Unconditional and Immediate Surrender February 16, 2012Brooks D. Simpson It was 150 years ago today that the Union cause found its Jeremy Lin in Ulysses S. Grant. Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
“There was nothing about Ulysses S. Grant that struck the eye; and this puzzled people, after it was all over, because it seemed reasonable that greatness, somewhere along the line, should look like greatness. Grant could never look like anything, and he could never make the things he did look very special; and afterward men could remember nothing more than the fact that when he came around things seemed to happen. The most they could say, usually, was that U. S. Grant had a good deal of common sense.”
Bruce Catton, _Grant Moves South_ (Boston: Little Brown, 1960), 15
A nice analogy, Brooks. McClellan looked the part, but Grant got the job done. Although I still wonder sometimes what the heck he was doing at Cold Harbor. Oh well, even the best generals have their off days.
Well, you might start here:
That’s some serious stones there.
“It is the east, and New York is the sun”
Even in black and white photography, though, he has the most amazing and compelling eyes. Not the fiery eyes of John Brown or the sad, dignified eyes of Abraham Lincoln but steady and calm. I think his calmness meant a lot. His wonderful line at the Wilderness chiding his new subordinates’ obsession over what Lee would do next (the backwards somersault quote) demonstrated that, for the first time, this was a general who was not overawed by Robert E. Lee and who firmly believed that Lee and the ANV and, thus, the Confederacy could be and would be defeated.
Yes, the eyes are penetrating and seem the focus of that picture of him leaning against the tree. The “wonderful line” was indeed wonderful, and his quiet confidence is awe inspiring.
Of course, it took a Lin-coln to recognize the latent greatness.
Also important during the Donelson campaign, for its future implications — Sherman provided logistical support and volunteered to waive (then) rank to serve under Grant, which Grant notes in his memoirs and presumably appreciated at the time.
On February 23, Sherman wrote his brother that Grant’s Donelson victory was “most extraordinary and brilliant — he was a plain, unostentatious man and a few years ago was of bad habits, but he certainly has done a brilliant act.” (Simpson & Berlin, 193.)
And don’t forget John Sherman was just not a “brother” but a prominent senator.
I just found out who this Lin fellow was the other day (I do not really follow basketball, as you might have guessed). I think the analogy is a good one.
And, as Simon Bolivar Buckner said, when Grant came to receive his surrender, “General, mi casa es su casa!”
Naturally (inevitably?), Linsanity gets a reality check in the form of a loss to the worst team in the NBA. I’m not sure what the proper analog is in USG’s history –one loss for Lin (after the Donelson-like catapult to stardom) doesn’t really equate to the first day of Shiloh. But . . . still. The Committee on the Conduct of the War needs some answers here. CRS
Looks like Jeremy Lin may not have the staying power of USG.
But maybe this is like USG’s post-Shiloh troubles and will pass in the fullness of time. CRS