He contracted the love of drink, which finally lost him his commission, and retired into civil life under circumstances of the most depressing nature; he struggled along in obscurity, with narrow means, sometimes sober, sometimes not-but never charged with intentional wrong done to anybody-until the war burst upon the country and brought him at once to a prominent position in the Federal
army in the West
And such a retrieval of destiny as he wrought during the ensuing four years has never been known.
's first military operations at Belmont
were not regarded as auspicious of a brilliant future.
But the capture of Fort Donaldson was masterly, and lent a brightness to his prospects, which was soon after dimmed by his defeat at Shiloh
Many of the participants in the battle of Shiloh
believe that but for the death of Sidney Johnston, Grant
and his army would have been captured before the timely arrival of Buell
Although the laurels of Shiloh
were won by Buell
reposed upon them during some months of inaction.
It did not suit his government to give them to Buell
, who was an intractable officer when the policy of the government became adverse to his convictions of right.
Thinking men, on both sides, believed that Buell
won the battle of Shiloh
, but Grant
has the reward.
's next campaign was in North Mississippi
, during the fall
It opened with the quasi victory over Price
at luka, which was followed, two weeks later, by the repulse of Van Dorn
) at Corinth
Notwithstanding the great advantages these successes gave Grant
, he utterly failed to improve them, and through his inaction and sluggish conduct the whole of this important campaign was completely defeated by Van Dorn
's brilliant dash, at the head of two thousand horsemen, into the depot of the Federal
army at Holly Springs
In one day Van Dorn
destroyed three months supplies, for sixty thousand men, and compelled Grant
to fall back and abandon the invasion of Mississippi
But the Northern
government soon began the organization of another and greater army, and to the surprise of us all, Grant
was placed at its head.
Then was manifested to the minds of some the mysterious force of that man, who, after misconduct which had cost better men their commissions, and in spite of widespread charges of drunkenness, was again entrusted with the most important military enterprise