“Lee’s army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also.”

I wrote Gen. Meade to give him the outline of the upcoming campaign.


April 9, 1864.

Major General G. G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

For information, and as instructions to govern your preparations for the coming campaign, the following is communicated confidentially, for your own perusal alone:

So far as practicable, all the armies are to move together and toward one common center. Banks has been instructed to turn over the guarding of the Red River to General Steele and to the navy, to abandon Texas with the exception of the Rio Grande, and to concentrate all the force he can-not less than 25,000 men-to move on Mobile. This he is to do without reference to any other movements. From the scattered condition of his command, however, he cannot possibly get it together to leave New Orleans before the 1st of May, if so soon.

Sherman will move at the same time you do, or two or three days in advance, Joe Johnston’s army being his objective point and the heart of Georgia hisi ultimate aim. If successful, he will secure the line from Chattanooga to Mobile, with the aid of Banks.

Sigel cannot spare troops from his army to re-enforce either of the great armies, but he can aid them by moving directly to his front. This he has been directed to do, and is now making preparations for it. Two columns of his command will move south at the same time with the general move, one from Beverly, from 10,000 to 12,000 strong, under Major-General Ord; the other from Charleston, W. Va., principally cavalry, under Brigadier-General Crook. The former of these will endeavor to reach the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad about south of Covington, and if found practicable will work eastward to Lynchburg and return to its base by way of the Shenandoah Valley or join you. The other will strike at Saltville, Va., and come eastward to join Ord. The cavalry from Ord’s command will try to force a passage southward; if they are successful in reaching the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, to cut the main lines of the road connecting Richmond with all the South and Southwest.

Gillmore will join Butler with about 10,000 men from South Carolina. Butler can reduce his garrison so as to take 23,000 men into the field directly to his front. The force will be commanded by Major General W. F. Smith. With Smith and Gillmore, Butler will seize City Point and operate against Richmond from the south side of the river. His movement will be simultaneous with yours.

Lee’s army will be your objective point. Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also. The only point upon which I am now in doubt is whether it will be better to cross the Rapidan above or below him. Each plan presents great advantages over the other, with corresponding objections. By crossing above, Lee is cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond and going north on a raid; but if we take this route all we do must be done while the rations we start with hold out; we separate from Butler, so that he cannot be directed how to co-operate. By the other route, Brandy Station can be used as a base of supplies until another is secured on the York or James River. These advantages and objections I will talk over with you more fully than I can write them.

Burnside, with a force of probably 25,000 men, will re-enforce you. Immediately upon his arrival, which will be shortly after the 20th instant, I will give him the defense of the road from Bull Run as far south as we wish to hold it. This will enable you to collect all your strength about Brandy Station and to the front.

There will be naval co-operations on the James River, and transports and ferries will be provided, so that should Lee fall back into his intrenchments at Richmond Butler’s force and yours will be a unit, or at least can be made to act as such.

What I would direct, then, is that you commence at once reducing baggage to the very lowest possible standard. Two wagons to a regiment of 500 men is the greatest number that should be allowed for all baggage, exclusive of subsistence stores and ordnance stores. One wagon to brigade and one to division headquarters is sufficient, and about two to corps headquarters.

Should by Lee’s right flank be our route, you will want to make arrangements for having supplies of all sorts promptly forwarded to White House, on the Pamunkey. Your estimates for this contingency should be made at once. If not wanted there, there is every probability they will be wanted on the James River or elsewhere.

If Lee’s left is turned, large provision will have to be made for ordnance stores. I would say not much short of 500 rounds of infantry ammunition would do. By the other, half the amount would be sufficient.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 273-5

O.R., I, xxxiii, 827-9

Sherman: “Forrest will escape us.”

Concerned with the ongoing situation with Forrest’s raid into Kentucky, I wrote Gen. Sherman,

April 8, 1864-9.30 p. m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

As I notified you before leaving Nashville, I believe the rebels will attempt a raid into Kentucky by the way of Pound gap or that vicinity as soon as they can travel. From information just received at Washington, Longstreet’s force may be added to Breckinridge’s to make this so formidable as to upset offensive operations on our part. By vigilance in Southeast Kentucky, which I know you are wide awake to see the necessity of, such a raid can be made disastrous to the rebels and still leave us free to act offensively from Chattanooga. If Forrest succeeds in getting his force out of Kentucky and West Tennessee, do you not think a bolder commander than General Hurlbut will be required for holding the Mississippi firmly?




I received his reply today.

NASHVILLE, TENN., April 9, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,


Your dispatch of yesterday is received. I have Stoneman now in East Kentucky with all the cavalry of the Army of the Ohio. General Schofield’s troops are at Bull’s Gap, and I have no indications of an invasion of Kentucky from Pound Gap. That road is very long and very bad. Forrest will escape us. Veatch went to Waverly and came away without orders, because he could hear nothing of Forrest.

We will want a bolder man than Hurlbut at Memphis. Why not send Buell?

Should any force come into East Kentucky could it not be checkmated by a comparatively small force sent to the mouth of Big Sandy to march by Louisa and Prestonburg? In the mean time I am collecting everything with General Schofield, Generals Thomas and McPherson to act offensive south of the Tennessee.

I will continue to draw here all detachments and furloughed men. I am also endeavoring to accumulate surplus stores to the front, which would enable me to move troops rapidly by railroad.

McPherson’s two divisions will soon begin to arrive at Cairo from their furloughs.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 270-2

O.R., I, xxxii, part 3, p 288, 305

“I have ordered all the troops that can be spared from the States west of the Ohio to be sent to you”

Gen. Sherman wrote me, asking for additional troops for Gen. Steele to use in the upcoming campaign.

NASHVILLE, TENN., April 7, 1864 – 10 a. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Culpeper Court-House:

I will instruct Steele. Shreveport is the grand doorway to Texas, and the key of the entire Southwest. Alexandria is next. To hold both Steele will want all the available troops now in Kansas and Missouri. I had sent for my 10,000 under A. J. Smith to return to Vicksburg and thence up Yazoo to Grenada. We must do this to underact the effect of our cavalry weakness as against Forrest, and I suppose you will want Banks to turn his whole attention against Mobile. In time we should have a brigade and depot of supplies at Pensacola, a point I propose to reach by a raid aimed at West Point and Columbus, Ga., at some future day. I think you should give Steele all the troops in Kansas and Missouri, leaving Rosecrans and Curtis to manage the militia and civil matters.




I replied,

CULPEPER, VA., April 7, 1864 – 7.30 p. m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Nashville, Tenn.,

I have ordered all the troops that can be spared from the States west of the Ohio to be sent to you. You can send them to Steele or where you think best. Rosecrans report he can send no troops. I have an inspector there, however, to see. If possible, I will send Steele some from there. I will make provision at Pensacola for supplying a cavalry force.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 266-7

O.R., I, xxxiv, part 3, p 75

“be in readiness to move at a day’s notice with whatever force you may have at any time after that”

I received the following letter from Gen. Burnside,

NEW YORK, April 4, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

General-in-Chief, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I beg to inclose to you a copy of letter sent in January last to the Secretary of War. Not knowing if you had seen the latter, and in view of the fact that the Ninth Army Corps, including the old Third Division, will probably be in a few days concentrated at Annapolis and below, with a strength of 40,000 or more men, I deem it not improper to send it for your consideration.

Some of the regiments of the old Third Division are now in the Department of the South, and I would respectfully suggest that some of the old regiments that were with me in North Carolina, and now on furlough from the Department of the South, should be ordered to take their place in the Third Division.

The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts and the Eleventh Connecticut are the two regiments which I would like to have report, instead of the One hundred and seventeenth and One hundred and third and Third New York, now on Folly Island.

The Third Division can be concentrated at Norfolk, or such other point as you may think desirable, and would by this arrangement be composed of the following regiments: The Eighth, Eleventh, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Twenty-first Connecticut, the Tenth and Thirteenth New Hampshire, the Fourth Rhode Island, now in General Butler’s command, and the Eighty-ninth New York, now on furlough.

If orders could be issued for concentrating this division it would to some extent increase enlistments in the different regiments. I am interesting myself in the recruiting, as if the order had already been issued. I made the application for the increased artillery to General Halleck, and suppose it has been laid before you.

It would seem advisable that the batteries should be ordered to report to the headquarters of the Ninth Corps at Annapolis. It might be advisable to concentrate the Third Division in North Carolina, if it is decided that the future operations of the corps are to be in that section.

I send this by Lieutenant Van Vliet, of my staff.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



The letter Burnside forwarded gives a plan of action for his men in the Spring, but instead he will have to operate in conjunction with the movements of the rest of the Army.


April 5, 1864.

Major General A. E. BURNSIDE,

Commanding Ninth Army Corps:

Your letter of yesterday, inclosing copy of your letter of the 26th of January to the Secretary of War, was received this morning just as I was leaving Washington, and so short a time before leaving that I did not get to read it until my arrival here.

The plan of operations for this spring’s campaign I fixed upon almost immediately on assuming command of the army, and I yet see no reason to change. It does not embrace the movements proposed in your letter to the Secretary of War. If it did, your request for the return of troops formerly belonging to the Ninth Army Corps would be immediately complied with. I may yet be able to return them to the Ninth Corps, but in can only be after they meet in the field.

The artillery for your command will be taken from the defenses of Washington, where they are now well quartered and provided for. To move them to Annapolis, from which place they would have again to be moved so soon, could not compensate by any benefits to arise from it for the inconvenience of such a transfer, to say nothing of the expense it would put the Government to.

I cannot make clear to you the reasons why your requests for transfer of troops cannot be immediately granted without giving you the plan of operations which I propose, and for which most of the preparatory instructions have already gone out. When we meet I will take great pleasure communicating to you fully (as it will be me duty to do in view of the part you are expected to take) what is to be done. I wish you to get forward to Annapolis by the 20th instant all the force you can, and be in readiness to move at a day’s notice with whatever force you may have at any time after that.

I have appointed Colonel Babcock an aide on my staff, but have not been able to communicate the fact to him. If you know where he is please order him to report to me.




The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 10, p 261-2

O.R., I, xxxiii, p 803, 807-8

“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.


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.




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,
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.


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.




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,

Major-General, Chief of Staff.


I replied,


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.




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.




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


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.




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

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