Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ulysses S. Grant to Mary Frances Grant, April 29, 1861

Springfield, [Illinois]
April 29th, 1861.


I CAME to this place several days ago, fully expecting to find a letter here for me from father. As yet I have received none. It was my intention to have returned to Galena last evening, but the Governor detained me, and I presume will want me to remain with him until all the troops are called into service, or those to be so called, are fully mustered in and completely organized. The enthusiasm throughout this state surpasses anything that could have been imagined three weeks ago. Only six regiments are called for here, while at least thirty could be promptly raised. The Governor, and all others in authority, are harassed from morning until night with patriotic men, and such political influence as they can bring, to obtain first promises of acceptance of their companies, if there should be another call for troops. The eagerness to enter companies that were accepted by the Governor, was so great that it has been impossible for Commanders of companies to keep their numbers within the limits of the law, consequently companies that have arrived here have all had from ten to sixty men more than can be accepted. The Legislature on Saturday last passed a bill providing for the maintenance and discipline of these surplus troops for one month, unless sooner mustered into service of the United States under a second call. — I am convinced that if the South knew the entire unanimity of the North for the Union and maintenance of Law, and how freely men and money are offered to the cause, they would lay down their arms at once in humble submission. There is no disposition to compromise now. Nearly every one is anxious to see the Government fully tested as to its strength, and see if it is not worth preserving. The conduct of eastern Virginia has been so abominable through the whole contest that there would be a great deal of disappointment here if matters should be settled before she is thoroughly punished. This is my feeling, and I believe it universal. Great allowance should be made for South Carolinians, for the last generation have been educated, from their infancy, to look upon their Government as oppressive and tyrannical and only to be endured till such time as they might have sufficient strength to strike it down. Virginia, and other border states, have no such excuse and are therefore traitors at heart as well as in act. I should like very much to see the letter Aunt Rachel wrote Clara! or a copy of it. Can't you send it?

When I left Galena, Julia and the children were very well. Jesse had been very sick for a few days but was getting much better. I have been very anxious that you should spend the summer with us. You have never visited us and I don't see why you can't. Two of you often travel together, and you might do so again, and come out with Clara. I do not like to urge anything of the kind, lest you should think that I ignored entirely the question of economy, but I do not do so. The fact is I have had my doubts whether or not it would not be more prudent for all of you to lock up and leave, until the present excitement subsides. If father were younger and Simpson strong and healthy, I would not advise such a course. On the contrary, I would like to see every Union man in the border slave states remain firm at his post. Every such man is equal to an armed volunteer at this time in defence of his country. There is very little that I can tell you that you do not get from the papers.

Remember me to all at home and write to me at once, to this place.


SOURCE: Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 27-30

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