“I think now that Sheridan is superior to Early”

I received the following letter, dated yesterday, from Gen. Halleck.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, August 27, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point:

GENERAL: In a letter just received from General Sherman he advises that Granger should not attack Mobile, but move directly up the Alabama River to Selma or Montgomery. He says the capture of Mobile will only weaken our active forces by the garrison required to hold it, whereas garrisoned by the enemy and threatened by our gun-boats, Hood’s forces are weakened to the amount of that garrison.

I think Sherman has entirely overestimated Granger’s forces and underestimated the difficulty of passing Mobile and ascending the Alabama some 150 or 200 miles. Possibly something of the kind might have been effected if A. J. Smith’s column had moved on Selma or Montgomery; but I now Learn from Sherman that he was ordered to strike the Tennessee at Eastport or Decatur. It will not do to attempt too many things at once with our rapidly diminishing armies. If Canby weakens the line of the MISSISSIPPI too much to re-enforce Granger, Kirby Smith may cross and re-enforce Hood. I fear that as it is he will send small parties across to meet at some place of rendezvous and then march to Atlanta.

General Canby and Admiral Farragut both understand that the main object of their operations is to assist Sherman, and I think it will be better to let them work out the problem as circumstances may require rather than to embarrass them with orders based on a supposed state of things which may be essentially different when the orders are received.

I have directed General Canby to permit no more exchange of prisoners of war. That part of the cartel which authorizes commanders to exchange on the field troops just captured, man for man, has been considered heretofore as still in effect. I do not see any objection to it, as it can give no advantage to either party and saves our men from barbarous treatment by the rebels. To exchange their healthy men for ours who are on the brink of the grave from their hellish treatment, of course gives them all the advantage; nevertheless it seems very cruel to leave our men to be slowly but deliberately tortured to death, but I suppose there is no remedy at present.

Horses and men for the Second Cavalry DIVISION are being sent down as rapidly as possible. The 100-days’s men in WEST Virginia are nearly all discharged. That country is nearly defenseless. The people of that country are in a panic about rebel raids and beg for troops. I have none to send them, and must leave it to Sheridan to keep the enemy occupied.

General Heintzelman reports of the condition of affairs in his department. He is firmly of opinion that the plots of the Copperheads to release the rebel prisoners were frustrated only by sending additional guards, and that such attempts will be made at the earliest favorable opportunity.

At the request of the Governor of Colorado, I telegraphed to General Rosecrans to send the regiment of Colorado cavalry, now at Kansas City, to operate against the hostile Indians on the plains and to protect the overland mail route, but the replied, as usual, that he could not spare any troops. The authorities of Colorado and the Post-Office and Interior Department are very urgent for more troops in that direction, but it is impossible to give them.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

I replied,

 HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, Va., August 29, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff of the Army:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 27th is just received. I think with you it would be hazardous and productive of no special to send Granger past Mobile toward Atlanta. Granger would not be the right man to trust with an army cut loose form its base of supplies. Again, the movement Sherman is now making, result as it may, cannot be influenced by anything that can be done at Mobile in obedience to orders sent from here now.

On the subject of exchanges, I have no special objection to commanders making exchanges, after battles, of the men they have respectively captured, but I do not understand those to be the class of exchanges that have been made either by Canby or Foster. They have given men that will go immediately into the ranks to fight against us whilst we get nothing of the sort in return. Such exchanges are very much against us.

I think now that Sheridan is superior to Early, besides the latter being where it must take a good part of his force to collect supplies for the balance. He can at least feel the enemy and ascertain. If he can only get Early to retreating, the all of Crook’s force can be sent to Western Virginia. With the balance the enemy can be followed as far as may prove prudent; I hope to the Virginia Central Railroad. If this can be done the Sixth Corps might be brought here and the Nineteenth left for other service. My greatest alarm now is that Wheeler may go into Kentucky. He is easily whipped if boldly attacked by half his numbers, but I fear that Burbridge will not be able to raise even such a force. The only chance I know for him is to call upon the Governor of Kentucky for all the aid he can give. There is no doubt but Burbridge will fight with whatever force he had.

I cannot believe that General Heintzelman’s fears are well founded. The class of people who would threaten what he apprehends make a great noise, but it is hardly represented in the Union army have not friends to the soldiers enough left at home to prevent violence.

The only way a soldier can ever be taken from General Rosecrans is by sending a staff officer directly to him to execute the order in person. I do not know that he has any troops to spare, but it would be all the same if he had double the number he has.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 102-4

O.R., I, xxxix, part 2, p 309-10, 313

“just before night the enemy carried one point of the line and captured eight pieces of artillery”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.

CITY POINT, VA., August 26, 1864.

I have no report of casualties yet from operations yesterday near Reams’ Station. Orders were given during the day for General Hancock to return, but being pressed by the enemy, he could not do so until night. Frequent assaults were repulsed, but just before night the enemy carried one point of the line and captured eight pieces of artillery. The staff officer, who gives the only report I have, thinks the enemy were very severely punished, and that our loss in prisoners will be small. During the night General Hancock returned to his place in line without opposition. Yesterday morning the enemy drove in General Butler’s picket-line. The picket guard soon rallied, however, drove the enemy back and re-established their lines. The result was 1 killed, 16 wounded, and 14 missing on our side. Two commissioned officers and 59 men were captured from the enemy. What their casualties were in killed and wounded we do not know.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 92

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 20

“I have a horror of living in Washington and never intend to do it”

I wrote Julia,

City Point Va, Aug, 25th 1864.

Dear Julia,
If you can locate yourself comfortably and get the children in good schools Philadelphia will be as good a place as any for our permanent home.  I have a horror of living in Washington and never intend to do it. Philadelphia is within five and a half hours of Washington and in time of peace it would not be necessary for me to be there more than one each week and not always that. If you can rent a comfortable place for the present after a while we may be able to buy one of our own.
I hope you will leave word what you want and come on to Ft. Monroe for a few days. I sent a letter this morning directed to Fred in relation to a house in Philadelphia which can be got. I regret that I can not be at home to arrange your commencement for you. But my position is one that must be filled by myself whilst the War lasts. I think then I will be entitled to a good long rest.
Kisses for your self and the children,
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, vol 12, p 90-1

“Up to the last accounts this afternoon from General Hancock … he had been attacked several times to-day”

I have received word that Gen. Hancock’s II Corps, which is currently attempting to destroy the Weldon Railroad, has come under attack.  The railroad is a vital supply link to the rebel soldiers in Petersburg and must be held, or at least rendered useless.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, VA., August 25, 1864-8.30 p. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

Up to the last accounts this afternoon from General Hancock, who is south of Reams’ Station, he had been attacked several times to-day, but had repulsed every assault. Since the last dispatch very heavy and continuous artillery firing has been heard in that direction, continuing until dark. When I hear from there will telegraph you again.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol. 12, p 83

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 466

“Yesterday evening the enemy engaged our cavalry which was protecting the party destroying railroad”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, VA., August 24, 1864-10.30 p.m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

Yesterday evening the enemy engaged our cavalry which was protecting the party destroying railroad near Reams’ Station. General Gregg was about one mile and a half west from the station and maintained his position, the fight lasting from 4.30 p.m. till 9 p.m. He reports his loss at seventy-five. Earlier in the afternoon Colonel Spear, commanding brigade of Kautz’s cavalry, had a sharp engagement with the enemy’s cavalry on the Vaughan road, near Reams’ Station, and, notwithstanding largely superior forces against him, maintained his ground, inflicting heavy loss on the enemy. He reports over 180 of the enemy’s dead left upon the field. The road is now thoroughly destroyed to Reams’ Station; the force on the road was largely re-enforced last night, and will push on the work.

I send to-day a Richmond paper of the 23rd, directed to the Secretary of War. You will see from that great despondency was caused by the last affair on the Weldon road. In Richmond they have reports of five generals being killed in that action, but the death of but two of them (Sanders and Lamar) is positively confirmed.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 78

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 441-2

“I should like however very much to see you and the children before you settle down”

I wrote Julia,

 

City Point Aug. 23d 1864.
Dear Julia,
Fred starts in the morning for Philadelphia to meet you and to remain with you until arrangements are made for your housekeeping. I should like however very much to see you and the children before you settle down so if you choose you may come down here bringing them with you. There is no possible place however for you to stay. You would have to remain aboard of the boat and return with it next day. I would go back with you as far as Fortress Monroe. If you do come you had better let Dr. Brinton’s Mother know what kind of a house you want and she would let it be known so I think you would find no difficulty on your return. If possible you want to rent a furnished house. If not you will have to take one and furnish it your self. In that case I will have to get you some more money, I can spare $1000 from this months pay and unless Mr. Jones has bought more Horse rail-road stock I have about $1,400 with him. This would give you $3,400 to start with. At present rates it would take five or six thousand to furnish a house, I have not been so well for the last week as usual though to-day feel better.
Kisses for your self and the children,
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 76-7

“Our position on the Weldon railroad now seems entirely secure”

Repeated attacks from the rebel army have failed to dislodge our men from their position on the Weldon railroad.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, August 23, 1864-6 p.m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

Our position on the Weldon railroad now seems entirely secure. One division of infantry and the cavalry have been working south, destroying the road as they go. They met some opposition, to-day from the enemy’s cavalry and were consequently further re-enforced. Prisoners taken since the last repulse of the enemy repeat the report of W. H. F. Lee being mortally wounded, General Clingman losing a leg, and General Sanders killed. These reports, however, may not be reliable.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 73

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 418

“The enemy came out and attacked Warren between 10 and 11 a. m., but were repulsed with great ease”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

 

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington D. C.

CITY POINT, VA., August 21, 1864-1.30 p. m.

The enemy came out and attacked Warren between 10 and 11 a. m., but were repulsed with great ease. No loss reported on our side except General Cutler, slightly wounded, and Colonel Duchane, killed. General Warren reports 400 prisoners captured that he knows of; there may be more. I am expecting a heavy attack this afternoon, and preparing for it.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 56

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 18-9

“I have ordered General Hancock to withdraw from the north side of the river to-night”

The object of Gen. Hancock’s demonstration north of the James being accomplished, I have ordered him back.  I hope to use his troops to reinforce Warren’s position on the Weldon Railroad.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, VA., August 20, 1864 – 1.10 p. m.

Major-General MEADE, Commanding, &c.:

I have ordered General Hancock to withdraw from the north side of the river to-night and move back to his old position. When there you can send him to the support of Warren with the other brigade of Gregg’s cavalry. If the enemy comes out to attack, we will have the advantage of position. If they hold their lines only and persist in sending more troops to the Valley we can extend still farther. I am not so particular abut holding the Weldon road permanently as I am to destroy it effectually, and to force the enemy to attack us, with advantages on our side. Two hundred railroad men with Hancock were ordered yesterday to report to Warren. They must be near there now, and will destroy more railroad in a day than a division of troops.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 51-2

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 327

“The enemy came out this evening on Warren’s right”

Gen. Warren’s troops south of Petersburg have been attacked, but have managed to hold their ground.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

The enemy came out this evening on Warren’s right, driving in the pickets connecting between him and the left of our old line on the Jerusalem plank road and forcing back the two right divisions of Warren’s corps. A heavy fight took place, resulting in the re-establishing of our lines and the capture of a good many prisoners The prisoners were from Heth’s, Mahone’s, and Hoke’s divisions. We also lost considerably in prisoners.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

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

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 292