“Your highly complimentary invitation to … a dinner to be given by citizens of St. Louis, is just received”

Upon my arrival here in St. Louis, I found that Fred is recovering nicely from his illness and is out of danger.  I received the following letter from several prominent citizens of St. Louis.

“Your fellow citizens of St. Louis, in common with all loyal men of the Republic, have witnessed with the highest admiration your patriotic devotion, unsurpassed service and commanding success in the various military positions occupied by you from the commencement of the existing war. They remember the alacrity with which you sprung to arms at the first call of your country, placing yourself at its disposal to aid in suppressing this most unjustifiable and gigantic rebellion. As citizens of Missouri they can never forget the promptness and skill with which you aided in defending this State at the beginning of the conflict, when the means at the command of those in authority were wholly inadequate to the great work committed to them; and as citizens of the great Valley of the Mississippi, they owe you unbounded gratitude, not only for the first signal victories which, under your auspices, crowned our arms and thrilled the nation with joy, but also for those later and unparalleled triumphs which gave again freedom to western commerce, from the source of its great rivers to the Gulf. Not with more certainty is the indivisibility of the Mississippi Valley proclaimed by its geographical features, than by the devoted loyalty of the North West, which demands that from the Lakes to the Gulf, along its broad rivers and over its fertile plains, only one flag shall be known, and that the glorious banner of our Republic—’one and indivisible.’ You have borne that flag victoriously with your heroic legions until the Mississippi goes ‘unvexed to the sea’; and looking down from the mountain heights of Tennessee upon the States between you and the Gulf in one direction and the Atlantic in the other, you have, with the inspiration which the past glories of that State should ever arouse, made at Chattanooga a glorious response to that grand utterance of an immortal hero which crushed out incipient rebellion years gone by:—’The Federal Union: It shall be preserved.’ As citizens of a Republic consecrated to constitutional liberty, and duly appreciating the destinies of the future for our own and other lands which hang upon the results of the present conflict, we glory in the brilliant deeds and unparalleled triumphs of yourself, officers and men. To you and the gallant soldiers whom you have led, a nation’s honors and gratitude are due. In the name of ourselves and of St. Louis, we earnestly request that you will, before leaving this city, once your home, meet your fellow citizens at a public dinner, where old personal friendships may be renewed and new ones formed, and where congratulations over the successes of the past and the hopes of the future may be freely interchanged. We have the honor to be, with sentiments of profound regard,”

I replied,

Your highly complimentary invitation to meet “old acquaintances and to make new ones” at a dinner to be given by citizens of St. Louis, is just received.
I will state that I have only visited St. Louis on this occation to see a sick child. Finding however that he has passed the crisis of his disease, and is pronounced out of danger by his physician, I accept the invitation. My stay in in the City will be short, probably not beyond the 1st proximo. On to-morrow I shall be engaged. Any other day of my stay here, and any place selected by the Citizens of St. Louis, it will be agreeable for me to meet them.
I have the honor to be very respectfully your obt. svt.
U. S. Grant
Maj. Gen. U. S. A.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 69-70

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