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combination under Grant. The battles of Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, and Chattanooga followed, and the Rebels were sent flying out of Tennessee. Burnside was shut up in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a time, and there was great solicitude all over the country on his account, as his communications with the North were temporarily cut off. One day Washington was startled. The long silence concerning Burnside's movements was broken by an urgent call from him for succor. Lincoln, relieved by the news that Burnside was safe, at least, said that he was reminded of a woman who lived in a forest clearing in Indiana, her cabin surrounded by hazel-bushes, in which some of her numerous flock of children were continually being lost. When she heard a squall from one of these in the distance, although she knew that the child was in danger, perhaps frightened by a rattlesnake, she would say: “Thank God! there's one of my young ones that isn't lost.”
Sherman was sent to the relief of Burnside, and, by forced marches, reached him and sent the Rebel army under Longstreet back into Virginia. The loyal mountaineers were delivered from their persecutors, and Tennessee was delivered from what proved to be the last formidable attempt to hold the State for the Confederacy.
A "President-Making" Congress-Activity of Lincoln's Opponents
Grant Appointed Lieutenant-General—Beginning of an Aggres-
URING the winter of 1863–4 there was no little
President-making in Congress; for the session before the time for nominating Presidential candidates is usually known as a President-making Congress. This time, however, there was less of this sort of political skirmishing than ever before or since. The Democrats, whose stock-in-trade, so to speak, was opposition to the war, were largely in a minority. The Republicans, although divided in their counsels, were bent on a more energetic support of the administration than ever, believing as many did that the war was now nearing its close, and that it would really come to an end before the next Presidential term ended—March 4, 1869. The Republican opposition to Lincoln came from those who did not consider him sufficiently radical for the time. These demanded radical measures affecting slavery in the
border States; and they thought that a more vigorous prosecution of the war might be had under the leadership of a more determined and alert President. The radical Republicans, as a rule, favored the nomination of Mr. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury. Some, however, expressed a preference for General Frémont, whose unfortunate career in Missouri had excited their sympathies, if not their indignation against Lincoln.
On his part, Lincoln made no sign of anxiety for a renomination by his party. With more sagacity than most of his friends possessed, and with all the springs of action within his reach, he doubtless knew that events would so shape themselves that his renomination was inevitable. He made no secret, among his personal friends, of his desire to be elected to a second term. In conversation with one of these he said: “I am only the people's attorney in this great affair. I am trying to do the best I can for my client—the country. But if the people desire to change their attorney, it is not for me to resist or complain. Nevertheless, between you and me, I think the change would be impolitic, whoever might be substituted for the present counsel.” To another he said, with his inveterate habit of putting a large truth in the form of a pleasantry: “I don't believe it is wise to swap horses while crossing a stream.' In truth, after men had anxiously canvassed the names of all who were in the least worthy to be considered eligible to the Presidency, succeeding Lincoln, they almost invariably returned to him as the only man to be thought of with seriousness.
One of the important military events of that winter was the appointment of General Grant to the rank of lieutenant-general. Hitherto, the highest rank in the army had been that of major-general. The title of general-in-chief, borne by Halleck, was temporary, a mere expedient, and not distinctly recognized by usage. The rank of lieutenant-general was created by act of Congress, with the tacit understanding that it was to be conferred upon Grant, whose almost unbroken series of victories in the West had by this time convinced the people that here was at last “the coming man” for whom they had so long waited. The act creating the rank, giving its wearer command of all the armies of the United States, was warmly approved by Lincoln, and was zealously supported in Congress by Elihu B. Washburne, of Illinois, a steadfast and influential friend of Grant, from the time when this soldier, then unknown and unappreciated, began his career as Colonel of the Twentyfirst Illinois Regiment.
On the 22d of February, 1864, the President sent to Congress a message approving the act creating the rank of Lieutenant-General of the Armies of the United States, and nominating U. S. Grant, of Illinois, to that rank. The nomination was confirmed on the 2d of March, and the President immediately requested the presence in Washington of the newly appointed Lieutenant-General. It was one of the scandals of the time that army officers of every grade visited the national capital in great numbers to seek promotion in rank or to advance their private ends in some other way. So great an abuse did this self