Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Petraeus on Leadership

General David Petraeus in a Washington Post interview on role models and leadership:

I took enormous strength from reading about Grant and what he went through. He was a truly admirable figure. The response he had after the first day in Shiloh was one that I often repeated to our troopers during the tough moments.

As you'll recall, the Union forces were almost driven into the river in the first day at Shiloh; terrible casualties. It's the night of the first day, it's raining, he's got his slouch hat on. Rain is literally running off it, got a wet cigar on his mouth, the cries of the wounded all around him. There's no shelter because the wounded are inside anything that has a roof on it, so he's sitting in this chair under a tree and it's dark. And out from the darkness stomps Sherman, his most trusted, I think, subordinate leader during those war years. And Sherman says to him, "Well, Grant, we had the Devil's own day today, didn't we?" And Grant says, "Yup. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

6 Comments:

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Dan Richwine said...

Grant was savaged by the (mostly southern) historians for most of the 20th century. He seems to be enjoying a bit of a comeback. I plan to study more about him in the coming months. I get the feeling he was more influential than I had been lead to believe in school

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Grant is one of my heroes. He was vastly under-rated as a military strategist and even as a president. A great man. I would follow Grant anywhere.

 
At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Dan Richwine said...

Any suggestions for a good biagraphy to start?

 
At 1:53 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Dan,

I confess that I have not yet read it but I've heard very good things about the book by Jean Edward Smith and it is on my Will Read list.

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Dan Richwine said...

ordered it. I'll let you know what I think if you'd like.

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Dan,

I'll look forward to hearing your review.

Michael

 

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