Friday, May 18, 2018

the last book I ever read (Grant by Ron Chernow, excerpt nine)

from Grant by Ron Chernow:

On his way back to City Point, Grant stayed at the Willard Hotel to confer with Lincoln. Stanton felt poorly from overwork and, in the election’s aftermath, some enemies schemed to oust him. Lincoln promised Grant that, if any change occurred, he would be consulted about his successor. Gruff though Stanton was, Grant transcended petty politics and judged the war secretary on his true merits. “I doubt very much whether you could select as efficient a Secretary of War as the present incumbent,” Grant assured Lincoln. “He is not only a man of untiring energy and devotion to duty, but even his worst enemies never for a moment doubt his personal integrity and the purity of his motives.” With election-year politics over, Grant submitted a list of eight major generals and thirty-three brigadiers whom he wanted drummed out of the service. Some were political generals, including Franz Sigel, John McClernand, and Carl Schurz, whose military ability Grant had long questioned, and he would pay dearly after the war for their enmity. Some names on the list frankly surprised Lincoln. “Why, I find that lots of the officers on this list are very close friends of yours; do you want them all dropped?” Grant’s response was patriotic: “That’s very true, Mr. President; but my personal friends are not always good generals.”

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