There has of late years been a tendency, as a result of the teachings of certain historical authorities, to minimize the influence of the leadership of the so-called Great Men, and to question the importance of their work as a factor in shaping the history of the time. Great events are referred to as brought about by such general influences as "the spirit of the time" (Goethe's Zeitgeist), the "movement of humanity," or "forces of society." If we accepted the theories of the writers of this school, we should be forced to the conclusion that generations of men move across the world's stage impelled by forces entirely outside of themselves; and that as far as the opportunity of individual action is concerned, that is for action initiated and completed under his own will-power, man might almost as well be a squirrel working in a revolving cage. The squirrel imagines that he moves the cylinder, but the outsider knows that the movement is predetermined, and that there is no change of position and no net result from the exertion.
A large number of people hold, notwithstanding, to the old-time feeling expressed, and doubtless exaggerated and over-emphasized, in such books as Carlyle's Hero Worship. They are unwilling, and in fact they find it practically impossible, to get away from the belief that the thought of the time is directed by the great thinkers, and that the action of the community is influenced and largely shaped by the power, whether this be utilized for good or for evil, of the great men of action.
In any case, men will continue to be interested in the personalities of the leaders whose names are connected with the great events of history. The citizens of each nation look back with legitimate pride upon the patriotic work of those who have helped to found the state, or to maintain its existence.
Among the national leaders whose names will always hold an honorable place in American history is Ulysses S. Grant, the simple-hearted man and capable soldier, to whose patriotism, courage, persistence, and skill was so largely due the successful termination of the war between the States, the contest which assured the foundations of the Republic. We are interested not only in learning what this man did, but in coming to know, as far as may be practicable, what manner of man he was. It is all-important in a study of development of character to have placed within reach the utterances of the man himself. There is no utterance that can give as faithful a picture of a man's method of thought and principle of action as the personal letter written, with no thought of later publication, to those who are near to him.
The publishers deem themselves fortunate, therefore, in being able to place before the fellow-citizens of General Grant who are appreciative of the great service rendered by him to the country, and who are interested also in the personality of the man, a series of letters written to members of his family or to near friends. These letters, dating back to the time of his youth, give a clear and trustworthy impression of the nature of the man and of the development of character and of force that made possible his all-valuable leadership.
The plan for the publication of these letters had received the cordial approval of General Grant's son, the late General Frederick D. Grant, and it is only because of his sudden death, which has brought sorrow upon a great circle of friends and upon the community at large, that the publishers are prevented from including with the volume a letter from the General as the head of the Grant family, giving formal expression to his personal interest in the undertaking.
This collection of letters will constitute a suitable companion volume to Grant's Personal Memoirs and to the accepted biographies of the Great Commander whose memory is honored by his fellow-citizens not only for the patience, persistence, and skill of the leader of armies, as evidenced in the brilliant campaigns that culminated with Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, and Appomattox, but for the sturdy integrity of character, modest bearing, and sweetness of nature of the great citizen.
GEO. HAVEN PUTNAM.
NEW YORK, April 25, 1912.
ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph by W. Kurtz, New York.
JESSE ROOT GRANT, �TAT. 69
Father of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
From a photograph.
MRS. HANNAH GRANT
Mother of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
From a photograph by Landy, taken in Cincinnati.
|FACSIMILE OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT TO HIS FATHER|
|FACSIMILE OF GENERAL GRANT'S PROCLAMATION TO THE CITIZENS OF PADUCAH|
GENERAL ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph taken in 1865 by Gutekunst, Philadelphia.
ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph taken during his second term as President.
[In 1843, at the age of twenty-one, Ulysses S. Grant was graduated from West Point with the rank of brevet second lieutenant. He was appointed to the 4th Infantry, stationed at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. In May, 1844, he was ordered to the frontier of Louisiana with the army of observation, while the annexation of Texas was pending. The bill for the annexation of Texas was passed March 1, 1845; the war with Mexico began in April, 1846. Grant was promoted to a first-lieutenancy September, 1847. The Mexican War closed in 1848. Both this war and the Civil War he characterizes in his Memoirs as "unholy."
Soon after his return from Mexico he was married to Julia Dent. The next six years were spent in military duty in Sacketts Harbor, New York, Detroit, Michigan, and on the Pacific coast. He was promoted to the captaincy of a company in 1853; but because of the inadequacy of a captain's pay, he resigned from the army, July, 1854, and rejoined his wife and children at St. Louis. In speaking of this period Grant says, "I was now to commence at the age of thirty-two a new struggle for our support."
The first chapter in this new struggle was farming. The following letter was written to his youngest sister Mary, then sixteen years old, afterward Mrs. M.J. Cramer. "Jennie," afterward Mrs. A.R. Corbin, was the second sister, Virginia.]
St. Louis, Mo.,
August 22nd, 1857.
Your letter was received on last Tuesday, the only day in the week on which we get mail, and this is the earliest opportunity I have had of posting a letter.
I am glad to hear that mother and Jennie intend making us a visit. I would advise them to come by the river if they prefer it. Write to me beforehand about the time you will start, and from Louisville again, what boat you will be on, direct to St. Louis,—not Sappington, P.O.—and I will meet you at the river or Planter's House, or wherever you direct.
We are all very well. Julia contemplates visiting St. Charles next Saturday to spend a few days. She has never been ten miles from home, except to come to the city, since her visit to Covington.
I have nothing in particular to write about. My hard work is now over for the season with a fair prospect of being remunerated in everything but the wheat. My wheat, which would have produced from four to five hundred bushels with a good winter, has yielded only seventy-five. My oats were good, and the corn, if not injured by frost this fall, will be the best I ever raised. My potato crop bids fair to yield fifteen hundred bushels or more. Sweet potatoes, melons and cabbages are the only other articles I am raising for market. In fact, the oats and corn I shall not sell.
I see I have written a part of this letter as if I intended to direct to one, and part as if to the other of you; but you will understand it, so it makes no difference.
Write to me soon and often. Julia wears black. I had forgotten to answer that part of your letter.
Your affectionate Brother,
P.S. Tell father that I have this moment seen Mr. Ford, just from Sacketts Harbor, who informs me that while there he enquired of Mr. Bagley about my business with Camp, and learns from him that the account should be acted upon immediately. Camp is now at Governor's Island, N.Y., and intends sailing soon for Oregon. If he is stopped he may be induced to disgorge. Tell father to forward the account immediately.
[White Haven was the name of the Dent homestead near St. Louis. Grant has rented out his own farm, and taken that of his father-in-law.
Written to his sister Mary.]
March 21st, 1858.
Your letter was received one week ago last Tuesday, and I would have answered it by the next mail but it so happened that there was not a sheet of paper about the house, and as Spring has now set in, I do not leave the farm except in cases of urgent necessity. Father's letter, enclosing Mr. Bagley's relative to the Camp business, was received one or two weeks earlier, and promptly answered. My reply was long, giving a detailed account of my whole transactions with Camp, and a copy of which Father can have to peruse when he comes along this way next.
Julia and her children are all well and talk of making you a visit next fall,—but I hardly think they will go. But if any of you, except Father, should visit us this spring, or early summer, Julia says that Fred. may go home with you to spend a few months. She says she would be afraid to let him travel with Father alone; she has an idea that he is so absent-minded that if he were to arrive in Cincinnati at night he would be just as apt as not to walk out of the cars and be gone for an hour before he would recollect that he had a child with him. I have no such fears however. Fred does not read yet, but he will, I think, in a few weeks. We have no school within a mile and a half, and that is too far to send him in the winter season. I shall commence sending him soon however. In the meantime I have no doubt but that he is learning faster at home. Little Ellen is growing very fast, and talks now quite plainly. Jesse R. is growing very rapidly, is very healthy and, they say, is the best looking child among the four. I don't think however there is much difference between them in that respect.
Emma Dent is talking of visiting her relatives in Ohio and Penna this Summer, and if she does, she will stop a time with you. Any talk of any of us visiting you, must not stop you from coming to see us. The whole family here are fond of planning visits, but poor in the execution of their plans. It may take two seasons yet before any of these visits are made; in the meantime, we are anxious to see all of you. For my part I do not know when I shall ever be able to leave home long enough for a visit. I may possibly be able to go on a flying visit next fall. I am anxious to make one more visit home before I get old.
This Spring has opened finely for farming and I hope to do well; but I shall wait until the crops are gathered before I make any predictions. I have now three negro men, two hired by the year and one of Mr. Dent's, which, with my own help, I think, will enable me to do my farming pretty well with assistance in harvest. I have however a large farm. I shall have about twenty acres of potatoes, twenty of corn, twenty-five of oats, fifty of wheat, twenty-five of meadow, some clover, Hungarian grass and other smaller products, all of which require labor before they are got into market, and the money realized upon them. You are aware, I believe, that I have rented out my place and have taken Mr. Dent's. There are about two hundred acres of ploughed land on it and I shall have, in a few weeks, about two hundred and fifty acres of woods pasture fenced up besides. Only one side of it and a part of another has to be fenced to take the whole of it in, and the rails are all ready. I must close with the wish that some of you would visit us as early as possible. In your letter you ask when my note in bank becomes due. The seventeenth of Apl. is the last day of grace when it must be paid.
Give Julia's, the children's, and my love to all at home and write soon.
[When a boy Grant suffered severely from fever and ague. This attack now lasted a year and was probably a factor in determining him to give up farming.
To his sister Mary.]
St. Louis, Mo.,
Sept. 7th, 1858.
Your letter was received in due time and I should have answered it immediately, but that I had mailed a letter from Julia to Jennie the morning of the receipt of yours. I thought then to wait for two or three weeks; by that time there was so much sickness in my family, and Freddy so dangerously ill, that I thought I would not write until his fate was decided. He was nearly taken from us by the bilious, then by the typhoid fever; but he is now convalescing. Some seven of the negroes have been sick. Mrs. Sharp is here on a visit, and she and one of her children are sick; and Julia and I are both sick with chills and fever. If I had written to you earlier it would have been whilst Fred's case was a doubtful one, and I did not want to distress you when it could have done no good to anyone.—I have been thinking of paying you a visit this fall, but I now think it extremely doubtful whether I shall be able to. Not being able to even attend to my hands, much less work myself, I am getting behindhand, so that I shall have to stay here and attend to my business. Cannot some of you come and pay us a visit? Jennie has not answered Julia's letter yet. Did she receive it? I was coming to the city the day it was written to hear a political speech, and it was too late to get it in the post office, so I gave it to a young man to put in the next morning. It is for this reason I asked the question.
Write to me soon. I hope you have had none of the sickness we have been troubled with.
To MARY F. GRANT,
[Soon after the date of this letter Grant sold at auction his stock, crops, and farming implements, and gave up farming. His father, Jesse Root Grant, had founded a leather store in Galena with the expectation of establishing his three sons in the business, and withdrawing from all connection with it himself. It is this business opportunity that is referred to here with characteristic independence, "I should prefer your offer to any one of mere salary that could be offered." But it was not until May, 1860, that he went to Galena, nominally as a clerk, in reality as a future partner in the business.]
Oct. 1st, 1858.
I arrived at home on Tuesday evening, and, it being my "chill" day, of course felt very badly. Julia had been much worse during my absence, but had improved again so that I found her about as when I left home. Fred, has improved steadily, and can now hear nearly as well as before his sickness. The rest of the family are tolerably well, with the exception of Mr. Dent whose health seems to be about as when I left. Mr. Dent and myself will make a sale this fall and get clear of all the stock on the place, and then rent out the cleared land and sell about four hundred acres of the north end of the place. As I explained to you, this will include my place. I shall plan to go to Covington towards Spring, and would prefer your offer to any one of mere salary that could be offered. I do not want any place for permanent stipulated pay, but want the prospect of one day doing business for myself. There is a pleasure in knowing that one's income depends somewhat upon his own exertions and business capacity, that cannot be felt when so much and no more is coming in, regardless of the success of the business engaged in or the manner in which it is done.
Mr. Dent thinks I had better take the boy he has given Julia along with me, and let him learn the farrier's business. He is a very smart, active boy, capable of making anything; but this matter I will leave entirely to you. I can leave him here and get about three dollars per month for him now, and more as he gets older. Give my love to all at home.
To J.R. GRANT, ESQ.,
[After giving up farming Grant engaged in the real estate business in St. Louis, with a Mr. Boggs as partner. The girls referred to are his three sisters. Simpson is the brother next in age to himself.]
St. Louis, Mo.,
March 12th, 1859.
It has now been over a month, I believe, since I wrote to you last, although I expected to have written again the next week. I can hardly tell how the new business I am engaged in, is going to succeed, but I believe it will be something more than a support. If I find an opportunity next week I will send you some of our cards, which, if you will distribute among such persons as may have business to attend to in the city, such as buying or selling property, collecting either rents or other liabilities, it may prove the means of giving us additional commissions. Mr. Benton was here for some time and used to call in to see me frequently. Whilst he was here I submitted to him some property for sale, belonging to a Mr. Tucker. Since Mr. Benton's departure, Mr. Tucker has called several times and wants me to submit his propositions again, and say that if he is disposed to buy, and pay considerable cash, he will make his prices such as to secure to him a good investment. I enclose with this a list of the property, and prices, as first asked, one third cash, balance one and two years. Please tell Mr. Benton if he feels like making any proposition for any part of this property to let me know, and I will submit it and give him an answer.
We are living now in the lower part of the city full two miles from my office. The house is a comfortable little one, just suited to my means. We have one spare room, and also a spare bed in the children's room, so that we can accommodate any of our friends that are likely to come to see us. I want two of the girls, or all of them for that matter, to come and pay us a long visit soon.
Julia and the children are well. They will not make a visit to Kentucky now. I was anxious to have them go before I rented, but with four children she could not go without a servant, and she was afraid that landing so often as she would have to do in free states, she might have some trouble. Tell one of the girls to write soon. Has Simpson gone South? Are you going to the city to live?
To J.R. GRANT, ESQ.,
[Orvil is the youngest brother. The appointment referred to was one for the position of County Engineer.
Free-Soilers: "The Whig party had ceased to exist ... ; the Know Nothing party had taken its place but was on the wane; the Republican party was in a chaotic state and had not yet received a name. It had no existence in the Slave States except at points on the borders next to Free States. In St. Louis city and county what afterwards became the Republican party was known as the Free Soil Democracy."—Memoirs.
Professorship of mathematics: When Grant left the Military Academy he had no intention of remaining in the army. He then expected to teach mathematics, and had already applied for such a position at West Point. At Jefferson Barracks his chief interest was the study of higher mathematics with the view of obtaining a professorship. The Mexican War, however, soon drew him into active military life.
The real estate venture was unsuccessful; it was a business even then much overcrowded. Necessity, not instability, dictated the various experiments.]
Aug. 20th, 1859.
On last Wednesday I received your letter, and on the Monday before one from Mr. Burk, from both of which I much regretted to learn of Simpson's continued ill health. I at once wrote to Orvil, whose arrival at Galena I learned from Burk's letter, to urge Simpson to come by steamer to St. Louis and spend some time with me, and if it should prove necessary for anyone to accompany him, I would take him home. Cannot Jennie and Orvil's wife come this way when they start for Galena? We would like very much to see them.
I am not over sanguine of getting the appointment mentioned in my last letter. The Board of Commissioners, who make the appointment, are divided,—three free soilers to two opposed,—and although friends who are recommending me are the very first citizens of this place, and members of all parties, I fear they will make strictly party nominations for all the offices under their control. As to the professorship you speak of, that was filled some time ago. And were it not, I would stand no earthly chance. The Washington University, where the vacancy was to be filled, is one of the best endowed institutions in the United States, and all the professorships are sought after by persons whose early advantages were the same as mine, but who have been engaged in teaching all their mature years. Quimby, who was the best mathematician in my class, and who was for several years an assistant at West Point, and for nine years a professor in an institution in New York, was an unsuccessful applicant. The appointment was given to the most distinguished man in his department in the country, and an author. His name is Shorano. Since putting in my application for the appointment of County Engineer, I have learned that the place is not likely to be filled before February next. What I shall do will depend entirely upon what I can get to do. Our present business is entirely overdone in this city, at least a dozen new houses having started about the same time I commenced. I do not want to fly from one thing to another, nor would I, but I am compelled to make a living from the start for which I am willing to give all my time and all my energy.
Julia and the children are well and send love to you. On your way to Galena can you not come by here? Write to me soon.
[In regard to voting for Buchanan for President, Grant says in his Memoirs that he believed that the election of a Republican President in 1856 would mean the secession of all the slave States and inevitable rebellion. Accordingly, he preferred the success of a candidate whose election would prevent or postpone secession, to seeing the country plunged into a war the end of which no man could foretell. "With a Democrat elected by the unanimous vote of the Slave States, there would be no pretext for secession for four years. I very much hoped that the passions of the people would subside in that time, and the catastrophe be averted altogether; if it were not, I believed the country would be better prepared to receive the shock and to resist it. I therefore voted for James Buchanan for President."]
Sept. 23d, 1859.
I have waited for some time to write you the result of the action of the County Commissioners upon the appointment of a County Engineer. The question has at length been settled, and I am sorry to say, adversely to me. The two Democratic Commissioners voted for me, and the Free Soilers against me. What I shall now go at I have not determined, but I hope something before a great while. Next month I get possession of my own house, when my expenses will be reduced so much that a very moderate salary will support me. If I could get the $3000 note cashed, which I got as the difference in the exchange of property, I could put up with the proceeds two houses that would pay me, at least, $40 per month rent. The note has five years to run, with interest notes given separately and payable annually.
We are looking for some of you here next week to go to the fair. I wrote to Simpson to come down and see me but as I have had no answer from him nor from Orvil to a letter written some time before, I do not know whether he will come or not. I should like very much to have some of you come and see us this fall. Julia and the children are all very well. Fred and Buck go to school every day. They never think of asking to stay at home.
You may judge from the result of the action of the County Commissioners that I am strongly identified with the Democratic party. Such is not the case. I never voted an out and out Democratic ticket in my life. I voted for Buchanan for President to defeat Fremont, but not because he was my first choice. In all other elections I have universally selected the candidates that, in my estimation, were the best fitted for the different offices, and it never happens that such men are all arrayed on one side. The strongest friend I had in the Board of Commissioners is a Free Soiler but opposition between parties is so strong that he would not vote for any one, no matter how friendly, unless at least one of his own party would go with him. The Free Soil party felt themselves bound to provide for one of their own party who was defeated for the office of County Engineer; a German who came to the West as an assistant surveyor upon the public lands, and who has held an office ever since.
There is, I believe, but one paying office in the county held by an American, unless you except the office of Sheriff which is held by a Frenchman who speaks broken English, but was born here.
Write to me soon. Julia and the children join me in sending love to all of you.
[To his brother Simpson. This letter is a naive expression of a fundamental trait in Grant's character, belief in the essential honesty of every man.]
Oct. 24th, 1859.
I have been postponing writing to you hoping to make a return for your horse, but as yet I have received nothing for him. About two weeks ago a man spoke to me for him and said that he would try him the next day, and if he suited, give me $100 for him. I have not seen the man since; but one week ago last Saturday he went to the stable and got the horse, saddle and bridle, since which I have seen neither man nor horse. From this I presume he must like him. The man, I understand, lives in Florisant, about twelve miles from the city.
My family are all well and living in our own house. It is much more pleasant than where we lived when you were here, and contains practically about as much room. I am still unemployed, but expect to have a place in the Custom House from the first of next month. My name has been forwarded for the appointment of Superintendent, which, if I do not get, will not probably be filled at all. In that case there is a vacant desk which I may get that pays $1200 per annum. The other will be worth from $1500 to $1800 and will occupy but little time.
Remember me to all at home. There is a gentleman here who has lands in San Antonio de Bexar County, Texas, that would like to get you, should you go there this winter, to look after them. If you go, and will attend to his business, drop me a line and he will furnish me all the papers, and instructions, to forward to you.
P.S. The man that has your horse is the owner of a row of six three story brick houses in this city, and the probabilities are that he intends to give me an order on his agent for the money on the first of the month when the rents are paid. At all events I imagine the horse is perfectly safe.
[Grant had given up the real estate business and had come to Galena in May, 1860, as has been said, nominally as a clerk in his father's store, but really as a prospective partner in the business.
In March, 1861, Lincoln was inaugurated President. The Confederates proclaimed themselves aliens; South Carolina seceded; other Southern States followed; Fort Sumter was fired upon, and President Lincoln issued his first call for troops, 75,000 volunteers. The quota for Illinois had been fixed at six regiments. Galena immediately raised a company. Grant declined the captaincy but promised his aid in every way possible.]
April 21st, 1861.
We are now in the midst of trying times when every one must be for or against his country, and show his colors too, by his every act. Having been educated for such an emergency, at the expense of the Government, I feel that it has upon me superior claims, such claims as no ordinary motives of self-interest can surmount. I do not wish to act hastily or unadvisedly in the matter, and as there are more than enough to respond to the first call of the President, I have not yet offered myself. I have promised, and am giving all the assistance I can in organizing the company whose services have been accepted from this place. I have promised further to go with them to the State capital, and if I can be of service to the Governor in organizing his state troops to do so. What I ask now is your approval of the course I am taking, or advice in the matter. A letter written this week will reach me in Springfield. I have not time to write to you but a hasty line, for, though Sunday as it is, we are all busy here. In a few minutes I shall be engaged in directing tailors in the style and trim of uniform for our men.
Whatever may have been my political opinions before, I have but one sentiment now. That is, we have a Government, and laws and a flag, and they must all be sustained. There are but two parties now, traitors and patriots and I want hereafter to be ranked with the latter, and I trust, the stronger party. I do not know but you may be placed in an awkward position, and a dangerous one pecuniarily, but costs cannot now be counted. My advice would be to leave where you are if you are not safe with the views you entertain. I would never stultify my opinion for the sake of a little security.
I will say nothing about our business. Orvil and Lank will keep you posted as to that.
Write soon and direct as above.
[To his sister Mary. Grant organized and drilled the Galena company, then went with it to Springfield, the State capital, and mustered it into the State service. Governor Yates then requested him to remain and assist in the adjutant-general's office, because he realized the value of Grant's former military experience. Shortly after this the Legislature authorized the State to accept the services of ten additional regiments. Governor Yates requested Grant to muster these new troops into the service.
The Aunt Rachel mentioned was a sister of Jesse R. Grant, who lived in Virginia. She had a large plantation and owned many slaves, and was naturally an ardent secessionist. A heated partisan correspondence was carried on during this time between the aunt and the niece Clara, Grant's oldest sister. In the letter referred to, the aunt writes, "If you are with the accursed Lincolnites, the ties of consanguinity shall be forever severed."]
April 29th, 1861.
I came to this place several days ago, fully expecting to find a letter here for me from father. As yet I have received none. It was my intention to have returned to Galena last evening, but the Governor detained me, and I presume will want me to remain with him until all the troops are called into service, or those to be so called, are fully mustered in and completely organized. The enthusiasm throughout this state surpasses anything that could have been imagined three weeks ago. Only six regiments are called for here, while at least thirty could be promptly raised. The Governor, and all others in authority, are harassed from morning until night with patriotic men, and such political influence as they can bring, to obtain first promises of acceptance of their companies, if there should be another call for troops. The eagerness to enter companies that were accepted by the Governor, was so great that it has been impossible for Commanders of companies to keep their numbers within the limits of the law, consequently companies that have arrived here have all had from ten to sixty men more than can be accepted. The Legislature on Saturday last passed a bill providing for the maintenance and discipline of these surplus troops for one month, unless sooner mustered into service of the United States under a second call.—I am convinced that if the South knew the entire unanimity of the North for the Union and maintenance of Law, and how freely men and money are offered to the cause, they would lay down their arms at once in humble submission. There is no disposition to compromise now. Nearly every one is anxious to see the Government fully tested as to its strength, and see if it is not worth preserving. The conduct of eastern Virginia has been so abominable through the whole contest that there would be a great deal of disappointment here if matters should be settled before she is thoroughly punished. This is my feeling, and I believe it universal. Great allowance should be made for South Carolinians, for the last generation have been educated, from their infancy, to look upon their Government as oppressive and tyrannical and only to be endured till such time as they might have sufficient strength to strike it down. Virginia, and other border states, have no such excuse and are therefore traitors at heart as well as in act. I should like very much to see the letter Aunt Rachel wrote Clara! or a copy of it. Can't you send it?
When I left Galena, Julia and the children were very well. Jesse had been very sick for a few days but was getting much better. I have been very anxious that you should spend the summer with us. You have never visited us and I don't see why you can't. Two of you often travel together, and you might do so again, and come out with Clara. I do not like to urge anything of the kind, lest you should think that I ignored entirely the question of economy, but I do not do so. The fact is I have had my doubts whether or not it would not be more prudent for all of you to lock up and leave, until the present excitement subsides. If father were younger and Simpson strong and healthy, I would not advise such a course. On the contrary, I would like to see every Union man in the border slave states remain firm at his post. Every such man is equal to an armed volunteer at this time in defence of his country. There is very little that I can tell you that you do not get from the papers. Remember me to all at home and write to me at once, to this place.
[Grant is now assisting in the adjutant-general's office, as requested by Governor Yates. In connection with the call for troops and the enthusiastic response, he says elsewhere, "There was not a State in the North of a million inhabitants that would not have furnished the entire number faster than arms would have been supplied to them, if it had been necessary."]
GENERAL HEAD-QUARTERS, STATE OF ILLINOIS,
May 2nd, 1861.
Your letter of the 24th inst was received the same evening one I had written to Mary was mailed. I would have answered earlier but for the fact I had just written.
I am not a volunteer, and indeed could not be, now that I did not go into the first Company raised in Galena. The call of the President was so promptly responded to that only those companies that organized at once, and telegraphed their application to come in, were received. All other applications were filed, and there are enough of them to furnish Illinois quota if the Army should be raised to 300,000 men. I am serving on the Governor's staff at present at his request, but suppose I shall not be here long.
I should have offered myself for the Colonelcy of one of the Regiments, but I find all those places are wanted by politicians who are up to log-rolling, and I do not care to be under such persons.
The war feeling is not abating here much, although hostilities appear more remote than they did a few days ago. Three of the six Regiments mustered in from this state are now at Cairo, and probably will be reinforced with two others within a few days.
Galena has several more companies organized but only one of them will be able to come in under a new call for ten regiments. Chicago has raised companies enough nearly to fill all the first call. The Northern feeling is so fully aroused that they will stop at no expense of money and men to insure the success of their cause.
I presume the feeling is just as strong on the other side, but they are infinitely in the minority in resources.
I have not heard from Galena since coming down here, but presume all is moving along smoothly. My advice was not to urge collections from such men as we knew to be good, and to make no efforts to sell in the present distracted state of our currency. The money will not buy Eastern exchange and is liable to become worse; I think that thirty days from this we shall have specie, and the bills of good foreign banks to do business on, and then will be the time to collect.
If Mary writes to me any time next week she may direct here to
[E.B. Washburn was member of Congress representing Galena. Pillow was a Confederate general. He had served in the Mexican War, where Grant had learned to know him.
Grant expresses in this letter the opinion that the war will be of short duration. Many believed with him that the war would be over in thirty days. He continued to think this until the battle of Shiloh. He believed that there would have been no more battles in the West after the capture of Fort Donelson if all the troops in that region had been under a single commander who would have followed up that victory.]
Camp Yates, near Springfield,
May 6th, 1861.
Your second letter, dated the first of May has just come to hand. I commenced writing you a letter three or four days ago but was interrupted so often that I did not finish it. I wrote one to Mary which no doubt was duly received, but do not remember whether it answers your questions or not.
At the time our first Galena company was raised I did not feel at liberty to engage in hot haste, but took an active interest in drilling them, and imparting all the instruction I could, and at the request of the members of the company, and of Mr. Washburn, I came here for the purpose of assisting for a short time in camp, and of offering, if necessary, my services for the war. The next two days after my arrival it was rainy and muddy so that the troops could not drill and I concluded to go home. Governor Yates heard it and requested me to remain. Since that I have been acting in that capacity, and for the last few days have been in command of this camp. The last of the six regiments called for from this State, will probably leave by to-morrow, or the day following, and then I shall be relieved from this command.
The Legislature of this State provided for the raising of eleven additional regiments and a battalion of artillery; a portion of these the Governor will appoint me to muster into the service of the State, when I presume my services may end. I might have obtained the colonelcy of a regiment possibly, but I was perfectly sickened at the political wire-pulling for all these commissions, and would not engage in it. I shall be in no ways backward in offering my services when and where they are required, but I feel that I have done more now than I could do serving as a captain under a green colonel, and if this thing continues they will want more men at a later day.
There have been fully 30,000 more volunteers who have offered their services, than can be accepted under the present call, without including the call made by the State; but I can go back to Galena and drill the three or four companies there, and render them efficient for any future call. My own opinion is that this war will be but of short duration. The Administration has acted most prudently and sagaciously so far in not bringing on a conflict before it had its forces fully marshalled. When they do strike, our thoroughly loyal states will be fully protected, and a few decisive victories in some of the southern ports will send the secession army howling, and the leaders in the rebellion will flee the country. All the states will then be loyal for a generation to come. Negroes will depreciate so rapidly in value that nobody will want to own them, and their masters will be the loudest in their declamation against the institution from a political and economic point of view. The negro will never disturb this country again. The worst that is to be apprehended from him is now: he may revolt and cause more destruction than any Northern man, except it be the ultra-abolitionist, wants to see. A Northern army may be required in the next ninety days to go South to suppress a negro insurrection. As much as the South have vilified the North, that army would go on such a mission and with the purest motives.
I have just received a letter from Julia. All are well. Julia takes a very sensible view of our present difficulties. She would be sorry to have me go, but thinks the circumstances may warrant it and will not throw a single obstacle in the way.
There is no doubt but the valiant Pillow has been planning an attack on Cairo; but as he will learn that that point is well garrisoned and that they have their ditch on the outside, filled with water, he will probably desist. As, however, he would find it necessary to receive a wound, on the first discharge of firearms, he would not be a formidable enemy. I do not say he would shoot himself, ah no! I am not so uncharitable as many who served under him in Mexico. I think, however, he might report himself wounded on the receipt of a very slight scratch, received hastily in any way, and might irritate the sore until he convinced himself that he had been wounded by the enemy.
Tell Simpson that I hope he will be able to visit us this summer. I should like very much to have him stay with us and I want him to make my house his home.
Remember me to all.
[Grant has just finished mustering into State service the ten additional regiments authorized by the Legislature. He then returned to Galena whence he wrote to Washington, May 24, 1861, to the adjutant-general, tendering "his services until the close of the war in such capacity as may be offered." He adds, "I would say in view of my present age and length of service, I feel myself competent to command a regiment, if the President in his judgment should see fit to intrust one to me." He never received an answer to this letter; long after, it was found not properly filed. Grant's own comment is, that it was probably barely read by the adjutant-general and certainly could not have been submitted to higher authority.
The day he wrote this letter he returned to Springfield to find that Governor Yates had already appointed him colonel of one of the regiments that he himself had recently mustered into the State service, the 22d Illinois infantry.]
May 30th, 1861.
I have now been home nearly a week, but return to Springfield to-day. I have tendered my services to the Government and go to-day to make myself useful, if possible, from this until all our National difficulties are ended. During the six days I have been at home I have felt all the time as if a duty were being neglected that was paramount to any other duty I ever owed. I have every reason to be well satisfied with myself for the services already rendered, but to stop now would not do.
All here are well. Orvil or Lank will write to you in a day or two and tell you how business matters stand. Write to me at Springfield.
[After taking charge of his new regiment, Grant was encamped a short time near Springfield. A month was spent in drill and discipline; when the time came for the mustering into the national service of those who were willing to enter, the regiment went in as a body. July 3d he was ordered to Quincy, Mo. While here he was ordered to move against Colonel Tom Harris, a Confederate, who was encamped on a creek with high hills on both sides. Grant approached the place with much uneasiness, expecting to find Harris and his men drawn up ready to meet him. Instead, they had fled. He realized then that Harris had had quite as much fear of him as he had had of Harris. This experience was a valuable lesson to him; remembering it, he never again felt trepidation before encountering an enemy.]
East Quincy, Mo.,
July 13th, 1861.
I have just received yours and Mary's letters and really did not know that I had been so negligent as not to have written to you before. I did write from Camp Yates, but since receiving yours remember that I did not get to finish it at the time, and have neglected it since. The fact is that since I took command of this regiment I have had no spare time, and flatter myself, and believe I am sustained in my judgment by my officers and men, that I have done as much for the improvement and efficiency of this regiment as was ever done for a command in the same length of time.—You will see that I am in Missouri. Yesterday I went out as far as Palmyra and stationed my regiment along the railroad for the protection of the bridges, trestle work, etc. The day before I sent a small command, all I could spare, to relieve Colonel Smith who was surrounded by secessionists. He effected his relief, however, before they got there. To-morrow I start for Monroe, where I shall fall in with Colonel Palmer and one company of horse and two pieces of artillery. One regiment and a battalion of infantry will move on to Mexico, North Missouri road, and all of us together will try to nab the notorious Tom Harris with his 1200 secessionists. His men are mounted, and I have but little faith in getting many of them. The notorious Jim Green who was let off on his parole of honor but a few days ago, has gone towards them with a strong company well armed. If he is caught it will prove bad work for him.
You no doubt saw from the papers that I started to march across the country for Quincy. My men behaved admirably, and the lesson has been a good one for them. They can now go into camp after a day's march with as much promptness as veteran troops; they can strike their tents and be on the march with equal celerity. At the Illinois River, I received a dispatch at eleven o'clock at night that a train of cars would arrive at half past eleven to move my regiment. All the men were of course asleep, but I had the drum beaten, and in forty minutes every tent and all the baggage was at the water's edge ready to put aboard the ferry to cross the river.
I will try to keep you posted from time to time, by writing either to you or to Mary, of my whereabouts and what I am doing. I hope you will have only a good account of me and the command under my charge. I assure you my heart is in the cause I have espoused, and however I may have disliked party Republicanism there has never been a day that I would not have taken up arms for a Constitutional Administration.
You ask if I should not like to go in the regular army. I should not. I want to bring my children up to useful employment, and in the army the chance is poor. There is at least the same objection that you find where slavery exists. Fred. has been with me until yesterday; I sent him home on a boat.
[Shortly after the date of the last letter, Grant was ordered to Mexico, Mo. General Pope then commanded the district between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers with headquarters at Mexico. Grant was assigned to command a sub-district embracing the troops of the immediate neighborhood. In regard to the hospitality which Grant mentions receiving in this secessionist district, we may note that the regiments before his accession to this command had visited houses without invitation and had helped themselves to food or had demanded it. Grant at once published orders forbidding soldiers to go into private houses unless invited, or to appropriate private property.]
Aug. 3d, 1861.
I have written to you once from this place and received no answer, but as Orvil writes to me that you express great anxiety to hear from me often, I will try to find time to drop you a line twice a month, and oftener when anything of special interest occurs.
The papers keep you posted as to army movements, and as you are already in possession of my notions on secession nothing more is wanted on that point. I find here however a different state of feeling from what I expected existed in any part of the South. The majority in this part of the State are secessionists, as we would term them, but deplore the present state of affairs. They would make almost any sacrifice to have the Union restored, but regard it as dissolved, and nothing is left for them but to choose between two evils. Many, too, seem to be entirely ignorant of the object of present hostilities. You cannot convince them but that the ultimate object is to extinguish slavery by force. Then, too, they feel that the Southern Confederacy will never consent to give up their State, and as they, the South, are the strong party, it is prudent to favor them from the start. There is never a movement of troops made, that the secession journals through the country do not give a startling account of their almost annihilation at the hands of the State troops, whilst the facts are, there are no engagements. My regiment has been reported cut to pieces once that I know of, and I don't know but oftener, whilst a gun has not been fired at us. These reports go uncontradicted here and give confirmation to the conviction already entertained that one Southron is equal to five Northerners. We believe they are deluded, and know that if they are not, we are.
Since I have been in command of this military district, (two weeks), I have received the greatest hospitality and attention from the citizens about here. I have had every opportunity of conversing with them freely and learning their sentiments, and although I have confined myself strictly to the truth as to what has been the result of the different engagements, the relative strength, the objects of the Administration, and the North generally, yet I think they don't believe a word.
I see from the papers that my name has been sent in for Brigadier General. This is certainly very complimentary to me, particularly as I have never asked a friend to intercede in my behalf. My only acquaintance with men of influence in the State was whilst on duty at Springfield, and I then saw so much pulling and hauling for favors that I determined never to ask for anything, and never have, not even a colonelcy. I wrote a letter to Washington tendering my services, but then declined Governor Yates' and Mr. Trumbull's endorsement.
My services with the regiment with which I now am have been highly satisfactory to me. I took it in a very disorganized, demoralized and insubordinate condition, and have worked it up to a reputation equal to the best, and, I believe, with the good will of all the officers and all the men. Hearing that I was likely to be promoted, the officers, with great unanimity, have requested to be attached to my command. This I don't want you to read to others for I very much dislike speaking of myself.
We are now breaking up camp here gradually. In a few days the last of us will be on our way for the Missouri River, at what point cannot be definitely determined, wood and water being a consideration, as well as a healthy, fine site for a large encampment. A letter addressed to me at Galena will probably find me there. If I get my promotion I shall expect to go there for a few days.
Remember me to all at home and write to me.
[President Lincoln asked the Illinois delegation in Congress to recommend some citizens of the State for the position of brigadier-general. They unanimously recommended Grant first on a list of seven.
Since the date of the last letter he has been promoted to the rank of brigadier-general. He was then ordered to Ironton, Mo., seventy miles south of St. Louis.
To his sister Mary.]
August 12th, 1861.
Your letter directed to me at Mexico, Missouri came to hand yesterday at this place.
A glance at the map will show you where I am. When I came here it was reported that this place was to be attacked by 8000 secessionists, under General Hardee, within a day or two. Now Hardee's force seems to have reduced, and his distance from here to have increased. Scouting parties however are constantly seen within a few miles of our pickets. I have here about 3000 volunteers nearly all infantry, but our position being strong, and our cause a good one, it would trouble a much larger force of the enemy to dislodge us. You ask my views about the continuance of the war, and so forth. Well I have changed my mind so much that I don't know what to think. That the rebels will be so badly whipped by April next that they cannot make a stand anywhere, I don't doubt. But they are so dogged that there is no telling when they may be subdued. Send Union troops among them and respect all their rights, pay for everything you get, and they become desperate and reckless because their state sovereignty is invaded. Troops of the opposite side march through and take everything they want, leaving no pay but scrip, and they become desperate secession partisans because they have nothing more to lose. Every change makes them more desperate. I should like to be sent to Western Virginia, but my lot seems to be cast in this part of the world.
I wanted to remain in St. Louis a day or two to get some books to read that might help me in my profession, and have my uniform made. Mine has been a busy life from the beginning, and my new-made friends in Illinois seem to give me great credit. I hope to deserve it, and shall spare no pains on my part to do so.
It is precious little time I shall have for writing letters, but I have subscribed for the Daily St. Louis Democrat to be sent to you, through which you may occasionally hear from me.
Write to me often even though your letters are not answered. As I told father in my last I will try to have you hear from me twice a month if I have to write you after midnight.
I told Julia she might go to Covington and board whilst I am away but I don't know but that she had better stay where she is. The people of Galena have always shown the greatest friendship for me and I would prefer keeping my home there. I would like very much though, if you would go and stay with Julia.
If I get a uniform and get where I can have my daguerreotype taken, your wish in that respect shall be gratified.
[From Ironton, Grant was next ordered to Jefferson City, Mo., to take command there. There were much confusion and lack of discipline here. "There was no system existing as to recruiting and the city was filled with fugitives. These, driven by guerilla bands to take refuge with the national troops, were in a deplorable condition." In a week or two order was restored. He was then recalled to St. Louis, to receive important instructions.]
Jefferson City, Mo.,
August 27th, 1861.
Your letter requesting me to appoint Mr. Foley on my staff was only received last Friday night, of course too late to give Mr. Foley the appointment even if I could do so. I remember to have been introduced to Mr. Foley Sr. several years ago, and if the son is anything like the impression I then formed of the father, the appointment would be one that I could well congratulate myself upon. I have filled all the places on my staff and, I flatter myself, with deserving men: Mr. J.A. Rawlins of Galena is to be my Adjutant General, Mr. Lagow of the regiment I was formerly colonel of, and Mr. Hillyer of St. Louis, aides. They are all able men, from five to ten years younger than myself, without military experience but very capable of learning. I only have one of them with me yet, and having nothing but raw troops, and but little assistance, it keeps me busy from the time I get up in the morning until from 12 to 2 o'clock at night, or morning.
I subscribed for the Daily Democrat, a staunch Union paper, for you so that you might hear from me often.
There is a good deal of alarm felt by the citizens of an early attack upon this place, and if anything of the kind should take place we are ill prepared. All the troops are very raw, and about one half of them Missouri Home Guards without discipline. No artillery and but little cavalry here.
I do not anticipate an attack here myself, certainly not until we have attacked the enemy first. A defeat might induce the rebels to follow up their success to this point, but that we expect to prevent. My means of information are certainly as good as those of any one else, and I cannot learn that there is an organized body of men North of the Osage River, or any such body moving. There are numerous encampments throughout all the counties bordering on the Missouri River, but the object seems to be to gather supplies, forces, transportation and so forth, for a fall and winter campaign.
The country west of here will be left in a starving condition for next winter. Families are being driven away in great numbers for their Union sentiments, leaving behind farms, crops, stock and all. A sad state of affairs must exist under the most favorable circumstances that can take place. There will be no money in the country, and the entire crop will be carried off together with all stock of any value.
I am interrupted so often while writing that my letters must necessarily be very meagre and disconnected.
I hope you will let Mary go to Galena when Mother returns home. She has never paid us a visit and I would like to have her make a long one. I think it doubtful whether I will go home at all.
[The special instructions which Grant came from Jefferson City to receive, assigned him to the command of southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. He was to have temporary headquarters at Cape Girardeau during an expedition ordered for the capture of Colonel Jeff Thompson, who was disputing with them the possession of southeastern Missouri. This expedition was broken up on account of General Prentiss leaving his command at Jackson and returning to St. Louis, offended at being placed under a brigadier-general whom he believed to be his junior. Grant says Prentiss' action was a great mistake. "He was a very brave and earnest soldier," he writes long after. "No man in the service was more sincere in his devotion to the cause for which we were battling, none more ready to make sacrifices or risk life in it."]
Cape Girardeau, Mo.,
August 31st, 1861.
Your letter of the 26th is just received. As to the relative rank of officers (brigadiers) you are right but in all the rest you are laboring under an erroneous impression. There has been no move made affecting me which has not been complimentary rather than otherwise, though calculated to keep me laboriously employed. I was sent to Ironton when the place was weak and threatened with a superior force, and as soon as it was rendered secure I was ordered to Jefferson City, another point threatened. I was left there but a week when orders were sent ordering me to this point, putting me in command of all the forces in S.E. Missouri, South Illinois and everything that can operate here. All I fear is that too much may be expected of me. My duties will absorb my entire attention, and I shall try not to disappoint the good people of Illinois, who, I learn from every quarter, express an enthusiasm for me that was wholly unexpected.—General Prentiss is not a particular favorite as you suspect, nor is there a prejudice against him.
I think all the brigadiers are satisfied with the rank assigned them by the President.
The brigadiers are not all up north as you suspect. I know of but one, Hurlbut, who is there. General McClernand is at Cairo, Prentiss at Ironton, and I presume Curtis will be with the command under me.
General Hunter is at Chicago, but I look upon that as temporary. I have not heard of any command being assigned him as yet, and do not know that he has sufficiently recovered from wounds received in the late engagements in Virginia to take the field. Hunter will prove himself a fine officer.
The letters spoken of by you have not all been received. One sent to Galena I got and answered. My promise to write to you every two weeks has been complied with, and however busy I may be I shall continue to write if it is but a line.
I am now probably done shifting commands so often, this being the fourth in as many weeks.
Your suspicions as to my being neglected are entirely unfounded, for I know it was the intention to give me a brigade if I had not been promoted. Application would have been made to have me assigned arbitrarily as senior colonel from Illinois for the purpose.
I want to hear from you or Mary often. I sent you the Daily Democrat, thinking that would keep you better posted in this section than I could, and it is a cheap correspondent.
I wrote to you that I should like to have Mary go out to Galena and stay some time. I do not want Julia to leave Galena, being anxious to retain my residence after the many kindnesses received from the people there.
I only arrived at this place last night and cannot tell you much about things here. The people however are generally reported to be secessionists.
[September 4th, Grant had removed headquarters from Cape Girardeau to Cairo, Ill. Hearing that the Confederates were about to seize Paducah, Ky., he went there immediately, arriving there a few hours before the enemy, who returned to Columbus. Before leaving Grant addressed a short proclamation to the citizens promising them protection. Troops were left to guard the city.
To his sister Mary.]
September 11th, 1861.
Your letter with a short one from Father was received yesterday, and having a little time I answer it.
The troops under me and the rebel forces are getting so close together however that I have to watch all points. Since taking command I have taken possession of the Kentucky bank opposite here, fortified it and placed four large pieces in position. Have occupied Norfolk, Missouri, and taken possession of Paducah. My troops are so close to the enemy as to occasionally exchange shots with the pickets. To day, or rather last night, sixty or seventy rebels came upon seventeen of our men and were repulsed with a loss of two men killed on their side, none hurt on ours. Yesterday there was skirmishing all day. We had but two wounded however, whilst the loss must have been considerable on the other.
What future operations will be, of course I don't know. I could not write about it in advance if I did. The rebel force numerically is much stronger than ours, but the difference is more than made up by having truth and justice on our side, whilst on the other they are cheered on by falsehood and deception. This war however is formidable and I regret to say cannot end so soon as I anticipated at first.
Father asks for a position for Albert Griffith. I have no place to give and at best could use only my influence. I receive letters from all over the country for such places, but do not answer them. I never asked for my present position, but now that I have it I intend to perform the duties as rigidly as I know how without looking out for places for others. I should be very glad if I had a position within my own gift for Al. but I have not.
My duties are very laborious and have been from the start. It is a rare thing that I get to bed before two or three o'clock in the morning and am usually wakened in the morning before getting awake in a natural way. Now, however, my staff are getting a little in the way of this kind of business and can help me.
I have been stopped so often already in writing this that I have forgotten what I was going to write about.
Are you talking of paying Julia a visit? I wrote to you and father about it several times but have failed to elicit an answer on that point. I intended to have Julia, Miss and Jess come down here to pay me a visit but I hardly think it would be prudent at this time. Hearing artillery within a few miles it might embarrass my movements to have them about. I am afraid they would make poor soldiers.
Write to me again soon.
[Simpson: the brother next in age to General Grant. To his sister Mary.]
September 25th, 1861.
I have just received your last letter, also another written by you about one month ago, which has followed me around until at length it reached this place. I am very well, but have no news to communicate.
I had extended my lines nearly half way to Columbus and made reconnoissances frequently to within sight of the rebel camps, but my force has to be so reduced that it would be imprudent to make an attack now until I am reinforced.
I hope some day, if I am allowed to retain this command, to give a good account of ourselves. Simpson's death, though looked for for the last two years, causes me a great deal of sadness. The day I heard of it, I received a number of letters from Galena. In two or three of them his arrival at St. Paul was noted, and it was stated that he was no better. Our family has been peculiarly blessed up to this time. But few families of the same number have gone so many years without the loss of a single member.
I expect Father here as soon as Orvil returns to Galena.
[Grant felt sure that Columbus could easily have been taken soon after the occupation of Paducah, and had asked more than once to be allowed to move against it. As time went on it was so strongly fortified that it would have required a large force and a long siege to capture it. General Fremont was in charge of the Department of Missouri.]
October 25th, 1861.
Have gone longer this time without writing to you than I intended and have no good excuse for it. I have received two letters, at least, from you and father since my last, one of which wanted special answer. As I have not that letter before me I may fail to answer some points.
As to my not taking Columbus there are several reasons for it which I understand perfectly and could make plain to any one else, but do not feel disposed to commit the reasons to paper. As to the needlessness of the movements of troops I am a better judge than the newspaper reporters who write about it. My whole administration of affairs seems to have given entire satisfaction to those who have the right to judge, and who should have the ability to judge correctly. I find by a little absence for the few last days (under orders) that my whole course has received marked approbation from citizens and soldiers, so much so that many who are comparative strangers to me are already claiming for me promotion. This is highly gratifying but I do not think any promotions should be made for the present. Let service tell who are the deserving ones and give them the promotion. Father also wrote about a Mr. Reed. He is now here and will probably be able to secure a position. I do not want to be importuned for places. I have none to give and want to be placed under no obligation to any one. My influence no doubt would secure places with those under me, but I become directly responsible for the suitableness of the appointee, and then there is no telling what moment I may have to put my hand upon the very person who has conferred the favor, or the one recommended by me. I want always to be in a condition to do my duty without partiality, favor, or affection.—In the matter of making harness I know that a very large amount is wanted. Maj. Robert Allen, Chief Quartermaster for the Western Department, stationed in St. Louis, has the letting of a great deal. Father remembers his father well. He is a son of old Irish Jimmy, as he used to be called about Georgetown to distinguish him from the other two Jimmy Allens. He is a friend of mine also.—This letter has proven so far more one to Father than to yourself, but I direct it to you that you may reply. I write in great haste having been engaged all the evening in writing orders, and still having more to do.—I send you with this the likeness of myself and staff. No 1 you will have no difficulty in recognizing. No 2 is Capt. J.A. Rawlins, A.A. Gen. Nos 3 & 4 Capts. Lagow & Hillyer, Aides-de-Camps, No 5 Dr. Simons Medical Director.
A good looking set aren't they? I expect Julia here the latter part of next week. I wish you could come at the same time and stay a week or two. I think it would pay you well. Won't you try to come? If it were at all necessary I would pay the expense myself to have you come. Give my love to all at home. I think I will send you several more of my photographs, one for Uncle Samuel, one for Aunt Margaret, one for Aunt Rachel and one for Mrs. Bailey.
[The battle of Belmont is the first event of importance after the occupation of Paducah. This was the first time the men and officers were under fire; they behaved like veterans. Here they gained a confidence in themselves that they did not lose throughout the war.]
November 8th, 1861.
It is late at night and I want to get a letter into the mail for you before it closes. As I have just finished a very hasty letter to Julia that contains about what I would write, and having something else to do myself, I will have my clerk copy it.
Day before yesterday, I left here with about 3000 men in five steamers, convoyed by two gun boats, and proceeded down the river to within twelve miles of Columbus. The next morning the boats were dropped down just out of range of the enemy's batteries and the troops debarked.
During this operation our gun boats exercised the rebels by throwing shells into their camps and batteries.
When all ready we proceeded about one mile towards Belmont opposite Columbus; then I formed the troops into line, and ordered two companies from each regiment to deploy as skirmishers, and push on through the woods and discover the position of the enemy. They had gone but a little way when they were fired upon, and the ball may be said to have fairly opened.
The whole command with the exception of a small reserve, was then deployed in like manner with the first, and ordered forward. The order was obeyed with great alacrity, the men all showing great courage. I can say with gratification that every Colonel without a single exception, set an example to his command that inspired a confidence that will always insure victory when there is the slightest possibility of gaining one. I feel truly proud to command such men. From here we fought our way from tree to tree through the woods to Belmont, about two and a half miles, the enemy contesting every foot of ground. Here the enemy had strengthened their position by felling the trees for two or three hundred yards and sharpening the limbs, making a sort of abattis. Our men charged through making the victory complete, giving us possession of their camp and garrison equipage, artillery and everything else.
We got a great many prisoners. The majority however succeeded in getting aboard their steamer and pushing across the river.
We burned everything possible and started back, having accomplished all that we went for and even more. Belmont is entirely covered by the batteries from Columbus and is worth nothing as a military position. It cannot be held without Columbus.
The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending a force into Missouri to cut off troops I had sent there for a special purpose, and to prevent reinforcing Price.
Besides being well fortified at Columbus their numbers far exceed ours, and it would have been folly to have attacked them. We found the Confederates well-armed and brave. On our return, stragglers that had been left in our rear, now front, fired into us, and more recrossed the river and gave us battle for fully a mile and afterwards at the boats when we were embarking. There was no hasty retreating or running away. Taking into account the object of the expedition the victory was most complete. It has given me a confidence in the officers and men of this command, that will enable me to lead them in any future engagement without fear of the result. General McClernand—(who by the way acted with great coolness throughout, and proved that he is a soldier as well as statesman)—and myself each had our horses shot under us. Most of the field-officers met with the same loss, besides nearly one third of them being killed or wounded themselves. As nearly as I can ascertain our loss was about 250 killed, wounded, and missing.
I write in great haste to get this in the office tonight.
[Two days after the battle of Belmont, November 9th, General Halleck supersedes General Fremont in command of the Department of Missouri. General Grant's command is now changed from the District of Southeastern Missouri to the District of Cairo and that of the mouths of the Cumberland and the Tennessee. This is the command he refers to here as the most important one in the department.]
November 27th, 1861.
Your letter enclosed with a shawl to Julia is just received.
In regard to your stricture about my not writing I think that you have no cause of complaint. My time is all taken up with public duties.
Your statement of prices at which you proposed furnishing harness was forwarded to Maj. Allen as soon as received and I directed Lagow, who received the letter enclosing it, to inform you of the fact. He did so at once.
I cannot take an active part in securing contracts. If I were not in the army I should do so, but situated as I am it is necessary both to my efficiency for the public good and my own reputation that I should keep clear of Government contracts.
I do not write you about plans, or the necessity of what has been done or what is doing because I am opposed to publicity in these matters. Then too you are very much disposed to criticise unfavorably from information received through the public press, a portion of which I am sorry to see can look at nothing favorably that does not look to a war upon slavery. My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped in any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go. But that portion of the press that advocates the beginning of such a war now, are as great enemies to their country as if they were open and avowed secessionists.
There is a desire upon the part of people who stay securely at home to read in the morning papers, at their breakfast, startling reports of battles fought. They cannot understand why troops are kept inactive for weeks or even months. They do not understand that men have to be disciplined, arms made, transportation and provisions provided. I am very tired of the course pursued by a portion of the Union press.
Julia left last Saturday for St. Louis where she will probably spend a couple of weeks and return here should I still remain. It costs nothing for her to go there, and it may be the last opportunity she will have of visiting her father. From here she will go to Covington, and spend a week or two before going back to Galena.
It was my bay horse (cost me $140) that was shot. I also lost the little pony, my fine saddle and bridle, and the common one. What I lost cost about $250. My saddle cloth which was about half the cost of the whole, I left at home.
I try to write home about once in two weeks and think I keep it up pretty well. I wrote to you directly after the battle of Belmont, and Lagow and Julia have each written since.
Give my love to all at home. I am very glad to get letters from home and will write as often as I can. I am somewhat troubled lest I lose my command here, though I believe my administration has given general satisfaction not only to those over me but to all concerned. This is the most important command within the department however, and will probably be given to the senior officer next to General Halleck himself.
There are not so many brigadier generals in the army as there are brigades, and as to divisions they are nearly all commanded by brigadiers.
[The battlefield referred to is Belmont. According to the Memoirs, the loss of national troops, killed, wounded, and missing, was 485; that of the Confederates, 642. Number of Union troops engaged was 2500 men; that of Confederates, 7000.]
November 28th, 1861.
Your letter asking if Mr. Leathers can be passed South, and also enclosing two extracts from papers is received.
It is entirely out of the question to pass persons South. We have many Union Men sacrificing their lives now from exposure as well as battle, in a cause brought about by secession, and it is necessary for the security of the thousands still exposed that all communication should be cut off between the two sections.
As to that article in the Hawk Eye it gives me no uneasiness whatever. The Iowa regiment did its duty fully, and my report gives it full credit. All who were on the battlefield know where General McClernand and myself were, and there is no need of resort to the public press for our vindication. The other extract gives our loss in killed and wounded almost exactly correct. Our missing however is only three or four over one hundred. Recent information received through deserters shows that the rebel loss from killed, wounded, and missing reaches about 2500. One thing is certain,—after the battle about one third of Columbus was used for hospitals and many were removed to houses in the country. There were also two steamboat loads sent to Memphis and the largest hotel in the city taken as a hospital. The city was put in mourning and all business suspended for a day: and the citizens thrown into the greatest consternation lest they would be attacked.
I wrote to you two days ago, therefore it is not necessary to write a long letter.
I believe I told you that Julia had gone to St. Louis. She will pay you a short visit before returning to Galena.
[General D.C. Buell commanded the Department of the Ohio with headquarters at Louisville.
To his sister Mary.]
Dec. 18th, 1861.
I have been wanting to write you for some time and am not so indifferent as you would make out. I wish you could be here for a day or two to see what I have to go through from breakfast until twelve at night, seven days in the week. I have now just got through with my mail for to-night, and as it is not yet twelve and the mail does not close until that time, I will devote the remainder of the time in penning you a few lines. I have no war news to communicate, however.
Julia and the children have returned from St. Louis. They will not make you the promised visit whilst I remain here.
Captain Foley arrived to-day and I showed him all the attention I could but I regret to say it was not much. He will excuse it however.
I am sorry you did not come with him. I believe I should have allowed the children to go back with you.
I have learned through private sources that an attack has been made upon Fort Jackson, Louisiana, and that the place has been taken. That is to say such is the report in Columbus, but I do not know whether to credit the report. Something has taken place to call off many of their troops. They still have a much larger force than I have.
Whilst I am writing several Galena gentlemen are in talking. They will remain until the office closes so you must excuse a disconnected letter.
I do not now see that the probabilities are so strong that I will likely be removed. A full disposition seems to have been made of all my seniors.
Father seems to be very much inclined to criticise all our generals. It may have been a little inexcusable in General Buell not to allow troops to stop for a few hours when near their homes. But he should recollect that General Buell was not on the spot to see the circumstances fully, and he does not know what necessity may have existed to have got the troops through by a certain time.
At your request I send a small batch from my cranium. I doubt whether it is big enough for the purpose you want it.
If you will come out here you might spend a few weeks pleasantly and I hope you will not lose such an opportunity as has just occurred.
I will close this. My love to all at home.
[The great expedition into Kentucky:—Early in January, Grant had been directed to make a reconnoissance in favor of Brigadier-General Buell who was confronting the Confederate General Buckner at Bowling Green. One force under General Smith went up the west bank of the Tennessee to threaten Forts Heiman and Henry. McClernand went into west Kentucky, one column threatening Columbus, and another the Tennessee River. Grant went with the latter. The object of the expedition was attained; troops were not sent to reinforce Buckner. Grant was now eager to move against the forts on the Tennessee. This is his errand to St. Louis, to ask permission of General Halleck to move against them. He had long been convinced that the true line of operations was up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Once these rivers were held by the Union troops, the Confederates would be forced to evacuate Kentucky altogether. But General Halleck opposed the plan.
To his sister Mary.]
Jan. 23d, 1862.
You have seen through the papers notice of my return from the great expedition into Kentucky. My orders were such and the force with me also so small that no attack was allowable. I made good use of the time however, making a splendid reconnoissance of the country over which an army may have to move. I have now a larger force than General Scott ever commanded prior to our present difficulties. I do hope it will be my good fortune to retain so important a command for at least one battle. I believe there is no portion of our whole army better prepared to contest a battle than there is within my district, and I am very much mistaken if I have not got the confidence of officers and men. This is all important, especially so with new troops. I go tonight to St. Louis to see General Halleck; will be back on Sunday morning. I expect but little quiet from this on and if you receive but short, unsatisfactory letters hereafter you need not be surprised.
Your letter asking me to intercede in behalf of Lieut. Jones was received. I have no one of equal rank now to offer in exchange, unless it should be some one of Jeff Thompson's command, but if it should fall in my power to effect Lieutenant Jones' release, I shall be most happy to do so. Write to me giving the first name, where he now is, when taken and under what circumstances.
I think you may look for Julia and the children about the 1st of February.
As I said before the three oldest will be left to go to school. Jess is too small. You will like him the best of any of the children, although he is the worst. I expect he will whip his Aunt Mary the first day. Buck, though never really sick, is very delicate. He is the best child I ever saw and is smart.
Give my love to all at home. I must close.
[After repeated requests Grant secured permission, February 1st, to undertake the campaign up the Tennessee. Fort Henry was captured on the 6th; Fort Donelson, eleven miles away, fell on the 16th. Fort Donelson was on high ground, one hundred feet above the Cumberland River. It was an important position for the enemy. Generals Floyd and Pillow, first and second in command at Port Donelson, escaped during the night of the 15th. General Buckner, who was forced to surrender the fort, said to Grant that if he, Buckner, had been in command Grant would never have reached Donelson as easily as he did. Grant answered, "In that case I should not have tried in the way I did; I relied upon Pillow to allow me to come up within gunshot of any entrenchments he was given to hold." Pillow had been in the Mexican War and he prided himself upon that service. Grant speaks of his own service in the Mexican War as being invaluable to him as he there came to know all the men who, later on, held conspicuous positions in both the Northern and Southern armies; he learned to know their strong points and their weaknesses, and to infer how they would act under given conditions.
To his sister Mary.]
Fort Henry, Tenn.,
Feb. 9th, 1862.
I take my pen in hand "away down in Dixie" to let you know that I am still alive and well. What the next few days may bring forth, however, I can't tell you. I intend to keep the ball moving as lively as possible, and have only been detained here from the fact that the Tennessee is very high and has been rising ever since we have been here, overflowing the back land and making it necessary to bridge it before we could move.—Before receiving this you will hear by telegraph of Fort Donelson being attacked.—Yesterday I went up the Tennessee River twenty odd miles, and to-day crossed over near the Cumberland River at Fort Donelson.—Our men had a little engagement with the enemy's pickets, killing five of them, wounding a number, and, expressively speaking, "gobbling up" some twenty-four more.
If I had your last letter at hand I would answer it. But I have not and therefore write you a very hasty and random letter, simply to let you know that I believe you still remember me. Whilst writing I am carrying on a conversation with my Staff and others.
Julia will be with you in a few days and possibly I may accompany her. This is barely possible, depending upon having full possession of the line from Fort Henry to Fort Donelson, and upon being able to quit for a few days without retarding any contemplated movement. This would not leave me free more than one day however.
You have no conception of the amount of labor I have to perform. An army of men all helpless, looking to the commanding officer for every supply. Your plain brother, however, has as yet no reason to feel himself unequal to the task, and fully believes that he will carry on a successful campaign against our rebel enemy. I do not speak boastfully but utter a presentiment. The scare and fright of the rebels up here is beyond conception. Twenty three miles above here some were drowned in their haste to retreat, thinking us such vandals that neither life nor property would be respected. G.J. Pillow commands at Fort Donelson. I hope to give him a tug before you receive this.
[After the fall of Fort Donelson Grant was promoted to the grade of major-general. Had this victory been immediately followed up, he believed that the entire southwest would have offered little resistance; and had there been one general who would have taken the responsibility and been in command of all the troops west of the Alleghanies, the duration of the war would have been far briefer than it was.
Corinth was the junction of the two most important railroads in the Mississippi Valley. It was the great strategic position in the West between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, and between Nashville and Vicksburg. If the Union troops obtained possession of Corinth the Confederates would have no railroad for transportation of armies or supplies until that running east from Vicksburg was reached.
The enemy was in force at Corinth, March 17th. He attacked Shiloh, April 6th, was defeated April 7th, and evacuated Corinth May 30th.
Up to this time, Grant had believed that the rebellion would suddenly collapse if a decisive victory could be gained. Donelson and Henry were such victories, but now that the Confederates had collected new armies and assumed the offensive, he gave up all idea of saving the Union except by complete conquest. Hitherto, he had protected the property of both Federal and Confederate. Now he began a new policy; he consumed everything that could be used to support armies, regarding supplies within reach of the Confederates as contraband as arms or ordnance stores. This policy, he says, exercised a material influence in hastening the end.
July 11th, Halleck is appointed to the command of all the armies, with headquarters at Washington. Grant now has his headquarters at Corinth in command of the District of West Tennessee. He is practically a department commander.]
August 3d, 1862.
Your letter of the 25th of July is just received. I do not remember receiving the letters, however, of which you speak. One came from Mary speaking of the secessionist Holt who was said to be employed in the Memphis post office. I at once wrote to General Sherman who is in command there about it and he is no doubt turned out before this.
You must not expect me to write in my own defence nor to permit it from any one about me. I know that the feeling of the troops under my command is favorable to me and so long as I continue to do my duty faithfully it will remain so. Your uneasiness about the influences surrounding the children here is unnecessary. On the contrary it is good. They are not running around camp among all sorts of people, but we are keeping house, on the property of a truly loyal secessionist who has been furnished free lodging and board at Alton, Illinois; here the children see nothing but the greatest propriety.
They will not, however, remain here long. Julia will probably pay her father a short visit and then go to Galena or Covington in time to have the children commence school in September.
I expect General Hitchcock to command the Department of the West. Have no fears of General Pope or any one junior to me being sent.
I do not expect nor want the support of the Cincinnati press on my side. Their course has been so remarkable from the beginning that should I be endorsed by them I should fear that the public would mistrust my patriotism. I am sure that I have but one desire in this war, and that is to put down the rebellion. I have no hobby of my own with regard to the negro, either to effect his freedom or to continue his bondage. If Congress pass any law and the President approves, I am willing to execute it. Laws are certainly as binding on the minority as the majority. I do not believe even in the discussion of the propriety of laws and official orders by the army. One enemy at a time is enough and when he is subdued it will be time enough to settle personal differences.
I do not want to command a department because I believe I can do better service in the field. I do not expect to be overslaughed by a junior and should feel exceedingly mortified should such a thing occur, but would keep quiet as I have ever done heretofore.
I have just received a letter from Captain Foley about this same Holt said to be in the Memphis post office. You may say that I shall refer it to General Sherman with the direction to expel him if it is not already done.
Julia and the children are well. I do not expect to remain here long but when I will go I can't say now.
[In referring to this period, Grant says that it was the most anxious time of the war when the Army of the Tennessee was guarding the territory acquired by Corinth and Memphis, and before he was sufficiently reinforced to take the offensive.
To his sister Mary.]
August 19th, 1862.
Julia and the children left here on Saturday last for St. Louis where they will remain on a visit until about the last of the month. At the end of that time they must be some place where the children can go to school.—Mrs. Hillyer has a nice house in the city and is all alone whilst her husband is on my staff, and it may be that she and Julia will keep house together. If they do she would be very much pleased to have you make her a long visit. Julia says that she is satisfied that the best place for the children is in Covington. But there are so many of them that she sometimes feels as if they were not wanted. Their visit down here in Dixie was very pleasant and they were very loth to leave. Things however began to look so threatening that I thought it was best for them to leave. I am now in a situation where it is impossible for me to do more than to protect my long lines of defence. I have the Mississippi to Memphis, the railroad from Columbus to Corinth, from Jackson to Bolivar, from Corinth to Decatur, and the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to keep open. Guerillas are hovering around in every direction, getting whipped every day some place by some of my command, but keeping us busy. The war is evidently growing oppressive to the Southern people. Their institution are beginning to have ideas of their own; every time an expedition goes out many of them follow in the wake of the army and come into camp. I am using them as teamsters, hospital attendants, company cooks and so forth, thus saving soldiers to carry the musket. I don't know what is to become of these poor people in the end, but it weakens the enemy to take them from them. If the new levies are sent in soon the rebels will have a good time getting in their crops this Fall.
I have abandoned all hope of being able to make a visit home till the close of the war. A few weeks' recreation would be very grateful however. It is one constant strain now and has been for a year. If I do get through I think I will take a few months of pure and undefiled rest. I stand it well, however, having gained some fifteen pounds in weight since leaving Cairo. Give my love to all at home.
[During the two months just past there has been much fighting between small bodies of the opposing armies.]
September 17th, 1862.
A letter from you and one from Mary were received some time ago, which I commenced to answer in a letter addressed to Mary, but being frequently interrupted by matters of business it was laid aside for some days, and finally torn up. I now have all my time taxed. Although occupying a position attracting but little attention at this time there is probably no garrison more threatened to-day than this.
I expect to hold it and have never had any other feeling either here or elsewhere but that of success. I would write you many particulars but you are so imprudent that I dare not trust you with them; and while on this subject let me say a word. I have not an enemy in the world who has done me so much injury as you in your efforts in my defence. I require no defenders and for my sake let me alone. I have heard this from various sources and persons who have returned to this Army and did not know that I had parents living near Cincinnati have said that they found the best feeling existing towards me in every place except there.
You are constantly denouncing other general officers and the inference with people naturally is that you get your impressions from me. Do nothing to correct what you have already done but for the future keep quiet on this subject.
Mary wrote to me about an appointment for Mr. Nixon. I have nothing in the world to do with any appointments, no power to make and nothing to do with recommending except for my own staff. That is now already full.
If I can do anything in the shape of lending any influence I may possess in Mr. Nixon's behalf I will be most happy to do so on the strength of what Mary says in commendation, and should be most happy if it could so be that our lot would cast us near each other.
I do not know what Julia is going to do. I want her to go to Detroit and board. She has many pleasant acquaintances there and she would find good schools for the children.
I have no time for writing and scarcely any for looking over the telegraphic columns of the newspapers.
My love to all at home.
[In late September, Grant went from Corinth to Jackson, Tennessee, "to superintend the movements of the troops to whatever point a threatened attack upon Bolivia might be made." Bolivia was then their most advanced position on the Mississippi Central Railroad. The troops from Corinth were brought up in time to repel the threatened movement without a battle.
Iuka was a town twenty miles east of Corinth. It was entered by General Price of the Confederate army on September 13th. On the 19th he was defeated by Generals Rosecrans and Ord. The battle of Corinth was won October 4th; Van Dorn was the leader of the Confederate forces, while Rosecrans commanded the Union troops. Grant was now assured as to the safety of the territory that he had won.
To his sister Mary.]
October 16th, 1862.
I received your letter by due course of mail and expected before this to have answered one of your questions in the shape of an official report; that is the one where you ask me the part I played at the battle of Iuka. When the reports of subalterns come in I will make my report which no doubt will be published and will be a full answer to your question. I had no more to do with troops under General Ord than I had with those under Rosecrans, but gave the orders to both. The plan was admirably laid for catching Price and his whole army, but owing to the nature of the ground, direction of the wind, and General Rosecrans having been so far behind where he was expected to be on the morning before the attack, it failed. In the late battles we have gained such a moral advantage over them however, with Van Dorn and Lovell added, that I do not know but it may have all been for the best.
I have written to Julia to come down here to spend a short time. It will probably be but a short time that she can stay, but so long as I remain here this will be a pleasant place for her.—If the children have not already been sent to Covington I told her to bring them with her. In the last letter I received she said she was about sending them to Covington.
I believe you have now got it all quiet on the Ohio. I hope it will soon be so every place else. It does look to me that we now have such an advantage over the rebels that there should be but little more hard fighting.
Give my love to all at home. Write often and without expecting either very prompt or very long replies.
[October 25th, Grant was placed in command of the Department of the Tennessee and headquarters were established at Oxford, Miss. Reinforcements continued to come from the North, and by November 2d, he was prepared to take the initiative. This, he said, was a great relief after two and a half months of continued defence over a large district where every citizen was an enemy. On November 3d, Grant left Jackson for the campaign against Vicksburg, which did not end until July 4, 1863.
Vicksburg was very important to the enemy on account of its position. It was the only link connecting the parts of the Confederacy separated by the Mississippi. While held by the enemy, free navigation of the river was impossible. During the winter of '62 to '63 there were exceptionally heavy rains and continuous high water on the Mississippi.
To his sister Mary.]
Dec. 15th, 1862.
Yesterday I received a letter from you and the children and one from Uncle Samuel. To day I learned by telegraph that Father is at Holly Springs, thirty miles north of here. Julia is there and as I expect the railroad to be completed to this point by to-morrow I look for them down. I shall only remain here to-morrow, or next day at farthest; so that Julia will go immediately back to Holly Springs. It is a pleasant place and she may as well stay there as elsewhere.
We are now having wet weather. I have a big army in front of me as well as bad roads. I shall probably give a good account of myself however notwithstanding all obstacles. My plans are all complete for weeks to come and I hope to have them all work out just as planned.
For a conscientious person, and I profess to be one, this is a most slavish life. I may be envied by ambitious persons, but I in turn envy the person who can transact his daily business and retire to a quiet home without a feeling of responsibility for the morrow. Taking my whole department, there are an immense number of lives staked upon my judgment and acts. I am extended now like a peninsula into an enemy's country, with a large army depending for their daily bread upon keeping open a line of railroad running one hundred and ninety miles through an enemy's country, or, at least, through territory occupied by a people terribly embittered and hostile to us. With all this I suffer the mortification of seeing myself attacked right and left by people at home professing patriotism and love of country, who never heard the whistle of a hostile bullet. I pity them and a nation dependent upon such for its existence. I am thankful however that, although such people make a great noise, the masses are not like them.
To all the other trials that I have to contend against, is added that of speculators whose patriotism is measured by dollars and cents. Country has no value with them compared with money. To elucidate this would take quires of paper. So I will reserve this for an evening's conversation, if I should be so fortunate as to again get home where I can have a day to myself.
Tell the children to learn their lessons, mind their Grandma and be good children. I should like very much to see them. To me they are all obedient and good. I may be partial but they seem to me to be children to be proud of.
Remember me to all at home,
[Walnut Hills is a little north of Vicksburg. The position of Vicksburg on high bluffs overlooking the river was inaccessible. After five months of exposure and labor Grant at last attained his preliminary object, getting his troops to the rear of the city. During this time he would not communicate his plans to the public—this movement to a point below Vicksburg from which to operate. The North was much discouraged over the situation; voluntary enlistment ceased. It was important to gain a decisive victory. In January, he assumed command himself of the expedition. The siege lasted from May 10th to July 4th. Johnston was the commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces and was east of the troops besieging Vicksburg. Pemberton was in command at Vicksburg.]
Walnut Hills, Miss.,
June 15th, 1863.
I have received several letters from Mary and yourself, but as I have to deal with nineteen-twentieths of those received, have neglected to answer them.
All I can say is that I am well. I have the enemy closely hemmed in all round. My position is naturally strong and fortified against an attack from outside. I have been so strongly reinforced that Johnston will have to come with a mighty host to drive me away.—I do not look upon the fall of Vicksburg as in the least doubtful. If, however, I could have carried the place on the 22nd of last month, I could by this time have made a campaign that would have made the State of Mississippi almost safe for a solitary horseman to ride over. As it is, the enemy have a large army in it, and the season has so far advanced that water will be difficult to find for an army marching, besides the dust and heat that must be encountered. The fall of Vicksburg now will only result in the opening of the Mississippi River and demoralization of the enemy. I intended more from it. I did my best, however, and looking back can see no blunder committed.
[After Vicksburg, Grant began a tour of observation among the important parts of his military rule. In October, 1863, the "Military Division of the Mississippi" was created and Grant given the command. This was composed of the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee. Headquarters were established at Nashville, which was the most central point from which to communicate with his entire military division. The winter was quiet, preparing for the campaign against Atlanta. He says in this letter, "I am not a candidate for any office." This refers, doubtless, to a proposal that he become a candidate for the Presidency.]
Feby. 20th, 1864.
I have received your letter and those accompanying, to wit, Mr. Newton's and I.N. Morris'. I may write to Mr. Newton but it will be different from what he expects. I am not a candidate for any office. All I want is to be left alone to fight this war out; fight all rebel opposition and restore a happy Union in the shortest possible time. You know, or ought to know, that the public prints are not the proper mediums through which to let a personal feeling pass. I know that I feel that nothing personal to myself could ever induce me to accept a political office.
From your letter you seem to have taken an active feeling, to say the least, in this matter, that I would like to talk to you about. I could write, but do not want to do so. Why not come down here and see me?
I did tell Julia to make a visit to Cincinnati, Batavia, Bethel and Georgetown.
[The rank of Lieutenant-General had been conferred upon Washington in 1798 when our relations with France appeared threatening. In 1852, it had been conferred upon General Scott, by brevet, as a recognition of his great services in the Mexican War. The full rank was revived February 26, 1864, for Grant, who received his commission March 3d. After Grant this rank was held by Sherman and also Sheridan, by promotion; since then the title has not been revived. By this rank Grant was authorized to command all the armies of the United States. Mr. Washburne, who introduced the bill into Congress for restoration of the grade of Lieutenant-General, said that Grant wrote to him that he did not ask or deserve anything more in the shape of honors or promotion; that he only desired to hold such an influence over those under his command as to use them to the best advantage to secure a decisive victory.
Grant's new policy was now to secure co-operative movements of all the armies East and West—these had heretofore worked independently—and to have a continuous and concentrated action against the chief armies of the enemy. His first work was to reorganize the Army of the Potomac, which in April began the campaign against Lee and Richmond. He accompanied the army in person, having movable headquarters in the field. From March to May his headquarters were at Culpeper Court-House, Va. It was shortly after leaving these headquarters that he wrote from the field, May 11, 1864, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."]
The Editor desires to make correction of an error in the reference on page 102 to the rank of Lieutenant-General. The statement should of course read that the rank of General was conferred upon Washington ... and had later been held by Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan. The rank of Lieutenant-General has been held not only by Washington, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, but also by Schofield, Miles, Young, Chaffee, Bates, and MacArthur.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
Culpeper C.H., Va.,
Apl. 16th, 1864.
Your letter enclosing one from young Walker asking for duty on my staff during his suspension is received. It is the third letter from him on the same subject. Of course I cannot gratify him. It would not be proper. It would be changing punishment into reward.
Julia will start West in a few days and will stop at Covington on her way. She will remain at the house I purchased from Judge Dent until such time as she can join me more permanently. It is her particular desire to have Jennie go to St. Louis with her to spend the summer. I hope she can and will go.
It has rained here almost every day since my arrival. It is still raining. Of course I say nothing of when the army moves or how or where. I am in most excellent health and well pleased with appearances here. My love to all at home.
[City Point was an important strategic point on the James where this river is joined by the Appomattox. Here General Grant had headquarters until the end of the campaign against Lee. The campaign against Atlanta under General Sherman lasted from May 6th to September 2d, 1864, when the city was evacuated by Hood. The loss of Atlanta was a severe blow to the South.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
City Point, Va.,
Sept. 5th, 1864.
Your last letter is just received. Before you receive this it is probable Beverly Simpson will be in service if he comes in at all. If he does enlist, however, after you receive this tell him to ask to be assigned to a regiment now with the Army of the Potomac. If he is already in service have him write to me and I will assign him to some duty either with me or where it will be equally pleasant for him.
Your theory about delays, either with Sherman or myself, was not correct. Our movements were co-operative but after starting each one has done all that he felt himself able to do. The country has been deceived about the size of our armies and also as to the number of the enemy. We have been contending against forces nearly equal to our own, moreover always on the defensive and strongly intrenched.—Richmond will fall as Atlanta has done and the rebellion will be suppressed in spite of rebel resistance and Northern countenance and support.
Julia and children are in Philadelphia. If I can get a house there, I will make that my home. Julia is very desirous that Jennie should make her home with us if she will, and if she will not do that, at least spend the fall and winter with us.
[Clara was the oldest sister.
The prophecy as to the end of the war proved true. Petersburg and Richmond were both captured April 3d. Lee surrendered April 9th. By the end of May all the rebel armies had surrendered and the Civil War was over.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
City Point, Va.,
March 19th, 1865.
I received your two letters announcing the death of Clara. Although I had known for some time that she was in a decline, yet I was not expecting to bear of her death at this time.—I have had no heart to write earlier. Your last letter made me feel very bad. I will not state the reason and hope I may be wrong in my judgment of its meaning.
We are now having fine weather and I think will be able to wind up matters about Richmond soon. I am anxious to have Lee hold on where he is a short time longer so that I can get him in a position where he must lose a great portion of his army. The rebellion has lost its vitality and if I am not much mistaken there will be no rebel army of any great dimensions in a few weeks hence. Any great catastrophe to any one of our armies would of course revive the enemy for a short time. But I expect no such thing to happen.
I do not know what I can do either for Will. Griffith's son or for Belville Simpson. I sent orders last fall for John Simpson to come to these Head-Quarters to run between here and Washington as a mail messenger, but he has not come. I hope this service to end now soon.
I am in excellent health but would enjoy a little respite from duty wonderfully. I hope it will come soon.
My kindest regards to all at home. I shall expect to make you a visit the coming summer.
[On the 7th of January, 1865, a number of the principal citizens of Philadelphia presented General Grant with a house.]
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
May 6th, 1865.
I have ordered a sixty days' furlough for Samuel A. He can be discharged at any time after his return home. It will take probably three weeks for my directions to reach him and for him to return.
I have just returned from Philadelphia leaving Mr. Cramer there. He can describe our new house to you when he returns. My health is good but I find so much to do that I can scarcely keep up with public business, let alone answering all the private letters I receive. My going to Philadelphia and spending half my time there as I hope to do, will give me some leisure. I attend to public business there by telegraph and avoid numerous calls taking up much time, or hope to do so.
My kind regards to all at home. I hope to hear of Mother's entire recovery soon.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES
Feby. 10th, 1868.
The memorandums you left with me relative to bounty due two needy persons in Covington I attended to soon after you left here. The answer of the Paymaster General was that under no circumstances could he take up claims for bounty out of turn; therefore, it was not satisfactory to you. I neglected to answer at the time and the matter escaped my memory until now.
I spoke to Secretary McCulloch about giving Mrs. Porter a clerkship in the Treasury and he promised me he would do it, but has not yet. Now, I fancy, I would not have much influence, and if I had, would be very careful about using it.
The family are well and send much love to Mother, Jennie and yourself.
[March 4, 1869, General Grant was inaugurated President of the United States.
Written to his sister Virginia, Mrs. A.R. Corbin.]
Long Branch, N.J.,
Aug. 21st, 1870.
By arrangement of a year's standing Julia and I go to Newport on Tuesday morning next, to be gone there, and at West Point, one week.
But for that we would visit you and Mother this week. I shall go next week however and if Julia is not too much fatigued, or too lazy, with her travelling will take her along. You know I never give any one credit with being fatigued; I always attribute the feeling to another cause.—I hope you are all well. Give my kindest regards to Mother and Mr. Corbin.
[Written to his sister Mary, Mrs. M.J. Cramer. Dr. Cramer was then United States Minister to Denmark.]
Oct. 26th, 1871.
I have been intending to write you for some time; but the moment I get into my office in the morning it is overwhelmed with visitors, and continues so throughout the day. I now write of a rainy evening, after having read the New York papers.—Jennie is with us, has been for some days. Mr. Corbin also has been with us for a few days but left to-day. Jennie will remain until she becomes homesick which I hope will not be soon.
I received your letter in which you gave me an extract from Mr. Wolff's. I had no recollection or knowledge of the matter whatever. The fact is I am followed wherever I go,—at Long Branch as well as here. I sometimes shake off callers, not knowing their business, whom I would be delighted to see. In the case of Mr. Wolff, however, I do not think that I ever knew that he had called. For the first time in my life I had arranged to go fishing at sea. To do so it was necessary to engage fishermen, with boat, beforehand. General Porter did not know that I had made the arrangement, and probably was not at my house when I returned from riding the evening after Mr. W. called. You will see the explanation. I will write it to Mr. Wolff.
Fred. after graduating at West Point accepted a position as assistant civil engineer, and gave up a good portion of his furlough to go to work at his new profession. He has been in the Rocky Mountains since August surveying, in pursuit of his new profession, but with leave of absence as an army officer. But little or nothing can be done in the winter by him, and I have therefore got him a leave of absence from his engineer duties to accompany General Sherman abroad, until the latter part of April. I expect him to sail about the middle of next month. General Sherman goes on the flag-ship of the European Squadron which will land at some of the Atlantic ports, then proceed to the Mediterranean touching at points during the early winter on both sides of the sea, and in the spring, probably in time to attend the Carnival in Rome, will leave the ship and work across the Continent, in time to be home at the time I have indicated. I will instruct Fred. to run up to Copenhagen from a convenient point and spend a few days with you. You will find him a well-grown and much improved boy. He is about the height brother Simpson was and well developed physically. You will be pleased with him I know.
During the Harvard vacation, next year, I intend that Buck and Jesse shall go to Europe also. It may be that in the short time they will have to remain abroad they may not be able to get up to see you, but I know they will be pleased to do so, and may spare time for that purpose.
I do not know but that I owe Mr. Cramer an apology for not answering his letters. All have been received and I have been gratified with them. But besides being a little negligent I am so constantly pressed that it is almost impossible for me to get any time to devote to private correspondence.
All send our kindest regards to Mr. Cramer, and love to you and the children.
P.S. I shall always be delighted to receive letters from you and Mr. Cramer whether I answer them or not.
June 2nd, 1872.
Hearing from home frequently as I do through persons coming from there and through occasional letters, I scarcely ever think of writing. Hereafter, however, I will try to write oftener or have Jesse write. The children might all write to you for that matter. We hear occasionally from Fred. directly and very often through the papers. He has enjoyed his European trip very much and I think will be much improved by it. Nellie writes very often; she is a very much better writer than either of the boys. Her composition is easy and fluent, and she writes very correctly. She seems to have made a very good impression where she has been.—Buck sails for Europe on the 6th of July. He will travel but little however. He expects to study his third year Harvard course in some quiet German village, and return in June next in time for his examinations. In this way he expects to graduate at the same time he would if he did not go abroad. The object is to acquire a speaking knowledge of both the German and French languages, in both of which he is now quite a good scholar.
I received a letter from Mary a short time since. She said that she would leave for home about the first of June. You may expect her home by the twentieth no doubt.
Julia and Jesse are well and send much love to you and Mother.
JESSE R. GRANT, ESQ.,
[To Mrs. A.R. Corbin.]
Long Branch, N.J.,
June 13th, 1872.
We got here Tuesday evening and are now pretty well settled. Can we not expect Mr. Corbin, you, Mary and two children down to spend a few days with us as soon as the latter arrives? If Mary does not come now, it is not probable that she will get East again this summer. You can see just as much of her here as you could at your own house; so I think the best arrangement will be for you to come immediately here and all spend the time together at the Branch. I will go up to meet you in the harbor if informed in time.
P.S. I learned from a letter from St. Petersburg that Fred. hurried off to Copenhagen to meet Mary before she left, which was to be the 1st day of June. I infer from this that she should be here in two or three days from now.
[To his brother-in-law, Mr. A.R. Corbin. "Nellie" is Mrs. Sartoris. Mr. Borie is Secretary of the Navy.]
Oct. 16th, 1872.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Your letter of the 14th is just received. Mrs. Grant and I go on to New York City on Monday night to meet Nellie and bring her home. It is not probable that the vessel in which she sailed will reach New York City before Tuesday morning, so that we will be in the city from Monday morning until Tuesday night. If Jennie were at home I do not know but we might go as far as Elizabeth on Saturday and remain over Sunday.—I am much obliged to you for the offer of your kind offices. Probably it will be pleasant for you to meet us on Tuesday on the vessel that brings Mr. Borie and party home. What arrangement will be made I do not know; but in all probability a revenue cutter will be put at my service and I will be allowed to meet the vessel in the harbor below the city. In that case I would be glad of your company down the bay.
My family are all very well.
[To his sister, Mrs. Cramer. March 4, 1873, Grant began his second term as President.]
Long Branch, N.J.,
Sept. 9th, 1873.
On Monday next I start to take Jesse to school, and then for Pittsburgh to attend the meeting of the "Society of the Army of the Cumberland." I will be back about the last of the week. I would like you to make your visit while I am at home, and want mother to come with you, as well as Jennie and Mr. Corbin. If you have made no arrangements to start earlier suppose you come say on Saturday week and bring the children with you.
I am just in receipt of a letter from Mr. Corbin, and one from Mr. Clark, asking me to attend the Fair next week. Please say to Mr. Corbin, and Mr. Clark too if you see him, that I had an invitation from Senator Frelinghuysen to stay with him during the Fair which I had to decline because I shall be absent during the week. The Army of the Cumberland was the one commanded by General Thomas. They have their reunions annually, to all of which I have been invited, but it has so happened heretofore that I could not attend one of them. As I have attended one or other of the Army Society meetings almost every year, I feel it a duty to attend this one now and have informed them that I will be present.
My kindest regards to all.
MRS. MARY G. CRAMER.
[To his brother-in-law, Mr. A.R. Corbin, of Elizabeth, N.J. Mr. Dent was Mrs. Grant's father.]
Dec. 16th, 1873.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
As I telegraphed you Mr. Dent breathed his last at 11.45 last night. There was nothing during the day or evening to indicate his near approach to death more than there has been almost every day for the last five months. Indeed, and I believe for the first time since our return from Long Branch, he had himself partially dressed yesterday, ate a hearty breakfast, sitting up, and smoked his cigar with apparent relish. In the evening Mrs. Grant, Fred. and I were out until after 11 P.M., perfectly unconscious that his end was near. On our return we found his attending physician with him, and he, Mr. Dent, apparently in a quiet slumber. Not many minutes after he ceased to breathe and life was gone without a struggle or movement of a limb or muscle. It was a clear case of life worn out purely by time,—no disease, care or anxiety hastening dissolution.
On Thursday there will be funeral service at the house, by Dr. Tiffany, and at 11.30 his remains will leave the B. & P. Depot for St. Louis. The funeral there will be on Saturday next; and Mrs. Dent's remains will be brought up from the farm at the same time, and the two interred in Mr. Dent's lot in Bellefontaine. Dr. Sharp, Mr. Casey, Gen. Dent, Fred. Grant and myself, will accompany them.
During all the time Mr. Dent has been confined to his room, and at all times before when he was in the least unwell since we have been in the White House—Dr. Bazil Norris of the army has been most attentive. I feel disposed to recognize my appreciation of his attention in some way, and have thought if I could get about such a watch as was made for me at the establishment near Jersey City I would get that. If it is not asking too much of you to enquire I would like you to do so. If it can be got before Christmas you might order it at once, with the Doctor's monogram—from his friend U.S. Grant—. If it cannot be had by that time I would not order it until further directed.
My children will all be at home by Thursday, unless it may be Bucky. The family are well, or as well as could be expected.—We would be very glad to see you here on Thursday, as an old friend of Mr. Dent, but do not ask that you should undergo the fatigue of the trip unless you feel well enough to do so.
Very truly yours,
Nov. 14th, '76.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Jennie's and your letter is just received. I shall not be in New York, nor away from Washington, until after the meeting of Congress. But I will gladly give you the hour or two you speak of if you come to Washington. If you and Jennie could come this week we could make a spare room without inconvenience. Mrs. Smith—of Washington, Pa., with her two children—are with us, but they can be put in the room with their mother.
The alarm about the removal of Holden as Collector of Internal Revenue for the Covington district is premature. There was a raid made upon him by a person in whom I take no stoc,, and a statement made in regard to him which I said—if proved true—would mean that he must go out. But I think that rumor was entirely dispelled.
My Message is not "blocked out," nor scarcely thought of. So many other exciting matters preoccupy my time and thoughts that I do not bother myself about the other. I shall trust to the inspiration of the moment for what I shall say. Will be brief, but to the point if I can.
[Grant's second term of office expired March, 1877.]
Dec. 13th, '76.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
I wish you and Jennie would come down and make us a visit. We now have room, and will have until Fred. returns with his family, which will probably be a few days before Christmas.—Sometime before my term of office expires I want Mother to make me a visit. If she would like to come down during the holidays we could make room by sending one of the boys out o' nights. The children will all be at home during that week; possibly the last time we will have them all at home together. At all events it may be the last opportunity mother may have of seeing them together.
I received your kind letter of the 11th this A.M. This year, owing to election excitement, department reports only came in a few days before the meeting of Congress. When they did come the situation in South Carolina was so critical that dispatches were coming to me, or to members of my cabinet, and brought from them to me in such rapid succession that I do not think I had one single half hour without interruption all the time I was preparing my message. I am sure I did not have four hours in its preparation all told, exclusive of the time consumed in reading the departmental reports. I left out necessarily topics I should liked to have talked about, but would not mention without being sure I was right.
My love to all.
[General and Mrs. Grant spent the next two years in a tour around the world.]
April 12th, 1877.
DEAR MR. CORBIN:
To-morrow evening Mrs. Grant and I start for Washington, Pa., where we will spend a few days, then go to Harrisburgh, Washington, D.C., and toward the last of the month get around to Elizabeth to spend a few days with you before taking our departure for Europe. We have not entirely decided whether to take the American line from Philadelphia or the Inman line from New York City. Both have tendered pressing invitations, and both present good accommodations. If we take the former we will sail on the 9th or 16th of May, if the latter on the 19th.
We had a very pleasant trip West but a little hurried. There is much complaint of dull times but really appearances do not justify it. Kindest regards of Mrs. Grant and myself to Mother and Jennie.
August 13th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Before leaving England I had accepted invitations to visit cities and country houses in Scotland—and places in England not yet visited by me—to take up all the month of September and part of October. I thought there was time for me to visit this interesting country and to make a run through Denmark, Sweden and Norway and get back to Scotland in time to keep my engagements. But I have found so much of interest here, and the modes of conveyance so slow in reaching the points of greatest interest, that it is already too late to go even to Denmark, leaving out Norway and Sweden. Already we have spent eight actual days in carriages in getting from point to point, exclusive of other modes of travel. We have visited most of the lakes and crossed the principal passes in Switzerland and Northern Italy. It has all been exceedingly interesting to me, the greatest regret being that I had not more time.
I intend yet to visit Denmark, and the countries north of it, but whether this fall or next season is not yet determined. Probably about next June. I am sorry not to be able to see Mary before she returns to America. I do not expect to return there before next July a year, and possibly not so early.
All send love to Mary and the children with kindest regards for yourself.
DR. M.J. CRAMER,
United States Minister,
Aug. 26, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
We arrived here from the Continent yesterday, and found awaiting us your very acceptable letter. On Wednesday we start again to visit Scotland where I have had many invitations from both corporations and from private gentlemen. We will take about three weeks for this trip, after which we will visit some portions of England not yet visited, and Nellie at her home, and get to Paris the latter part of October. The papers no doubt will keep you advised of our movements in advance of anything I could write to go by mail. Our visit has been most agreeable in every particular. People everywhere, both travellers and residents, did all they could to make everything pleasant for us. How long we will remain abroad is not yet determined, but I think for two years yet if the means to do so hold out.
During my visit to the Continent I saw but few American papers so that I am now somewhat behind in information as to what has been going on in the United States. All the foreign papers however have been full of the great strike which has taken place on our roads. It must have been serious but probably not so serious as it seemed at a distance. My judgment is that it should have been put down with a strong hand and so summarily as to prevent a like occurrence for a generation.
We have made a short visit to Nellie at her home. She lives in a delightful part of the country.
All join me in love to Mother and Jennie as well as yourself. I will be glad to hear from you as often as you may feel like writing.
We met Mrs. Clark and Roberts in Switzerland. It was like being back home to meet old acquaintances. Except Senator Conkling and some of our Government officials they are the only Americans I have met that I felt I knew very well. Please remember me to Senator Frelinghuysen and such other friends as you meet.
A.R. CORBIN, ESQ.,
5 PLACE VENDÔME.
Oct. 25th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Our trip has been a most agreeable one though the time seems long. I can scarcely realize that but little more than five months have passed since we sailed from Philadelphia. But we have received nothing but kindness wherever we have been. In England, as you may have seen, our reception has been as enthusiastic as anything in the States directly after the war. We are now in Paris for the first time. As yet I have seen but little of it, though enough to know that it is a most beautiful city. We shall probably remain here over a month, and then make a trip through Spain and Portugal, and up the Mediterranean, in a naval vessel, stopping at all points of interest on both sides. Mrs. Grant finds she has brought too much baggage with her and proposes to send two or three trunks back, clothing brought from the States, and wants to send them either to Jennie or Mrs. Sharp to keep until our return. If they are sent to you I will advise you when they are shipped.
We were disappointed in not getting to Copenhagen while Mary was there. But Switzerland was so agreeable, and there were so many points of interest to visit that I found it impossible to get there and return to Scotland at the time I had promised. It is now very doubtful whether we will not have to abandon the idea of going there altogether. That will depend however upon whether we remain over another year. This winter we propose to go up the Nile, and may keep on east and return by San Francisco. But if we return we will stop in Italy until the weather begins to get warm in the Spring and then go north through Austria, North Germany, Russia, Sweden, Norway and back by Denmark and Holland, spend the latter part of the summer again in Switzerland, and go east the following winter. Jesse will hardly go with us unless we go through this winter. He does not wish to leave another year before beginning the battle of life.
Give Mrs. Grant's, Jesse's and my love to Mother and Jennie, and Mary if she is with you.
I keep very little track of political matters at home, knowing from experience the trouble a "new hand at the bellows" has. I hope all will be smooth and satisfactory before my return. I have not yet experienced any discomfort from lack of employment after sixteen years of continuous care and responsibilities. I may however feel it when I once settle down, though I think not.
Very truly yours,
P.S. Direct letters to the care of Drexel, Harjes, & Co., Bankers, Paris, France.
Nov. 27th, '77.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
I am just in receipt of your letter of the 21st inst. enclosing one from the Portuguese Minister to Denmark recounting the cause of his brother-in-law's removal from the diplomatic service. I know Baron de S——, and the Baroness very well and esteem them very highly. There was never any difficulty with him and the State Department, or with any official at Washington that I have any recollection of. I am very sure that no cause of complaint could have existed on our part without my knowing it. It would afford me the greatest pleasure to meet the Baron and his wife during my European tour, but I fear I shall not be able to do so. My trip through Spain and Portugal has been put off, or at least postponed, for this year. On Saturday we leave here for the South of France, from there to take a naval vessel to visit all points of interest on the Mediterranean. We shall probably go up the Nile, and spend the winter in a warm climate, to be ready for our northern tour in the spring. It is barely possible that when we return from up the Nile we may go on East, through China and Japan to San Francisco. But this is not probable for another year. This will probably be the last opportunity I shall ever have of visiting Europe, and there is much to see that I have not seen, and cannot see this winter.
I hear from home occasionally, but not as often, probably, as you do. All were well by the last advices received two days ago from Orville.
Please assure your colleague that I have no recollection of other than the most pleasant relations between U.S. officials and the Baron de S.
With kind regards of Mrs. Grant, Jesse and myself, I am,
Jan'y 13th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
I am in receipt of your letter of December '77 at this remote, but historically interesting quarter of the globe. We have been in Cairo since last Tuesday. This is Sunday. I have seen the city very thoroughly; visited the pyramids; the Virgin Mary's tree where she took shelter some twenty centuries ago; the spring which became sweet from being saline, on her quenching her thirst from it, and which remains sweet to this day,—while I was there water was being pumped from it, by ox power, with a revolving wheel, to irrigate the neighboring ground—; Heliopolis, the great seat of learning in the days of Moses, and where he was taught, and where the father-in-law of Joseph was a teacher. The tree and the well are at Heliopolis, about six miles from here.
On Tuesday we start up the Nile on a special steamer provided by the Khedive. We expect to go as far as to the first rapids stopping at all the points of interest on the way. This will probably take three weeks. On our return we expect to go to Suez, thence by Canal to Port Said, and then take our steamer again. From Port Said we will go to Joppa and out to Jerusalem. Returning to Joppa we will go to Beirout, and out to Damascus—possibly diverging to visit Baalbec, thence to Smyrna from which we will visit Ephesus, thence to Constantinople. Returning we will stop a few days at Athens, thence to old Syracuse on the island of Sicily, then to some convenient point on the Italian coast from which to reach Rome. We will remain in Rome for several weeks. Should you write me any time within six weeks from this directed to the care of our Minister at Rome, the letter will reach me.
Altogether we have had a most pleasant visit. Our return to America during this year depends somewhat on circumstances, principally the means to stay away longer. It is likely this will be the last opportunity I shall ever have of travelling abroad and I am desirous of making the most of the pleasant opportunity.—Give our love to Mother, Jennie and Mary, and accept my thanks for your kind offers.
Very truly yours,
March 5th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
On my arrival here I found your letter inquiring especially about the time I expect to be in Copenhagen. My plan is to be in Sweden by the middle of June, and after visiting that country and Norway, to return by way of Copenhagen. It is not likely that I shall be there before the fifth to the tenth of July, and it may be that I shall like the northern country so well that my visit to Copenhagen will be postponed even a month longer.
We have had a delightful winter. Over a month was spent in Egypt, visiting the old ruins of that country under the most favorable circumstances. Leaving Cairo we visited Suez and passed through the Suez Canal to Port Said. From the latter place we went to Joppa and out to Jerusalem. Since then we visited Smyrna and Ephesus and are now here. The Russians are outside of the city but do not come in. A stranger would not detect from appearances that an enemy was so near. In fact I think the Turks now regard the Russians as about the only people in Europe from whom they can expect anything.
When you write home give my love to Mother, Mary and children, and Jennie.
I will inform you later, when I know definitely, about the time to expect me in Copenhagen.
Very truly yours,
March 29th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CORBIN:
Mr. Young, of the New York Herald, has been with us from the time we went on shipboard until we arrived here. His letters published in the papers are all good, and save me writing descriptive letters. Presuming that you have read them I will say nothing further than that my winter travels, in the Mediterranean, on the Nile, and in the Levant generally have been the pleasantest of my life. I should enjoy doing it over again next winter. We have been in Rome eight days. It is a city of great interest. But one should visit it before making the Nile trip. Here you see modern and comparatively insignificant ruins, not dating back many centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. On the Nile one sees grand ruins, with the inscriptions as plain and distinct as when they were first made, that antedate Moses by many centuries.
It was our plan on leaving Suez to go to Florence, Venice, Vienna, Berlin, Dresden, St. Petersburgh, through Sweden, Norway, back to Denmark, through Holland to Paris, reaching the latter place about the middle of July, and to spend six or eight weeks there to see the Exposition and the people that will fill the city. I think now I will change my plan and go from Venice, by easy stages, to Paris, reaching there early in May, and make my visit while the weather is pleasant. I will then go north in the summer, taking Holland first, Denmark next, and Sweden and Norway in August. I fear from present indications that Mr. Cramer and Mary will not be there.
It looks to me that unless the North rallies by 1880 the Government will be in the hands of those who tried so hard fourteen—seventeen—years ago to destroy it. B—— is evidently paving a way for re-organizing an army favorable to such a change.
I think now we will not return to the States until about a year from May. I have no idea where we will live on our return, and if we should go back in the fall we would have to determine the question without delay. We can go back in May and occupy our Long Branch house and have all summer to prepare for the winter.
I was getting some little mosaics—specialties of Rome—to-day and I bought, among other things, what I think a very pretty pin and earrings for Jennie. I have also got bracelets for Clara Cramer and Jennie Grant. If I see an opportunity of sending them home before going myself I will send them. I have written to Buck to come over and spend his vacation with us. I can send them with him.
Give our love to Mother, Jennie, Mary and the children.
Yours very truly,
P.S. It is very kind in Mr. Clark, and the gentlemen associated with him, to send the message you convey from them; but they must recollect that I had the harness on for sixteen years and feel no inclination to wear it again. I sincerely hope that the North will so thoroughly rally by next election as to bury the last remnant of secession proclivities, and put in the Executive chair a firm and steady hand, free from Utopian ideas purifying the party electing him out of existence.
Hotel Liverpool, Paris,
May 25th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
I am now for the first time able to fix approximately the time of my visit to Copenhagen. We shall leave here on Saturday, three weeks from to-day, or on the following Tuesday. We shall stop at The Hague three or four days. Jesse leaves for home so as to take the steamer of the fourth of June from Liverpool. Our party therefore will consist only of Mrs. Grant with her maid and myself. If your arrangements are made to be away from Copenhagen at the time mentioned above, I beg that you will not change your plans. Should you be there, we shall probably remain over about one week. Should you be away, we shall stop only a couple of days.
I have not heard directly from Elizabeth for some time; it is probably my own fault, for Mr. Corbin is very prompt in answering every letter; but Bucky writes regularly every week from New York, so I hear indirectly. When you write home give my love to all of them at Elizabeth.
Very truly yours,
P.S. I go from Copenhagen directly to Stockholm. I am not personally acquainted with our present Minister there, though I once appointed him to a South American Mission.
June 3d, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Your letter of the 31st of May is just received. I should have written to you within a day or two to inform you of a slight change of plan, which will bring me into Copenhagen from ten days to two weeks later than I wrote you I should be there, even if I had not received your letter. To save retracing my steps, as I should be obliged to do by the routes laid out in my last letter, I now intend to go from The Hague to Berlin and visit a few of the German cities before going to Denmark. From Copenhagen I shall go by water to Norway, thence to Sweden, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and to Vienna.
I shall be very glad indeed to see Mary and the children and hope they may be back by the time I reach Copenhagen, about from the fifth to the tenth of July.
Jesse sails from Liverpool to-morrow for home. He has been very homesick for some time.
With best regards of Mrs. Grant and myself, I am,
June 25th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Mrs. Grant and I are now here on our way to the German capital. We shall probably remain in Berlin until Monday, the first of July. We shall stop over by the way from Berlin to Copenhagen, particularly at Hamburg, so as to reach Copenhagen about the fifth of July. If you will drop me a line to the Kissenhof Hotel, Berlin, to let me know if Mary will be home at the time designated I shall be obliged. If she is not to be at home I may change my plan and go direct to Sweden, thence to Norway, and return thence by Denmark.
Mrs. Grant and I are both well and send much love to Mary and the children.
Very truly yours,
Dec. 10th, '78.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
Since leaving Copenhagen Mrs. Grant and I have visited every capital in Europe not previously visited by us.
I can say with great earnestness that no part of our journeyings gave us more pleasure than that through the Scandinavian countries, and no public have impressed me more favorably. If I were going to remain over another year I should go back to Norway at least and far enough north to see the midnight sun. But we expect to leave Paris about the middle of January, to return to the States by the way of India, China, and Japan. The Secretary of the Navy has been kind enough to invite us to go on a man-of-war which leaves the United States to-day for the Chinese squadron, via the Mediterranean and Suez. I first declined but since cabled my acceptance. This will probably bring us around home about next October or November.
I am sorry to say that I do not get favorable news from Orvil. He does not seem to improve.
Julia joins me in love to Mary and the children and in kindest regards to yourself.
I hope you did not forward the stones presented by the Consul.—Julia says to tell Mary that she got a very rich fur cloak in Paris and hopes she got one also. Is there anything we can do for you in Paris?
Very truly yours,
March 20th, '79.
MY DEAR MR. CRAMER:
We have now been very well through India and are this far on our way to the farther East. The weather has been pleasant until within the last few days. But now it is becoming very warm, and as we have yet to go through the Straits of Malacca near the equator before turning north, we must expect some discomfort. I have been very much pleased with English rule and English hospitality in India. With that rule two hundred and fifty millions of uncivilized people are living at peace with each other, and are not only drawing their subsistence from the soil but are exporting a large excess over imports from it. It would be a sad day for the people of India and for the commerce of the world if the English should withdraw. We hope to be in Hong Kong by the middle of April, and farther north in China as soon thereafter as possible. When a good climate is reached we shall regulate our further movements by the reports of weather on seas to be traversed, and climate of places to be visited. At present, however, we expect to reach San Francisco about the first half of July. Although homesick to be settled down I dread getting back. The clamor of the partisan and so-called independent press win be such as to make life there unpleasant for a time.
Mrs. Grant joins me in love to you, Mary, and the children.
I have to-day written a letter to Mr. Corbin.
Very truly yours,
P.S. Julia asks me to add, to tell Mary that the English speak in the highest terms of the work being done all through this country by the missionaries, especially in an educational way. They say they are doing much good.
[To his niece, Clara Cramer.]
New York City,
Sept. 27th, 1883.
MY DEAR CLARA:
On my return from the trip over the North Pacific Railroad to the Pacific Coast last Friday, I found your excellent and welcome letter, with enclosures. Your aunt was very much pleased with your letter and poetry as well as with your essay. They all do you great credit, and I think you can well sustain yourself as a writer with any young lady of your age in this or any other land.
My trip over the northern route to the Pacific about completes my personal observation of every part of our country. I was not prepared to see so rich a country or one so rapidly developing. Across the continent where but a few years ago the Indian held undisputed sway, there is now a continuous settlement, and every ten or fifteen miles a town or city, each with spires of the school house and the church. The soil for almost the entire distance is as fertile as that of Illinois. I saw your Aunt Jennie yesterday. She is quite well. All my family are well and join in love to you. I think neither your Aunt nor I will ever visit Europe again. We may, however, change our minds. But we are getting a little too old to enjoy travelling, and then we have such pleasant homes for both summer and winter.
Love to your father and mother.
3 East 66th Street,
June 10th, '84.
Your letter, with one from your Aunt Jennie, reached me a few days since. I regret that I have not more cheerful news to write you than I have. Financially the Grant family is ruined for the present, and by the most stupendous frauds ever perpetrated. But your Aunt Jennie must not fret over it. I still have a home and as long as I live she shall enjoy it as a matter of right; at least until she recovers what she has lost. Fred is young, active, honest, and intelligent, and will work with a vim to recuperate his losses. Of course his first effort will be to repay his aunts.—We go to Long Branch this week. We expected to live with Fred this summer in Morristown, N.J. But failing to rent our cottage we will occupy it and Fred will live with us and rent his if he can.
All send love to you, your father and mother and Aunt Jennie.
[To Mrs. Cramer. General Grant was then writing his Memoirs. Dr. Cramer was United States Minister to Switzerland from 1881 to 1885. Simpson is U.S. Grant, son of Orvil Grant. Reference is made to the customary resignation of diplomatic officials of the party opposed to the incoming political party. Cleveland became President in 1885.]
New York City,
Jan'y 13th, 1885.
I am just in receipt of Jennie's letter of the 2nd of January. I am busy on my book which Fred is copying for the press. I hope to have it ready for the press by May next. But I may fail in this on account of weakness. My mouth has been very sore, but not so bad I think as the papers have made out. But it has been bad enough. The rest of the family are all well.
My advice is that Mr. Cramer does not resign until he is asked to. Simpson I do not suppose will be disturbed in his position. He is very competent, and the soul of honor, both qualities wanted in the Sub-treasury.
All send love.
PROCLAMATION TO THE CITIZENS OF PADUCAH!
I have come among you, not as an enemy, but as your friend and fellow-citizen, not to injure or annoy you, but to respect the rights, and to defend and enforce the rights of all loyal citizens. An enemy, in rebellion against our common Government, has taken possession of, and planted its guns upon the soil of Kentucky and fired upon our flag. Hickman and Columbus are in his hands. He is moving upon your city. I am here to defend you against this enemy and to assert and maintain the authority and sovereignty of your Government and mine. I have nothing to do with opinions. I shall deal only with armed rebellion and its aiders and abettors.
You can pursue your usual avocations without fear or hindrance. The strong arm of the Government is here to protect its friends, and to punish only its enemies. Whenever it is manifest that you are able to defend yourselves, to maintain the authority of your Government, and protect the rights of all its loyal citizens, I shall withdraw the forces under my command from your city.
Brig-Gen. U.S.A., Commanding.
PADUCAH, Sept. 6th, 1861.
[The following letter is from the secretary of General Grant's aunt, the Aunt Rachel referred to on page twenty-seven. It is included in this volume as a historical curiosity.]
Chestnut Hill, Va.,
June 5th, 1861.
I have not often written to "incog." correspondents, nor should I have the presumption now to address you, unknown to me (unless by reputation), but that peculiar circumstances have so combined as to induce the experiment. Your Aunt, Mrs. Tompkins, has been prostrated by illness for many days, and, for a while, closely confined to her couch; thus rendering it at least inconvenient to respond to your elaborate epistle, and, having permitted me the pleasure (?) of its perusal, she requested me to act as her Amanuensis. In compliance, then, with her desire I shall proceed "ex abrupto" to discuss the various points you have presented; hoping you will pardon whatever of presumption there attaches to me in taking up a gauntlet thrown not directly at my own feet.
First, then, you deplore the deep distress that pervades our land, in anticipation of a conflict such as the civilized world never witnessed, and even the annals of barbarous history scarce recd; together with the inevitable consequence, that, our once (though many years ago) happy Union must be for ever dissolved. Viewing it from our standpoint I unite my voice of lamentation with yours; for it seems truly a mournful sight to behold, spread out to the gaze of the world, the history of a nation's folly, written in letters of blood. But I look at the brighter side of this distorted photograph. With the eye of faith at least I can discern the hand of Providence shifting the scenes. This may seem strange, that a partition wall should be erected in the Temple of Liberty, once an asylum for an oppressed world. That the "Stars and Stripes"—the (once) badge of freedom, gracing the bosom of every sea—should be riddled from its staff and another substituted in its stead. Not less strange, however, did thousands of good Englishmen deem it, to behold the proud "British Lion" quail before his foe of "the wilderness," and the "Magna Charta" rent in twain. We must look upon it then as an exercise of God's retributive justice for our Sins as a people, or, that He designs that He shall ultimately be the more glorified by the separation. In the former case of course I take it that the North will receive the awful visitation, for although offences must needs come, yet, woe be unto him through whom they come! In the latter condition the South is destined to become what (& indeed far more than) the whole America once was to the world. This Government was far too large to prosper well for many years; or at least compd to England (prosper), France and Spain, & Russia itself; but especially should we be divided into 2 great gov's since we have virtually been so, as to our domestic institutions, and many of our social customs, for many, many years. It is true we did exist many years also in commercial and social prosperity, & might have continued to maintain such a happy condition had not the "green-eyed monster, jealousy, reared his horrid front." Yes, it was in great part jealousy. You yourself have admitted (& rightly) that our great Ancestors were wiser than we. Well when they formed the Original Confedy they were the Rep's of Slave States, with one exception. They did not deem it wrong in itself, or they would have abolished it—at least would not have made the "Fugitive S. Law" for its protection. After a while, however, it did not pay to keep Slavery in Northern climates, & it was abolished instanter. Why then was it that it became such a monstrous crime in their eyes? Wherein was the consistency? Partisans became jealous of the wealth & power of Southern planters & Southn politicians, elevated to their power through their wealth—a thing unavoidable in a Republican government. Thus, through demagogues at the North an animosity was aroused. It slumbered long in the germ, but being assiduously cherished from year to year it at last budded and bloomed in a clime congenial to its nature, & is now bringing forth its venomous fruit, even to a "hundred fold." It was the consuming of this pernicious fruit that brought death upon our "Body Politic" and produced all our woe. Would to God that woe should fall upon none but those who "planted & watered" it! I am perfectly conscious and cognizant of the manner in which this spirit of enmity has been fostered. I am a Northern by birth and education, & can testify to that which I know. I have also been in the South sufficiently long to know the sentiments of the people here, and how they coincide (or rather disagree) with the Northern conceptions of them. I have spent almost 8 years here—certainly long enough to learn the character of the "peculiar institution" as well as its practical workings & effect on society. And as I came with somewhat of prejudice against it, you must be frank enough to acknowledge me a fair judge in the matter. Among the first books put into my youthful library, was a work called Charles Ball, or The Trials of a Run-Away Slave. This was a horrid thing, and formed an impression on my young mind that has only with the utmost difficulty been eradicated. I am conscious that its contents are false. About the same time, & repeatedly, I was taken to witness a panorama of Uncle Tom's Cabin—another book whose leaves have furnished much fuel to infernal flames. At the same time, & ever since, I have had my ears grated with the harsh jargon of fanatical tirades against the institutions & people of the South. Of course then my mind was poisoned & prejudiced. And this has not been my political training alone but that of a majority of your youth at the North—no further North too than Penna. How then is it possible that the North can entertain amicable feelings toward the South? Add to this, what you rightly remark, that the popular mind is continually influenced by the issues of the Press—an instrument that has scattered the seeds of discord broadcast over the land. And here you either ignorantly or designedly intimate a slander against the South. You say "all papers have free issue at the North & not so at the South." Now do you not know enough of Southern affairs to see that the South by their very Constitution cannot admit incendiary documents to be cast into their midst—it were suicidal. If the South should publish papers uttering sentiments detrimental to Northern manufactories (in general) & in favor of foreign manufac's, how long would the North permit such papers to pass into their territory? Again, just as you say you "wish that Northn. papers could circulate South," so also do I wish that I need not bar my doors of nights. And both our desires could be accomplished if all men were honest. But, first, as I can't expect robbers to pass by my unbarred treasury, so I can't expect to receive Northern papers uncrammed with incendiary items. Again, however, the Southn papers have virtually no circulation at the North. I have heard men, reputable for their knowledge & conservatism even, denounce such Publins. as "unworthy to be touched." In the Reading Room of Princeton Theo. Seminary there were taken, last winter, 12 weekly papers, and about 8 periodicals from the South & scarcely 3 of these were touched by any but Southern Students during the Session, unless some exciting discussion were going on in their columns. Thus much as to newspapers. I confess they have been the cause of many erroneous impressions on both sides, but the North is no purer from crimination on this score than the South;—one stubborn evidence of this is the numerical dif. in popln.
You next remark that Abolitionism does not predominate at the North. I admit that for many years it did not, but lately it has acquired an ascendency & is now wielding its baneful influence on the minds of the masses. It is true there are many good people there whose minds are too pure to be tainted by such an almost infidel spirit as pervades the breasts of Abolitionists; yet the party in power has been elevated by such vast majorities of the people, in that section, that, to one investigating the matter, it seems the public sentiment at the North has greatly changed in the last few years. In such a country as ours—a democratic one—the masses are governed by a few great leaders; these leaders, whether in power or not, are still the almost despots who rule us. Their actions give fruit and coloring to the character of the sections over which they sway their autocratic sceptres. Who then can doubt the Abolin propensities of the N. when such men as Beecher, Greeley, Webb, Phillips, Sumner, & a host of kindred spirits, are the giant levers in the machinery of their society? It will not do to say that these are disregarded by sensible people there, for I know too well their power for evil. I know that Dr. Hodge—a man whom I love next to my Father—stated, in his article on "the state of the Country," that he did not know of 12 abolitionists "within the circle of his acquaintance." But the Dr. was either woefully mistaken or he didn't consider his pupils as belonging to that circle; for to my certain knowledge there were twice that number within the walls of "Princeton" at the time he made the assertion, and many of these avowedly such—men who, I was astonished to see, withheld their names when the same Dr. H. came round with a petition to Congress for "the restoration of the Mis. Comp." & the repeal of the "Personal Liberty Bills." These young men were embryo Ministers—men whose moral influence must be powerful for good or for evil. How is it then you can assert that the North don't want the extinction of slavery when such men as I have mentioned exert every effort to prevent its extension & not that only, but the operation of the fugitive S. law? I am aware that you stated the contrary in your letter—that the North are ever "rigorous" in its execution; nor am I so ungallant as to doubt your veracity; but I think you have not fully informed yourself on this point, else you would have learned that in scarcely an isolated case has the Master ever recovered his property without being put to more expense & trouble than the negro was worth; although I am free to admit, that at the same time it cost the U.S. gov. an equal if not greater Amount. Of course I refer to those negroes who have not merely crossed the limits of a Slave State, & thus been caught, but gone some distance North. Now the obligation to restore a fugitive Slave is a constitul & moral obligation; and those laws designed to prevent such restoration are unconstl & criminal—and worthy of all condemn—and unbecoming the dignity of any Sovn State. If people of any State can't conscientiously submit to the Constitution there are only 2 courses: they should endeavor to have it peaceably altered, or should move out of the Country. This is the opinion of the most learned and liberal men. They have no right to live under the protecn of a Constn & yet refuse to submit to its stipulations. True enough, as you say, the North wish not to have the Negroes set free in their midst, to overrun and disturb them—this they declare by their actions, for they take no care for or interest in the poor free (almost) brutes in their midst;—yet how soon will they be ready to resist you most violently should you attempt to take even one of them back, from his then wretched abode, to his former happier place in the service of a kind Master? "Oh! consistency, thou art a jewel!" This then has been one of the two great causes of the present troubles. The other—the denial of equal rights in the Territories—is still a greater, because it involves a principle; the former was more a matter of personal interest. The territories being purchased in common, were the com. pos. of North and South. Each had a Constl right to emigrate thither with their property & demand for it the protection afforded by the Constn. It became, in course of time, a matter of dispute whether the South could take their slaves there as property. (As a matter of course this arose from jealousy—the N. having no such prop, to take.) This great quest. was decided, however, by the Chief Justice in the highest Tribunal in the world, in favor of the South; viz. that slaves were property. I refer to the "Dred Scott" Case. This should have been sufficient, as it came from the highest authority in the Govt. But some parties and people are never satisfied. Full in the face of this high official the Repubn Party declare by their Platform orators, & Press, that slavery shall never enter another foot of territory. Now if the South admit this principle they acknowledge their inferiority to the North—an act that, even in the eyes of the North, would not comport with their dignity & honor as an independent & free people. The South being thus oppressed then I assert they have a right (not to secede, for no such right exists in my conception, as it would be an element subversive of any, & especially of a Republn gov.,) to revolt—a right inherent in & beyond the control of all earthly governts. Yes I coincide with the great Lord Chatham when he says that "Rebellion against oppression is obedience to God." Our Ancestors rebelled against the tyranny of British usurpation, & the Texans revolted against a like despotism exercised by a Mexican Autocrat. Why then are the Sovereign States of America not justifiable in throwing off the yoke or rather resisting to have put upon them, the yoke, of Northern Tyranny? To make the argument still clearer, however, as to the Territories, let us illustrate it: Suppose a Repubn. Congress decides that slavery shan't be protected in the Ter. as prop. I take my slave thither. An indictment is brought against me. I am tried and condemned by the territorial court. I appeal from its decision to the Sup. Court of the U.S. What then? From analogy I conclude that I shall be acquitted, i.e., recover my property. For one Chief Justice has already decided thus; and is not his decision final? Here then is an end of the matter; since the Sup. Court is the Sole Arbiter in determining the Constitutionality of any of Congress' acts.
As to the North not making use of slanderous epithets against the South, I know nothing about your particular section of the North, but I do know that when I have been in Penna. & N.J., I have heard all classes utter the vilest insinuations against the people of the South indiscriminately. Yes, it often seemed as if they could find no language too harsh, no comparison too base, no denunciation too bitter to apply to those whom in their ignorance they deemed their inferiors in wisdom and sense. Such have I heard from the lips of distinguished citizens in all departments & professions of life. Even hoary-headed ministers have entered the sacred desk with their MSS. reeking with filth from the cesspool of political slander. Dr. Brown, with whom you are doubtless acqutd, is now in Philad at the Gen. Assem. of the Pres. Ch. He wrote home lately that he never saw a mob that made use of viler language than did the best of citizens there in their denouncings of the South. I confess, however, that this is not a one-sided affair; for I have heard equally abusive language applied to the North by the people South. As before, then, let us "strike hands" on this point also, for both sections are equally culpable. As to the strength of individuals in the two sections, it must be tested on the battle-field, and there alone. Our war of words can never decide anything on this point. I should be sorry to admit the men in the North could not fight, had they a real enemy to contend against—a war of "justice, reason, or humanity" to wage. But to arm themselves against their brethren, and in such an unholy cause as that in which they are engaged now, I must confess that their true metal can never be exhibited. One man whose heart is in the war can always conquer two who are fighting from some impure motive. And now let me candidly ask you to as candidly tell me whether or not you think after seeing the thing progress thus far, and having, as you say, been, & still continue to be, well-informed as to apperns on both sides, the North are engaged in the cause of "Justice." Admitting that some of them are actuated by pure and lofty motives, do you not acknowledge that the vast majority are blinded by prejudice, led on by a desire for military fame, prompted by the prospect of plunder, or actuated by the still more ——? but I refrain—my very pen shudders at the thought of expressing myself further. Yes, I think you must confess that is the case. I refer, of course, to the Armies of Lincoln thus far made up. Are they not composed of a Mercenary horde, made up generally of the lowest rabble of the Country, & thousands of those thrown out of employment in the manufacturing cities—who have resorted to camp-life for self-sustenance—indeed their only resource? Whether you admit this or not, it is emphatically true to a great extent, for the Northern papers themselves have made such statements as would lead me to believe so, & more, I have correspondents in the North, who confirm my suspicions on this score. My own Father who does not justify the attack on Sumter, yet denounces Lin's army as a set of Murderers! He lives in Penna. & this is the opinion of many good citizens there. And now can such men be justified in their present purposes and activities? If so, upon what principles? We have shn that it is not in accordance with sound reason & the "inexorable logic" of the Constitution, since that noble edifice was attacked in two points simultaneously by the Repubcn party: 1°. by abrogating the Fugitive Slave Law; 2°. by depriving the South of eql rights in the Territories. These are 2 points in which the North has transgressed the limits of immutable Justice, and nothing which is unjust can be reasonable, for, they (Just. & Reas.) are twin sisters. Moreover, the Bible justifies no war but that of self-defence. Then are the North invaded? No, nor never will be, by the South, for all they ask is peace within their borders. While they hold in one hand the sword of self-defence, they present the "Olive Branch" with the other; and so God grant it may be ever.
You lament the inconceivable disasters "inaugurated by the attack on Sumter." True enough they may have been inaugurated by that act, but their unconcealed cause lies far back of that, as we have shown. That was only a raising of the curtain, or rather a forcing of it to be raised by the Abolitionists—a beginning of the bloody drama. Who caused the attack? What meant those human cargoes that approached so close to its walls the day before the battle? Why did the worthy (?) Lincoln so long deceive the Southrn Commissioners by promise after promise not to make war, but to evacuate the fort, & meet them, as a sensible Pres. would have done, in friendly negotiation for peace? S.C. was right, and acted nobly in the affair, and was as justifiable therein, as was Anderson in occupying the Fort before he had a reason for doing so, declaring by his overt act that the U.S. forces under him were at enmity with S.C. But then you say S.C. should have first tried Lincoln before determining to secede. I think she saw with prophetic vision the end from the beginning. She took Lincoln at his word—that itself was oppression & tyranny sufficient to burst asunder the closest ties of Union that could exist in any Country. You say we shd give everything a fair trial. I disagree. If I saw a serpent in my path & it shd attempt to make battle, or declare its hostility by displaying its horrid fangs, do you think I would coolly stand by & give it a fair trial, & test its friendship? I would be impelled, even had I never seen or heard of such a creature before, to crush it immediately, & so S.C. has sensibly said to the Administration "Serpent, bite a file!" As to your Eulogium on Lincoln I have not much to say. If he pleases you, well enough, you're easily satisfied. I take it that he is a disgrace to the Chair he occupies; and to judge from his conversations, he is devoid of all sense of refinement & etiquette; to look at his executive powers as displayed thus far, he had better be a Bey than helmsman of the "Old Ship"; and what of his efforts at speeches? In the language of Logan, "I appeal to any white man" to say if they would not be a disgrace to many a "Country 'Squire"! And yet such a man elevated to the highest position in the gift of the American people! There was a time when the soundest and most learned men of the land were made Presidents, now a man's capacity for the office seems to depend on the meanness of his intellect & the number of rails he can split in a day. And so great were his "maul & wedge" propensities that he withheld not his hand from splitting the Tree of Liberty. But let us inquire upon which side "humanity" stands in this contest. You complain much of several (local) depredations comtd by South on private boats &c. I ask, in candor, if it was not in retaliation for like outrages comtd by the North. I am certain as to its being so in several cases. The very 1st boat thus ill-treated was one belonging to the South on its way down the Miss. & attacked at Cairo. To retaliate they determined to attack Northen boats coming up the river. And what have your noble Ohioans done lately & repeatedly with our Ka. boats at Gallipolis? Thrice have they overhauled the same boat and twice kept every pound of freight on her timbers. But this is not all; your humane Lincoln has closed the Southern ports, & is daily robbing vessels on their way in & out of the same. During the last week he stole $150,000 worth of Southern Tobacco, & thus the programme continues. Very humane indeed! Again, he is no invader! No indeed! by no means! yet hundreds of Citizens are now fleeing from Wheeling, & other towns invaded, for personal safety. Scarce a day passes but some one stops here who has thus escaped. If they remain on their own soil and round their proper hearthstone the (very) humane doom of a murderer awaits them! The North don't intend to make invasion at all, yet 4000 Fl troops are now in Parkersburg, breaking up printing presses, putting innocent people in jail, and doing other humane acts, "too numerous to mention." According to my letter from Father I understand they don't have the first principles of Civilized warfare—they intend to hang all their prisoners. Oh! humanity! HUMANITY!
And now that we have seen that neither Reason, Justice, nor Humanity is on the side of the North, let us look at the subject in the light of Expediency, admitting, for the sake of argument the while, that it were right or just to wage the war. And viewing it from this standpoint, we ask, what does the North expect to gain by it? Does there live a man so lost to reason & common sense as to imagine that the Union of the seceded States with the N.S. can ever be effected again? And if it could be done by force, how long could a Repubn Gov. exist as a military despotism? And who would not prefer banishment or death to such a life? What Satisfacn could the North themselves have in such an event? They would live a life of misery; provoke the sneers of the civilized world; and draw down upon their heads the terrible wrath of an offended God.
But this war will not be permitted thus to terminate, the South can never be conquered. You yourself know their "spirit" too well to believe otherwise. Rather than be subjugated they will die a triple death. Like their mighty Henry they cry, "Give us liberty or give us death!" And still more I don't think they can be exterminated. 8,000,000 of people, armed in the holy cause of self-defence; struggling for their liberties, honor, interests, & lives, with a laudable ambition, & an unyielding perseverance, are invincible by any force the North can raise to send against them. Besides (to continue the sentiments of Henry), the battle is not to the strong alone, it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Especially so when, as I said before, the forces of Lincoln are not composed generally of men of the first rank of Society (except a few Officers desirous of Fame), but the "offscouring" & rabble of the land—men who have nothing at stake, not even their own lives we might say, since they care so little for anything. So that notwithstanding the immense number (and here let me remind you of the disparity of forces, of which you said so much, at Sumter)—"stubborn facts"—of which you speak, the South has nothing to fear. And, moreover, as certainly as I believe there exists a God of Justice & Mercy, so certainly & conscientiously do I believe He will defend the South from the Vandals of the North. Yes, dark as they seem, the clouds of gloom do not shut out the star of hope, and they are beginning to be spanned by a radiant bow of promise; the fall of Ellsworth & the shattered walls of the once presumed impregble Sumter, abundantly testify that God is on their side, and "if the Lord be for them, who can be against them?" So I heartily say "God speed" them—they shall have my prayers.—But let us take one more glance at the expediency of this matter. Are not the North fighting for a Patroclus' grave in this struggle? What matters an abstract banner? especially to the "matter of fact" Yankee? And then behold the inconsistency of the North in another point; they have through their Representatives, for many years, cried "no more slave territory"; and indeed many of them, such as Seward &c., have declared that slavery must be abolished, as both can't exist under the same gov.; yet, now they are fighting to the death to keep or get back slave territory!!! "Oh! consistency!" And, finally, at this point, will it not cost myriads of lives & millions of money to accomplish their infernal designs, even could they do it? And can the North afford this? Even now it is costing Lincoln's Anarchy (for I can't call it gov.) $1,000,000 per day—a matter of record! Suppose then the war shd last a year, what then? Union or dis-union? Alas, farther separation. Continue it then two years more. What then? Ditto & ditto it will be should it last as long as the "War of the Roses," for we have no houses of York & Lancaster to unite, sign and settle the dispute by marriage—one or both annihilated!—And now I ask how, in the name of Reason, Justice, or Humanity, can you lift up your voice in defence of the North when they are the cause of all this accumulating misery?—when they have deprived the South of her Constitn rights, driven her to the necessity of a separation, and now raise their arm against her as an enemy, declaring either to subjugate her, to overrun her with their vandal hordes, or exterminate from her soil every living creature?—& when, "Oh bloodiest picture in the book of time!" they are ready to repeat with a triple vengeance the untold horrors of the Spanish Inquisition? They are madly, blindly rushing, they know not where. The blame of dissolution rests upon her. And the still more awful responsibility of a civil war will hang as an everlasting incubus upon her shoulders. Then let her beware ere she " cross the Rubicon"—let her "pause long upon its brink." And shall we all perish by her fratricidal hand? Shall the blood, shed by brother in deadly war with brother, flow ignominiously through our rivers to the ocean & be carried by its waves to stain the shores of Nations that for long years have been centring their fond hopes on America as the grand ideal of the gov. they too would some day enjoy? Shall such hopes be blasted as soon as fondly cherished? and now that Italy has trampled upon the tyrannical "Mitre"—torn from her long subdued neck the yoke of Papal bondage—passed from the darkness of superstitious bondage into the light of religious freedom, shall we sink back to what she was, by casting ourselves into the whirlpool of civil war? Shall we not only put out, but shatter, the lamp of liberty, a lamp whose effulgence was beginning to scatter the shades of despotism from off the earth? Shall we extinguish the brightest star in the constellation of human freedom? The united voices of Humanity, Justice, & Reason answer, No! The cries of myriad free men living, & of millions yet unborn, rend the air with a universal negative! and from the vaulted canopy of heaven there swells back the solemn echo, "God forbid!" As if augmented by the mournful strain of 10,000 angels hovering in amazement over the conflicting scene! Oh! then let the North beware!
Mrs. Tompkins says that if you can justify your Bro. Ulysses in drawing his sword against those connected by the ties of blood, and even boast of it, you are at liberty to do so, but she can not. And should one of those kindred be stricken down by his sword the awful judgment of God will be meted out to him, &, if not repented of, the hot thunderbolts of His wrath will blaze round his soul through eternity. On the contrary, if the vice versa should occur, she thinks "those kin" would be justified, because in self-defence. As to Mr. John Marshall's being promoted in the army of Lincoln, she thinks that fact explains itself: he spent much of his time previously seeking, or at least expecting, promotion, & failing in a laudable way,—in defence of his own kindred & the home of his bosom companion!—he resorted to Yankeedom, and sold as it were his birthright for a mess of Abolition pottage. This helps confirm my view, that many take positions in Lincoln's Army with the expectation of military promotion, & the hope of an easy conquest of the South. Oh, how deluded! But as for many of them, "God forgive them, for they know not what they do."
But I must bring these desultory remarks to a break-off. So, begging pardon once more for transgressing the limits of formality, and hoping you may live to see the verification of many of my remarks, I have the pleasure of signing myself
THE SECRETARY OF YOUR AUNT RACHEL
P.S. If you shd write again, please use white paper; it almost gives me the "blues" to read your letter.
 Grant's conviction that the essential purpose of the war was not the abolition of slavery as an end in itself, but the preservation of the Union at all costs was identical with that of Lincoln. This letter can properly be compared with the well-known letter written by Lincoln to Greeley on the third of August, 1862, in which Lincoln says: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or to destroy slavery." Lincoln understood that the task accepted by him as President as the leader in the contest for national existence made the maintenance of the Union his chief, if not for the time being his only responsibility. He had, however, placed himself on record in many utterances to the effect that if the republic were to be preserved, slavery must be, in the first place, restricted, and finally destroyed. It is probable that in this matter Grant did not go so far as Lincoln. In any case, in common with the President, he devoted himself simply to the duty immediately before him.