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1865 January 21: General Grant’s Military Strategy

January 25, 2015

This article appeared in the January 21, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Gen. Grant and the New War Policy.

What is the matter with Chicago Times?  All the summer and autumn it took a most sombre view of the prospect of our arms.  It thought GRANT was whipped in every battle. [Ulysses S. Grant]  It predicted disaster to SHERMAN. [William T. Sherman]  It denounced the war policy of the government.  It eulogised Gen. McClellan as the great military genius of the age. [George B. McClellan]  No other of our Generals, it asserted, has the ability to oppose the generalship of DAVIS and LEE. [Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee]  If we had relied upon its editorial columns for our news of the war, and views of the situation, we should have said that the past campaign ad been a series of damaging defeats now and then a seeing advantage gained perhaps, but in reality one uninterrupted succession of disasters.

It is with some surprise therefore, that we find a recent editorial in that sheet warmly commending Gen. GRANT.  It says his first act on becoming Lieutenant General was to revolutionize the system on which the war was before conducted.  He gave up the anaconda system, and began concentrating our forces.  It shows how he holds the best of the rebel armies at Richmond while SHERMAN is left free to ravage the richest domains of the rebellion.  It concludes :

In fine [finé?], within one year, under the new system of attack inaugurated by the Lieutenant General, the Confederacy has been reduced to a condition that promises its speedy dissolution.  Much, in fact, has been accomplished under General Grant than under all the generals that preceded him.  A year ago the Confederacy was defiant ;  to-day it is gravely discussing the propriety of throwing itself into the arms of England or France to escape subjugation.  In short, since General Grant became Lieutenant General, the Federal armies have not suffered a single defeat of magnitude ;  while the inroads into the military power of the rebellion have been numerous and substantial.

This is a remarkable confession for the leading Copperhead journal of the Northwest to make.  The scatteration, anaconda system was the system of GEO. B. McCLELLAN.  Gen. Scott [Winfield Scott] may have inaugurated it, but it was fully developed by “Little Mac.”  We are surprised to read such an acknowledgement as the above from one of his most strenuous supporters.  It may be, however, that a glimmer of common sense is beginning to penetrate the copperhead fraternity.  They, perhaps, are at length coming to see that it is useless longer to deny what is palpable.  They have stoutly and persistently, for many months, endeavored to convince the country that everything connected with the war has been going adversely to the Union.  Are they finally satisfied that the endeavor is a hopeless task !  We hope so, and trust that they may see the propriety of abandoning their evil course.

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