A few more examples of Grant's humor and tenacity from his Memoirs:
Grant's Vicksburg campaign culminates in the siege of Vicksburg. Pemberton, the commander of the Confederate forces asks for terms of surrender. Grant's reply:
Your note of this data is just received, proposing an armistice for several hours, for the purpose of arranging terms of capitulation through commissioners, to be appointed, etc. The useless effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course can be ended at any time you may choose, by the unconditional surrender of the city and garrison. Men who have shown so much endurance and courage as those now in Vicksburg, will always challenge the respect of an adversary, and I can assure you will be treated with all the respect due to prisoners of war. I do not favor the proposition of appointing commissioners to arrange the terms of capitulation, because I have no terms other than those indicated above.It is similar to the response Grant gave to General Buckner on the surrender of Ft. Donelson a year earlier.
Buckner: “I propose to the commanding officer of the Federal forces the appointment of Commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation of the forces at this post under my command.”Buckner's pique is classic. And characterizing the brilliant success of the Confederate arms while on the cusp of surrendering and then insulting the man who is responsible is hilarious.
Grant: “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works.”
Buckner: “the overwhelming force under your command compels me, notwithstanding the brilliant success of the Confederate arms, to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose.”
Back to Vicksburg. Grant meets Pemberton outside Vicksburg:
Our place of meeting was on a hillside within a few hundred feet of the rebel lines. Near by stood a stunted oak-tree, which was made historical by the event. It was but a short time before the last vestige of its body, root and limb had disappeared, the fragments taken as trophies. Since then the same tree has furnished as many cords of wood, in the shape of trophies, as “The True Cross.”No time to celebrate however. Lincoln begged his Eastern generals to continue moving forward after a victory. He never had to ask Grant. Grant is always moving forward.
On the third, as soon as negotiations were commenced, I notified Sherman and directed him to be ready to take the offensive against Johnston, drive him out of the State and destroy his army if he could.