The Ulysses S. Grant Association at Mississippi State University has digitized all 31 volumes included in the Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. This project also offers a chronology and a nice collection of images. In August 1860 Grant observed that “the Democratic party want a little purifying and nothing will do it so effectually as a defeat.” However, Grant did not want Abraham Lincoln to win in November 1860. “The only thing is dont like to see a Republican beat the [Democratic] party,” as Grant explained. After Lincoln won the election, Grant could not believe that southern Democrats would accept secession. “It is hard to realize that a State or States should commit so suicidal an act as to secede from the Union,” as Grant noted. You can learn more about Grant’s career in William S. McFeely’s Grant: A Biography (1981) and Jean Edward Smith’s Grant (2001). Brooks Simpson focuses on Grant’s role during the Civil War and Reconstruction in Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861-1868 (1991).