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    Grant orders Col. Markland to "arrange for the regular transmission and distribution of the mails for Gen. Sherman's Army"

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed "U. S. Grant / Lt. Gen." One page, 7.75" x 10", City Point, Virginia, December 20, 1864, on letterhead reading "Head Quarters Armies of the United States." From his cabin headquarters at City Point during the Siege of Petersburg, General Grant addressed this letter to Special Agent Absalom Markland, who was staying at the more comfortable Eutaw House in Baltimore.

    "I would be pleased to have you obtain the authority from the P[ost] M[aster] Gen. to go to Savannah and arrange for the regular transmission and distribution of the mails for Gen. Sherman's Army. I understand Mrs. Markland desires to accompany you. If so she has permission to go."

    Toned with some separations and one minor tear at folds.

    As General Sherman's army marched from Atlanta to Savannah in November and December 1864, Colonel Markland collected the army's mail at Baltimore. In early December, Grant, confidently expecting Sherman to take Savannah, directed Markland to send the accumulated mail for Sherman's army to the blockading squadron near the Southern port. By December 16, the mail, packed onto a steamboat, finally reached Sherman's main force where it was "most welcome to all the officers and soldiers of the army, which had been cut off from friends and the world for two months, and this prompt receipt of letters from home had an excellent effect, making us feel that home was near" (William Sherman, Memoirs of Gen. W. T. Sherman, Volume 2 [New York: Charles L. Webster & Co. 1892], 204). The day after General Grant wrote this letter, General Sherman's army marched into Savannah - no doubt with mail in their pouches - ending Sherman's famous March to the Sea and prompting him to offer the city to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift. With this letter from General Grant in hand, Colonel Markland and his wife soon set out for Savannah to see that Sherman's army received a "regular transmission and distribution of the mails."

    More Information: Colonel Markland, a native of Kentucky, was assigned to Grant's staff as a special agent of the Post Office Department. The two had met in their early teens at Maysville Seminary in Kentucky. After President Lincoln had appointed Markland to the Post Office Department as a special agent, General Grant assigned him charge of mail delivery for his Army of the Tennessee, where Markland transformed the slow, inefficient mail delivery into a prompt, efficient service that consequently helped improve morale.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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