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Unexpected civility

The following incident, which occurred soon after General Grant's arrival at Chattanooga in October, 1863, is related by General Horace Porter in his entertaining and valuable reminiscences, Campaigning with Grant:

As soon as communication had been opened with our base of supplies, General Grant manifested an eagerness to acquaint himself minutely with the position of the enemy, with a view to taking the offensive. One morning he started toward our right, with several staff officers, to make a personal examination of that portion of the line. When he came in sight of Chattanooga Creek, which separated our pickets from those of the enemy, he directed those who had accompanied him to halt and remain out of sight while he advanced alone, which he supposed he could do without attracting much attention. The pickets were within hailing distance of one another on opposite banks of the creek. They had established a temporary truce on their own responsibility, and the men of each army were allowed to get water from the same stream without being fired upon by those on the other side. A sentinel of our picket-guard recognized General Grant as he approached, and gave the customary cry, ‘Turn out the guard—commanding general!’ The enemy on the opposite side of the creek evidently heard the words, and one of his sentinels cried out, ‘Turn out the guard—General Grant!’ The Confederate guard took up the joke, and promptly formed, facing our line, and presented arms. The General returned the salute by lifting his hat, the guard was then dismissed, and he continued his ride toward our left. We knew that we were engaged in a Civil War, but such civility exceeded our expectations.

The aged stranger: an incident of the war

‘I was with Grant’—the stranger said;
Said the farmer, ‘Say no more,
But rest thee here at my cottage porch,
For thy feet are weary and sore.’

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Ulysses Simpson Grant (6)
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