The NRA's August 29 American Rifleman magazine (sent to me by a friend) has an interesting article by S.P. Fjestad titled General Grant's Magnificent Set of Lost Remingtons.
It is a tale of the murky Civil War world of cotton trading along the Mississippi river, which the US government couldn't decide whether to ban or encourage. Grant certainly had difficulties in this political minefield, and when it also touched on his occasionally volatile relations with his father, the result was the genuine scandal of the Dec. 17, 1862, anti-Semitic order -- much regretted by Grant. That blunder, however, is not what the Rifleman story is about. Rather, it's about how a pair of personalized pistols given to Grant by a wartime cotton trader have turned up on the open market. While the guns were a nice gift, and the cotton trader (O.N. Cutler) was no doubt glad to get the cooperation of US military authorities (Grant's subordinate Gen. James McPherson also got a pair), there is one major flaw in the story, reflecting an outdated tendency to ascribe bad motives and actions (in this case corruption) to Grant (and here McPherson) without any evidence.
Fjestad writes: "After Confederate control of the Mississippi ended during mid-1863, cotton shipments to the East Coast became both more frequent and reliable thanks to the Union’s 'delivery protection service,' but only if the right people were involved. A 50/50 profit-sharing arrangement between the Union and cotton suppliers was the norm for these contracts. This lucrative arrangement generated massive amounts of revenue for both the Union and Cutler/Wagley, and no doubt, Generals McPherson and Grant."
That phrase "no doubt" in the last sentence is doing a lot of work, attempting to distract from the fact that the story offers absolutely no evidence that Grant or McPherson profited in any way, apart from getting the pistols. And while Grant can be criticized, in his later career, for accepting gifts such as houses from admirers, I have seen no evidence that he ever accepted bribes to do anything, and the fact that he died heavily in debt may be adduced to the contrary.