“The enemy came out this evening on Warren’s right”

Gen. Warren’s troops south of Petersburg have been attacked, but have managed to hold their ground.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

The enemy came out this evening on Warren’s right, driving in the pickets connecting between him and the left of our old line on the Jerusalem plank road and forcing back the two right divisions of Warren’s corps. A heavy fight took place, resulting in the re-establishing of our lines and the capture of a good many prisoners The prisoners were from Heth’s, Mahone’s, and Hoke’s divisions. We also lost considerably in prisoners.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 40

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 292

“We ought not to make a single exchange nor release a prisoner on any pretext whatever until the war closes”

I wrote to Sec. Seward,

CITY POINT, VA., August 19, 1864.

Honorable W. H. SEWARD, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.:

I am in receipt of copy of F. W. Morse’s letter of the 22nd of July to you, inclosing copy of statement of C. W. G. in relation to deserters from this army. There are constant desertions, though but few of them go over to the enemy. Unlike the enemy, however, we do not lose our veterans and men who enter the service through patriotic motives. The men who desert are those who have just arrived and who have never done any fighting and never intended to when they enlisted. There is a class known as “bounty jumpers” of substitute men, who enlist for the money, desert, and enlist again. After they have done this until they become fearful of punishment they join their regiments in the field and desert to the enemy.

Of this class of recruits we do not get one, forever eight bounties paid, to do good service. My Provost Marshal General is preparing a statement on this subject, which will show the re-enforcements received from this class of recruits. Take the other side: the desertions from the enemy to us. Not a day passes but men come into our lines, and men, too, who have been fighting for the South for more than three years. Not infrequently a commissioned officer comes with them. Only a few days ago I sent a regiment numbering 1,000 men for duty to General Pope’s department, composed wholly of deserters from the rebel army and of prisoners who took the oath of allegiance and joined it.

There is no doubt but many prisoners of war have taken the oath of allegiance and enlisted as substitutes to get the bounty and to effect their return to the South. These men are paraded abroad as deserters who want to join the South and fight their battles, and it is through our leniency that the South expects to reap great advantages.

We ought not to make a single exchange nor release a prisoner on any pretext whatever until the war closes.  We have got to fight until the military power of the South is exhausted, and if we release or exchange prisoners captured its imply becomes a war of extermination.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant – General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 37-8

O.R., II, vii, p 614-5

“My experiance however has been that men who have committed treason neither regard their word or their oath afterwards”

Julia’s brother has managed to get himself captured by the rebels on one of his trips to Louisiana.  This despite his ardently pro-Confederate views.  I wrote to my father-in-law,

 

Aug. 17th 1864.

Mr. Dent,
I have not written to Julia for the last week thinking that she would be on her way to Philadelphia before the letter would reach. If not yet gone however I want to say that Col. Porter failed to procure a house for her at Princeton, I now want her to go to Phila and either rent a house there and send the children to school, or board until proper arangements can be made for her elswhere. The moment I hear she has started from St, Louis I will send Fred. Dent to assist in making arrangements for settling.

I am in very good health. The Commissioner for the exchange of prisoners has promised for the last six weeks to return John Dent by the next flag. My experiance however has been that men who have committed treason neither regard their word or their oath afterwards. Their ministers preach the doctrine that an oath given to a Yankee, even though it is to obtain their freedom when they are farely captives, has no binding effect, I hope John has been thoroughly cured of his sesesh, sympathies by the long sojorn he has been forced to submit to with the people he defends.

Yours Truly

U. S. Grant

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 24

“I want … to make such demonstrations as will force Lee to withdraw a portion of his troops from the Valley”

Reports are that Lee has weakened his forces around Petersburg to support Early’s incursion and to deal with Hancock’s move to the north of the James River.  If so, we can move to cut the Weldon Railroad that runs into Petersburg and perhaps threaten the city itself.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, VA., August 17, 1864.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: The report of prisoners captured north of the James indicates that all the cavalry, or nearly so, south of Petersburg has been withdrawn, and also three brigades of infantry have been sent north of the river. There may have been a further reduction of the infantry force, but there is no evidence to show it. Under these circumstances no decisive result could be expected from moving a single corps by our left; but they might get to the Weldon road and, with the aid of a little cavalry, cut and destroy a few miles of it. You may, therefore, start Warren in the morning. I do not want him to fight any unequal battles nor to assault fortifications. His movements should be more a reconnaissance in force, with instructions to take advantage of any weakness of the enemy he may discover. The Ninth and Eighteenth Corps from so thin a line on their present front that no assistance can be expected from them further than the number of the enemy they detain by their presence. Three or four days’ rations will be sufficient for General Warren to carry with him. If he cannot strike the road near the enemy’s line inclosing Petersburg he can strike or fell farther south. If he finds the enemy extending along the railroad, showing front whenever he does, let him remain, holding them there and sending back for further supplies. I want, if possible, to make such demonstrations as will force Lee to withdraw a portion of his troops from the Valley, so that Sheridan can strike a blow against the balance.

Yours, &c.,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 22

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 244

“The fighting north of the river to-day has resulted favorably for us so far as it has gone”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.

CITY POINT, VA., August 16, 1864.

The fighting north of the river to-day has resulted favorably for us so far as it has gone, but there have been no decisive results. The enemy have been driven back somewhat from their position of this morning, with a considerable loss in killed and wounded and about 400 prisoners left in our hands. Two brigadier-generals (Chambliss and Girardey) were killed, and their bodies left in our hands. We also have quite a number of wounded prisoners. I have relieved the Fifth Corps from the trenches, and have it ready to march around Petersburg if the enemy can be induced to throw troops enough north of the James to justify it. Since moving north of the river, our losses will probably reach near 1,000 in killed and wounded, very many, however, only slightly wounded, owing to so much of the fighting taking place in thick woods. The enemy have lost about as many that have fallen into our hands.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

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

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 17-8

“Our forces north of the James River are still pressing the enemy”

Gen. Hancock has moved north of the James.  He has not made much progress, primarily because it appears that there have not been many rebel troops transferred to Early.  Gen. Meade wrote,

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
August 15, 1864-11.30 a. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

All quiet on the lines. The Fifth Corps in reserve on the left, ready for movement. No indications of any movement on enemy’s part, but seen that camps previously reported taken up are this morning reoccupied. Dispatch from signal officer sent herewith.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

 

Still, the information that Early has not been reinforced in great strength will be useful to Gen. Sheridan.  I wrote him,

August 15, 1864-9 p. m.

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,

Commanding Middle Military Division, Winchester, Va.:

Our forces north of the James River are still pressing the enemy, and capturing a few prisoners occasionally. The presence of two divisions of Longstreet’s corps is undoubted. To-day some prisoners have been taken from W. H. F. Lee’s division of cavalry.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 425-6

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 194

O.R., I, xliii, part 1, p 799

“If there is any danger of an uprising … our loyal Governors ought to organize the militia at once to resist it”

I responded to Gen. Halleck’s letter expressing concerns about resistance to the draft.  I think his concerns are overblown.  I wrote,

CITY POINT, VA., August 15, 1864-9 p. m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.

If there is any danger of an uprising in the North to resist the draft or for any other purpose our loyal Governors ought to organize the militia at once to resist it. If we are to draw troops from the field to keep the loyal States in harness it will prove difficult to suppress the rebellion in the disloyal States. My withdraw now from the James River would insure the defeat of Sherman. Twenty thousand men sent to him at this time would destroy the greater part of Hood’s army, and leave us men wherever required. General Heintzelman can get from the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois a militia organization that will deter the discontented from committing any overt act. I hope the President will call on Governors of States to organize thoroughly to preserve the peace until after the election.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 424

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 193-4

“We captured 6 pieces of artillery and over 100 prisoners”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, VA., August 14, 1864-8 p. m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

The move to the north side of the James to-day developed the presence of Field’s division, of Longstreet’s corps, which I supposed had gone to the Valley. Pickett’s division is also here. We captured 6 pieces of artillery and over 100 prisoners. Longstreet’s troops were under marching order, and this move will detain it at least for the present. I think Sheridan is still superior to Early in numbers, but not sufficiently so to attack fortifications.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 418

O.R., I, xliii, part 1, p 791

“In addition to the instructions which you already have but little can be added”

Gen. Hancock is going to make another push to cross the James River and threaten Richmond.  If he is successful, and the enemy has weakened himself by sending men north with Early, then the enemy may be forced to withdraw from Petersburg.  I wrote Hancock,

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, Va., August 13, 1864.

Major General W. S. HANCOCK,

Commanding Second Army Corps:

In addition to the instructions which you already have but little can be added. You will have to be guided in your movements by those of the enemy and his numbers. If you do not succeed in placing the enemy between your infantry and the James River it may not be safe to send the cavalry to the Virginia Central Railroad. Of this matter you can best judge. There is no necessity of holding your connection with Deep Bottom. With the force at your command you will always be able to get back to that point or some other on the James River. Wherever you go consume or destroy all the forage and provisions, except what is housed for family use, if it does not interfere with military movements to do so. I always regret to see wanton destruction of property which cannot be used in prolonging the war, and know that you equally oppose such conduct on the part of our troops. No caution on this head, therefore, is necessary. Cattle, horses, forage, and provisions, however, and especially so near a partially besieged city, are fair captures, and it is a duty we owe ourselves to take them even it they should be the property of Union citizens. In such case, a very improbable one near Richmond, they could be paid for. Having a force of 9,000 men from the Tenth Army Corps in addition to your own corps, if you can advance beyond Chaffin’s Bluff, keeping that point covered, I think it advisable to do so. Unless forced to return in order to keep communication with the James, remain at the highest point up the river gained until the cavalry returns and you receive orders to return. You can always be supplied by steamers, either at Dutch Gap or Deep Bottom.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 411-2

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 148

Halleck: “the people in many parts of the North and West now talk openly and boldly of resisting the draft”

I received the following from Gen. Halleck suggesting plots afoot in the North to resist the draft.

WASHINGTON, August 11, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

City Point:

GENERAL: Some forty-odd regiments of Ohio 110-days’ men are to be mustered out before the end of the month. The term of service of a number of regiments from Indiana and other States expires this month and the early part of next. To meet this loss of troops there is scarcely nothing coming in under the Presedent’s call and I fear you will be obliged to send troops from the field to guard certain places, as West Virginia, the prison camps, &c., which cannot be left without garrisons. There is another very serious matter for which we must be prepared. Pretty strong evidence is accumulating that there is a combination formed or forming to make a forcible resistance to the draft in New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and perhaps some other States. The draft must be enforced, for otherwise the army cannot bekept up. But to enforce it may require the withdrawal of a very considerable [number] of troops from the field. This possible, and I think very probable, exigency must be provided for. I call your attention to it now in order that you may be prepared for it and make your arrangements accordingly. I have not been a believer in most of the plots, secret societies, &c., of which we have so many pretended discoveries; but the people in many parts of the North and West now talk openly and boldly of resisting the draft, and it is believed that the leaders of the peace branch of the Democratic party are doing all in their power to bring about this result. The evidence of this has increased very much within the last few days. It is probably thought that such a thing will have an effect upon the next election, by showing the inability of the present Administration to carry on the war with an armed opposition in the loyal State. Whatever the object, it is thought the attempt will be made. Are not the appearances such that we ought to take in sail and prepare the ship for a storm?

Yours, truly,

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 111-2