8 thoughts on “Ask Away!

  1. Noma June 29, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    What is the best way for a non-professional to access online, digital copies of letters of Grant and Sherman? (I do have some college access, but just as a staff member.)

  2. John Foskett June 29, 2012 / 3:02 pm

    I’d be interested in knowing where you land on the Grant-Rosecrans-Iuka wheel. That combinatikn seems to have had lomg-reaching/permanent effects and I’ve always had the sense of two people talking past each other.

  3. Al Mackey June 29, 2012 / 5:58 pm

    I’ve seen a claim that Sheridan’s relieving Gouverneur Warren was actually illegal because Grant did not have the authority to authorize it, and only the President, the Secretary of War, or Congress could do so, since Warren was a corps commander. Is that true?

    • jfepperson June 30, 2012 / 5:11 am

      The JAG commentary on the Warren Court verdict explicitly says that Sheridan had the authority, but I have also seen/heard this claim made.

      • John Foskett July 1, 2012 / 8:25 am

        If I recall correctly, Sheridan asserted later that he had been given this authority “before the battle, unsolicited”.

        • Noma July 3, 2012 / 7:46 am

          Warren is such a tragic case. Anyone old enough to remember a comic strip called Lil’ Abner and a character named Joe Bltsfk? Joe Bltsfk always walked around under a black cloud, and unwittingly caused bad luck wherever he went.

          Warren strikes me as the same type of character. I feel like Grant knew this. “If you feel like you have to get rid of Warren, well, just go ahead and do it.” They knew the character was simply cursed, and had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory too many times. Grant knew he had to be thrown overboard to satisfy the gods of war, but was too cowardly to do it himself, so he passed off the job to Sheridan.

          Too bad it had to be done, but it did finally get us to the end of the war.

          And, also tragically, Warren was never vindicated until after he was dead:


          Humiliated by Sheridan, Warren resigned his commission as major general of volunteers in protest on May 27, 1865, reverting to his permanent rank as major in the Corps of Engineers. He served as an engineer for seventeen years, building railroads, with assignments along the Mississippi River, achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1879. But the career that had shown so much promise at Gettysburg was ruined. He urgently requested a court of inquiry to exonerate him from the stigma of Sheridan’s action. Numerous requests were ignored or refused until Ulysses S. Grant retired from the presidency. President Rutherford B. Hayes ordered a court of inquiry that convened in 1879 and, after hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses over 100 days, found that Sheridan’s relief of Warren had been unjustified. Unfortunately for Warren, these results were not published until after his death.[11]

          Warren died in Newport, Rhode Island, and was buried there at his request in civilian clothes and without military honors. His last words were, “The flag! The flag!”[12]


          • John Foskett July 3, 2012 / 9:52 am

            Compare the case of Fitz John Porter. He was wrongly cashiered for his alleged inaction at Seond Bull Run but richly deserved it for his running commentary with New York World pubisher Manton Marble, in which he made comments violating the Articles of War (IMHO). He was vindicated of the 2BR charges several years after the war and while he was still alive. “Rough justice” would have been either (1) no vindication or, like Warren (2) vindication after he was no longer around.

  4. Noma July 17, 2012 / 11:21 am

    One more question for Brooks. I have not found any better work on Grant’s relations with African Americans than your “Let Us Have Peace.”

    But, I also know that was a very early work for you. Do you still mostly stand by that presentation, or if you were re-writing the book now, would you make any major changes?

    Can you suggest other titles that give a usable and significant focus on Grant’s relations with African Americans (pre-war, during the war, and post-war). McFeely seems to depict him as racist in some aspects, in particular, implies that Grant bowed to Julia’s feelings on this issue (thus he never invited Frederick Douglass to dinner, etc.) Is McFeely speculating too much, or is there something to his perspective?


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