Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

Owing to the report that many of those lately in arms against
the government had taken refuge upon the soil of Mexico,
carrying with them arms rightfully belonging to the United
States, which had been surrendered to us by agreement among them
some of the leaders who had surrendered in person and the
disturbed condition of affairs on the Rio Grande, the orders for
troops to proceed to Texas were not changed.

There have been severe combats, raids, expeditions, and
movements to defeat the designs and purposes of the enemy, most
of them reflecting great credit on our arms, and which
contributed greatly to our final triumph, that I have not
mentioned. Many of these will be found clearly set forth in the
reports herewith submitted; some in the telegrams and brief
dispatches announcing them, and others, I regret to say, have
not as yet been officially reported.

For information touching our Indian difficulties, I would
respectfully refer to the reports of the commanders of
departments in which they have occurred.

It has been my fortune to see the armies of both the West and
the East fight battles, and from what I have seen I know there
is no difference in their fighting qualities. All that it was
possible for men to do in battle they have done. The Western
armies commenced their battles in the Mississippi Valley, and
received the final surrender of the remnant of the principal
army opposed to them in North Carolina. The armies of the East
commenced their battles on the river from which the Army of the
Potomac derived its name, and received the final surrender of
their old antagonists at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The
splendid achievements of each have nationalized our victories
removed all sectional jealousies (of which we have unfortunately
experienced too much), and the cause of crimination and
recrimination that might have followed had either section failed
in its duty. All have a proud record, and all sections can well
congratulate themselves and each other for having done their
full share in restoring the supremacy of law over every foot of
territory belonging to the United States. Let them hope for
perpetual peace and harmony with that enemy, whose manhood,
however mistaken the cause, drew forth such herculean deeds of

I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT,



(*1) Afterwards General Gardner, C.S.A.

(*2) General Garland expressed a wish to get a message back to
General Twiggs, his division commander, or General Taylor, to
the effect that he was nearly out of ammunition and must have
more sent to him, or otherwise be reinforced. Deeming the
return dangerous he did not like to order any one to carry it,
so he called for a volunteer. Lieutenant Grant offered his
services, which were accepted.–PUBLISHERS.

(*3) Mentioned in the reports of Major Lee, Colonel Garland and
General Worth.–PUBLISHERS.

(*4) NOTE.–It had been a favorite idea with General Scott for a
great many years before the Mexican war to have established in
the United States a soldiers’ home, patterned after something of
the kind abroad, particularly, I believe, in France. He
recommended this uniformly, or at least frequently, in his
annual reports to the Secretary of War, but never got any
hearing. Now, as he had conquered the state, he made
assessments upon the different large towns and cities occupied
by our troops, in proportion to their capacity to pay, and
appointed officers to receive the money. In addition to the sum
thus realized he had derived, through capture at Cerro Gordo,
sales of captured government tobacco, etc., sums which swelled
the fund to a total of about $220,000. Portions of this fund
were distributed among the rank and file, given to the wounded
in hospital, or applied in other ways, leaving a balance of some
$118,000 remaining unapplied at the close of the war. After the
war was over and the troops all home, General Scott applied to
have this money, which had never been turned into the Treasury
of the United States, expended in establishing such homes as he
had previously recommended. This fund was the foundation of the
Soldiers’ Home at Washington City, and also one at Harrodsburgh,

The latter went into disuse many years ago. In fact it never
had many soldiers in it, and was, I believe, finally sold.

(*5) The Mexican war made three presidential candidates, Scott,
Taylor and Pierce–and any number of aspirants for that high
office. It made also governors of States, members of the
cabinet, foreign ministers and other officers of high rank both
in state and nation. The rebellion, which contained more war in
a single day, at some critical periods, than the whole Mexican
war in two years, has not been so fruitful of political results
to those engaged on the Union side. On the other side, the side
of the South, nearly every man who holds office of any sort
whatever, either in the state or in the nation, was a
Confederate soldier, but this is easily accounted for from the
fact that the South was a military camp, and there were very few
people of a suitable age to be in the army who were not in it.

(*6) C. B. Lagow, the others not yet having joined me.

(*7) NOTE.–Since writing this chapter I have received from Mrs.
W. H. L. Wallace, widow of the gallant general who was killed in
the first day’s fight on the field of Shiloh, a letter from
General Lew. Wallace to him dated the morning of the 5th. At
the date of this letter it was well known that the Confederates
had troops out along the Mobile & Ohio railroad west of Crump’s
landing and Pittsburg landing, and were also collecting near
Shiloh. This letter shows that at that time General Lew.
Wallace was making preparations for the emergency that might
happen for the passing of reinforcements between Shiloh and his
position, extending from Crump’s landing westward, and he sends
it over the road running from Adamsville to the Pittsburg
landing and Purdy road. These two roads intersect nearly a mile
west of the crossing of the latter over Owl Creek, where our
right rested. In this letter General Lew. Wallace advises
General W. H. L. Wallace that he will send “to-morrow” (and his
letter also says “April 5th,” which is the same day the letter
was dated and which, therefore, must have been written on the
4th) some cavalry to report to him at his headquarters, and
suggesting the propriety of General W. H. L. Wallace’s sending a
company back with them for the purpose of having the cavalry at
the two landings familiarize themselves with the road so that
they could “act promptly in case of emergency as guides to and
from the different camps.”

This modifies very materially what I have said, and what has
been said by others, of the conduct of General Lew. Wallace at
the battle of Shiloh. It shows that he naturally, with no more
experience than he had at the time in the profession of arms,
would take the particular road that he did start upon in the
absence of orders to move by a different road.

The mistake he made, and which probably caused his apparent
dilatoriness, was that of advancing some distance after he found
that the firing, which would be at first directly to his front
and then off to the left, had fallen back until it had got very
much in rear of the position of his advance. This falling back
had taken place before I sent General Wallace orders to move up
to Pittsburg landing and, naturally, my order was to follow the
road nearest the river. But my order was verbal, and to a staff
officer who was to deliver it to General Wallace, so that I am
not competent to say just what order the General actually

General Wallace’s division was stationed, the First brigade at
Crump’s landing, the Second out two miles, and the Third two and
a half miles out. Hearing the sounds of battle General Wallace
early ordered his First and Third brigades to concentrate on the
Second. If the position of our front had not changed, the road
which Wallace took would have been somewhat shorter to our right
than the River road.



(*8) NOTE: In an article on the battle of Shiloh which I wrote
for the Century Magazine, I stated that General A. McD. McCook,
who commanded a division of Buell’s army, expressed some
unwillingness to pursue the enemy on Monday, April 7th, because
of the condition of his troops. General Badeau, in his history,
also makes the same statement, on my authority. Out of justice
to General McCook and his command, I must say that they left a
point twenty-two miles east of Savannah on the morning of the
6th. From the heavy rains of a few days previous and the
passage of trains and artillery, the roads were necessarily deep
in mud, which made marching slow. The division had not only
marched through this mud the day before, but it had been in the
rain all night without rest. It was engaged in the battle of
the second day and did as good service as its position
allowed. In fact an opportunity occurred for it to perform a
conspicuous act of gallantry which elicited the highest
commendation from division commanders in the Army of the
Tennessee. General Sherman both in his memoirs and report makes
mention of this fact. General McCook himself belongs to a family
which furnished many volunteers to the army. I refer to these
circumstances with minuteness because I did General McCook
injustice in my article in the Century, though not to the extent
one would suppose from the public press. I am not willing to do
any one an injustice, and if convinced that I have done one, I
am always willing to make the fullest admission.

(*9) NOTE.–For gallantry in the various engagements, from the
time I was left in command down to 26th of October and on my
recommendation, Generals McPherson and C. S. Hamilton were
promoted to be Major-Generals, and Colonels C. C. Marsh, 20th
Illinois, M. M. Crocker, 13th Iowa J. A. Mower, 11th Missouri,
M. D. Leggett, 78th Ohio, J. D. Stevenson, 7th Missouri, and
John E. Smith, 45th Illinois, to be Brigadiers.

(*10) Colonel Ellet reported having attacked a Confederate
battery on the Red River two days before with one of his boats,
the De Soto. Running aground, he was obliged to abandon his
vessel. However, he reported that he set fire to her and blew
her up. Twenty of his men fell into the hands of the enemy.
With the balance he escaped on the small captured steamer, the
New Era, and succeeded in passing the batteries at Grand Gulf
and reaching the vicinity of Vicksburg.

(*11) One of Colonel Ellet’s vessels which had run the blockade
on February the 2d and been sunk in the Red River.

(*12) NOTE.–On this occasion Governor Richard Yates, of
Illinois, happened to be on a visit to the army and accompanied
me to Carthage. I furnished an ambulance for his use and that
of some of the State officers who accompanied him.

(*13) NOTE.–When General Sherman first learned of the move I
proposed to make, he called to see me about it. I recollect
that I had transferred my headquarters from a boat in the river
to a house a short distance back from the levee. I was seated
on the piazza engaged in conversation with my staff when Sherman
came up. After a few moments’ conversation he said that he would
like to see me alone. We passed into the house together and shut
the door after us. Sherman then expressed his alarm at the move
I had ordered, saying that I was putting myself in a position
voluntarily which an enemy would be glad to manoeuvre a year–or
a long time–to get me in. I was going into the enemy’s country,
with a large river behind me and the enemy holding points
strongly fortified above and below. He said that it was an
axiom in war that when any great body of troops moved against an
enemy they should do so from a base of supplies, which they would
guard as they would the apple of the eye, etc. He pointed out
all the difficulties that might be encountered in the campaign
proposed, and stated in turn what would be the true campaign to
make. This was, in substance, to go back until high ground
could be reached on the east bank of the river; fortify there
and establish a depot of supplies, and move from there, being
always prepared to fall back upon it in case of disaster. I
said this would take us back to Memphis. Sherman then said that
was the very place he would go to, and would move by railroad
from Memphis to Grenada, repairing the road as we advanced. To
this I replied, the country is already disheartened over the
lack of success on the part of our armies; the last election
went against the vigorous prosecution of the war, voluntary
enlistments had ceased throughout most of the North and
conscription was already resorted to, and if we went back so far
as Memphis it would discourage the people so much that bases of
supplies would be of no use: neither men to hold them nor
supplies to put in them would be furnished. The problem for us
was to move forward to a decisive victory, or our cause was
lost. No progress was being made in any other field, and we had
to go on.

Sherman wrote to my adjutant general, Colonel J. A. Rawlins,
embodying his views of the campaign that should be made, and
asking him to advise me to at least get the views of my generals
upon the subject. Colonel Rawlins showed me the letter, but I
did not see any reason for changing my plans. The letter was
not answered and the subect was not subsequently mentioned
between Sherman and myself to the end of the war, that I
remember of. I did not regard the letter as official, and
consequently did not preserve it. General Sherman furnished a
copy himself to General Badeau, who printed it in his history of
my campaigns. I did not regard either the conversation between
us or the letter to my adjutant-general as protests, but simply
friendly advice which the relations between us fully
justified. Sherman gave the same energy to make the campaign a
success that he would or could have done if it had been ordered
by himself. I make this statement here to correct an impression
which was circulated at the close of the war to Sherman’s
prejudice, and for which there was no fair foundation.

(*14) Meant Edward’s Station.

(*15) CHATTANOOGA, November 18, 1863.


Enclosed herewith I send you copy of instructions to
Major-General Thomas. You having been over the ground in
person, and having heard the whole matter discussed, further
instructions will not be necessary for you. It is particularly
desirable that a force should be got through to the railroad
between Cleveland and Dalton, and Longstreet thus cut off from
communication with the South, but being confronted by a large
force here, strongly located, it is not easy to tell how this is
to be effected until the result of our first effort is known.

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