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admiration, of his subordinates. Before the battle of Aboukir, Nelson called his captains into his cabin, and explained to them his plan of battle by doubling on a portion of the enemy's fleet; and, as his officers began to understand it, Capt. Barry, in his enthusiasm, jumped to his feet, and exclaimed, “ If we succeed, what will the world say of us?” Nelson, with equal enthusiasm,
? sprang up, and exclaimed, “ But there is no if in the case: we shall succeed." No one there uttered the opinion afterwards expressed by Cooper, — that with
American vessels it would fail; and the ardor and confidence of the officers was felt the next day by every man and powder-boy throughout the English fleet.
When Gen. Grant made known his plan to a council of his corps commanders, not one approved it. The plan was opposed to military rule. It severed his army from the North and its supplies. If not an immediate success, it must end in overwhelming disaster. All his officers — Sherman, McPherson, Logan, Wilson, all able men, all attached to their commander, and anxious he should not fail — argued the points against the project. Sherman, after reflecting, could not restrain himself from renewing the debate. Grant knew his friendship, his sincerity, and his ability. Sherman even rode up to Grant's headquarters the next day, and presented his views, respectfully of course, but earnestly,
but earnestly, as an earnest man does every thing.
He assured Grant that the only way to take Vicksburg was to move on it from some high ground as a base, on the north. “This,” said Grant, “ will require us to go back to Memphis.”
Exactly so,” said Sherman, and set forth his reasons
with the intensity of conviction and the ingenuity and ability of an able soldier.
Grant replied, “I shall take no step backward : it would seem to the country, now discouraged, like a retreat. I have considered the plan, and have determined carry
it out.' Sherman left; but the strength of his convictions, the vast importance of the movement to the nation and the army, would not allow him to leave the subject thus ; and he carefully committed his views to paper, and on the 8th of April forwarded them to headquarters, concluding with these noble words, so honorable to him as a patriot and a soldier: “I make these suggestions with
a the request that Gen. Grant simply read them, and give them, as I know he will, a share of his thoughts. I would prefer he should not answer them, but merely give them as much or as little weight as they deserve. Whatever plan of action he may adopt will receive from me the same zealous co-operation and energetic support as though conceived by myself.”
And here is one of the points of moral grandeur in the career of Grant. Those who would understand his character should observe him at this juncture. This single man — newspapers, politicians, army officials at Washington, clamoring for his removal, he acknowledging his failure thus far, his present plan opposed earnestly by all his officers-sees the path of duty before him gleaming with light in the surrounding darkness, and walks in it with unfaltering step. How many men were there in the country who would have gone on?
It had been said early in the war that the North had no cavalry, and nothing to make cavalry out of; that
the Southern men were born riders; and in this arm of the service, which Napoleon pronounced the most important in war,* the South would always be infinitely superior to their opponents.
Gen. Scott, whose opinions at the opening of the war, whether with or without reason, were supreme, declared we needed no cavalry; and, in consequence, thousands of cavalry were refused when offering to enlist. The few regiments accepted were attached to different corps, and, when used, were generally sent out in small numbers.
It was the fashion to ridicule the efficiency of the cavalry. The sarcasm of a distinguished major-general in asking, after a battle, “ if any one ever saw a dead cavalry-man,” was often repeated. Under Grant, the cavalry became a power, as it deserved to be; and expeditions, ten and fifteen thousand strong, were sent out, and used effectively until the close of the war.
While studying his campaign, Grant wrote to Hurlbut, “It seems to me that Grierson, with about five
, hundred picked men, might succeed in cutting his way south, and cut the railroad east of Jackson, Miss. The undertaking would be a hazardous one ; but it would pay well if carried out.”
This railroad was the principal artery for supplies to Vicksburg. Col. B. H. Grierson of the Sixth Illinois was 'at La Grange, Tenn., with seventeen hundred
*“My decided opinion,” said Napoleon," is that cavalry, if led by equally bravd resolute men, must always break infantry." — Las Casas, vii. 184.
*“ It was by cavalry that Hannibal conquered at Ticino; a charge of French horsemen at Marengo placed Napoleon on the consular throne ; another of the English light dragoons on the flank of the Old Guard hurled him to the rock of St. Helena.” – Alison.
men, including the Sixth and Seventh Illinois and Second Iowa, with Col. Prince and Col. Hatch. Grierson started April 17; passed through Ripley, behind all the Confederate forces, through Pontatoc, Clear Spring, Louisville, Newton, burning bridges, cutting telegraph-wires, tearing up railroads, destroying property of the rebel government wherever found, passing through forests and swamps, and swimming rivers. At Newton, they turned south-west, towards Raleigh ; thence to Gallatin, where they captured a 32-pound rifled Parrott and fourteen hundred pounds of powder; then to Union Church behind Natchez, where they had a skirmish ; then to Brookhaven, where they burned the station-house, cars, and bridges of the New-Orleans and Jackson Railroad; thence to Greenburg, La., having a fight at Amite River.
May 2, the people of Baton Rouge were astounded at the arrival of a courier, who announced that a brigade of cavalry from Gen. Grant's army had cut their way through the whole of the State of Mississippi, and would arrive in an hour. They were met at the picket-line, and escorted into Gen. Banks's camp amid the vociferous cheers of their astonished friends.
In sixteen days they had ridden six hundred miles through the heart of one of the richest regions of the Confederacy, traversing the whole length of Mississippi ; killed and wounded one hundred of the enemy; captured and paroled five hundred prisoners ; destroyed three thousand stand of arms, and six million dollars' worth of Confederate supplies, and property of various kinds, with a loss of three men killed and twenty-five horses. Thousands of rebel cavalry were sent out froi..
Jackson and from Vicksburg ; but the chivalry never could find them.
Grierson's expedition was one of the most brilliant cavalry exploits of the war, and will be long remembered.
The raid withdrew attention somewhat from Grant, and was of essential service to his army in its new movement.
On the 29th of March, Gen. McClernand, with the Thirteenth Army Corps, was ordered to move down to New Carthage. The winter overflow had hardly subsided, and the roads were wet and spongy.
On arrival, it was found that the levee of the Bayou Vidal, which here empties into the Mississippi, had broken, leaving New Carthage an island. It was found necessary, therefore, to march the army to Perkins's Plantation, twelve miles below, and thirty-five miles from Milliken's Bend. Four bridges, two of them six hundred feet long, were required during this march. Ammunition and provisions were carted along this route with incredible labor.
It was now determined to send three steamers and ten barges, loaded with rations and forage, past the batteries. Grant applied to Admiral Porter, who entered cordially into the undertaking. Grant wrote, “I am happy to say the admiral and myself have never yet disagreed upon any policy.” The passage
would be a terrible one, to many it might be like embarking on the river of death. Some of the captains and crews of the river-steamboats were unwilling to make the attempt; and the trip was so hazardous, that the officers preferred to call for volun