“I hope you will be in time to aid in giving the rebels the worst, or best, thrashing they have had in this war”

Our flag of truce to Gen. Johnston has just returned, and Col. Coolbough has given us new information about the developments in Tennessee.  I forwarded them to Gen. Sherman,

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., September 30, 1863.

General W. T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Fifteenth Army Corps:

DEAR GENERAL: The flag of truce has returned and gives the following summary of news:

General Rosecrans still occupies Chattanooga-Longstreet, Lookout Mountain, 12 miles south. Longstreet advanced on Sunday morning, but was repulsed. Burnside was coming up, but with what force not known.

Our loss was fifty-four pieces of artillery and from 15,000 to 20,000 men killed, wounded, and missing. Rebels’ loss about the same. We lost one general, Lytle, killed, and Hood lost a leg and since reported dead. The rebels lost five or six generals, killed; among them General Smith, Helm, Adams, Brown, and Gregg were killed. Breckinridge is reported mortally wounded.

Johnston received Colonel Coolbaugh at his quarters in Canton and communications freely given, his last dispatch, which was to 8 o’clock,, 28th, as he received it. He claims a great victory, but says the loss on both sides was great and about equal. Thus they have no advantage in that respect. Their papers claim that Wheeler is to the rear of Rosecrans, but Johnston does not know this to be a fact.

A large force went out on the 28th to meet ours sent out by you. Cosby undertook to cut ours off, but was repulsed and sent for re-enforcements. Jackson afterward joined him. Our forces are not yet in, but, I presume are all safe.

The brigade sent east stampeded the enemy completely, causing them to send their wagon-train back to Pearl River in great disorder.

A letter just received from General Hurlbut shows that he can send you a much less force than I expected. What troops you have are good, however, and will be a powerful re-enforcement to any army.

I will send you with this a Southern paper of the 27th. You will see that it gives a more favorable Southern view than is contained in this summary. This is to be expected, however; no doubt Johnston’s account will prove the most correct.

I hope you will be in time to aid in giving the rebels the worst, or best, thrashing they have had in this war.

I have constantly had the feeling that I should lose you from this command entirely. Of course I do not object to seeing your sphere of usefulness enlarged and think it should have been enlarged long ago, having an eye to the public good alone. But it needs no assurance from me, general, that taking a more selfish view, while I would heartily approve such a change, I would deeply regret it on my own account.

I have no intentions in the world upon which to base the idea of such a change as is referred to being made, except my own feelings. I may be wrong and judge Rosecrans from a prejudiced view, instead of impartially, as I would like and try to do.

The last of Smith’s division will be off this evening, if the boats get their fuel. I have seriously in contemplation to keep Smith here to take Tuttle’s command, and send Tuttle to command some point in West Tennessee. I will make up my mind on this point before evening.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 255-56

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 945

“I regret that there should be such apparent tardiness in complying with your orders”

Sept. 30 1863.  Having learned that Gen. Rosecrans had a great need for troops, I regret that the troops weren’t sent earlier.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., September 30, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-chief, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I regret that there should be such apparent tardiness in complying with your orders, but I assure you that as soon as your wishes were known, troops were forwarded as rapidly as transportation could be procured.

As previously reported, your dispatches of the 13th were not received for several days after those of the 15th. The latter did not explain your wishes further than that you wanted Rosecrans re-enforced with all my available forces, leaving the Mississippi Valley secure. Although the troops sent under the dispatches of the 15th were 15 miles off, most them were embarked within forty-eight hours. The receipt of your dispatches of the 13th explained everything, and Sherman was immediately ordered up the river with the remained of his corps, substituting one division of the Seventeenth Corps, already forwarded to Memphis, for one here. This reduces me to the smallest possible number for holding this valley. There is to my front now four brigades of cavalry, with at least 20 pieces of artillery, that I know of. The brigades are commanded as follows: Cosby, Whitfield, Logan, and Chalmers. S. D. Lee commands the whole.

A letter just received from Hurlbut states that he can send but one brigade from his corps. An inspection report of the 20th of August shows him to have over 23,000 well men for duty exclusive of extra-duty men. From this he should spare at least 8,000 men and a large portion of artillery. General Hurlbut’s letter seems to ignore my orders to him and show an evident inclination to set up a sort of independent command, receiving orders only from Washington. He passes over my orders to him quietly, and tells me that he will send Prentiss in command of forces going eastward.

All I believe, is now moving according to your wishes. I have about 16,500 men to hold the river from here to Bayou Sara. This is exclusive of colored troops, mostly used guarding the west bank of the river, with the special view of protecting the leased plantations. Citizens of the country in various parts express great anxiety to have our troops among them. I have received applications to send troops to Monroe to hold the place, with the assurance that we should be supplied with beef and corn for nothing. There has also been application made to send troops to Yazoo City. I will not, of course, scatter my forces, having already few enough at the points-Vicksburg and Natchez-necessary to hold.

I have heard nothing recently from Steele’s expedition, nor do I learn much of the movements of the enemy west of the river.

I regret that I have not got a movable force with which to attack Mobile or the river above. As I am situated, however, I must be content with guarding territory already taken from the enemy. I do not say this complainingly, but simply regret that advantage cannot be taken of so fine an opportunity of dealing the enemy a heavy blow.

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

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 251-3

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 944

Hurlbut: “An accumulation of force from east and west was suddenly thrown upon Rosecrans to destroy his army”

Sept. 29 1863.  I have received the following dispatches from Gen. Hurlbut in Memphis.  Apparently the situation with Gen. Rosecrans in Tennessee is more dire than I thought.  He writes,

HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., September 27, 1863.

Brig. General JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Department of the Tennessee, Vicksburg, Miss.:

GENERAL: I send you the correspondence between myself and the General-in-Chief. Like everything else connected with the river, this correspondence has been delayed. It is evident that the General-in-Chief does not expect the troops forced forward beyond our reach into Middle Tennessee, and that he did expect that Sherman’s corps was to be moved up. If I correctly understand the nature of things in the Army of the Cumberland, the extreme urgency of the case has passed. An accumulation of force from east and west was suddenly thrown upon Rosecrans to destroy his army; thence intended to strike with like effect and the same purpose on Burnside. General Thomas, by his heroic resistance, has saved that Army of the Cumberland from actual destruction, and the enemy are too severely crippled to pursue the advantage gained. Burnside has probably joined before this and is safe. Meade is moving on Richmond, and the eastern force must return, and that rapidly, to save the capital. Rosecrans should be re-enforced to enable him to profit by the reflux of this tide. The movement was a dash and has failed.

Osterhaus has reported to me to-day, and moves out to and beyond Corinth to-morrow by rail. John E. Smith will be up to-morrow. In four days these divisions will be in readiness to move wherever directed. My entire corps is to-day ready to move. I have only two divisions of infantry, excluding colored troops, on this line, and cannot, in my judgment, spare more than one brigade [four regiments]. I am very strong in artillery and have now 4,500 cavalry. The line cannot be abandoned, and it is far easier to send troops through the country than to relieve those on guard.

I am perfectly willing and ready to go, but unless ordered so to do, do not propose to leave my own army corps and assume command of strange and fragmentary troops, when the good of the service will be promoted as well by putting them under command of another general. Prentiss is here. If the troops move at all, I shall assign him to command.

The expedition as prepared will consist of Osterhaus’ division, John E. Smith’s division, and Bane’s brigade from Corinth, consisting of about 9,000 infantry.

If relief is given by proper officers and commands to hold Memphis and its line, I can take my own command as it stands. I am ready to move with 11,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry, leaving to my successor, whomever he may be, 1,500 cavalry and the negro regiments, say 4,000. I dare not leave this line until adequate force is provided to hold it. The major-general thinks I can spare one or two divisions. I have but two.

I still insist that a corps established east and south of Corinth will cover Vicksburg better than the Big Black and will give a better hold for future movements. In any event, I shall have here when Osterhaus and Smith are fully in place 12,000 disposable men to be moved wherever the exigency of the service demands, and will await orders from the commander-in-chief, to whom I report the substance of the above. The route proposed for the troops to Rosecrans is to Tuscumbia, thence crossing the Tennessee by Jackson’s Ford, near Florence, through Athens to Fayetteville and Decherd. If I take my corps complete, I shall move by Huntsville to Stevenson, keeping nearer the river than with a smaller force.

Smith’s division reports only 2,000 men. I send the substance of this to Major-General Halleck by telegraph from Cairo, and await his orders.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. HURLBUT,

Major-General.

and

HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., September 29, 1863.

Brig. General JOHN A. RAWLINS,

A. A. G., Dept. of the Tennessee, Vicksburg, Miss.:

GENERAL: I have waited until the last moment that I might send the very latest dispatches, but none come. The river is so low as very seriously to impede navigation.

Osterhaus’ division is moving by rail to Corinth, and will get through by to-night or to-morrow. I have filled all his requisitions and he is in order for the field. John E. Smith’s division comes up without camp or garrison equipage, shelter-tents or blankets, all of which, he informs me, are below. I hold them near Memphis until these necessaries are supplied.

I have a heavy supply and ordnance train organized and ready to move whenever directed.

It is manifestly of no special advantage to move now unless it be to cover Nashville and the communications. At all events, as I understand General Halleck’s wishes, we are to hold on until ordered. I dislike to throw troops from this line to Rosecrans, because they will be lost forever; nothing returns from the Cumberland army.

If not ordered off, I shall move in a few days to Columbus, Miss., and thence, or rather under cover of that move, send Spencer with the Alabama cavalry to Montgomery, to destroy the Montgomery and West Point road and the steamers between Selma and Montgomery. This is all prepared for if we are not ordered away.

Lee is raising quite a force from Columbus to Grenada and needs breaking up. I shall smash him effectually when we go on the Columbus expedition.

Your obedient servant,

S. A. HURLBUT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 254-56

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 888, 924

“The rebels have at present a small force over on Silver Creek collecting cattle and negroes and burning cotton”

Gen. Sherman wrote back concerning the rebel guerrillas,

SEPTEMBER 26, 1863.

General GRANT, Vicksburg:

I have the cavalry and can send it out. The cavalry back of Yazoo City is not in camp. Their camp is near Vernon, east of Black River, and they are engaged in getting cattle from the Yazoo. I doubt if we can catch them, but I will try to-morrow afternoon.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

I replied,

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Vicksburg, Miss., September 26, 1863.

General SHERMAN:

I was not aware that Vernon was the headquarters of a cavalry division. You may send a brigade of infantry, as you proposed, or as much of it as you deem necessary and all the cavalry that can be spared, and see if we cannot break up their present cavalry arrangements. The rebels have at present a small force over on Silver Creek collecting cattle and negroes and burning cotton. They might be intercepted and their stock taken from them by going down to Yazoo City and return in by the river route. You have studied the geography of the route to be traversed more than I have and can give the specific directions.

U. S. GRANT,
Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 247-48

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 866

“I am told that there is a small camp of rebel cavalry near Benton, committing depredations”

Sept 26 1863.  I have received a report of rebel guerrillas raiding near the Yazoo River.  I wrote Gen. Sherman,

VICKSBURG, MISS., September 26, 1863.

General SHERMAN:

I am told that there is a small camp of rebel cavalry near Benton, committing depredations. Have you got 300 or 400 fresh cavalry to send in there rapidly, to try and pick them up. I think they should start in the afternoon and travel at night so as to come upon them early in the morning. They might then go down to Yazoo City and return by way of Satartia.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 246-47

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 866

“I will now send Sherman to West Tennessee with two more divisions of his corps”

The following telegram from Gen. Halleck has just been delivered to me.  He wrote,

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, D. C., September 13, 1863-1.30 p.m.

Major-General GRANT or

Major-General SHERMAN,

Vicksburg:

It is quite possible that Bragg and Johnston will move through Northern Alabama to the Tennessee River to turn General Rosecrans’ right, and cut off his communications. All of General Grant’s available forces should be sent to Memphis, thence to Corinth and Tuscumbia, to co-operate with Rosecrans should the rebels attempt that movement.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

I replied,

VICKSBURG, MISS., September 25, 1863-12 noon.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

Your dispatches of the 13th are just this moment received. Have been detained between Cairo and Memphis from the 14th to the 22nd . Under more recent dispatches troops have been moved up the Mississippi. As per dispatch sent 22nd instant, I will now send Sherman to West Tennessee with two more divisions of his corps. This leaves one division of Sherman’s corps here, but it is replaced by one of McPherson’s, already above. I send this to Cairo by a staff officer, who will await dispatches.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 233-4

O.R., I, xxx, part 1, p 36

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 840-41

“Your dispatch … directing re-enforcements to be sent Major-General Rosecrans, is just received”

Sept 22 1863.  Gen. Hurlbut has forwarded me the following message from Gen. Halleck,

WASHINGTON CITY,

September 15, 1863-5 p.m.

Major General S. A. HURLBUT,

Memphis:

All the troops that can possibly be spared in Western Tennessee and on the Mississippi River should be sent without delay to assist General Rosecrans on the Tennessee River. Urge Sherman to act with all possible promptness. If you have boats send them down to bring up his troops. Information just received indicates that a part of Lee’s army has been sent to re-enforce Bragg.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

VICKSBURG, MISS., VIA MEMPHIS,

September 22, 1863-10.30 a.m. (Received, 12.40 a.m., 29th.)

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

Your dispatch to Major-General Hurlbut of the 15th instant, directing re-enforcements to be sent Major-General Rosecrans, is just received. I have ordered two divisions from here, one from each the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps. The one from the Seventeenth Army Corps is already on steamboats between Vicksburg and Helena, having been previously ordered to Steele. Hurlbut should be able to send one full division, if not two, besides the troops that may return from the expedition against Little Rock, and I have so directed. General Banks has asked for another division. This, of course, I cannot send him, in view of what you require for Rosecrans. Should more troops be required from here for Rosecrans, there is sufficient time for orders to reach before transportation can be had. An army corps commander will be sent in command of all troops from here.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 228-30

O.R., I, xxx, part 1, p 162

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 720-1

“There is certainly a very fine feeling existing in the State of Louisiana and in most parts of this State toward the Union”

I have returned to Vicksburg, but I am still recovering.  I took the time to finally reply to a request from Gen. Halleck.  He wrote,

WASHINGTON, July 30, 1863-11. 30 a. m.

Major-General GRANT, Vicksburg, MISS.:

I am very desirous of receiving your views in regard to the policy of attempting to organize a civil government in Mississippi, to be in subordination, however, for the present, to the military authorities.

H. W. HALLECK.

Gen. Sherman received the same dispatch and sent me a copy of his reply.  He advocated that very harsh terms for Southerners be continued.  I disagree.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

General H. W. HALLECK,

Commander-in-Chief U. S. Forces, Washington, D. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have returned from New Orleans, arriving here on the 16th instant, and am still confined to my bed, lying flat on my back. My injuries are sever, but still not dangerous; my recovery is simply a matter of time. Although fatiguing, I will still endeavor to perform my duties, and hope soon to recover that I may be able to take the field at any time I may be called on to do so.

I have just read General Sherman’s private letter to you, but do not fully coincide with the general as to the policy that should be adopted toward these people. While I believe with him that every effort should be made to fill up our thinned ranks, and be prepared to meet and destroy their armies wherever found, I think we should do it with terms held out that by accepting they could receive the protection of our laws. There is certainly a very fine feeling existing in the State of Louisiana and in most parts of this State toward the Union. I inclose you copies of resolutions sent me by citizens of both Louisiana and Mississippi, showing something of this feeling.

If able to write myself I should write much more at length on this subject, but being compelled to dictate for another to write I will be brief, and should I recover in a short time sufficiently to write, I will address you again.

Yours, truly,

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 221-4

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 732

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 562

“I will leave for Vicksburg on Monday. Am improving rapidly, but not yet able to leave my room”

Sept. 12 1863.  My injuries are healing, and I hope to travel back to Vicksburg soon.  It may be some time before I am able to resume my duties.  While incapacitated, Gen. Sherman is issuing orders in my name.  I sent the following telegram to Gen. Halleck,

NEW ORLEANS, September 12.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief:

I will leave for Vicksburg on Monday. Am improving rapidly, but not yet able to leave my room.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 223

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p

“I was rendered insensible, and when I regained consciousness I found myself in a hotel nearby with several doctors attending me”

During this visit [to New Orleans to consult with Gen. Banks] I reviewed Banks’ army a short distance above Carrollton. The horse I rode was vicious and but little used, and on my return to New Orleans ran away and, shying at a locomotive in the street, fell, probably on me. I was rendered insensible, and when I regained consciousness I found myself in a hotel near by with several doctors attending me. My leg was swollen from the knee to the thigh, and the swelling, almost to the point of bursting, extended along the body up to the arm-pit. The pain was almost beyond endurance.

 

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt. xxxix