If we can strike a blow against the two main rebel armies in the field, we should be able to bring this war to an end. However, we will need to concentrate our forces. I wrote Gen. Halleck,
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: The siege of Richmond bids fair to be tedious, and in consequence of the very extended lines we must have, a much larger force will be necessary than would be required in ordinary sieges against the same force that now opposes us. With my present force I feel perfectly safe against Lee’s army, and, acting defensively, would still feel so against Lee and Johnston combined; but we want to act offensively. In my opinion, to do this effectively, we should concentrate our whole energy against the two principal armies of the enemy. In other words, nothing should be attempted, except in Georgia and here, that is not directly in co-operation with these moves. West of the Mississippi I would not attempt anything until the rebellion east of it is entirely subdued. I would then direct Canby to leave Smith unmolested where he is; to make no move except such as is necessary to protect what he now holds. All the troops he can spare should be sent here at once. In my opinion the white troops of the Nineteenth Corps can all come, together with many of the colored troops. I wish you would place this matter before the Secretary of War and urge that no offensive operations west of the Mississippi be allowed to commence until matters here are settled. Send the Nineteenth Corps and such other troops as you can from the Department of the Gulf to me.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 111-2
O.R., I, xl, part 2, p 330-1