Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Battle of Shiloh

What did Grant say to Sherman?

Throughout the war, Grant was known more for what he did than what he said. There were some rare occasions, however, when his words seemed almost like poetry.

Sherman found Grant under a tree, nursing the wound he had suffered from falling from his horse. Sherman intended to ask about a retreat from Shiloh, but something in Grant’s demeanor prevented him. He, therefore, simply commented that it had been a terrible day, full of losses and difficulty. Grant nodded, adjusted the cigar in his mouth, and replied: “Lick ’em tomorrow, though.” This was, beyond doubt, the finest moment in Grant’s career. He had already shown himself a fantastic offensive fighter, capturing Forts Henry and Donelson. Now he had been pushed almost to the limit of what his men could stand, and all he could think was how he would thrash the rebels the next morning. This was why Grant’s men came to admire him, and why his armchair critics would come to detest him. Grant confounded expectations.


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