Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Quiet General Grant

I remember the surprising revelation on U.S. Grant's leadership style. My perception was that General Grant was the hero general who inherited the failed or mediocre efforts of previous Union commanders and reversed the course of the war. The surprise was in discovering that Grant was a quiet leader. I distinctly remember the revelation while reading Lee and Grant A Dual Biography. The book describes Grant's tendency to quietly sit in the back corner of the room while his generals and officers were presenting their cases for a particular battle plan. He would listen and ultimately decide while quietly writing his orders, barely speaking as he did.

Theodore Roosevelt also recognized the trait in his
speech in Galena, IL in 1900,

He was a plain, quiet man, not seeking for glory; but a man who, when
aroused, was always in deadly earnest, and who never shrank from duty. He was slow to strike, but he never struck softly. He was not in the least of the type which gets up mass-meetings, makes inflammatory speeches or passes inflammatory resolutions, and then permits over-forcible talk to be followed by over-feeble action. His promise squared with his performance. His deeds made good his words.

General Grenville Dodge, a Grant contemporary sited Grant's style and approach in his interviews.

General Grant as a soldier was modest, retiring, unassuming and easy to approach. He seldom, if ever, showed anger. It was his etermination in every battle that won the victory.

The great distinguishing qualities of General Grant were truth, courage, modesty, generosity and loyalty. He was loyal to every cause in which he was engaged - to his friend, his children, his wife and to his country. He absolutely sunk himself to give to other honor and praise to
which he, himself, was most entitled. We shall not see his like

General Grant is this blog's first nomination as a quiet leader.
Thanks for reading

No comments: