[CIVIL WAR]. GRANT, Ulysses S. Autograph letter signed (''U.S. Grant'') to Major General Edward O.C. Ord, City Point, VA., 24 February 1865. 1 page, small 4to, ''Headquarters Armies of the United States'' stationery, evidence of attachment on verso of integral blank, minor mat burn.
[CIVIL WAR]. GRANT, Ulysses S. Autograph letter signed ("U.S. Grant") to Major General Edward O.C. Ord, City Point, VA., 24 February 1865. 1 page, small 4to, "Headquarters Armies of the United States" stationery, evidence of attachment on verso of integral blank, minor mat burn.
FRIENDS DIVIDED BY WAR: GRANT ASSURES THE SAFETY OF LONGSTREET'S FAMILY
A fine letter written by Grant at the end of the war in which the commander of all Union armies grants permission for Confederate General James Longstreet's family to pass through Union lines to the security of the North. Longstreet met Grant at West Point and the two men became fast friends. Graduating one year apart (Longstreet in 1842, Grant in 1843 -- each ranked in the bottom half of the class), both officers were assigned to the 4th United States Infantry posted at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Longstreet's cousin, Julia Dent, lived near their new post and, shortly after Grant arrived, Longstreet escorted his friend to the Dent household where Grant fell in love with Julia. After serving in the Mexican War, both men returned home and quickly married. Grant wedded Julia and Longstreet married Marie Louise Garland. The two women became close friends.
On February 25, 1865, Longstreet scheduled a meeting with Union General E.O.C. Ord regarding the problem of fraternization between the lines. Here, the day before the meeting, Grant, in an apparent effort to offer security to the family of his old friend and allow Longstreet's wife to have the opportunity to visit with Julia Grant, asks Ord to forward this information at the conference: "If Longstreet wishes to send his family North to stay, they will be received at my Hd.Qrs. and sent where he wishes. I do not think that he would consent to send them here to return again. If however he will let them come, even to go back again, you may let them come."
The meeting between Ord and Longstreet led to the conclusion that Lee and Grant should meet to discuss the possibility of an end to hostilities. A reunion of Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Longstreet was discussed as a method of showing the spirit of compromise between foes. Ultimately, although Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee approved such a conference, Grant refused, stating that he had no authority to discuss a compromise peace. No record exists of a meeting between the generals' wives and Longstreet kept his family with him until the war's end. Subsequently, the friends turned enemies by civil war, would rekindle the camaraderie that they had known when Longstreet, much to the dismay of the southern people, gave Grant his full support during his bid to become President of the United States (copies of Bruce Catton letter regarding the significance of this item included with Lot).