to raise the siege of Knoxville
” where Burnside
was. When in a few months Grant
was appointed full lieutenant general, under special act of Congress (he was the first since Washington
, Winfield Scott
being only brevet), he wrote to Sherman
: “What I want is to express my thanks to you and McPherson
as the men to whom above all others I feel indebted for whatever I have had of success.
How far your execution of whatever has been given you to do entitles you to the reward I am receiving, you cannot know as well as I do.”
answered in a spirit equally noble, “You do yourself injustice and us too much honour.”
In these letters the two men lay bare their best selves.
And how well Sherman
knew his friend!
“Now as to the future,” he says, “do not stay in Washington
is better qualified than you to stand the buffets of intrigue and policy.