From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

“fighting Joe” Hooker

What did Lincoln and Stanton think of Grant?

They were, in truth, rather puzzled. When Grant moved, he obtained results faster than any other Union leader, but when he remained in camp, he often seemed bogged down. Lincoln had never met Grant, and he wished to know more, so he and Secretary of War Stanton sent a “spy” into Grant’s midst. This was Charles Henry Dana.

Born in New Hampshire in 1819, Dana had been the managing editor of the New York Tribune for fifteen years till Horace Greeley fired him (the reason for their falling out was the Tribune’s call for “On to Richmond” prior to the Battle of Bull Run). Dana was sent to spy on General Grant, who clearly understood what was happening. Whether because of Dana’s presence or in spite of it, Grant acted very much in charge of events, and Dana reported favorably. Had he not done so, Grant might have been relieved of command. Impressed with Dana’s reporting, Stanton made him assistant secretary of war.


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