Showing posts with label Jesse Root Grant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesse Root Grant. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, May 6, 1865

Washington, D. C.,
May 6th, 1865.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 108-9

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, March 19, 1865

City Point, Va.
March 19th, 1865.

Dear Father:

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 hear 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,

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 106-7

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, September 5, 1864

City Point, Va.,
Sept. 5th, 1864.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 104-5

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, April 16, 1864

Culpeper C. H., Va.,
Apl. 16th, 1864.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 103

Monday, September 23, 2013

Major General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, February 20, 1864

Nashville, Tenn.,
Feby. 20th, 1864.

Dear Father:

I have received your letter and those accompanying, to wit, Mr. Newton’s and I. N. Morris’. I may write to Mr. Newton but it will be different from what he expects. I am not a candidate for any office. All I want is to be left alone to fight this war out; fight all rebel opposition and restore a happy Union in the shortest possible time. You know, or ought to know, that the public prints are not the proper mediums through which to let a personal feeling pass. I know that I feel that nothing personal to myself could ever induce me to accept a political office.

From your letter you seem to have taken an active feeling, to say the least, in this matter, that I would like to talk to you about. I could write, but do not want to do so. Why not come down here and see me?

I did tell Julia to make a visit to Cincinnati, Batavia, Bethel and Georgetown.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 100-1

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Major General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, June 15, 1863

Walnut Hills. Miss.,
June 15th, 1863.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 98-9

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Major General Ulysses S. Grant to Mary Frances Grant, December 15, 1862

Oxford, Mississippi,
Dec. 15th, 1862.

Dear Sister:

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 tomorrow I look for them down. I shall only remain here tomorrow, 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


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 95-7

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Major General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, September 17, 1862

Corinth, Mississippi,
September 17th, 1862

Dear Father:

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 today than this.

I expect to hold it and have never had any other feeling either here or elsewhere but that of success. I would write you many particulars but you are so imprudent that I dare not trust you with them; and while on this subject let me say a word. I have not an enemy in the world who has done me so much injury as you in your efforts in my defence. I require no defenders and for my sake let me alone. I have heard this from various sources and persons who have returned to this Army and did not know that I had parents living near Cincinnati have said that they found the best feeling existing towards me in every place except there.

You are constantly denouncing other general officers and the inference with people naturally is that you get your impressions from me. Do nothing to correct what you have already done but for the future keep quiet on this subject.

Mary wrote to me about an appointment for Mr. Nixon. I have nothing in the world to do with any appointments, no power to make and nothing to do with recommending except for my own staff. That is now already full.

If I can do anything in the shape of lending any influence I may possess in Mr. Nixon’s behalf I will be most happy to do so on the strength of what Mary says in commendation, and should be most happy if it could so be that our lot would cast us near each other.

I do not know what Julia is going to do. I want her to go to Detroit and board. She has many pleasant acquaintances there and she would find good schools for the children.

I have no time for writing and scarcely any for looking over the telegraphic columns of the newspapers.

My love to all at home.

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 90-2

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Major General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, August 3, 1862

Corinth, Mississippi,
August 3d, 1862.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 84-6

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, November 28, 1861

Cairo, Illinois,
November 28th, 1861.

Dear Father:

Your letter asking if Mr. Leathers can be passed South, and also enclosing two extracts from papers is received. It is entirely out of the question to pass persons South. We have many Union Men sacrificing their lives now from exposure as well as battle, in a cause brought about by secession, and it is necessary for the security of the thousands still exposed that all communication should be cut off between the two sections.

As to that article in the Hawk Eye it gives me no uneasiness whatever. The Iowa regiment did its duty fully, and my report gives it full credit. All who were on the battlefield know where General McClernand and myself were, and there is no need of resort to the public press for our vindication. The other extract gives our loss in killed and wounded almost exactly correct. Our missing however is only three or four over one hundred. Recent information received through deserters shows that the rebel loss from killed, wounded, and missing reaches about 2500. One thing is certain, — after the battle about one third of Columbus was used for hospitals and many were removed to houses in the country. There were also two steamboat loads sent to Memphis and the largest hotel in the city taken as a hospital. The city was put in mourning and all business suspended for a day: and the citizens thrown into the greatest consternation lest they would be attacked.

I wrote to you two days ago, therefore it is not necessary to write a long letter.

I believe I told you that Julia had gone to St. Louis. She will pay you a short visit before returning to Galena.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 72-3

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, November 27, 1861

Cairo, Illinois,
November 27th, 1861.

Dear Father:

Your letter enclosed with a shawl to Julia is just received.

In regard to your stricture about my not writing I think that you have no cause of complaint. My time is all taken up with public duties.

Your statement of prices at which you proposed furnishing harness was forwarded to Maj. Allen as soon as received and I directed Lagow, who received the letter enclosing it, to inform you of the fact. He did so at once.

I cannot take an active part in securing contracts. If I were not in the army I should do so, but situated as I am it is necessary both to my efficiency for the public good and my own reputation that I should keep clear of Government contracts.

I do not write you about plans, or the necessity of what has been done or what is doing because I am opposed to publicity in these matters. Then too you are very much disposed to criticise unfavorably from information received through the public press, a portion of which I am sorry to see can look at nothing favorably that does not look to a war upon slavery. My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped in any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go. But that portion of the press that advocates the beginning of such a war now, are as great enemies to their country as if they were open and avowed secessionists.1

There is a desire upon the part of people who stay securely at home to read in the morning papers, at their breakfast, startling reports of battles fought. They cannot understand why troops are kept inactive for weeks or even months. They do not understand that men have to be disciplined, arms made, transportation and provisions provided. I am very tired of the course pursued by a portion of the Union press.

Julia left last Saturday for St. Louis where she will probably spend a couple of weeks and return here should I still remain. It costs nothing for her to go there, and it may be the last opportunity she will have of visiting her father. From here she will go to Covington, and spend a week or two before going back to Galena.

It was my bay horse (cost me $140) that was shot. I also lost the little pony, my fine saddle and bridle, and the common one. What I lost cost about $250. My saddle cloth which was about half the cost of the whole, I left at home.

I try to write home about once in two weeks and think I keep it up pretty well. I wrote to you directly after the battle of Belmont, and Lagow and Julia have each written since.

Give my love to all at home. I am very glad to get letters from home and will write as often as I can. I am somewhat troubled lest I lose my command here, though I believe my administration has given general satisfaction not only to those over me but to all concerned. This is the most important command within the department however, and will probably be given to the senior officer next to General Halleck himself.

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


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 [sic] 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.

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 68-71

Friday, September 13, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, November 5, 1861

November 5th, 1861.

Dear Father:

It is late at night and I want to get a letter into the mail for you before it closes. As I have just finished a very hasty letter to Julia that contains about what I would write, and having something else to do myself, I will have my clerk copy it.

Day before yesterday, I left here with about 3000 men in five steamers, convoyed by two gun boats, and proceeded down the river to within twelve miles of Columbus. The next morning the boats were dropped down just out of range of the enemy’s batteries and the troops debarked.

During this operation our gun boats exercised the rebels by throwing shells into their camps and batteries.

When all ready we proceeded about one mile towards Belmont opposite Columbus; then I formed the troops into line, and ordered two companies from each regiment to deploy as skirmishers, and push on through the woods and discover the position of the enemy. They had gone but a little way when they were fired upon, and the ball may be said to have fairly opened.

The whole command with the exception of a small reserve, was then deployed in like manner with the first, and ordered forward. The order was obeyed with great alacrity, the men all showing great courage. I can say with gratification that every Colonel without a single exception, set an example to his command that inspired a confidence that will always insure victory when there is the slightest possibility of gaining one. I feel truly proud to command such men. From here we fought our way from tree to tree through the woods to Belmont, about two and a half miles, the enemy contesting every foot of ground. Here the enemy had strengthened their position by felling the trees for two or three hundred yards and sharpening the limbs, making a sort of abattis. Our men charged through making the victory complete, giving us possession of their camp and garrison equipage, artillery and everything else.

We got a great many prisoners. The majority however succeeded in getting aboard their steamer and pushing across the river.

We burned everything possible and started back, having accomplished all that we went for and even more. Belmont is entirely covered by the batteries from Columbus and is worth nothing as a military position. It cannot be held without Columbus.

The object of the expedition was to prevent the enemy from sending a force into Missouri to cut off troops I had sent there for a special purpose, and to prevent reinforcing Price.

Besides being well fortified at Columbus their numbers far exceed ours, and it would have been folly to have attacked them. We found the Confederates well-armed and brave. On our return, stragglers that had been left in our rear, now front, fired into us, and more recrossed the river and gave us battle for fully a mile and afterwards at the boats when we were embarking. There was no hasty retreating or running away. Taking into account the object of the expedition the victory was most complete. It has given me a confidence in the officers and men of this command, that will enable me to lead them in any future engagement without fear of the result. General McClernand — (who by the way acted with great coolness throughout, and proved that he is a soldier as well as statesman) — and myself each had our horses shot under us. Most of the field-officers met with the same loss, besides nearly one third of them being killed or wounded themselves. As nearly as I can ascertain our loss was about 250 killed, wounded, and missing.

I write in great haste to get this in the office tonight.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 64-7

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Mary Frances Grant, September 25, 1861

Cairo, September 25th, 1861

Dear Sister:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 59-60

Monday, September 9, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, August 31, 1861

Cape Girardeau, Mo.,
August 31st, 1861.

Dear Father:

Your letter of the 26th is just received. As to the relative rank of officers (brigadiers) you are right but in all the rest you are laboring under an erroneous impression. There has been no move made affecting me which has not been complimentary rather than otherwise, though calculated to keep me laboriously employed. I was sent to Ironton when the place was weak and threatened with a superior force, and as soon as it was rendered secure I was ordered to Jefferson City, another point threatened. I was left there but a week when orders were sent ordering me to this point, putting me in command of all the forces in S. E. Missouri, South Illinois and everything that can operate here. All I fear is that too much may be expected of me. My duties will absorb my entire attention, and I shall try not to disappoint the good people of Illinois, who, I learn from every quarter, express an enthusiasm for me that was wholly unexpected. — General Prentiss is not a particular favorite as you suspect, nor is there a prejudice against him.

I think all the brigadiers are satisfied with the rank assigned them by the President.

The brigadiers are not all up north as you suspect. I know of but one, Hurlbut, who is there. General McClernand is at Cairo, Prentiss at Ironton, and I presume Curtis will be with the command under me.

General Hunter is at Chicago, but I look upon that as temporary. I have not heard of any command being assigned him as yet, and do not know that he has sufficiently recovered from wounds received in the late engagements in Virginia to take the field. Hunter will prove himself a fine officer.

The letters spoken of by you have not all been received. One sent to Galena I got and answered. My promise to write to you every two weeks has been complied with, and however busy I may be I shall continue to write if it is but a line.

I am now probably done shifting commands so often, this being the fourth in as many weeks.
Your suspicions as to my being neglected are entirely unfounded, for I know it was the intention to give me a brigade if I had not been promoted. Application would have been made to have me assigned arbitrarily as senior colonel from Illinois for the purpose.

I want to hear from you or Mary often. I sent you the Daily Democrat, thinking that would keep you better posted in this section than I could, and it is a cheap correspondent.

I wrote to you that I should like to have Mary go out to Galena and stay some time. I do not want Julia to leave Galena, being anxious to retain my residence after the many kindnesses received from the people there.

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


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 53-5

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, August 27, 1861

Jefferson City. Mo.,
August 27th, 1861.

Dear Father:

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.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 50-2

Friday, September 6, 2013

Colonel Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, August 3, 1861

Mexico. Mo.,
Aug. 3d, 1861.

Dear Father:

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,

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 43-6

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Colonel Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, July 13, 1861

East Quincy. Mo.,
July 13th, 1861.

Dear Father:

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. Tomorrow 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.

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 40-2

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, May 30, 1861

May 30th. 1861.

Dear Father:

I have now been home nearly a week, but return to Springfield to-day. I have tendered my services to the Government and go today 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,

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 38-9

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, May 6, 1861

Camp Yates, near Springfield,
May 6th. 1861.

Dear Father:

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 tomorrow, 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.

SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 34-7

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ulysses S. Grant to Jesse Root Grant, May 2, 1861


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


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 31-3