Fort Henry, Ten.
Feb.y 9th, 1862
I take my pen in hand “away down in Dixie” to let you know that I am still alive and well. What the next few days may bring forth however I cant tell you. I intend to keep the ball moving as lively as possible and have only been detained here from the fact that the Tennessee is very high and has been raising ever since we have been here overflowing the back land making it necessary to bridge it before we could move.—Before receiving this you will hear, by telegraph, of Fort Donaldson being attacked.—Yesterday I went up the Ten. River twenty odd miles and today crossed over to near the Cumberland river at Fort Donaldson. —Our men had a little engagement with the enemie’s pickets killing five of them, wounding a number and, expressively speaking, “gobbeling up” some twenty-four more.
If I had your last letter at hand I would answer it. But I have not and therefore write you a very hasty and random letter simply to let you know that I believe you will remember me and am carrying on a conversation whilst writing with my Staff and others.
Julia will be with you in a few days and possibly I may accompany her. This is bearly possible, depending upon having full possession of the line from Fort Henry to Fort Donaldson and being able to quite for a few days without retarding any contemplated movement. This would not heave me free more than one day however.
You have no conception of the amount of labor I have to perform. An army of men all helpless looking to the commanding officer for every supply. Your plain brother however has, as yet, had no reason to feel himself unequal to the task and fully believes that he will carry on a successful campaign against our rebel enemy. I do not speak boastfully but utter a presentiment. The scare and fright of the rebels up here is beyond conception. Twenty three miles above here some were drowned in their hast to retreat thinking us such Vandals that neither life nor property would be respect. G. J. Pillow commands at Fort Donaldson. I home to him a tug before your receive this.
U. S. G.
SOURCES: John Y. Simon & William M. Ferraro, Editors, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume 4: January 8-March 31, 1862, p. 179-80; Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 80-2