Immediately after his victories at Chattanooga, one of Ulysses S. Grant’s supporters introduced a bill in Congress to revive the rank of lieutenant general — the rank conferred on George Washington and pretty much retired after his death.
The bill was passed, the president signed it, and, immediately nominated Grant.
The Senate confirmed the nomination and Grant headed for Washington, where he met President Lincoln for the first time on March 8, 1863.
They recognized each other without being introduced, shook hands and conversed. Grant was then presented to Mrs. Lincoln. Then a cheer rose from the crowd and an embarrassed Grant was forced to sit on a sofa and shake hands with throngs of admirers for an hour.
At the ceremony the next day, after the president conferred the rank on him, Grant said, “With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me; and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.”
Source: The Lincoln Reader, Rutgers University Press