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THIS volume was undertaken at the solicitation of the
publishers, who wished a life of General Grant for the people. As an apology for errors and inadvertencies, I feel at liberty to say that circumstances have constrained me to write it with a hurried pen. The pages have been sent to the printer as fast as written; and, as they were electrotyped as fast as printed, I was prevented from revising them fully in proof-sheets.
There is no authority for the youth and childhood of Grant but his father: the son never consents to indulge in reminiscence respecting his early years, and uniformly refers biographers to the record for his career during manhood. In regard to the Mexican War, I have been favored with some material by Hon. Mr. Washburne, who has also furnished me with data respecting Grant's life on the frontiers. In the campaigns from Belmont to Chattanooga, I have followed, upon all disputable points, the authority of Gen. Adam Badeau, in his “ Military History of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.” I have frequently in the text expressed my obligations to the careful researches of this gentleman; and I repeat my acknowledgments in this introduction. The telegrams, despatches, letters, of Gen. Grant, which
have been for the first time given to the public by this accomplished historian, I have freely used; because I have regarded them as Gen. Grant's own commentaries upon his own campaigns, written, like Cæsar's, in the field. In the Wilderness campaign I have relied upon manuscript reports, which were furnished me at headquarters, when I was investigating a question of legislation, by authority of the House of Representatives. I have also to express my acknowledgments to Charles J. Hoadly, Esq., of the State Library, for genealogical material ; to Hon. J. Hammond Trumbull, Curator of the Watkinson Library, for facilitating my researches; to Williain N. Matson, Esq., for daily encouragement and aid ; and to three steadfast assistants (whom I am only permitted to indicate), I am immeasurably indebted for lightening my labors and expediting my volume.
I make no professions to acquaintance with military science. I can only see such system and methods in battles and campaigns, and of course can only describe such, as a civilian, who has only studied war in history, biography, and in Jomini's analysis of the campaigns of Napoleon and Frederick, may be permitted to discern. A full detail of all the military movements of Grant was incompatible with the limits of my volume; and I have selected for full description those which best served to illustrate his character as a general. I have, moreover, attempted to avoid cumulative illustration. In the chapter devoted to “ Administrative Experience," my authority has been the official reports.
HARTFORD, April 28, 1868.
War. – War with Mexico. – Grant's Rank. — Matamoras. - View of
Monterey from the Heights. — Forts Teneria and Diablo. - Surrender
New Field of Operations. — Fremont superseded by Halleck. -- Change
of Command over Grant; no Change of System. — Naval Service in