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Owen Wister, Ulysses S. Grant, III. (search)
nt. But he brought to its practice a sagacity and a grip of such dimensions as (after some experience) to serve as the equivalents of genius and instruction. This is sometimes cited to point the demagogic moral that education is un-American. Ben Butler in his book says: Grant evidently did not get enough of West Point in him to hurt him any. . . . All the graduates in the higher ranks in their classes never came to anything. Now Robert E. Lee graduated second. It took four years and some half-dozen generals to beat him. But Butler's book would be a joke, were it not a stench. When Grant was near seventeen he told his father that he would never do a day's work at tanning after twenty-one. The sensible Jesse saw no success for him there, if his heart was not in it, and, asking what would he like, was told farming or trading or to get an education. He had no farm to give his son nor money to send him to college, and but a poor opinion of a trader's life on the Mississippi. But
Owen Wister, Ulysses S. Grant, IV. (search)
t his constant love of nature leads him to remark and count the strange birds of the country; and he speaks of the beauty of the mountain sides covered with palms which toss to and fro in the wind like plumes in a helmet. This poetical note rings so strangely in the midst of his even, mat. ter-of-fact words that one wonders, did he not hear some one else say it, and adopt it because he thought it good? It was his habit to do this. It is thus that many years later the famous bottling up of Butler came to be so described. Yet, though his heart was not in this war, he shone in its battles. He was in all fights that he could be in, and in several that he need not have been in. For after the capture of Vera Cruz he was appointed regimental quartermaster; and this position puts an officer in charge of the trains, and furnishes him with a valid reason for staying behind with them. Grant never did, however, but was always in the thick of the action. He was commended in reports, brevet
Owen Wister, Ulysses S. Grant, V. (search)
a was very naturally heightened by the performances of Generals Butler and Schenck and the rout of Bull Run. In the East thegave in to drink, it seems, at times. Discovering this, Ben Butler appears to have blackmailed him. He had requested ButlerButler's removal for bad conduct at Petersburg. Butler visited him. He backed down. Not from personal fear. The Union cause wasButler visited him. He backed down. Not from personal fear. The Union cause was trembling in politics. A public tale of drink might remove the general, and split the Union forever. Presently Sherman's nd Sheridan's successes clinched Lincoln's election. Next Butler showed incompetence again. Then Grant dismissed him. ButlButler could have published as much about drink as he pleased. The Union was safe. Wound up in this, contemporaneously rather m worthy a high command, and at this time designed him for Butler's successor. But in the same twenty-four hours with ButleButler's blackmail, General Smith criticised to Grant's face the battle of Cold Harbor. Thinking this over, it struck Grant that