No one succeeds alone, and Ulysses S. Grant was no exception. From the earliest days of the Civil War to the heights of Grant's power in the White House, John A. Rawlins was ever at Grant's side. Yet Rawlins's role in Grant's career is often overlooked, and he barely received mention in Grant's own two-volume Memoirs.
General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man by Allen J. Ottens is the first major biography of Rawlins in over a century and traces his rise to assistant adjutant general and ultimately Grant's secretary of war. Ottens presents the portrait of a man who teamed with Grant, who submerged his needs and ambition in the service of Grant, and who at times served as the doubter who questioned whether Grant possessed the background to tackle the great responsibilities of the job. Rawlins played a pivotal role in Grant's relatively small staff, acting as administrator, counselor, and defender of Grant's burgeoning popularity.
Rawlins qualifies as a true patriot, a man devoted to the Union and devoted to Grant. His is the story of a man who persevered in wartime and during the tumultuous years of Reconstruction and who, despite a ravaging disease that would cut short his blossoming career, grew to become a proponent of the personal and citizenship rights of those formerly enslaved.
General John A. Rawlins will prove to be a fascinating and essential read for all who have an interest in leadership, the Civil War, or Ulysses S. Grant.
1. Anxious to "Strike a Lead"
2. "He Ought to Get Out of the Woods"
3. "Speeches That Would Have Done Credit to a Statesman"
4. "He Was a Powerful and Earnest Talker and Masterful in All His Efforts at the Bar"
5. "The 'Coal Boy's' Grape Shot Puts the Republicans to Flight!"
6. "We Will Stand by the Flag of Our Country, and Appeal to the God of Battles!"
7. "A Good Looking Set Aint They?"
8. "Collect Your Men at Once; We Must Get Out of This"
9. "His Eye and Intellect Are as Clear and Active as Can Be"
10. "[A] Silent And Determined Purpose To Strike Swiftly"
11. "Rawlins Is a Maj. and Ought to Be a Brig. Gen."
12. "[A] Strong Partisan, but Not a Traitor"
13. "You Countermanded Such an Order Two Weeks Ago"
14. "I Am Surprised, Col. Duff, at Your Discourteous and Unmilitary Remarks"
15. "You Have Full Control of Your Appetite"
16. "Rawlins Especially Is No ordina[ry] Man"
17. "I Am the Only One Here . . . Who Can Stay It in That Direction"
18. "I . . . Tremble at the Great Responsibility about to Devolve on Him"
19. "Smash 'Em Up! Smash 'Em Up!"
20. "The Nomination of General Rawlins Will Be Sent in Immediately and with Great Pleasure"
21. "I Think That Will Do"
22. "Rather Late in the Day, but Better Than Not at All"
23. ". . . It Is Unquestionably the Platform of General Grant"
24. "This Will Not Do. It Is Not Enough."
25. "And You Are Still My Adjutant"
26. "Sweet and Serene Be Your Slumber!"
A solid biography of John A. Rawlins has always been an alarming gap in modern Civil War historiography. Now that gap is filled admirably with General John A. Rawlins: No Ordinary Man . Incisive, judicious, and well written, Ottens' fine biography is a welcome addition to our understanding of the Civil War and in particular Ulysses S. Grant's role in it.~Timothy B. Smith, author of Shiloh: Conquer or Perish and The Union Assaults at Vicksburg.
This splendid biography gives Rawlins his due as Grant's chief of staff and close friend without exaggerating his influence on the general's professional and personal qualities. Ottens punctures myths about Grant's drinking problem and about Rawlins' role as his moral guardian. Readers will gain many new insights about Grant as well as Rawlins himself in this important contribution to Civil War scholarship.~James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
How astonishing it's taken a century and a half since John Rawlins' death for a proper biography of a figure so pivotal to Grant's success during the Civil War and after. Ottens' formidable sleuthing fleshes out even Rawlins' obscure early years in Galena about which so little is known. Few have written with as much nuance, depth and above all balance about Grant's relationship with his loyal, unassuming confidante. The image that emerges in this sympathetic, first-ever study is as enjoyable to the casual history buff as it is instructive to the serious scholar. Well worth the wait!~William Butts, Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts and Book review editor, Manuscript