Jan. 23d. 1862.
YOU have seen through the papers notice of my return from the great expedition into Kentucky. My orders were such and the force with me also so small that no attack was allowable. I made good use of the time however, making a splendid reconnoissance of the country over which an army may have to move. I have now a larger force than General Scott ever commanded prior to our present difficulties. I do hope it will be my good fortune to retain so important a command for at least one battle. I believe there is no portion of our whole army better prepared to contest a battle than there is within my district, and I am very much mistaken if I have not got the confidence of officers and men. This is all important, especially so with new troops. I go tonight to St. Louis to see General Halleck; will be back on Sunday morning. I expect but little quiet from this on and if you receive but short, unsatisfactory letters hereafter you need not be surprised.
Your letter asking me to intercede in behalf of Lieut. Jones was received. I have no one of equal rank now to offer in exchange, unless it should be some one of Jeff Thompson's command, but if it should fall in my power to effect Lieutenant Jones’ release, I shall be most happy to do so. Write to me giving the first name, where he now is, when taken and under what circumstances.
I think you may look for Julia and the children about the 1st of February.
As I said before the three oldest will be left to go to school. Jess is too small. You will like him the best of any of the children, although he is the worst. I expect he will whip his Aunt Mary the first day. Buck, though never really sick, is very delicate. He is the best child I ever saw and is smart.
Give my love to all at home. I must close.
SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 77-9