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ss to the life of her excellent husband. His appearance made me anew anxious about him. I fear that his lungs may be seriously affected. His loss would be a great misfortune, not only for his friends, but still more for the country. Public servants of his quality will always be few; and there are plenty of men whose names will flourish largely in history without having rendered a tithe of his unostentatious and invaluable contribution to the great work of the nation. You ask about General Meigs. I will tell you as a secret, which you may tell General Grant and Rawlins, that the affairs under charge of that officer are in a condition of much disorder and frightful waste. He may yet prove an able commander in the field, but as an administrative officer he is a most expensive failure. You are aware, of course, that Steele with Arkansas has been added to the command of U. S. G. Stoneman has been sent to Steele. Stoneman is another expensive failure. He is not worth a contine
Von Moltke (search for this): chapter 19
e of the greatest of rulers. Another interesting fact which Dana was among the first to mention was that Lincoln had finally developed into a great military man — that is, into a man of supreme military judgment. This conclusion he supported by the following statement: I do not risk anything in saying that if one will study the records of the war ... and the writings relating to it, he will agree with me that the greatest general we had, greater than Grant or Thomas, was Abraham Lincoln. It was not so at the beginning; but after three or four years of constant practice in the science and art of war, he arrived at this extraordinary knowledge of it, so that Von Moltke was not a better general or an abler planner or expounder of a campaign than President Lincoln. To sum it up, he was a born leader of men. He knew human nature; he knew what chord to strike, and was never afraid to strike when he believed that the time had arrived. Dana, Recollections of the Civil War, p. 181
Louis Napoleon (search for this): chapter 19
d-still, and consequently a deep feeling of anxiety had taken possession not only of the administration, but of Congress and the country at large. As Dana wrote me shortly after his return from the West, the suggestion that Grant should be made a lieutenant-general, and placed in command of all our armies, was under consideration, and seemed to have taken hold of the public mind. The country had been eagerly seeking for some one to lead it to victory. It had hailed McClellan as the Young Napoleon and Halleck as the Old brains of the army. It had had its Fighting Joe, its respectable but incompetent Burnside, and its worthy but unsuccessful Meade. It had lavished its men and money without stint upon the Army of the Potomac, and that army had won a partial success at Antietam, and a still more substantial one at Gettysburg, but as yet it had not gained a complete victory. Lee and his veterans, with their tattered uniforms and bright bayonets, still kept the field and barred the way
Horace Porter (search for this): chapter 19
of Hurlbut. I believe, however, that General Halleck sent an order on the subject to General Sherman last week. I saw Porter the other day at his office, where he sits with Mr. Lyford on the other side of the same table. Porter wears a biled shiPorter wears a biled shirt with great effect, and otherwise is spruce and handsome. He was not in uniform, and it seems to be the dodge at the ordnance office to dress en pekin. About Porter's promotion — I made up my mind that no officer in the ordnance department couPorter's promotion — I made up my mind that no officer in the ordnance department could be promoted, except in his own branch of the service, as soon as I got here and studied the ground. They tell me that there are few ordnance officers, that every man of them is kept at work on important duty, and that all are indispensable. Besieau, and arsenal. This seems to be as fixed as the laws of the Medes and Persians, and I do not now see any way in which Porter can be extricated from the operation of the rule. He has himself renounced the idea, and contents himself, as well he ma
John A. Rawlins (search for this): chapter 19
r work supervision of army contractors Grant Lieutenant-General Rawlins chief of staff estimate of Lincoln Dana arrived at Washingtonmpleting arrangements for pushing the campaign in east Tennessee. Rawlins had gone North to be married. On December 21, 1863, at 6 P. M., Dgal bliss and the daily routine of clerical duty at his desk. Mrs. Rawlins I had no opportunity of seeing, but I hope she will add nothing I will tell you as a secret, which you may tell General Grant and Rawlins, that the affairs under charge of that officer are in a condition neral. They had all been as close to Grant as any one else except Rawlins, and as they knew the latter had absolute confidence in him, they t it. It should be remembered that a new office was created for Rawlins as well as for Grant. Hitherto he had been only Grant's adjutant-urely professional chief of staff could ever have been. In short, Rawlins was regarded as one with Grant — as an essential part of his great
Official Records (search for this): chapter 19
s believed that this plan of operations contained the germ of the March to the Sea, as it would cut that part of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi in two again, and, if followed by a vigorous campaign from central Alabama, would have taken Atlanta in the rear, compelled the abandonment of northern Georgia, and rendered the Chattanooga-Atlanta campaign of the next year unnecessary. It is important because it also shows, when taken with Halleck's despatch of the next day to Grant, Official Records, Serial No. 56, p. 458, Halleck to Grant, December 21, 1863. that Halleck would not permit Grant to carry out his plan for a campaign in Alabama till Longstreet was driven entirely from east Tennessee. As Longstreet was an able and very deliberate man, slow to move and hard to beat, he took his own time to get out of east Tennessee. Even then he retired only in the face of overwhelming numbers. Sherman and Thomas, who took no part in the campaign north of Knoxville, gathered their fo
when he met Lee and his army he would prove unequal to the task before him. The only member of either branch of Congress who seemed confident that Grant was the man was E. B. Washburne, Republican member of Congress from the Galena district, but his advocacy was regarded as not entirely disinterested. Dana had corresponded with him in the early days of the antislavery movement, and also from Cairo, and now found himself at the same boarding-house with him. Eliot, of Massachusetts, and Sedgwick, of New York, were also there, and this constituted a coterie with whom Dana was in constant communication. The movement spread from them to others. The Secretary of War himself was won over, and finally the President, but withal it did not spread like wildfire. Many senators and representatives sought out Dana, and plied him with questions about Grant's habits, his character, and his fitness for command. I was present at many of the interviews, and assisted as fully as I could in helpi
's staff. I was notified at the time that my new assignment would last till spring only. I arrived at Washington January 24th, and after taking charge of my office at once resumed my relations with Dana. We had rooms together, boarded at the same house, and were closely associated till the spring campaign of the Army of the Potomac began, when we both returned to the field, he to become again the eyes of the government at Grant's headquarters, and I to command a division of cavalry under Sheridan. During our stay in Washington it was our custom to get to work at nine o'clock and close our desks at five o'clock. What business I had higher up was, as a rule, done through Dana, and this gave me the opportunity of seeing him frequently, and always at the close of the day, when it was our custom to go on horseback to the cavalry depot at Giesboro, or to ride about the defences and the suburbs of the city. I generally found him at his desk, and was greatly impressed by the rapidity wi
T. W. Sherman (search for this): chapter 19
nder its present commander. This gave Dana the opportunity to present Grant's second proposition, which was that either Sherman or W. F. Smith should be put in command of that army. Halleck's reply to this left but little doubt that Smith would best of major-generals, and all agreed with Grant in thinking that it would be on the whole much better to select him than Sherman. Realizing how uncertain action was at that time in any given case, or in any given direction with the powers in Washineat, he took his own time to get out of east Tennessee. Even then he retired only in the face of overwhelming numbers. Sherman and Thomas, who took no part in the campaign north of Knoxville, gathered their forces deliberately into a powerful. arimore to save it from the grip of Hurlbut. I believe, however, that General Halleck sent an order on the subject to General Sherman last week. I saw Porter the other day at his office, where he sits with Mr. Lyford on the other side of the same
W. F. Smith (search for this): chapter 19
o be hoped under its present commander. This gave Dana the opportunity to present Grant's second proposition, which was that either Sherman or W. F. Smith should be put in command of that army. Halleck's reply to this left but little doubt that Smith would be called to the place, and this was based upon the distinct declaration that, as long as a fortnight before Dana's return to Washington, both the Secretary of War and General Halleck had come to the conclusion that when a change should be made General W. F. Smith would be the best person to try. While they entertained some doubts respecting Smith's disposition and personal character, which Dana thought he had cleared up, they promised to promote him to the first vacancy in the list of major-generals, and all agreed with Grant in thinking that it would be on the whole much better to select him than Sherman. Realizing how uncertain action was at that time in any given case, or in any given direction with the powers in Washington
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