“it is important to have some one near Banks, who can issue orders to him and see that they are obeyed”

I received a reply from Gen. Halleck concerning the transfer of heavy artillery units from Washington.

HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, Washington, March 26, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Culpeper:

GENERAL: Major-General Burnsides has applied for six batteries more of artillery [from] depot in this city to be assigned to his army corps and sent to Annapolis. As these batteries are under drill and instruction here and have quarters, I think they should remain till Burnside’s corps is ordered to the field. If sent to Annapolis, barracks or tents must be provided for them there. Moreover, they may be very useful here in case of a raid on the city or across the Potomac. They will be kept in readiness to join Burnside the moment he starts for the field. I think this arrangement far preferable to sending them at present to Annapolis. I think some measures should be adopted to prevent officers from corresponding with members of Congress, members of the Cabinet, &c., on military affairs, without going through the proper military channels. A large portion of the time here and at the War Department is taken up with these indirect applications for transfers, leaves of absence, promotions, &c. The Secretary of War is disposed to put a stop to this by arresting every officer guilty hereafter of the offense. I inclose draft of a general order on this subject for your consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

 

I replied,

IN FIELD, CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA.,

March 28, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

The batteries called for by General Burnside had better be furnished in the way you suggest–that is, to assign them to his corps, but leave them where they now are until the corps is moved into the field. They can then be ordered directly to the point where they will be wanted. The order drafted by you is herewith returned, with the request that it be published.

I have ordered General W. F. Smith to report to me in Washington City on Thursday next. This order is given with the view of having him assigned to the command of the Tenth Army Corps. I do not care, however, about the order being made assigning him until after he reports.

I think General Wilson should be relieved from duty in the Cavalry Bureau as soon as it is possible to find an officer to succeed him. I cannot suggest an officer to take his place.

In the campaign which it is desirable to commence as soon as our veterans return it is important to have some one near Banks, who can issue orders to him and see that they are obeyed. This will be specially important if a move is made against Mobile, as I now calculate upon. How to effect this I do not see unless all the territory embraced in the Departments of the Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and the Gulf are formed into a military division. Who to place in command of it I do not know. Of the four department commanders Steele would be by far the best, and would do very well. He has not got with him, however, a single general officer whom I would like to trust alone with a command. The best suggestion I could make would be to promote Dodge for Steele’s command. I wish you would think of this matter and give me your views.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 231-2

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 741, 752-3

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