Thursday, June 1, 2017

Diary of John Hay: May 9, 1864

Received to-day the first despatches from Grant.

The President thinks very highly of what Grant has done. He was talking about it to-day with me, and said: — “How near we have been to this thing before, and failed! I believe if any other General had been at the head of that army, it would have now been on this side of the Rapidan. It is the dogged pertinacity of Grant that wins.” It is said that Meade observed to Grant that the enemy seemed inclined to make a Kilkenny cat fight of the affair; and answered “Our cat has the longest tail.”

SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 191-2; See Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger, Editors, Inside Lincoln’s White House,: the complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. 195.

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