of his staff, and smoking as usual.
The stranger, who had studied strategy to his own satisfaction, encouraged by the absence of all ceremony at Headquarters
, ventured to address the commander, and inquired,--
“General, if you flank Lee
, and get between him and Richmond
, will you not uncover Washington
, and leave it a prey to the enemy?”
“I reckon so,” replied the general, indifferently, discharging a cloud of smoke, perhaps to conceal a quiet smile.
The visitor, encouraged, again asked, “Do you not think Lee
can detach a sufficient force from his army to reenforce Beauregard
, and overwhelm Butler
“Not a doubt of it,” replied Grant
The stranger, finding that his views were so readily accepted by Grant
, asked again, “Is there not danger, general, that Johnston
may come up from Carolina
and reenforce Lee
, so that with overwhelming numbers he can swing round and cut off your communications and seize your supplies?”
“Very likely,” coolly replied the general, knocking the ashes from his cigar.
The stranger, alarmed at all these dangers admitted by the general, and amazed at his indifference and stolidity, hurried away to startle the timid with a vivid account of the critical position of affairs.
Such was Grant
's reticence while conducting the war, and the country saw abundant reason for applauding it. After the war, when he established his headquarters at Washington
, where he was continually surrounded by impertinent inquirers and political