Holly Springs is a beautiful little town South of Memphis where Grant winter quartered in November and December of 1862. He brought his lovely wife, Julia, and his son those weeks he spent in North Mississippi, though they did not stay in the same house. Grant had work to do, but he missed them and took some risks with their safety to have them near him, in fact just a few houses down from him on Salem Street. His love of family brought out the human side of a man who, from a military perspective, was ruthless and heartless.

JOAB features the Union General that was most hated by the South, probably as much as the North hated our Robert E. Lee. But that was the hard cold facts of War. Those who gave the orders to kill and destroy were the recipients of the height of hatred, and that was true for both sides. One thing was certain, Grant always picked the loveliest of the South's antebellum homes as his headquarters. In Holly Springs, Oxford, Vicksburg, Natchez—it was only the best for him. No wonder our people needed a two-fold healing after the surrender at Appomattox. The War had taken the dearest on earth, their human treasure, and as if that were not enough, the hatred the South dispensed upon the warlords, who came through, took over, and ripped the Old South to shredshad to be dealt with.

JOAB is a story of that healing, for it was truly that—a course of action that did not come quickly. It took years and the shedding of many tears and the relinquishing of old pent-up remembrances to come to . . .  the place of healing.

Airliewood where Grant laid 
his best plans for the siege of Vicksburg.

Walter Place, where Julia Grant 
and her son stayed in 1862.

Grant had many choices.

An Ancient Magnolia Tree.

This wonderful old town is worth a drive to visit. The magnolias and catalpas and ginkgo trees whisper ghost stories of 1862 when the Union came in the person of General Ulysses S. Grant, and when Confederate General Van Dorn's men thundered through town and raided Grant's stockpile of ammunition then stormed Walter Place looking for Julia Grant and her baggage. Mary Govan, whose house had been seized by the Union for use as a military hospital, was staying at Walter Place, the owners being gone for the duration of the War. When the Confederates came, she told them Mrs. Grant was gone and that a southern gentleman surely would not invade a lady's bedroom to make a search. They left. Grant ordered that Holly Springs be spared the torches of War because of Mrs. Govan's actions that day.

JOAB is scheduled to be released in early January, 2013
Jane Bennett Gaddy, Ph.D.
Trinity, FL


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