Sherman: “I can make the march, and make Georgia howl”

Gen. Sherman has been moving North to threaten Hood’s army.  It now looks like that strategy will only lead to stalemate.  He writes,

HDQRS. MiLITARY DIVISION OF THE Mississippi,
In the Field, Allatoona, Ga., October 9, 1864 7.30 p. m.
Lieutenant-General GRANT,
City Point, Va.:
It will be a physical impossibility to protect the roads, now that Hood, Forrest, and Wheeler, and the whole batch of devils, are turned loose without home or habitation. I think Hoods movements indicate a diversion to the end of the Selma and Talladega Railroad at Blue Mountain, about sixty miles southwest of Rome, from which he will threaten Kingston, Bridgeport, and Decatur, Ala. I propose we break up the railroad from Chattanooga, and strike out with wagons for Milledgeville, Millen, and Savannah. Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources. By attempting to hold the roads we will lose 1,000 men monthly, and will gain no result. I can make the march, and make Georgia howl. We have over 8,000 cattle and 3,000,000 of bread, but no corn; but we can forage in the interior of the State.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major- General, Commanding.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 291
O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, p 162

Butler: “Our success yesterday was a decided one, although the rebel papers claim a victory”

I received an update from Gen. Butler,

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES,
October 8, 1864 – 1.35 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Washington, D. C.:

Our success yesterday was a decided one, although the rebel papers claim a victory. They admit General Gregg killed and General Bratton wounded. General Gregg was in command of Field’s division. The Richmond Examiner of this morning contains an official dispatch from Gordonsville last night, which states that a Yankee cavalry force yesterday burnt the railroad bridge over the Rapidan and made their escape. No movement on the Petersburg side. No more troops have been sent over from Lee. The movement of yesterday was made under his eye. All quiet to-day.

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General, Commanding.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 283

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 142

Butler: “At 6.45 this morning the enemy have attacked and driven Kautz back”

I am currently in Washington, and have just received a dispatch from Gen. Butler. The enemy have attacked our troops north of the James. Butler writes,

Head Qrs., Oct. 7th, 9 A.M.

Li. Gen. GRANT, War Dept., WASHINGTON

AT 6.45 this morning the enemy have attacked and driven
Kautz back, and are now advancing on our right toward the rear in strong force. They have just opened fire upon Fort Harrison.

BENJ. F. BUTLER, Maj. Gen I. Comd g.

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Vol 12, p 280

“The question is whether … Augusta and Savannah would not be a better line, than Selma, Montgomery, and Mobile”

I have decided to postpone my trip to Washington.  I wrote to Gen. Halleck on the subject of the next step in Sherman’s campaign.

City Point, Va., October 4, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff of the Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 2nd instant, in relation to the movements of the Western armies, and the preparation ordered by the staff officers of General Canby, is received. When this campaign was commenced, nothing else was in contemplation but that Sherman, after capturing Atlanta, should connect with Canby at Mobile. Drawing the Nineteenth Corps, however, from Canby, and the movements of Kirby Smith demanding the presence of all of Canby’s surplus forces in another direction, have made it impossible to carry out the plan as early as was contemplated. Any considerable force to co-operate with Sherman on the sea-coast must now be sent from here. The question is whether, under such circumstances, Augusta and Savannah would not be a better line, than Selma, Montgomery, and Mobile. I think Savannah might be taken by surprise with one corps from here and such troops as Foster could spare from the Department of the South. This is my view, but before giving positive orders I want to make a visit to Washington and consult a little on the subject. All Canby can do with his present force is to make demonstration on Mobile and up the Appalachicola toward Columbus. He cannot possibly have the force to require the transportation your letters would indicate he has called for, or to consume the supplies.

Either line indicated would cut off the supplies from the rich district of Georgia, Alabama, and MISSISSIPPI equally well. Whichever way Sherman moves he will undoubtedly encounter Hood’s army, and in crossing to the sea-coast will sever the connection between Lee’s army and this district of country.

I wrote to Sherman on this subject, sending my letter by a staff officer. He is ready to attempt (and feels confident of his ability to succeed) to make his way to either the Savannah River or any of the navigable steams emptying into the Atlantic or Gulf, if he is only certain of finding a base open for him when he arrives. The supplies Canby was ordering I presume were intended for the use of Sherman’s army. I do not deem it necessary to accumulate them in any great quantity until the base to which he is to make his way is secured.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 272-3

O.R., I, xxxix, part 3, 63-4

“I shall go to Washington to-morrow”

I am going to Washington to see if it is possible to expedite reinforcements for our armies.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, VA., October 3, 1864-12 m.

Major-General MEADE:

I shall go to Washington to-morrow and see if I cannot devise means of getting promptly into the field the large number of recruits that I understand are now in depots all over the North. Will be gone three or four days. In my absence would like to have present lines held, if possible, but if necessity requires it, all or as much as is necessary west of the Weldon road may be abandoned. One corps, or as many troops as possible, from the Army of the James, will be held foot loose, to operate on the defensive at any place threatened. General Butler, the senior officer present, will command during my absence.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 267

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 51

” … induces me to decline making the exchanges you ask”

Gen. Lee’s terms are unacceptable.  Colored troops in the U.S. Army must be given equal standing in any prisoner exchange.  I wrote Lee,

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
October 3, 1864.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: Your letter of this date is received. I answer I have to state that the Government is bound to secure to all persons received into her armies the rights due to soldiers. This being denied by you in the persons of such men as have escaped from Southern masters induces me to decline making the exchanges you ask. The whole matter, however, will be referred to the proper authority for their decision, and whatever it may be will be adhered to.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 263

O.R., II, vii, p 914

Lee: “Deserters from our service and negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange”

Gen. Lee has responded to my request for clarification of his proposed prisoner exchange.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 3, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of the United States:

GENERAL: In my proposition of the 1st instant to exchange the prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia I intended to include all captured soldiers of the United States of whatever nation and color under my control. Deserters from our service and negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange and were not included in my proposition. If there are any such among those stated by you to have been captured around Richmond they cannot be returned.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 263

O.R., II, vii, p 914

“There has been very little fighting to-day; a few prisoners, however, have been captured”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.

General Butler, on the right of the James, and General Meade, southwest of Petersburg, occupy the same position as yesterday. There has been very little fighting to-day; a few prisoners, however, have been captured. General Butler reports having last evening sent two brigades of infantry with a little cavalry within a few hundred yards of the inner line of works east of Richmond, meeting with no opposition.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 259

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 22

“I would ask if you propose delivering these men the same as white soldiers?”

I responded to Gen. Lee’s request for an exchange of prisoners of war.  Unless our colored troops are exchanged on equal terms with white soldiers there will be no exchange.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
October 2, 1864.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:

GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday proposing to exchange prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia is received. I could not of a right accept your proposition further than to exchange those prisoners captured within the last three days and who have not yet been delivered to the Commissary-General of Prisoners. Among those lost by the armies operating against Richmond were a number of colored troops. Before further negotiations are had upon the subject I would ask if you propose delivering these men the same as white soldiers?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 258

O.R., II, vii, p 909

Lee: “I have the honor to propose an exchange of the prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia”

I received the following letter, written yesterday, from Gen. Lee.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 1, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United States:

GENERAL: With a view of alleviating the sufferings of our soldiers, I have the honor to propose an exchange of the prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia, man for man, or upon the basis established by the cartel.

With much respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 258

O.R., II, vii, p 906-7