And now follows a darkening time, in which he misses the mark altogether.
War had forced him to exert himself.
When war stopped, he stopped also.
His ease-loving nature furnished no inward ambition to keep him going; and so, in the dead calm of a frontier post, he degenerated.
This drifting and stagnation filled thirteen years, but is not long to tell.
In July, 1848, he left Mexico for Mississippi with his regiment.
He was a brevet captain, and twenty-six years old. In August he was married.
As quartermaster, the regiment s new headquarters at Detroit should have been his post that winter; but a brother officer, ordered to Sackett's Harbor, preferred the gayety of Detroit, and managed--one sees the thing to-day often enough — to have Grant sent to Sackett's Harbor, and himself made acting quartermaster at Detroit.
This meanness was righted by General Scott in the spring; and in later days Grant, having the chance to even things with the brother officer, did not
The Secretary rushed to Lincoln.
Lincoln said, But Congress has made him general of all the armies.
The Secretary still poured himself out; and still the deprecating Lincoln murmured only, But Congress has made him general of all the armies.
There it stopped permanently.
And Lincoln's words to Grant through this time, though once he expresses a hope that as few lives as possible may be sacrificed, show his deep faith and his deep satisfaction in his aggressive, indomitable general.
In August he writes: The particulars of your campaign I neither know nor seek to know.
I wish not to intrude any restraints or constraints upon you.
Grant's reply unites a modesty and a self-reliance that Lincoln had not heard until this general came: Should my success be less than I desire or expect, the least I can say is the fault is not yours.
No wonder Lincoln liked his new commander!
He writes again, when less firm spirits at Washington had been counselling a halt: I have seen your despatch