“Make your preparations to march out at an early hour on the 27th to gain possession of the South Side Railroad”

I am directing our armies to make a move to the left in an attempt to capture the South Side railroad, one of the vital rail links to Petersburg. I wrote Gen. Meade,

HDQRS. ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,

City Point, Va., October 24, 1864.

Major General G. G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: Make your preparations to march out at an early hour on the 27th to gain possession of the South Side Railroad, and to hold it and fortify back to your present left. In commencing your advance, move in three columns exactly as proposed by yourself in our conversation of least evening, and with the same force you proposed to take. Parke, who starts out nearest to the enemy,should be instructed that if he finds the enemy intrenched and their works well manned, he is not to attack but confront him, and be prepared to advance promptly when he finds that by the movement of the other two columns to the right and rear of them they begin to give way. Take three days’ rations in haversacks, sixty rounds of ammunition on the person of each soldier, and go as near as possible without wagons or ambulances. It might be well to have, say, twenty rounds of ammunition per man,

with a corresponding amount of artillery ammunition in wagons ready to be taken to the army if required.

All the depots on the line of the road should be cleared of stores, and all wagons, ambulances, and artillery horses not moving with the army sent back to City Point during the night of the 26th.

I will go out to the left at an early hour of the morning your move commences.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 343-4

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 317-8

“Cannot two or three of the new regiments now raised in the North be sent there”

I replied to Sec. Stanton’s message of yesterday.

CITY POINT, VA., October 24, 1864.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

The very significant dispatches sent by private hands and your letter in relation to affairs in New york are received. It is consoling to know that Sheridan defeated the first part of the rebel programme so signally. I am at a loss to know what was expected to be done in the North further than to colonize voters, unless it is to control the polls by violence at stated points where their imported voters are colonized. I had ordered another regiment of regulars to report to General Dix before receiving your letter. I see the absolute necessity of further re-enforcing him, and it must be done. I do not like the idea of sending troops from here, but if they cannot be spared from elsewhere, they must go from here. Cannot two or three of the new regiments now raised in the North be sent there? I would not advise taking New York regiments, but those from Pennsylvania or the New England States would answer. Please telegraph me whether you can send General Dix the necessary re-enforcements in the manner here proposed. Price, I presume, is now about leaving Missouri, having accomplished his mission. If so, Rosecrans can send the required troops to New York.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 339-40

O.R., I, xliii, part 2, p 456-7

Stanton: “The aspect of affairs in New York City and State urgently demands attention”

Sec. Stanton wrote,

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington city, October 23, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of United States, City Point, Va.:

GENERAL: The aspect of affairs in New York City and State urgently demands attention, as well for the security of the forts in the harbor of New York, the defense of the lake frontier from invasion, and the preservation of the public peace and from the purity of the ballot-box, from rebels imported from Canada. I have just had a consultation with General Dix, who has called here for conference upon these subjects. He informs me he has already, in a communication to you as general commanding all the forces of the United States, reported the insecure condition of the forts in New York Harbor. You are aware that there are no troops in Washington or elsewhere at the disposal of the Department to meet this necessity. General Dix informs me that during the coming week he will be able to send you 5,000 new recruits, but for want of organization, and also for local reasons, they are not a proper force to place in garrison. Allow me to suggest whether, in view of their accession to you army, you cannot spare 2,000 or 3,000 men, temporarily, to be sent to New York and placed under his command. I see no other way of meeting the emergency. By the 15th of November the necessity will either have passed away, or, by troops from other States, those now to be forwarded can be replaced. Please favor me with your views on this subject at you earliest convenience.

Yours, truly,

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 340

O.R., I, xliii, part 2, p 452-3

“I do not think it possible that any brigades, or even regiments, have gone from here to re-enforce Early”

I received the following from Sec. Stanton,

WASHINGTON, October 22, 1864 12.30 p. m.
Lieutenant-General GRANT:
There is a strong belief prevailing among the rebel sympathizers here that a large force has been detached against Sheridan, and that while the attack upon him Wednesday was repelled, it was because it had been prematurely made before the re-enforcements reached Early. I have an intercepted cipher dispatch which favors this view. It is so important to the safety of individuals that I am unwilling to run the risk of its getting to the knowledge of any one else but yourself and your cipher operator, and therefore request you to be present when it is translated, and immediately destroy it. We have nothing from Sheridan since 11 a.m. Thursday.
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.

I do not believe that any substantial amount of troops have been sent from this place. I replied,

CITY POINT, VA., October 22, 1864.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Your confidential dispatch of 12.30 p. m. this date is received. I do not think it possible that any brigades, or even regiments, have gone from here to re-enforce Early. The number of deserters coming in daily fixes all the commands of Lee. From deserters of to-day I learn that
Early had been re-enforced from men who have been returned to the service from hospitals and by relieving detailed men, but in no other way. Some troops may also have joined him from Lynchburg and Southwest Virginia, but after Sheridan’s splendid victory, it will only
count that much more, if this proves to be so.
U. S. GRANT,
Lt. Gn.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 336

O.R., I, xliii, part 2, p 444

“I had a salute of 100 guns from each of the armies here fired in honor of Sheridan’s last victory”

I have just received a telegram, sent yesterday, from Gen. Sheridan.  His army was attacked and partially routed, but he was able to rally them, counter-attack and score a decisive blow against the enemy.  He writes,

CEDAR CREEK, October 19, 1864 – 10 p. m.

I have the honor to report that my army at Cedar Creek was attacked this morning before daylight and my left was turned and driven in confusion; in fact, most of the line was driven in confusion, with the loss of twenty pieces or artillery. I hastened from Winchester, where I was on my return from Washington, and joined the army between Middletown and Newtown, having been driven back about four miles. I here took the affair in hand and quickly united the corps, formed a compact line of battle just in time to repulse an attack of the enemy’s, which was handsomely done at about 1 p. m. At 3 p. m., after some changes of the cavalry from the left to the right flank, I attacked with great vigor, driving and routing the enemy, capturing, according to last reports, forty-three pieces of artillery and very many prisoners. I do not yet know the number of my casualties or the losses of the enemy. Wagon trains, ambulances, and caissons in large numbers, are in our possession. They also burned some of their trains. General Ramseur is a prisoner in our hands, severely, and perhaps mortally, wounded. I have to regret the loss of General Bidwell, killed, and Generals Wright, Grover, and Ricketts wounded – Wright slightly wounded. Affairs at times looked badly, but by the gallantry of our brave officers and men disaster has been converted into a splendid victory. Darkness again intervened to shut off greater results. I now occupy Strasburg. As soon as obtained I will send you further particulars.

P. H. SHERIDAN,

Major-General.

 

I wrote Sec. Stanton,

CITY POINT, VA., October 20, 1864-7 p. m.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

I had a salute of 100 guns from each of the armies here fired in honor of Sheridan’s last victory. Turning what bid fair to be a disaster into glorious victory stamps Sheridan, what I have always thought him, one of the ablest of generals.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 328-9

O.R., I, xliii, part 1, p 32-3

O.R., I, xliii, part 2, p 423

“I am glad you are all pleased with your schools and hope you will learn fast”

I wrote my son Frederick,

City Point Va. Oct. 19th 1864.

Dear Freddy,
I have now received two letters from you since you commenced going to school in Burlington, You must continue to write often as much for your improvement as that I may hear from you. I would have written two days ago to your Ma but I supposed she had gone to St. Louis. I do not know now whether she has gone at all. I received a telegraph from her at Philadelphia saying she had got that far on the way but did not know whether to go further. I telegraphed her that your Uncle Fred would start at once for St. Louis and I did not think it was best for her to go but to do as she pleased. I am glad you are all pleased with your schools and hope you will learn fast. Does Jess continue to like school and his books? Jess is a good boy, only sometimes when he forgets, and a smart one too. He will learn to read by Christmas. Has Nelly returned from New York? I hope she had a pleasant visit. She & Buck must both write to me and Jess must tell you all something to write until he learns so that he can write for himself. Love and kisses for all of you. I will not write to your Ma until I know where she is.
Your Pa.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 322

“Destroy in such case all of military value in Atlanta”

I replied to Gen. Sherman’s telegram from yesterday.

CITY POINT, VA., October 16, 1864 – 3. 30 p. m.

Major-General SHERMAN, Tilton, Ga.:

The moment I know you have started south stores will be shipped to Hilton Head, where there are transports ready to take them to meet you at Savannah. In case you go south I would not propose holding anything south of Chattanooga, certainly not south of Dalton. Destroy in such case all of military value in Atlanta.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 318

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 324

Sherman: “I also want to know if you are willing that I should destroy Atlanta and the railroad”

I received the following telegram from Gen. Sherman,

SHIP’S GAP, GA., October 16, 1864 – 4. 30 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

I got the dispatch in cipher about providing me a place to come out on salt water, but the cipher is imperfect and I cannot make out whether Savannah or Mobile be the point preferred, but I also want to know if you are willing that I should destroy Atlanta and the railroad. Hood broke eight miles of road at Big Shanty and about fifteen from Resaca to the tunnel. The break at Big Shanty is repaired, but the other will take some time. I have now taken position where I don’t care which way he moves. I think the rebels will now go back south.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 318

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 304-5

“Time is passing and Richmond is still not ours”

I wrote Julia,

October 14th 1864.
Dear Julia,
Time is passing and Richmond is still not ours. No efforts have been made in that direction however for some days. I think it cannot be long now before the tug will come which, if it does not secure the prize will put us where the end will be in sight. I keep in good health but I am getting very anxious for a little recreation and home. I have no news for you only that I have just heard that the Commissioner for the exchange of prisoners has again agreed that John Dent shall be delivered at Savannah Georgia with the first lot of prisoners sent from there. We send vessels in a few days for some 4.000 agreed to be delivered at that point. I think his wife may look for him this time but she had better not be too sanguine.
Col. Hillyer writes me that Missy is at his house? I would not let her remain long. She ought to be going to school every day. Tell Jess to send me word what he is learning at school. As soon as he can write he must send me a letter. Love and kisses for you and the children. I sent yesterday pay accounts to Capt. Leet with directions to send you a check for $800 00. I presume you will have received the money by the time you get this. I have been afraid you be without. But it wont hurt if you are without a few days. Be careful as you can, without stinting your self, for I have $2625 00 to pay for some stock I have bought. I told you that I had $1500 00 more Horse rail-road stock? But this is paid for. Do you hear any thing further about the house in Phila?
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 314

“On mature reflection, I believe Sherman’s proposition is the best that can be adopted”

I received the following from Sec. Stanton,

WASHINGTON, October 12, 1864-8 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

The President feels much solicitude in respect to General Sherman’s proposed movement and hopes that it will be maturely considered. The objections stated in your telegram of last night impressed him with much force, and a misstep by General Sherman might be fatal to his army. This much the President directed me to say to you, when I saw him this evening, and although I find on reaching the office that you now think better of the plan, you should know he feels on a point so vital.

E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

I replied,

CITY POINT, VA., October 13, 1864-3. 30 p. m.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

On mature reflection, I believe Sherman’s proposition is the best that can be adopted. With the long line of railroad in rear of Atlanta Sherman cannot maintain his position. If he cuts loose, destroying the road from Chattanooga forward, he leaves a wide and destitute country to pass over before reaching territory now held by us. Thomas could retain force enough to meet Hood by giving up the road from Nashville to Decatur and thence to Stevenson and leave Sherman still force enough to meet Hood’s army if it took the other and most likely course. Such an army as Sherman has (and with such a commander) is hard to corner or capture.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 302-3

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 222, 239