“The first object of the expedition under General Weitzel is to close to the enemy the port of Wilmington”

I wrote Gen. Butler with instructions for the move on the North Carolina coast.

CITY POINT, VA., December 6, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER:

GENERAL: The first object of the expedition under General Weitzel is to close to the enemy the port of Wilmington. If successful in this, the second will be to capture Wilmington itself. There are reasonable grounds to hope for success if advantage can be taken of the absence of the greater part of the enemy’s forces now looking after Sherman in Georgia. The directions you have given for the numbers and equipment of the expedition are all right, except in the unimportant matter of where they embark and the amount of intrenching tools to be taken. The object of the expedition will be gained by effecting a landing on the mainland between Cape Fear River and the Atlantic, north of the north entrance to the river. Should such landing be effected while the enemy still holds Fort Fisher and the batteries guarding the entrance to the river, then the troops should intrench themselves, and, by co-operating with the navy, effect the reduction and capture of those places. These in our hands, the navy could enter the harbor, and the port of Wilmington would be sealed. Should Fort Fisher and the point of land on which it is built fall into the hands of our troops immediately on landing, then it will be worth the attempt to capture Wilmington by a forced march and surprise. If time is consumed in gaining the first object of the expedition, the second will become a matter of after consideration.

The details for execution are instructed to you and the officer immediately in command of troops.

Should the troops under General Weitzel fail to effect a landing at or near Fort Fisher, they will be returned to the armies operating against Richmond without delay.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.
P. S. Should the troops under Gen. Weitzel fail to effect a landing at or near Fort Fisher they will be returned to the Army operating against Richmond without delay.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 71-2

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 971-2

“Time strengthens him, in all probability, as much as it does you”

I worry that Gen. Thomas in Tennessee is not acting with sufficient energy to defeat Gen. Hood’s army.  I wrote him,

CITY POINT, December 5, 1864 – 8 p. m.

Major-General THOMAS,

Nashville, Tenn.:

Is there not danger of Forrest moving down the Cumberland to where he can cross it? It seems to me whilst you should be getting up your cavalry as rapidly as possible to look after Forrest, Hood should be attacked where he is. Time strengthens him, in all probability, as much as it does you.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 67

O.R., I, xlv, part 2, p 55

“You may make immediate preparations to move down the Weldon railroad for the purpose of effectually destroying it”

In an attempt to tighten our grip around Petersburg, I am proposing that the Weldon Railroad be destroyed as far down its length as practicable.  This will deal a severe blow to the rebel supply situation.  I wrote Gen. Meade,

CITY POINT, VA., December 5, 1864

Major General GEORGE G. MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac;

You may make immediate preparations to move down the Weldon railroad for the purpose of effectually destroying it as far south as Hicksford, or farther if practicable. Send a force of not less than 20,000 infantry, sixteen or twenty guns, and all your disposable cavalry. Six days’ rations and twenty rounds of extra ammunition will be enough to carry along. The infantry ammunition I think it will be advisable to carry in ambulances, six boxes to each team, to avoid heavy trains as far as possible.

General Palmer probably started from New Berne yesterday or to-day with a force of from 3,000 to 4,000 men to cut the same road south of the Roanoke. His route is up the Chowan in steamers as far as he can get. The enemy are known to be fortifying about Rainbow. General Palmer will endeavor to turn this position and capture the negroes and few troops engaged in the works. It successful he will then strike for the nearest point of the railroad south of Weldon and work on down the road to Goldsborough, or until driven off by a superior force. If he succeeds in reaching Goldsborough he will move from there directly to New Berne.

The force you send should endeavor to destroy the railroad iron collected about Stony Creek either by fire or by twisting. After reaching Hicksford it will probably be advisable to return by roads east of the Weldon road.

Whilst the expedition is out reduce the number of men in the line to the lowest maximum. Hold all the reserves thus obtained in readiness to move south if their services should be required. Each reserve can be held in the rear of the corps to which it belongs.

I avoid details for the execution, believing they can be better arranged by the officers who go in command of the troops.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 64-5

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 804-5

“I feel great anxiety to see the Wilmington expedition off”

I wrote Gen. Butler concerning the planned operation against Fort Fisher.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,

City Point, Va., December 4, 1864 – 10 a. m.

Major-General BUTLER:

I feel great anxiety to see the Wilmington expedition off, both on account of the present fine weather, which we can expect no great continuance of, and because Sherman may now be expected to strike the sea coast any day, leaving Bragg free to return. I think it advisable for you to notify Admiral Porter and get off without any delay with or without your powder boat.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 61

O.R., I, xlii, part 1, p 971

“Since you left Atlanta no very great progress has been made here”

I wrote Gen. Sherman,

CITY POINT, VA., December 3, 1864.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding Armies, near Savannah, GA.:

The little information gleaned from the Southern press indicating no great obstacle to your progress, I have directed your mails, which had been previously collected in Baltimore by Colonel Markland, special agent of the Post-Office Department, to be sent as far as the blockading squadron off Savannah, to be forwarded to you as soon as heard from on the coast. Not liking to rejoice before the victory is assured I abstain from congratulating you and those under your command until bottom has been struck. I have never had a fear of the result.

Since you left Atlanta no very great progress has been made here. The enemy has been closely watched though, and prevented from detaching against you. I think not one man has gone from here except some 1,200 or 1,500 dismounted cavalry. Bragg has gone from Wilmington. I am trying to take advantage of his absence to get possession of that place. Owing to some preparations Admiral Porter and General Butler are making to blow up Fort Fisher, and which, while I hope for the best, do not believe a particle in, there is a delay in getting the expedition off. I hope they will be ready to start by the 7th, and that Bragg will not have started back by that time.

In this letter I do not intend to give you anything like directions for future action, but will state a general idea I have, and will get your views after you have established yourself on the sea-coast. With your veteran army I hope to get control of the only two through routes from east to west possessed by the enemy before the fall of Atlanta. This condition will be filled by holding Savannah and Branchville. If Wilmington falls a force from there can co-operate with you.

Thomas has got back into the defenses of Nashville, with Hood close upon him. Decatur has been abandoned, and so have all the roads, except the main one leading to Chattanooga. Part of the falling back was undoubtedly necessary, and all of it may have been; it did not look so, however, to me. In my opinion Thomas far outnumbers Hood in infantry, in cavalry Hood has the advantage in morale and numbers. I hope yet Hood will be badly crippled, if not destroyed.

The general news you will learn from the papers better than I could give it.

After all becomes quiet, and roads up here so bad that there is likely to be a week or two that nothing can be done, I will run down the coast and see you. If you desire it, I will ask Mrs. Sherman to go with me.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 56-7

O.R., I, xliv, p 611-2

 

“I have just received your letter saying that you would start in a few days to pay me a visit”

I wrote Julia,

To Julia Dent Grant
City Point, Va. Dec. 2d 1864,
Dear Julia,
I have just received your letter saying that you would start in a few days to pay me a visit. On reflection I will not write to the Manager of the rail-road to send you a ticket. Fred, can get your ticket before you leave Burlington so that you will have no trouble. I will meet you in Washington with a special boat. As you start so soon I will write no more letter to you. I will however write to the children every two or three days. Have you heard anything further from your house in Phila? You will be here so soon however that it is not necessary to answer any questions. Love and kisses for you and the children.
Ulys.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 54

“Should you get him to retreating give him no peace”

I received the following telegram from Gen. Schofield via Gen. Thomas.  Hood’s army has been dealt a significant blow.

FRANKLIN, November 30, 1864-7.10 p.m.

Major-General THOMAS,

Nashville:

The enemy made a heavy and persistent attack with about two corps, commencing at 4 p.m. and lasting until after dark. He was repulsed at all points, with very heavy loss, probably 5,000 or 6,000 men. Our loss is probably not more than one-tenth that number. We have captured about 1,000 prisoners, including one brigadier-general. Your dispatch of this p.m. is received. I have already given the orders you direct, and am now executing them.

J. M. SCHOFIELD,

Major-General.

Thomas should follow up this victory and end Hood’s threat for good.  I wrote him,

City Point Va
Dec. 2nd 1864 1.30 P. M
Maj Gen Geo H. Thomas
Nashville Tenn.
With your citizen employees all armed you can move out of Nashville with all your army and force the enemy to retire or fight upon ground of your own chosing. After the repulse of Hood at Franklin it looks to me that instead of falling back to Nashville we should have taken the offensive against the enemy, at this distance however I may err as to the best method of dealing with the enemy. You will now suffer incalculable injury upon your Rail Roads if Hood is not speedily disposed of, put forth therefore every possible exertion to attain this end. Should you get him to retreating give him no peace.
U. S. Grant
Lt Genl.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 53-4

O.R., I, xlv, part 1, p 1171

National Archives, RG 107,. Telegrams Collected

“It looks as if Forrest will flank around Thomas until Thomas is equal to him in cavalry”

It looks as if Gen. Thomas will not be able to stop Forrest’s cavalry raids in Tennessee and Kentucky until he has more horses available.  I wrote Sec. Stanton,

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

Do you not think it advisable to authorize Wilson to press horses and mares in Kentucky to mount his cavalry, giving owners receipts so they can get their pay? It looks as if Forrest will flank around Thomas until Thomas is equal to him in cavalry.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

He replied,

WAR DEPARTMENT,

December 2, 1864-9 p. m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

General Thomas ought to seize horses and everything else he needs. It has been [done] heretofore, and he surely cannot be hesitating about it. The officer in command at Louisville should also seize or Thomas send some one to do so for him.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 50

O.R., I, xlv, part 2, p 16

“we will stand a good chance, not only to carry Fort Fisher, but to take Wilmington”

I have learned that Gen. Bragg’s army in North Carolina has been called to Georgia to deal with Sherman.  This gives us a great opportunity for our planned attack on Ft. Fisher, on the coast of North Carolina.  I wrote Adm. Porter,

CITY POINT, VA., November 30, 1864 – 10 p. m.

Admiral D. D. PORTER,

Fort Monroe:

Southern papers show that Bragg with a large part of his force has gone to Georgia. If we can get off during his absence we will stand a good chance, not only to carry Fort Fisher, but to take Wilmington. The troops will be ready to start the moment you are ready.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 36

O.R., I, xlii, part 3, p 750

“I do, however, think it of very great importance that General Rosecrans should be removed”

I have written again to Gen. Halleck, urging the removal of Gen. Rosecrans.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, City Point, Va., November 20, 1864.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff of the Army:

GENERAL: I have just dispatched to you requesting that the Department of the Northwest, Missouri, and Kansas be erected into a military division and that General Pope be assigned to the command. I think it is highly essential that the territory embraced in these three departments should all be under one head. The importance of this change is much increased because of the inefficiency of two of the commanders of departments named, one of whom I suppose cannot well be removed. I do, however, think it of very great importance that General Rosecrans should be removed.

There is no fault with General Canby that induces me to recommend a curtailment of his command, but being at such a distance form Missouri he cannot direct affairs there as well it can be done from Washington. I wish you would lay this matter before the Secretary of War and urge that the change be immediately made. With Pope in command we secure at least two advantages we have not heretofore had, namely, subordination and intelligence of administration.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

 

The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 13, p 35-6

O.R., I, xli, part 4, p 716