As museum director for the Stephenson County Historical Society in Freeport, one of Finch’s duties is keeping track of all the artifacts and information received at the museum. While exploring a fireproof safe at the museum last week, Finch ran across documents in a box which had obviously been untouched for some time.
As he examined the contents of the box, a small sheaf of papers commanded his attention.
“I thought ‘Wow!’,” he said. “I didn’t know we had anything like that.” And, he soon learned, “No one else around here knew they existed.”
In his hands were a collection of letters written by none other than Ulysses S. Grant.
Finch could scarcely believe his eyes. The letters were a rare insight into Grant, who was U.S. President from 1869 to 1877 and was Commander in Chief of the Union forces during the Civil War. The letters were written on July 16, 1861; Feb. 17, 1862; Feb. 20, 1862; April 15, 1862; and Nov. 10, 1862.