Book Club: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years | Meeting Five
Meeting 5, Feb. 27, 2020, Chapters 24-27
[01:45] General Grant: A Man of Action (9 minutes)
Unlike his predecessor, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was a man of action. Under his leadership, the North gained ground, and President Lincoln loved it. His victory at the Battle of Shiloh, though accompanied by thousands of deaths, was what set the stage for the fall of the Confederacy. Grant’s colleagues wanted him out, but Lincoln dismissed calls for Grant’s head saying, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”
[11:00] General Lee and the War of the Wills (10 minutes)
Gen. Robert E. Lee fought for the Confederate South. Of all the generals the South had, he was one of the best. Sandburg wrote on page 301 of his book, “Lee had two rare gifts, patience with men and readiness with unforeseen circumstance.” More importantly, Sandburg pointed out that “Lee knew better than McClellan that war is a conflict of the wills,” and this strong will is what made Lee such a successful general.
Together with Stonewall Jackson, General Lee put up quite a fight against the North. They had the will to battle. As Lincoln was striving to help his generals see, the willingness to confront the enemy and fight was the only thing standing in the way of victory. The North had the numbers, but it lacked much of the will until General Grant came along.
[21:15] Open Discussion (12 minutes)