Sunday, July 12, 2020

Grant in Nashville: 'I want to get all the sunshine I can'

The site of Grant's headquarters in Nashville is part of a walking tour of the city. 
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In early 1864, Ulysses Grant used a house on 6th Avenue in Nashville as a headquarters. Prominent Nashville banker Daniel Carter, the man who owned it, refused to take the loyalty oath and was imprisoned after the city was occupied by the U.S. Army in early 1862. (His son, an officer in the 1st Tennessee, was killed at  Perryville in October 1862.)

Carter's house, across from the present-day Hermitage Hotel, was demolished early in the 20th century.

Five years before her death in 1902, Grant’s wife, Julia, told author Hamlin Garland about the experience with her husband in Nashville:

“After Vicksburg [in July 1863], he placed his headquarters at Nashville in order that I might be with him. The first day that I arrived there he was out and did not return until quite late in the evening, and then he told me with a great deal of sorrow that he would be obliged to go to the front, and he was afraid he might be away for some length of time.

Grant with wife Julia and son Jesse in City Point, Va., in 1864.
“Accordingly he was gone five days and during this time the Rebel women began to talk about me and the General and said the General had fled as soon as he could. When he came back I told him this, just to bother him, and he said, ‘Why, you can tell those ladies that I put my headquarters here just on purpose to have you with me.’ During these five days I had been going out with the ladies of Nashville to the hospitals and doing what I could to aid the poor fellows there and the General came back. I began to tell him about it and present petitions and messages from these men which they had asked me to do. The General stopped me at once.

“He said, ‘Now, my dear, I don't want to hear anything at all about that. I don't want you to come to me with any of these tales of the hospitals or any of these petitions or messages. I have all I can bear up under outside my home and when I come to you I want to see you and the the children and talk about other matters. I want to get all the sunshine I can.’ "

       GOOGLE STREET VIEW: Grant's HQ was in a house across from Hermitage Hotel.

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SOURCE: Hamlin Garland Papers, Doheny Library, University of Southern California.

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