Sylvanus Cadwallader. Probably my favorite name thus far. A true journalist during a time when mainstream journalism consisted of BRASH, HYSTERICAL HEADLINES!!! and Limbaughesque vituperation, Cadwallader began his newspaper career in Milwaukee before joining the Chicago Times and later the New York Herald as a war correspondent embedded with General Ulysses S. Grant. (He wrote about this time in Three Years With Grant, an acclaimed postwar memoir.) He followed Grant for three years through critical campaigns in Mississippi and Tennessee, during the advance on Richmond, and was present at Appomattox for the peace treaty signing.
He’s also the source of the hotly debated claim that Grant was drunk during the Vicksburg campaign in 1863. Embellishment or fact? Who knows. What we do know is Grant sent Cadwallader a letter in September 1864 commending him for his reporting. Clearly “Unconditional Surrender” Grant wasn’t too upset with him.
After the war, Cadwallader served as a public official in Wisconsin before retiring to California to write his memoir. I haven’t read it yet, but the scant information about him that’s available tells us his journalism was exemplary simply because he wasn’t a fire-breathing partisan like many of his colleagues. A low bar, it seems, but he passed it.
Up next in CCWN, the churlish CLEMENT L. VALLANDIGHAM.