Description

    General Grant gives his Civil War saddle to a friend

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed "U. S. Grant / Lt. Gen." One page, 7.25" x 9.25", Washington, D.C., May 19, 1865, to Colonel Absalom H. Markland. Less than six weeks after accepting General Lee's surrender, General Grant writes,

    "I take great pleasure presenting you the 'Grimsley Saddle' which I have used in all the battles from Fort Henry, Tenn. in Feby 1862, to the battles about Petersburg, Va. ending in the surrender of Lee's Army at Appomattox C.H. Va. on the 9th of Apl. 1865.

    I present this saddle not for any intrinsic value it possesses but as a mark of friendship and esteem after continued service with you through the Great Rebellion our services commencing together at Cairo, Ill. in the Fall of 1861 and continueing [sic] to the present day. I hope our friendship, if not our continued services together, will continue as heretofore."

    The Grimsley saddle was named for St. Louis saddler Thornton Grimsley (1798-1861) whose 1833 saddle design was used by the U.S. Army until it was replaced in 1859 by the McClellan saddle. Still, many Mexican War veterans, such as Grant, chose to use the Grimsley throughout the Civil War. The saddle that Grant gave to Colonel Markland - brass-bound with padded leather seat - is on display at the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia. This letter is laid down on a stiff backing. Toned with minor stains.


    More Information: Colonel Markland, a native of Kentucky, was a special agent of the Post Office Department on Grant's staff and a personal friend to the general. The two had met in their early teens as classmates at Maysville Seminary in Kentucky. While Grant began a career in the U.S. military, Markland studied law and migrated to Washington, D.C., in 1849 to become a government official in the Office of Indian Affairs. During the presidential campaign of 1860, he supported Abraham Lincoln who, after his election, appointed Markland a special agent in the Post Office Department. Markland's initial assignment was to investigate the loyalty of postmasters, but General Grant soon assigned him charge of mail delivery for his Army of the Tennessee. At Grant's urging, Markland transformed the slow, inefficient mail delivery to Grant's troops into a prompt, efficient service that consequently helped improve morale. He was given the honorary rank of colonel and served under Grant for most of the war, often carrying letters and messages between the president and generals.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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