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- On the Trail of Grant and Lee - 1/31 -


On the Trail of Grant and Lee

By Frederick Trevor Hill

To Howard Ogden Wood, Jr.

Forward

During the early years of the Civil War someone tauntingly asked Mr. Charles Francis Adams, the United States Minister to England, what he thought of the brilliant victories which the confederate armies were then gaining in the field. "I think they have been won by my fellow countrymen," was the quiet answer.

Almost half a century has passed since that reproof was uttered, but its full force is only just beginning to be understood. For nearly fifty years the story of the Civil War has been twisted to suit local pride or prejudice in various parts of the Union, with the result that much which passes for American history is not history at all, and whatever else it may be, it is certainly not American.

Assuredly, the day has now arrived when such historical "make-believes" should be discountenanced, both in the North and in the South. Americans of the present and the coming generations are entitled to take a common pride in whatever lent nobility to the fraternal strife of the sixties, and to gather equal inspiration from every achievement that reflected credit on American manhood during those years when the existence of the Union was at stake. Until this is rendered possible by the elimination of error and falsehood, the sacrifices of the Civil War will, to a large extent, have been endured in vain.

In some respects this result has already been realized. Lincoln is no longer a local hero. He is a national heritage. To distort or belittle the characters of other men who strove to the end that their land "might have a new birth of freedom," is to deprive the younger generations of part of their birthright. They are entitled to the facts from which to form a just estimate of the lives of all such men, regardless of uniforms.

It is in this spirit that the strangely interwoven trials of Grant and Lee are followed in these pages. Both were Americans, and widely as they differed in opinions, tastes and sympathies, each exhibited qualities of mind and character which should appeal to all their fellow countrymen and make them proud of the land that gave them birth. Neither man, in his life, posed before the public as a hero, and the writer has made no attempt to place either of them on a pedestal. Theirs is a very human story, requiring neither color nor concealment, but illustrating a high development of those traits that make for manhood and national greatness.

The writer hereby acknowledges his indebtedness to all those historians whose scholarly research has made it possible to trace the careers of these two great commanders with confidence in the accuracy of the facts presented. Where equally high authorities have differed he has been guided by those who, in his judgment, have displayed the most scrupulous impartiality, and wherever possible he has availed himself of official records and documents.

The generous service rendered by Mr. Samuel Palmer Griffin in testing the vast record upon which these pages are based, his exhaustive research and scientific analysis of the facts, have given whatever of authority may be claimed for the text, and of this the writer hereby makes grateful acknowledgment. To Mr. Arthur Becher he is likewise indebted for his careful studies at West Point and elsewhere which have resulted in illustrations conforming to history.

Frederick Trevor Hill.

New York, September, 1911.

Contents

Chapter Page I.--Three Civil Wars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 II.--Washington and Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 III.--Lee at West Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 IV.--The Boyhood of Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 V.--Grant at West Point . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 VI.--Lieutenant Grant Under Fire . . . . . . . . 35 VII.--Captain Lee at the Front . . . . . . . . . . 44 VIII.--Colonel Lee After the Mexican War . . . . . 52 IX.--Captain Grant in a Hard Fight . . . . . . . 59 X.--Grant's Difficulties in Securing a Command . 67 XI.--Lee at the Parting of the Ways . . . . . . . 75 XII.--Opening Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 XIII.--Grant's First Success . . . . . . . . . . . 93 XIV.--The Battle of Shiloh . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 XV.--Lee in the Saddle . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 XVI.--A Game of Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 XVII.--Lee and the Invasion of Maryland . . . . . . 133 XVIII.--The Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg . . . . 141 XIX.--Lee Against Burnside and Hooker . . . . . . 148 XX.--In the Hour of Triumph . . . . . . . . . . . 163 XXI.--Grant at Vicksburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171 XXII.--The Battle of Gettysburg . . . . . . . . . . 180 XXIII.--In the Face of Disaster . . . . . . . . . . 193 XXIV.--The Rescue of Two Armies . . . . . . . . . . 201 XXV.--Lieutenant-General Grant . . . . . . . . . . 213 XXVI.--A Duel to the Death . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 XXVII.--Check and Countercheck . . . . . . . . . . . 238 XXVIII.--The Beginning of the End . . . . . . . . . . 248 XXIX.--At Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256 XXX.--The Surrender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 XXXI.--Lee's Years of Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . 280 XXXII.--The Head of the Nation . . . . . . . . . . . 294

List of Illustrations

Illustrations in Color

Grant running the gauntlet of the Mexicans at Monterey in riding to the relief of his comrades . . Frontispiece September 23, 1846.

Lee with Mrs. Lewis (Nellie Custis) applying to General Andrew Jackson to aid in securing his cadetship at West Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 1825.

Grant on his horse, "York," making exhibition jump in the Riding Academy at West Point . . . . . . . . . . 32 June, 1843.

Lee sending the Rockbridge battery into action for the second time at Antietam or Sharpsburg . . . . . . . 144 September 17, 1862.

Lee rallying his troops at the Battle of the Wilderness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232 May 6, 1864.

Grant at the entrenchments before Petersburg . . . . . 260 March, 1865.

Illustrations in the Text

Signature of Grant on reporting at West Point . . . . 25 (From the original records of the U. S. Military Academy.)

First signature of Grant as U. S. Grant . . . . . . . 27 (From the original records of the U.S. Military Academy.)

Grant's letter demanding unconditional surrender of forces at Fort Donnelson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

Diagram map (not drawn to scale) showing strategy of the opening of the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1 and 2, 1863 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

Diagram map (not drawn to scale) showing Grant's series of movements by the left flank from the Wilderness to Petersburg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

Facsimile of telegraphic message drafted by Lieutenant- General Grant, announcing Lee's surrender, May 9, 1865 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275

Lee's letter of August 3, 1866, acknowledging receipt of the extension of his furlough . . . . . . . . . . . 283

Chapter I


On the Trail of Grant and Lee - 1/31

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