This volume provides material that will allow a fresh evaluation of Grant’s activities following Appomattox.
In April Grant commanded an army of more than 1,000,000 men maintained at enormous cost. Disbanding this army took priority. By mid-July, more than two-thirds of the volunteers had been mustered out.
Grant as peacemaker exerted his power to protect his former adversaries. He opposed prosecuting Southern military leaders, including Robert E. Lee and others who had been indicted for treason. The South had to accept defeat, but Grant was no believer in a Carthaginian peace.
Two military tasks remained. Grant sent his two most trusted subordinates to solve these problems: Major General Philip H. Sheridan to pressure the French in Mexico and Major General William T. Sherman to keep settlers and Indians apart.
During the summer, Grant drafted his report on the last year of the war. The style as well as the substance of the report attracted widespread attention. It also made clear Grant’s mastery of events during that terrible year.