Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

U. S. GRANT,
Lieut.-General.

(*33) NEAR COLD HARBOR, June 3, 1864, 7 A.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL MEADE,
Commanding A. P.

The moment it becomes certain that an assault cannot succeed,
suspend the offensive; but when one does succeed, push it
vigorously and if necessary pile in troops at the successful
point from wherever they can be taken. I shall go to where you
are in the course of an hour.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieut. -General.

(*34) COLD HARBOR, June 5,1864.

MAJOR-GENERAL HALLECK, Chief of Staff of the Army, Washington,
D. C.

A full survey of all the ground satisfies me that it would be
impracticable to hold a line north-east of Richmond that would
protect the Fredericksburg Railroad to enable us to use that
road for supplying the army. To do so would give us a long
vulnerable line of road to protect, exhausting much of our
strength to guard it, and would leave open to the enemy all of
his lines of communication on the south side of the James. My
idea from the start has been to beat Lee’s army if possible
north of Richmond; then after destroying his lines of
communication on the north side of the James River to transfer
the army to the south side and besiege Lee in Richmond, or
follow him south if he should retreat.

I now find, after over thirty days of trial, the enemy deems it
of the first importance to run no risks with the armies they now
have. They act purely on the defensive behind breastworks, or
feebly on the offensive immediately in front of them, and where
in case of repulse they can instantly retire behind them.
Without a greater sacrifice of human life than I am willing to
make all cannot be accomplished that I had designed outside of
the city. I have therefore resolved upon the following plan:

I will continue to hold substantially the ground now occupied by
the Army of the Potomac, taking advantage of any favorable
circumstance that may present itself until the cavalry can be
sent west to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad from about
Beaver Dam for some twenty-five or thirty miles west. When this
is effected I will move the army to the south side of the James
River, either by crossing the Chickahominy and marching near to
City Point, or by going to the mouth of the Chickahominy on
north side and crossing there. To provide for this last and
most possible contingency, several ferry-boats of the largest
class ought to be immediately provided.

Once on the south side of the James River, I can cut off all
sources of supply to the enemy except what is furnished by the
canal. If Hunter succeeds in reaching Lynchburg, that will be
lost to him also. Should Hunter not succeed, I will still make
the effort to destroy the canal by sending cavalry up the south
side of the river with a pontoon train to cross wherever they
can.

The feeling of the two armies now seems to be that the rebels
can protect themselves only by strong intrenchments, whilst our
army is not only confident of protecting itself without
intrenchments, but that it can beat and drive the enemy wherever
and whenever he can be found without this protection.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

(*35) COLD HARBOR, VA., June 6, 1864.

MAJOR-GENERAL D. HUNTER

Commanding Dept. W. Va.

General Sheridan leaves here to-morrow morning, with
instructions to proceed to Charlottesville, Va., and to commence
there the destruction of the Va. Cen. R. R., destroying this way
as much as possible. The complete destruction of this road and
of the canal on James River is of great importance to us.
According to the instructions I sent to General Halleck for your
guidance, you were to proceed to Lynchburg and commence there. It
would be of great value to us to get possession of Lynchburg for
a single day. But that point is of so much importance to the
enemy, that in attempting to get it such resistance may be met
as to defeat your getting onto the road or canal at all. I see,
in looking over the letter to General Halleck on the subject of
your instructions, that it rather indicates that your route
should be from Staunton via Charlottesville. If you have so
understood it, you will be doing just what I want. The
direction I would now give is, that if this letter reaches you
in the valley between Staunton and Lynchburg, you immediately
turn east by the most practicable road. From thence move
eastward along the line of the road, destroying it completely
and thoroughly, until you join General Sheridan. After the work
laid out for General Sheridan and yourself is thoroughly done,
proceed to join the Army of the Potomac by the route laid out in
General Sheridan’s instructions.

If any portion of your force, especially your cavalry, is needed
back in your Department, you are authorized to send it back.

If on receipt of this you should be near to Lynchburg and deem
it practicable to detach a cavalry force to destroy the canal.
Lose no opportunity to destroy the canal.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieut.-General.

(*36) FROM A STATEMENT OF LOSSES COMPILED IN THE
ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE.

FIELD OF ACTION AND DATE. | KILLED. | WOUNDED. | MISSING. |
AGGREGATE. |

Wilderness, May 5th to 7th | 2,261 | 8,785 | 2,902 |13,948 |
Spottsylvania, May 8th to 21st | 2,271 | 9,360 | 1,970 | 13,601|
North Anna, May 23d to 27th | 186 | 792 | 165 | 1,143 |
Totopotomoy, May 27th to 31st | 99 | 358 | 52 | 509 | Cold
Harbor, May 31st to June 12th | 1,769 | 6,752 | 1,537 |10,058 |
Total ……………. | 6,586 | 26,047 | 6,626 | 39,259 |

(*37) CITY POINT, VA., June 17, 1864. 11 A.M.

MAJOR-GEN. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.

* * * * * * *

The enemy in their endeavor to reinforce Petersburg abandoned
their intrenchments in front of Bermuda Hundred. They no doubt
expected troops from north of the James River to take their
place before we discovered it. General Butler took advantage of
this and moved a force at once upon the railroad and plank road
between Richmond and Petersburg, which I hope to retain
possession of.

Too much credit cannot be given to the troops and their
commanders for the energy and fortitude displayed during the
last five days. Day and night has been all the same, no delays
being allowed on any account.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieut.-General.

(*38) CITY POINT, VA., July 24, 1864.

MAJOR-GENERAL MEADE,
Commanding, etc.

The engineer officers who made a survey of the front from
Bermuda Hundred report against the probability of success from
an attack there. The chances they think will be better on
Burnside’s front. If this is attempted it will be necessary to
concentrate all the force possible at the point in the enemy’s
line we expect to penetrate. All officers should be fully
impressed with the absolute necessity of pushing entirely beyond
the enemy’s present line, if they should succeed in penetrating
it, and of getting back to their present line promptly if they
should not succeed in breaking through.

To the right and left of the point of assault all the artillery
possible should be brought to play upon the enemy in front
during the assault. Their lines would be sufficient for the
support of the artillery, and all the reserves could be brought
on the flanks of their commands nearest to the point of assault,
ready to follow in if successful. The field artillery and
infantry held in the lines during the first assault should be in
readiness to move at a moment’s notice either to their front or
to follow the main assault, as they should receive orders. One
thing, however, should be impressed on corps commanders. If
they see the enemy giving away on their front or moving from it
to reinforce a heavily assaulted portion of their line, they
should take advantage of such knowledge and act promptly without
waiting for orders from army commanders. General Ord can
co-operate with his corps in this movement, and about five
thousand troops from Bermuda Hundred can be sent to reinforce
you or can be used to threaten an assault between the Appomattox
and James rivers, as may be deemed best.

This should be done by Tuesday morning, if done at all. If not
attempted, we will then start at the date indicated to destroy
the railroad as far as Hicksford at least, and to Weldon if
possible.

* * * * * * *

Whether we send an expedition on the road or assault at
Petersburg, Burnside’s mine will be blown up….

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

(*39) See letter, August 5th, Appendix.

(*40) See Appendix, letters of Oct. 11th.

(*41) CITY POINT, VA., December 2,1864.

MAJ0R-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville Tenn.

If Hood is permitted to remain quietly about Nashville, you will
lose all the road back to Chattanooga and possibly have to
abandon the line of the Tennessee. Should he attack you it is
all well, but if he does not you should attack him before he
fortifies. Arm and put in the trenches your quartermaster
employees, citizens, etc.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., December 2, 1864.–1.30 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.

With your citizen employees armed, you can move out of Nashville
with all your army and force the enemy to retire or fight upon
ground of your own choosing. 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
where he was. 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 railroads 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,
Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., December 5, 1864.

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 possibility as much as it does you.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., December 6, 1864–4 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.

Attack Hood at once and wait no longer for a remnant of your
cavalry. There is great danger of delay resulting in a campaign
back to the Ohio River.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., December 8, 1864.–8.30 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.

Your dispatch of yesterday received. It looks to me evident the
enemy are trying to cross the Cumberland River, and are
scattered. Why not attack at once? By all means avoid the
contingency of a foot race to see which, you or Hood, can beat
to the Ohio. If you think necessary call on the governors of
States to send a force into Louisville to meet the enemy if he
should cross the river. You clearly never should cross except
in rear of the enemy. Now is one of the finest opportunities
ever presented of destroying one of the three armies of the
enemy. If destroyed he never can replace it. Use the means at
your command, and you can do this and cause a rejoicing that
will resound from one end of the land to the other.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., December 11, 1864.–4 P.M.

MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.

If you delay attack longer the mortifying spectacle will be
witnessed of a rebel army moving for the Ohio River, and you
will be forced to act, accepting such weather as you find. Let
there be no further delay. Hood cannot even stand a drawn
battle so far from his supplies of ordnance stores. If he
retreats and you follow, he must lose his material and much of
his army. I am in hopes of receiving a dispatch from you to-day
announcing that you have moved. Delay no longer for weather or
reinforcements.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 15, 1864.

MAJ0R-GENERAL THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.

I was just on my way to Nashville, but receiving a dispatch from
Van Duzer detailing your splendid success of to-day, I shall go
no further. Push the enemy now and give him no rest until he is
entirely destroyed. Your army will cheerfully suffer many
privations to break up Hood’s army and render it useless for
future operations. Do not stop for trains or supplies, but take
them from the country as the enemy have done. Much is now
expected.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

(*42) See orders to Major-General Meade, Ord, and Sheridan,
March 24th, Appendix.

(*43) See Appendix.

(*44) NOTE.–The fac-simile of the terms of Lee’s surrender
inserted at this place, was copied from the original document
furnished the publishers through the courtesy of General Ely S.
Parker, Military Secretary on General Grant’s staff at the time
of the surrender.

Three pages of paper were prepared in General Grant’s manifold
order book on which he wrote the terms, and the interlineations
and erasures were added by General Parker at the suggestion of
General Grant. After such alteration it was handed to General
Lee, who put on his glasses, read it, and handed it back to
General Grant. The original was then transcribed by General
Parker upon official headed paper and a copy furnished General
Lee.

The fac-simile herewith shows the color of the paper of the
original document and all interlineations and erasures.

There is a popular error to the effect that Generals Grant and
Lee each signed the articles of surrender. The document in the
form of a letter was signed only by General Grant, in the parlor
of McLean’s house while General Lee was sitting in the room, and
General Lee immediately wrote a letter accepting the terms and
handed it to General Grant.

End of Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant Volume Two

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Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Volume Two.
This etext was prepared by Glen Bledsoe.

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