was in him; and in organizing and taking command of the expedition against Vicksburg, he created such an opportunity. But fortune and the elements were at first against him and he must waste two months in fruitless efforts. Sensitive as he was to detraction, he felt keenly the calumnies that were propagated at the North. Said Lincoln, “I think Grant has hardly a friend left except myself.” 1  46
  The failure of the engineering expedients to turn or to supplement the courses of the waters and the realization that he must therefore accommodate himself to the natural features of the country and to the channel of the great
Note 1. Nicolay, 253. [back]


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