From his first book, his PhD thesis in fact, Brooks Simpson has attempted to correct the Centennial view of the Lincoln-Grant relationship. I won't characterize his views: read for yourself. A lot of interesting Civil War history can be discovered and enjoyed once we realize the Lincoln-Grant partnership was not the cliche the Centennial made of it.
Recently, Harold Holzer imagined Grant's hardest hard war views and projected these onto Lincoln as Lincoln's own. Simpson objects:
In truth, Lincoln’s feelings about Grant’s losses in the campaigns of 1864 were mixed. As he told the general during a visit to the front in June 1864: “I cannot pretend to advise, but I do sincerely hope that all may be accomplished with as little bloodshed as possible.” The following month, he telegraphed his commander: “I do hope you may find a way that the effort shall not be desperate in the sense of great loss of life.” The next year, in a conference with Grant and Sherman, Lincoln again expressed the hope that the war could be ended without one more major battle. True, after the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 the president commented that fighting such a battle every week would eventually destroy the Army of Northern Virginia, showing that he understood the grim attrition of war. Yet he also had mixed feelings about the destructiveness of the conflict. On August 14, 1864, he called upon Grant to meet with Robert E. Lee to try to arrange “for a mutual discontinuance of house-burning and other destruction of private property.”These remarks in condensed form encapsulate in reverse McClellan's perceived faults. Did Lincoln become McClellan over time?
Is it possible that the closer affinity or similitude was between McClellan and Lincoln?