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."


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...


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...


I'll look forward to hearing your review.



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