prototype Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest, as a
man should be; but the chief characteristic in your nature is the
simple faith in success you have always manifested, which I can
liken to nothing else than the faith a Christian has in his
This faith gave you victory at Shiloh and Vicksburg. Also, when
you have completed your best preparations, you go into battle
without hesitation, as at Chattanooga--no doubts, no reserve; and I
tell you that it was this that made us act with confidence. I knew
wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight
place you would come--if alive.
My only points of doubt were as to your knowledge of grand
strategy, and of books of science and history; but I confess your
common-sense seems to have supplied all this.
Now as to the future. Do not stay in Washington. Halleck is
better qualified than you are to stand the buffets of intrigue and
policy. Come out West; take to yourself the whole Mississippi
Valley; let us make it dead-sure, and I tell you the Atlantic slope
and Pacific shores will follow its destiny as sure as the limbs of
a tree live or die with the main trunk! We have done much; still
much remains to be done. Time and time's influences are all with
us; we could almost afford to sit still and let these influences
work. Even in the seceded States your word now would go further
than a President's proclamation, or an act of Congress.
For God's sake and for your country's sake, come out of Washington!
I foretold to General Halleck, before he left Corinth, the
inevitable result to him, and I now exhort you to come out West.
Here lies the seat of the coming empire; and from the West, when
our task is done, we will make short work of Charleston and
Richmond, and the impoverished coast of the Atlantic. Your sincere
W. T. SHERMAN
We reached Memphis on the 13th, where I remained some days, but on
the 14th of March received from General Grant a dispatch to hurry
to Nashville in person by the 17th, if possible. Disposing of all
matters then pending, I took a steamboat to Cairo, the cars thence
to Louisville and Nashville, reaching that place on the 17th of
I found General Grant there. He had been to Washington and back,
and was ordered to return East to command all the armies of the
United States, and personally the Army of the Potomac. I was to
succeed him in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi,
embracing the Departments of the Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and
Arkansas. General Grant was of course very busy in winding up all
matters of business, in transferring his command to me, and in
preparing for what was manifest would be the great and closing
campaign of our civil war. Mrs. Grant and some of their children
were with him, and occupied a large house in Nashville, which was
used as an office, dwelling, and every thing combined.
On the 18th of March I had issued orders assuming command of the
Military Division of the Mississippi, and was seated in the office,
when the general came in and said they were about to present him a
sword, inviting me to come and see the ceremony. I went back into
what was the dining-room of the house; on the table lay a rose-wood
box, containing a sword, sash, spurs, etc., and round about the
table were grouped Mrs. Grant, Nelly, and one or two of the boys.
I was introduced to a large, corpulent gentleman, as the mayor, and
another citizen, who had come down from Galena to make this
presentation of a sword to their fellow-townsman. I think that
Rawlins, Bowers, Badeau, and one or more of General Grant's
personal staff, were present. The mayor rose and in the most
dignified way read a finished speech to General Grant, who stood,
as usual, very awkwardly; and the mayor closed his speech by
handing him the resolutions of the City Council engrossed on
parchment, with a broad ribbon and large seal attached. After the
mayor had fulfilled his office so well, General Grant said: "Mr.
Mayor, as I knew that this ceremony was to occur, and as I am not
used to speaking, I have written something in reply." He then
began to fumble in his pockets, first his breast-coat pocket, then
his pants, vest; etc., and after considerable delay he pulled out a
crumpled piece of common yellow cartridge-paper, which he handed to
the mayor. His whole manner was awkward in the extreme, yet
perfectly characteristic, and in strong contrast with the elegant
parchment and speech of the mayor. When read, however, the
substance of his answer was most excellent, short, concise, and, if
it had been delivered by word of mouth, would have been all that
the occasion required.
I could not help laughing at a scene so characteristic of the man
who then stood prominent before the country; and to whom all had
turned as the only one qualified to guide the nation in a war that
had become painfully critical. With copies of the few letters
referred to, and which seem necessary to illustrate the
subject-matter, I close this chapter:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
STEAMER DIANA (UNDER WEIGH), March 4, 1864
Major-General N. P. BANKS, commanding Department of the Gulf, New
GENERAL: I had the honor to receive your letter of the 2d instant
yesterday at New Orleans, but was unable to answer, except
verbally, and I now reduce it to writing.
I will arrive at Vicksburg the 6th instant, and I expect to meet
there my command from Canton, out of which I will select two
divisions of about ten thousand men, embark them under a good
commander, and order him:
1st. To rendezvous at the mouth of Red River, and, in concert with
Admiral Porter (if he agree), to strike Harrisonburg a hard blow.
2d. To return to Red River and ascend it, aiming to reach
Alexandria on the 17th of March, to report to you.
3d. That, as this command is designed to operate by water, it will
not be encumbered with much land transportation, say two wagons to
a regiment, but with an ample supply of stores, including mortars
and heavy rifled guns, to be used against fortified places.
4th. That I have calculated, and so reported to General Grant,
that this detachment of his forces in no event is to go beyond
Shreveport, and that you will spare them the moment you can, trying
to get them back to the Mississippi River in thirty days from the
time they actually enter Red River.
The year is wearing away fast, and I would like to carry to General
Grant at Huntsville, Alabama, every man of his military division,
as early in April as possible, for I am sure we ought to move from
the base of the Tennessee River to the south before the season is
too far advanced, say as early as April 15th next.
I feel certain of your complete success, provided you make the
concentration in time, to assure which I will see in person to the
embarkation and dispatch of my quota, and I will write to General
Steele, conveying to him my personal and professional opinion that
the present opportunity is the most perfect one that will ever
offer itself to him to clean out his enemies in Arkansas.
Wishing you all honor and success, I am, with respect, your friend
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
VICKSBURG, March 6, 1864
Brigadier-General A. J. SMITH, commanding Expedition up Red River,
GENERAL: By an order this day issued, you are to command a strong,
well-appointed detachment of the Army of the Tennessee, sent to
reinforce a movement up Red River, but more especially against the
fortified position at Shreveport.
You will embark your command as soon as possible, little encumbered
with wagons or wheeled vehicles, but well supplied with fuel,
provisions, and ammunition. Take with you the twelve mortars, with
their ammunition, and all the thirty-pound Parrotts the ordnance-
officer will supply. Proceed to the mouth of Red River and confer
with Admiral Porter. Consult with him, and in all the expedition
rely on him implicitly, as he is the approved friend of the Army of
the Tennessee, and has been associated with us from the beginning.
I have undertaken with General Banks that you will be at
Alexandria, Louisiana, on or before the 17th day of March; and you
will, if time allows, cooperate with the navy in destroying
Harrisonburg, up Black River; but as I passed Red River yesterday I
saw Admiral Porter, and he told me he had already sent an
expedition to Harrisonburg, so that I suppose that part of the plan
will be accomplished before you reach Red River; but, in any event,
be careful to reach Alexandria about the 17th of March.
General Banks will start by land from Franklin, in the Teche
country, either the 6th or 7th, and will march via Opelousas to
Alexandria. You will meet him there, report to him, and act under
his orders. My understanding with him is that his forces will move
by land, via Natchitoches, to Shreveport, while the gunboat-fleet
is to ascend the river with your transports in company. Red River
is very low for the season, and I doubt if any of the boats can
pass the falls or rapids at Alexandria. What General Banks
proposes to do in that event I do not know; but my own judgment is
that Shreveport ought not to be attacked until the gunboats can
reach it. Not that a force marching by land cannot do it alone,
but it would be bad economy in war to invest the place with an army
so far from heavy guns, mortars, ammunition, and provisions, which
can alone reach Shreveport by water. Still, I do not know about
General Banks's plans in that event; and whatever they may be, your
duty will be to conform, in the most hearty manner.
My understanding with General Banks is that he will not need the
cooperation of your force beyoud thirty days from the date you
reach Red River. As soon as he has taken Shreveport, or as soon as
be can spare you, return to Vicksburg with all dispatch, gather up
your detachments, wagons, tents, transportation, and all property
pertaining to so much of the command as belongs to the Sixteenth
Army Corps, and conduct it to Memphis, where orders will await you.
My present belief is your division, entire, will be needed with the
Army of the Tennessee, about Huntsville or Bridgeport. Still, I
will leave orders with General, Hurlbut, at Memphis, for you on
I believe if water will enable the gunboats to cross the rapids at
Alexandria, you will be able to make a quick, strong, and effective
blow at our enemy in the West, thus widening the belt of our
territory, and making the breach between the Confederate Government
and its outlying trans-Mississippi Department more perfect.
It is understood that General Steele makes a simultaneous move from
Little Rock, on Shreveport or Natchitoches, with a force of about
ten thousand men. Banks will have seventeen thousand, and you ten
thousand. If these can act concentrically and simultaneously, you
will make short work of it, and then General Banks will have enough
force to hold as much of the Red River country as he deems wise,
leaving you to bring to General Grant's main army the seven
thousand five hundred men of the Sixteenth Corps now with you.
Having faith in your sound judgment and experience, I confide this
important and delicate command to you, with certainty that you will
harmonize perfectly with Admiral Porter and General Banks, with
whom you are to act, and thereby insure success.
I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
MEMPHIS, March 14, 1864
Major General McPHERSON, commanding, etc, Vicksburg, Mississippi
DEAR GENERAL: I wrote you at length on the 11th, by a special
bearer of dispatches, and now make special orders to cover the
movements therein indicated. It was my purpose to await your
answer, but I am summoned by General Grant to be in Nashville on
the 17th, and it will keep me moving night and day to get there by
that date. I must rely on you, for you understand that we must
reenforce the great army at the centre (Chattanooga) as much as
possible, at the same time not risking the safety of any point on
the Mississippi which is fortified and armed with heavy guns. I
want you to push matters as rapidly as possible, and to do all you
can to put two handsome divisions of your own corps at Cairo, ready
to embark up the Tennessee River by the 20th or 30th of April at
the very furthest. I wish it could be done quicker; but the
promise of those thirty-days furloughs in the States of enlistment,
though politic, is very unmilitary. It deprives us of our ability
to calculate as to time; but do the best you can. Hurlbut can do
nothing till A. J. Smith returns from Red River. I will then order
him to occupy Grenada temporarily, and to try and get those
locomotives that we need here. I may also order him with cavalry
and infantry to march toward Tuscaloosa, at the same time that we
move from the Tennessee River about Chattanooga.
I don't know as yet the grand strategy of the next campaign, but on
arrival at Nashville I will soon catch the main points, and will
advise you of them..
Steal a furlough and run to Baltimore incog.; but get back in time
to take part in the next grand move.
Write me fully and frequently of your progress. I have ordered the
quartermaster to send down as many boats as he can get, to
facilitate your movements. Mules, wagons, etc., can come up
afterward by transient boats. I am truly your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.[Special Field Order No. 28.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
MEMPHIS, March 14, 1864
1. Major-General McPherson will organize two good divisions of his
corps (Seventeenth) of about five thousand men, each embracing in
part the reenlisted veterans of his corps whose furloughs will
expire in April, which he will command in person, and will
rendezvous at Cairo, Illinois, and report by telegraph and letter
to the general commanding at department headquarters, wherever they
may be. These divisions will be provided with new arms and
accoutrements, and land transportation (wagons and mules) out of
the supplies now at Vicksburg, which will be conveyed to Cairo by
or before April 15th.
4. During the absence of General McPherson from the district of
Vicksburg, Major-General Hurlbut will exercise command over all the
troops in the Department of the Tennessee from Cairo to Natchez,
inclusive, and will receive special instructions from department
By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide-de-Camp.
APPENDIX TO VOLUME I.
Report of Brigadier-General G. W. Morgan.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
January 8, 1868.
Major J. H. HAMMOND, Chief of Staff:
SIR: On the 1st instant, while pressed by many arduous duties, I
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