Officially, John A. Rawlins went to Washington to carry dispatches telling how Vicksburg had been won. To be sure, the great victory spoke for itself so plainly that the written tale did not make much difference; but if the victory was clear the man who won it was not. In this summer of 1863, Washington was more interested in Ulysses S. Grant than in any other man alive, but it knew very little about him. Except for a few people like Major General Henry W. Halleck, the General-in-Chief, and the industrious Illinois Congressman Elihu Washburne, hardly anyone had so much as set eyes on him. It was time to get him into better focus, and if Grant could not be present in person it would be worthwhile to talk to his right-hand man.
- From Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton