James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
reached the front. Yet not a large proportion of the 1864 recruits were social outcasts. In the country districts, villages and smaller cities, the efforts of able business men, who engaged voluntarily in the work of filling the respective quotas, were brought to bear, with the result that attention was paid to the character of the men offering to serve; yet the recruits were on the whole inferior physically, morally and intellectually to those who had enlisted in 1861 and 1862 and were very largely mercenaries, although a considerable part of them were sturdy Canadians and brawny immigrants from Europe, tempted by the high wage offered for military service. Moreover though the rank and file were deteriorating, the process of weeding out political generals and those appointed to the lower commands by influence rather than by merit, left their places open to the better officers who had further improved by the lessons of experience. I will see, wrote General Sherman to his brother on April 5, that by May 1st I have on the Tennessee one of the best armies in the world. The result of his campaign fully justified his promise. Best of all, the North had developed four great generals, Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, and in this respect was now superior to the South. In the death-grapple, as we shall see, Grant was to be matched against Lee, Sherman against Joseph E. Johnston, who had succeeded Bragg; and, with the exception of Lee and Johnston, no one in the Confederacy showed the same ability in the command of an independent army as Thomas, nor did any prove the equal of Sheridan, whose singular prowess must have made Lee regret bitterly the loss of his Stonewall Jackson.1