Corpus Christi Texas
Feb. 7th 1846
I have just been delighted by a long and interesting letter from my Dear Julia and although I wrote you but two or three days ago I answer this with my usual punctuality. You say you write me letter for letter well I am satisfied that my love is returned and you know how anxious one is to hear often from the one I love and it may appear to me that you do not write as often as you really do. Your letter was one of the sweetest you have ever written me and your answer to the question I have so often asked was so much like yourself, it was just what I wanted you to say; boldness indeed: no my Dear Julia that is a charge that can be never laid to you -- There is a part of your letter that is entirely incomprehensible to me. I dont know whether you are jesting or if you are serious. I first loved Julia I have loved no one els […].
Your Devoted lover
I came across the text of Grant’s letter to his then fiancée Julia in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (Volume 1, pages 72 to 74). Readers catch a glimpse of a Grant very different from what many of us are familiar with, and as Valentine’s Day is almost here I can’t resist sharing it. They were secretly engaged at the time, and Julia had given him an engagement gift before he left St. Louis – a plain gold band with her name engraved on its inside. They were married on August 22, 1848 upon his return from the Mexican War, and the ring would be his treasure until his death in 1885.
Intriguingly, Julia kept his letters (her letters to him unfortunately have not survived) and, in some cases, crossed out portions of them. In this letter, she crossed out 11 lines of the manuscript of the letter. What were her soldier lover’s thoughts as he prepared to go to war, expressed in those lines and now forever lost…?
Note: I have left Grant’s spelling, capitalization and punctuation as documented.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Melissa Trombley-Prosch, Grant Cottage Site Historian