Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

I will add, however, what is not shown in my instructions to
Thomas, that a brigade of cavalry has been ordered here which,
if it arrives in time, will be thrown across the Tennessee above
Chickamauga, and may be able to make the trip to Cleveland or


CHATTANOOGA, November 18, 1863.


All preparations should be made for attacking the enemy’s
position on Missionary Ridge by Saturday at daylight. Not being
provided with a map giving names of roads, spurs of the
mountains, and other places, such definite instructions cannot
be given as might be desirable. However, the general plan, you
understand, is for Sherman, with the force brought with him
strengthened by a division from your command, to effect a
crossing of the Tennessee River just below the mouth of
Chickamauga; his crossing to be protected by artillery from the
heights on the north bank of the river (to be located by your
chief of artillery), and to secure the heights on the northern
extremity to about the railroad tunnel before the enemy can
concentrate against him. You will co-operate with Sherman. The
troops in Chattanooga Valley should be well concentrated on your
left flank, leaving only the necessary force to defend
fortifications on the right and centre, and a movable column of
one division in readiness to move wherever ordered. This
division should show itself as threateningly as possible on the
most practicable line for making an attack up the valley. Your
effort then will be to form a junction with Sherman, making your
advance well towards the northern end of Missionary Ridge, and
moving as near simultaneously with him as possible. The
junction once formed and the ridge carried, communications will
be at once established between the two armies by roads on the
south bank of the river. Further movements will then depend on
those of the enemy. Lookout Valley, I think, will be easily
held by Geary’s division and what troops you may still have
there belonging to the old Army of the Cumberland. Howard’s
corps can then be held in readiness to act either with you at
Chattanooga or with Sherman. It should be marched on Friday
night to a position on the north side of the river, not lower
down than the first pontoon-bridge, and there held in readiness
for such orders as may become necessary. All these troops will
be provided with two days’ cooked rations in haversacks, and one
hundred rounds of ammunition on the person of each infantry
soldier. Special care should be taken by all officers to see
that ammunition is not wasted or unnecessarily fired away. You
will call on the engineer department for such preparations as
you may deem necessary for carrying your infantry and artillery
over the creek.


(*16) In this order authority was given for the troops to reform
after taking the first line of rifle-pits preparatory to carrying
the ridge.

(*17) CHATTANOOGA, November 24,1863.


General Sherman carried Missionary Ridge as far as the tunnel
with only slight skirmishing. His right now rests at the tunnel
and on top of the hill, his left at Chickamauga Creek. I have
instructed General Sherman to advance as soon as it is light in
the morning, and your attack, which will be simultaneous, will
be in cooperation. Your command will either carry the
rifle-pits and ridge directly in front of them, or move to the
left, as the presence of the enemy may require. If Hooker’s
position on the mountain [cannot be maintained] with a small
force, and it is found impracticable to carry the top from where
he is, it would be advisable for him to move up the valley with
all the force he can spare, and ascend by the first practicable



(*18) WASHINGTON, D. C.,
December 8, 1863, 10.2 A.M.


Understanding that your lodgment at Knoxville and at Chattanooga
is now secure, I wish to tender you, and all under your command,
my more than thanks, my profoundest gratitude for the skill,
courage, and perseverance with which you and they, over so great
difficulties, have effected that important object. God bless you


President U. S.

(*19) General John G. Foster.

(*20) During this winter the citizens of Jo Davies County, Ill.,
subscribed for and had a diamond-hilled sword made for General
Grant, which was always known as the Chattanooga sword. The
scabbard was of gold, and was ornamented with a scroll running
nearly its entire length, displaying in engraved letters the
names of the battles in which General Grant had participated.

Congress also gave him a vote of thanks for the victories at
Chattanooga, and voted him a gold medal for Vicksburg and
Chattanooga. All such things are now in the possession of the
government at Washington.

December 29, 1863.


General Foster has asked to be relieved from his command on
account of disability from old wounds. Should his request be
granted, who would you like as his successor? It is possible
that Schofield will be sent to your command.


(*22) See letter to Banks, in General Grant’s report, Appendix.


April 4, 1864.

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi.

GENERAL:–It is my design, if the enemy keep quiet and allow me
to take the initiative in the spring campaign, to work all parts
of the army together, and somewhat towards a common centre. For
your information I now write you my programme, as at present
determined upon.

I have sent orders to Banks, by private messenger, to finish up
his present expedition against Shreveport with all dispatch; to
turn over the defence of Red River to General Steele and the
navy and to return your troops to you and his own to New
Orleans; to abandon all of Texas, except the Rio Grande, and to
hold that with not to exceed four thousand men; to reduce the
number of troops on the Mississippi to the lowest number
necessary to hold it, and to collect from his command not less
than twenty-five thousand men. To this I will add five thousand
men from Missouri. With this force he is to commence operations
against Mobile as soon as he can. It will be impossible for him
to commence too early.

Gillmore joins Butler with ten thousand men, and the two operate
against Richmond from the south side of the James River. This
will give Butler thirty-three thousand men to operate with, W.
F. Smith commanding the right wing of his forces and Gillmore
the left wing. I will stay with the Army of the Potomac,
increased by Burnside’s corps of not less than twenty-five
thousand effective men, and operate directly against Lee’s army,
wherever it may be found.

Sigel collects all his available force in two columns, one,
under Ord and Averell, to start from Beverly, Virginia, and the
other, under Crook, to start from Charleston on the Kanawha, to
move against the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad.

Crook will have all cavalry, and will endeavor to get in about
Saltville, and move east from there to join Ord. His force will
be all cavalry, while Ord will have from ten to twelve thousand
men of all arms.

You I propose to move against Johnston’s army, to break it up
and to get into the interior of the enemy’s country as far as
you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war

I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of campaign, but
simply lay down the work it is desirable to have done and leave
you free to execute it in your own way. Submit to me, however,
as early as you can, your plan of operations.

As stated, Banks is ordered to commence operations as soon as he
can. Gillmore is ordered to report at Fortress Monroe by the
18th inst., or as soon thereafter as practicable. Sigel is
concentrating now. None will move from their places of
rendezvous until I direct, except Banks. I want to be ready to
move by the 25th inst., if possible. But all I can now direct
is that you get ready as soon as possible. I know you will have
difficulties to encounter in getting through the mountains to
where supplies are abundant, but I believe you will accomplish

From the expedition from the Department of West Virginia I do
not calculate on very great results; but it is the only way I
can take troops from there. With the long line of railroad
Sigel has to protect, he can spare no troops except to move
directly to his front. In this way he must get through to
inflict great damage on the enemy, or the enemy must detach from
one of his armies a large force to prevent it. In other words,
if Sigel can’t skin himself he can hold a leg while some one
else skins.

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


(*24) See instructions to Butler, in General Grant’s report,

April 9, 1864.

Com’d’g Army of the Potomac.

For information and as instruction 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
towards one common centre. Banks has been instructed to turn
over the guarding of the Red River to General Steele and 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 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, Jo. Johnston’s army
being his objective point, and the heart of Georgia his 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 reinforce 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 make south
at the same time with the general move; one from Beverly, from
ten to twelve thousand strong, under Major-General Ord; the
other from Charleston, Va., principally cavalry, under
Brig.-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 tributaries
would furnish us an easy line over which to bring all supplies to
within easy hauling distance of every position the army could
occupy from the Rapidan to the James River. But Lee could, if
he chose, detach or move his whole army north on a line rather
interior to the one I would have to take in following. A
movement by his left–our right–would obviate this; but all
that was done would have to be done with the supplies and
ammunition we started with. All idea of adopting this latter
plan was abandoned when the limited quantity of supplies
possible to take with us was considered. The country over which
we would have to pass was so exhausted of all food or forage that
we would be obliged to carry everything with us.

While these preparations were going on the enemy was not
entirely idle. In the West Forrest made a raid in West
Tennessee up to the northern border, capturing the garrison of
four or five hundred men at Union City, and followed it up by an
attack on Paducah, Kentucky, on the banks of the Ohio. While he
was able to enter the city he failed to capture the forts or any
part of the garrison. On the first intelligence of Forrest’s
raid I telegraphed Sherman to send all his cavalry against him,
and not to let him get out of the trap he had put himself
into. Sherman had anticipated me by sending troops against him
before he got my order.

Forrest, however, fell back rapidly, and attacked the troops at
Fort Pillow, a station for the protection of the navigation of
the Mississippi River. The garrison 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 South-west.

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 Maj.-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
whilst 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 rivers.

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 reinforce
you. Immediately upon his arrival, which will be shortly after
the 20th inst., I will give him the defence 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

There will be naval co-operation 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 five hundred 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 [louse 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

«- Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 | View All | Next -»