“The Mississippi River enterprise must take precedence over all others”

Jan 22 1863.  I have received word that troops in Arkansas will be placed under my command.  I wasted no time letting their commanders know that the expedition on Vicksburg is our top priority.

Brigadier General WILLIS A. GORMAN,

Comdg. Dist. of Helena:

The following dispatch is just received:

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 21, 1863.

Major-General GRANT:

By direction of the President, Major-General Grant will assume command of all troops in Arkansas which may be reach of his orders. The portion of Arkansas occupied by such troops will be temporarily attached to the Department of the Tennessee.


In conformity with the above, I have attached your command to the Thirteenth Army Corps, Major-General McClernand commanding. I will have you furnished soon with all such past orders as are necessary for your guidance. I wish you to return to Helena with your command as soon as possible, and discharge all the steamers that can possibly be spared. Do not understand this as an order to abandon any enterprise for breaking up the enemy in his strongholds, if you are near the accomplishment of such a result.

The Mississippi River enterprise must take precedence over all others, and any side move made must simply be to protect our flanks and rear. So long, however, as the enemy have steamers in the White and Arkansas Rivers, it is necessary for the safe navigation of the Mississippi to Vicksburg to break up all their forces on those two rivers, and, if possible, get possession of their boats.

I will be going down the river in a few days, when I hope to meet you at Helena.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 7, p 242-3

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 5-6

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