Aug 31 1861 Wrote my father, “All I fear is that too much may be expected of me”

Aug 31 1861 Wrote my Father, “There has been no move made affecting me which has not been complimentary rather than otherwise though calculated to keep me laboriously employed.  I was sent to Ironton when the place was weak and threatened with a superior force and as soon as it was rendered secure was ordered to Jefferson City, another point threatened.  I was left there but a week when orders were sent me ordering to this point putting me in command of all the forces in S. E. Mo., South Ill. and everything that can operate here.  All I fear is that too much may be expected of me.  My duties will absorb my entire attention and I shall try not to disappoint the good people of Ill. who, I learn from every quarter, express an enthusiasm for me that was wholly unexpected.”

Autographed Letter, Rosenbach Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.

Aug 30 1861 “[T]he undersigned hereby assumes command of this post”

Aug 30 1861 Issued General Orders No 1 to Col. C. C. Marsh commanding the 20th Regt of Ill Vols.  “By virtue of instructions dated Head Quarters department of the west August 28th 1861, the undersigned hereby assumes command of this post.  Rations of sugar, coffee and bread will be sent your command.  For rations of meat you must depend upon the supplies of the country taking fresh Beef where you can find it.”

“In getting supplies you will be careful that your command do not help themselves but everything must be done by your order making a proper detail to execute it, and all supplies must be accounted for to the Benefit of the United States.  The names of persons from whom supplies are taken, the amount and cash value will be reported to these Head Quarters.  Where the parties are loyal citizens a receipt will also be given to be sent here and payment ordered.”

“You will proceed to Dallas and there await the arrival of Genl Prentiss reporting as early as practicable after the junction is effected when the undersigned under the same instructions referred to in Order No 1 will assume command of the combined movement to be made.”

“P. S. Upon further examination of my instructions, I find that the junction between Genl Prentiss and troops from this place is to be effected at or near Jackson.”

National Archives, RG 393, Western Dept. Letters Received


Aug 29 1861 “I have a task before me of no trifling moment and want all the encouragement possible”

Aug 29 1861 Wrote Julia, “I have a moment to drop you a line in but at this time I cannot inform you where I am going.  I know that there is a Steamer laying at the Wharf, loaded with troops, ready to start whenever I go aboard.  I will have my orders after breakfast.  I was taken a good deal by surprise yesterday about 11 O’ Clock to get orders to report at once to Gen. Fremont for Special Orders.  I wish I could be kept with one Brigade steadily.  But I suppose it is a compliment to be selected so often for what is supposed to be important service.”

“Remember me to all in Galena.  Kiss the children for me and try to encourage me.  I have a task before me of no trifling moment and want all the encouragement possible.  Remember that my success will depend a great deal upon myself and that the safety of our country, to some extent, and my reputation and that of our children greatly depends upon my acts.”

Library of Congress, U S Grant

Aug 28 1861 “The instructions assigned me to the command of the district of south-east Missouri”

Aug 28 1861 “The “important special instructions” which I received …, assigned me to the command of the district of south-east Missouri, embracing all the territory south of St. Louis, in Missouri, as well as all southern Illinois. At first I was to take personal command of a combined expedition that had been ordered for the capture of Colonel Jeff. Thompson, a sort of independent or partisan commander who was disputing with us the possession of south-east Missouri. Troops had been ordered to move from Ironton to Cape Girardeau, sixty or seventy miles to the south-east, on the Mississippi River; while the forces at Cape Girardeau had been ordered to move to Jacksonville, ten miles out towards Ironton; and troops at Cairo and Bird’s Point, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, were to hold themselves in readiness to go down the Mississippi to Belmont, eighteen miles below, to be moved west from there when an officer should come to command them. I was the officer who had been selected for this purpose. Cairo was to become my headquarters when the expedition terminated.”

Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant Chpt XIX p 172

Aug 27 1861 Received orders to report to hdqs at St. Louis for important special instructions

Aug 27, 1861 “[W]hile seated at my office door, with nothing further to do until it was time to start for the front, I saw an officer of rank approaching, who proved to be Colonel Jefferson C. Davis. I had never met him before, but he introduced himself by handing me an order for him to proceed to Jefferson City and relieve me of the command. The orders directed that I should report at department headquarters at St. Louis without delay, to receive important special instructions. It was about an hour before the only regular train of the day would start. I therefore turned over to Colonel Davis my orders, and hurriedly stated to him the progress that had been made to carry out the department instructions already described. I had at that time but one staff officer, doing myself all the detail work usually performed by an adjutant-general. In an hour after being relieved from the command I was on my way to St. Louis, leaving my single staff officer to follow the next day with our horses and baggage.”

Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant Chpt XIX p 171-2


Aug 26 1861 “[M]y impression is that there is no force sufficiently strong to attempt [an attack]”

Aug 26 1861 Wrote Julia, “How long we will be here and whether I will get to go home is hard to tell.  Gen. Fremont promised that I should but if a forward movement is to take place I fear I shall not. — When I was ordered away from Ironton nearly all the commanders of regiments expressed regret I am told.  The fact is my whole career since the beginning of present unhappy difficulties has been complimented in a very flattering manner.  All my old friends in the Army and out seem to heartily congratulate me.  I scarcely ever get to go out of the house and consequently see but little of the people here.  There seems to be no stir however except among the troops and they are quiet.  There is considerable apprehension of an attack soon but my means of information are certainly better than can be had by most others and my impression is that there is no force sufficiently strong to attempt anything of the kind under a weeks march.”

Library of Congress via Papers of US Grant Vol 2 p 141

Aug 25 1861 “The city was filled with Union fugitives”

Aug 25 1861 “The city was filled with Union fugitives who had been driven by guerilla bands to take refuge with the National troops. They were in a deplorable condition and must have starved but for the support the government gave them. They had generally made their escape with a team or two, sometimes a yoke of oxen with a mule or a horse in the lead. A little bedding besides their clothing and some food had been thrown into the wagon. All else of their worldly goods were abandoned and appropriated by their former neighbors; for the Union man in Missouri who staid at home during the rebellion, if he was not immediately under the protection of the National troops, was at perpetual war with his neighbors. I stopped the recruiting service, and disposed the troops about the outskirts of the city so as to guard all approaches. Order was soon restored.”

“I had been at Jefferson City but a few days when I was directed from department headquarters to fit out an expedition to Lexington, Booneville and Chillicothe, in order to take from the banks in those cities all the funds they had and send them to St. Louis. The western army had not yet been supplied with transportation. It became necessary therefore to press into the service teams belonging to sympathizers with the rebellion or to hire those of Union men. This afforded an opportunity of giving employment to such of the refugees within our lines as had teams suitable for our purposes. They accepted the service with alacrity. As fast as troops could be got off they were moved west some twenty miles or more.”

Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant Chpt XIX p 171

Aug 23 1861 “Drill and discipline is more necessary for the men than fortifications”

Aug 23 1861 Wrote Capt. Butler, “I telegraphed you yesterday the precarious condition Lexington was in, and of the expedition I was fitting out for the relief of that point.  As the gentleman from whom I got my information, (Mr Silver) called upon you, it is not necessary that I should enter into particulars.  Col Marshal goes in command of the expedition, taking with him all his own command, about three hundred homeguards and a section of Taylor’s Battery, should it arrive in time.  They will subsist off the country through which they pass under full instructions.”

“I am not fortifying here at all.  With the picket guard and other duty coming upon the men of this command there is but little time left for drilling.  Drill and discipline is more necessary for the men than fortifications.  Another difficulty in the way of fortifying is that i have no Engineer officer to direct it, no time to attend to it myself, and very little disposition to gain a “Pillow notoriety” for a branch of service that I have forgotten all about.”

National Archives, RG 393, USG Hd. Qrs. Correspondence, O.R., I, iii, 452-53

Aug 22 1861 “I find a great deficiency in everything for the comfort and efficiency of an army”

Aug 22 1861 Wrote Capt Speed Bulter, adjutant general to Brig. Gen. John Pope. “During yesterday I visited the camps of the different commands about this city and selected locations for troops yet to arrive.  I find a great deficiency in everything for the comfort and efficiency of an army.  Most of the troops are without clothing, camp and garrison equipage.  Ammunition was down to about ten rounds of cartridges and for the artillery none is left.  The artillery here consists of four six pounders, without artillery-men, and one twenty four pound howitzer, too heavy for field use.  The Post Quartermaster and Commissary have not been here since my arrival, so that I cannot report fully as to these departments.  They are apparently in a bad condition.  There are no rations for issue; the mules, sent some time since, are guarded in a lot, no effort is being made to get them into teams; and a general looseness prevailing.”

“I have fitted out an expedition of three hundred and fifty men to scour the country around where the cars were fired into day before yesterday.  Such information has been received here as will probably lead to the arrest of many of the parties engaged.”

National Archives RG 393, USG Hd. Qrs. Correspondence, O.R., I, iii, 452.


Aug 21 1861 Received a report of an ambush of the Missouri Home Guards

Aug 21 1861 Received a report of an ambush from Lt. Col. Benjamin W. Grover of the Missouri Home Guards, “The P. R. Road train left California at 1/2 past 8 O Clock AM August 20 densely filled with Home Guards, 160 belonging to my Command — 70 Home Guards from Tipton and 60 from California.  When the train got near Lookout Station a concealed body of men opened a brisk fire, on the Cars, the top of the Cars loaded with our men, who returned the fire.  As soon as the train stopped, Capt Beck, assisted Capts. Hopkins and Rice, formed our men in line of skirmishers and cleaned the woods in a very short time.”

Papers of Ulysses S Grant Vol 2. p 129