Dec. 15th, 1862.
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,
SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 95-7