I received the following letter from Pres. Lincoln,
Please read and answer this letter as though I was not President, but only a friend. My son, now in his twenty second year, having graduated at Harvard, wishes to see something of the war before it ends. I do not wish to put
him in the ranks, nor yet to give him a commission, to which those who have already served long, are better entitled, and better qualified to hold. Could he, without embarrassment to you, or detriment to the service, go into your Military family with some nominal rank, I, and not the public, furnishing his necessary means? If no, say so without the least hesitation, because I am as anxious, and as deeply interested, that you shall not be encumbered as you can be yourself.
Annapolis Junction Md.
Jan.y 21st 1865
A. Lincoln President,
Your favor of this date in relation to your son serving in some Military capacity is received. I will be most happy to have him in my Military family in the manner you propose. The nominal rank given him is immaterial but I would suggest that of Capt. as I have three Staff officers now, of considerable service, in no higher grade. Indeed I have one officer with only the rank of Lieut, who has been in the service from the beginning of the war. This however will
make no difference and I would still say give the rank of Capt.— Please excuse my writing on a half sheet. I had no resource but to take the blank half of your letter.
your obt. svt,
U. S. Grant
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 281-2