“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

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