Ami's SOA Julia Dent Grant - The Things You May Not Know

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#41
She gave him what he never had, and what he never then wanted to let go of ...
Or as his sister-in-law Mrs. Orvill Grant so “nicely” described it - - -

“She togged herself in expensive clothes, he still was dressed like he rolled out of bed, though Julia always said he was the handsomest soldier, always fussing and hovering over him, which he lapped up like a boy in a confectionery.”

Aren’t families fun!!
 

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Cavalry Charger

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#42
Aren’t families fun!!
Indeed! I especially like the line in italics. Probably says it all. Both looked at eachother as if there was no one better or, as some would say, through rose coloured glasses.

I remember seeing an old movie long ago all about a lovely young couple who adored eachother. They had come through a terrible war (maybe WWI) and had reunited at the end of it. The twist came at the very end of the story when it was revealed that both suffered some kind of physical defect (probably from injury) and yet for the whole film they had only seen eachother as perfect - as had the audience watching. It was an amazing movie which showed how love could be blind, but in the best possible way.
 
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#43
Another “favorite” glimpse, from Julia’s memoirs that demonstrates their relationship during the war are 2 visits that Julia made to his camp.

The 1st takes place in 1862 as she writes, (she believes), it was in Corinth, TN, She arrives and finds the General’s ambulance waiting for her to complete the destination. The General and several of his staff officers accompany them along side the conveyance. She speaks of how many times the General would lean down into the ambulance and ask if “she was as glad to see him as he was to see me”, (is this his “insecurities” showing?). She ends the passage - - -

“He reached out and took my hand and gave it another and another warm pressure. Dear fellow - how kind he always was to me!”

The 2nd incident I found almost slightly amusing. It seems Julia was traveling to Nashville this appears to be in December of 1863 after the siege at Chattanooga. Julia happened to be traveling by train and on that train was General William “Baldy” Smith along with Mrs. Smith. At some point General Smith approaches Mrs. Grant and informed her that he had arranged for an ambulance to transport them to their destination and she would be welcomed to join them. General Smith was convinced that General Grant would be much too busy to meet her. Her reply - - -

“General Grant will meet us, General” - - - “He will not fail to meet us, General” (young Jesse was traveling with her).

Julia knew her man - - -

“as the cars slowed up, I heard, ‘Is Mrs. Grant aboard?’ and saw deal Ulys coming forward on the train greeting each one kindly as he came to meet us. Giving me his arm he led me out to a handsome ambulance.”

She does get one more little “dig” in for General Smith, as she believes this is the ambulance that Smith had reserved for his use (there is no confirmation that this could be true). She writes - - -

“I saw General Smith gazing after us with, I thought, some chagrin.”

When she tells General Grant the story of General Smith and his ambulance, Grant informs her - - -

“ He has no claim on this. I suppose he has one of his own.”

Julie was learning quickly the truth to the phrase - - -

Rank Has Its Privileges!!!
 

Cavalry Charger

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#44
Rank Has Its Privileges!!!
:bounce:

I guess when it came to Julia, Grant was willing to 'pull rank'!

Great stories again @DBF . I'm really enjoying others input into this thread. There is so much to know about Julia, but she rarely steals the limelight from her famous husband. And yet she delighted in him being in the limelight. She was so proud of him always :smug:

She speaks of how many times the General would lean down into the ambulance and ask if “she was as glad to see him as he was to see me”, (is this his “insecurities” showing?)
I've no doubt Grant had his insecurities which required Julia's reassurance at times. It's lovely to see this side of Grant and his vulnerability, though most men would baulk at showing that side of themselves. He wanted, needed to know that she was happy to see him so that he could feel secure in her love. And I'm sure she was, otherwise she could have found any number of reasons not to be there. She never did.
 
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#45
Running The Batteries at Vicksburg

April 16, 1863 - Another insight into the relationship between General and Mrs. Grant. The General finalized his plan for his Vicksburg attack but it was risky and once again we see the intensity of his need for his wife to be with him.

I like the way Shelby Foote describes that night. As he tells it, the General, along with Julia and his sons Fred and Buck were safely on a boat as if they were attending a theater show and had “center front row” seats. The night is dark as they “await the raising of the curtain”.

Charles Dana had been sent to observe and if this plan did not succeed- well - history might have been changed. So with all this pressure is it any wonder that he would have “his pillar of strength” right next to him. Foote writes as the flotilla begins - - -

“aside from ordering the younger boy {Buck} to bed when he heard him whimper and saw him press his face against Wilson’s chest in terror at the holocaust of flame and thunder {he was on his lap}, he {Grant} said nothing. He merely smoked and watched the fireworks, holding all the while to his wife’s hand.”

Of course, Julia, would have her own unique style in telling the story in her memoirs - - -

“Indeed, it was a grand sight: the long stretch of river at the end of which was the blazing house illuminating it. How vividly that picture is photographed on my mind; the grand roar of the cannon nests in my memory. The batteries of Vicksburg poured shot and shell upon the heads of the devoted little fleet, but Porter was there - thank Heaven! - to return broadside for broadside. The air was full of sulfurous smoke. The batteries were passed, and we rested here awaiting the report of casualties and were happy to learn that there had been no loss of life, although some few were wounded - poor fellows! the smoke cleared away, the stars looked down tenderly upon Union and Rebel alike, and the katydids and the frogs began again their summer songs.”

I read her memoirs a few years back and this thread has brought back many thoughts I had when I first read it. At times she has comes across as having a naive attitude to certain events - and maybe this too was endearing to her Ulys, but how fortunate Julia was there to hold his hand in support.

Never speaking :hug: just holding hands.
 

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#46
Another great addition @DBF . I love the final thought. A quiet sense of strength and support in eachother's company.

Julia definitely comes across as naieve at times, but this can be an endearing quality. She is not always wise to the ways of the world, and maybe this brought out Grant's protective nature. What man doesn't want to feel like a protector?

The description of The Battle of Vicksburg in her memoirs is illuminating in this sense. How naieve is it to describe a battle in this way? First we hear about the roar of the cannon, with shot and shell pouring down - I can't even imagine the terror of the noise that would create - and she even comments on the sulfurous smoke which I'm sure can't have been pleasant. Yet, she doesn't describe it in any way as being unpleasant. When the fray is finally over we have the incongruous thought of stars looking down tenderly upon Union and Rebel alike followed by pleasant thoughts of katydids and frogs singing their summer songs. Maybe time and distant memory put Julia in different place in her mind at the time of writing her memoirs so that katydids somehow went with cannons roar and stars with sulfur and summer songs.

I'll have some more to add about Fred momentarily.
 

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#47
From Julia's memoirs:

"Victor (this was a favorite pet name for the Captain, after he had read to me the Triumphs of Victor Emmanuel) returned home a few days after the commission as Colonel of the 21st Illinois was received and was soon ready to join his regiment. Strange to say, I felt no regret at his going and even suggested that our eldest son, just then eleven years old, should accompany him. I think it was a tender thought for my beloved husband that prompted this suggestion, as well as a desire to gratify the importunings and pleadings of our boy Fred. You must not forget, though, that these regiments were only called out for three months, and I considered it a pleasant summer outing for both of them. I did not think Captain Grant's occupation in Galena entirely congenial to him, and was willing, therefore, that he should go out on this expedition as he wished to, no matter how lonely I might be without him. The Colonel and Fred bade us adieu. Many friends assembled to say goodbye. Colonel Grant's regiment was at Springfield, I think.

When Colonel Grant was ordered to Missouri, he wrote me he would send Fred home from Quincy, Ill., saying, 'We may have some fighting to do, and he is too young to have exposure of camp life.' I instantly wrote to him, 'Do not send him home; Alexander was not older when he accompanied Philip. Do keep him with you.' But I was too late. Fred had started. Colonel Grant was rather amused at my letter. The dear boy demonstrated, however, that I was right, for he walked the whole distance from Dubuque to Galena, seventeen miles, and carried his own knapsack, not a light one by any means. The cars had started when he arrived, and imbued with his father's future tactics, no doubt, he pushed ahead and was quite exhausted when he arrived."

Julia seems to have none of the quibbles of a modern day parent in sending her eleven year old son with his father off to the war. Of course, not much was expected to come of it at the time, or certainly not for any great length of time, but my jaw nearly dropped to read of her telling Grant not to send Fred home comparing him to Alexander :eek: Especially when she has compared their first foray into camp life 'a pleasant summer outing.' What Grant had seen of war, Julia had not. She could have no possible concept of what that might mean in real terms and it appears her 'romantic' streak may have overtaken her here. Grant sensibly sends his son home for now, and Fred shows all the mettle of his father in walking 17 miles to get there after missing his train. The determination of the father resides in the son.

Here is further from the link in the OP in relation to this:

"It was also the general who urged his wife to bring their family to live with him whenever it was deemed reasonably safe and at one point his eldest son Fred, then twelve, lived with him in camp during the 1863 battle of Vicksburg. The young man teenager not only witnessed fighting but was grazed by a bullet. As word of the presence of the Grant children in camp went beyond the circle of the Union Army to the general population, each of the children also began to develop a public profile. The dark side was that it made them targets for Confederate kidnapping. One such attempted incident was prevented only when Julia’s sister Emma acted swiftly to relocate her nephew Fred from two strangers asking about his whereabouts."
 

Northern Light

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#48
I agree with you both on her lack of letter writing, and the fact for so many months, he wasn't even aware of whether he had a son or daughter. I remember reading that perhaps her "eye" condition created a problem with her in both reading and writing - but seems to me she could have had someone writte in her behalf.

I have attached a link to this article which is titled:

“Mrs. Orvil Grant - General Grant’s Sister-In-Law/She Insults the General’s Domestic Life/Denies Orvil Grant Died in a Mental Asylum/Vengeful Wrath Over General Grant’s Widow/Exclusive Disclosures”
https://www.granthomepage.com/intmrsorvilgrant.htm

It reads like today’s National Enquirer - but inquiring minds want to know!
Sounds like she was a little jealous of Julia and Ullys. It does not reflect well on Mrs. Orvil to be so spiteful when she was asking for a handout. I wonder if Julia had just had enough of her by that point.
 

Northern Light

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#51
Yes, as @DBF pointed out they had to be holding something up! :D

I just couldn't believe Julia was so offended by a shirt :nah disagree: Now, a man with no pant's on could certainly bring out disapproving looks :eek:
I think that in Julia's world, men wore white shirts to church, plaid shirts were for work. I remember my father having a fit on one hot summer day when I chose not to wear stockings to church. Words were exchanged.
 
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#55
Sounds like she was a little jealous of Julia and Ullys
She should have done what my husband tells me to do when I want to "let it rip" at someone - write it all down and then throw it away!

Buck has always been my favorite child of the Grant’s. Maybe I felt sorry for him being the “middle” boy - Fred was always the “little soldier”; Jesse was the clown; and Nellie was the princess, but Buck was (as quoted in an interview from older brother Fred) - - -

“My brother Ulysses, who was next to me in age, was, though brave, a very gentle and exceedingly sensitive boy. Father never failed to remember this, and was careful not to hurt his feelings in any way. He was considerate of my brother's opinions and his wishes, and showed appreciation of his actions.”

How difficult the night of April 16, 1863 must have been for him. I imagine he wanted so much to be “topside to see the show” (so to speak), but he had not yet turned 11 and how frightened he became. However after reading what Julia wrote do you suppose she went below deck afterwards and told Buck to get up and “sit under the stars and listen to the frogs and katydids sing their summer song”?
 

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#57
Whoops, I just read this as April 16, 1865, which was 2 nights after Lincoln's assassination. I couldn't figure out what the week of the Lincoln assassination had to do with this.
Welcome @Forks of the Ohio :smile:

I think the reference is to young Ulys and his fear/terror at the battle of Vicksburg which the family were watching from a boat nearby.

Good to have you aboard, btw.
 
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#58
I found this book on the National Park Service website: "Ulysses S. Grant's White Haven: A Place Where Extraordinary People Came to Live Ordinary Lives, 1796-1885" by Kimberly Scott Little

In Chapter 5, Grant is in Mexico. It is 1846 - 1847. Per the book (page 78):


"Julia told Ulysses that she wished it was the United States that was being invaded by the troops, so that she could be taken prisoner by him. He replied, "If Julia says she will surrender herself my prisoner I will take the first opportunity of making an excursion to [Missouri]. But you must not expect your parole like other prisoners of war for I expect to be the Sentinel that guards you myself."
 

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#59
I found this book on the National Park Service website: "Ulysses S. Grant's White Haven: A Place Where Extraordinary People Came to Live Ordinary Lives, 1796-1885" by Kimberly Scott Little

In Chapter 5, Grant is in Mexico. It is 1846 - 1847. Per the book (page 78):


"Julia told Ulysses that she wished it was the United States that was being invaded by the troops, so that she could be taken prisoner by him. He replied, "If Julia says she will surrender herself my prisoner I will take the first opportunity of making an excursion to [Missouri]. But you must not expect your parole like other prisoners of war for I expect to be the Sentinel that guards you myself."
Wow! Just hit me over the head and drag me back to the cave :wub: This is great stuff! Thanks for sharing.
 



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