A Scotch traveller, who visited the United States
, furnishes to the Edinburgh Scotsman
the following anecdotes:
of the Illinois Central Railroad) told me a story of Admiral Farragut
and his son. They were on the Mississippi
, and Farragut
's fleet was about to pass Port Hudson
, which was then held by the confederates.
's son, a lad of about twelve, had been importuning his father that he might be sent to West-Point
, where the military cadets are educated.
Old Farragut said: “I don't know how that would do; I am not sure whether you would stand fire.”
“Oh! Yes, father, I could do that.”
“Very well, my boy, we'll try; come up with me here.”
and his son went up together into the maintop; the old man had himself and the boy lashed to it, and in this way they passed Port Hudson
The boy never flinched while the shot and shell were flying past him. “Very well, my boy, that will do; you shall go to West-Point
, who now commands the Federal
army before Richmond
, he told me this : In the first action in which Grant
commanded, his troops at first gained a slight advantage over the confederates.
They began to plunder the confederate camp in spite of all that Grant
could do to stop them.
At last Grant
, who knew that confederate reinforcements were coming up, got some of his friends to set fire to the camp, so as to stop the plundering.
Then he got his troops together, as well as he could, and retreated; but, in the mean time, the confederate reinforcements came up, attacked Grant
, and defeated him. There were five colonels under Grant
who had not by any means supported him efficiently in his attempts to stop the plundering and collect his troops.
a day or two afterward, when he expected to be deprived of his command on account of the defeat.
He said: “Why do you not report these colonels?
They are the men to blame for not carrying out your orders.”
“Why,” said Grant
, “these officers had never been under fire before; they did not know how serious an affair it was; they have had a lesson which they will not forget.
I will answer for it, they will never make the same mistake again.
I can see by the way they behaved in the subsequent action that they are of the right stuff, and it is better that I should lose my command, if that must be, than the country should lose the services of five such officers when good men are scarce.”
did not lose his command, and three out of the five officers have since greatly distinguished themselves.
The day before Grant
attacked Fort Donelson
, the troops had had a march of twenty miles, part of it during a bitter, cold night.
called a council of war to consider whether they should attack the Fort
at once, or should give the troops a day or two's rest.
The officers were in favor of resting.
said nothing till they had all given their opinion, then he said: “There is a deserter who came in this morning: let us see him, and hear what he has to say.”
When he came in, Grant
looked into his knapsack.
“Where are you from?”
.” “Six days rations in your knapsack, have you not, my man?”
“When were they served out?”
“Were the same rations served out to all the troops?”
“Gentlemen,” said Grant
, “troops do not have six days rations served out to them in a fort if they mean to stay there.
These men mean to retreat, not to fight; we will attack at once.”
He did attack the confederates, defeated them, and took a large number of prisoners.