of publicity, as Grant
was by mention in General orders commending him for acts of special distinction in battle, showing both intelligence and daring.
meeting General Grant
not long after his return to military life, Henry Villard
reported that ‘there was certainly nothing in his outward appearance or in his personal ways or conversation to indicate the great military qualities he possessed.
Firmness seemed to me about the only characteristic expressed in his features.
Otherwise, he was a very plain, unpretentious, unimposing person, easily approached, reticent as a rule, and yet showing at times a fondness for a chat about all sorts of things.
This ordinary exterior, however, made it as difficult for me, as in the case of Abraham Lincoln
, to persuade myself that he was destined to be one of the greatest arbiters of human fortunes.’
, who saw him at this time, discovered in him ‘the soldierly qualities of self-poise, modesty, decision, attention to detail.’
had never been brought into contact with men of public reputation and had no influential friends to push his fortunes when the Civil War
opened to him an opportunity.
His skill as a drill-master was discovered by accident, and this secured an opportunity for him to go to the Illinois
capital with the Galena
company he had been drilling.
He attracted the attention of Governor Yates
and was given a clerical position in the adjutant-general
's office in filling out army forms.
When his appointment as colonel to an unruly volunteer regiment followed, he at once gave proof of the education he had acquired at West Point
and his experience of fifteen years service in the regular army.
in executing his first orders to take the field, he astonished his superiors by marching his regiment across country instead of moving it comfortably by rail.
And when the laggards of the regiment were compelled to march in their stocking feet