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Grant, Ulysses Simpson

Eighteenth President of the United States; named at birth Hiram Ulysses, but, through an error when he entered the Military Academy, he was given the Christian names which he afterwards adopted; born

Ulysses Simpson Grant as Lieutenant in the Mexican War.

in Point Pleasant, O., April 27, 1822; graduated at West Point in 1843. He served in the war with Mexico, first under General Taylor, and then under General Scott, taking part in every battle between Vera Cruz and the city of Mexico. He was made captain in 1853, and resigned the next year, when he settled in St. Louis. He was one of the first to offer his services to the national government when the Civil War broke out, but, as no notice was taken of him, became colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry. In May, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier-general of volunteers, and placed in command at Cairo. He occupied Paducah, broke up the Confederate camp at Belmont, and in February, 1862, captured Forts Henry and Donelson. He was then promoted to major-general; conducted the battle of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, and for a while was second in command to Halleck. He performed excellent service in the West and Southwest, especially in the vicinity of the Mississippi River, and at and near the Tennessee River, in 1863. He was promoted to lieutenant-general March 1, 1864, and awarded a gold medal by Congress. He issued his first order as general-in-chief of the armies of the [132]

Ulysses S. Grant.

United States at Nashville, March 17, 1864. In the grand movements of the armies in 1864, he accompanied that of the Potomac, with his headquarters “in the field,” and he remained with it until he signed the articles of capitulation at Appomattox Court-house, April 9, 1865. In 1866 he was promoted to general of the United States army. After the war Grant fixed his headquarters at Washington. When President Johnson suspended Stanton from the office of Secretary of War, Grant was put in his place ad interim. Stanton was reinstated by the Senate, Jan. 14, 1868. In 1868, Grant was elected

Ulysses S. Grant.

President of the United States by the Republican party, and was re-elected in 1872. He retired from the office March 4, 1877, and soon afterwards made a journey around the world, receiving great honors everywhere.

Towards the close of his life he was financially ruined by an unprincipled sharper. Congress created him a general on the retired list; and, to make further provision for his family, he began compiling Personal memoirs of U. S. Grant, a work that was completed shortly before his death, on Mount McGregor, N. Y., July 23, 1885. His remains lie in the

Birthplace of General Grant.


The Grant medal.

magnificent mausoleum in Riverside Park, New York City, that cost $500,000, raised principally by popular subscription. See army; army in the Civil War; disbanding of the Union armies; Lee, Robert Edward.

Let us have peace.

On the receipt of the official notification of his first nomination for the Presidency, he addressed to General Hawley the following letter, concluding with one of those brief phrases for which this “silent man” was noted:

Washington, D. C., May 29, 1868.
To Gen. Joseph R. Hawley, President, National Republican Convention:
In formally accepting the nomination of the “National Union Republican convention” of the 21st of May last, it seems proper that some statement of views, beyond the mere acceptance of the nomination, should be expressed.

The proceedings of the convention were marked with wisdom, moderation, and patriotism, and, I believe, expressed the feelings of the great mass of those who sustained the country through its recent trials. I endorse their resolutions.

If elected to the office of President of the United States, it will be my endeavor to administer all the laws in good faith, with economy, and with the view of giving peace, quiet, and protection everywhere. In times like the present, it is impossible, or at least eminently improper, to lay down a policy to be adhered to, right or wrong. Through an administration of four years, new political issues, not foreseen, are constantly arising, the views of the public on old ones are constantly changing, and a purely administrative officer should always be left free to execute the will of the people. I always have respected that will, and

Tomb of General Grant.

always shall. Peace and universal prosperity, its sequence, with economy of administration, will lighten the burden of [134] taxation, while it constantly reduces the national debt. Let us have peace.

With great respect, your obedient servant, U. S. Grant.

The following is General Grant's address at his first inaugural March 4, 1869:

Citizens of the United States,—Your suffrages having elected me to the

The house in which General Grant died, Mount McGregor, New York.

office of President of the United States, I have, in conformity with the Constitution of our country, taken the oath of office prescribed therein. I have taken this oath without mental reservation, and with the determination to do to the best of my ability all that it requires of me. The responsibilities of the position I feel, but accept them without fear. The office has come to me unsought. I commence its duties untrammelled. I bring to it a conscientious desire and determination to fill it to the best of my ability to the satisfaction of the people.

On all leading questions agitating the public mind, I will always express my views to Congress, and urge them according to my judgment; and, when I think it advisable, will exercise the constitutional privilege of interposing a veto to defeat measures which I oppose. But all laws will be faithfully executed whether they meet my approval or not.

I shall, on all subjects, have a policy to recommend, but none to enforce against the will of the people. Laws are to govern all alike, those opposed as well as those who favor them. I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.

The country having just emerged from [135] a great rebellion, many questions will come before it for settlement in the next four years, which preceding administrations have never had to deal with. In meeting these, it is desirable that they should be approached calmly, without prejudice, hate, or sectional pride, remembering that the greatest good to the greatest number is the object to be attained.

This requires security of person, property, and for religious and political opinions, in every part of our common country, without regard to local prejudice. All laws to secure these ends will receive my best efforts for their enforcement.

A great debt has been contracted in securing to us and our posterity the Union; the payment of this, principal and interest, as well as the return to a specie basis, as soon as it can be accomplished without material detriment to the debtor class or to the country at large, must be provided for. To protect the national honor, every dollar of government indebtedness should be paid in gold unless otherwise expressly stipulated in the contract. Let it be understood that no repudiator of one farthing of our public debt will be trusted in public place, and it will go far towards strengthening a credit which ought to be the best in the world, and will ultimately enable us to replace the debt with bonds bearing less interest than we now pay. To this should be added a faithful collection of the revenue, a strict accountability to the treasury for every dollar collected, and the greatest practicable retrenchment in expenditure in every department of government.

When we compare the paying capacity of the country now with the ten States in poverty from the effects of war, but soon to emerge, I trust, into greater prosperity than ever before, with its paying capacity twenty-five years ago, and calculate what it probably will be twenty-five years hence, who can doubt the feasibility of paying every dollar then with more ease than we now pay for useless luxuries? Why, it looks as though Providence had bestowed upon us a strong box in the precious metals locked up in the sterile mountains of the far West, of which we are now forging the key to unlock to meet the very contingency that is now upon us.

Ultimately it may be necessary to insure the facilities to reach these riches, and it may be necessary also that the general government should give its aid to secure this access. But that should only be when a dollar of obligation to pay secures precisely the same sort of dollar to use now, and not before. While the question of specie payments is in abeyance, the prudent business man is careful about contracting debts payable in the distant future. The nation should follow the same rule. A prostrate commerce is to be rebuilt and all industries encouraged.

The young men of the country, those who from their age must be its rulers twenty-five years hence, have a peculiar interest in maintaining the national honor. A moment's reflection as to what will be our commanding influence among the nations of the earth in their day, if they are only true to themselves, should inspire them with national pride. All divisions, geographical, political, and religious, can join in this common sentiment. How the public debt is to be paid, or specie payments resumed, is not so important as that a plan should be adopted and acquiesced in.

A united determination to do is worth more than divided counsels upon the method of doing. Legislation upon this subject may not be necessary now, nor even advisable, but it will be when the civil law is more fully restored in all parts of the country, and trade resumes its wonted channels.

It will be my endeavor to execute all laws in good faith, to collect all revenues assessed, and to have them properly accounted for and economically disbursed. I will, to the best of my ability, appoint to office those only who will carry out this design.

In regard to foreign policy, I would deal with nations as equitable law requires individuals to deal with each other, and I would protect the law-abiding citizen, whether of native or foreign birth, wherever his rights are jeopardized or the flag of our country floats. I would respect the rights of all nations, demanding equal respect for our own. If others depart [136] from this rule in their dealings with us, we may be compelled to follow their precedent.

The proper treatment of the original occupants of this land, the Indians, is one deserving of careful study. I will favor any course towards them which tends to their civilization and ultimate citizenship.

The question of suffrage is one which is likely to agitate the public so long as a portion of the citizens of the nation are excluded from its privileges in any State. It seems to me very desirable that this question should be settled now, and I entertain the hope and express the desire that it may be by the ratification of the fifteenth article of amendment to the Constitution.

In conclusion, I ask patient forbearance one towards another throughout the land, and a determined effort on the part of every citizen to do his share towards cementing a happy Union; and I ask the prayers of the nation to Almighty God in behalf of this consummation.

Last message to Congress.

The following is the opening of his last message to Congress (Dec. 5, 1876), the part in which he reviews the events of his double term of office:

To the Senate and House of Representatives,—In submitting my eighth and last annual message to Congress, it seems proper that I should refer to, and in some degree recapitulate, the events and official acts of the past eight years.

It was my fortune, or misfortune, to be called to the office of chief executive without any previous political training. From the age of seventeen I had never even witnessed the excitement attending a Presidential campaign but twice antecedent to my own candidacy, and at but one of them was I eligible as a voter.

Under such circumstances it is but reasonable to suppose that errors of judgment must have occurred. Even had they not, differences of opinion between the executive, bound by an oath to the strict performance of his duties, and writers and debaters, must have arisen. It is not necessarily evidence of blunder on the part of the executive because there are these differences of views. Mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit, but it seems to me oftener in the selections made of the assistants appointed to aid in carrying out the various duties of administering the government, in nearly every case selected without a personal acquaintance with the appointee, but upon recommendations of the representatives chosen directly by the people. It is impossible, where so many trusts are to be allotted, that the right parties should be chosen in every instance. History shows that no administration, from the time of Washington to the present, has been free from these mistakes. But I leave comparisons to history, claiming that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.

My civil career commenced, too, at a most critical and difficult time. Less than four years before the country had emerged from a conflict such as no other nation had ever survived. Nearly one-half of the States had revolted against the government; and, of those remaining faithful to the Union, a large percentage of the population sympathized with the rebellion and made an “enemy in the rear,” almost as dangerous as the more honorable enemy in the front. The latter committed errors of judgment, but they maintained them openly and courageously; the former received the protection of the government they would see destroyed, and reaped all the pecuniary advantage to be gained out of the then existing state of affairs.

Immediately on the cessation of hostilities, the then noble President, who had carried the country so far through its perils, fell a martyr to his patriotism at the hands of an assassin.

The intervening time to my first inauguration was filled up with wranglings between Congress and the new executive as to the best mode of “reconstruction,” or, to speak plainly, as to whether the control of the government should be thrown immediately into the hands of those who had so recently and persistently tried to destroy it, or whether the victors should continue to have an equal voice with them in this control. Reconstruction, as finally agreed upon, means this and only this, except that the late slave was [137] enfranchised, giving an increase, as was supposed, to the Union-loving and Union-supporting votes. If free, in the full sense of the word, they would not disappoint this expectation. Hence, at the beginning of my first administration the work of reconstruction—much embarrassed by the long delay—virtually commenced. It was the work of the legislative branch of the government. My province was wholly in approving their acts, which I did most heartily, urging the legislatures of States that had not yet done so to ratify the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution. The country was laboring under an enormous debt, contracted in the suppression of rebellion, and taxation was so oppressive as to discourage production. Another danger also threatened us—a foreign war. The last difficulty had to be adjusted, and was adjusted without a war, and in a manner highly honorable to all parties concerned. Taxes have been reduced within the last seven years nearly $300,000,000, and the national debt has been reduced in the same time over $435,000,000. By refunding the 6 per cent. bonded debt for bonds bearing 5 and 4 1/2 per cent. interest, respectively, the annual interest has been reduced from over $130,000,000 in 1869 to but little over $100,000,000 in 1876. The balance of trade has been changed from over $130,000,000 against the United States in 1869 to more than $120,000,000 in our favor in 1876.

Opening the Centennial Exhibition.

On May 10, 1876, he formally opened the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia with the following speech:

My Countrymen,—It has been thought appropriate, upon this centennial occasion, to bring together in Philadelphia, for popular inspection, specimens of our attainments in the industrial and fine arts, and in literature, science, and philosophy, as well as in the great business of agriculture and of commerce.

That we may the more thoroughly appreciate the excellences and deficiencies of our achievements, and also give emphatic expression to our earnest desire to cultivate the friendship of our fellowmembers of this great family of nations, the enlightened agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing people of the world have been invited to send hither corresponding specimens of their skill to exhibit on equal terms in friendly competition with our own. To this invitation they have generously responded; for so doing we tender them our hearty thanks.

The beauty and utility of the contributions will this day be submitted to your inspection by the managers of this exhibition. We are glad to know that a view of specimens of the skill of all nations will afford you unalloyed pleasure, as well as yield to you a valuable practical knowledge of so many of the remarkable results of the wonderful skill existing in enlightened communities.

One hundred years ago our country was new and but partially settled. Our necessities have compelled us to chiefly expend our means and time in felling forests, subduing prairies, building dwellings, factories, ships, docks, warehouses, roads, canals, machinery, etc., etc. Most of our schools, churches, libraries, and asylums have been established within a hundred years. Burdened by these great primal works of necessity, which could not be delayed, we yet have done what this exhibition will show, in the direction of rivalling older and more advanced nations in law, medicine, and theology; in science, literature, philosophy and the fine arts. While proud of what we have done, we regret that we have not done more. Our achievements have been great enough, however, to make it easy for our people to acknowledge superior merit wherever found.

And now, fellow-citizens, I hope a careful examination of what is about to be exhibited to you will not only inspire you with a profound respect for the skill and taste of our friends from other nations, but also satisfy you with the attainments made by our own people during the past 100 years. I invoke your generous co-operation with the worthy commissioners to secure a brilliant success to this international exhibition, and to make the stay of our foreign visitors—to whom we extend a hearty welcome—both profitable and pleasant to them.

I declare the international exhibition now open.

Vindication of Fitz-John Porter.

General Grant's magnanimity was never more [138] touchingly illustrated than in his efforts to secure justice for Gen. Fitz-John Porter (q. v. ). The story of his actions in this matter is most fittingly told in his own language. On Dec. 22, 1881, he addressed the following appeal in behalf of General Porter to the President:

New York, Dec. 22, 1881. The President, Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir,—At the request of Gen. Fitz-John Porter, I have recently reviewed his trial and the testimony furnished before the Schofield Court of Inquiry held in 1879, giving to the subject three full days of careful reading and consideration, and much thought in the intervening time. The reading of this record has thoroughly convinced me that for these nineteen years I have been doing a gallant and efficient soldier a very great injustice in thought and sometimes in speech. I feel it incumbent upon me now to do whatever lies in my power to remove from him and from his family the stain upon his good name. I feel this the more incumbent upon me than I should if I had been a corps commander only, or occupying any other command in the army than the one which I did; but as general I had it, possibly, in my power to have obtained for him the hearing which he had only got at a later day, and as President I certainly had the power to have ordered that hearing. In justification for my injustice to General Porter, I can only state that shortly after the war closed his defence was brought to my attention, but I read in connection with it a sketch of the field where his offences were said to have been committed, which I now see, since perfect maps have been made by the engineers' department of the whole field, were totally incorrect as showing the position of the two armies. I have read it in connection with the statements made on the other side against General Porter, and, I am afraid, possibly with some little prejudice in the case, although General Porter was a man whom I personally knew and liked before; but I got the impression, with many others, that there was a half-hearted support of General Pope in his campaigns, and that General Porter, while possibly not more guilty than others, happened to be placed in a position where he could be made responsible for his indifference, and that the punishment was not a severe one for such an offence. I am now convinced that he rendered faithful, efficient, and intelligent service, and the fact that he was retained in command of a corps for months after his offences were said to have been committed is in his favor. What I would ask in General Porter's behalf, from you, is, if you can possibly give the time, that you give the subject the same study and thought that I have given it, and then act as your judgment shall dictate. But, feeling that you will not have the time for such an investigation (for it would take several days' time), I would ask that the whole matter be laid before the Attorney-General for his examination and opinion. Hoping that you will be able to do this much for an officer who has suffered for nineteen years a punishment that never should be inflicted upon any but the most guilty, I am,

Very truly yours, U. S. Grant.

On Feb. 4, 1882, in order to still further impress his convictions of General Porter's innocence upon influential members of Congress, he addressed the following detailed letter to J. Donald Cameron, United States Senator from Pennsylvania:

New York, Feb. 4, 1882.
Hon. J. D. Cameron, U. S. Senate, Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir,—It has been my intention until within the last few days to visit Washington this winter to spend some time, and there to have a conversation with you and with General Logan on the subject of the Fitz-John Porter case; but having now pretty nearly decided not to go to Washington, I have determined to write, and write to you so that you may state my position to your friends, and particularly to General Logan, and, if you choose, show this letter to any such people.

When I commenced the examination of the Fitz-John Porter case as it now stands, it was with the conviction that his sentence was a just one, and that his punishment had been light for so hideous an offence; but I tried to throw off all prejudice in the case, and to examine it [139] on its merits. I came out of that examination with the firm conviction that an entirely innocent man had been most unjustly punished. I cast no censure upon the court which tried him, because the evidence which now proves his entire innocence of disobedience of orders it was impossible to have before that court.

When I completed the investigation and came to the conclusion that I did— of his innocence—my first thought was to write to General Logan, because I regard him as my friend, and I am sure I am his, and he has made, probably, the ablest speech of his life in opposition to the bill for General Porter's restoration to the army. I thought, therefore, it was due to him that I should inform him of the conclusion that I had come to after the investigation. But as the President was just about visiting this city when my letter to him was written, and it was desired to present it to him here, I requested, in lieu of a letter to General Logan, to have a copy of my letter to the President sent to him. This was done.

You are aware that when General Logan made his speech against General Porter, it was in opposition to a bill pending in Congress. He, like myself, was thoroughly convinced of the guilt of General Porter, and was therefore opposed to the bill. His investigations therefore were necessarily to find arguments to sustain his side of a pending question. I of course had no knowledge of the papers he would refer to, or would examine. to find such arguments; but I knew that he could have the testimony which was taken before the court-martial which convicted; probably also the arguments of the officer who acted as prosecutor when the case was before the Schofield court, and arguments that have been made by lawyers, J. D. Cox and others possibly, all of which were in opposition to General Porter as much as that of paid attorneys in cases before the civil courts.

But my investigation of all the facts that I could bring before me of the occurrence from the 27th of August, 1862, and for some little time prior, to the 1st of September, the same year, show conclusively that the court and some of the witnesses entirely misapprehended the position of the enemy on that day.

General Porter was convicted of disobedience of the order of General Pope's, dated at 4.30 P. M., on the 29th of August, to attack the enemy on his right flank, and in his rear, if possible. Despatches of General Pope of that day show that he knew General Lee was coming to the support of Jackson, whom he thought commanded the only force in his front at that time; but that he could not arrive until the evening of the following day, or the morning of the day after. It was sworn to before the court that this order of 4.30 P. M. reached General Porter at about five or half-past 5 in the afternoon, but it must be recollected that this testimony was given from memory, and unquestionably without any idea at the time of the occurrence that they were ever to be called upon to give any testimony in the case.

Investigation shows a despatch from General Porter, dated six o'clock of that afternoon, which makes no mention of having received the order to attack, and it is such a despatch as could not be written without mentioning the receipt of that order, if it had been received. There is other testimony that makes it entirely satisfactory to my mind that the order was not received until about sundown, or between sundown and dark. It was given, as stated before, to attack the enemy's right, and, if possible, to get into his rear. This was on the supposition that Jackson was there alone, as General Pope had stated he would be until the evening of the next day, or the morning of the day following. I believe that the court was convinced that on the evening of the 29th of August Jackson, with his force, was there alone; but now it is proved by testimony better than sworn evidence of any persons on the Union side that by 11 o'clock A. M., of the 29th, Longstreet was up and to the right of Jackson with a force much greater than General Porter's entire force. The attack upon Jackson's right and rear was, therefore, impossible, without first wiping out the force of Longstreet. The order did not contemplate, either, a night attack, and, to have obeyed it, even if Longstreet had not been there, General Porter would have been obliged to make a night attack. But, even as it was, I find that General Porter, notwithstanding the late hour, did [140] all he could to obey that order. He had previously given a command to General Morell, who commanded the most advanced division, or one most fronting the enemy, to throw out a skirmish line to engage the enemy, or to keep him occupied, and on the receipt of this order, although at this late hour, he immediately sent orders to General Morell to increase it from a skirmish line to a large force, and that he would be with him as soon as he could get there.

He did actually go to the front, all though it was dark, to superintend this movement, and as far as possible to prevent the enemy detaching anything from his front, thus showing a desire to obey the order strictly and to the best of his ability. I find the Schofield board acquit him entirely, but throw some censure upon him for having expressed a lack of confidence in his commanding officer. Such conduct might be censured, although if every man in the army had been punished who had expressed lack of confidence in his superior officer many of our best soldiers would have been punished. But, in fact, if this was not stated in the summing up of the case by the board, I should not have found that he had expressed any such lack of confidence. On the contrary to my mind now, he was zealous in giving a support to General Pope, and more so, possibly, for the reason that he knew among his former army associates there was a good deal of apprehension, to say the least, of his fitness for his new place. It must be recollected that General Pope was selected from a Western army and brought East to command an army where there were a great many generals who had had experience in a previous war, and who had, like himself, a military education, and there may (improperly) have been a feeling that it was a reflection upon them to go out of their own command to find a suitable commander; and it is also very probable that expression was freely given to that feeling. But it would be well to reflect what would have been the sentiment in the West if an officer from the Eastern army had been sent out to supersede all of them and to command them, and whether or not there might have not been some harsh criticisms, even by men who proved to be among our most gallant and devoted commanders. Then, too, in re-examining the case, my attention was called again to General Pope's early order in taking command of the Army of Virginia. I send you a copy of this order. You will see that it was calculated to make the army to whom it was addressed feel that it was a reflection upon their former services and former commanders, from that of a company to the commander of the whole, and that even as amiable people as General Logan and myself are would have been very apt to have made some very uncomplimentary remarks if they had been addressed by an Eastern officer sent West to command over us in our field of duty. I commenced reading up this case with the conviction that General Porter had been guilty, as found by the court, but came out of the investigation with a thorough conviction that I, and the public generally, had done him a fearful injustice, and entirely satisfied that any intelligent man, or lawyer, who will throw aside prejudice and examine the case as I have done, will come to the same conclusion.

As stated in my letter to the President, I feel it incumbent upon me, in view of the positions that I have held heretofore, and my failure then to do what I now wish I had done, to do all in my power to place General Porter right before the public and in future history, and to repair my own intentional injustice.

I address this letter to you, knowing that you will have a desire to do just what your judgment dictates as being right in the matter, and that you will state to whomsoever it may seem to you proper and necessary my present convictions upon this case.

Very truly yours, U. S. Grant.

Perhaps no person unconnected with the army contributed in so great a degree to General Grant's success in the Civil War as the Hon. Elihu B. Washburne, to whom the following extremely interesting letter was addressed. It is certainly of great historical value, and reveals in a very interesting way some of the strongest and most admirable traits of General Grant's character. Mr. Washburne (1816-87) was the member of Congress from Galena, Ill., where Grant was employed at the beginning of the war. The two men first [141] met at that time; they immediately became friends, and during the great struggle Washburne was the constant supporter and sturdy defender of the Silent Commander, who would never defend himself from the shameful charges that were frequently made against his private character, and also as a soldier. When Grant became President he appointed Mr. Washburne his Secretary of State, but after occupying that high office for a few weeks, he was sent as the American representative to France. He filled that position with preeminent ability and signal distinction, publishing after his return to the United States a valuable and interesting work, in 2 octavo volumes, entitled Recollections of a minister to France, 1869-1877:

La Grange, Tenn., Nov. 7, 1862.
Not having much of special note to write you since your visit to Jackson, and knowing that you were fully engaged, I have not troubled you with a letter. I write now a little on selfish grounds.

I see from the papers that Mr.— is to be called near the President in some capacity. I believe him to be one of my bitterest enemies. The grounds of his enmity I suppose to be the course I pursued while at Cairo towards certain contractors and speculators who wished to make fortunes off of the soldiers and government, and in which he took much interest, whether a partner or not. He called on me in regard to the rights of a post sutler for Cairo (an appointment not known to the law) whom he had got appointed. Finding that I would regard him in the light of any other merchant who might set up there, that I would neither secure him a monopoly of the trade nor his pay at the pay-table for such as he might trust out, the sutler never made his appearance. If he did he never made himself known to me.

In the case of some contracts that were given out for the supply of forage, they were given, if not to the very highest bidder, to far from the lowest, and full 30 per cent. higher than the articles could have been bought for at that time. Learning these facts, I immediately annulled the contracts.

Quite a number of car-loads of grain and hay were brought to Cairo on these contracts, and a change of quartermaster having taken place in the mean time the new quartermaster would not receive them without my order, except at rates he could then get the same articles for from other parties. This I refused to give. The contractors then called on me, and tried to convince me that the obligation was binding, but finding me immovable in the matter, asked if General Allen's approval to the contract would not be sufficient. My reply was, in substance, that General Allen was chief quartermaster of the department, and I could not control him. They immediately left me, and, thinking over the matter, it occurred to me that they would go immediately to St. Louis and present their contract for approval without mentioning the objection I made to it. I then telegraphed to General Allen the facts, and put him on his guard against these men. For some reason, however, my despatch did not reach St. Louis for two days. General Allen then replied to it, stating that those parties had been to him the day before, and knowing no objection to the contract he had approved it.

The parties then returned to Cairo evidently thinking they had gained a great triumph. But there being no money to pay at that time and because of the bad repute the quartermaster's department was in, they were afraid to take vouchers without my approval. They again called on me to secure this. My reply to them was that they had obtained their contract without my consent, had got it approved against my sense of duty to the government, and they might go on and deliver their forage and get their pay in the same way. I would never approve a voucher for them under that contract if they never got a cent. I hoped they would not. This forced them to abandon the contract and to sell the forage already delivered for what it was worth.

Mr.—took much interest in this matter and wrote me one or more letters on the subject, rather offensive in their manner. These letters I have preserved, but they are locked up in Mr. Safford's safe in Cairo. I afterwards learned from undoubted authority that there was a combination of wealthy and influential citizens formed, at the beginning of this war, for the purpose of [142] monopolizing the army contracts. One of their boasts was that they had sufficient influence to remove any general who did not please them.

The modus operandi for getting contracts at a high rate, I suppose, was for a member of this association to put in bids commencing at as low rates as the articles could be furnished for, and after they were opened all would retire up to the highest one who was below any outside person and let him take it. In many instances probably they could buy off this one for a low figure by assuring him that he could not possibly get the contract, for if he did not retire it would be held by the party below.

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