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Grant Moves South
by Bruce Catton
ISBN 0785812644 / 9780785812647 / 0-7858-1264-4
Publisher Book Sales, Incorporated
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From The Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award - Part One of the classic Civil War study of Ulysses S. Grant that continues with GRANT TAKES COMMAND
Among the many generals created by the North in the early summer of 1861 was one named Ulysses S. Grant. Some of the other generals were more dashing, some were more learned, but none was a better fighter. It was Grant who in the next two years would move slowly, relentlessly down the Mississippi River, the very lifeline of the South, and would not stop until he had severed its entire length from the domain of his enemy. In GRANT MOVES SOUTH, Bruce Catton renders a dramatic and kaleidoscopic account of these years, during which Grant moved not only against Confederate armies but against obstacles and frustrations imposed by his own superiors.
Mr. Catton begins with Grant's first real Civil War assignment (he head left the army in disgrace seven years before), the command of the 21st Illinois Volunteers. He shows how Grant's simple, forceful manner made an orderly regiment out of a group of recalcitrant farmboys. During the subsequent move - to Cairo, to Belmont, Missouri and finally to the first major engagements at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Kentucky - this West Point officer grew ever more adept at training and leading his increasing forces of Volunteers, until they became "one of the great armies of America's history - the informal, individualistic, occasionally unmanageable, but finally victorious Army of the Tennessee."
Mr. Catton recounts such exciting, blow-by-blow accounts of the great battles at Belmont, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Chickasaw Bayou, Edward's Station and finally Vicksburg, that the reader feels he is participating, now as a member of the staff conferring with the General, now as a soldier on the front lines. And during the lulls between the battles the author describes Grant's often irritating relationships with men like Halleck and McClernand; his solution of the thorny problem posed by Blacks who kept pouring into his camps asking for protection; and his difficulties with Jesse Grant, who often tried to take commercial advantage of his son's power.
GRANT MOVES SOUTH is not only the chronological account of a series of battles which freed the Mississippi for the Union; it is also the story of a man's personal development. It describes Grant's progress from a reluctant but dedicated soldier to a forceful general, conscious of his own worth and confident of his future. [via]