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[279] Grant, the battle of Nashville would have been a rebel triumph.

Grant, however, was the last man to quarrel with victory. He was too much in earnest to care whether it was won in accordance with his own views, or in opposition to them. He sent congratulation after congratulation to Thomas and his soldiers. He recommended him for a major-generalcy in the regular army. He refrained from all censure or reference to his previous course; and there never was a particle of coolness in their relations afterwards.

Grant, indeed, did not regard the inaction of Thomas as defiant or disrespectful. He attributed it to temperament rather than to judgment. For Thomas was always heavy and slow, though powerful. He would never have acted contrary to orders, in a positive matter. He would not have fought against orders, although he delayed in spite of them. He was nicknamed ‘Slow Trot’ at West Point, and his mates in the army used to say: ‘Thomas is too slow to move, but too brave to run away.’ Caution is not always wisdom in war, but his caution and phlegm were combined with vigor, when once aroused. If he had the quality of inertia, he possessed momentum as well. He was like an elephant crossing a bridge, and feeling his way with ponderous feet before every step, but woe to the enemy he met on the opposite side.

Grant knew all this well. The same traits which were exhibited in the Nashville campaign, he had seen evinced at Chattanooga a year before; the same provoking, obstinate delay before the battle, the same splendid, victorious, irresistible energy after

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