restricted access The Papers of U.S. Grant: A Review Essay
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The Papers of U.S. Grant: A Review Essay William L. Richter The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 6: September 1-December 8, 1862. Edited by John Y. Simon. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1977. Pp. xxiv, 492. $35.00.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 7: December 9, 1862-March 31, 1863. Edited by John Y. Simon. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1979. Pp. xxiv, 588. $40.00.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 8: April 1-July 6, 1863. Edited by John Y. Simon. Assistant Editors, John M. Hoffmann, David L. Wilson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1979. Pp. xxiii, 609. $40.00.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 9: July 7-December 31, 1863. Edited by John Y. Simon. Assistant Editors, John M. Hoffmann, David L. Wilson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1982. Pp. xxiv, 700. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 10: January 1-May 31, 1864. Edited by John Y. Simon. Assistant Editor, David L. Wilson. (Carbondale : Southern Illinois State University Press, 1982. Pp. xxv, 618. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 11: June 1-August 15, 1864. Edited by John Y. Simon. Associate Editor, David L. Wilson. Editorial Assistant, Sue E. Dotson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1984. Pp. xxvi, 497. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 12: August 16-November 15, 1864. Edited by John Y. Simon. Associate Editor, David L. Wilson. Civil War History, Vol. XXXVI, No. 2, c 1990 by the Kent State University Press 150CIVIL WAR HISTORY Editorial Assistant, Sue E. Dotson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1984. Pp. xxv, 520. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 13: November 16, 1864-February 20, 1865. Edited by John Y. Simon. Associate Editor, David L. Wilson. Editorial Assistant, Sue E. Dotson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1985. Pp. xxvi, 599. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 14: February 21-April 30, 1865. Edited by John Y. Simon. Associate Editor, David L. Wilson. Editorial Assistant, Sue E. Dotson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1985. Pp. xxvi, 548. $47.50.) The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant Volume 15: May 1-December 31, 1865. Edited by John Y. Simon. Associate Editor, David L. Wilson. Editorial Assistant, Sue E. Dotson. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois State University Press, 1988. Pp. xxv, 691. $47.50.) The continued publication of The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant is one of the more important contributions to the study of war and peace in current American historiography, and John Y. Simon, his staff, the U. S. Grant Association, and Southern Illinois State University Press are to be congratulated for their most excellent product. Originally conceived as fifteen volumes covering Grant's entire adult life as soldier, civilian, general, and president, that projected number has been already achieved at the end of Grant's Civil War career. It is not hard to see why. The volumes present an exhausting picture of one of America's most important nineteenth-century leaders through his letters to contemporaries . Editor Simon clearly lays out Grant's ideas and buttresses each letter with copious footnotes (often comprising a dozen or more extra pages in six-point type) that are so complete as to constitute a separate study on the holdings of related archival collections of the Civil War era. Grant has been sometimes dismissed as an unimaginative general who could not fail because his mistakes were conveniently covered up by an inexhaustable supply of Northern manpower, which he never hesitated to commit to the slaughter of the battlefield. At one point, his reputation was reduced to that of a callous "butcher." Significantly, however, the letters confirm the more sympathetic work of recent historians. They reveal Grant to be a reasonably intelligent, sensitive man who instinctively understood the realities and necessities of war, far beyond his education and experience. He may not have had the most brilliant intellect of Civil PAPERS OF U. S. GRANT151 War generals from either side, but he had a quiet capability that produced victories.1 The period covered by the ten volumes reviewed here saw Grant rise from...


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