March 9, Wednesday. Went last evening to the Presidential reception. Quite a gathering; very many that are not usually seen at receptions were attracted thither, I presume, from the fact that General Grant was expected to be there. He came about half-past nine. I was near the centre of the reception room, when a stir and buzz attracted attention, and it was whispered that General Grant had arrived. The room was not full, the crowd having passed through to the East Room. I saw some men in uniform standing at the entrance, and one of them, a short, brown, dark-haired man, was talking with the President. There was hesitation, a degree of awkwardness in the General, and embarrassment in that part of the room, and a check or suspension of the moving column. Soon word was passed around for “Mr. Seward.” “General Grant is here,” and Seward, who was just behind me, hurried and took the General by the hand and led him to Mrs. Lincoln, near whom I was standing. The crowd gathered around the circle rapidly, and, it being intimated that it would be necessary the throng should pass on, Seward took the General’s arm and went with him to the East Room. There was clapping of hands in the next room as he passed through, and all in the East Room joined in it as he entered. A cheer or two followed. All of which seemed rowdy and unseemly. An hour later the General and Mr. Seward and Stanton returned. Seward beckoned me and introduced me and my two nieces.
To-day I received a note from the Secretary of State to be at the Executive Mansion quarter before 1 P.M. The Cabinet was all there, and General Grant and his staff with the Secretary of War and General Halleck entered. The President met him and presented to the General his commission (As Lieutenant-General of the United States Army) with remarks, to which the latter responded. Both read their remarks. General Grant was somewhat embarrassed.
A conversation of half an hour followed on various subjects, but chiefly the war and the operations of Sherman.