The Project Gutenberg eBook, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, by Ulysses S. Grant, Edited by Jesse Grant Cramer
Title: Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78
Author: Ulysses S. Grant
Release Date: September 15, 2004 [eBook #13471]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LETTERS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT TO HIS FATHER AND HIS YOUNGEST SISTER, 1857-78***
E-text prepared by Ted Garvin
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
||Older books often abbreviated words as contractions, and printed them as superscripts; for example, Publins for Publications. This style is used in the text.
Ulysses S. Grant
to his Father and his Youngest Sister
Edited by his Nephew
Jesse Grant Cramer
There has of late years been a tendency, as a result of the teachings of certain historical authorities, to minimize the influence of the leadership of the so-called Great Men, and to question the importance of their work as a factor in shaping the history of the time. Great events are referred to as brought about by such general influences as "the spirit of the time" (Goethe's Zeitgeist), the "movement of humanity," or "forces of society." If we accepted the theories of the writers of this school, we should be forced to the conclusion that generations of men move across the world's stage impelled by forces entirely outside of themselves; and that as far as the opportunity of individual action is concerned, that is for action initiated and completed under his own will-power, man might almost as well be a squirrel working in a revolving cage. The squirrel imagines that he moves the cylinder, but the outsider knows that the movement is predetermined, and that there is no change of position and no net result from the exertion.
A large number of people hold, notwithstanding, to the old-time feeling expressed, and doubtless exaggerated and over-emphasized, in such books as Carlyle's Hero Worship. They are unwilling, and in fact they find it practically impossible, to get away from the belief that the thought of the time is directed by the great thinkers, and that the action of the community is influenced and largely shaped by the power, whether this be utilized for good or for evil, of the great men of action.
In any case, men will continue to be interested in the personalities of the leaders whose names are connected with the great events of history. The citizens of each nation look back with legitimate pride upon the patriotic work of those who have helped to found the state, or to maintain its existence.
Among the national leaders whose names will always hold an honorable place in American history is Ulysses S. Grant, the simple-hearted man and capable soldier, to whose patriotism, courage, persistence, and skill was so largely due the successful termination of the war between the States, the contest which assured the foundations of the Republic. We are interested not only in learning what this man did, but in coming to know, as far as may be practicable, what manner of man he was. It is all-important in a study of development of character to have placed within reach the utterances of the man himself. There is no utterance that can give as faithful a picture of a man's method of thought and principle of action as the personal letter written, with no thought of later publication, to those who are near to him.
The publishers deem themselves fortunate, therefore, in being able to place before the fellow-citizens of General Grant who are appreciative of the great service rendered by him to the country, and who are interested also in the personality of the man, a series of letters written to members of his family or to near friends. These letters, dating back to the time of his youth, give a clear and trustworthy impression of the nature of the man and of the development of character and of force that made possible his all-valuable leadership.
The plan for the publication of these letters had received the cordial approval of General Grant's son, the late General Frederick D. Grant, and it is only because of his sudden death, which has brought sorrow upon a great circle of friends and upon the community at large, that the publishers are prevented from including with the volume a letter from the General as the head of the Grant family, giving formal expression to his personal interest in the undertaking.
This collection of letters will constitute a suitable companion volume to Grant's Personal Memoirs and to the accepted biographies of the Great Commander whose memory is honored by his fellow-citizens not only for the patience, persistence, and skill of the leader of armies, as evidenced in the brilliant campaigns that culminated with Vicksburg, Missionary Ridge, and Appomattox, but for the sturdy integrity of character, modest bearing, and sweetness of nature of the great citizen.
GEO. HAVEN PUTNAM.
NEW YORK, April 25, 1912.
|ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph by W. Kurtz, New York.
|JESSE ROOT GRANT, ÆTAT. 69
Father of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
From a photograph.
|MRS. HANNAH GRANT
Mother of Ulysses Simpson Grant.
From a photograph by Landy, taken in Cincinnati.
|FACSIMILE OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT TO HIS FATHER
|FACSIMILE OF GENERAL GRANT'S PROCLAMATION TO THE CITIZENS OF PADUCAH
|GENERAL ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph taken in 1865 by Gutekunst, Philadelphia.
|ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
From a photograph taken during his second term as President.
Letters of Ulysses S. Grant
[In 1843, at the age of twenty-one, Ulysses S. Grant was graduated from West Point with the rank of brevet second lieutenant. He was appointed to the 4th Infantry, stationed at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. In May, 1844, he was ordered to the frontier of Louisiana with the army of observation, while the annexation of Texas was pending. The bill for the annexation of Texas was passed March 1, 1845; the war with Mexico began in April, 1846. Grant was promoted to a first-lieutenancy September, 1847. The Mexican War closed in 1848. Both this war and the Civil War he characterizes in his Memoirs as "unholy."
Soon after his return from Mexico he was married to Julia Dent. The next six years were spent in military duty in Sacketts Harbor, New York, Detroit, Michigan, and on the Pacific coast. He was promoted to the captaincy of a company in 1853; but because of the inadequacy of a captain's pay, he resigned from the army, July, 1854, and rejoined his wife and children at St. Louis. In speaking of this period Grant says, "I was now to commence at the age of