On the CivilWarTalk website, several individuals attempted to refute the fact that Grant (admitted in his own, unsubmitted report) had received Frémont’s authorization before setting out to occupy Paducah, Ky. One person, going by the moniker “DanSBHawk” wrote: “Seems like you could put the matter to rest by showing this one telegraph of Grant acknowledging receipt of Fremonts[sic] orders on the 5th.
Here it is. In his unsubmitted report, Grant had written just before a document dated September 5th, 1861, “I replied as follows:”
I had also posted that:
On a side issue, apart from the authors who got the Paducah incident wrong by believing Grant’s Memoirs, Dr. Brooks Simpson got it wrong in Let Us Have Peace by stating that, “He had decided on this move based upon information ‘which I am disposed to credit,’ he told Fremont, ‘although the authority is a negro man.'”
This man actually said “that the Rebels left Sikeston last Monday. Had there four regiments of Tennessee and Mississippi troops, ten or twelve pieces of Artillery drawn by horses, one large piece drawn by five yoke of oxen and one mortar drawn by three yoke. In addition to this Jeff Thompson had 1500 men. They said they were going to New Madrid and then to Memphis.” This did not concern Paducah.
On another side note, Grant had, like Fremont, wanted to invade Kentucky before the Confederates did. As Polk is censured for breaking the state’s self-proclaimed neutrality, shouldn’t Grant be rightfully criticized, as well?
Then, someone else going by the moniker “Horace Porter” tried to defend Dr. Simpson by arguing:
It is a good idea to read the entire dispatch. You can find it in the online edition of the Grant Papers.
September 4th 1861
General; Information is just in from Sikeston which I am disposed to credit although the authority is a negro man. He tells a very strait story. Says that the Rebels left Sikeston last Monday. Had there four regiments of Tennessee and Mississippi troops, ten or twelve pieces of Artillery drawn by horses, one large piece drawn by five yoke of oxen and one mortar drawn by three yoke. In addition to this Jeff Thompson had 1500 men. They said they were going to New Madrid and then to Memphis.
On the strength of reconnoisances made by Col. Waagner I telegraphed this evening that troops. Artillery Cavalry & Infantry, can be spared from here, by sending those from Jackson promptly, to take possession of Columbus heights’ & New Madrid will fall within five days after. This should be done to-morrow night.
Enclosed I send you the report of Commander Rodgers, retaining copy.
Your Obt. Svt.
U. S. Grant
Brig. Gen. Com.
To Maj. Gen. J. C. Fremont
Comdg Dept. of the West
St. Louis Mo.
Columbus Heights is in Kentucky. Grant was eager to move into Kentucky. He learned that the Confederates had done so. Based on that information, which he sent to Fremont, he moved, and took Paducah as a first step.
Reproducing the entire passage sheds a different light on this matter.
My reply completely derailed this train of thought:
Horace Porter, if you carefully read Grant’s message, the Black man only talked of Sikeston, New Madrid, and Memphis. He was not talking about Paducah and not even generally about Kentucky. Therefore, Dr. Simpson is wrong to say that Grant “had decided on this move based upon information” from this informant. As positive proof that Simpson was incorrect, Grant wrote very clearly to De Arnaud how, “I can state I took possession of Paducah, Ky., solely on information given by yourself, and to the effect that the rebels were marching upon that city with a large force.”
So the Black man gave no information about Kentucky, and Grant asserted that the information acted upon came solely from De Arnaud. Case closed.
Why do people find it so difficult to admit that Grant didn’t actually do many of the deeds for which he complimented himself in his Memoirs?