“Stubborn fighting was kept up from that time until near daylight”

Last night the enemy made an advance on the troops of Second Corps on our left flank.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, VA., November 6, 1864-2 p. m.

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

Last night a little after 11 o’clock, the enemy attacked the picket line in front of Gibbon’s and Mott’s divisions, of Second Corps, and, carried about forty of the pits occupied by pickets. Stubborn fighting was kept up from that time until near daylight, resulting in the enemy being driven to their own lines with considerable slaughter. Besides the dead and wounded carried back by the enemy, quite a number are still left in the picket trenches and vicinity. Forty-two prisoners were also captured and some entrenching tools. General Gibbon’s loss is estimated at fifteen or twenty captured. General Mott says his loss will be small, but does not yet give numbers.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 385

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 528

“In view of the fact that the elections are to be held in the armies on Tuesday next, the enemy may make an attack”

The presidential election is coming up on Nov. 8, and soldiers in this army will be casting their vote on that day.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, November 5, 1864.

General MEADE:

In view of the fact that the elections are to be held in the armies on Tuesday next, the enemy may make an attack, expecting to find us unprepared, and to prevent as far as possible the holding of elections. Every precaution should be taken to have all troops so in hand that they can be used if required.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 382

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 517

“I say, then, go as you propose.”

I received the following from Gen. Sherman,

In the Field, Rome, Ga., November 2, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

Your dispatch is received. If I could hope to overhaul Hood I would turn against him with my whole force. Then he retreats to the southwest, drawing me as a decoy from Georgia, which is his chief object. If he ventures north of the Tennessee I may turn in that direction and endeavor to get between him and his line of retreat, but thus far he has not gone above the Tennessee. Thomas will have a force strong enough to prevent his reaching any country in which we have an interest, and he has orders if Hood turns to follow me to push for Selma. No single army can catch him, and I am convinced the best results will result from defeating Jeff. Davis’ cherished plan of making me leave Georgia by maneuvering. Thus far I have confined my efforts to thwart his plans, and reduced my baggage so that I can pick up and start in any direction, but I would regard a pursuit of Hood as useless; still if he attempts to invade Middle Tennessee I will hold Decatur and be prepared to move in that direction, but unless I let go Atlanta my force will not be equal to his.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

I am reluctant to leave Hood unmolested in North Georgia, but I am forced to agree with Sherman.  Hopefully, Gen. Thomas will have sufficient force to stop Hood.  I wrote,

CITY POINT, VA., November 2, 1864-11. 30 a. m.

Major-General SHERMANS,

Rome, Ga.:

Your dispatch of 9 a. m. yesterday is just received. I dispatched you the same date, advising that Hood’s army, now that it had worked so far north, be looked upon more as the objective. With the force, however, you have left with Thomas, he must be able to take care of Hood and destroy him. I do not really see that you can withdraw from where you are to follow Hood, without giving up all we have gained in territory. I say, then, go as you propose.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 371-3

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 594-5

“If you can see the chance for destroying Hood’s army, attend to that first and make your other move secondary.”

I received the following from Gen. Sherman

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of the United States, City Point, Va.:

As you foresaw, and as Jeff. Davis threatened, the enemy is now in the full tide of execution of his grand plan to destroy my communications and defeat this army. His infantry, about 30,000, with Wheeler’s and Roddey’s cavalry, from 7,000 to 10,000, are now in the neighborhood of Tusumbia and Florence, and the water being low is able to cross at will. Forrest seems to be scattered from Eastport to Jackson, Paris. and the lower Tennessee, and General Thomas reports the capture by him of a gun-boat and five transport. General Thomas has near Athens and Pulaski Stanley’s corps, about 15,000 strong, and Schofield’s corps, 10,000, en route by rail, and has at least 20,000 to 25,000 men, with new regiments and conscripts arriving all the time; also Rosecrans promises the two DIVISIONS of Smith and Mower, belonging to me, but I doubt if they can reach Tennessee in less than ten days. If I were to let go Atlanta and Northern Georgia and make for Hood, he would, as he did here, retreat to the southwest, leaving his militia, now assembling at Macon and Griffin, to occupy our conquests, and the work of last summer would be lost.

I have retained about 50,000 good troops, and have sent back full 25,000, and having instructed General Thomas to hold defensively Nashville, Chattanooga, and Decatur, all strongly fortified and provisioned for a long siege, I will destroy all the railroads of Georgia and do as much substantial damage as is possible, reaching the sea-coast near one of the points hitherto indicated, trusting that General Thomas, with his present troops and the influx of new troops promised, will be able in a very few days to assume the offensive. Hood’s cavalry may do a good deal of damage, and I have sent Wilson back with all dismounted cavalry, retaining only about 4,500.

This is the best I am do, and shall, therefore, when I can get to Atlanta the necessary stores, move as soon as possible.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

 

I replied,

Major-General SHERMAN,

Atlanta, Ga.:

Do you not think it advisable now that Hood has gone so far north to entirely settle him before starting on your proposed campaign? With Hood’s army destroyed you can go where you please with impunity. I believed, and still believe, that if you had started south whilst Hood was in the neighborhood of you he would have been forced to go after you. Now that he is so far away, he might look upon the chase as useless and go in one direction whilst you are pushing in the other. If you can see the chance for destroying Hood’s army, attend to that first and make your other move secondary.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 370-1

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 576-

“My love to all at your father’s. I hope you found him much improved.”

I wrote Julia,

City Point, Va, Oct. 30th 1864.
Dear Julia,
Gen. Rawlins starts for St. Louis this morning bearer of orders to Gen. Rosecrans. He will be in St. Louis several days. If you are prepared to return about the same time he is retuming you might take advantage of that occation to come back with him. I shall be compelled to spend two or three days in Washington about the 10th of November and will endeavor, will go, to Burlington before retuming. I received letters from Mr. Morris and Mrs. Hillyer notifying me that you had started for St Louis. Poor Fred, I am afraid he will never get an uninterrupted quarters schooling.

My love to all at your father’s. I hope you found him much improved. If he recovers sufficiently to travel why not take him to Burlington with you? Love and kisses,
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 368

“The necessity of re-enforcing the armies … is of such vital importance that you are selected to go West”

The war in the west seems to be winding down, and as such, there are a great number of troops that could be safely sent east.  These men could provide the final push to break the deadlock around Petersburg.  I am sending Gen. Rawlins to make efforts in this direction.  I wrote him,

CITY POINT, VA., October 29, 1864.

Brigadier General J. A. RAWLINS,

Chief of Staff:

The necessity of re-enforcing the armies actually confronting the principal armies of the enemy – Lee’s and Beauregard’s – is of such vital importance that you are selected to go West as bearer of orders intended to accomplish this end. Your position as chief of staff makes it proper to instruct you with authority to issue orders in the name of the lieutenant-general to further the object of your mission. Now that Price is retreating from Missouri, it is believed that the whole force sent to that State from other departments can be spared at once. The fact, however, that a considerable force is pursuing Price, and may go so far that some time may elapse before they can be returned to Missouri and be distributed for the proper protection of the State, has induced me to make two separate orders, one for the withdrawal only of the command of Major General A. J. Smith, the other embracing also the command of Major-General Mower. You will deliver whichever of these orders you may deem best; or, in case of doubt, telegraph to these headquarters for instruction. The destination of troops withdrawn will depend on circumstances. If it is found that the enemy, under Hood or Beauregard, have actually attempted an invasion of Tennessee, or those under Forrest are approaching the Ohio River, you will send them directly to Major-General Thomas, to confront and frustrate such movement. Under other circumstances, they will be send to join this army. The aim will be to get all the troops possible, especially veterans, with the armies operating against Richmond. General Sherman will be instructed that no force, except that already south of the Tennessee and such as General Canby can send, will be used between the Tennessee River and the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. If he goes south and draws Hood after him, he must take care of himself without the support of a pursuing column. I am satisfied on full and mature reflection that Sherman’s idea of striking across for the sea-coast is the best way to rid Tennessee and Kentucky of threatened danger, and to make the war felt. I do not believe that General Sherman can maintain his communications with Atlanta with his whole force. He can break such an extent of roads that the enemy will be effectually cut in two for several months, by which time Augusta and Savannah can be occupied. Augusta cuts the same line of road that Atlanta does, with the advantage of water communications with the Atlantic. This also has the advantage of cutting the southern line of railroads as well as the central.

You will remain in Missouri until all the troops ordered from there are actually in motion. If in your judgment any other troops than those mentioned in orders can be spared from there you will telegraph the fact here, and orders will be given for their removal.

Being all the time in telegraphic communication with headquarters, you will communicate regularly and ask for such instructions as suggest themselves to you from time to time.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 363-4

O.R., I, xli, part 4, p 305-6

“The attack on General Hancock, now that a report is received, proved to be a decided success”

I have received a more complete report of the attack on Gen. Hancock last night, and I have passed it along to Sec. Stanton.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

CITY POINT, VA., October 28, 1864.

The attack on General Hancock, now that a report is received, proved to be a decided success. He repulsed the enemy and remained in his position, holding possession of the field until midnight, when he commenced withdrawing. Orders had been given for the withdrawal of the Second Corps before the attack was made. We lost no prisoners except the usual stragglers who are always picked up. Our captures for the day on the sough side foot up 910. The rebel General Dearing is reported killed. General Meade in his report says:

I am induced to believe the success of the operations, which was most decided, was mainly due to the personal exertions of Major-General Hancock and the conspicuous gallantry of Brigadier-General Egan.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 359

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 23

“The enemy attacked our left (Hancock) last evening with great vigor”

I received a report of heavy fighting on our left involving Gen. Hancock’s troops.  I wrote Sec. Stanton,

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington.

CITY POINT, VA., October 28, 1864-9 a. m.

The enemy attacked our left (Hancock) last evening with great vigor. I cannot give the results yet, though the fight was sanguinary on both sides and resulted in a considerable number of captured. General Hancock thinks he captured more prisoners than he lost. I will try to give you full particulars during the day.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 358

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 23

“The result on the left has been to find the enemy as far as we have extended to the left”

I sent another message to Gen. Butler,

WARREN’S STATION, October 27, 1864-5.40 p.m.

Major-General BUTLER:

The result on the left has been to find the enemy as far as we have extended to the left. Our troops are now eight miles west of the Weldon railroad, from which point I have just returned. Your dispatch of 3.30 is only just received, too late to direct an attack. Hold on where you are for the present.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 355

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 390-1

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

Map by Hal Jespersen, www.cwmaps.com

“The movements at this end have not yet resulted in anything more than a little skirmishing”

So far we have been unable to extend our lines beyond the enemy’s right.  I sent an update to Gen. Butler and requested a status report from him.

CLEMENTS’ HOUSE, October 27, 1864-9 a.m.

Major-General BUTLER,

Aiken’s House:

The movements at this end have not yet resulted in anything more than a little skirmishing and forcing the enemy back toward their lines. The Second Corps and the cavalry have forced the crossing of Hatcher’s Run, and are moving west. The Ninth Corps confront the enemy in their works north of Hatcher’s Run. The Fifth Corps is moving between the Second and Ninth Corps. How are you progressing on the right?

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

He replied,

Darbytown, October 27, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

We have driven in the pickets of the enemy, by Terry, as far as Charles City road. Weitzel has reached, at 1.40 p.m., the exterior lines on the Williamsburg road, and finds Field’s division in his front. He is going to the right as far as Yorktown [York River] railroad to see where the enemy’s right rests. Field’s right rested this morning near the Darbytown road. He has extended, therefore, four miles. Shall I make a trial on this outstretched line? Casualties few as yet.

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General, Commanding.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 354-5

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 390