“There is every indication now, … that, unless Johnston is re-enforced, Atlanta will not be defended”

I wrote Gen. Halleck,

CITY POINT, VA., July 15, 1864.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

In view of the possible recurrence of the late raid into Maryland, I would suggest that the following precaution be taken:

First. There should be an immediate call for all the troops we are likely to require.

Second. Washington City, Baltimore, and Harper’s Ferry should be designated as schools of instructions, and all troops raised east of the State of Ohio should be sent to one of these three places as fast as raised. Nashville, Decatur, and Stevenson should also be named as schools of instructions, and all troops raised in Ohio and west of it should be sent to those. By doing this we always have the benefit of our increased force, and they in turn improve more rapidly by contact with veteran troops. To supply Sherman all the rolling-stock that can possibly be got to him should be sent. An effort ought to be made to transfer a large portion of stores now at Nashville to Chattanooga. This might be facilitated by withdrawing for awhile the rolling-stock from the Nashville and Reynoldsburg Railroad, and a large part of the stock upon the Kentucky roads.

There is every indication now, judging from the tone of the Southern press, that, unless Johnston is re-enforced, Atlanta will not be defended. They seem to calculate largely upon driving Sherman out by keeping his lines of communication cut. If he can supply himself once with ordnance and quartermaster’s stores, and partially with subsistence, he will find no difficulty in staying until a permanent line can be opened with the south coast. The road from Chattanooga to Atlanta will be much more easily defended than that north of the Tennessee. With the supplies above indicated at Chattanooga, with say, sixty days’ provisions there, I think there will be no doubt but that the country will supply the balance. Sherman will, once in Atlanta, devote himself to collecting the resources of the country. He will take everything the people have, and will then issue from the stores so collected to rich and poor alike. As he will take all their stock, they will have no use for grain further than is necessary for bread.

If the enemy do not detach from here against Sherman, they will, in case Atlanta falls, bring most of Johnston’s army here, with the expectation of driving us out, and then unite against Sherman. They will fail if they attempt this programme. My greatest fear is of their sending troops to Johnston first.

Sherman ought to be notified of the possibility of a corps going from here, and should be prepared to take up a good defensive position in case one is sent, one which he could hold against such increase.

If Hunter cannot get to Gordonsville and Charlottesville to cut the railroad, he should make all the Valley south the Baltimore and Ohio road a desert as high up as possible. I do not mean that houses should be burned, but all provisions and stock should be removed, and the people notified to move out.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 255-6

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 252-3

“Boldness is all that is wanted to drive the enemy out of Maryland in confusion. “

I received a telegram from Asst. Sec. of War, Charles Dana.  He described the situation near Washington.  Wallace has been beaten at Monocacy and is falling back.  There is a body of rebels between Baltimore and Washington.  Fortunately, it looks as if most of the rebel army is still here in Petersburg, and that there is only a small force threatening Washington.  I wrote him,

CITY POINT, VA., July 13, 1864-2.30 p.m

Honorable C. A. DANA.

Assistant Secretary of War:

Deserters are coming in daily, giving the position of every division of the rebel army. Some are in to-day from Longstreet’s corps, giving the position of two of his divisions, and the third we know to be in front of Butler who has probably received fifty deserters from it in the last week.

Boldness is all that is wanted to drive the enemy out of Maryland in confusion.

I hope and believe Wright is the men to assure that. The advance of two divisions of the Nineteenth Corps passed Fort Monroe yesterday, and I hope the whole of them will reach Washington within the next twenty-four hours.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 228

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 207

“Unless necessary, I would prefer being quiet until we make a real move”

I have been concerned that Gen. Lee has gone north with his troops through the Shenandoah Valley.  However, Gen. Meade sent me reports indicating that Lee is still here.  I wrote him,

CITY POINT, VA., July 11, 1864-1.30 a.m.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding, &c.:

Your dispatch of 12 just received. It would seem to quiet all apprehension about Lee or any considerable portion of his force being gone, and, therefore, obviate the necessity of making any demonstration. Unless necessary, I would prefer being quiet until we make a real move, and will take what you report as being sufficient evidence of Lee and his forces being still in our front. There is great alarm felt in Washington. Wallace has been whipped at Monocacy bridge, and driven back in great confusion. He had with him a part of Ricketts’ division. I have sent Ord up there to command Baltimore, and to press into service every able-bodied man to defend the place, and asked that Wright be sent with his two divisions and the one division of the Nineteenth Corps, a portion of which passed Fort Monroe about noon to-day, to form a junction with Hunter, who must be at Harper’s Ferry to-night, and for them to follow up in the enemy’s rear. Taking all together everything looks favorable to me, but I want to avoid the possibility of Lee getting off with a great part of his force without taking advantage of it. I think you had better order Sheridan to get ready for service as soon as possible, but with the assurance that this troops will not be used until it is necessary.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 215-6

O.R., I, xl, part 3, 144

“the operator at Monocacy reports severe fighting near that point”

We are receiving reports of heavy fighting outside of Frederick, Maryland.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, July 10, 1864.

Major-General MEADE:

A telegram of the 9th from Baltimore, 11.30 a.m., states that the operator at Monocacy reports severe fighting near that point, the advance of the enemy being within three-quarters of a mile of Monocacy on the road from Frederick to Georgetown. Another telegram at 1 p.m., from a point thirty miles east of Monocacy, states that the reports from Monocacy by the last train that left that place were that a battle was then in progress. Later advices report that our troops under General Wallace were driven back. The rebel troops are estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000 strong, under Breckinridge, Brad. Johnson, and McCausland. Telegrams of to-day report our forces still retreating toward Baltimore. A part of Ricketts’ division are covering the retreat. Hunter, on the 9th, reports himself at Cumberland, and says his advance division was then on Cherry Run. He is moving forward as rapidly as possible. Sherman has effected lodgements across the Chattahoochee at two points, viz, near the mouth of Soap Creek and at Roswell. He will make these points secure before crossing his main army.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 211-2

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 123-4

“I have ordered the remainder of the Sixth Corps to Washington”

I received the following telegram from Gen. Halleck,

 

WASHINGTON, July 9, 1864-1 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

If General Canby’s troops arrive in time, I respectfully suggest that they be sent here without disembarking at Fort Monroe. Only one division of Hunter’s army has passed Cumberland. His advance is at Cherry Run. Low water in the Ohio River is given as the cause of delay. Rhodes’ division is said to be with Breckinridge. No important change reported since my telegram of last evening.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

I sent the following reply,

CITY POINT, VA., July 9, 1864.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

If you think it necessary, order the Nineteenth Corps as it arrives at Fortress Monroe to Washington. About the 18th or 20th is the time I should like to have a large force here; but if the rebel force now north can be captured or destroyed I would willingly postpone aggressive operations to destroy them, and could send in addition to the Nineteenth Corps, the balance of the Sixth Corps.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

Later, I thought that more reinforcements may be needed.

CITY POINT, VA., July 9, 1864-5.30 p. m.

Major-General HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

I have ordered the remainder of the Sixth Corps to Washington. On account of scarcity of transportation I do not send wagons or artillery, but they will follow if you say it is wanted. I think most of the 3,000 cavalry sent are fit for duty. They certainly must have reached Baltimore with the other troops. If the Nineteenth Corps reaches Fortress Monroe in time you can take it also if you deem it advisable.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 197-8

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 92-3

Halleck: “There has been considerable alarm in Washington, Baltimore, and Pennsylvania.”

There is growing concern in Washington about the movement of Jubal Early into Maryland.  I received the following two dispatches from Gen. Halleck, urging me to send reinforcements.

WASHINGTON, July 8, 1864-2. 30 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

General Canby telegraphs from New Orleans, July 2, that over 6,000 men would embark that day, and would reach Fort Monroe from the 8th to the 10th; 6,000 more would be ready as soon as transports arrived, and that the whole number to be sent will be 20,000. Ricketts’ division arrived at Baltimore, and was sent forward to the Monocacy. Dismounted cavalry ordered here for remounts, but none yet arrived. General Sheridan says 2,496 of those sent are sick. If so, we shall have but 500 for the field. Hunter’s army moves so slow, and the railroad is so broken up, that I fear he will be too late to give us much aid. Enemy around Maryland Heights, at Hagerstown, Boonsborough, and Middletown, and threating Frederick. Also, guerrillas at Brookeville, threatening Washington and Baltimore road. There has been considerable alarm in Washington, Baltimore, and Pennsylvania.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

WASHINGTON, July 8, 1864-10. 30 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

Latest dispatches state that a heavy column of the enemy has crossed the Monocacy and is moving on Urbana. Sigel and Couch say that scouts, prisoners, and country people confirm previous reports of the enemy’s force-that is, some 20,000 or 30,000. Until more forces arrive we have nothing to meet that number in the field, and the militia is not reliable even to hold the fortifications of Washington and Baltimore. It is the impression that one-third of Lee’s entire force is with Early and Breckinridge, and that Ransom has some 3,000 or 4,000 cavalry. None of the cavalry sent up by you has arrived nor do we get anything from Hunter. Troops sent from the James River should come here, not to Baltimore, where they cannot be supplied or equipped. If your propose to cut off this raid and not merely to secure our depots we must have more forces here. Indeed, if the enemy’s strength is as great as represented, it is doubtful if the militia can hold all of our defenses. I do not think that we can expect much from Hunter. He is too far off and moves too slowly. I think, therefore, that very considerable re-enforcements should be sent directly to this place.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 193

O.R., I, xxxvii, part 2, p 119-20

 

“I would beg that this be referred to President Davis for his action”

President Lincoln has written me to request that I allow two of his representatives through our lines, presumably to conduct peace talks with Jefferson Davis.  I wrote to Gen. Lee,

CITY POINT, VA., July 8, 1864.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding Confederate Forces, near Petersburg, Va.:

I would request that Colonel James F. Jaquess, Seventy-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and J. R. Gilmore, esq., be allowed to meet Colonel Robert Ould, commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, at such place between the lines of the two armies as you may designate. The object of the meeting is legitimate with Colonel Ould as commissioner. If not consistent for you to grant the request here asked, I would beg that this be referred to President Davis for his action.

Requesting as early an answer to this communication as you may find it convenient to make, I subscribe myself, &c.,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 190

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 74-5

“The camp life we are leading you would not be able to be where I am often”

I wrote Julia,

City Point, Va. July 7th 1864.

Dear Julia,
I received two letters from you this evening, written after you had received mine stating that you could come to Fortress Monroe to spend the Summer. I am satisfied it is best you should not come. It would be expensive to furnish a house there and difficult supplying it afterwards. The camp life we are leading you would not be able to be where I am often and then only to come up and go immediately back, with an express boat that might be running at the time.
I wrote to you in my last why not make the same arrangement for the children as last year? Permanency is a great thing for children at school and you could not have a better home for them than with Louisa Boggs. If they were with her I should always feel easy for you to leave them for two or three months to stay with me if I was where you could possibly be with me. I want the children to prosecute their studies, and especially in languages. Speaking languages is a much greater accomplishment than the little paraphanalias of society such as music, dancing &c. I would have no objection to music being added to Nellies studies but with the boys I would never have it occupy one day of their time, or thought.
If you think it advisable to go some place where you can keep the children with you, and where they will be at a good school, I will not object. But I cannot settle for you where such a place would be, probably the City of St. Louis would be as good as any other, for the present.

Love and Kisses for yourself and the children. How much I wish I could see you all.
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 189-90

“We want now to crush out and destroy any force the enemy have sent north”

Gen. Halleck writes that rebel cavalry under Jubal Early are possibly in Maryland and threatening Washington.

WASHINGTON, July 5, 1864-1 p.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

City Point, Va.:

There has been no telegraphic communication with Harper’s Ferry since yesterday, a little after noon; but we learn through the railroad company that Sigel had reached Maryland Heights and withdrawn all troops from south of the river, destroying the bridges. We can learn nothing whatever of Hunter. The enemy have destroyed bridges from Harper’s Ferry to Patterson’s Creek where Kelley succeeded in driving them back. The line from the Monocacy to Harper’s Ferry has been cut, and the re-enforcements sent from here fell back to the Monocacy. General Howe has been sent there with about 2,800 men, to force his way to Harper’s Ferry. We have nothing reliable in regard to the enemy’s force. Some accounts, probably very exaggerated, state it to be between 20,000 and 30,000. If one-half that number we cannot meet it in the field till Hunter’s troops arrive. As you are aware, we have almost nothing in Baltimore or Washington, except militia, and considerable alarm has been created by sending troops from these places to re-enforce Harper’s Ferry. You probably have a large dismounted cavalry force, and I would advise that it be sent here immediately. It can be remounted by impressing horses in the parts of Maryland likely to be overrun by the enemy. All the dismounted fragments here we armed as infantry and sent to Harper’s Ferry.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General and Chief of Staff.

 

I wrote back,

CITY POINT, VA., July 5, 1864-11.50 p.m.

Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:

Your dispatch of 12.30 p.m. received. I have ordered to Washington the dismounted cavalry and one division of infantry, which will be followed by the balance of the corps, if necessary. We want now to crush out and destroy any force the enemy have sent north. Force enough can be spared from here to do it. I think now there is no doubt but Ewell’s corps is away from here.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 170

O.R., I, xl, part 3, p 3-4

“I regret the necessity of asking for a change in commanders here”

Gen. Butler’s failure to conduct an effective advance on Petersburg prevented our forces from securing that city and cutting a vital railroad link to Richmond.  I do not blame him directly, but he is not a military man by training.  He is forced to rely too much on his subordinates and he does not command them effectively.  He cannot be left in command of an army in the field, but he would give great service by serving as administrator of some area away from the fighting.  He previously served in this role very effectively in New Orleans.  I wrote Gen. Halleck,

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, Va., July 1, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

Chief of Staff of the Army:

GENERAL: Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, has just returned. He informs me that he called attention to the necessity of sending General Butler to another field of duty. Whilst I have no difficulty with General Butler, finding him always clear in his conception of orders and prompt to obey, yet there is a want of knowledge how to execute and particularly a prejudice against him as a commander that operates against his usefulness. I have feared that it might become necessary to separate him and General Smith. The latter is really one of the most efficient officers in service, readiest in expedients and most skillful in the management of troops in action. I would dislike removing him from his present command unless it was to increase it, but, as I say, may have it to do yet if General Butler remains. As an administrative officer General Butler has no superior. In taking charge of a department where there are no great battles to be fought, but a dissatisfied element to control, no one could manage it better than he.

If a command could be cut out such as Mr. Dana proposed, namely, Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana, or if the Departments of the Missouri, Kansas, and the States of Illinois and Indiana, could be merged together and General Butler put over it, I believe the good of the service would be subserved.

I regret the necessity of asking for a change in commanders here, but General Butler not being a soldier by education or experience, is in the hands of his subordinates in the execution of all operations military. I would feel strengthened with Smith, Franklin, or J. J. Reynolds commanding the right wing of this army. At the same time, as I have here stated, General Butler has always been prompt in his obedience to orders from me and clear in his understanding of them. I would not, therefore, be willing to recommend his retirement. I send this by mail for consideration, but will telegraph if I think it absolutely necessary to make a change.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 11, p 154-5

O.R., I, xl, part 2, p 558-9