He stood between Lincoln
, the two great men in civil life whom the epoch produced, on one hand, and Sherman
, with their eminent executive military genius, on the other.
He participated in the authority and the power of the government; he was of its councils and in its confidence; he had to assume responsibilities co-extensive with its own; he was in some of his relations almost a civil officer, and at the same time he shared the executive quality and duties of his great subordinates.
He had, indeed, magnificent men on both sides to deal with: Lincoln
, with his exceptional fitness for his place, his political sagacity, his intuitive sympathy with the people, his purity of patriotism, his devotion to the cause; and Stanton
, with his energy and directness and earnestness and administrative force; both, too, strong in the confidence of the nation which they served; while no general-in-chief was ever supported by two greater lieutenants than the strategist whose boldness of imagination and infinite resource equaled any ever displayed in war, and that marvelous tactical fighter whose intuitions and judgments in battle were like passions incarnate in arms or arms inspired by intellect.
required a degree of all these traits which his great allies possessed.
He did not lack the energy of Stanton
nor the sympathy of Lincoln
with the people; his strategy was not inferior to that of Sherman
, and he proved himself equal to Sheridan
in that power of audacious and skillful combination in the presence of the enemy which, above and beyond every other trait, is what is highest and most essential in a general.