U.S.Grant and the U.S. Mail

Presidential History Blog

Ulysses S. Grant was one of the first supporters of systematic wartime mail service.

Mail call has always been one of the key ingredients of soldier morale and  frequently the high point of his day.

A Literate War

The Civil War is considered by most historians as the “first modern war” for a variety of reasons. Not the least of those reasons, is because it was the first “literate” war. An estimated 90% of Union soldiers, and more than 80% of Confederates could read and write. This meant an abundance of letters, diaries, reports and newspaper articles. Thus “mail call” was arguably the high point of the average soldier’s day, apart from battle. Receiving and sending letters to loved ones provided incalculable comfort to both the soldiers and their families.

The telegraph had been around for nearly two decades. Both sides used it constantly to transmit messages both internally…

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