Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

IN TWO VOLUMES.

PREFACE.

“Man proposes and God disposes.” There are but few important
events in the affairs of men brought about by their own choice.

Although frequently urged by friends to write my memoirs I had
determined never to do so, nor to write anything for
publication. At the age of nearly sixty-two I received an
injury from a fall, which confined me closely to the house while
it did not apparently affect my general health. This made study
a pleasant pastime. Shortly after, the rascality of a business
partner developed itself by the announcement of a failure. This
was followed soon after by universal depression of all
securities, which seemed to threaten the extinction of a good
part of the income still retained, and for which I am indebted
to the kindly act of friends. At this juncture the editor of
the Century Magazine asked me to write a few articles for him. I
consented for the money it gave me; for at that moment I was
living upon borrowed money. The work I found congenial, and I
determined to continue it. The event is an important one for
me, for good or evil; I hope for the former.

In preparing these volumes for the public, I have entered upon
the task with the sincere desire to avoid doing injustice to any
one, whether on the National or Confederate side, other than the
unavoidable injustice of not making mention often where special
mention is due. There must be many errors of omission in this
work, because the subject is too large to be treated of in two
volumes in such way as to do justice to all the officers and men
engaged. There were thousands of instances, during the
rebellion, of individual, company, regimental and brigade deeds
of heroism which deserve special mention and are not here
alluded to. The troops engaged in them will have to look to the
detailed reports of their individual commanders for the full
history of those deeds.

The first volume, as well as a portion of the second, was
written before I had reason to suppose I was in a critical
condition of health. Later I was reduced almost to the point of
death, and it became impossible for me to attend to anything for
weeks. I have, however, somewhat regained my strength, and am
able, often, to devote as many hours a day as a person should
devote to such work. I would have more hope of satisfying the
expectation of the public if I could have allowed myself more
time. I have used my best efforts, with the aid of my eldest
son, F. D. Grant, assisted by his brothers, to verify from the
records every statement of fact given. The comments are my own,
and show how I saw the matters treated of whether others saw them
in the same light or not.

With these remarks I present these volumes to the public, asking
no favor but hoping they will meet the approval of the reader.

U. S. GRANT.

MOUNT MACGREGOR, NEW YORK, July 1, 1885.

CONTENTS

VOLUME I.

CHAPTER I.
ANCESTRY–BIRTH–BOYHOOD.

CHAPTER II.
WEST POINT–GRADUATION.

CHAPTER III.
ARMY LIFE–CAUSES OF THE MEXICAN WAR–CAMP SALUBRITY.

CHAPTER IV.
CORPUS CHRISTI–MEXICAN SMUGGLING–SPANISH RULE IN
MEXICO–SUPPLYING TRANSPORTATION.

CHAPTER V.
TRIP TO AUSTIN–PROMOTION TO FULL SECOND-LIEUTENANT–ARMY OF
OCCUPATION.

CHAPTER VI.
ADVANCE OF THE ARMY–CROSSING THE COLORADO–THE RIO GRANDE.

CHAPTER VII.
THE MEXICAN WAR–THE BATTLE OF PALO ALTO–THE BATTLE OF RESACA
DE LA PALMA–ARMY OF INVASION–GENERAL TAYLOR–MOVEMENT ON
CAMARGO.

CHAPTER VIII.
ADVANCE ON MONTEREY–THE BLACK FORT–THE BATTLE OF
MONTEREY–SURRENDER OF THE CITY.

CHAPTER IX.
POLITICAL INTRIGUE–BUENA VISTA–MOVEMENT AGAINST VERA
CRUZ–SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF VERA CRUZ.

CHAPTER X.
MARCH TO JALAPA–BATTLE OF CERRO GORDO–PEROTE–PUEBLA–SCOTT
AND TAYLOR.

CHAPTER XI.
ADVANCE ON THE CITY OF MEXICO–BATTLE OF CONTRERAS–ASSAULT AT
CHURUBUSCO–NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE–BATTLE OF MOLINO DEL
REY–STORMING OF CHAPULTEPEC–SAN COSME–EVACUATION OF THE
CITY–HALLS OF THE MONTEZUMAS.

CHAPTER XII.
PROMOTION TO FIRST LIEUTENANT–CAPTURE OF THE CITY OF
MEXICO–THE ARMY–MEXICAN SOLDIERS–PEACE NEGOTIATIONS.

CHAPTER XIII.
TREATY OF PEACE–MEXICAN BULL FIGHTS–REGIMENTAL
QUARTERMASTER–TRIP TO POPOCATAPETL–TRIP TO THE CAVES OF MEXICO.

CHAPTER XIV.
RETURN OF THE ARMY–MARRIAGE–ORDERED TO THE PACIFIC
COAST–CROSSING THE ISTHMUS–ARRIVAL AT SAN FRANCISCO.

CHAPTER XV.
SAN FRANCISCO–EARLY CALIFORNIA EXPERIENCES–LIFE ON THE PACIFIC
COAST–PROMOTED CAPTAIN–FLUSH TIMES IN CALIFORNIA.

CHAPTER XVI.
RESIGNATION–PRIVATE LIFE–LIFE AT GALENA–THE COMING CRISIS.

CHAPTER XVII.
OUTBREAK OF THE REBELLION–PRESIDING AT A UNION
MEETING–MUSTERING OFFICER OF STATE TROOPS–LYON AT CAMP
JACKSON–SERVICES TENDERED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

CHAPTER XVIII.
APPOINTED COLONEL OF THE 21ST ILLINOIS–PERSONNEL OF THE
REGIMENT–GENERAL LOGAN–MARCH TO MISSOURI–MOVEMENT AGAINST
HARRIS AT FLORIDA, MO.–GENERAL POPE IN COMMAND–STATIONED AT
MEXICO, MO.

CHAPTER XIX.
COMMISSIONED BRIGADIER-GENERAL–COMMAND AT IRONTON,
MO.–JEFFERSON CITY–CAPE GIRARDEAU–GENERAL PRENTISS–SEIZURE
OF PADUCAH–HEADQUARTERS AT CAIRO.

CHAPTER XX.
GENERAL FREMONT IN COMMAND–MOVEMENT AGAINST BELMONT–BATTLE OF
BELMONT–A NARROW ESCAPE–AFTER THE BATTLE.

CHAPTER XXI.
GENERAL HALLECK IN COMMAND–COMMANDING THE DISTRICT OF
CAIRO–MOVEMENT ON FORT HENRY–CAPTURE OF FORT HENRY.

CHAPTER XXII.
INVESTMENT OF FORT DONELSON–THE NAVAL OPERATIONS–ATTACK OF THE
ENEMY–ASSAULTING THE WORKS–SURRENDER OF THE FORT.

CHAPTER XXIII.
PROMOTED MAJOR-GENERAL OF VOLUNTEERS–UNOCCUPIED
TERRITORY–ADVANCE UPON NASHVILLE–SITUATION OF THE
TROOPS–CONFEDERATE RETREAT–RELIEVED OF THE COMMAND–RESTORED
TO THE COMMAND–GENERAL SMITH.

CHAPTER XXIV.
THE ARMY AT PITTSBURG LANDING–INJURED BY A FALL–THE
CONFEDERATE ATTACK AT SHILOH–THE FIRST DAY’S FIGHT AT
SHILOH–GENERAL SHERMAN–CONDITION OF THE ARMY–CLOSE OF THE
FIRST DAY’S FIGHT–THE SECOND DAY’S FIGHT–RETREAT AND DEFEAT OF
THE CONFEDERATES.

CHAPTER XXV.
STRUCK BY A BULLET–PRECIPITATE RETREAT OF THE
CONFEDERATES–INTRENCHMENTS AT SHILOH–GENERAL BUELL–GENERAL
JOHNSTON–REMARKS ON SHILOH.

CHAPTER XXVI.
HALLECK ASSUMES COMMAND IN THE FIELD–THE ADVANCE UPON
CORINTH–OCCUPATION OF CORINTH–THE ARMY SEPARATED.

CHAPTER XXVII.
HEADQUARTERS MOVED TO MEMPHIS–ON THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS–ESCAPING
JACKSON–COMPLAINTS AND REQUESTS–HALLECK APPOINTED
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF–RETURN TO CORINTH–MOVEMENTS OF
BRAGG–SURRENDER OF CLARKSVILLE–THE ADVANCE UPON
CHATTANOOGA–SHERIDAN COLONEL OF A MICHIGAN REGIMENT.

CHAPTER XXVIII.
ADVANCE OF VAN DORN AND PRICE–PRICE ENTERS IUKA–BATTLE OF IUKA.

CHAPTER XXIX.
VAN DORN’S MOVEMENTS–BATTLE OF CORINTH–COMMAND OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE.

CHAPTER XXX.
THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST VICKSBURG–EMPLOYING THE
FREEDMEN–OCCUPATION OF HOLLY SPRINGS–SHERMAN ORDERED TO
MEMPHIS–SHERMAN’S MOVEMENTS DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI–VAN DORN
CAPTURES HOLLY SPRINGS–COLLECTING FORAGE AND FOOD.

CHAPTER XXXI.
HEADQUARTERS MOVED TO HOLLY SPRINGS–GENERAL MCCLERNAND IN
COMMAND–ASSUMING COMMAND AT YOUNG’S POINT–OPERATIONS ABOVE
VICKSBURG–FORTIFICATIONS ABOUT VICKSBURG–THE CANAL–LAKE
PROVIDENCE–OPERATIONS AT YAZOO PASS.

CHAPTER XXXII.
THE BAYOUS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI–CRITICISMS OF THE NORTHERN
PRESS–RUNNING THE BATTERIES–LOSS OF THE INDIANOLA–DISPOSITION
OF THE TROOPS.

CHAPTER XXXIII.
ATTACK ON GRAND GULF–OPERATIONS BELOW VICKSBURG.

CHAPTER XXXIV.
CAPTURE OF PORT GIBSON–GRIERSON’S RAID–OCCUPATION OF GRAND
GULF–MOVEMENT UP THE BIG BLACK–BATTLE OF RAYMOND.

CHAPTER XXXV.
MOVEMENT AGAINST JACKSON–FALL OF JACKSON–INTERCEPTING THE
ENEMY–BATTLE OF CHAMPION’S HILL.

CHAPTER XXXVI.
BATTLE OF BLACK RIVER BRIDGE–CROSSING THE BIG BLACK–INVESTMENT
OF VICKSBURG–ASSAULTING THE WORKS.

CHAPTER XXXVII.
SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
JOHNSTON’S MOVEMENTS–FORTIFICATIONS AT HAINES’S
BLUFF–EXPLOSION OF THE MINE–EXPLOSION OF THE SECOND
MINE–PREPARING FOR THE ASSAULT–THE FLAG OF TRUCE–MEETING WITH
PEMBERTON–NEGOTIATIONS FOR SURRENDER–ACCEPTING THE
TERMS–SURRENDER OF VICKSBURG.

CHAPTER XXXIX.
RETROSPECT OF THE CAMPAIGN–SHERMAN’S MOVEMENTS–PROPOSED
MOVEMENT UPON MOBILE–A PAINFUL ACCIDENT–ORDERED TO REPORT AT
CAIRO.

Volume one begins

CHAPTER I.

ANCESTRY–BIRTH–BOYHOOD.

My family is American, and has been for generations, in all its
branches, direct and collateral.

Mathew Grant, the founder of the branch in America, of which I
am a descendant, reached Dorchester, Massachusetts, in May,
1630. In 1635 he moved to what is now Windsor, Connecticut, and
was the surveyor for that colony for more than forty years. He
was also, for many years of the time, town clerk. He was a
married man when he arrived at Dorchester, but his children were
all born in this country. His eldest son, Samuel, took lands on
the east side of the Connecticut River, opposite Windsor, which
have been held and occupied by descendants of his to this day.

I am of the eighth generation from Mathew Grant, and seventh
from Samuel. Mathew Grant’s first wife died a few years after
their settlement in Windsor, and he soon after married the widow
Rockwell, who, with her first husband, had been fellow-
passengers with him and his first wife, on the ship Mary and
John, from Dorchester, England, in 1630. Mrs. Rockwell had
several children by her first marriage, and others by her
second. By intermarriage, two or three generations later, I am
descended from both the wives of Mathew Grant.

In the fifth descending generation my great grandfather, Noah
Grant, and his younger brother, Solomon, held commissions in the
English army, in 1756, in the war against the French and
Indians. Both were killed that year.

My grandfather, also named Noah, was then but nine years old. At
the breaking out of the war of the Revolution, after the battles
of Concord and Lexington, he went with a Connecticut company to
join the Continental army, and was present at the battle of
Bunker Hill. He served until the fall of Yorktown, or through
the entire Revolutionary war. He must, however, have been on
furlough part of the time–as I believe most of the soldiers of
that period were–for he married in Connecticut during the war,
had two children, and was a widower at the close. Soon after
this he emigrated to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and
settled near the town of Greensburg in that county. He took
with him the younger of his two children, Peter Grant. The
elder, Solomon, remained with his relatives in Connecticut until
old enough to do for himself, when he emigrated to the British
West Indies.

Not long after his settlement in Pennsylvania, my grandfather,
Captain Noah Grant, married a Miss Kelly, and in 1799 he
emigrated again, this time to Ohio, and settled where the town
of Deerfield now stands. He had now five children, including
Peter, a son by his first marriage. My father, Jesse R. Grant,
was the second child–oldest son, by the second marriage.

Peter Grant went early to Maysville, Kentucky, where he was very
prosperous, married, had a family of nine children, and was
drowned at the mouth of the Kanawha River, Virginia, in 1825,
being at the time one of the wealthy men of the West.

My grandmother Grant died in 1805, leaving seven children. This
broke up the family. Captain Noah Grant was not thrifty in the
way of “laying up stores on earth,” and, after the death of his
second wife, he went, with the two youngest children, to live
with his son Peter, in Maysville. The rest of the family found
homes in the neighborhood of Deerfield, my father in the family
of judge Tod, the father of the late Governor Tod, of Ohio. His
industry and independence of character were such, that I imagine
his labor compensated fully for the expense of his maintenance.

There must have been a cordiality in his welcome into the Tod
family, for to the day of his death he looked upon judge Tod and
his wife, with all the reverence he could have felt if they had
been parents instead of benefactors. I have often heard him
speak of Mrs. Tod as the most admirable woman he had ever
known. He remained with the Tod family only a few years, until
old enough to learn a trade. He went first, I believe, with his
half-brother, Peter Grant, who, though not a tanner himself,
owned a tannery in Maysville, Kentucky. Here he learned his
trade, and in a few years returned to Deerfield and worked for,
and lived in the family of a Mr. Brown, the father of John
Brown–“whose body lies mouldering in the grave, while his soul
goes marching on.” I have often heard my father speak of John
Brown, particularly since the events at Harper’s Ferry. Brown
was a boy when they lived in the same house, but he knew him
afterwards, and regarded him as a man of great purity of
character, of high moral and physical courage, but a fanatic and
extremist in whatever he advocated. It was certainly the act of
an insane man to attempt the invasion of the South, and the
overthrow of slavery, with less than twenty men.

My father set up for himself in business, establishing a tannery
at Ravenna, the county seat of Portage County. In a few years he
removed from Ravenna, and set up the same business at Point
Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio.

During the minority of my father, the West afforded but poor
facilities for the most opulent of the youth to acquire an
education, and the majority were dependent, almost exclusively,
upon their own exertions for whatever learning they obtained. I
have often heard him say that his time at school was limited to
six months, when he was very young, too young, indeed, to learn
much, or to appreciate the advantages of an education, and to a
“quarter’s schooling” afterwards, probably while living with
judge Tod. But his thirst for education was intense. He
learned rapidly, and was a constant reader up to the day of his
death in his eightieth year. Books were scarce in the Western
Reserve during his youth, but he read every book he could borrow
in the neighborhood where he lived. This scarcity gave him the
early habit of studying everything he read, so that when he got
through with a book, he knew everything in it. The habit
continued through life. Even after reading the daily
papers–which he never neglected–he could give all the
important information they contained. He made himself an
excellent English scholar, and before he was twenty years of age
was a constant contributor to Western newspapers, and was also,
from that time until he was fifty years old, an able debater in
the societies for this purpose, which were common in the West at
that time. He always took an active part in politics, but was
never a candidate for office, except, I believe, that he was the
first Mayor of Georgetown. He supported Jackson for the
Presidency; but he was a Whig, a great admirer of Henry Clay,
and never voted for any other democrat for high office after
Jackson.

My mother’s family lived in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, for
several generations. I have little information about her
ancestors. Her family took no interest in genealogy, so that my
grandfather, who died when I was sixteen years old, knew only
back to his grandfather. On the other side, my father took a
great interest in the subject, and in his researches, he found
that there was an entailed estate in Windsor, Connecticut,
belonging to the family, to which his nephew, Lawson
Grant–still living–was the heir. He was so much interested in
the subject that he got his nephew to empower him to act in the
matter, and in 1832 or 1833, when I was a boy ten or eleven
years old, lie went to Windsor, proved the title beyond dispute,
and perfected the claim of the owners for a consideration–three
thousand dollars, I think. I remember the circumstance well,
and remember, too, hearing him say on his return that he found
some widows living on the property, who had little or nothing
beyond their homes. From these he refused to receive any
recompense.

My mother’s father, John Simpson, moved from Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania, to Clermont County, Ohio, about the year 1819,
taking with him his four children, three daughters and one
son. My mother, Hannah Simpson, was the third of these
children, and was then over twenty years of age. Her oldest
sister was at that time married, and had several children. She
still lives in Clermont County at this writing, October 5th,
1884, and is over ninety ears of age. Until her memory failed
her, a few years ago, she thought the country ruined beyond
recovery when the Democratic party lost control in 1860. Her
family, which was large, inherited her views, with the exception
of one son who settled in Kentucky before the war. He was the
only one of the children who entered the volunteer service to
suppress the rebellion.

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