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Grant Writes Home
October 1973 | Volume 24, Issue 6
According to enduring Irgend, General Ulysses S. Grant was a hunt man of war who understood nothing hut fighting, had no lighter moments except for those occasionally evoked by a bottle of whiskey, kepi his steel-Imp mouth closed so firmly that neither jests nor casual chitchat ever emerged, and had about as much tender sentiment in his make-up as a disillusioned grizzly bear.
This legend has roots thai go back for a century and more, and probably it will endure for some time. Actually, however, it is almost entirely wrong—its only correct fioint is that he was a hard man of war—and people who have bothered to get acquainted with the general have always known it. Officers who were intimate with him during the Civil War said that after hours he was more than commonly talkative, gwen to amiable reminiscences thai could go on and on without a check. Anyone who has read his memoirs knows he had a sly but active sense of humor that he could express with quiet skill; and to examine the letters he sent to his wife during the war is to discover that this stern general was as lonely, as homesick, and as anxious to get back to his family as the greenest soldier in the whole Army. Under his professional coating the fearsome General Grant was indeed something of a softy.
During recent years a few of the letters Grant wrote to his wife, Julia Dent Grant, have been published, but most of them remained hidden until a pro/essor at Southern Illinois University, John Y. Simon, became executive director of the U. S. Grant Association and managing editor of the mil 11 ivol u Hied publishing project sponsored by thai association, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. Under Dr. Simon’s guidance the association has collected scores and hundreds of Grant’s letters, and the Southern Illinois University Press is publishing them. Volume 5 in this series is being brought out this fall; and by permission of Dr. Simon, the Grant Association, and the Press, A MERICAN H ERITAGE is privileged to present herewith a small bill revealing sampling of Grant’s wartime letters IH Julia Grant.
The letters presented here cover a short space of time—from April 8 to June 16, 1862. The first was written just after the terrible Battle of Shiloh; the last was written shortly before Grant was placed in sole rommand of the whole area between the Tennessee and Mississippi rivers, from Cairo, Illinois, on the north to as far as Grant might be able to penetrate on the south.
During this time the Civil War in the West took its shape, and Grant, as a rising soldier, at last found himself.
Shiloh was a significant battle—a Northern victory of prodigious importance—hut it was a very ragged fight in winch the commanding general learned his trade under fire at the cost of a great many casualties. After the battle Grant came under severe criticism. It was charged that he had been caught by surprise, that only the timely arrival of reinforcements led by General Don Carlos Bnell had saved him /rom defeat., and (military mythology being what it is) that lie had probably had too much to drink. For a time it seemed possible that he would be driven out of the Army altogether; and wjien General Henry W. Hallech, then supreme Federal commander in the West, came down to western Tennessee shortly after Shiloh had been fought, he pulled Grant’s claws by giving him the post of second in command, in which position Grant had a fine title and almost nothing at all to do. However, Grant rode out the storm; and when Halleck at the beginning oj the summer was called to Washington to be general in chief, he restored Grant to his old authority and entrusted him with continuation of the offensive that was eventually to capture I’lcksburg, open the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf, and permanently wreck Confederate power in the western theatre of war.
So Grant’s letters home, which follow, were written at a crucial time; and yet they reflect very Hilt? worry or unease. What was (in (traut’s mind seem.s largely to have been a yearning to see his wife and children, a hunger for family gossip, an anxiety to make .sure that Julia was getting the money he kept .sending home, and the age-old complaint of the soldier—“Why don’t you write oftener?”
Grant knew that he was being criticized, hut il does not seem to have holhered him very much. He spoke of it now and then, hut it was not on his mind. He had not yet got into polities, but he had an idea tlial even seasoned politicians do not often get, namely, that the best way to contradict hostile newspaper reports is not to contradict them at all. Meanwhile, he wanted to know how lus wife and chddren were getting along, and he spoke at some length about the btg revolver—a “five shooter”—that he was sending home to his son Jess, who at that moment was ail of ßve years old. Jess finally got the shooting iron, apparently without cartridges.
It will be noticed that (irant was careless about his spelling. Read enough of him and you conclude that the general could spell hut that most of the lime he just didn’t care about it. Often enough he spells a word correctly in one paragraph and incorrectly in the next.
These letters, in short, reveal (irant with the varnish off. Whatever he may have looked like Io the embattled Confederates across the lines, to the people who knew him he was a doting family man, dedicated to his small children and eternally devoted to his wife. He wanted to be back home, at this stage of the war he was a bubbling optimist who believed the South would rave in after one more defeat, and he hoped to be stationed either on the Mississippi River or (of all places) on the Atlantic seacoast so that his wife and at least one or two of his children could join him. He was not at all the terrible (irant of tradition.
So here are the letters. Read them and get acquainted with a Grant you had not known before.
Pittsburg, Ten. April 8th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
Again another terrible battle has occured in which our arms have been victorious. For the number engaged and the tenacity with which both parties held on for two days, during an incessent fire of musketry and artillery, it has no equal on this continent. The best troops of the rebels were engaged to the number of 162 regiments as stated by a deserter from their camp, and their ablest generals. Beaurigard commanded in person aided by A. S. Johnson, Bragg, Breckenridge and hosts of other generals of less note but possibly of quite as much merit. Gen. Johnson was killed and Bragg wounded. The loss on both sides was heavy probably not less than 20,000 killed and wounded altogether. The greatest loss was sustained by the enemy. They suffered immensly by demoralization also many of their men leaving the field who will not again be of value on the field. [The Confederates were about half as numerous as Grant estimated, but the casualties were worse—some thirteen thousand on the Union side and more than ten thousand on the Confederate. General Albert Sidney Johnston was the Confederate commander, with Braxton Bragg and John C. Breckinridge as prominent subordinates. After his death he was succeeded by General P. G. T. Beauregard.]
I got through all safe having but one shot which struck my sword but did not touch me.
I am detaining a steamer to carry this and must cut it short.
Give my love to all at home. Kiss the children for me. The same for yourself.
Good night dear Julia.
U LYS .
Pittsburg Ten April 15th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
I am now living in camp about half a mile from the river preparing my army for the field. Gen. Halleck is here in command of the whole, Buell & myself commanding our seperate armies. I am looking for a speedy move, one more fight and then easy sailing to the close of the war. I really will feel glad when this thing is over. The battle at this place was the most desperate that has ever taken place on the Continant and I dont look for another like it. I suppose you have read a greatdeel about the battle in the papers and some quite contradictory? I will come in again for heaps of abuse from persons who were not here.
I sent you Simps watch and bought me a plain silver one. Also sent my citizens clothing, all of which no doubt has been received.
I have just learned that a boat was going down the river today and Orly [Orlando H. Ross, Grant’s cousin] is waiting to take this. Orly is doing very well and saving his money. I sent you $205.00 by express the other day. Did you get it?
We have had the most incessent rains here ever known I expect. The roads are now almost impassable and until they improve we cannot move. Give my love to all at home. Kiss the children for me and accept the same for yourself.
U LYS .
Pittsburg Landing, Ten. April 25th 1862
M Y D EAR W IFE ,
Again I write you from this place where I verily believe it has rained almost continuously since the begining of the year. No doubt we will leave here so soon as the roads become passable. I however am no longer boss. Gen. Halleck is here and I am truly glad of it. I hope the papers will let me alone in future. If the papers only knew how little ambition I have outside of putting down this rebellion and getting back once more to live quietly and unobtrusively with my family I think they would say less and have fewer falshoods to their account. I do not look much at the papers now consequently save myself much uncomfortable feeling.
I would have written you before but as I was writing to father I made that answer for one letter to you. I will enclose with this a letter from Gen. [Charles F.] Smith who I fear will not live many days. He was my old Commandant whilst a Cadet and a better soldier or truer man does not live. I want the letter saved. [Smith died that very day from an infected leg.]
I am afraid the money you let White have will be lost. Give yourself no trouble however over spilt milk.—I sent you $200.00 by express not yet acknowledged. Will send you some more soon. 1 also sent Simp’s watch which is not yet acknowledged.
Kiss all the children for me. When you hear of me being on the Mississippi river you can join me leaving the children at home. Give my love to all at home.
Col. Riggin is not with me. All the rest of my Staff are however. Hillyer & Lagow will be Colonels. Rawlins is a Maj. and ought to be a Brig. Gen.
I have been writing here in my tent ever since breakfast, it is now long after dinner, and have a pile yet before me that will take until bed time.
Kisses for yourself dear Julia.
U LYS .
Camp in the Field Near Pittsburg Ten. April 30th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
I move from here to-morrow. Before this reaches you probably another battle, and I think the last big one, will have taken place or be near at hand. I mean the last in the Mississippi Valley and this of course implies if we are successful which no doubt we will be. You need give yourself no trouble about newspaper reports. They will all be understood and me come out all right without a single contradiction. Most or all that you have seen has been written by persons who were not here and thos few items collected from persons nominally present, eye witnesses, was from those who disgraced themselvs and now want to draw off public attention. I am very sorry to say a greatdeel originates in jealousy. This is very far from applying however, I think, to our Chief, Halleck, who I look upon as one of the greatest men of the age. [At this time Grant considered Halleck a firm friend and stout defender—a verdict he reversed after the war when he saw the War Department records of what Halleck’s attitude had really been.] You enquire how I was hurt? For several days before the battle of Pittsburg our out Pickets were skirmishing with the enemies advance. I would remain up here all day and go back to Savanna in the evening where I was anxiously looking for the advance of Gen. Buell’s column. My object was, if possible, to keep off an attack until Buell arrived otherwise I would have gone out and met the enemy on Friday before they could have got in position to use all their forces advantageously. Friday evening I went back to Savanna as usual and soon after dark a messenger arrived informing that we were attacked. I immediately returned here and started out onto the field on horseback, my staff with me. The night was intensely dark. I soon found that the firing had seased and started to go back to the river. Being very dark and in the woods we had to ride in a slow walk and at that got off the road. In geling back to it my horse’s foot either cought or struck something and he fell flat on his side with my leg under him. Being wet and muddy I was not hurt much at the time but being in the saddle all of Sunday and Monday, and in the rain the intervening night without taking off boots or spurs my ancle swelled terribly and kept me on crutches for several days, unable to get on a boot. Col. Riggin is not with me. The rest of the gentlemen are. In addition I have Col. McPherson of the regular Army and one of the nicest gentleman you ever saw, Capt. Reynolds, regular, Lieuts Bowers & Rowley. We are all well and me as sober as a deacon no matter what is said to the contrary. Mrs. Turner & Miss Hadley run on the steamer Memphis carrying sick soldiers to hospital. As 1 am out from the river and they are only here about one day in eight or ten I rarely see them. There are no inhabitants here atall
Kiss all the children for me. Tell Jess I have a five shooter pistol for him. When you hear of me being on the Mississippi river join me leaving all the children except Jess. Draw the hundred dollars you have as a matter of course. If I had an opportunity I would send you $200.00 now. Give my love to all at home. Kisses for yourself.
U LYS .
Monterey Ten. May 4th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
Olando Ross has just arrived bringing a letter for me from you and also one from father. The latter seems very anxious that I should contradict the statements made by the newspapers! Dont he know the best contradiction in the world is to pay no attention to them? I am in the best health in the world. I think I must be twenty pounds heavyer than when first arrived at Savanna. I was then much reduced however from Diareah. My weight now must be 150 pounds. Orley says that Missy [Grant’s small daughter Nellie, who had a particularly secure place in his heart] is one of the smartest little girls to learn in Covington. I wrote to you that when you heard of my arrival any place on the Mississippi river you might join me. We now have our advance within three miles of Corinth. Every day our column moves up closer to the enemy. It is a big job however to get a large Army over country roads where it has been raining for the last five months. If we could go strung along the road where there was no enemy to meet it would be different. Here however the front must be kept compact and we do well to approach a few miles every day. Yesterday Gen. Pope had quite a skirmish with the rebels in geling possession of the town of Farmington three miles of Corinth. Pope lost two men killed Sc twelve wounded whilst the enemy left thirty dead on the field and lost quite a number taken prisoners. You will hear the result of the attack on Corinth, by telegraph, before this reaches you.—I sent you $250.00 by express the other day. Draw the $100.00 you got from Mr. Safford as a matter of course. I want you to let father have all you can for us to start on at the close of the war but dont stint yourself. I want you and the children to dress well. You can say to father that Nelsons troops made a good march on Saturday and were ordered that evening to march up the river to opposite Pittsburg Landing the next morning, which they did starting at an early hour. After the attack commenced orders were sent hurrying them up. But it is no small matter to march 10,000 men nine miles and cross a river with them when there are no ferry boats and but a small landing overcrouded with steamers.
The papers will get done with this thing after awhile and look upon the first days fight at Pittsburg Landing as one of the best resistances ever made. The enemy outnumbered us three to one that day and we held the field.
Kiss the children for me. Give my love to all at home. Did you get Simp’s watch? I shall not want my citizens clothing until my return to the loyal states. I hope and feel that my return there is not going to be long defered. After one more big battle it certainly cannot be necessary to keep this large army together and I am anxious to go either to Texas or on the coast someplace. Kisses for yourself.
U LYS .
The letter I sent you from Gen. Smith was probably the last he ever wrote. That was written by himself but seeing how badly it was done he had it copied and signed it himself. He was a gallant soldier and one whos esteem was worth having. In Gen. Sherman the country has an able and gallant defender and your husband a true friend.
Camp Near Corinth, Miss. May 11th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
I write again and probably the last from this side of Corinth. A few days more will no doubt tell the tale and relieve further suspense.—We here of course do not feel the same feverish excitement that is felt by persons at a distance, but I begin to understand their anxiety to know the result of every move that is made on the checkerboard.—I am thinking seriously of going home, and to Washington, as soon as the present impending fight or footrace is decided. I have been so shockingly abused that I sometimes think it almost time to defend myself. But my record in this war will bear scrutiny without writing anything in reply to the many attacks made. Take only the orders and instructions issued to me and those written by myself for their execution and it will make all right. I have seen with pain two publications, one from Hillyer and the other from myself, to father bearing our respective names. This should never have occurred.
I have but little to write you about this country. People have mostly left and indeed there is not much to remain for. It is heavily wooded and looks much that on the Gravois. People, what there are of them, Big river like.—Tell Jess I will take him his pistol before many weeks. I feel that the time cannot be long before I see you all either by my going home or being where you can join me. If the latter I would like very much to have Mary come with you.
I hope Fred & Buck are good boys and learn their lessons well! Missy I know learns hers and will soon be able to write me long letters. Kiss all of them for me. The same for yourself dear Julia.
U LYS .
Camp Near Corinth, Miss May 13th 1862
D EAR J ULIA , I have just received two letters from you one written on the 3d and the other on the 4th of this month both complaining of not receiving letters from me. I write usually twice a week and why in the world you do not get my letters I cant tell. You also ask if I wont send you a remittance soon! It is only a month since I sent you $205.00 and since that I have sent you $250.00 more and wrote to you to draw the $100 you got from Mr. Safford. I have also written two or three times to join me the moment you hear of me being on the Mississippi river. Since that however I have written to you that I expected to go home after the approaching battle. If I do not however and you hear of our arrival at Memphis join me at once. You may draw on Mr. Safford for $200.00 if you like. I shall not probably be able to send any from here at the end of this month as I will use my pay for secret service funds to make up for the money I have of that kind with Mr. Safford and with the Sub Treasurer in New York City. I would just as leave you would draw all I have with Mr. Safford as not however. The amount is between three and four hundred dollars. We are now encamped in the state of Mississippi within hearing of the enemies drums at Corinth. Every day we have more or less skirmishing but nothing that could be magnified into a battle. As I have said before in several of my letters I regard this as the last great battle to be fought in the valley of the Mississippi. If the War is to be continued I am anxious to go to some other field. I have probably done more hard work than any other General officer and about as much fighting and although I will schrink from no duty I am perfectly willing that others should have every opportunity for distinguishing themselves. I have had my full share of abuse too but I think no harm will come from all that.
In my last letter I told you that it would probably be my last this side of Corinth. But we move slow Gen. Halleck being determined to make shure work. Then too, the roads have been so intolerable until within the last few days that it has been very difficult to get up supplies for the army.
Kiss all the children for me. Give my love to all at home. If you do not get letters dont blame me with it for I write every three or four days.
Kisses for yourself.
U LYS .
P.S. I never enjoyed better health in my life than for the last month. I must weigh ten or fifteen pounds more now than at any time since leaving Calafornia.
Camp Near Corinth Miss. May 16th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
I do hope all suspense about the approaching conflict will be ended before it is time for me to write you another letter. We are moving slowly but in a way to insure success. I feel confidant myself and believe the feeling is general among the troops.
What move next after the attack upon Corinth is hard to predict. It must depend to a great extent upon the movements of the enemy.
Jim Casey is here. He arrived to-day. He is very anxious to have you visit them and says that if you come down he will go with you and Emma to St. Louis on a short visit. I have no objections to the arrangement. They also want Fred, to spend his vacation with them. All were very much pleased with Fred, for his modesty and good sense.—Your father sent Emma a bill of sale for the negroes he gave her. To avoid a possibility of any of them being sold he ought to do the same with all the balance. I would not give anything for you to have any of them as it is not probable we will ever live in a slave state again but would not like to see them sold under the hammer.
Aunt Fanny is back in Mo. She says that Mo. is a better place than she thought it was until she tried Ohio again.
John Dent is going back to the country. Poor John! I pitty him. Dont tell him that I say so though I am anxious to see you and the children once more.
I enjoy most excellent health and am capable of enduring any amount of fatigue. But I want to see this thing over. As I have before said I think the hard fighting in the West will end with the battle of Corinth, supposing all the time that we are successful. Of that, our success, I have no doubt. Kiss all the children for me. I know they are all good and well behaved. Does Jess find any one to fight now that I am away? Give my love to all at home. Write often but dont find fault if you do not receive my letters. I write often enough. Remember me to Mrs. Van Dyke and Mrs. Tweed.
U LYS .
Kiss for yourself
Camp Near Corinth, Miss. May 20th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
Again I write you from this camp in the Oak woods near Corinth. It would be a beautiful place for a Picnic but not so pleasant to make home at. Since my last our troops have moved up some two miles nearer the scene of the next great conflict but Gen. Halleck and myself still remain. The lines are so long that it is about as convenient to visit them from here as from some nearer point.
When the great battle will come off is hard to predict. No pains will be spared to make our success certain and there is scarsely that man in our army who doubts the result. I write to you very often but it does not appear that you get all my letters. It becomes necessary therefore to repeat some things said before. First then I sent you $250.00 by Express the receipt of which you have not acknowledged. Next I authorized you to draw what is still remaining with Mr. Safford in Cairo, something over $300.00 I think. Our rent in Galena is still unpaid. Authorize the amount to be deducted from your next loan to the store.
I will send every dollar I can to you which will be about $400.00 per month. Get yourself everything of the very best, and the same for the children, but avoid extravigance. A few thousand saved now will be of great benefit after a while.
I want very much to see you and the children. When I will have that pleasure is hard to tell. If we get any place where we are likely to remain any time you can join me but the children must remain at school. Does Missie continue to learn as fast as she did? Is Jess a good boy and how often does he fight his Grandpa and Aunt Mary? You have never told me what he says about his five shooter that I am saving to take him. Jess must be about big enough now to leave his Ma and join me as Aid-de-Camp. Tell him that if he can ride a horse, wear a sword and fire his pistol to come on. It wont do for him to be a soldier though if he ever cries. He must try and go without showing such youthful weakness for a week before he starts.
Give my love to all at home. This is the third letter I have written since receiving one from you.
Kisses for yourself and the children.
U LYS .
Camp Near Corinth, Miss. May 24th 1862
M Y D EAR W IFE , I have just received three letters from you one of them enclosing a letter from Fred. I wish you would make all the children write to me even if it is only a few lines they have to copy.
You must have received some of my letters before this but you make no reference to them which would indicate it.
I have written to you to join me whenever you hear of my being on the Mississippi river! I will now change that. You must join me as soon as possible but wait until you get a letter from me saying where.—It is hard to predict where I may be after the next great battle is fought.
If our success is complete I may be stationed in some Southern state with some degree of perminancy or may be sent around on the coast to opperate there, or may get leave of absence to go home for a time.—I want no leave whilst there are active opperations but confess that a few weeks relaxation would be hailed with a degree of pleasure never experianced by me before.
My duties are now much lighter than they have been heretofore. Gen. Halleck being present relieves me of great responsibility and Rawlins has become thoroughly acquainted with the routine of the office and takes off my hands the examination of all papers. I think he is one of the best men I ever knew and if another War should break out, or this one be protacted, he would make one of the best General officers to be found in the country. He unites talent with energy, and great honesty, which, I am sorry to say, is not universal in this war where patriotism alone, (and which cannot be jenuine unless strictly honest) governs.
I venture no prediction when Corinth will be taken but that it will be taken there is no doubt.—You may expect to hear from me every three or four days and to join me soon.—William Smith arrived here this evening. He will probably remain a week.
Enclosed you will find receipt for the $250.00 sent some time ago. I will probably be able to send $500.00 more at the end of the month. Love to all at home. Kiss the children for me. Same for yourself.
U LYS .
Corinth Miss. May 31st 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
Corinth is now in our hands without much fighting. Yesterday we found the enemy had gone taking with them all their men, arms and most of their supplies. What they did not take was mostly burned, in flames as we entered. What the next move, or the part I am to take I do not know. But I shall apply to go home if there is not an early move and an important command assigned me. My rank is second in this Department and I shall expect the first seperate command and hope it will be to go to Memphis and make Head Quarters there. In that case I will write for you to join me leaving the three oldest children at school.—I will be writing you every few days and will give you notice when and where to come to me. If there is not to be an early move I will apply for a short leave and go home. In that case I may reach Covington as soon as this letter.
Some of our troops are following the enemy and to-day distant canonading has been heard.
Although but few prisoners have yet been taken many may yet be captured. I hope so at least. What the rebels plans were for evacuating I am unable to see. But they will turn up some where and have to be whipped yet.—The country through which we have passed so far is poor and desolated by the presence of two large armies. What the people are to do for the next year is hard to surmise but there must be a vast amount of suffering. I pity them and regret their folly which has brought about this unnatural war and their suffering.
Col. Hillyer will go home in a day or two for the purpose of taking his family to New Jersey. If they go by the way of Cincinnati they will stop and see you. Kiss all the children for me and tell me all about them. How they learn at school and how they bear themselvs among other children. I will not be able to send you any money this month as it will take all my savings to make up the amount I authorized you to draw from Mr. Safford.
Orly Ross paid me and I sent $40.00 a few days ago by Capt. Rowley to be placed to your credit. There is about $130.00 rent to be paid in Galena which will have to be deducted out of the deposites made. I have written to Orvil on that point.
Give my love to all at home. Write often to your long absent husband.
U LYS .
Camp Near Corinth, Miss. June 3d 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
So confidant was I that I should be starting home by tomorrow or next day, with all my staff, that I let Col. Lagow start last evening with W. W. Smith, your cousin. Necessity however changes my plans, or the public service does, and I must yeald.—In a few weeks I hope to be so stationed that you can join me. [It appears that the person who talked Grant out of leaving was Halleck.] Where is hard to say. May be Memphis. I wish Mary would come with you if the latter place should be my destiny and bring all the children to remain until after their vacation. She could then return with the three oldest and let them go to school. As soon as I know definately you will be informed when, where and how to join me. Wm Smith will call to see you on his way to Washington Pa and will deliver Jess’ pistol. Tell Jess he must hurt nobody with it but all the little boys may look at it.
I will move up to-morow into Corinth Corinth is a new town of but about three years growth, neatly built and probably contained about 1500 inhabitants. Now it is desolate the families all having fled long before we got possission, windows broken furniture broken and destroyed, and no doubt the former occupants destitute and among friends but little better off than themselvs. Soldiers who fight battles do not experience half their horrors. All the hardships come upon the weak, I cannot say innofensive, women and children. I believe these latter are wors rebels than the soldiers who fight against us. The latter mostly are heartily tired of the war. This is the evidence of prisoners and deserters who come in at least.
It is no[w] pretty certain that we will take near 10.000 prisoners, 20,000 stand of arms and now doubt a greater number of men have deserted and will be lost to the rebel army than the whole number taken.
Give my love to all at home. Kiss the children for me and accept the same to yourself.
U LYS .
Corinth Mississippi, June 9th 1862
M Y D EAR J ULIA ,
I expected by this time to be at home, but fate is against it.—You need not now look for me atal but you may look for a letter soon where to join me. I do not know where myself but in all probability it will be in West Tennessee.
Privately I say to you that when I talked of going home and leaving my command here there was quite a feeling among the troops, at least so epressed by Gen. officers below me, against my going. I will have to stay. It is bearly possible that I may be able to leave long enough to go after you and bring you on. If so I will do it.—It would afford me the greatest pleasure to be relieved from active duty for even a short time. People in civil life have no idea of the immense labor devolving on a commander in the field. If they had they never would envy them. Rawlins has become so perfectly posted in the duties of the office that I am relieved entirely from the routine. Cols. Hillyer & Lagow are also familiar with the duties and Aid me out of doors materially.
Although Gen. Sherman has been made a Maj. Gen. by the battle of Shiloh I have never done half justice by him. With green troops he was my standby during that trying day of Sunday, (there has been nothing like it on this continent, nor in history.) He kept his Division in place all day, and aided materially in keeping those to his right and left in place—He saw me frequently and received, and obeyed, my directions during that day, but some others, I will say only one other, may have forgotten them. In writing this last sentence it would leave an inference against a commander on Sunday. I would imply nothing of the sort, but against one of my commanders on Monday.
Give my love to all at home. Kiss the children for me and accept the same for your self. Has Jess got his pistol yet.—I sent it by Wm Smith.
U LYS .
Corinth Miss. June 12th 1862
D EAR J ULIA ,
It is bright and early (before the morning mail leaves) and I thought to write you that in a few days, Monday the i6th probably, I would leave here. I hope to be off on Monday for Memphis and if so want you to join me there. I will write again however just before starting and it may be will have arranged to go after you instead of you coming by yourself.—I would love most dearly to get away from care for a week or two.
I am very well. This is apparently an exceedingly fine climate and one to enjoy health in.—Citizens are begining to return to Corinth and seem to think the Yankees a much less bloody, revengeful and to be dreaded people, than they had been led to think.
In my mind there is no question but that this war could be ended at once if the whole Southern people could express their unbiased feeling untrarnelled by by leaders. The feeling is kept up however by crying out Abolitionest against us and this is unfortunately sustained by the acts of a very few among us.—There has been instances of negro stealing, persons going to the houses of farmers who have remained at home, being inclined to Union sentiments, and before their eyes perswaid their blacks to mount up behind them and go off. Of course I can trace such conduct to no individual but believe the guilty parties have never heard the whistle of a single bullet nor intentionally never will.
Give my love to all at home. Kisses for yourself and children.
U LYS .
Corinth, Mississippi, June 16th 1862
M Y D EAR J ULIA ,
I hope this will be my last letter but one from this place. The next will likely inform you of the day I shall leave for Memphis and how you are to join me. If atal practicable I will go after you and spend a few days at home, if not will provide means, and ways, for you to join me.
I have just received your letter enclosing Nellie’s card of merit. It is very pretty and shows that she is a good girl and learns well at school. I think after vacation we will have to send Jess back to go to school and see if he cannot get some cards for good behavior.
That was quite a mistake made in the announcement of my arrival at home. I wish it could have been true. It would be a great relief to get away for a few days and if there is no likelyhood of active service soon I must try and go.
This is a dreary and desolated country. I went North to Jackson on Friday and returned on Saturday and found the country looking much more prosperous however. Some of my troops are occupying that place, and guard all the road from here there, from there to Grand (unction, and also a portion of the road from Humboldt to Memphis. You will have to look at the map to see where these places are.—My command at present embraces all Tennessee West of the Tennessee river and Forts Henry and Donelson East of it and I can choose any point within this District for Head Quarters. It is proper though that a point within easy communication of all other points and Department Head Quarters should be selected. Memphis will be connected by rail and telegraph with all, and near Arkansas where, if necessary a portion of my troops might be required in case of an imergency—Give my love to all at home.—Do not write any more after the receipt of this unless you receive directions from me. I would like to have Mary come with us, or you as the case may be, to spend the vacation of the children.
Kisses to all and good night.
U LYS .