A fair review of Grant
's career will not rank him high amongst the generals of history, and will not furnish such illustrations of the art of war as will cause military men to study his campaigns.
But they may learn from him how fortitude may retrieve even the most depressing personal misfortunes, and how supreme in war are self-reliance, constancy, and courage.
These were the peculiar capacities for war which the United States Government required of him in its emergency.
And it is a consolation to us who fought against him that he possessed them in an extraordinary degree, and that the vast resources of the Northern States
, wielded by his inexorable will and unyielding tenacity, were insuperable by our unhappy people, and would long before the final issue have overwhelmed any other army than the Army of Northern Virginia.
I have endeavored to place General Grant
fairly in this paper.
I desire to set down naught in malice, if I can nothing extenuate.
I should not do this if I did not acknowledge one shining characteristic which has ever been the accompaniment of the highest courage.
In the whole course of his career no acts or words of personal cruelty or insult to his prisoners or others whom the misfortunes of war threw into his power have ever been attributed to him. Vicksburg
was his first great victory;, it was the very culmination of his career; it was won after unexampled efforts and cost of time, of treasure, and of blood.
evinced no vulgar exultation in his triumphs.
He neither did nor permitted any acts of insult or injury to any member of the conquered army, but showed every attention, not only to their material wants, but to the feelings of his prisoners.
At the surrender of General Lee
evinced a consideration of his fallen enemy worthy of all honor.
He indulged in no “stage effect” exultations over his grand victory.
He granted promptly the terms of surrender proposed by Lee
, observed the most careful respect for his feelings, provided liberally for the comfort and transportation of the captive army, and abstaining even from entering Richmond
, proceeded direct to City Point
, whence he embarked for his office in Washington city
, and addressed himself to the final duties his great conquest had devolved upon him. History has honored the young Napoleon
for refusing to humiliate old Wurmsur by his presence at the capitulation of