The Fight For Tennessee: July 1863 to January 1864

Battle of Chickamauga

What was so special about Grant?

This has been asked and pondered by many people: journalists, historians, and laypersons. Most of them have slowly come to the same conclusion: Grant was a very normal, even average, person in some ways, who was capable of truly heroic decision making and taking of action. Those who accuse him of merely being “lucky” are far off base. Those who claim he had only an average mind have not read his dispatches, which are a model of clarity.

When we compare Grant to the other great generals of his time, only Lee is in the same category. William T. Sherman liked to think he was on a par with these men, but Sherman never fought a campaign against the odds, as Lee so often did, nor did he have to interact with so many and varied individuals as did Grant. In American military history, we place Grant at the top of his time and the greatest U.S. commander from General Winfield Scott, whose active-duty career ended in 1861—to General John Pershing, whose fame came during the First World War.


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