national army; there could be in the nature of things only two or three supereminent commanders.
Only one could be at the top.
In such an one there should be found, above all things, a comprehensive grasp of the situation, of the relations of the various points and events of the field to each other, and to the general purpose; a faculty of retaining the head under unexpected circumstances; not only of planning in advance, but of originating new combinations when the old ones are interrupted; and, as much as anything, a judgment and impulse combined, both audacious yet neither incautious; a decision in acting on this judgment and impulse instantaneously, without waiting to balance chances; and, thereafter, neither doubt nor delay, but only belief and persistence to the end.
Such an one, if simple, honest, unambitious, and magnanimous, might aptly represent the best results of a republic, and worthily command its armies even in those crises when nations are never saved without a leader.
Early in June, 1865, steps were taken with the sanction of the government to procure the indictment of Lee
and others for the crime of treason.
The former rebel chief at once appealed to Grant
, who went in person to the President
, and protested verbally and in writing against the measure.
, however, was obstinate, and Grant
finally declared that he would resign his commission in the army if the paroles which he had granted should be violated.
This determination was conclusive.
The proceedings were abandoned, and the communication of this decision was the last official act in the intercourse of Lee