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[163] made his favorable judgments all the more friendly and his unfavorable opinions less harsh.

Much has been said about General Grant's reticence, and it might be supposed from some accounts that he is mute as a statue. But, on the contrary, though he is not loquacious or demonstrative, and never seeks opportunities to express his opinions, he is often very agreeable in conversation, and is straightforward, honest, and simple in his language as he is in all his conduct. But upon all matters connected with his official action he is discreetly reticent. During the war he never announced his plans or talked about them, except with those whom he could absolutely trust, and his staff officers, following his instruction and example, were equally silent.

When he took the field with the army of the Potomac, he was frequently beset by members of Congress, correspondents of the press, and visitors favored with special passes to the front, who endeavored to elicit from him something of his views and purposes. But they were always unsuccessful, and were obliged to be content with the most general remarks, from which they drew inferences to suit themselves, or were put off with quiet monosyllables, which sometimes alarmed their fears and sometimes wounded their conceit. Impertinent querists and officious advisers often retired from his headquarters utterly baffled in their purposes, and uncertain whether to be angry or not. A characteristic anecdote of such an interview is told.

A visitor to the army, during the brief quiet which followed the battle of Spottsylvania, called at the general's headquarters, and found him talking with one

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U. S. Grant (1)
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