Departments or Washington Authorities. Of course I only speak for the West. I am thankful my lot has not been cast where I could judge for any other section.
I am begining now to make preparations for attack or defence when Spring opens. Two important expeditions are now out, one under Sherman and the other under Thomas, which, if as successful as I expect them to be will have an importan[t] bearing on the Spring Campaign.
This war has developed some of our old acquaintances much differently from what we would have expected. Fred. Steele, a good fellow always but you would have supposed not much more, is really a splendid officer and would be fully capable of the management of the Army of the Potomac or any of the Departments. Some who much would have been expected from have proven rather failures. This class I do not like to mention by name.
I believe Ruf. you are still leading a bachilor's life? Don't you regret it? Now I have four children, three boys and one girl, in whos society I feel more enjoyment than I possibly can with any other company. They are a responsibility giving much more pleasure than anxiety. It may not be too late for you yet.
My respects to such old acquaintances as are with you.
U. S. GRANT
ALS (facsimile), Frank A. Burr, Life and Deeds of General Ulysses S. Grant.... (Philadelphia, 1885), pp. 491-97.
Feb.y 16th 1864,
Your letter was duly received and advice fully appreciated, particularly as it is the same I would give any friend: i. e. to avoid all