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

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Just to offer another view - we have already discussed the "tension" that existed between Mary Lincoln and Julia Grant. My first thought was perhaps this was Mary Lincoln's idea and she asked her husband for this favor, just to make Julia's life difficult and to prove to her that in the end Mary was powerful than she was. We know the two ladies had some words less than a month to this.

I found this interesting "tidbit" from Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln" - regarding the evening of April 14th and perhaps why the Grant's did not want to attend (of Julia) - - -

"But Mrs. Lincoln had set her heart (on attending the theater), and she invited General and Mrs. Grant. And General Grant accepted, the newspapers were announcing.

Grant however had changed his mind. Mrs. Grant, in all probability, had told the General that the more she thought about it, the more it seemed impossible that she could endure an evening with the unfortunate woman she had last seen in such outbursts of temper and rages of jealousy at City Point. The General himself, anyone who knew him would testify, could see no fun in such a social evening."

Clearly - two women that did not particularly care for each other.
I read part of Mrs. Grant’s memoirs. The Lincolns returned to City Point after Richmond fell. Mrs. Lincoln organized a sightseeing trip to Richmond but didn’t invite Mrs. Grant. Then Mrs. Lincoln planned an evening party but didn’t invite Mrs. Grant. Mrs. Grant planned her own sightseeing trip AND she took the only available military band along with her on her excursion. So the Lincolns had no band for their party that night. When Mrs. Grant’s boat returned from her trip, the boat sailed down the river past the Lincolns’ boat (the party was in full swing at that time) and Julia had the band play the song, “Now you’ll remember me.” Julia admitted in her memoirs that she did this. She regretted that she never saw President Lincoln again prior to his death later that month.
 
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I know that Mary Lincoln struggled a great deal with her mental health and I am horrified about how Andrew Johnson treated her after she witnessed her husband’s death.

That being said, I do not criticize anyone for refusing to attend a public function with her. Mrs. Lincoln completely publicly humiliated several people at City Point. This is something that a bully does. For all anyone knew, there was a chance that Mrs Lincoln would publicly humiliate her “guests” at Ford’s Theater, in front of a much larger crowd.
 
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Do you know whether he did this voluntarily or was supposed to because of law or some other rule?
I believe it was the rule at the time. At the end of Grant’s life, as he was dying and struggling to complete his memoirs, William Tecumseh Sherman lobbied Congress to make an exception for Grant and reinstate his army pension. Sherman had some clout as General of the Army and brother of John Sherman. No one could have known that the memoirs would become bestsellers, so it was good that they acquiesced.
 
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I read part of Mrs. Grant’s memoirs. The Lincolns returned to City Point after Richmond fell. Mrs. Lincoln organized a sightseeing trip to Richmond but didn’t invite Mrs. Grant. Then Mrs. Lincoln planned an evening party but didn’t invite Mrs. Grant. Mrs. Grant planned her own sightseeing trip AND she took the only available military band along with her on her excursion. So the Lincolns had no band for their party that night. When Mrs. Grant’s boat returned from her trip, the boat sailed down the river past the Lincolns’ boat (the party was in full swing at that time) and Julia had the band play the song, “Now you’ll remember me.” Julia admitted in her memoirs that she did this. She regretted that she never saw President Lincoln again prior to his death later that month.
That is absolutely priceless! She was a spirited woman and must have been fun to know.
 

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Regarding the City Point “Incident”. First Mary Lincoln was on dangerous ground when she was attacking an officer’s wife. I believe there was a comradery among the ladies, and Mrs. Grant in particular, felt protective of the wives, especially those wives that were married to the Generals that her husband admired. I found this website that describes Mary Lincoln, Mrs. Ord and Julia and everyone else in hearing range, beginning the afternoon of March 26th - - -

“Finally the party arrived at its destination and Mrs. Ord came up to the ambulance. Then Mrs. Lincoln positively insulted her, called her vile names in the presence of a crowd of officers, and asked what she meant by following up the President. The poor woman burst into tears and inquired what she had done, but Mrs. Lincoln refused to be appeased, and stormed till she was tired. Mrs. Grant still tried to stand by her friend, and everybody was shocked and horrified. But all things come to an end, and after a while we returned to City Point.”

Then the evening at dinner (Mary Lincoln was not done with Mrs. Ord)

“That night of the 26th the President and Mrs. Lincoln entertained General and Mrs. Grant and the General's staff at dinner on the steamer, and before us all Mrs. Lincoln berated General Ord to the President, and urged that he should be removed. He was unfit for his place, she said, to say nothing of his wife. General Grant sat next and defended his officer bravely. Of course General Ord was not removed.”

This was the General Mary Lincoln wanted removed - and this is his wife she called a vile name - - -

fullsizeoutput_4d3.jpeg


https://www.pillartopost.org/2016/03/retro-files-lincoln-endures-uncivil-wars.html

So that's why I would not put it past Mary Lincoln to have suggested to the President that it be General Grant to take her out to see the "light" show and celebrate the victory.
 

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So that's why I would not put it past Mary Lincoln to have suggested to the President that it be General Grant to take her out to see the "light" show and celebrate the victory.
AKA shirking his duties? No thought to how Julia might feel about that as long as he didn't have to deal with the fallout perhaps?
 
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Washington, D.C. after Lee's surrender was full of demoralized Confederate agents. Dealing with Mrs. Lincoln's petty efforts to put herself between Grant and Julia, was a little too much to expect. I speculate that Julia heard more rumors then she could tolerate and wanted to put some distance between herself and the White House.
 

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Well, we're not done with Julia yet. The Post Civil War years look to be just as interesting ...

Post-Civil War Life

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Julia Grant and her children joined General Grant when he was honored at an 1865 reception in New York City. (Harper’s Weekly)

Julia Grant did not join her husband in Washington for Lincoln’s state funeral. She was, however, a prominent figure in the reviewing stand in front of the White House for the two days of massive victory parades in Washington on May 23 and 24, 1865.

Although her husband was embarrassed at the lavish public outpouring that heralded him as the nation’s greatest hero, in gratitude for the perception that he seemingly ended the Civil War single-handedly, Julia Grant insisted that it was his due, and reveled in seeing him made a hero. She made an effort not only to share in his glorious post-war honors but insisted that their children also be included at every possible reception where their father was being heralded.

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General Grant rides in a Philadelphia victory parade honoring him. (stock-illustration.com)

During the summer of 1865, Julia Grant travelled with the General during his rail tour of northern cities, where he was honored with endless parades, receptions and large dinner banquets, both of them plied with gifts from the grateful public.

When the Grant family arrived back in Galena, Illinois, a crowd estimated at 10,000 hailed them. The local residents presented them with a furnished brick home. The family made use of the Galena property as a real home in the postwar years, if only on an intermitted basis.

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Illustrated newspapers depicted domestic scenes of the Grant family in their famous Galena, Illinois home. (Grant Home, Galena)

Julia Grant welcomed newspaper correspondents into the house to see her family enjoying the rooms of the home, even permitting them to sketch them in private moments like their dinner meal or gathering in the parlor.

Grant’s ongoing work with the War Department and his subsequent appointment by President Andrew Johnson as Acting Secretary of War in Washington required his presence in Washington, D.C.

After enduring constant separation from his family during the war, he would no longer tolerate this and thus the family decided not to make Galena their primary residence but to rather relocate to Washington during the initial Reconstruction era.

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The first home used by the Grants in Washington, D.C. (gloverparkhistory.com)

Ultimately, it proved more practical for them to live in Washington, first in the Georgetown section and then, by the end of 1865, in a large rowhouse at 2025 I Street, Northwest.

(Taken from link in OP)
 
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The funny thing about Julia is that when it came time for the Civil War she gave her father a lesson in how to be the toughest army wife in the bunch. She made fun of the quarters at City Point, and Ulysses returned the commitment by grabbing the White House when it came within reach. So dad: I am tough enough, and Mary: you have nothing on me. Julia was used to being regarded as not quite up to the standard of St. Louis society. Seems she got even.
 

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So dad: I am tough enough
She certainly proved this @wausaubob time and time again. Julia and Ulysses both seemed to have a 'mind made up' mindset, in that they were going to push through whatever troubles came their way. I suppose her father, knowing how pampered she had been in many ways growing up, never thought she would be able to live a life that did not require such pampering. Love overcame any issues there, and the White House almost seems like a reward for that decision. In my opinion, she was entitled to delight in her husband, her family and the opportunities that eventually came their way as a family.
They both remembered the stuff that was poured on Grant's reputation, before and during the war. She did not take the glorification seriously.
And, no, they did not forget, though of the two I'm not sure who was the less forgiving. It may have been Julia, but I think there were times Grant overruled her.
 

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It's time for another addition, and though much of the focus we read about is often on Julia and her relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln, there was another Presidency that preceded Grant's which involved a connection between two families:

View of President Andrew Johnson and his family

Unstated but implicit in her views, Julia Grant’s political views during Reconstruction may have influenced her friendly relationship with President Johnson and his family. Given her southern acculturation, Julia Grant was in favor of a tolerant and forgiving attitude towards former Confederates, a policy of President Johnson that led to political challenges of his power. With this, her husband was in accord, writing her on April 25, 1865 that, "people who talked of further retaliation and punishment, except of the political leaders, either do not conceive of the suffering endured already or they are heartless and unfeeling."

Despite the fact that Grant was aware of the fact that President Johnson was using his popularity in an attempt to shield himself from criticism of being too lenient in Reconstruction policy, Julia Grant maintained a friendly relationship with him. On at least one occasion, President Johnson honored her by coming to a reception in their private home, an uncommon custom then for an incumbent Chief Executive.

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Ulysses Grant during a session of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial. (Library of Congress)

In later years, Julia Grant praised the manners and appearance of the primary public hostess of the Administration, the President’s married daughter Martha Johnson Patterson. None of the Johnson family seemed to flinch when the Marine Band struck up “Hail to the Chief,” the song usually reserved for the President when the Grants entered the White House for the 1866 New Year’s Day Reception. Julia Grant, however, did not join her husband and Martha Patterson on President Johnson’s disastrous public railroad tour in the summer of 1866.

By virtue of her husband’s fame, Julia Grant became an overnight sensation in Washington, the general public pushing their way into what she intended to be private receptions in her home. A lavish hostess, invitations to dine in Grant home were a prized commodity among the city’s political elite. Around the city, she was always considered the most prominent figure in the audience at the many lectures, concerts, sermons and theatrical productions she attended. Beyond the circle of military figures of high rank, she came to know key Republican figures in the House and Senate and also befriended many members of the diplomatic corps.

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A prized invitation to be the guest of the General and Mrs. Grant in their Washington home. (ebay.com)

Julia Grant actually provides one of the few first-hand accounts of Eliza Johnson’s presence at formal White House social events, belying the popular misconception that the First Lady was never seen in public. Given the acrimony that developed between President Johnson and General Grant and Julia Grant’s fervent defense of any questionable action or behavior of her husband, her warm recollections of Mrs. Johnson are noteworthy. Archival inventories, however, indicate no direct correspondence between Julia Grant and any of the Johnson family.

(Taken from link in OP)
 

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Julia Grant actually provides one of the few first-hand accounts of Eliza Johnson’s presence at formal White House social events, belying the popular misconception that the First Lady was never seen in public. Given the acrimony that developed between President Johnson and General Grant and Julia Grant’s fervent defense of any questionable action or behavior of her husband, her warm recollections of Mrs. Johnson are noteworthy. Archival inventories, however, indicate no direct correspondence between Julia Grant and any of the Johnson family.
It's nice to read the Julia Grant had "warm recollections of Mrs. Johnson". There is so little known about her and I've always believed Eliza's life had to be difficult in the 1860's.
 
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How Jefferson Barracks became a part of Julia’s Life

Jefferson_Barracks_Mexican-American_War.jpg

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In June of 1843, Julia left Miss Mauro’s school. At 17 years old, her brother Fred, had graduated from West Point, and in Julia’s own words - - -

“My summer was passed most pleasantly at the farm, meeting many friends and acquaintances from St. Louise and Jefferson Barracks, where some of my schoolmates dwelt. We really depended more on Jefferson Barracks for society than on St. Louis, as it was only half the distance, less than five miles away. I met all of the officers stationed there and their families, and the young officers many times. They often came out to visit brother Fred.”

And we know that was true - for shortly she would meet her future husband. She spends the winter with her parent’s friends Colonel and Mrs. O’Fallon and she is being introduced in “St. Louis Society”. Of her time in “society” there she writes - - -

“I was the shyest of little girls, and if I had any admirers, I am sure I did not know it.”

February 22, 1864 - she writes of a debut party for Mary Lee given by her father “Colonel” R. E. Lee (in the footnotes identified as “Major” Richard Blade Lee, Jr the first cousin of Robert E. Lee serving as commissary officer in St. Louis as the other Mary Lee would have been about 9 years old). Julia is now staying at the home of Mr. Brady Smith as she was a close friend to his daughter also named Julia, when they attend the party. She writes of the night - - -

“Mr. Brady Smith was my escort, and after paying our respects to our host and hostess and the young debutante and strolling around the large and handsomely decorated rooms a few times, I modestly suggested to my escort that I would relieve him of the care of me and would take a stand near the folding doors, where he might find me when he and his daughter, Miss Julia, wished to return. He remonstrated, but at length let me have my own way, and at each newly-arrived lady took her stand near my place I was soon absolutely against the wall, when a bevy of young officers arrived looking so handsome in their brilliant uniforms with epaulettes and aiguillettes, and chapeaux in their hands. There was handsome Longstreet, Baker, Sid Smith, Hoskins, Sykes, Garnett, and many others, all of whom I knew. How delighted I was when Hoskins, glancing over the room to take observations, recognized me and with an expression of suppressed surprise asked me what I was doing there and said: ‘Do you not want me to come to your rescue?’ I answered, ‘yes’ and he did most gallantly. I knew all of these young officers, and how very pleasant they made this evening for me.” (page 48 Julia’s Memoirs)***

She left the city of few days later to return home where she would meet another Jefferson Barracks soldier, friend of her brother Fred and the rest is history.

***The footnote described the following men as: “James Longstreet, later a Confederate general, was a cousin of Julia Dent. The other officers included Charles R. Baker, Sidney Smith, Charles Hoskins,, George Sykes and Richard B. Garnett. Smith and Hoskins were killed in the Mexican War; Sykes served as a general in the U.S. Army during the Civil War; Garnett died at Gettysburg as a Confederate general”.
 

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It's nice to read the Julia Grant that she had "warm recollections of Mrs. Johnson". There is so little known about her and I've always believed Eliza's life had to be difficult in the 1860's.
Yes, I think she wasn't a well woman, but must have made more of an appearance than people are led to believe.

And interesting that Julia's defense of her husband didn't seem to tarnish her impressions of Johnson's wife. She may have taken into account the difficulty of her circumstances, and I do tend to think Julia had quite a compassionate heart in that she was often trying to help people even when she knew she shouldn't.

I think there was one occasion where she helped someone out by giving them Confederate currency during the war and then confessed to Ulysses in the circumstances, thinking afterwards she may have helped the Confederate cause :eek: I honestly don't know how she kept all her ducks in a row sometimes with her more Southern upbringing and connections vs. her loyalty to her husband and the country as a whole. That would be some balancing act for sure, and one I'm guessing Ulysses also had to endure at times from the opposite perspective.

Thanks again for your vote of confidence, btw, @DBF :smile:
 
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Thanks for another wonderful share @DBF and seems like Julia was quite shy and retiring in the early days of her introduction to society. I think the young men would have been gallant enough to make sure she wasn't left out, and doesn't seem like it was long before Ulysses made his way onto the scene.

Smith and Hoskins were killed in the Mexican War;
I get the feeling Ulysses may have been quite close to Hoskins from what I have read, and hit quite hard by his death. I must look it up, but I won't get the chance until later.

Interesting to know who was in the gang, and also how Jefferson Barracks was closer and therefore more convenient for socializing.
 
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The White House Wedding of Nellie Grant

Unknown-1.jpeg

Photo - Library of Congress

There is “no doubt about it” - the social event in May of 1874 was the nuptials of the President’s daughter, Nellie (18), to Algernon Charles Frederick Sartoris (23). They had met when Nellie was returning on a voyage after spending time in Europe, a trip her parents sent her on when she was 16. Unfortunately, Sartoris’s was not the man a father wanted his daughter to marry. Although he was a member of the “minor gentry”, and potential heir to his father’s fortune, he was also known as a “drinker” and “womanizer”. When Sartoris arrived at the White House to meet the President and Julia, both felt there was something about him that wasn’t right.

The President even wrote to the father of Sartoris of this serious relationship that Grant saw developing - -

"an attachment seems to have sprung up between these two young people, to my astonishment because I had only looked upon my daughter as a child, with a good home which I did not think of her wishing to quit for years yet. She is my only daughter and I therefore feel a double interest in her welfare...I hope you will attribute any apparent bluntness to a fathers anxiety for the welfare and happiness of an only and much loved daughter.” {1}

Ironically, Mrs. Grant says very little in her memoirs regarding the White House Wedding. Some of her thoughts - - -

“When Nellie came back to me, (after her European trip), she was no longer a nestling, but a young woman equipped and ready, ah, too ready, for the battle of life. How pretty and how innocent she was! How she enjoyed all the fetes given in her honor! How happy she was!” And soon, too soon, she spread her wings and flew with her handsome young English husband back to England. This nearly broke my heart, and I ventured to remonstrate by saying to her: ‘Nellie, is it possible you are willing to leave your father and me, who have loved and cherished you all of your life, and go with this stranger for always?’ She looked up sweetly and, smiling, said: ‘Why, yes, mamma. I am sure that is just what you did when you married papa and left grandpa.’ . . . Nellie left us in May, 1874.” {2}

The "always" was emphasized in her memoirs. How difficult this must have been for the Grant's - to watch their beloved daughter make such a big mistake and not be able to do anything. Nellie had 4 children, but by 1889, Sartois’s drinking problem was too much for Nellie to handle, and they divorced, even her in-laws sided with Nellie knowing the disappointment their son was. Nellie returned to America with her children.


1. https://www.granthomepage.com/nellie_grant.htm
2. Julia Dent Grant Memoirs - page 181
 

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When Nellie got to Washington as the president’s daughter, she was 13 and quite enthralled with the environment. She was shortly sent to Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut (an elite boarding school for daughters of the elite) but apparently was extremely unhappy there. I found this interesting speech that was given on February 13, 2008. It was given by Burch Ford (former headmaster of Miss Porter’s) speaking at Miss Porter’s Founders Day Convocation. She was in “character as Sarah Porter” and reads from her written words - -

“One notable student was Nellie Grant, daughter of President Ulysses S. Grant. I assumed that Nellie was sent to my school “because of my half dozen Congress and Cabinet girls already enrolled at the School.” Nellie did not like rules, which she needed, and was adamant in her pleadings that her father allow her to go home. I tried to make very clear to the President that, while Nellie was “a nice child, no child could be unhurt by such attentions as she received.” Nonetheless, Nellie prevailed and was escorted by Marshall Jewell, then governor of Connecticut, back to the White House.”
https://www.porters.org/news-detail?pk=424431

When she got back to Washington, she became quite the “party” girl of her day so much so that Grant and Julia decided to send her to Europe when she was 16, and the rest, as we say, is history.
 

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