They were two strong men, these oddly different generals, and they represented the strengths of two conflicting currents that, through them, had come into final collision. Back of Robert E. Lee was the notion that the old aristocratic concept might somehow survive and be dominant in American life. Lee was tidewater Virginia, and in his background were family, culture, and tradition.... Grant, the son of a tanner on the Western frontier, was everything Lee was not. He had come up the hard way and embodied nothing in particular except the eternal toughness and sinewy fiber of the men who grew up beyond the mountains. He was one of a body of men who owed reverence and obeisance to no one, who were self-reliant to a fault, who cared hardly anything for the past but who had a sharp eye for the future.