Thursday, June 15, 2017

Diary of John Hay: June 23, 1864

The President arrived to-day from the front, sunburnt and fagged, but still refreshed and cheered. He found the army in fine health, good position, and good spirits; Grant quietly confident; he says, quoting the Richmond papers, it may be a long summer's day before he does his work, but that he is as sure of doing it as he is of anything in the world. Sheridan is now on a raid, the purpose of which is to sever the connection at junction of the Richmond and Danville Railroads at Burk's, while the army is swinging around to the south of Petersburg and taking possession of the roads in that direction.

Grants says he is not sufficiently acquainted with Hunter to say with certainty whether it is possible to destroy him: but that he has confidence in him that he will not be badly beaten. When McPherson or Sherman or Sheridan or Wilson is gone on any outside expedition, he feels perfectly secure about them, knowing that, while they are liable to any of the ordinary mischances of war, there is no danger of their being whipped in any but a legitimate way.

Brooks says of Grant that he seems to arrive at his conclusions without any intermediate reasoning process — giving his orders with the greatest rapidity and with great detail. Uses the theoretical staff-officers very little.

SOURCES: Abstracted from Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 209-10. See Michael Burlingame & John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House: The Complete War Diary of John Hay, p. 210 for the full diary entry.

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