John Y. Simon, "Washburne, Elihu Benjamin," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-01038.html.
When [Abraham] Lincoln secretly arrived in Washington for the inauguration, [Elihu] Washburne was the only person who met him at the railroad station. His friendship with Lincoln enhanced his power during the war. When the war began, Washburne met Ulysses S. Grant, then a clerk in a Galena leather store but the only West Point graduate in Washburne's congressional district. Through Washburne's seniority and influence with Lincoln, Grant was appointed a brigadier general before encountering an enemy in the field. Washburne became Grant's political patron, defending him against all criticism and advocating his advancement in rank. Washburne's support proved valuable in 1862 when Grant received condemnation for failing to prepare for Confederate attack at Shiloh. In 1864 Washburne assured Lincoln that Grant would not become a presidential candidate if appointed general in chief. Though when Grant achieved victory in 1865, the hero of Appomattox no longer needed Washburne's patronage or his advice, the two maintained a close personal friendship. A member of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction, Washburne sided with the radicals and bitterly denounced President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policy while Grant, as army commander, worked within the administration but eventually broke with Johnson and accepted the Republican nomination for president in 1868.