Grant Is Promoted

by Daniel Russ on November 21, 2018

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March 8th, Tuesday 1864, was a cold and windy day in Washington D.C. Entering the lobby of the Willard Hotel, a short, round shouldered middle-aged man, shabbily appointed, taciturn and otherwise unimpressive stood holding the hand of his 13 year old son.  He stood 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed no more than 140 pounds. He asked for a room and was assigned to a single bed on the top floor. The clerk watched as signed his name: US Grant & son – Galena, Illinois.

 

The clerk’s eyes bugged out of his head and he took a sudden breath. “Oh my, I didn’t know General. No.  We have Parlor 6, where the President typically stays.” He snapped the bell and bellboys gathered instantly. Before long everyone on the block had heard that General Grant has checked in in advance of his imminent promotion.

 

Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chickamauga. He had taken prisoners from two Confederate armies in large numbers and sent another one in fast egress from the battlefield. So when the word around the Willard Hotel got out that Grant was there, he practically had to be hidden by White House members from so much intrusion. Throughout the night as he made his way around the tight knit group of Congressmen and Senators and other statesmen, ladies, well appointed in crinoline and lace were crushed in the crowds.

 

In due time he was escorted into a room with the President and a smaller group, where he was promoted. Lincoln spoke.

 

“General Grant, the nation’s appreciation of what you have done and its reliance on you what remains to do in the existing great struggle are now presented with this great commission constituting you as lieutenant General in the army of the united states. With this high honor devolves upon you a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add that with what I here speak for the nation goes my own hearty personal concurrence.”

 

Then, pulling a smaller paper out, Grant read his response.

 

“I accept this commission. For the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of your responsibilities now devolving on me and know that if they are met it will be due to those armies and above to the favor of that Providence, which leads both nations and men.”

 

With that, the rest of the war was fought.

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