top of page

The Leadership Principles of Ulysses S. Grant - Stories & Myths (Episode 16)


Considered one of the three greatest American leaders by Teddy Roosevelt, U.S. Grant led the union to victory as a general and the nation to peace as president. Learn the timeless leadership principles that brought Grant success on this week's Stories & Myths with Craig von Buseck.







Order your copy of Craig's new books:





Transcript:


meeting with Christian book

owners, bookstore owners, and

meeting with uh various

different kinds of folks uh to

talk about my different books

and hopefully to uh encourage

them uh stock their shelves

with those books and what books

are those that you'll be

promoting? The ones behind me.

Alright. Yes. So, so it should

should be an entertaining

interesting time. So, uh I'll

I'll probably do a couple of

research stops along the way.

Um I had stopped at Fort

Donelson a couple of years ago

after I had gone to the Ulysses

S Grant Presidential Library

and then I was heading up to

Pennsylvania to visit with my

parents and so I stopped at

Fort Donelson but I didn't have

enough time to get over to Fort

Henry uh which was the first

fort that grant uh defeated. it

actually wasn't grant. It was

his planning but it was the

navy that defeated Fort Henry

but then Grant and the Navy

working together defeated Fort

Donald and so I plan to stop at

Fort Henry because it's kind of

right on the way. Nice And then

uh also there may be a couple

other stops depending on how

much time I have. Uh Mark Twain

Birthplace is about an hour and

a half from where Yes. uh well,

not his birthplace but his

where he grew up. He was born

in Florida, Missouri which is a

little bit uh further west but

uh Hannibal is about an hour

and a half from where we're

going to be. So, if I find the

time I might zing up there as

well. So, It should be. It

should be an interesting time.

Awesome. Awesome that I plan to

hear or I look forward to

hearing some stories about it

next week and um at the office

and here on um on your podcast

stories and myths. That's

right. Yes. So, what do we got

on top for this evening? So,

we're actually going to be

talking about one of your grant

books. We're going to be

talking about the leadership

one. Um just got a couple of

questions about that and so um

this is the second It is called

the lord. The leadership

principles of Ulysses S Grant.

That's right, which is the

companion book to the biography

Victor, the final Battle of

Ulysses S Grant. So, and this

one came out in May of 2021,

right? And the biography Victor

came out in April. So, just a

month apart and so yeah. Um so,

I'll go ahead and jump right

into my first question. So,

Roosevelt declared in nineteen

mightiest among the mighty dead

loom. the three great figures

of Washington Lincoln, and

Grant. So, why did Grant's

reputation suffer such a

decline since that point? Well,

it's interesting II. Don't know

if there would be anyone today

who would say the same thing

now, everything shifts with

context and with time and uh

we've had an awful lot. You

know, we've had more than a

century since

Uh Teddy Roosevelt made that

quote and there have been a lot

of great American leaders since

that time but when you look

back from 1900 back to 1776 and

consider what Teddy Roosevelt

said, uh what I didn't share in

that quote was that he said in

the second tier there would be

people like Patrick or not not

Patrick Henry but Alexander

Hamilton, Tom Thomas Jefferson,

John Adams, Benjamin Franklin,

Franklin, those Teddy Roosevelt

considered those second tier

and he considered the first

tier Washington, Lincoln and

Grant basically people of that

era looked at Washington as the

father of the country and he,

you know, not only as a general

but also as a two-term

president and his important

contribution of not uh going

for a third term but retiring

and saying I'm not a king. we

don't want a king In America,

we want a president and so that

very important contribution,

Then, they looked at Lincoln in

his work in saving the union

and keeping it from being

divided and conquered and they

looked at grants in two

different ways. One was his uh

military strategy working with

Lincoln. I mean, Lincoln and

Grant had very similar strategy

but Lincoln Lincoln didn't have

the military training that

Grant had and so Lincoln needed

Grant. That's why three full

years went by where the union

lost. Most of the time, the

only place that the union was

winning was out west where

Grant was in charge because

Grant was a military genius as

far as his strategy was

concerned and as far as his

discipline was concerned and so

that's why Lincoln brought him

east so that the north's

strongest general went up

against the strongest general

in Robert E. Lee. So, it was

kind of like Rocky Balboa

against Apollo Creed and um and

Grant one and so he he not only

was hailed for winning the war

but he also uh helped the

country steer through the

dangerous waters of

reconstruction and of the rise

of Jim Crow racism in the south

uh basically, you know, the uh

the Southern aristocrats and

politicians who were in charge

before the war very quickly

became in charge again after

the war because they suppressed

uh the black vote and so it was

the same people voting for the

same people and they wanted to

continue slavery just in

different terms and that is you

know the uh Jim Crow racism and

grants fought against that for

all. 8 years of his two terms

as president and this is what

we forget. You know, I know

growing up that I was told that

Grant was one of the worst

presidents we ever had because

of the scandals that took

place. Well, that was nothing

but Southern Pro Southern

Confederate propaganda. It's

simply not true. The truth of

the matter is that Grant is one

of the most important

presidents we ever had because

he kept us together. He kept

the the country unified. He Jim

Crow. He knocked down the KKK.

He came out with the Civil

Rights Act of 1975. He came out

with the KKK laws and so he's,

you know, slogan was let us

have peace and he did that in

three ways. One, he tried to

reconcile wherever he could

with the south as long as they

obey the laws. federal, state,

and local two, he kept the

Union Army uh deployed

throughout the south to enforce

that and three, he he helped to

form the justice department and

his attorney general along with

Grant uh went after the KKK and

basically in the courts, they

wiped them out and so the KKK

was pretty much uh toothless

for the next 20 years because

of Ulysses S Grant, we forget

how important he was not only

as general but also as

president and then of course as

elder statesman in those last 2

years as he was writing his

memoirs, he not only wrote

about his experiences but he

reminded the country that the

war was not about state's

rights. The war was not about

tariffs. The only way they were

the war was about tariffs and

state's rights was as it was

connected to slavery. The war

was about slavery. Grant made

that very clear in his memoirs

and he made it very clear to

the people that he spoke to

including Chancellor, a Von

Bismarck. He said we had to

destroy slavery. It was a

cancer upon our country and so

that is why the people of the

nineteenth century next to

Lincoln and very closely next

to Lincoln. So, Ulysses S Grant

as one of the great leaders in

American history happily after

100 years of what is called the

law school which is a pro

confederate uh philosophy of

writers and historians and

media mogul after 100. years of

knocking grants reputation down

and raising Lee's reputation up

um after the civil rights

movement uh writers and

historians and educators

started to take a second look

at Grant and started to look at

the actual documents which is

what historians are supposed to

do and what journalists are

supposed to do and so in the

last Twenty-five or 30 years,

there has been a reexamine of

the importance of Ulysses S

Grant That's one of the reasons

why I wrote these two books.

Victor and Forward. Awesome.

So, Grant, look for the

advantage in every setback. So,

how was this a key to his

success? well II mentioned

earlier for uh Henry and Fort

Donaldson Grant. um saw the

strategy right away uh when he

was employed as a colonel in

the uh Union Army in Illinois

and he was placed under uh

General Freeman uh who was the

general of the west at the time

free mantle gave grant a

promotion to Brigadier General

and he basically said go get

him. Well, uh Freeman

unfortunately made some really

bad decisions and Lincoln

removed him and brought in

General Hallock Hallock was a

good politician but not a very

good Uh he was good at uh the

paper pushing part of being a

general. He was not good in the

field. He just wasn't good in

the field and yet Grant now had

to answer to Hallock and so

Grant saw very clearly that the

key to um to defeating the

south was to control the

rivers. It would be like us

controlling the highways and

airports today uh because

rivers could be, you know,

things and troops and supplies

and weapons could be moved in

rivers both in the summertime

and in the winter time. So,

it's vitally important and so

Grant saw that what he needed

to do first was to take the two

forts uh that were on the

Cumberland and the Tennessee

Rivers Fort Henry which was an

Earth and fort and it was not

very well built and then Fort

Donaldson which was a

combination of earth and also

Woodstock which was actually

well built and so he went to

Hallock to request permission

all the while Grant was making

plans for how he would do this.

In fact, he went and he talked

to the Admiral um of the navy

because back then there there

was no joint chiefs of staff.

The navy was in charge of the

navy and the army was in charge

of the army. So, the army

generals had to go and ask for

permission uh to use the boats

and so Grant went and spoke

with the commandant of the navy

in that area who agreed that

that was what needed to happen.

I believe it was uh admiral

Foot and um So, Grant went to

Hallock with this plan and

because it wasn't hall's plan,

he said, no, I don't want you

to do that even though it was

the obvious thing to do and so,

grants uh almost quit because

of this because he was so

discouraged by this politics

and yet he thought, okay, his

wife encouraged him and said,

no, you know, tough it out.

stay there. Something will

change. Well, what changed Is

that Abraham Lincoln was sick

and tired of the union just

sitting around doing nothing

and so he gave an order that by

this date, I want action. while

the only plan that Hale had was

grants and so he took it on as

his own and said, oh, I think

that is a very good idea Now

that Lincoln ordered him to

move forward and so he went

ahead and gave permission for

grant to go ahead and to

attack. So had Grant not made

his plans, had not been

proactive By the time Hallock

would have said, yes, there

would have been nothing in

place but Grant had not only

made his plans, he had started

stockpiling all the equipment

and the weapons and the

uniforms and everything that

was needed. The Navy got all

their plans together. So, as

soon as Hallock said, yes, they

were off. I think the next day

or maybe 2 days and um it had

been raining torrential and so

the Tennessee River had flooded

and so um the navy floated

right into Fort Henry. They

literally floated right into

the fort because it had flooded

and so it was the army never

even got there and so the navy

uh telegram uh or telegraphed

uh to general grant saying Fort

Henry has fallen Grant forward

to that that to Hale but he

never ask permission to move on

to Fort Donaldson. He just went

and did it because he thought

if I ask permission, he might

say no. So I'm just going to go

with uh interpreting his

original uh orders as taking

both forts, right? And so,

Grant, go out there and

surrounded three sides of the

fort, the other side was facing

the river and so the navy gun

boats went down to Tennessee

and then up the Cumberland and

started shelling Fort Donaldson

from from the but the

Confederates had built a very

good fort and the Confederates

actually took out the gun

votes. Uh they didn't sink but

they damaged them and killed a

lot of the navy. uh Navy

sailors So, the navy actually

uh retreated because their

boats were not capable of

keeping up the war and so Grant

said, okay, I guess we're just

going to have to take this and

so um he he gave the order to

charge on all fronts. It took

several days uh but eventually

uh they were able to overwhelm

the forts and um and they won.

So that's an example of how

grant um made his plans um his

strategy but then he stuck to

it and pushed forward. Awesome.

So, during the Civil War,

General Grant had a gift for

identifying talent and um

trustworthy people. So, how did

this help the union to win the

war? Well, the generals that we

know of as the great generals,

many, if not, most of them were

picked by Grant at one point

along the lines. Okay And those

that we don't really know about

or at least that your typical

person doesn't know about um

god on Grant's bad side which

could happen. There were some

generals who really uh made him

angry. Uh some that he fired uh

McLennan was an example. So

McLennan was a political

general. This was one of the

crazy things about the Civil

War is that they had most of

the generals and officers were

West Point excuse me, West

Point trained or one of the

other uh military colleges like

um the Citadel or or the uh

VIVI, right? But the majority

were from West Point. however,

because um the war was looked

on as a Republican war at the

beginning, Lincoln needed to uh

pull over to his side Democrats

who agreed with the war because

many Democrats did not and they

actually fought tooth and nail.

They were called Copperheads

because they would snip. uh the

face of liberty off of a copper

penny and of a fix it to their

shirt or their hat or their

lapel of their coat and so they

were named copperheads. There's

actually a movie named

Copperhead that kind of gives

that perspective. It's very

good. Ron Maxwell, the director

of Gettysburg and and Gods and

Generals also directed this

very very good movie but um so

Lincoln needed these Democrats

and so he turned I mean, right

now, it seems ridiculous but he

turned several of these

politicians into generals and

so, some of the more famous

were uh Fremont and II had

mentioned uh McLennan who was

actually uh Lincoln's friend in

Illinois and then probably the

most famous or infamous is

General Ben Butler uh who got

the name the beast Ben Butler

because he was put in charge of

New Orleans after New Orleans

was taken by the navy and uh

was a lot of you know, uprising

of the Southerners even though

the city had fallen the

citizens were doing things

like, you know, women would

come out and drop their chamber

pot onto the heads of generals

and things like that and uh

there's a lot of different

things but we're basically laid

down the law and said uh you

know, if this happens again,

the women are going to jail and

any men that pull anything like

that we're going to hang

without trial. Oh wow. And so

they called him the beast Ben

Butler and actually Still have

chamber pots uh from that era

where they they put the picture

of Ben Butler in the bottom of

the bowl. And then they still

exist. to this day. You can

get, I mean, it's a collector's

item. How would you like to be

like, oh, have you seen my

ancestors picture? Look at this

chamber pot, isn't it? Yeah.

photos in it. What did you make

of it? It's it's rather it's

hysterical but um at any rate,

uh so most of these political

generals were terrible

generals. Um they were good

politicians and that worked for

a time but most of them you

know, got pushed out. So,

McLennan made the mistake of

ranting against grant in the

newspaper which was against

army regulations and the next

day he was gone. As soon as

Grant saw that he fired him.

Ben Butler uh held on for a

long long time but finally he

uh did some things that were

out of bounds and Grant fired

him and so was just what's

that? a chamber pot Uh no but

uh he he made some some

mistakes uh and basically He

became very ineffective,

bottled up in uh what was

called the Bermuda hundred

which was just a small little

area south of Richmond and he

couldn't go north southeast or

west. They were stuck right

there. Grant said they were

like a wine bottle firmly

corked and so he got rid of of

Ben Butler but some of the

people that that grant raised

up uh included uh General

William to Sherman who grant

new at point and he had left

and people thought he was

crazy. Um at the beginning of

the war um because he said it's

going to take this long and

it's going to be this many

casualties. He was almost

exactly right on in the end.

His predictions were almost

right on but in at that time,

people said that he was crazy.

Well, Grant you know, they were

they came together and they

realized that they work very

well together and so what

Sherman said at one He said.

Grant was with me when I was

crazy and I stayed with Grant

when he was drunk and now we

stay with each other always and

they did and uh the two of them

were the two most important

generals really in the war.

Another person that Grant

identified and brought under

his wing was uh General Phil

Sheridan who is actually quite

young and he led the charge at

Chattanooga that took uh the

there. Uh and everybody thought

how in the world did that

happen? Well, a lot of people

believe that a large part of it

was was Sheridan leadership and

so Grant brought him out east

with him and put him in charge

of the cavalry which had not

been very successful up to that

point and within only a few

weeks uh Sheridan had whipped

it into shape and within only a

couple of months uh Jeb Stewart

who had led the the Southern

Calvary was killed at Yellow

Tavern and uh Southern Cavalry

was never as good as it was up

to that point and the Northern

Calvary kept getting better and

better and better and so again

and again and again. Uh another

one would be uh Grant's Chief

of Staff John Rollins who was

the lawyer for grandfather's

leather goods store but Grant

saw something in him and he he

named him chief of staff even

though he didn't have any

military ability but he did

have a great uh leadership

ability and organizational So,

again and again and again.

Grant identified these key

people and it's I attribute

that in the book by the way in

forward the leadership

principles of Ulysses S Grant.

what I do is not only talk

about grants leadership but

also I tie it to modern day

scholarship and so I show

different things that modern uh

researchers and educators and

scholars have discovered about

leadership and then I show how

many of these principles were

in play Grant's life before we

ever knew that they really made

a difference and so um one of

the things that I point out is

there's a book called Good to

Great by Jim Collins which is

an excellent book about

organizational leadership and

corporate uh leadership and

structure and basically what

Jim Collins and his team uh

recognized is that he talked

about the bus and you've

probably the term getting the

right people on the bus. Yeah.

But he takes it a step further.

He said, it's not just getting

the right people on the bus.

It's getting the right people

in the seats, in the right

seats on the bus and we've all

experienced that where there's

someone in the organization

that's there because they're a

cousin or they're somebody's

favorite. uh or whatever and

everybody scratches their head

and says this person is not in

the right seat and it's harming

the organization. You might

have most of the seats filled

properly but one key that is

not filled properly or two can

cause that bust to stall and

that was one of the things that

Grant did very very well as

Conversely, he did not do very

well in that regard as

president because as president,

he took his buddies, his

friends from the military, most

of them are associated with the

military and he just gave them

jobs and that came back to

haunt him. He didn't do the due

diligence that he did during

the army years and that is one

of reasons why there were all

these scandals. Now, Grant was

never involved in one of them

and that's what the historians

and the law school they they

kind of forget to tell us that

they say he was such a terrible

president because of these

scandals but they don't tell

you that he was never involved

in any of them. What his

problem was was that he allowed

them to go too long. He

couldn't believe that his

friends would do this kind of

thing because Grant was a of

tremendous character and

integrity and he thought that

everybody who he knew were the

same as him and it took him too

long to act to move these these

out who are corrupt and

unfortunately, it tainted his

presidency but it didn't taint

him Interesting. Interesting.

So, how is Grant's principal do

what is right? Even if it's not

popular? How is that still

relevant today? anywhere you

look anywhere you look. I mean,

you'd I'd like to hear you.

Give me an idea on that. Do

what is right. even if it's not

popular, What would be a

Modern-day example that you

could think of well II. go back

to an article I wrote about my

father and um do you remember

what or not my father, your

son, right? Yeah. You as a

father, right? As a father, um

I wrote an article a couple of

weeks ago called the faith of

the Son and it my oldest son is

a was an eighth grader. He's

now a ninth grader but um it

all, it's all about a

conversation I had with him on

the last day of eighth grade.

He's very, he has a very very

strong relationship with Christ

and he's he's not ashamed to

highlight it or to showcase

that in any way and so um and

he takes his prayer very

seriously and every every day

before lunch and in middle

school in the middle of the

middle school cafeteria, he

prays and um a conversation

that I don't III never got a

clear answer whether it

happened on the last day of

that his conversation with this

guy happened or a couple days

before but my conversation with

him happened the night of his

last day of school and

basically, one of his friends

asked him, why are you pray

every day before lunch? You a

lot of us think you're weird

and his his immediate reaction

was like, so and they're like,

but don't aren't you concerned

that people think you're weird

and his his response was

literally was if they have a

with me praying that's their

issue. Um it's it's what I do.

It's what I want to do. It's

there's nothing wrong with it

and I'm going to honor my

father by praying to him and um

even though he's not doing what

is popular, he's doing at what

is right as a Christian and so

and I and I took very I take

great pride in that and it's

something personally I had told

him out like as a father who

wants him to be as have as many

friends as possible and and be

liked by all I was trying to

come up with with suggestions

like, hey, why don't you walk

or why don't you say your

prayer like why you're in line

buying your food or why you're

walking down the hallway to the

to the cafeteria So you don't

have to do pray in the middle

of the in the middle of the

cafeteria among all these

eighth graders and seventh

graders and he's like, why?

Why? Why should I? Just because

they they're not comfortable

with it. Why should I change my

habits? and sacrifice my

relationship with God for that

reason and I was kind of, I was

kind of ashamed. I was like,

how why how could I as a father

who's who wants my son to have

a deep relationship with

Christ? How could, how could I

recommend that or have these

suggestions and so, the lesson

I learned was, hey, sometimes

the greatest lessons in faith

are from those who are those

you're raising that might just

be in your own household that

you don't even realize that and

as a father, I learned a very

valuable lesson and um as a

person who in in my own walk

with Christ, I was like, I wish

I wish I had done that as well

too. So, um and it it is

definitely goes back to what

what we're talking about. The

principle of do what's right.

Even if it's if it's not

popular, Absolutely. So, um

that's that's wonderful. Thank

you for sharing that story and

and I encourage people to go to

Inspiration.org and to read

John's story. What's the title?

It's called The Faith of a Son.

Okay, you just uh look that up

on Inspiration.org. Um thinking

about uh this question II go

back to the uh the declaration

of Independence that where it

was stated that all men are

created equal. Now, god made

man, male and female. he

created them. So, a female is

just as as much part of mankind

as a male and so when we talk

about equality, uh there is

equality among men and women.

Now, it took a while for this

country to come to an

understanding, right? Uh not

only

equality among the races or

among men and women but also

equality among the races and

today, I would add to that the

protection of human beings who

are in the womb Uh the there's

always a uh an argument that

the victim is not fully human.

So, uh a woman was a

second-class citizen to the men

Slaves were not fully human.

They were somewhere between a

beast and a human um and that

was basically uh you know, the

awful dread Scott decision by

the Supreme Court that said

that he was not a man in to the

Holocaust. For example, the

Nazis said that not only the

Jews were not human but they

were vermin. They use that term

like rats or uh cockroaches in

the same way that rats and

cockroaches need to be

exterminated. The Jews needed

to be exterminated and so

today, the argument in favor of

people having abortion is that

this is not a human being. It's

just a blob of tissue and so

people of character. uh people

who believe not only in the

Bible but people who believe

truly that all are created

equal. If we are all created

equal, when does creation

happen? Creation happens in

science now has shown this to

be true beyond any shadow of a

doubt that creation of a human

being happens at conception.

Everything is there for that to

become a human being. Uh doctor

Ben Carson said, if it's not a

human being, then, why are we

taking those human uh aborted

fetuses and using them for uh

doing research on human beings

if they're not human beings,

they are human beings and so

there's always this uh you

know, it's easier to do away

with someone that is not a

human being or is not uh is

some some less than human but

that's not the right thing and

that was what Grant came to

understand. He came to

understand that you know, his

father and his mother were both

abolitionists but his father

was so bombastic and and pushy

and Grant was such a gentle

kind of uh uh introvert that he

rebelled not necessarily

against abolition as much as

against his father. I think but

He was given a slave. He worked

that slave. So, he had this uh

cognitive dissonance that was

going on the struggle within

himself but he came to the

point where he started to

realize no slaves are men just

like you and I and so at his

lowest point when he was at his

worst financial position of his

life, he could have sold that

slave for a $1000 which in the

1850s would have been a lot of

money and it would have given

him probably a couple of years

of breathing room but He gave

freedom to that slave. He took

his family and moved up north

because he knew that the

conflict was inevitable and

that uh he told Otto Von

Bismarck later on that when

slavery fired upon Fort Sumter,

everyone who was loyal knew

that it was a cancer that could

not be negotiated with it had

to be destroyed. Okay. So, I

was wondering if you could

please give some examples of

grants, principles of his

principal, think creatively,

and then take calculated risks

Uh two of the most important

places. Um you know, really

where Grant shine and and it

wasn't just that he shined but

his strategy um helped win the

war and uh that was at

Vicksburg and then in the

Overland campaign So, Vicksburg

was this huge Citadel uh that

set up on top and it's still a

city today I visited there sits

up on top of this large bluff

and there's a big cliff that

goes down to the Mississippi

River and so uh confederates

were able to hold that city.

and so grant um knew that that

city needed to be taken so that

the union would then control

the entire Mississippi all the

way north to south and so he

tried all kinds of different

things. The problem was that to

the north of the city where all

these Bayou and swamps to the

uh west was the river which

protected in the bluff to the

east were all these

fortification that had been

built by the confederates and

there was a very large garrison

of soldiers under general

Pemberton who was a northern

who left the north to fight for

the south because his wife was

from the south. Well, that's

why we speculate. That's why he

fought for the south and then

to the south, it was wide open

but they didn't believe that

the northern troops could get

there because everything was so

difficult to get around and so

there Little garrison in the

south but not a lot and so

Grant knew that he needed to

get around to the South of

Vicksburg to attack but they

couldn't get there because of

the swamps because of uh they

were not proper bridges. There

were not proper roads. There

were uh entrench mes. there

were troops and so grant spent

from the fall of 62 all the way

to July 4th of 1863 Uh first

coming up with a plan and then

executing that plan and so at

first, um there were different

ideas that different generals

had. Some of them talked about

taking gun votes down these

very narrow rivers that had all

these trees over uh hanging and

so they tried to do that but

they kept hitting uh trees that

were under the water and then

they'd get stuck and the

confederates would shoot them

like you know, fish in a barrel

from the shore or One of the

other exciting things is the

the ship gun boats would be

going down the river and they

get stuck and all of a sudden,

snakes would start falling from

the trees onto the soldiers or

onto the sailors in the boats

and there were alligators that

were going up and down. I mean,

it was it's the swamp. It's you

know, tropical. Oh yeah. And so

Grant had troops that were

going and diving deep under the

water to saw these trees to get

them out of the way to try and

get them down at one point had

uh the troops trying to dig a

canal to red divert the

Mississippi River so that they

could get around Vicksburg and

that uh canal is still you can

go visit that canal. It's you

know, it's all somewhat filled

in now but you can still see,

you know, the U shape of the

cow and the historical signs

there. So they're trying to dig

something deep enough that the

water will just naturally go

in. this man made and they

could take the gun votes down

this new canal around the city

and come in from the north but

it never it never worked. It it

it was so muddy and the the

ground, you know, so swampy

that it just kept collapsing.

Now, today, obviously with our

modern earth movers, we could

do it but back then it was all

just soldiers with with

shuffles, You know, it's crazy

to even think what they were

trying to do. That's crazy but

finally he uh he met with uh

the admiral of the navy and

said what we need to do is just

run the gauntlet and go down

the river next to Vicksburg

with the gun votes so that we

can go around the dry side in

Louisiana and meet you down

there and so uh they did this

and they packed these gun boats

with cotton bales of cotton and

hay to try to keep them from

you know, causing too much

damage to the to the boats.

They did this twice and they

only lost two vessels. Um that

time and both of them. One was

a barge and the other one was

uh not not very important. vote

and but the key gun boats got

through and um so then what

grant did was they you know,

once spring came, the road

started to

goons and things like that in

there but Bruins is where they

crossed and it was one of the

first major American amphibious

assaults where they crossed a

mile long river. uh and they

were then on dry ground and

they attacked from the south

and then around uh to the wet

to the east took out all the

opposition then turn West laid

Siege and the Confederates uh

gave up on uh July 1863 in the

fourth of July was not

celebrated in Vicksburg for the

next 70 years or so. Oh, wow.

Did not realize that. Wow. So,

that's that's actually the last

question I have for you. Uh did

you have anything else to add

about this whole period of time

and grants? Well, um yeah, the

uh the other I had mentioned

that the other place where

grants strategy really um won

The war was when he came east

to go up against uh Robert E.

Lee. Now, there had been uh

five generals before Grant and

all of them had all of the

equipment, all of the personnel

and all of the support of

Abraham Lincoln that Grant had

but they all lost. the only

time that the union won in the

East was when Robert E. Lee

came out from behind his

trenches and moved into the So,

they they lost at Antietam and

then the Confederates did and

then they lost as we know at

Gettysburg and um uh both times

though um the Union Commanders

McClellan and at and and then

uh uh Mead at Gettysburg

allowed the Southerners to

retreat back into Virginia and

get back behind their breast

works and they were not to

defeat them. Had they both had

the spirit of grants after

Antietam and Gettysburg. The

war might have ended in 1862 or

1863 but because they didn't

have that you know, pounding uh

that grant had um they let him

get away The grant was not

going to do that. So, when

Grant uh led the army to attack

in the wilderness, it was a

terrible awful two-day battle.

um that made worse because they

were fighting in a very thick

forest and the forest caught on

fire and so troops that had

been wounded many of them

scores of them could not get

away from the smoke or from the

flames and many of them died

horrifically and there are

accounts of uh soldiers crying

out to their comrades. come and

get me the flames almost here

and in one case, there's an

account where two of his

friends came out from behind

the breast work to save him and

they were shot down and killed.

and so the flames were almost

there to this wounded soldier

and the officer shot and killed

his own soldier to put him out

of his misery so that he didn't

burn up in the flames and you

know, die in such terrible

pain. Sadly, many many soldiers

did not have such an

opportunity and they died a

horrific death and um So, the

wilderness battle which was a

two-day battle in May of 1864

was uh actually a southern

victory when in terms of the

number of killed and wounded

but um up to this point, the

northern commanders would

retreat back across the Ramadan

or the Rappahannock Rivers and

they would spend the next 2

months or 3 months retool

getting supplies bringing in

new troops, getting the old

troops who have been wounded uh

to hospitals and healed up and

back into the ranks and Grant

said to me uh after the second

day of fighting, he said,

tonight we're moving out after

dark and we're moving south to

Spotsylvania which was south

and west towards Richmond not

retreating. Well, nobody knew

that except me and a few of the

officers and so that night as

the as the soldiers were

getting back into ranks to set

off, they didn't know which way

they were going and so they

came to uh and if they turn to

the left, it would be a retreat

back towards Washington. If

they turn to the right, they'd

be heading towards Richmond and

so they all kind of watched.

where's Grant going to take us?

Where are we going? And when

Grant came up, he passed the

troops and got to that tee on

that important Brock Road. He

turned right and as soon as he

did that, the troops started to

yell and shout. they threw

their hats in their air, their

nap caps in their air, in the

air, They set branches on fire

and started waving them and

creating bonfires and it was so

loud that Grant's Horse and

Me's horse started to buck and

Winnie and they lost control of

their horses which they were

very good horsemen and uh Grant

said this is not good. The

Southerners are going to hear

us and give us a way. Well, the

Southerners, the Confederates

did hear them and they started

firing cannon in the direction

of the sound because they

thought that they being

attacked. Well, they were so

far away that the cannon balls

just landed harmless in the

woods but the union soldiers

were thrilled and they all

started chanting on Richmond on

Richmond. Well, that was such

an important moment and turning

point in the war that the

statue that is in front of the

Capitol building in Washington

DC is that moment. Oh, really

Grant on his horse at the

moment of turning right. So,

next time you go to Washington

DC go down. it's between the

Capitol Building and the

reflect Okay. And there's a

wonderful statue of Grant and

his soldiers and that's the

moment as he turned right to

move towards Richmond during

Spotsylvania which was another

uh it's almost beyond belief

when you read the descriptions.

Uh it rained a lot during the

battle but they just kept

fighting and the and the the

ground turn to soup and so

there were places after the

battle that they found soldiers

buried dead seven on top of

each other. Each one pressed

down into the mud. Another one

would fall. put down into the

mud. then another would fall.

push down into the mud. They

found seven stacked on top of

each other under the mud. Wow.

Um that's how Spotsylvania was.

Yeah. And especially at a place

called the Mule Shoe or the

bloody angle and this is called

a salient and it's a place

where because of the geography,

you have to have your line

instead of it being straight.

it goes into this angle and it

allows the enemy to attack

because it's a weak point and

so that's where Grant attacked

and uh it was a horrific mess

on both sides and so towards

the end of that battle, uh

grants was getting ready to

make his plans for his next

move and his friend, the

congressman who helped him kind

of move up the ladder. uh was

there with him and he said, I'm

going back to see President

Lincoln tomorrow. Do you have a

message for him? and Grant

said, well, the the proper

thing would be for me to write

to General Hallock. So, could

you take a note to General

Hallock and he'll share it with

with President Lincoln Grant

was always that way He did it

by the book and uh much as

possible. you know, in war,

sometimes you have to be

spontaneous too but for the

most part, he did it by the

book and so in that note, he

made the famous phrase um there

shall be no backward steps. I

plan to fight it out on this

line. If it takes all summer.

Well, it took all summer all

fall all winter and then into

the spring and Appomattox

didn't happen until April. So,

this June of 1864 and they

didn't surrender Robert E. Lee

didn't surrender until April of

1865 but it was this pounding

pounding, pounding, not giving

up even when they were losing a

lot of men. Grant knew that he

could replace his soldiers but

every person that we lost, he

couldn't replace, Right? And so

that's where we get the term uh

fighting until the last ditch

or a last ditch. effort, effort

because when you've gotten rid

of all your man, all you have

left is whoever's in that last

ditch fighting to the last man.

Uh they also came up with the

term at that point or at least

it became popular. uh robbing

from the cradle and the grave.

Now we use that in dating terms

today but back then they used

it um to talk about the

soldiers that the Confederates

were bringing in after the on

Petersburg when Petersburg and

Richmond fell, they went in and

they found boys thirteen and

fourteen dead in the trenches.

next to old men in their mid

60s because they just didn't

have any more. I mean, they

lost the confederacy lost an

entire generation of men uh

which is a terrible tragedy but

that was what they were willing

to do to continue slavery uh

quote unquote their peculiar

institution and way of life and

um it's a terrible tragedy but

grant understood that he had to

fight every day and keep

pressing forward. He understood

that he had to keep the armies

separated and so he had to keep

the western army uh surrounded

and separated by Sherman down

in Georgia while Grant uh kept

Lee and the Army of Northern

Virginia in and around Richmond

and then Fran Siegel at first

was up in the Shenandoah

Valley. He was not very

effective. So then eventually,

grants uh uh General Phil

Sheridan and so they not only

kept them separated but then

they defeated them in the uh in

the Shenandoah Valley and the

same thing out west with

General Banks uh in Texas and

Arkansas. They had to keep

everybody separated and so it

was divide and conquer. So,

these were parts of his

strategy uh and there's many

more and II mentioned these all

these different strategies in

the book forward. Um the

leadership principles of

Ulysses S Grant. Go pick it up.

Any final questions? I've,

you've answered all my

questions. It's very

interesting. Alright. Well,

very good. Well, once again, we

want to thank you for being

with us this week on Stories

and Myths and remember, if you

have a question, please feel

free to ask it during the

program or if you're watching

this in the archives

afterwards, feel free to send

an Email. Uh to me. Just go to

Vons.com which is my last name.

You see it down

BONUS. Follow the bouncing

finger VON USECK dot com and

click on the contact button and

send your message. We'd we'd

love to hear your feedback.

We'd love to see your questions

and uh do some research uh to

find out what the answers are

and tell the stories. stories

that inform stories that

entertain stories that may

infuriate stories it may

enlighten and even stories that

may inspire but also to debunk

the myths. That's why we're

here and so we're so glad that

you're here as well. Uh

remember, you can get your copy

of Forward at Grant Forward

book Uh.com, your copy of

Victor Victor Book.com and all

of my books are available on

Von.com on Amazon.com or

wherever books are sold and

John C Farrell, where is your

book available? What is the

name of your book? My book

called the official Nascar

trivia book. I thought with a

yeah, that's what it's called.

I was trying to give it more

title um and it's available on

Amazon. It's on Amazon. It was

published in 2012. So, um it is

no longer actually in print um

but it it used to be at the

bookstores but now it is

available on Amazon.com.

Alright. Well, I hope to see my

friends If watching and you're

going to the Christian Product

Expo in Saint Louis, uh next

week, I look forward to seeing

you there and we'll come back

with stories about our journey.

I hope to stop at a couple of

places and and maybe get some

video. Uh that's one of the

things we're going to start

doing is adding some video. So,

uh one of the things I only

live a mile away from a major

revolutionary war battle and so

in the next couple of weeks,

I'm going to go shoot some

video at that site and we'll

share it here on stories and

myths. So, for John C lost my

internet connection Pharaoh,

I'm Craig Von Booze. We'll see

you here again next week,

Thursday, 7 PM Eastern US. Time

for stories and myths. Same bat

channel, same bat. Wait, no,

same bad time. Same bat

channel.

Comments


Featured Posts