, bullying the men for not marching faster, or officers for some trivial detail remembered only by martinets.
There was no Bonaparte
, posturing for effect; no pointing to the Pyramids, no calling the centuries to witness.
There was no nonsense, no sentiment; only a plain business man of the republic, there for the one single purpose of getting that command across the river in the shortest time possible.
On a horse near by, and among the still mounted staff, sat the general's son, a bright-looking lad of about eleven years. Fastened to his little waist, by the broad yellow belt, was his father's sword — that sword on whose clear steel was soon to be engraved Vicksburg
, the Wilderness
, and Richmond
The boy talked and jested with the bronzed soldiers near him, who laughingly inquired where.we should camp; to which the young field marshal replied: “Over the river!”
Over the river!
Ah! that night we slept with our guns in our hands; and another night, and another, saw more than one of our division camped beyond and over the river — in that last tenting-ground where the reveille was heard no more forever.
I next saw Grant
on May 18th, 1863, and this time at the battle of Champion hills
, in rear of Vicksburg
We had crossed the Mississippi river
at Grand Gulf
, and swung off east and north; had fought the battles of Port Gibson
, and Jackson
, and were overtaking Pemberton
's army hastening to the walls of Vicksburg
It was a very hot day, and we had marched hard, slept little, and rested none.
Among the magnolias on Champion hills, the enemy, forty to fifty thousand strong, turned on us. Sherman
's Corps was already engaged far on the right as we approached the field in that overpowering Mississippi
sun. Our brigade was soon in line, on the edge of a meadow, or open field sloping toward the woods, where the enemy were concealed, and steadily firing upon us. We were in that most trying position of soldiers, for regulars even-being fired on without permission to return the shots.
We were standing two files deep, bearing as patiently as we could not a heavy, but a steady fire from infantry, while an occasional cannon-ball tore up the turf in front or behind us. A good many men were falling, and the wounded were being borne to the rear of the brigade, close to an old well, whose wooden curb seemed to offer the only protection from bullets on the exposed line.
, move your men a little by the left flank,” said a quiet, though commanding voice.
On looking round, I saw immediately behind us Grant
, the commander-in-chief
, mounted on a beautiful bay mare, and followed by perhaps half a dozen of his staff.
For some reason he dismounted, and