City Point, Virginia,
August 16, 1864.
YOUR letter asking for autographs to send to Mrs. Adams, the wife of our Minister to England, was duly received. She had also sent to Mr. Dana for the same thing, and his requisition, he being with me at the time, was at once filled. I have directed Colonel Bowers to send with this a few of the original dispatches telegraphed from here. They have all been hastily written, and not with the expectation of ever being seen afterward, but will, I suppose, answer as well as anything else, or as if they had been written especially for the purpose of sending. . . .
I state to all citizens who visit me that all we want now to insure an early restoration of the Union is a determined unity of sentiment North. The rebels have now in their ranks their last men. The little boys and old men are guarding prisoners, railroad bridges, and forming a good part of their garrisons for intrenched positions. A man lost by them cannot be replaced. They have robbed the cradle and the grave equally to get their present force. Besides what they lose in frequent skirmishes and battles, they are now losing from desertions and other causes at least one regiment per day. With this drain upon them the end is visible if we will but be true to ourselves. Their only hope now is in a divided North. This might give them reinforcements from Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, while it would weaken us. With the draft quietly enforced, the enemy would become despondent, and would make but little resistance. I have no doubt but the enemy are exceedingly anxious to hold out until after the presidential election. They have many hopes from its effects. They hope for a counter-revolution. They hope for the election of the peace candidate. In fact, like Micawber, they hope that something will turn up. Our peace friends, if they expect peace from separation, are much mistaken. It would be but the beginning of war, with thousands of Northern men joining the South because of the disgrace of our allowing separation. To have peace “on any terms” the South would demand the restoration of their slaves already freed. They would demand indemnity for losses sustained, and they would demand a treaty which would make the North slave-hunters for the South. They would demand pay or the restoration of every slave escaping to the North.
SOURCE: James Grant Wilson, Editor, General Grant’s Letters to a Friend 1861-1880, p. 38-40