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Title: Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, - 1857-78
Author: Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885
Language: English
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Edited by his Nephew


With Portraits



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.


NEW YORK, April 25, 1912.


    From a photograph by W. Kurtz, New York.

    Father of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
    From a photograph.

    Mother of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
    From a photograph by Landy, taken in Cincinnati.



    From a photograph taken in 1865 by
    Gutekunst, Philadelphia.

    From a photograph taken during his second
    term as President.

Letters of Ulysses S. Grant

[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

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

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


[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.]

White Haven,
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 Penn^a 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

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

Your Brother


[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.

Your Brother,


Covington, Ky.

[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.]

St. Louis,
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

Yours truly,


Covington, Ky.

[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?

Yours truly,


Covington, Ky.

[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

St. Louis,
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."]

St. Louis,
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.

Yours truly,


[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.]

St. Louis,
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.

Yours truly,


[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."]


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.

Yours truly,


[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.

Yours &c.


[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.]

Mexico, Mo.,
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.

Yours truly,


[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.]

Ironton, Mo.,
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.

Your Brother


[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

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

I only arrived at this place last night and cannot tell you much about
things here. The people however are generally reported to be


[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

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.

Good night.


[Simpson: the brother next in age to General Grant. To his sister

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. N^o 1 you will have no difficulty in recognizing. N^o 2 is
Capt. J.A. Rawlins, A.A. Gen. N^os 3 & 4 Capts. Lagow & Hillyer,
Aides-de-Camps, N^o 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.

Your Brother,


[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

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

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.]

Cairo, Illinois,
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

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

There are not so many brigadier generals in the army as there are
brigades, and as to divisions they are nearly all commanded by



    [Footnote 1: 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.]

[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.]

Cairo, Illinois,
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

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

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

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


[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.]

Corinth, Mississippi,
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.]

Corinth, Mississippi,
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_[2] 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.


    [Footnote 2: Slaves.]

[During the two months just past there has been much fighting between
small bodies of the opposing armies.]

Corinth, Mississippi,
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

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.]

Jackson, Tenn.,
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

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

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

To his sister Mary.]

Oxford, Mississippi,
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,

Your brother


[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.]

Nashville, Tenn.,
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


[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.


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.]


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


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.

Yours truly,


[On the 7th of January, 1865, a number of the principal
citizens of Philadelphia presented General Grant with a


Washington, D.C.,
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.



Washington, D.C.,
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.

Yours truly,


[March 4, 1869, General Grant was inaugurated President of the United

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.

Yours truly,


[Written to his sister Mary, Mrs. M.J. Cramer. Dr. Cramer was then
United States Minister to Denmark.]

Washington, D.C.,
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

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

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

Yours affectionately,


P.S. I shall always be delighted to receive letters from you and Mr.
Cramer whether I answer them or not.


Washington, D.C.,
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.

Sincerely yours,


Covington, Ky.

[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.

Yours truly,


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.]


Washington, D.C.,
Oct. 16th, 1872.


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.

Yours truly,


[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.

Yours truly,



[To his brother-in-law, Mr. A.R. Corbin, of Elizabeth, N.J. Mr. Dent
was Mrs. Grant's father.]


Washington, D.C.,
Dec. 16th, 1873.


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.


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.

Yours truly,


[Grant's second term of office expired March, 1877.]


Dec. 13th, '76.


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

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.

Yours truly,


[General and Mrs. Grant spent the next two years in a tour around the

Chicago, Ill.,
April 12th, 1877.


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

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.

Yours truly,


Ragatz, Switzerland,
August 13th, '77.


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

Yours truly,


United States Minister,
Copenhagen, Denmark.


Aug. 26, '77.


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.

Yours truly,


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.

Elizabeth, N.J.


Oct. 25th, '77.


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

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.

Paris France,
Nov. 27th, '77.


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,

Very truly,


Cairo, Egypt,
Jan'y 13th, '78.


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

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.


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

I will inform you later, when I know definitely, about the time to
expect me in Copenhagen.

Very truly yours,


Rome, Italy,
March 29th, '78.


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.


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

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.


Paris, France,
June 3d, '78.


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,

Very truly,


Hanover, Germany,
June 25th, '78.


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

Very truly yours,


Paris, France.
Dec. 10th, '78.


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,


Rangoon, Burma,
March 20th, '79.


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

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.


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.

Yours truly,


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

All send love to you, your father and mother and Aunt Jennie.

Yours affectionately,


[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

All send love.

Yours affectionately,



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

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 re^cd; 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 comp^d 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
Confed^y_ they were the Rep's[3] 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 & South^n 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
North^n. 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
South^n papers have _virtually_ no circulation at the North. I have
heard men, reputable for their knowledge & conservatism even, denounce
such Publi^ns.[4] 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 pop^ln.[5]

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 Aboli^n 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 _constitu^l. & moral obligation;_ and those laws designed to
prevent such restoration are unconst^l & criminal--and worthy of all
condem^n.--and unbecoming the dignity of any Sov^n. 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
protec^n. of a Const^n. & 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 Const^l right to
emigrate thither _with their property_ & demand for it the protection
_afforded by_ the Const^n. 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 Gov^t. But some parties and people are _never
satisfied_. Full in the face of this high official the Repub^n 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 Repub^ln gov.,) _to revolt_--a right inherent in & beyond the
control of all earthly govern^ts. 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 Repub^n. 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 acqu^td, is now in Phila^d. 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 apper^ns 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 sh^n. 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 Repub^cn party: 1°. by abrogating the Fugitive
Slave Law; 2°. by depriving the South of eq^l 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 South^rn 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 sh^d. give everything a fair trial. I disagree. If I saw a
_serpent_ in my path & it sh^d. 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
com^td by South on private _boats_ &c. I ask, in candor, if it was not
in retaliation for like outrages com^td 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 _North^en 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 F^l_ 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!_

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 Repub^n
Gov. exist as a military despotism? And who would not prefer
_banishment_ or _death_ to _such_ a _life?_ What Satisfac^n 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 impreg^ble_ 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 sh^d 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 Consti^tn 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


P.S. If you sh^d write again, please use white paper; it almost gives
me the "blues" to read your letter.

    [Footnote 3: Representatives.]

    [Footnote 4: Publications.]

    [Footnote 5: Population.]

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