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