Campaigning With Grant

by Gen. Horace Porter

This book is available in audio format.

In 1863 Horace Porter, then a captain, met Ulysses S. Grant as Grant began the campaign that would break the Confederate siege at Chattanooga. After a brief stint in Washington, Porter rejoined Grant, who was now in command of all Union forces, and served with him as a staff aide from April 1864 until the end of the war. He accompanied Grant into battle in the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg campaigns and was present at Lee's surrender at McLean's house. Throughout the war he kept extensive notes that capture Grant's conversations as well as his own observations of military life.

Porter was at Appomattox as a brevet brigadier general, and this work, written from notes taken in the field, is his eyewitness account of the great struggle between Lee and Grant that led to the defeat of the Confederacy.

As a close-up observer of Grant in the field, Porter was also able to draw a finely detailed, fully realized portrait of this American military hero's daily acts, his personal traits and habits, and the motives that inspired him in important crises in the language that Grant used at the time.

Porter's portrait of Grant is the most incisive and comprehensive first-hand account that we have. We see Grant as soldier and hear in his own words the tactical evaluations that led to many of the war's key decisions.

Porter intended to bring readers into such intimate contact with the Union commander that they could know him as well as those who served by his side. He acquits himself admirably in this undertaking, giving us a moving human document and a remarkable perspective on a crucial chapter of American history.

We also hear of Grant's dealings with Lincoln, of the close relationship between Sherman and Grant, and of Lee's noble bearing at his surrender. This is a stirring account that brings to life our country's most memorable conflict.

A Noon-Day Halt at Mrs. Tyler's


- Title Page

- Introduction

- Preface

- Table of Contents

- List of Maps and Illustrations

- Chapter I: My First Meeting with General Grant--A Conference at Thomas's Headquarters--Grant's Manner of Writing Despatches--Opening "The Cracker Line," --Grant Saluted by the Enemy--Grant's Personal Appearance

- Chapter II: A Higher Grade Created for Grant -- Grant's First Meeting with LIncoln -- in Command of All the Armies -- Interview with Stanton -- Grant in A Communicative Mood -- at General Meade's Head Quarters -- Grant's Narrow Escape from Capture -- Grant's Enormous Responsibility -- Grant's Personal Staff

- Chapter III: Preparations for A General Advance -- Grants Reasons for Moving by the Left Flank -- His Instruc Tions to His Staff -- Grant's Numerical Strength Offset by Lee's Strategical Advantage -- Crossing the Rapidan -- the Headquarters Mess -- on the Eve of Battle -- Longstreet's Estimate of Grant -- An Early Breakfast at Headquarters -- Grant and Meade Pitch Tents in the Wilderness -- Grant Hears of the Death of An Old Comrade -- A Conference Between Grant and Meade

- Chapter IV: Grant's Preparations for the Second Day in the Wilderness -- Hancock Flushed with Victory -- Grant at A Critical Moment -- the Crisis of the Wilderness -- Grant's Demeanor on the Field -- Grant's Peculiarities in Battle -- Grant's Confidence in Success -- the General-In-Chief as Aid to A Drover -- Confusion Caused by A Night Attack -- Grant Administers A Reprimand -- Grant After the Battle -- the Wilderness A Unique Combat

- Chapter V: Grant's Third Day in the Wilderness --Hail to the Chief! -- A Night Alarm -- A Midnight Ride -- Grant Roughs It with His Troops -- Out of the Wilderness -- Sheridan Ordered to Crush "Jeb" Stuart -- A Chapter of Accidents -- Grant in Front of Spottsylvania -- the Death of Sedgwick -- Arrival of Despatches -- "I Shall Take No Backward Steps"

- Chapter VI: Communicating with Burnside -- Grant Attacks the Enemy's Center -- How A Famous Message Was Despatched -- News from the Other Armies -- Preparing to Attack the "Angle" -- An Eventful Morning at Headquarters -- Two Distinguished Prisoners -- How the "Angle" Was Captured -- Scenes at the "Bloody Angle"

- Chapter VII: Grant and Meade -- Field Diversions -- Seizing Vantage- Ground -- Grant and the Wounded Confederate -- Grant's Toilet in Camp -- Important Despatches -- Through Rain and Mud -- Grant and the Dying Soldier -- Bad News

- Chapter VIII: Attempt to Turn the Union Right -- "Bill" --Grant's Unprotected Headquarters -- Grant and the VIr Ginia Lady -- A Race for the North Anna -- A Noon-Day Halt at Mrs. Tyler's

- Chapter X: Grant Crosses the Pamunkey -- Manuvering for Po Sition -- Grant Interviews A Prisoner -- Region of the Totopotomoy -- Grant Seizes Old Cold Harbor -- W. F. Smith's Troops Join the Army of the Po Tomac -- Grant Disciplines A Teamster -- Grant's Fondness for Horses -- Moving into Position -- the Halt at Bethesda Church

- Chapter XI: Strength of Lee's Position at Cold Harbor -- Why Grant Assaulted at Cold Harbor -- A Notable Instance of Courage -- Battle of Cold Harbor -- After the Battle -- Grant's Comments on Cold Harbor -- Grant's "Hammering"

- Chapter XII: Grant Decides to Cross the James -- Sufferings at the Front -- Grant's VIsitor from the Pacific Slope -- An Important Mission -- Dealing with A LIbeler of the Press -- Losses -- Grant Relates Some An Ecdotes

- Chapter XIII: The Start for the James -- Grant's Secretiveness -- Stealing A March on the Enemy -- the Passage of the James -- A Brilliant Spectacle -- General W. F. Smith's Attack on Petersburg -- Donning Summer Uniform

- Chapter XIV: Petersburg -- Lee Mystified as to Grant's Movements -- A Change of Complexion -- Meade in Action -- Condition of the Army -- Grant's Camp at City Point -- Grant at the Mess-Table

- Chapter XV: Lincoln's First VIsit to Grant's Camp -- LIncoln at the Front -- Some Anecdotes by LIncoln -- Movement Against the Weldon Railroad - Swapping Horses -- Sheridan Returns -- Where Pocahontas Saved John Smith -- General James H. Wilson's Raid -- the Staff Enlarged

- Chapter XVI: A Disappointed Band-Master -- Hunter's Raid -- Early's Raid on Washington -- Grant as A Writer -- Grant Devotes Attention to Sherman -- Grant's Treat Ment of His Generals -- Grant's Equanimity -- Grant as A Thinker -- Why Grant Never Swore -- Meade and Warren -- Seward VIsits Grant

- Chapter XVIII: The Storming of Newmarket Heights -- A Draft Or Dered -- Battle of the Weldon Railroad -- Battle of Reams's Station -- General Grant's Family VIsit Him -- the Relations Between Grant and Sherman -- A Mission to Sherman -- the Captor of Atlanta -- An Evening with General Thomas

- Chapter XIX: Grant VIsits Sheridan -- Good News from Winchester -- Grant Under Fire at Fort Harrison -- Consterna Tion in Richmond -- Secretary Stanton VIsits Grant -- How Grant Received the News from Cedar Creek

- Chapter XX: Grant's Narrow Escape at Hatchers' Run -- Discussing the March to the Sea -- Why Grant Never Held Councils of War -- How the March to the Sea Was Conceived and Executed

- Chapter XXI: Grant Suggests A Plan for Voting in the Field -- Grant VIsits New York -- A Philadelphia Ovation to Grant -- Grant and LIncoln in Conference -- Grant's Winter Quarters at City Point -- General Ingalls's Spotted Dog -- Grant's Intercourse with His Associates -- Correspondence with General Thomas

- Chapter XXII: Planning the First Fort Fisher Expedition -- Grant's Aversion to Liars -- Reminiscences of Grant's Ca Det LIfe -- Grant Orders Thomas to Move Against Hood -- Thomas Crushes Hood

- Chapter XXIII: Senator Nesmith VIsits Grant--Sherman Reaches the Sea-Coast -- Butler's Expedition Against Fort Fisher--Grant's Children at City Point - Chapter XXIV: Capture of Fort Fisher -- the Dutch Gap Canal -- Grant Receives Unasked Advice -- Grant Relieves Butler -- Sherman's Loyalty to Grant -- A "Good Shot" -- Night Attack of the Enemy's Ironclads -- How Grant Became A Confirmed Smoker -- Grant Offers His Purse to His Enemy -- Grant Receives the "Peace Commissioners"

- Chapter XXV: Grant Plans the Spring Campaigns -- the President's Son Joins Grant's Staff -- Lee Asks A Personal In Terview -- A VIsionary Peace Program -- High Prices in Richmond -- Grant Receives A Medal from Con Gress -- Shaving Under Difficulties -- Arrival of Sheridan's Scouts

- Chapter XVII: Grant Draws the Net Tighter Around the Enemy -- President Lincoln's Last Visit to Grant -- Grant's Foresight -- Attack on Fort Stedman -- the Presi Dent Tells Some Anecdotes -- Mr. LIncoln's Kind Ness to Animals -- Sheridan's Final Orders -- the President Reviews the Army of the James

- Chapter XXVIII: The Movement Against Five Forks--The Battle of Five Forks--Carrying the News of Five Forks to Grant--Grant Prepares to Assault the Peters Burg LInes--Capturing the Works at Petersburg --Grant Writes Despatches Under Fire--Capture of Forts Gregg and Whitworth

- Chapter XXX: Grant's Ride to Appomattox--How Lee Reached Mclean's House--Meeting Between Grant and Lee--Brief Discussion as to the Terms of Surrender--Draft Ing the Terms, and the Acceptance--Grant's Con Sideration for the Confederate Privates--Rations for the Paroled Army

- Chapter XXXI: After the Surrender -- Grant's Final Conference with Lee -- the Dawn of Peace -- Grant Avoids A VIsit to Richmond -- His Respect for Religion -- Grant's Enthusiastic Reception at Washington -- His Last Interview with LIncoln -- John Wilkes Booth Shadows Grant -- Grant's Interrupted Journey -- Lincoln's Assassination

- Chapter XXXII: Sherman's Terms to Joseph E. Johnston--The End of Hostilities--The Grand Review at Washington-- Grant's Place in Military History

- Index

Comments from Reviewers:
    Superb; And Not At All What I Expected
    I'm in the middle of this right now. It's a long book, over 500 pages, and yet there is nothing tiring or tedious about it. Somehow it flows on in a way few other books have for me. I credit Porter's writing.

    When this book was first handed to me, I set it aside, having little taste for the carnage I had read of before. But this book is about *people*, not about death. Its as a study of humanity that this book excells.

    Yes, there is a heavy Union partisanship - Porter is human. But he also writes about the near-insanity of waging this war across the American map. He knows how deep he and everyone around him has descended into the pit.

    The greatness of the book is that Porter's humanity and his keen study of the human natures around him grow greater in these monsterous circumstances.

    And there are hints here of a history that I've read very little of. A terrible shadow of despair behind Lincoln and Grant, a feeling that Grant is the Union's last chance. Porter paints a group portrait of the Union leadership on the verge of tearing itself apart. Teetering on the edge of a wave of duels. A war of personalities in the Union which reflects the Civil War itself. The very concept of human society put to the test on all scales.

    And what is Porter's opinion of Grant? Calm. Utterly fearless. An executive genius. Utterly respectful of other human beings *except* those who mistreat the people and animals entrusted to them. A man who engenders iron loyalty. As Porter says at one point, Grant was given the most appalling task in the history of the nation, and he accomplished it. A man with a genius for stabilizing personalities, for keeping them socialized, for bringing out the very best in them. A man with absolute faith in the human spirit, and the force of will to bring out the best in people.

    One last note: somehow I grew up with the idea that Lincoln was this slow-moving man, and a stodgy speaker. Porter describes the exact opposite, a Lincoln still angular, almost freakish, but swift-handed in greeting his friends. And a Lincoln who's verbal fluency is as swift as his anecdotes are wise.

    This is a marvelous window into our past.

    The Place to Start in a Study on Grant
    The personal anecdotes are truly amazing. This was written by one of Grant's closest aides during the Eastern Theatre campaign. This book shows and disputes the old arguments of Grant as a Butcher. An Important read for those who want to find the real Grant!

    These are the personal reminiscences of Horace Porter, Aide-de-Camp to General Grant. He joined Grant April 4, 1864 and served with him for 9 years, 1864-1872. So by definition expect Federal bias and a father like depiction of Grant. That said, this is a very good Civil War learning tool, insightful as only the reflections of someone who was privy to the highest councils of Union command could be.

    From his promotion to General-in-Chief until the end of the war, Grant had to make many tough decisions. Porter reports a number of these in his book. Most importantly, however, he reports on Grant, General of the Armies. My comments to come are not intended to denigrate Robert E. Lee in any way. Let's face it, Lee's performance was awesome. However, Grant's performance was much better, if for no other reason than Grant's authority was greater than Lee's. Until the very last days of the war, Jeff Davis acted as his own General-in-Chief. For all but 4-5 weeks, Lee only commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant, however, commanded all Federal armies. Thus, as biased as Porter's work necessarily is, Porter does give us the first and best look at a true modern general. Grant's political awareness, his understanding of logistics, close coordination with the navy, handling multiple armies, ability to improvise, understand and forge new methods of warfare such as Sherman's march, "mark him as the exceptional general of the nineteenth century". He really was.

    Porter's book gives us a unique view of how Grant's abilities evolved. Equally important we get in-depth reviews of a variety of Union participants, everyone from Lincoln, to Hancock, Dana, Meade, Sherman and Sheridan just to mention a few. These personal reflections are quite worthwhile.

    This is one interesting book, written by a well positioned observer. It is a book that adds greatly to understanding the workings of the Union high command during the final year of the Civil War.

    The editors at Time-Life chose this book as one of the volumes of the Collector's Library of the Civil War. It is available in a leather-bound edition with gilded gold edges and also in paperback and digital formats. An audio version of this book is included as one of the volumes on the DVD of our Collector's Library set. The DVD also includes Kindle, epub, PDF, and Word formats.

Time Life Collector's Library

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