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1864 April 2: Grant “abjures all meddling with politics”

April 5, 2014

The following article is from The Polk County Press of April 2, 1864.

 Views of General Grant about War and Politics.

The following is a summary of conversation with General GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] by Senator NETWON,¹ of Ohio, as reported in the Columbus State “Journal :”

And speaking in reference to the benefit gained by the expedition, General Grant said that it was by no means a barren movement, as some had supposed.  On the contrary, the advantage permitted him to apply the services of 17,000 veteran troops at another point;   whither, without Sherman’s movement [William T. Sherman] he could not have removed them.  He also remarked that the rebel commanders themselves estimated Sherman’s damage to them to be equal to the loss of from 10,000 to 15,000 men.  And he himself pronounced it one of the most successful expeditions of the whole war.

Mr. Newton having alluded to his appointment as Lieutenant General, Grant remarked, while it lessened his labors it greatly increased his responsibilities ;  saying at the same time, “Well, I am ready for them.”

General Grant said he was going direct to Nashville, and would return thence to Washington next week, intending to pass through Columbus next Monday—that he should go direct to the army of the Potomac ;  and when there he would, at least, be within ten miles of Lee’s army [Robert E. Lee]—that he would not remain in Washington ;  but would hereafter have his headquarters in the field, and go from army to army and from department to department as circumstances may require.

We also learn from Senator Newton that General Grant, in his interview, remarked that it would be of no use merely to take Richmond, unless we could also destroy Lee’s army—(And, if we mistake not, Grant will do both.)

He utterly and absolutely abjures all meddling with politics ;  declares he will have nothing to do with politics until the rebellion is crushed.—He affirms most positively that he will not even ask a question about political matters until the war is over.

And Senator Newton assures us that General Grant’s whole mind and soul are absorbed in the great work now entrusted to his military guidance ;  and that nothing can draw him aside from the vigorous prosecution of the war which he will now supervise and direct.

1.  Eben Newton (1795-1885) was a lawyer who was an Ohio state senator from 1864-1865. He had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1851-1853) and previously an Ohio state senator (1842-1844).

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