“You will … operate on the south side of the James River, Richmond being your objective point”

I have spent the past two days at Fort Monroe, near Norfolk Virginia, consulting with General Butler about the upcoming campaign.  I propose that he will take a force, christened the Army of the James, to move up the James River to threaten Richmond while the Army of the Potomac moves against Lee’s army preventing him from sending reinforcements.  If successful, this movement would force Lee to fall back to Richmond to prevent his supply lines from being cut.  I formalized these discussions in the following letter.

 

FORT MONROE, VA., April 2, 1864.

Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,

Commanding Dept. of Va. and N. C., Fort Monroe, Va.:

In the spring campaign, which it is desirable shall commence at as early a day as practicable, it is proposed to have co-operative action of all the armies in the field, as far as the object can be accomplished. It will not be possible to united our armies into two or three large ones, to act as so many units, owing to the absolute necessity of holding on to the territory already taken from the enemy; but, generally speaking, concentration can be practically effected by armies moving to the interior of the enemy’s country from the territory they have to guard. By such movement they interpose themselves between the enemy and the country to be guarded, thereby reducing the number necessary to guard important points, and at least occupy the attention of part of the enemy’s force, if no greater object is gained. Lee’s army and Richmond being the greater objects toward which our attention must be directed in the next campaign, it is desirable to unite all the force against them.

The necessity for covering Washington with the Army of the Potomac and of covering your department with your army makes it impossible to united these forces at the beginning of any move. I propose, therefore, what comes nearest this of anything that seems practicable. The Army of the Potomac will act from its present base, Lee’s army being the objective point.

You will collect all the forces from your command that can be spared from garrison duty–I should say not less than 20,000 effective men–to operate on the south side of the James River, Richmond being your objective point. To the force you already have will be added about 10,000 men from South Carolina, under Major-General Gilmore, who will command them in person. Major General W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you to command the troops sent into the field from your own department.

General Gillmore will be ordered to report to you at Fort Monroe, with all his troops on transports, by the 18th instant, or as soon thereafter as practicable. Should you not receive notice by that time to move, you will make such disposition of them and your other forces as you may deem best calculated to deceive the enemy as to the real move to be made. When you are notified to move take City Point with as much force as possible. Fortify, or rather intrench, at once, and concentrate all your troops for the field there as rapidly as you can. From City Point directions cannot be given at this time for your further movements.

The fact that has already been stated, that is, that Richmond is to be your objective point, and that there is to be co-operation between your force and the Army of the Potomac, must be your guide. This indicates the necessity of your holding close to the south bank of the James River as you advance. Then, should the enemy be forced into his intrenchments in Richmond, the Army of the Potomac would follow, and by means of transports the two armies would become a unit.

All the minor details of your advance are left entirely to your direction. If, however, you think it practicable to use your cavalry south of you so as to cut the railroad about Hicksford about the time of the general advance it would be of immense advantage.

You will please forward for my information at the earliest practicable day all orders, details, and instructions you may give for the execution of this order.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 245-7

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 794-5

“your movements shall be co-operative with movements of Armies elsewhere and you cannot now start too soon”

I wrote Gen. Banks, giving him specific guidance to concentrate his forces as much as possible and to move against Mobile with haste.  This is necessary to coordinate his movements with the rest of the army.

Washington March 31st 1864
Maj. Gen. N. P. Banks Comd.g Dept. of the Gulf,
General:
In addition to the directions sent you by Lieut. Towner, for immediate concentration at New Orleans of all the forces you can spare from the defence of your Dept. preparatory to a move against Mobile, I would now add the following:
1st If successful in your expedition against Shreveport that you turn over the defence of the Red River to Gen. Steele and the Navy.
2d That you abandon Texas entirely with the exception of your hold upon the Rio Grande. This can be held with four thousand men if they will turn their attention immediately to fortifying their positions, end At least one half of the force required for this service might be taken from the colored troops.
3d By properly fortifying on the Miss. River the force to guard it, from Port Hudson to New Orleans, can be reduced to ten thousand men, if not to a much less number. Six thousand men would then hold all the rest of the territory necessary to hold until active operations can again be resumed West of the river.—According to your last returns this would give you a force of over thirty thousand effective men with which to move against Mobile. To this I expect to add five thousand men from Missou[ri.] If however you think the force here stated too small to hold the territory regar[ded] as necessary to keep possession of I would say concentrate at least twenty-five thousand men of your present com- man[d] for operations against Mobile. With these and such additions as I can give you from elsewhere loose no time in making a demonstration to be followed by an attack, upon Mobile.
Two or more Iron Clads have been will be ordered to report to Admiral Farrigut. This gives him a strong Naval fleet with which to co-operate. You can make your own arrangements with the Admiral for his co-operation and select your own line of approach. My own idea of the matter is that Pascagoula should be your base, but from your long service in the Gulf Dept. you will know best about this matter.
It is intended that your movements shall be co-operative with movements of Armies elsewhere and you cannot now start too soon. All I would now add is that you commence the concentration of your forces at once. Preserve a profound secrecy of what you intend doing and start at the earliest possible moment.
I am General, very respectfully
your obt. svt.
U. S. Grant
Lt. Gen. Comd.g

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 242-3

O.R. I, xxxiv, part 1, p 11

“I would direct, therefore, that you collect at Beverly all the force you can spare … to make a southward move”

Gen. Franz Sigel commands the newly formed Department of West Virginia.  I am ordering him to move up the Shenandoah Valley in an attempt to cut Lee’s army off from resupply from the west.  I sent him this dispatch.

IN FIELD, CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA.,

March 29, 1864.

Major General FRANZ SIGEL,

Cumberland, Md.:

My object in ordering General Crook here was with the view of learning from him the character of the country and roads in West Virginia, and to determine the practicability of ordering a co-operative movement from your department, in connection with other movements which will take place from other departments. Whilst the long line of railroad you have to guard may require all the force you have, as opposing armies now stand, for a movement toward the enemy, it looks to me that almost everything except a small force judiciously distributed for the protection of the most important bridges might be spared. I would direct, therefore, that you collect at Beverly all the force you can spare, not less than 8,000 infantry, three batteries of artillery, and 1,500 picked cavalry, to make a southward move. This force is to be exclusive of that now commanded by General Crook. The concentration of this force at Beverly should commence at once, and when ready reported to me by telegraph. I will direct the date of their departure hereafter, and the point at which they will strike, making this movement simultaneous and co-operative with movements elsewhere. Troops should be required to travel as light as possible and to live off the country where it can be done.

In this latter case, however, indiscriminate marauding should be avoided. Nothing should be taken not absolutely necessary for the troops, except when captured from an armed enemy. Impressments should all be made under orders from the commanding officer and by disbursing officer. Receipts should be given for all property taken, so that the loyal may collect pay and the property be accounted for.

Major General E. O. C. Ord is ordered to report to you to be assigned to the command of this expedition. General Averell being acquainted with the country through which your forces will operate, I would suggest that he command the cavalry part of the expedition in person. Every facility should be given General Ord to accumulate at Beverly all the supplies and equipments needed by him. I would suppose that ten days’ supply for his command would be required. If you have a pontoon train that, too, might be wanted with the expedition. You will give your own directions in this matter, however, and will not doubt see that the proper supply of war munitions, pioneer tools, &c., are sent.

General Crook will be held in readiness to move at the same time with General Ord, throwing his infantry south to hold the enemy from coming through the mountain gaps which they now hold, while, with his cavalry, he marches his way through to the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad and destroys it. His route probably should be left to himself. After striking the road he should, however, move eastward, destroying the railroad as he moves, and join General Ord. Once united, this force will be sufficient to choose their own route and time for returning to their base, or for executing such orders as may hereafter be given.

I have ordered two more regiments of cavalry to report at Charleston, W. Va., and if I can, will order infantry to report for the protection of the railroad. I do not see now where infantry is to come from, but will keep it in mind if it can be got.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 236-7

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 765-6

“it is important to have some one near Banks, who can issue orders to him and see that they are obeyed”

I received a reply from Gen. Halleck concerning the transfer of heavy artillery units from Washington.

HDQRS. OF THE ARMY, Washington, March 26, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, Culpeper:

GENERAL: Major-General Burnsides has applied for six batteries more of artillery [from] depot in this city to be assigned to his army corps and sent to Annapolis. As these batteries are under drill and instruction here and have quarters, I think they should remain till Burnside’s corps is ordered to the field. If sent to Annapolis, barracks or tents must be provided for them there. Moreover, they may be very useful here in case of a raid on the city or across the Potomac. They will be kept in readiness to join Burnside the moment he starts for the field. I think this arrangement far preferable to sending them at present to Annapolis. I think some measures should be adopted to prevent officers from corresponding with members of Congress, members of the Cabinet, &c., on military affairs, without going through the proper military channels. A large portion of the time here and at the War Department is taken up with these indirect applications for transfers, leaves of absence, promotions, &c. The Secretary of War is disposed to put a stop to this by arresting every officer guilty hereafter of the offense. I inclose draft of a general order on this subject for your consideration.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

 

I replied,

IN FIELD, CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA.,

March 28, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

The batteries called for by General Burnside had better be furnished in the way you suggest–that is, to assign them to his corps, but leave them where they now are until the corps is moved into the field. They can then be ordered directly to the point where they will be wanted. The order drafted by you is herewith returned, with the request that it be published.

I have ordered General W. F. Smith to report to me in Washington City on Thursday next. This order is given with the view of having him assigned to the command of the Tenth Army Corps. I do not care, however, about the order being made assigning him until after he reports.

I think General Wilson should be relieved from duty in the Cavalry Bureau as soon as it is possible to find an officer to succeed him. I cannot suggest an officer to take his place.

In the campaign which it is desirable to commence as soon as our veterans return it is important to have some one near Banks, who can issue orders to him and see that they are obeyed. This will be specially important if a move is made against Mobile, as I now calculate upon. How to effect this I do not see unless all the territory embraced in the Departments of the Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and the Gulf are formed into a military division. Who to place in command of it I do not know. Of the four department commanders Steele would be by far the best, and would do very well. He has not got with him, however, a single general officer whom I would like to trust alone with a command. The best suggestion I could make would be to promote Dodge for Steele’s command. I wish you would think of this matter and give me your views.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 231-2

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 741, 752-3

Sherman: “I had already ordered … that Grierson should follow and attack Forrest, no matter what the odds”

I received the following reply from Gen. Sherman concerning Forrest’s raid.

SCOTTSBOROUGH, March 27, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Your dispatch received. I had already ordered Veatch with five regiments, who was at Paducah last night, to hurry up the Tennessee and strike inland to intercept Forrest; also that Grierson should follow and attack Forrest, no matter what the odds.

I have with McPherson been examining our bridges at Decatur and Larkin’s. To-night I go to Chattanooga and to-morrow to Knoxville. I will be at Nashville in three days with a full knowledge of all matters pertaining to this army.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 229

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 165

“Forrest should not be allowed to get out of the trap he has placed himself in at Paducah”

I have received word that Confederate Gen. Nathan B. Forrest has conducted a raid against Paducah, Kentucky.  Paducah is well away from any rebel controlled territory so it will be difficult for him to escape.  I wrote Gen. Sherman,

CULPEPER, March 26, 1864 – 10 p. m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, and

COMMANDING OFFICER AT MEMPHIS:

Forrest should not be allowed to get out of the trap he has placed himself in at Paducah. Send Grierson with all your cavalry with orders to find and destroy him wherever found. If General Sherman has sent instructions they will govern.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 257

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 155

“I have sent in my recommendations for staff appointments placing Fred’s name among them”

I have been attempting to add Julia’s brother Frederick to my general staff, and now that I have been promoted, I have submitted that request to Secretary Stanton.  I wrote Julia,

Culpepper C. H. Va

March 25th 1864

Dear Julia,
I arrived here yesterday well but as on my former trip brought wet and bad weather. I have not been out of the house today and from appearances shall not be able to go out for several days. At present however I shall find enough to do in doors. From indications I would judge the best of feelings animate all the troops here towards the changes that have been made.—I find mails follow me up with remarkable promptitude. More letters reach me than I can answer.—I hope you have entirely recovered? It is poor enjoyment confined to bed in Washington.—There is one thing I learned in Washington just on leaving that wants attending to. You know breakfast lasts from early in the morning until about noon, and dinner from that time until night. Jess runs about the house loose and seeing the guests at meals thinks each time it is a new meal and that he must necessarily eat. In this way he eats five or six times each day and dips largely into deserts. If not looked after he will make himself sick.—Have you heard from Fred.? No doubt he got home safely. I shall go down to Washington on Sunday. You need not mention it however.—I have sent in my recommendations for staff appointments placing Fred’s name among them. I will know by to-morrow if they are approved. No doubt they will be however. I have put in the name of Capt. H. Porter, a very valuable regular officer, about such as Comstock, and still left one vacancy so that if Wilson should fail in his confirmation I can appoint him. I do not apprehend however any danger of his confirmation.
Kisses for yourself & Jess.
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 225-6

Halleck: “Admiral Farragut reports … he can take Mobile, if a land force can be sent to hold it”

An important part of the grand offensive to begin this spring is a cooperative move against Mobile by Gen. Banks by land and Adm. Farragut by sea.  I have asked Gen. Halleck to concentrate as much force as possible to accomplish this objective. I received the following report from him.

WASHINGTON, March 25, 1864-2 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Army of the Potomac:

General Gillmore reports that, if he is to act only on the defensive, he can spare from 7,000 to 11,000 troops from the Department of the South to operate elsewhere. Admiral Farragut reports that, with his present fleet and two or three iron-clads from Charleston, he can take Mobile, if a land force can be sent to hold it. The troops in the Department of the South are not fully supplied with transportation for operating in the interior of the country.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.

 

I replied,

HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Culpeper, Va., March 25, 1864-4 p. m.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff:

I sent a letter to General Banks before leaving Nashville, directing him to finish his present expedition, and assemble all his available force at New Orleans as soon as possible, and prepare to receive orders for the taking of Mobile. If Shreveport is carried, about 8,000 troops can be spared from Steele and Rosecrans to join Banks, and if more are necessary to insure success against Mobile, they can be taken from Sherman. I would prefer Gillmore to act entirely on the defensive at Charleston, and hold all the spare force he has in readiness for orders. I will want him to co-operate with this army against Lee. I would like it if the Secretary of the Navy would order two of the iron-clads from Charleston to report to Admiral Farragut, with instructions to the latter not to attack until the army is ready to operate with him.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 224-5

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 729

 

 

“three regiments of heavy artillery … could be advantageously used with the Army of the Potomac.

CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, March 24, 1864.

(Received 2. 20 p. m.

There are many artillery units stationed in Washington to defend that city.  The defenses of Washington are formidable though, and certainly not all of those units are necessary to repel any attack.  They would be of more service with the Army of the Potomac.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

Major-General HALLECK,

Chief of Staff:

Will you please send me a map, with lines marked, showing the territory now occupied by our forces; also a copy of the returns of the army you showed me? If practicable to spare them from their present stations, three regiments of heavy artillery, one commanded by Colonel Tidball to be one of them, could be advantageously used with the Army of the Potomac.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 218

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 721

“Lieutenant-General Grant directs that Major-General Sheridan immediately repair to Washington”

I have arrived in Washington, but I will stay here only a few days before establishing my headquarters in Culpeper VA with the Army of the Potomac.  I was asked by Secretary Stanton to sit for a portrait at the study of photographer Mathew Brady.  While his assistant was adjusting a skylight, it shattered, causing glass to fall around me. I took little notice of it, though the Secretary was much disturbed.

While in Washington, I discussed with Gen. Halleck the lack of performance thus far of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.  I have been impressed with the performance of Philip Sheridan with the Army of the Cumberland and directed Gen. Halleck to transfer him here.  He sent the following telegram to Chattanooga,

MARCH 23, 1864.
MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS, Chattanooga

Lieutenant-General Grant directs that Major-General Sheridan immediately repair to Washington and report to the Adjutant-General of the Army.

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

Ulysses S Grant, Triumph Over Adversity, Brooks Simpson, p 266-7

The Memoirs of General Sheridan, I 339