Recollections of the Civil War: With the Leaders at Washington and in the Field in the Sixties

By Charles A. Dana | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
SOME CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS.

Grant before his great fame -- His friend and mentor, General Rawlins -- James Harrison Wilson -- Two semi-official letters to Stanton -- Character sketches for the information of the President and Secretary -- Mr. Dana's early judgment of soldiers who afterward won distinction.

LIVING at headquarters as I did throughout the siege of Vicksburg, I soon became intimate with General Grant, not only knowing every operation while it was still but an idea, but studying its execution on the spot. Grant was an uncommon fellow -- the most modest, the most disinterested, and the most honest man I ever knew, with a temper that nothing could disturb, and a judgment that was judicial in its comprehensiveness and wisdom. Not a great man, except morally; not an original or brilliant man, but sincere, thoughtful, deep, and gifted with courage that never faltered; when the time came to risk all, he went in like a simple-hearted, unaffected, unpretending hero, whom no ill omens could deject and no triumph unduly exalt. A social, friendly man, too, fond of a pleasant joke and also ready with one; but liking above all a long chat of an evening, and ready to sit up with you all night, talking in the cool breeze in front of his tent. Not a man of sentimentality,

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