James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  with a group of staff officers before the general’s tent, a willing raconteur, plying his wit “to teach them truth,”—pleased by their appreciation, egged on by their hearty laughs.  5   There is little or no evidence, so far as I know, of Grant being dejected over the failure of those high hopes which he had entertained on crossing the Rapidan. His sturdy disposition, his strong will and determination to succeed probably prevented any admission of failure even to himself; or if they did not, his stolid countenance concealed the fact. It is nevertheless true that the bitterness of disappointment drove him for a while to drink. Rawlins told Wilson soon after their first meeting that they must do all in their power “to stay Grant from falling” 1 and, in the period of tedious waiting before Petersburg, this faithful mentor and sturdy patriot served his country as no one else could have done. Rawlins’s familiar letters to his wife exhibit his anxiety and his good influence on the general whom the North needed to bring the war to an end. Twice (on June 29 and on one of the last days of July) Grant, to use Rawlins’s words, “digressed from his true path”; 2 but, after the last deviation, he pulled himself together and did not again falter. It was an unclouded brain that carried on the siege of Petersburg to its capture, forced the evacuation of Richmond and effected the final discomfiture of Lee and the ruin of the Southern Confederacy.  6     For the moment, however, Lee was making a resolute fight. Encouraged by his victories over Grant and confident that with a diminished force, he could hold his ground against the crippled Army of the Potomac, he detached Early and his corps to drive the Union troops out of the
Note 1. Wilson’s Under the Old Flag, I, 137. [back]
Note 2. Wilson’s Rawlins, M. S.; W. F. Smith. [back]