Halleck: “The Secretary of War … authorizes you to use any of General Ellet’s brigade for temporary shore duty”

Aug 24 1863.  I have received a reply from Gen. Halleck to my letter to Gen. Lorenzo Thomas concerning Ellet’s Marine Brigade.

WASHINGTON, August 24, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT, Vicksburg:

GENERAL: Adjutant-General Thomas has telegraphed to the War Department asking that Brigadier-General Ellet’s Marine Brigade be placed on shore duty, and his ram-boats be turned over to you as transports.

The Secretary of War does not approve the conversion of this marine or river brigade into a land brigade, but authorizes you to use any of General Ellet’s brigade for temporary shore duty, and any of his boats for temporary transports whenever the exigencies of the service require this use.

This brigade was organized and the men enlisted especially for service as river-men, in conjunction with either the military or naval forces, as circumstances might require. They have already proved themselves valuable auxiliaries, and can probably be used to great advantage against guerrilla parties on the Mississippi and with expeditions up the Arkansas and Red Rivers.

Moreover, as the men have been enlisted for a special service, if that service were entirely changed it might be claimed that they were released from their contract.

Alternate employment on land and water, as circumstances may require, is deemed within the object of the organization. You are therefore authorized to so employ the boats and the men as you may require their services.

It is said by Adjutant-General Thomas that Admiral Porter wishes you to take charge of these boats and the brigade.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 9, p 181-2

O.R., I, xxx, part 3, p 144

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