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[In referring to this period, Grant says that it was the most anxious time of the war when the Army of the Tennessee was guarding the territory acquired by Corinth and Memphis, and before he was sufficiently reinforced to take the offensive.
To his sister Mary.]
Julia and the children left here on Saturday last for St. Louis where they will remain on a visit until about the last of the month. At the end of that time they must be some place where the children can go to school.--Mrs. Hillyer has a nice house in the city and is all alone whilst her husband is on my staff, and it may be that she and Julia will keep house together. If they do she would be very much pleased to have you make her a long visit. Julia says that she is satisfied that the best place for the children is in Covington. But there are so many of them that she sometimes feels as if they were not wanted. Their visit down here in Dixie was very pleasant and they were very loth to leave. Things however began to look so threatening that I thought it was best for them to leave. I am now in a situation where it is impossible for me to do more than to protect my long lines of defence. I have the Mississippi to Memphis, the railroad from Columbus to Corinth, from Jackson to Bolivar, from Corinth to Decatur, and the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers to keep open. Guerillas are hovering around in every direction, getting whipped every day some place by some of my command, but keeping us busy. The war is evidently growing oppressive to the Southern people. Their institution are beginning to have ideas of their own; every time an expedition goes out many of them follow in the wake of the army and come into camp. I am using them as teamsters, hospital attendants, company cooks and so forth, thus saving soldiers to carry the musket. I don't know what is to become of these poor people in the end, but it weakens the enemy to take them from them. If the new levies are sent in soon the rebels will have a good time getting in their crops this Fall.
I have abandoned all hope of being able to make a visit home till the close of the war. A few weeks' recreation would be very grateful however. It is one constant strain now and has been for a year. If I do get through I think I will take a few months of pure and undefiled rest. I stand it well, however, having gained some fifteen pounds in weight since leaving Cairo. Give my love to all at home.ULYS.
- The Project Gutenberg eBook, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, by Ulysses S. Grant, Edited by Jesse Grant Cramer