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[73] Grant's promotions had been won by merit and eminent services. He had risen in rank without personal or political influence, and in spite of the opposition and prejudices of men whose opinions essentially controlled the government.

The war had gradually developed his military capacity, and he had grown in his abilities with each new difficulty and each new campaign. Already the most successful and the ablest general in the Union army, in the coming campaigns he was destined to surpass himself, and to secure still more the gratitude and admiration of his country and the respect of all the world.

General Grant had grown not only in military capacity, but he had grown more comprehensive in his ideas of the rebellion. In all the army the government had no better representative of its policy. For Grant had always shown the most exact subordination, and declared his purpose to be, to carry out in all cases the orders of his superiors. He had learned what the rebellion was, and he had learned that it was necessary to deal with it with the utmost rigor. Never having been an abolitionist, he yet had learned that slavery was the cause, the object, and the strength of the rebellion, and he not only felt no scruples in striking it down, but earnestly carried out the emancipation policy. He did not hesitate to avow, still more decidedly than by passive obedience to orders, his sentiments on this subject, and in a letter to some loyal men of Memphis, who tendered him a public reception in 1863, he wrote, “I thank you, too, in the name of the noble army which I have the honor to command. It is composed ”

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