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Sumter or Montgomery, by holding this city or blockading that harbor, by "crushing, anaconda strategy," such as Scott first recommended, that the Rebellion was to be put down; but that the Rebellion was in the hearts and minds of the slavellolders; that its power was with Lee and the unnumbered bayonets that followed him: and thereafter his policy was to pursue the rebel armies, and constantly strike, strike. This opinion he ever after acted upon, as far as his power went, until the final surrender at Appomattox Court House. He acted on the doctrine that political metaphysics, armies, slavery, every thing, should be destroyed which resisted the triumph of the right. And here was one great secret of his success where others had failed.
Gen. Halleck, who was at St. Louis, now came down and took command.
The North claimed a great victory at first; but, very soon, dissatisfaction was expressed. Gen. Grant, it was said, "had not properly chosen his battle-field; he should have had Buell's army on the ground on the first day of the fighting; his habits were bad, or the army would not have been driven back to the Landing on Sunday; it was a defeat which Buell only prevented from becoming Such were some of the wise criticisms made. Gen. Halleck, after investigating the facts, issued an order, thanking Gen. Grant and Gen. Buell, their officers and men, "for the bravery and endurance with which they sustained the general attacks of the enemy on the 5th, and for the heroic manner in which, on the 7th, they defeated and routed the entire rebel army.'
In regard to the selection of the field, Gen. Sherman wrote as follows:
"I will avail myself of this occasion to correct another very common mistake in attributing to Gen. Grant the selection of that battle-field. It was chosen by that veteran soldier, Major-Gen. Charles F. Smith, who ordered my division to disembark there, and strike for the Charleston Railroad. It was Gen. Smith who selected that field of battle; and it was well chosen. On any other we surely should have been overwhelmed, as both Lick and Snake Creeks forced the enemy to confine his movements to a direct front attack, which raw troops are better qualified to resist than where the flanks are exposed to a real or chimerical danger. Even the divisions of the army were arranged in that camp by Gen. Smith's order, before Gen. Grant succeeded him to the command of all the forces up the Tennessee. If there were any error in putting that army on the west side of the Tennessee, exposed to the superior force of the enemy, also assembling at Corinth, the mistake was not Gen. Grant's; but there was no mistake."
Hon. E. B. Washburne, member of Congress from Illinois, thus noticed the attacks on Gen. Grant in an able speech in the House of Representatives, May 2, 1862:
"But there is a more grievous suggestion touching the general's habits. It is a suggestion that has infused itself into the public mind everywhere. There never was a more cruel and atrocious slander upon a brave and a noble-minded man. There is no more temperate man in the army than Gen. Grant. He never indulges in the use of intoxicating liquors at all. He is an example of courage, honor, fortitude, activity, temperance, and modesty; for he is as modest as he is brave and incorruptible. It is almost vain to hope that full justice will ever be done to men who have been thus attacked. Truth is slow upon the heels of falsehood. It has been well said that 'falsehood will travel from Maine to Georgia while truth is putting on its boots.'
Though living in the same town with myself, Gen. Grant has no political claims on me; for, so far as he is a politician, he belongs to a different party."
It has long been thought very difficult to describe a battle the man who is with the right wing describes what happened there; the man who is with the left, what happened there; and the man with the centre describes something different from either.
In reading what was said of the battles of April 6 and 7, Gen. Grant might adopt as his own the remark which Gen. Taylor, in the latter part of his life, was accustomed to make when the battle of Buena Vista was spoken of: "I used to think I was at Buena Vista. I certainly did the day of the battle; but I have heard so much about it since, that I often doubt if I ever was there at all."
A member of Gen. Grant's staff, an eye-witness to the cruel injustice which was done in these criticisms, wrote some letters in his defence, and sent them to Gen. Grant's father for publication. One only was published. As soon as the general learned of this, he wrote, asking that no defence should be made. Conscious of having done his duty, and his whole duty, he preferred to bide his time for a just judgment upon his conduct.
SIEGE OF CORINTH.
RANT was for an immediate attack: but Hal
leck decided otherwise; and he determined to advance toward Corinth, where the rebels had concentrated, and lay siege to the place. Gen. Halleck ordered up an immense army to his camp, until a hundred and twenty thousand bayonets could be put in line. It was called the "Grand Army of the Tennessee." Shovels and spades appeared by thousands. He threw up forty miles of intrenchments. Wells were sunk, as if the army itself was besieged. He dragged heavy siege-guns through the mud; he threw up sodded earthworks, all constructed upon the highest principles of military art.
Bomb-proof magazines were carefully built; roads were cut in every direction. He advanced cautiously about two and a half miles a week for six weeks; the enemy, meanwhile, making no attack. They were satisfied as long as they were "let alone."
Gen. Halleck carried out faithfully his Order No. 3. No unauthorized persons were allowed within his lines the stories of fugitive slaves about the movements of Beauregard's army were disbelieved. Corinth was to be approached, besieged, and taken with
dignity; and week after week he advanced, moving forward his own camp, now a perfect Sevastopol. Grant was of opinion, meanwhile, that the enemy were dividing their forces, and evacuating Corinth. He examined their works, and became satisfied, that on their extreme left, opposite to or a little west of Sherman's line, was their weakest spot; and that there they could be carried at once by assault. The digging and intrenching, as if besieged, had a depressing effect on the national troops. They had driven the enemy, flushed with victory, from the ravine at Pittsburg Landing, with deadly slaughter, five miles back to Shiloh Church. The enemy were retreating, with every sign of disorder, to Corinth; and the Union army stopped six weeks to intrench, and protect itself from an attack. Grant ventured modestly to express some of these views in the briefest manner to Gen. Halleck, and suggested an attack, which he had urged the morning after the victory at Pittsburg Landing ; but Gen. Halleck did not agree in these opinions, and intimated to Gen. Grant that he need not offer his advice unless solicited.
Gen. Grant never intruded his opinions again.
On the last of May, Gen. Halleck was confident that he should be attacked. On the 3d he announced, "There is every indication that the enemy will attack our left this morning ;" and his magnificent army, one of the finest seen during the war, was put in line of battle, and waited an attack: but the enemy never Halleck had sent Col. Elliott to cut the Mobile and Ohio Railroad on the 27th, in Beauregard's rear. The whole country had watched daily, for weeks, the