Total War: March to September 1864

The Man of the Hour

How many anecdotes were told of Grant?

There were so many that one can scarcely count them all. The great number was due to the fact that Grant was little known to correspondents, as well as soldiers, in the Eastern theater. One of the best was related by the Rebellion Record, published in 1865:

A visitor to the army called on him one morning, and found the General sitting in his tent smoking and talking to one of his staff-officers. The stranger approached the chieftain, and enquired of him as follows: “General, if you flank Lee and get between him and Richmond, will you not uncover Washington, and leave it a prey to the enemy?” General Grant, discharging a cloud of smoke from his mouth, indifferently replied: “Yes, I reckon so.” The stranger, encouraged by a reply, propounded question number two: “General, do you not think Lee can detach sufficient force from his army to reinforce Beauregard and overwhelm Butler?” “Not a doubt of it,” replied the General. Becoming fortified by his success, the stranger propounded question number three, as follows: “General, is there not danger that Johnston may come up, and reinforce Lee, so that the latter will swing round and cut off your communications, and seize your supplies?” “Very likely,” was the cool reply of the General, and he knocked the ashes from the end of his cigar. The stranger, horrified at the awful fate about to befall General Grant and his army, made his exit, and hastened to Washington to communicate the news.


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