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"There are many officers to whom these remarks are applicable to a greater or less degree, proportionate to their ability as soldiers; but what I want is to express my thanks to you and McPherson, as the men to whom, above all others, I feel indebted for whatever I have had of success.
"How far your advice and assistance have been of help to me, you know. How far your execution of whatever has been given you to do, entitles you to the reward I am receiving, you cannot know as well as I.
“I feel all the gratitude this letter would express, giving it the most flattering construction.
"The word you I use in the plural, intending it for McPherson also. I should write to him, and will some day, but starting in the morning, I do not know that I will find time just now.
“U. S. GRANT."
Sherman, who was at Memphis, received this letter on March Toth, and replied:
“DEAR GENERAL:—I have your more than kind and characteristic letter of the 4th inst. I will send a copy to General McPherson at once.
“You do yourself injustice, and us too much honor, in assigning to us too large a share of the merits which have led to your high advancement. I know you approve of the friendship I have ever professed to you, and will permit me to continue, as heretofore, to manifest it on all proper occasions.
“You are now Washington's legitimate successor, and occupy a position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue as heretofore, to be yourself, simple, honest, and unpretending, you will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends and the homage of millions of human beings, that will
award you a large share in securing to them and their descend. ants a government of law and stability.
“I repeat, you do General McPherson and myself too much honor. At Belmont you manifested your traits-neither of us being near. At Donelson, also, you illustrated your whole character. I was not near, and General McPherson in too subordinate a capacity to influence you.
"Until you had won Donelson, I confess I was almost cowed by the terrible array of anarchical elements that presented themselves at every point; but that admitted a ray of light I have followed ever since. I believe you are as brave, patriotic and just, as the great prototype Washington—as unselfish, kind-hearted and honest as a man should be—but the chief characteristic is the simple faith in success you have always manifested, which I can liken to nothing else than the faith a Christian has in the Saviour.
"This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when you have completed your best preparations you go
into battle without hesitation, as at Chattanooga-no doubts, no reserves; and, I can tell you, it was this that made us act with confidence. I knew, wherever I was, that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would help me out, if alive.
“My only point of doubt was, in your knowledge of grand strategy, and of books of science and history; but, I confess, your common sense seems to have supplied all these.
“Now as to the future. Don't stay in Washington. Come West; take to yourself the whole Mississippi Valley. Let us make it dead sure—and, I tell you, the Atlantic slopes and Pacific shores will follow its destiny, as sure as the limbs of a tree live or die with the main trunk. We have done much, but still much remains. Time and time's influences are with us. We could almost afford to sit still and let these influences work.
“Here lies the seat of the coming empire; and from the West, when our task is done, we will make short work cf Charleston and Richmond, and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic.
“ Your sincere friend,
“W. T. SHERMAN."
General Grant's journey to Washington was made as rapidly as possible, and by special trains. Wherever his approach to a town was known he was welcomed by cheering multitudes, eager to see and honor the new commander of the nation's armies. While on the way he received the following from Halleck, whom he succeeded: “The Secretary of War directs me to say, that your commission as Lieutenant-General is signed, and will be delivered to you on your arrival at the War Department. I sincerely congratulate you on this recognition of your distinguished and meritorious services.”
On March 8th, he arrived at the capitol, a stranger to the President, almost one to the Secretary of War, and quite one to the scenes and surroundings. On the 9th, he was formally present with the President and his Cabinet, when Mr. Lincoln said:
“General Grant, the nation's appreciation of what you have done and its reliance upon you for what remains to be done, in the existing great struggle, are now presented, with this commission constituting you Lieutenant-General in the Army of the United States. With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add, that with what I here speak for the nation, goes my own hearty personal concurrence.”
The General replied: "Mr. President, I accept the commission, with gratitude for the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought in so many fields
for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me; and I know that if they are met it will be due to those armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.”
The investiture was then made complete by the action of the President, who assigned the new Lieutenant-General to the command of all the national armies, with headquarters in the field.