“I will move against Lee’s army, attempting to turn him by one flank or the other”

I wrote to Gen. Halleck to give him the general outline of the upcoming operations in Virginia.


Culpeper Court- House, Va., April 29, 1864.

Major- General HALLECK,

Chief of Staff of the Army:

GENERAL: If General Gillmore reaches Fort Monroe in time, and if four of the ironclads promised by the Navy are also there, our advance will commence on the 4th of May.

General Butler will operate on the south side of James River, Richmond being his objective point. I will move against Lee’s army, attempting to turn him by one flank or the other. Should Lee fall back within his fortifications at Richmond, either before or after gibing battle, I will form a junction with Butler, and the two forces will draw supplies from the James River. My own notions about our line of march are entirely made up, but as circumstances beyond my control may change them, I will only state that my effort will be to bring Butler’s and Meade’s forces together.

The army will start with fifteen days’ supplies; all the country affords will be gathered as we go along. This will no doubt enable us to go twenty or twenty- five days without further supplies, unless we should be forced to keep in the country between Rapidan and the Chickahominy, in which vase supplies might be required by way of the York or the Rappahannock Rivers. To provide for this contingency I would like to have about 1,000.000 rations and 200,000 forage rations afloat, to be sent wherever it may prove they will be required. The late call for one hundred days’ men ought to give us all the old troops in the Northern States for the field. I think full 2,000 of those in the West ought to be got to Nashville as soon as possible. Probably it would be as well to assemble all the balance of the re- enforcements for the West at Cairo. Those that come to the East I think should come to Washington, unless movements of the enemy yet to develop should require them elsewhere. With all our reserves at two or three points you will know what to do with them when they come to be needed in the field.

If the enemy fall back, it is probable General Butler will want all the force that can be sent to him. I have instructed him, however, to keep you constantly advised of his own movements and those of the enemy so far as he can.

General Burnside will not leave him present position between Bull Run and the Rappahannock until the 5th of May. By that time the troops to occupy the Blockhouses, with their rations, should be out. If they cannot be sent from Washington, I will have to require General Burnside to furnish the detail from his corps. When we get once established on the James River there will be no further necessity of occupying the road south of Bull Run. I do not know as it will be necessary to go so far south as that. In this matter, your opportunity of knowing what is required being far superior to mine, I will leave it entirely to you.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant- General.


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 370-2

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 1017-8