Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Never Give Up

Ulysses S. Grant
'Well, Grant,' said Sherman, 'we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?' 'Yes,' Grant replied, 'lick 'em tomorrow, though.'

-- Sherman and Grant on the night of the first day at the battle of Shiloh.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate and like the cut of General Grant's jib. The man had a single-minded focus on the task at hand and never let a setback get him down. That is something to keep in mind and emulate when times are difficult or outcomes of events do not turn out the way that you expect them to.

Yep, we'll lick 'em tomorrow.

More of the account at the battle of Shiloh (found on the internet):

The Union commander, however, had no such doubts. Major General Ulysses S. Grant, although admittedly caught by surprise by the Rebels' morning attack, did not envision retreating. With his back against the winding Tennessee River, such a retreat was not an option. Nor was Grant the sort of commander who spooked easily. When one of his staff members, Colonel James B. McPherson, suggested that they consider withdrawing, Grant immediately snapped, 'No, sir, I propose to attack at daylight and whip them.' Already, reinforcements were on the way. Meanwhile, all they could do was wait. Grant tried to catch a few hours' sleep in the shelter of a large oak tree near the landing. But the incessant rain, coupled with the steady throb of pain from his ankle, which had been injured shortly before the battle when his horse fell on it, made sleep an impossibility. The Union commander then relocated to a log cabin on the bluff above the river. But Union surgeons had taken over the cabin for battlefield operations, which consisted mainly of sawing off shattered arms and legs. The screams of the wounded were too much for Grant. 'The sight was more unendurable than encountering the enemy's fire,' Grant recalled in his Personal Memoirs, 'and I returned to my tree in the rain.' It was there that his second-in-command, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, found him later that night, chewing on an ever-present cigar. 'Well, Grant,' said Sherman, 'we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?' 'Yes,' Grant replied, 'lick 'em tomorrow, though.'


  1. Reminds me of an old proverb: "Those who won't be defeated, can't be defeated."

  2. The Grant/Sherman team is, in my mind, the perfect example of leader and subordinate relations. They are real heroes in my book.