James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
Halleck and three others, the President presented Grant with the commission of Lieutenant-General, saying, With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under God, it will sustain you. Grant replied, I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon me; and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.1
Next day Grant was formally assigned to the command of the armies of the United States. Until his visit to Washington, he had intended to remain in the West, but he now saw that his place was with the Army of the Potomac. He went to the front and had a conference with Meade, in the course of which, after an interchange of views creditable to both, he decided that Meade should retain his present command. He then went to Nashville and discussed with Sherman, who succeeded him as chief of the Western army, the plan of operations in Tennessee and Georgia, returning on March 23 to Washington. He was now without question the most popular man in the United States. Both parties and all factions vied with one another in his praise. He had met with obstacles in working up to his present position and had suffered many hours of pain at the obloquy with which he had been pursued. But Vicksburg and Chattanooga were victories which not only bore down all detraction but invested with glory the general who had won them. It happens to but few men of action to receive during their lifetime such plaudits as Grant received in the winter and early spring of 1864; there was hardly a
Note 1. N. & H., VIII, 341, 342. The remarks are abridged and in Grants reply a clause is transposed. [back]