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country or my own, the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.
LETTER TO GENERAL
January 26, 1863. General: I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appear to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you.
I believe you to be a brave and skilful soldier, which of course I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a
valuable if not an indispensable quality. You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm; but I think that during General Burnside's command of the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer.
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The government will support you to the
utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders.
I much fear that the spirit which
have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing their commander and withholding confidence from him, will now
turn upon you. I shall assist you as far as I can to put it down.
Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit prevails in it.
And now beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories. Yours very truly,
LETTER TO GENERAL GRANT
July 13, 1863
My dear General: I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When
first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do what you finally did-march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo