Grant: Savior of the Union (The Generals)
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When Ulysses Grant was promoted to general in chief of all Union armies in March 1864, it was an act of desperation on the part of President Abraham Lincoln. A series of acclaimed and decorated generals had been plagued by indecision and ineptitude.
Grant hardly seemed destined for glory. He was a reluctant military student at West Point and resigned from the Army at age thirty-two, only to fail as a businessman and farmer. He was ambivalent on the subject of slavery, the divisive wound screaming for a salve when civil war broke out in 1861. But whatever Grant may have lacked on the surface, he compensated for with common sense, determination, and an even tempered poise on the bloodiest fields of battle.
Identifying rivers and railroads as the lifeblood of his enemy, Grant campaigned vigorously in the effort to drain the Confederacy, culminating with conquest at Vicksburg. Then came the Eastern Theater in which his Army of the Potomac would decide the war by confronting Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Author Mitchell Yockelson portrays Grant as a staunch defender of the Union and, ultimately, the victor in America’s great conflict.
Jesse chose to become a tanner and apprenticed in Kentucky at a factory owned by his half brother Peter. Shoes and saddles seemed to be his calling, but Jesse also had a strong desire for education and spent his evenings reading. A few years later he returned to Ohio and worked in Deerfield at a tannery owned by Owen Brown. Jesse also resided with Brown and his family and became close with their son John, who was very outspoken about his antislavery views and later gained notoriety as a fiery
Grant’s uniform was a mess. Surprisingly, Thomas did not offer his commander a new uniform, although he did offer food and a seat by the fireplace. One officer on Grant’s staff chastised Thomas for not being more cordial: “General Thomas, can’t you get General Grant some dry clothing?” Thomas then made the offer to find dry clothes, but Grant waved him off and pulled out a cigar. Thomas explained the situation at hand with the help of his staff, mainly chief engineer Major General William F.
to Chesterfield Bridge to delay pursuit. By sunup, Lee learned that Grant had gotten away and was marching east. Uncertain of Grant’s precise route, he decided to abandon the North Anna line and shift fifteen miles southeast to a point near Atlee’s Station, on the Virginia Central Railroad. This would place him southwest of Grant’s apparent concentration toward Hanovertown and position the Army of Northern Virginia to block the likely avenues of Union advance toward Richmond. Unlike previous
infantry was under command of Major General George Pickett, while the cavalry was led by Major General Fitzhugh Lee. Lee told both men to “hold Five Forks at all hazards,” since this important road junction was just south of the railroad and the avenue of approach to it. When word reached Grant about the victory there by Sheridan and Warren, he gave the order for a series of assaults on the main Confederate line defending the long sought-after railroad center of Petersburg. Colonel Horace Porter,
be remembered as more than just a general during the most controversial and costliest time in American history. Grant fought because he believed it was his duty to do so. He did not fight to seek fame and glory. That came because he finally found something he was good at and believed in. By gaining confidence in himself, others believed in him, and thus he became the Savior of the Union. Notes PREFACE 1. Kenneth P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General: A Military Study of the Civil War (New York: