James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
General, and I try to defend him but with little success.1 All sorts of charges were made against him. Stanton telegraphed to Halleck at Pittsburg Landing, The President desires to know whether any neglect or misconduct of General Grant or any other officer contributed to the casualties that befell our forces on Sunday.2 Halleck, in his immediate answer, was evasive; and in his despatch of May 2, as printed, there is a tantalizing ellipsis,3 but, so far as I have been able to discover, there is no evidence in the printed record of misconduct on the part of Grant4. It was the tragedy of his career that whenever he was at fault, the popular judgment harked back to his early record in the regular army and charged his shortcoming to intemperance in drink5. A large number in the North believed this to be the cause of his recklessness at Shiloh and exerted a strong pressure on the President for his removal. A. K. McClure related that, carried along as he was by the overwhelming tide of popular sentiment and backed by the almost universal conviction of the Presidents friends, he urged this course upon Lincoln. Late one night, in a private interview of two hours at the White House, during which he did most of the talking, McClure advocated with earnestness the removal of Grant as necessary for the President to retain the confidence of the country. When I had said everything that could be said from my standpoint, McClure proceeded with his story, we lapsed into silence. Lincoln remained silent for what seemed a very long time. He then said in a tone of earnestness that I shall never forget, I cant spare this man;
Note 4. The Official Records are so voluminous that any general remark must be made with the reservation in the text. J. H. Wilson in his Life of General Rawlins, M.S., wrote Grant was entirely guiltless of anything to his discredit. [back]