The wife of the commander-in-chief
had often spent a few weeks with him in camp or siege, or when he was quartered in a captured town.
, she had joined him, and now again in front of Petersburg
His children too visited him, the eldest only fourteen years of age at this time, the youngest seven; and the man who directed the destinies of armies, and was unalterable in his decisions when he believed them right; who ordered the devastation of the Valley of Virginia
, and went unshrinking through the Wilderness
campaign, was as bland and playful with his wife and children as the humblest soldier in the ranks before he went to war. All the simplicity and gentleness of his nature came out in this companionship.
He had been married sixteen years, and still seemed to find his greatest solace in the domestic relations; while, like a true woman, the wife was interested in whatever concerned him; anxious to relieve him from petty cares, proud of his success, but never trenching beyond her proper sphere; exercising all her woman's influence to soothe and support, never to vex, or annoy, or disturb.
It was curious to watch—not her, for her tact would not have allowed her to make the mistake, but others around him, who thought they had influence.
They had influence, undoubtedly, in little things; in details, in their own province, or department.
was not unwilling to let others arrange for him, and decide for him many unimportant matters; and even many matters of consequence, in which he trusted their judgment or knowledge.
He would not dictate to a quartermaster the minutiae of his duty; he rarely told a secretary