Ulysses Grant writes a note providing instructions to a telegrapher: “Operator will please ask operator at Newport News if steamer Martin has left there.” On verso is a rubber stamp of “War Records 1861 – 1865,” indicating that this note has been copied for government files.
The U.S.S. Martin was a steamer built in Albany, purchased by the Navy on 16 June 1864, and commissioned later that month. Under the command of Acting Ensign Rudolph S. Sommers, the Martin was equipped as a torpedo boat and joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron on picket and convoy duties. Operating out of the North Carolina sounds through 1864, she assisted in the capture of Confederate conscripts. She was refitted in the Norfolk Navy Yard in early 1865, soon returning to North Carolina by late February, continuing tug and picket duties before she was decommissioned and sold at the end of the war.
This note appears in THE PAPERS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT, Volume 13, page 473: 1864, DEC. 10. To q. m. “Do you know whether the Steamer Martin has passed Ft Monroe or not. If she has not, please notify me when she does.”- Copy (press), DNA, RG 107, Telegrams Collected (Bound).
On the same day, 5:01 P.M., Col. Ralph C. Webster, Fort Monroe, telegraphed to USG. “The Martin passed here at 4.30”-ALS (telegram sent), ibid., Telegrams Collected (Unbound). An undated and unaddressed telegram from USG may have been sent the same day. “Operator will please ask operator at Newport News if Steamer Martin has left there”-Charles Hamilton Auction 41, April 23, 1970, no. 84. A telegram dated only “10th,” 5:15 P .M ., “N News,” from Lt. Col. Frederick T. Dent to USG may also have been sent on Dec. 10. “The fog is so thick that we cannot run, will wait here until it clears a little and then go on.”-Telegram received, DNA, RG 107, Telegrams Collected (Bound).
Grant, Ulysses S. Autograph note signed (“U.S. Grant”). N.p.: [circa 10 December 1864]. Oblong, 8vo.; 1p.; unaddressed.