“The object of our expedition having been accomplished, all the forces will now be withdrawn”

Jan 18 1862 Wrote Gen. McClernand, “The object of our expedition having been accomplished, all the forces will now be withdrawn to their former positions as expeditiously as practicable.  A guard will be left at this place, O’Neal’s Mills, and at the bridge above until you have passed, and none of the force will leave Fort Jefferson until your advance has arrived there.

“There are some supplies here for a portion of your command and I should have been glad could you have made this point tonight.  If the state of the roads makes it impracticable it will make no material difference.

“The country has now be reconnoitered from Puntney’s Bend to the railroad South of Columbus.  The enemy has shown himself in no place, unless to your command since I heard from you, except yesterday at Puntney’s Bend.  I went down there yesterday with about 100 Cavalry and finding that I should be in the night getting to Fort Jefferson, sent a note to Capt. Porter requesting him to drop down there with the gunboats to convoy a steamer to take my Cavalry up.  He found the place occupied by a rebel gunboat and the land by about the same amount of Cavalry that i had with me.  They left probably twenty minutes before my arrival.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p67-8

O.R., I, vii, 560

“Tomorrow I shall visit all points occupied by the Cairo forces”

Jan 17 1862 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “On Tuesday, Gen. McClernand moved from Fort Jefferson to near Blandville with over six thousand men.  On Wednesday, his position was occupied by Gen. Paine with a force of about two thousand.  Gen. McClernand moving with his Brigade towards Milburn, Fort Jefferson and Elliots Mills being occupied during this time by two Infantry regiments and some Cavalry and Artillery.  The bridge at Coaths Mills was also guarded by one regiment.

“On this day, Wednesday, I visited all the different commands, except the one at Elliotts Mills and returned for the night to Coaths Mills.

“Written instructions were left with Gen. McClernand to move on to Milburn and from there to send a dispatch across to Gen. Smith, one already prepared, and to return to Blandville by a route East of Mayfield Creek.  This would take two days, bringing him in to Blandville tonight.  Reconnaissances were made by our troops to within one and a half miles of Columbus and to below the town along the railroad.  All was quiet and as yet no skirmish has taken place unless it was with Gen. McC’s command, which I do not think likely, today.  Yesterday having my forces between me and the enemy I made a reconnaissance of about thirty-five miles, taking my Staff and one company of Cavalry with me.


“Tomorrow I shall visit all points occupied by the Cairo forces and the next day commence a movement back to old quarters, unless orders should be received requiring a change.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 62-3

O.R., I, vii, 557-8

“Let six of your companies of your Regiments be got ready, and moved as soon as possible”

Jan 26 1862 Wrote Col. Carroll Marsh at Ft. Jefferson Ky, “You will send the following dispatch to Col. Johnson at Elliott’s Mills as soon as possible.

“Let six of your companies of your Regiments be got ready, and moved as soon as possible to join Col. Johnson’s command at Elliott’s Mill, when they will camp for the night, leaving the remaining force to garrison Fort Jefferson.

“Have three or four Cavalry men stationed at Fort Jefferson to bring any dispatches which may come there for me.  If you have no Cavalry for the purpose, you can detain the Cavalry which carry you this dispatch if you have no other.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 61

O.R., I, vii, 555

“Today I accompanied Commodore Foote to within one and a half miles of the batteries of Columbus”

Jan 14 1862 Wrote Capt. Kelton, “The troops from St. Louis, expected today, have not yet arrived.  I have commenced the move directed a few days since without them however, occupying tonight Blandville, Elliotts, Mills and Fort Jefferson.

“Yesterday a reconnoitering party of Cavalry, supported by Infantry, went within three miles of Columbus, driving in the enemy’s picketts.

“Today I accompanied Commodore Foote with the Gunboats Essex, St. Louis and Taylor to within one and a half miles of the batteries of Columbus.  A few shells were thrown around the batteries by the Essex and St. Louis with what effect I cannot tell.  The enmy replied with two or three shots without effect.  In making this move I found myself very embarrassed by deficiency in the Quarter-Masters Department.  Capt. Kountz, who was recently sent here as Master of transportation, from his great unpopularity with river men, and his wholesale denunciation of everybody connected with Government here as thieves and cheats, was entirely unable to get crews for the necessary boats.  I was compelled to order that boatmen, if they declined serving voluntarily, should be put aboard the boats and made to serve as prisoners.  Many expressed a willingness to serve if I said so but would not work under the Captain, and others left the city, as I am informed, solely to avoid the possibility of having to serve under his direction.  He seems to have desired to be placed on duty here for no other purpose than to wreak his revenge upon some river men who he dislikes, and to get into service of the Government a boat in which he has an interest, either as owner or as former proprietorship not yet settled for.

“He has caused so much trouble and shown such a disregard for my orders that I have been compelled to order his arrest.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 53-4

O.R., I, vii, 551-2


“I immediately caused Capt. R. B. Hatch to be placed in arrest”

Wrote Brig. Gen. Montgomery Meigs, Quartermaster General, “I received your communication of the 6th inst. on yesterday.

“I immediately caused Capt. R. B. Hatch to be placed in arrest and upon what seemed to me probable evidence of guilt as an accomplice I had his chief clerk arrested and put in confinement. — I also had all the books and papers of the Department seized and locked up in the safe and the key kept in custody of a member of my staff.

“All of which is done and kept subject to further orders.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 46-7

National Archives, RG 92 Consolidated Correspondence, Cairo Fraud Investigation

Issued orders specifying punishment for soldiers taking or destroying private property

Jan 13, 1862 Issued General Orders No. 3, “During the absence of the Expedition now starting on soil hitherto occupied almost solely by the Rebel Army, and where it is a fair inference that every stranger met is our enemy, the following orders will be observed.

“Troops, in marching will be kept in the ranks, Company officers being held strictly accountable for all stragglers from their Companies.

“No firing will be allowed in camp or on the march, not strictly required in the performance of duty.

“Whilst in Camp, no permits will be granted to officers or soldiers to leave their regimental grounds, and all violations of this order must be promptly and summarily punished.

“Disrepute having been brought upon our brave soldiers by the bad conduct of some of their numbers, showing on all occasions, when marching through territory occupied by sympathizers of the enemy, a total disregard of rights of citizens and being guilty of wanton destruction of private property, the Genl. commanding desires and intends to force a change in this respect.

“Interpreting Confiscation Acts by troops themselves, has a demoralizing effect, weakens them in exact proportion to the demoralization and makes open and armed enemies of many who, from opposite treatment, would be become friends or at worst non-combatants.

“It is ordered therefore, that the severest punishment be inflicted upon every soldier who is guilty of taking or destroying private property, and any commissioned officer guilty of like conduct, or of countenancing it shall be deprived of his sword and expelled from the camp, not to be permitted to return.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 45-6

O.R. I, vii, 551


“Orders having been received, calling for your arrest, I have ordered Capt. Baxter to relieve you”

Wrote Capt. Reuben Hatch of the Quartermasters Department, “Orders having been received from Washington, calling for your arrest, I have ordered Capt. Baxter to relieve you in your duties as Quartermaster in this District.  As you are responsible for a large amount of Public Property, I do not feel it just to you, to make your confinement close.  You have therefore the limits of Cairo, and should it be necessary in the course of your duties in turning over property, to go to either of the Posts, garrisoned by troops now using property for which you are accountable, permission will be granted.  Capt. C. B. Lagow will deliver this, and receive your sword.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 44

National Archives, RG 393, US Grant Letters sent

“Yesterday three of the enemies’ gunboats came up to reconnoiter”

Jan 12 1862 Wrote Maj. Gen. Halleck, “Before the receipt of your telegram directing delay in the demonstration previously ordered, I had commenced by sending the portion of my command immediately under Gen. McClernand to Fort Jefferson.  As it would be attended with a good deal of trouble to bring these troops back, and have a demoralizing effect upon them besides, I have left them there.  They occupy a good camp ground and have Mayfield creek, a stream not fordable, between them and the enemy.  Yesterday three of the enemies’ gunboats came up to reconnoiter, but finding two of ours laying below the camp, they did not  venture near enough to see our position, or for our Gunboats to engage them effectively.

“They placed themselves across the stream, at very long range, and by the time Capt. Porter and Lt. Paulding, commanding the Gunboats, weighed anchor and got under headway, they were off.

“Capt. Porter chased them under their guns at Columbus, one shot certainly, and he thinks two, taking effect upon one of their boats, disabling her to some extent if not entirely for present use.

“Every day develops further evidence of corruption in the Quartermaster’s Department, and that Mr. Dunton, Chief Clerk, if not chief conspirator is at least an accomplice.  I have ordered his arrest and confinement.

“I have telegraphed you requesting that no more vouchers given here, by the Quartermaster, be audited for the present.  This was intended to mean those given by Capt. Hatch.  As his conduct will probably be the subject of a legal investigation, I forbear saying all that I fear is true.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 36-8

O.R., I, vii, 545-6


“Patrols should … bring into camp at Bird’s Point all citizens and require them to remain”

Jan 11 1861 Wrote Brig. Gen. Paine, commanding general at Bird’s Point Mo, “I understand that four of our pickets were shot this morning.  If this is so, and appearances indicate that the assassins were citizens, not regularly organized in the rebel Army, the whole country should be cleaned out, for six miles around, and word given that all citizens making their appearance within those limits are liable to be shot.  To execute this, patrols should be sent out, in all directions, and bring into camp at Bird’s Point all citizens, together with their Subsistence, and require them to remain, under pain of death and destruction of their property until properly relieved.

“Let no harm befall these people, if they quietly submit, but bring them in and place them in camp below the breastworks and have them properly guarded.

“The intention is not to make political prisoners of these people, but to cut off a dangerous class of spies.

“This applies to all classes and conditions, Age and Sex.  If, however, Women and Children prefer other protection than we can afford them, they may be allowed to retire beyond the limits indicated, not to return until authorized.

“Report to me as soon as possible every important occurrence within your command.”

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 32

O.R., I, viii, 494-95


“The fog is so dense that it is impossible to cross the river”

Jan 9 1862, Wrote Gen Halleck, “The fog is so dense that it is impossible to cross the river;  this will defer any movement for one day.  A steamer is now laying across the channel at Dogtooth Bend, which will prevent reinforcements from arriving by river, until she is removed.  Have reinforcements started?

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 4, p 17

National Archives, RG 393, Dept of the Mo. Telegrams Received