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Rare 1861 Civil War Date Autograph Letter Signed General U.S. Grant Orders a Riverboat be Used as a Hospital Ship!
ULYSSES S. GRANT (1822-1885). 18th President of the United States serving from (March 4, 1869-March 4, 1877), First "Lieutenant-General" since George Washington, and Major General (July 4, 1863), who led the Union Armies to victory in the last years of the American Civil War.
September 10, 1861, Civil War Date, Autograph Letter Signed, "U. S. Grant Brig Gen Com.," 1 page, measuring 8" x 9.75", Cairo, [IL], Choice Very Fine. Written to Major Hatch, the Brigade Quartermaster, ordering him to engage a riverboat for use as a hospital ship. It reads, in full:
"Head Quarters, --- You will please engage the steamer Swallow as a Hospital for the use of troops at Fort Holt and have her towed there at once. I understand the steamer can be had for twenty-five dollar pr. day. More should not be paid. -- (Signed) U. S. Grant - Brig Gen Com."
Fort Holt was located opposite Grant's headquarters in Cairo, Ill., protecting the mouth of the Ohio River. Only four days earlier, on September 6, 1861, Genral Grant led the successful and bloodless capture of Paducah, Kentucky, which solidified Union control of the mouth of the Tennessee River, cutting off an important route into the Confederate interior. He would use the Tennessee River in early 1862 to capture Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, important strategic targets. The steamer "Swallow" had already seen some federal service. In April 1861, the Riverboat was used to capture the steamer "C.E. Hillman," bound from St. Louis to Nashville laden with 1000 pounds of gunpowder.