Grant / Barnabas Burns correspondence – SC 587

Grant Waves Off the Presidency

By the end of 1863, Ulysses S. Grant had emerged as the hero of the U. S. Army. That summer, he had brilliantly developed a strategy that captured the confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. He spent the rest of the year coordinating U. S. forces in the in the “Western Theater” and was now poised to take command of the entire war effort.

Meanwhile, momentum was building for the 1864 presidential election and Democrats were searching for a candidate who could defeat Abraham Lincoln. Some, including Ohio Democratic Party Chair Barnabus Burns, turned to the hero of Vicksburg. Here Burns writes Grant—a Democrat before the war—asking permission to nominate him for the party’s national ticket. Grant replies that the very idea “astonishes” him and “I do not know of anything I have ever done or said which would indicate that I could be a candidate for any office.”

Gift of John C. Burns, 1923

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