Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    General Grant prepares for bloodshed only weeks before his first action of the Civil War

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed. One page of a bifolium, 8" x 9.75", "Head Quarters, Dist[rict]. S[outh]. E[ast]. Mo [Missouri] Cairo," September 10, 1861, to Major [Reuben] Hatch, the brigade quartermaster in Cairo, Illinois. Only days after taking command of Union troops near Cairo on the Mississippi River, General Grant, possibly expecting bloodshed, orders a local vessel on the Mississippi River be rented and used as a hospital. Minor separations are beginning at some fold intersections. Very clean paper, save for the docketing panel which bears expected soiling. General Grant writes in full:

    "You will please engage the Steamer Swallow as a Hospital for the use of troops at Fort Holt and have her towed there at once. I understand the steamer can be had for twenty-five dollars per day. More should not be paid. [Signed] U. S. Grant Brig. Genl. Com." Docketed on the final page, "Genl. Grant / Steamer Swallow / Sept 10 / for a hospital."

    On November 7, weeks after penning this order, Grant crossed the Mississippi River into Mississippi County, Missouri, and attacked a Confederate camp in the Battle of Belmont. This was his first combat in the Civil War. As one of the earliest battles of the war, it received much press attention, and gave President Lincoln a favorable opinion of the general. Reuben Hatch, a relative of a friend of President Lincoln, developed a reputation during the Civil War for corruption and incompetence. Late during the war, court-martial charges were brought against him but, because he had important friends (such as Lincoln, Edwin Stanton, and Grant) in public office, he escaped punishment.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 458

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 December 6 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search