Lot 8029: U. S. Grant Signed Handwritten Letter
28th June 2018
Civil War-dated ALS signed “U. S. Grant, Lt. Gnl.,” one page, lightly-lined, 7.75 x 9.75, Head Quarters Armies of the United States letterhead, January 25, 1865. Letter to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, in full: “If an order is published allowing prisoners in our hands to purchase food and clothing when they have the means of paying for them, a similar order will be made in favor of our men held in the South. I would respectfully recommend that such an order be made to take effect on the 1st proximo and that a copy be telegraphed here to be sent through the lines so that we can get the benefit of it for our men at war.” In fine condition. On April 17, 1864, General Grant ordered an end to all prisoner exchanges unless the South recognized that there was ‘no distinction whatever in the exchange between white and colored prisoners.’ Although Grant’s proposal was formally dismissed—as was a second made on October 1—another exchange proposal was announced on January 24, 1865, one which would allow prisoners on both sides the opportunity to purchase food and clothing. Given the mortality rate of prisoners held in Southern camps, Grant estimated that the order would prove more beneficial to Union prisoners who suffered greatly from a shortage of both food and proper clothing. An incredible letter from late in the Civil War that reveals the sound reasoning and leadership displayed by Grant as commander of the Union armies.
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