Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ON THIS DAY: Thursday, Oct. 31, 1861

In Cairo, Illinois, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the District of Southeast Missouri, spends a chunk of his day giving a deposition requested by the House Select Committee on Government Contracts. The committee is fulfilling its oversight function by questioning busy generals.

Grant crisply answers questions about problems with some Austrian muskets (plenty), the beef being supplied his soldiers (not so good), hay being supplied army animals (not good, either), the financial condition of his quartermaster department (poor), and the nature of various boats attached to Grant’s command.

On this day as well, Rep. Elihu B. Washburne of Illinois, a friend of Grant’s, writes Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, “Genl. Grant…is one of the best officers in the army, and is doing wonders in bringing order out of chaos. He is as incorruptible as he is brave….[He and General McLernand] complain they have no money, and are greatly deficient in arms.”

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