“I would leave General Banks in command of his department, but order him to his headquarters in New Orleans”

It has become apparent that the troops currently under Gen. Banks will not be able to participate in the upcoming offensive.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CULPEPER, VA., April 29, 1864-10.30 a. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:

On due reflection I do not see that anything can be done this spring with troops west of the Mississippi, except on that side. I think, therefore, it will be better to put the whole of that territory into once military division, under some good officer, and let him work out of present difficulties without reference to previous instructions. All instructions that have been given been given with the view of getting as may of these troops east of the Mississippi as possible.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

He replied,

WASHINGTON, April 29, 1864-2.30 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Culpeper, Va.:

Your telegram of 10.30 a. m. has been received and submitted to the Secretary of War. You do not name any officer for the trans-Mississippi command. Did you propose to leave Banks in the general command, or only of his present department, or to supersede him entirely? I will immediately write to you confidentially the difficulties in the may of removing General Banks, as I understand them.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

I responded,

CULPEPER, VA., April 29, 1864-6 p. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff:

Of the four department commanders west of the Mississippi I would far prefer General Steele to take the general charge, but he cannot be spared from his special command; there is no one to fully take his place. I would leave General Banks in command of his department, but order him to his headquarters in New Orleans. If you could go in person and take charge of the trans-Mississippi division until it is relieved from its present dilemma, and then place a commander over it or let it return to separate departments, as now, leaving General Canby temporarily in your place, I believe it would be the best that can be done. I am well of the importance of your remaining where you are at this time, and the only question is which of the two duties is the most important. If a commander must be taken from out there to take general charge I would give it to General Steele, giving General Reynolds his place.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 368-70

O.R., I, xxxiv, part 3, p 331

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