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

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