The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: December 9, 1862 - March 31, 1863 - Vol. 7

By John Y. Simon; Ulysses S. Grant | Go to book overview
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Genl Hamilton. The complaints have never come to me. I am satisfied that the good of the service demands that Maj Genl Hamilton should be assigned to duty elsewhere I would respectfully suggest that an exchange be effected by which Genl Prentiss may be detailed to this command & Genl Hamilton relieve him my forbearance is nearly exhausted & if he remains here, I shall be compelled to put him in arrest which I do not wish to do. I can get along with almost any body who has not confidential correspondents in high places. In fact I do not know that I have any necessity for another Maj Genl in these limits, and would prefer that they should earn or dignify their rank in active service & be releived from the corruptions & dangers of such a place as Memphis" Copy, DNA, RG 393, 16th Army Corps, Letters Sent. See letter to Brig. Gen. Charles S. Hamilton, Jan. 20, 1863.

On Jan. 30, Hamilton wrote to U. S. Senator James R. Doolittle of Wis. "Hurlbut drinks like a fish—He will soon return here & by virtue of his two days rank—will supercede me & have me out of place or command." ALS, Doolittle Papers, WHi. On Feb. 11, Hamilton again wrote to Doolittle. "You have asked me to write you confidentially. I will now say what I have never breathed. Grant is a drunkard. His wife has been with him for months only to use her influence in keeping him sober. He tries to let liquor alone—but he cannot resist the temptation always. When he come to Memphis, he left his wife at LaGrange, & for several days after getting here, was beastly drunk, utterly incapable of doing anything. Quinby & I, took him in charge, watching with him day & night, & keeping liquor away from him, & we telegraphed to his wife & brought her on to take care of him. His wife being here, is authority to hundreds of officers to keep their wives, and to as many more to keep mistresses under the name of wives, and the result is a demoralization that is most fatal to the patriotism and efficiency of the army. Now this is in the strictest confidence. Grant is a warm fried of mine, & I of him, and although he is not a great man—yet he is a man of nerve and will not let an opportunity slip to strike the enemy a blow, whenever he can do it. I have seen little of Hurlbut—but the stories of his drunkenness are rife through the city, and he is known oftentimes by the soubriquet of 'drunken Hurlbut I have never seen him drunk myself but his face & manner give evidence of much intemperance." ALS, ibid. Nominated as maj. gen. on Jan. 22, although not confirmed until March 9, Hamilton had begun to sign letters with his higher rank at the end of Jan.


To Julia Dent Grant

Before Vicksburg
Feb. 9th 1863.

DEAR JULIA,

Your letter brought by Capt. Hatch 1 says that you had then received but one letter from me. I have written not less than four others and probably more. Generally I have directed to the care

-308-

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