[CIVIL WAR]. GRANT, Ulysses S. Autograph letter signed ("U.S. Grant") to General William T. Sherman, Washington, D.C., 11 February 1869. 1½ pages, 8vo, on Army Headquarters stationery, two small tears, otherwise fine.
THE PRESIDENT-ELECT ENLISTS SHERMAN TO LOBBY CONGRESS ON BEHALF OF THE ARMY. Only a month before his inaugural, Grant encourages Sherman, the recently appointed commander of the United States Army, to come to Washington: "As soon as you can arrange to come east after your return from the south I think you had better come." The president- elect, revealing an unexpected appreciation of the typical manuevering of Washington politics, informs Sherman that there is , "... so much legislation proposed about the Army that may be stopped by our quietly seeing members of Congress that I think you had better come at once." Grant was diligently planning his first presidential actions, "I want some orders issued immediately after the 4th of March which will have to be signed by you and I would like to consult you about them before hand."
After the conclusion of the Civil War, Union volunteeers were promptly sent home. With no obvious overseas threats to American security, Congress further reduced the size of the military. By the time General Sherman was placed in command of the army in 1869, America's land forces had been reduced to 35,000 men who were widely scattered on 255 military posts. Sherman alluded to Grant's anxieties in a report to the Secretary of War at the end of that year, "Congress may be appealed to not to diminish the military establishment any further." (Marszalek, Sherman, p. 379) Unfortunately, the efforts of Grant and Sherman were unsuccessful. During Sherman's command, the Army was further reduced to 25,000.