“Permit me through you, to return … sincere thanks for this beautiful and valued sword.”

The Mayor of Galena, Illinois has traveled here to Nashville to present me with a sword, paid for by the citizens of Jo Daviess County, Ill.  It is diamond-hilted with a gold scabbard and the names of the battles I have been involved in are engraved along its length.  It is a tremendous honor and I prepared a few words for the mayor to take back to the citizens of Galena.


Gentlemen : Permit me through you, to return to the Board of Supervisors and people of Jo Daviess county, sincere thanks for this beautiful and valued sword. Say to them that I accept it, not so much as a mark of esteem to myself, as an evidence of their devotion to their country, and their appreciation of the progress towards a final triumph, marked by the unbroken series of successes in every battle named upon it, from Belmont to Chattanooga, and I will use it in the maintenance of our nationality, liberty and law so long as the Government and armies repose confidence in me, and an armed foe to these exists. Say further to them that the support they have given me through evil as well as good report, has been to me a solace, and [is] remembered with gratitude, and that, as in the past, the successes of the brave armies which it has been my fortune to command justified that support, so in God I trust, the continued successes of our armies in the future may justify its continuance.


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 214

Galena Weekly Gazette, March 29 1864

Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt. XLV

“it looks as through the enemy was preparing for a move against our line of communications east of Chattanooga”

I have been forwarded the following report from Gen. Logan.

HUNTSVILLE, March 14, 1864.

Colonel BOWERS:

I have reliable information that all the rebel troops sent in the direction of Sherman and Mobile have returned to Dalton, and all the squads of home guards, &c., except pickets on the river, are the direction of Granby. The enemy are certainly concentrating for some purpose.



I alerted Gen. Thomas to the possibility that the enemy means to strike at our position in East Tennessee.

Major General G. H. THOMAS,

Commanding Department of the Cumberland, Chattanooga:

From your dispatch of yesterday, and also from one from General Logan, it looks as through the enemy was preparing for a move against our line of communications east of Chattanooga, and it may be west of there also.

You will therefore, if you have not already done so, place heavy guards upon the important railroad brigades both east and west of Chattanooga, so that they cannot, without a severe battle, destroy them. This should be attended to without delay.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 209-10

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 69, 80

“It will … be my desire to have all parts of the Army, or rather all the armies, act as much in concert as possible”

After conferring with Sherman, the plan of operations for the Spring seems clear.  For too long, we have lacked coordination of our attacks on the rebels, allowing them to shift men around to reinforce threatened areas.  We must coordinate our attacks and use our advantage in numbers to the fullest.  I have never approved of Gen. Banks’ move up the Red River, but if it must be done, it must be done quickly so that his army can be of use during the upcoming offensive.  I wrote him,

NASHVILLE, TENN., March 15, 1864.

Major General N. P. BANKS,

Commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans:

Inclosed herewith I send you copy of General Orders, Numbers 1, assuming command of the armies of the United States. You will see from the order it is my intention to establish headquarters for the present with the Army of the Potomac. I have not fully determined upon a plan of campaign for this spring, but will do so before the return of our veteran troops to the field. It will, however, be my desire to have all parts of the Army, or rather all the armies, act as much in concert as possible. For this reason I now write you.

I regard the success of your present move as of great importance in reducing the number of troops necessary for protecting the navigation of the Mississippi River. It is also important that Shreveport should be taken as soon as possible. This done, send Brigadier General A. J. Smith with his command back to Memphis as soon as possible. This force will be necessary for movements east of the Mississippi. Should you find that the taking of Shreveport will occupy ten to fifteen days more time than General Sherman gave his troops to be absent from their command, you will send them back at the time specified in his note of the-of March, even if it leads to the abandonment of the main object of your expedition. Should your expedition prove successful, hold Shreveport and the Red River with such force as you may deem necessary, and return the balance of your troops to the neighborhood of New Orleans.

I would not at present advise the abandonment of any portion of territory now held west of the Mississippi, but commence no move for the further reacquisition of territory unless it e to make that now ours more easily held. This, of course, is not intended to restrain you from making any disposition of your troops or going anywhere to meet and fight the enemy wherever he may be in force. I look upon the conquering of the organized armies of the enemy as being of vastly more importance than the mere acquisition of territory.

It may be a part of the plan for the spring campaign to move against Mobile. It certainly will be if troops enough can be obtained to make it without embarrassing other movements. In this case, New Orleans will be the pint of departure for such an expedition. There is one thing, general, I would urge, and don’t know but what you have already, and that is of supplying your army as far as possible from the country occupied. Mules, horses, forage, and provisions can be paid for, where taken from persons who have taken the amnesty oath prescribed by the President (if the oath be taken before the loss of property), with both economy and convenience. I have directed General Steele to make a real move as suggested by you instead of a demonstration, as he thought advisable.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 200-1

O.R., I, xxxiv, part 2, p 610-11

“They have certainly sent a division of cavalry into Georgia and a division of infantry to Virginia.”

I have arrived in Nashville to confer with Gens. Thomas and Sherman.  I received the following update from Gen. Schofield.

MORRISTOWN, March 12, 1864.

Major-General. THOMAS and

Brigadier General JOHN A. RAWLINS:

I have the bridge at Strawberry Plains completed, and cars run from there to this place. My troops are much improved in condition and effective strength. The enemy occupies Bull’s Gap and Lick Creek in some force. Longstreet has certainly sent a division of cavalry to Georgia and some infantry to Virginia; how much I do not positively know. I do not believe his force is much, if at all, superior to mine. I except to know soon.



I passed the information on to Gen. Halleck.

NASHVILLE, TENN., March 14, 1864-8 p. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

All is quiet on the front. Schofield telegraphs from Morristown that he is running cars to that place. The enemy occupies Bull’s Gap in some force. They have certainly sent a division of cavalry into Georgia and a division of infantry to Virginia.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 199-200

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 58-59, 66

Gen Orders 98: “The headquarters of the army will be in Washington, and also with Lieutenant-General Grant in the field”

Assistant Adjutant-General Townsend has issued General Orders No. 98, which formalizes the new command structure.

Numbers 98. Washington, March 12, 1864.

The President of the United States orders as follows:

I. Major General H. W. Halleck is, at his own request, relieved from duty as General-in-Chief of the Army, and Lieutenant General U. S. Grant is assigned to the command of the armies of the United States. The headquarters of the army will be in Washington, and also with Lieutenant-General Grant in the field.

II. Major General H. W. Halleck is assigned to duty in Washington as Chief of Staff of the Army, under the direction of the Secretary of War and the lieutenant-general commanding. His orders will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

III. Major General W. T. Sheridan is assigned to the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, composed of the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas.

IV. Major General J. B. McPherson is assigned to the command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee.

V. In relieving Major-General Halleck from duty as General-in-Chief, the President desires to express his approbation and thanks for the able and zealous manner in which the arduous an responsible duties of that position have been performed.

By order of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 195-6

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 58

Butterfield: “Railroad destruction complete and through.”

From Gen. Butterfield, I received an update on Gen. Sherman’s mission in Mississippi and Gen. Banks’ proposed movement up the Red River.

CAIRO, ILL., March 11, 1864-midnight.

Lieutenant-General GRANT or

General HALLECK:

Left General Sherman yesterday at Memphis. Command all safe. Our total loss, killed, wounded, and missing, 170 only. General result of his expedition, including Smith’s and the Yazoo River movement, about as follows: One hundred and fifty miles railroad, 67 bridges, 7,000 feet trestle, 20 locomotives, 28 cars, 10,000 bales cotton, several steam-mills, and over 2,000,000 bushels corn were destroyed. Railroad destruction complete and through. Capture of prisoners exceeds our loss. Upward of 8,000 contraband and refugees came in with the various columns. Your dispatches by Captain Badeau received by General Sherman on the 9th. General Banks is person commands Red River expedition. Sherman sends A. J. Smith, with 10,000 men, to co-operate. It is expressly understood that they return in thirty days, by which time McPherson’s furloughed men returned. Smith meets Bank’s column at Alexandria on the 17th. I have dispatch from General Sherman. He directs me to proceed and deliver them to you. Where shall i find you? Please answer at Mitchell, if it will reach there by 4 p. m. of the 12th after that, Burnett House, Cincinnati.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 144-5

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 54

Sherman: “You do yourself injustice and us too much honor”

I received the following reply to my letter of thanks to Gen. Sherman.


March 10, 1864.

General GRANT:

DEAR GENERAL: I have your more than king and characteristic letter of the 4th. I will send a copy to General McPherson at once.

You do yourself injustice and us too much honor in assigning to us too large a share of the merits which have led to your high advancements. I know you approve the friendship I have ever professed to you, and will permit me to continue, as heretofore, to manifest it on all proper occasions.

You are now Washington’s legitimate successor, and occupy a position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue as heretofore, to be yourself – simple, honest, and unpretending – you will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends, and the homage of millions of human beings that will award you a large share in securing to them and their descendants a government of law and stability.

I repeat, you do General McPherson and myself too much honor. At Belmont you manifested your trains, neither of us being near; at Donelson also you illustrated your whole character; I was not near, and General McPherson in too subordinate a capacity to influence you.

Until you had won Donelson I confess I was almost cowed by the terrible array of anarchical elements that presented themselves at every point; but that admitted the ray of light which I have followed since.

I believe you are as brave, patriotic, and just as the great prototype, Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest as a man should be, but the chief characteristic is the simple faith in success you have always manifested, which I can liken to nothing else than the faith a Christian has in a Savior. This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when you have completed your last preparations you go into battle without hesitation, as that Chattanooga, no doubts, no reserves; and I tell that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come if alive.

My only points of doubt were in your knowledge of grand strategy, and of books of science and history, but I confess your common sense seems to have supplied all these.

Now as to future. Don’t stay in Washington. Halleck is better qualified than you to stand the buffets of intrigue and policy. Come West; take to yourself the whole Mississippi Valley. Let us make it dead sure, and I tell you the Atlantic sloped and Pacific shores will follow its destiny as sure as the limbs of a tree live or die with the main trunk. We have done much, but still much remains. Time and time’s influences are with us; we could almost afford to sit still and let these influences work. Even in the seceded States your word now would go further than a President’s proclamation of out of Washington. I foretold to General Halleck before he left Corinth the inevitable result, and I now exhort you to come out when our task is done, we will make short work of Charleston and Richmond and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic.

Your sincere friend,



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 187-8

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 49

“This incident gave me even a more favorable opinion of Meade than did his great victory at Gettysburg the July before”

“My commission as lieutenant-general was given to me on the 9th of March, 1864. On the following day, as already stated, I visited General Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, at his headquarters at Brandy Station, north of the Rapidan. I had known General Meade slightly in the Mexican war, but had not met him since until this visit. I was a stranger to most of the Army of the Potomac, I might say to all except the officers of the regular army who had served in the Mexican war. There had been some changes ordered in the organization of that army before my promotion. One was the consolidation of five corps into three, thus throwing some officers of rank out of important commands. Meade evidently thought that I might want to make still one more change not yet ordered. He said to me that I might want an officer who had served with me in the West, mentioning Sherman specially, to take his place. If so, he begged me not to hesitate about making the change. He urged that the work before us was of such vast importance to the whole nation that the feeling or wishes of no one person should stand in the way of selecting the right men for all positions. For himself, he would serve to the best of his ability wherever placed. I assured him that I had no thought of substituting any one for him. As to Sherman, he could not be spared from the West.
“This incident gave me even a more favorable opinion of Meade than did his great victory at Gettysburg the July before. It is men who wait to be selected, and not those who seek, from whom we may always expect the most efficient service.”

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt. XLVI

Stanton: ” the President … has assigned to you the command of the Armies of the United States.”

I received the following two letters from the President and Secretary Stanton,

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, D. C., March 10, 1864.

Under the authority of an act of Congress to revise the grade of lieutenant-general in the U. S. Army, approved February 29, 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, U. S. Army, is assigned to the command of the Armies of the United States.





March 10, 1864-1. 40 p. m.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commander-in-Chief, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac:

Pursuant to the authority of the act of Congress approved February 29, 1864, the President, by Executive order of this date, has assigned to you the command of the Armies of the United States.


Secretary of War.


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 195

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 63

O.R., III, iv, p 160-61

“All he wanted or had ever wanted was some one who would take the responsibility and act”

After the ceremony, I met privately with the President.

“In my first interview with Mr. Lincoln alone he stated to me that he had never professed to be a military man or to know how campaigns should be conducted, and never wanted to interfere in them: but that procrastination on the part of commanders, and the pressure from the people at the North and Congress, which was always with him, forced him into issuing his series of “Military Orders”—one, two, three, etc. He did not know but they were all wrong, and did know that some of them were. All he wanted or had ever wanted was some one who would take the responsibility and act, and call on him for all the assistance needed, pledging himself to use all the power of the government in rendering such assistance. Assuring him that I would do the best I could with the means at hand, and avoid as far as possible annoying him or the War Department, our first interview ended.”

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant, Chpt. XLVI