Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lincoln quote on Grant still a good one

One of my favorite Civil War anecdotes was blown away Tuesday evening.
Jeff Shaara did it.
Funny part is, I enjoyed it and the audience who came to hear the acclaimed author at the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee's Selby Auditorium got a laugh out of it, too.
Shaara came from his Tallahassee home to talk about his new book, "A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh."
It's his third Civil War book, following "Gods and Generals" and "Last Full Measure," and the first of a trilogy that will continue with Vicksburg and then Sherman's march to the sea.
Shaara was animated and entertaining during the evening, illuminating corners of Civil War history many of the audience did not know about.
He also shattered a few myths.
Like the one about Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
The president had been frustrated by a succession of generals whose caution in battle allowed the war to drag on and on.
Then Grant reversed that trend, much to Lincoln's pleasure.
As the story goes, a skeptical aide remarked to the president that Grant was still a drunk.
Lincoln's response?
“Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks," he is supposed to have said. "I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
Shaara said it's not true.
This is a man who has read and researched more about the Civil War than probably most Americans.
So I won't argue.
Still, it's a good story.

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