Now "Ulis" let him do it. It's the way he makes his living. It won't take but a moment". Julia Grant

18thVirginia

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Commandeering family members into posing for photos is often a task that the women of a family undertake with some success. A sketch from Civil War soldier artist Charles Wellington Reed indicates that some things haven't changed that much in the century and a half since the Civil War. The caption in Wellington's sketch reads:

"Now "Ulis" let him do it. It's the way he makes his living. It won't take but a minute. Mrs. U.S. Grant said."

It seems to be the speech of Julia Grant to a reluctant-to-be- photographed Ulysses S. Grant, as recorded by sketch artist/ enlisted man Charles Wellington Reed at City Point, Virginia.

Here's the sketch:

reed-grant-and-photographer_1.v2.jpg
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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Neat. I can just hear her too! I have not read a whole lot about her, but she looks pretty no nonesense to me!

She must have been something. You feel a little intrusive, looking too closely into the relationships of people who are not here anymore but we hear an awful lot all about how it was somehow normal for men to stray. Calling nonsense on that. Their marriage weathered all extremes, Julia never wavered in her support and he maintained his position she was the most beautiful woman he'd laid eyes on. Julia had a slight shift in one eye, was as self conscious of it as anyone might be and he forbade her to have it corrected. Liked her exactly the way she was. You get the impression they were awfully good buddies.

This kind of conversation comes up and becomes weighed down by side conversations. It's just kind of nice, seeing these couples, even from a distance of so many years.
 

18thVirginia

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It strikes me that Mrs. Grant was a lady who knew how important her husband was and that he didn't always know how important he was. U.S. Grant seems to have been an enormously task-focused person, but perhaps he didn't always grasp the PR value of photographs. My impression of Julia Grant is that she did.

I've always thought that perhaps the assumption that Julie Grant didn't want to spend an evening with the Lincoln's at Ford's Theater was slightly different than what's been portrayed. Wives of prominent men are always mindful of how they look when around other prominent men. U.S. Grant may have been a general and a war hero, but he wasn't the President....yet. Being out in the President's box, with a chief executive who had been a trial lawyer and would always have understood the body language of showing one's office, that wasn't really a good appearance for a man who had a notion of one day rising to the presidency.

And Mrs. Grant no doubt understood that.
 

Cavalry Charger

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#19
I read that Mrs Grant did not like Mrs Lincoln at all, she didn't like how she behaved at City point when Mrs Lincoln had a catfight with Mrs Ord.
Yes, I've read that, too, and also what I think @18thVirginia is referring to in terms of Julia having a premonition or a sense of foreboding about that night. It was her that convinced Grant not to go, but not, in my opinion, because of appearances. Anyone who may have read my recent thread on Julia's reflection of other people's opinion of her husband and his dress could not doubt for a moment that she never saw him as anything 'lesser', and always as the man she knew he could be. I think I'm going to give a pass on Julia being concerned about appearances. And the only one I am acutely aware of is her own appearance, and concern around her 'wandering eye' which JPK has already mentioned. She was definitely concerned about her own appearance, and I'm sure she was grateful when her husband told her he loved her just the way she was.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Oh, have a feeling we'll never know the real story there. Julia really was an extraordinarily even tempered woman and had navigated the wives-of-generals club for awhile. If she disliked Mary Todd I'm unconvinced we'd know it. If there was something between them it could have to do with Mary Todd's dislike of Grant's tactics. It's also been conjectured the Grants were not at Ford's that night for the same reason. Have a feeling Grant just wished to get the heck of Washington- the surrender celebrations were massive, continual and Grant was looking at his face plastered on every other building.

The Ord story seems improbable too. While we're somewhat inured to seeing females make spectacles of themselves in 2019, you just didn't do certain things in public. A general's wife and the President's, publically scrapping? Hmmm. Smell a rat named William Herndon.
 

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