03-10-21 Fan Mail

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Trivia Master

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We've all seen the pictures, read the stories. Grant was almost always smoking or chewing on a cigar. What we may not know is that before the Civil War, Grant was strictly a pipe smoker.
What caused Grant to switch to cigars?

credit: @WJC
 

captaindrew

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I found a couple different stories but they all revolve around the capture of Fort Donelson. One story said he broke his pipe and a reporter handed him a cigar. Another said Naval Flag Officer Andrew Foote gifted him a cigar. Either way it was reported he had carried that cigar in his hand while directing the assault on Donelson so people so happy with the victory immediately sent him cigars, as many as 10,000. From then on he was a cigar smoker.
 

Brenal

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As Grant himself explained, “In the account published in the papers (on the taking of Fort Donelson) I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, no doubt thinking tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands. As many as ten thousand were soon received.”
They came with notes of appreciation. One person wrote, “You keep winning victories and I’ll keep sending cigars.”
Grant “regifted” them on a wholesale basis. But he couldn’t keep pace with the deluge. Being a practical man, he eventually figured “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Grant put away his pipe, explaining “I naturally smoked more (cigars) than I would have under ordinary circumstances, and have done so ever since.”

http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
 
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“In the account published in the papers I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, no doubt thinking tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands. As many as ten thousand were soon received.”

Grant “regifted” them on a wholesale basis. But he couldn’t keep pace with the deluge. Being a practical man, he eventually figured “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Grant put away his pipe, explaining “I naturally smoked more (cigars) than I would have under ordinary circumstances, and have done so ever since.”
 

ErnieMac

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What caused Grant to switch to cigars? Following the surrender of Fort Donelson, Grant was reported to have been smoking a cigar during the battle. He was subsequently deluged with gifts of cigars numbering in the thousands. Being a practical man, he began smoking them.
http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
 

Polloco

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An account of his capture of Forts Henry + Donelson were published in the Chicago Tribune., In it was a story of Grant cooly smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict. Adoring fans sent "gift boxes" and Grant himself said it was 10,000 cigars..That "barrel of cigars" made Grant throw away his pipe and was soon smoking 20 cigars a day.
 
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Flag officer Andrew Foote gave Grant a cigar “In the account published in the papers (The capture of fort Donaldson ) I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, no doubt thinking tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands. As many as ten thousand were soon received.”
 
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Two reasons possible:

A) Probably his wife Julia was to "blame" for that as she detested his pipes... and as Grant was very much devoted to his wife, he might have done her the favor of abandoning his pipe - but as the need of a stimulant grew bigger and bigger, he switched to cigars. Later, when he already had throat cancer, he switched back to pipes, though.
1615389761044.png

Sources:
http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
Although, considering the headline of this question a different answer might be requested ... so let's try this:

B)After some photos were published showing Grant smoking a cigar, with his popularity rising he received lots and lots of cigars from admirers by mail ("Fan Mail") and thus felt compelled to make short work of them, so he abandoned his pipe and switched to cigar smoking:

1615390206925.png

https://rediscoveringourpast.blogspot.com/2019/02/champion-of-weed.html
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/champion-of-the-weed-the-smoking-habit-of-u-s-grant.154865/
1615390477565.png

https://deadpresidents.tumblr.com%2Fpost%2F15007035871
Although with the International Women's Day having just passed (which would favor reply A) if I have to decide which of the two possibilities caused US Grant to switch to cigar smoking in the sense of this question, I'd choose my reply "B": because he had been sent so many cigars by his admirers.

Edit - Good choice.

hoosier
 
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James N.

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He received so many unsolicited gift boxes of them from admirers in the wake of his capture of Fort Donelson (where a news correspondent had seen and reported him with one instead of his customary pipe) that he made the fateful (and ultimately fatal!) switch.
 

DBF

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What caused Grant to switch to cigars? - A mistake in the newspaper. After capturing Fort Donelson “The Chicago Tribune” ran the story - as Grant explained: “In the account published in the papers I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, no doubt thinking tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands. As many as ten thousand were soon received.” But according to Grant, the cigar given to him by Flag Officer Andrew Foote before the battle had originally been lighted but by the time the battle was in full display the cigar had gone out as he himself said: “I carried the cigar in my hand. It had gone out, but it seems I continued to hold it between my fingers throughout the battle.” When the Chicago Tribune made it appear the smoking of the cigar played a part in his “victory” cigars began arriving from everywhere.
http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
 
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Firstly his wife threw away his pipe when ever she found one, but the reason for the change was due to an inaccurate report in the Chicago Tribune that he had been smoking a cigar while capturing Fort Donelson. The readers being so elated at the Union victory and thinking he was a cigar smoker sent boxes upon boxes ranging near 10,000 cigars to him as a thank you. He gave away as many as he could and finally decided he might as well join in becoming a cigar smoker. Reports of up to 20 cigars a day have been stated.
source: http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
 

hoosier

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A newspaper report about Grant's capture of Fort Donelson represented him as smoking a cigar. Readers of the Chicago Tribune decided that Grant was their new hero, and rewarded him by sending him boxes of cigars. He received so many of them that he put away his pipe and began smoking cigars all the time.

http://www.jmarkpowell.com/the-gift-that-killed-general-grant/
 
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