Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War by Charles Bracelen Flood examines the relationship between the two great generals. It provides much information, but little of it new, on the two individuals. It shows as Sherman is quoted, “that we are as brothers.”
The book gives the background of each man and his family prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. I enjoyed the coverage given of Grant’s and Sherman’s relationships with friends, family members, and their wives. The book shows the chemistry and respect the two have for each other. The book depicts Grant as the commander and Sherman as the consummate subordinate who managed to achieve the ideal balance between loyalty and strong advice. It becomes clear that one would not have accomplished nearly as much without the other.
The book could have been titled from failure to success as it explains how each man came to his responsibilities in the US Army. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between the two develop. We see it grow as they had a nominal knowledge of each from their West Point days where Sherman was two years ahead of Grant to where Sherman’s presence encourages Grant while he is writing his memoirs.
The book achieves its point of showing they had a friendship. I remember examples at Fort Henry where Sherman was supplying Grant with what he needed even though Sherman had date of rank on Grant. Sherman and Grant talking at Shiloh were Sherman was ready to retreat and regroup and Grant to advance on the second day. Sherman encourages Grant not to leave after Major General Halleck takes field command of the Army from Grant following Shiloh. The Corinth Campaign, Military governorship of Memphis, Vicksburg Campaign, Grant in charge of the entire US Army, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, and on to Raleigh for Sherman as well as the Wilderness, Petersburg, fall of Richmond and finally Appomattox for Grant. Their clear strategy in Sherman’s words: “He was to go for Lee and I was to go for Joe Johnston.”
The chapter on Sherman in trouble was very interesting as it gave the most in depth record I personally have read of the controversy surrounding Johnston’s surrender to Sherman. We see how Grant has Sherman’s back and helps him through this time.
It is a relatively short work of just over 400 pages. It was an enjoyable read. Read and reviewed by Jimmie A. Kepler.