Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant [Volume Two]
Ulysses S. Grant

Part 7 out of 9

common; whereas, before, it was but the few who had ever had the
privilege of going beyond the limits of their own country or who
knew anything about other people. Then, too, our republican
institutions were regarded as experiments up to the breaking out
of the rebellion, and monarchical Europe generally believed that
our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the
slightest strain was brought upon it. Now it has shown itself
capable of dealing with one of the greatest wars that was ever
made, and our people have proven themselves to be the most
formidable in war of any nationality.

But this war was a fearful lesson, and should teach us the
necessity of avoiding wars in the future.

The conduct of some of the European states during our troubles
shows the lack of conscience of communities where the
responsibility does not come upon a single individual. Seeing a
nation that extended from ocean to ocean, embracing the better
part of a continent, growing as we were growing in population,
wealth and intelligence, the European nations thought it would
be well to give us a check. We might, possibly, after a while
threaten their peace, or, at least, the perpetuity of their
institutions. Hence, England was constantly finding fault with
the administration at Washington because we were not able to
keep up an effective blockade. She also joined, at first, with
France and Spain in setting up an Austrian prince upon the
throne in Mexico, totally disregarding any rights or claims that
Mexico had of being treated as an independent power. It is true
they trumped up grievances as a pretext, but they were only
pretexts which can always be found when wanted.

Mexico, in her various revolutions, had been unable to give that
protection to the subjects of foreign nations which she would
have liked to give, and some of her revolutionary leaders had
forced loans from them. Under pretence of protecting their
citizens, these nations seized upon Mexico as a foothold for
establishing a European monarchy upon our continent, thus
threatening our peace at home. I, myself, regarded this as a
direct act of war against the United States by the powers
engaged, and supposed as a matter of course that the United
States would treat it as such when their hands were free to
strike. I often spoke of the matter to Mr. Lincoln and the
Secretary of War, but never heard any special views from them to
enable me to judge what they thought or felt about it. I
inferred that they felt a good deal as I did, but were unwilling
to commit themselves while we had our own troubles upon our

All of the powers except France very soon withdrew from the
armed intervention for the establishment of an Austrian prince
upon the throne of Mexico; but the governing people of these
countries continued to the close of the war to throw obstacles
in our way. After the surrender of Lee, therefore, entertaining
the opinion here expressed, I sent Sheridan with a corps to the
Rio Grande to have him where he might aid Juarez in expelling
the French from Mexico. These troops got off before they could
be stopped; and went to the Rio Grande, where Sheridan
distributed them up and down the river, much to the
consternation of the troops in the quarter of Mexico bordering
on that stream. This soon led to a request from France that we
should withdraw our troops from the Rio Grande and to
negotiations for the withdrawal of theirs. Finally Bazaine was
withdrawn from Mexico by order of the French Government. From
that day the empire began to totter. Mexico was then able to
maintain her independence without aid from us.

France is the traditional ally and friend of the United
States. I did not blame France for her part in the scheme to
erect a monarchy upon the ruins of the Mexican Republic. That
was the scheme of one man, an imitator without genius or
merit. He had succeeded in stealing the government of his
country, and made a change in its form against the wishes and
instincts of his people. He tried to play the part of the first
Napoleon, without the ability to sustain that role. He sought by
new conquests to add to his empire and his glory; but the signal
failure of his scheme of conquest was the precursor of his own

Like our own war between the States, the Franco-Prussian war was
an expensive one; but it was worth to France all it cost her
people. It was the completion of the downfall of Napoleon
III. The beginning was when he landed troops on this
continent. Failing here, the prestige of his name--all the
prestige he ever had--was gone. He must achieve a success or
fall. He tried to strike down his neighbor, Prussia--and fell.

I never admired the character of the first Napoleon; but I
recognize his great genius. His work, too, has left its impress
for good on the face of Europe. The third Napoleon could have no
claim to having done a good or just act.

To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared
for war. There can scarcely be a possible chance of a conflict,
such as the last one, occurring among our own people again; but,
growing as we are, in population, wealth and military power, we
may become the envy of nations which led us in all these
particulars only a few years ago; and unless we are prepared for
it we may be in danger of a combined movement being some day made
to crush us out. Now, scarcely twenty years after the war, we
seem to have forgotten the lessons it taught, and are going on
as if in the greatest security, without the power to resist an
invasion by the fleets of fourth-rate European powers for a time
until we could prepare for them.

We should have a good navy, and our sea-coast defences should be
put in the finest possible condition. Neither of these cost much
when it is considered where the money goes, and what we get in
return. Money expended in a fine navy, not only adds to our
security and tends to prevent war in the future, but is very
material aid to our commerce with foreign nations in the
meantime. Money spent upon sea-coast defences is spent among
our own people, and all goes back again among the people. The
work accomplished, too, like that of the navy, gives us a
feeling of security.

England's course towards the United States during the rebellion
exasperated the people of this country very much against the
mother country. I regretted it. England and the United States
are natural allies, and should be the best of friends. They
speak one language, and are related by blood and other ties. We
together, or even either separately, are better qualified than
any other people to establish commerce between all the
nationalities of the world.

England governs her own colonies, and particularly those
embracing the people of different races from her own, better
than any other nation. She is just to the conquered, but
rigid. She makes them self-supporting, but gives the benefit of
labor to the laborer. She does not seem to look upon the
colonies as outside possessions which she is at liberty to work
for the support and aggrandizement of the home government.

The hostility of England to the United States during our
rebellion was not so much real as it was apparent. It was the
hostility of the leaders of one political party. I am told that
there was no time during the civil war when they were able to get
up in England a demonstration in favor of secession, while these
were constantly being gotten up in favor of the Union, or, as
they called it, in favor of the North. Even in Manchester,
which suffered so fearfully by having the cotton cut off from
her mills, they had a monster demonstration in favor of the
North at the very time when their workmen were almost famishing.

It is possible that the question of a conflict between races may
come up in the future, as did that between freedom and slavery
before. The condition of the colored man within our borders may
become a source of anxiety, to say the least. But he was brought
to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as
having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our
citizens. It was looking to a settlement of this question that
led me to urge the annexation of Santo Domingo during the time I
was President of the United States.

Santo Domingo was freely offered to us, not only by the
administration, but by all the people, almost without price. The
island is upon our shores, is very fertile, and is capable of
supporting fifteen millions of people. The products of the soil
are so valuable that labor in her fields would be so compensated
as to enable those who wished to go there to quickly repay the
cost of their passage. I took it that the colored people would
go there in great numbers, so as to have independent states
governed by their own race. They would still be States of the
Union, and under the protection of the General Government; but
the citizens would be almost wholly colored.

By the war with Mexico, we had acquired, as we have seen,
territory almost equal in extent to that we already possessed.
It was seen that the volunteers of the Mexican war largely
composed the pioneers to settle up the Pacific coast country.
Their numbers, however, were scarcely sufficient to be a nucleus
for the population of the important points of the territory
acquired by that war. After our rebellion, when so many young
men were at liberty to return to their homes, they found they
were not satisfied with the farm, the store, or the work-shop of
the villages, but wanted larger fields. The mines of the
mountains first attracted them; but afterwards they found that
rich valleys and productive grazing and farming lands were
there. This territory, the geography of which was not known to
us at the close of the rebellion, is now as well mapped as any
portion of our country. Railroads traverse it in every
direction, north, south, east, and west. The mines are
worked. The high lands are used for grazing purposes, and rich
agricultural lands are found in many of the valleys. This is
the work of the volunteer. It is probable that the Indians
would have had control of these lands for a century yet but for
the war. We must conclude, therefore, that wars are not always
evils unmixed with some good.

Prior to the rebellion the great mass of the people were
satisfied to remain near the scenes of their birth. In fact an
immense majority of the whole people did not feel secure against
coming to want should they move among entire strangers. So much
was the country divided into small communities that localized
idioms had grown up, so that you could almost tell what section
a person was from by hearing him speak. Before, new territories
were settled by a "class"; people who shunned contact with
others; people who, when the country began to settle up around
them, would push out farther from civilization. Their guns
furnished meat, and the cultivation of a very limited amount of
the soil, their bread and vegetables. All the streams abounded
with fish. Trapping would furnish pelts to be brought into the
States once a year, to pay for necessary articles which they
could not raise--powder, lead, whiskey, tobacco and some store
goods. Occasionally some little articles of luxury would enter
into these purchases--a quarter of a pound of tea, two or three
pounds of coffee, more of sugar, some playing cards, and if
anything was left over of the proceeds of the sale, more whiskey.

Little was known of the topography of the country beyond the
settlements of these frontiersmen. This is all changed now. The
war begot a spirit of independence and enterprise. The feeling
now is, that a youth must cut loose from his old surroundings to
enable him to get up in the world. There is now such a
commingling of the people that particular idioms and
pronunciation are no longer localized to any great extent; the
country has filled up "from the centre all around to the sea";
railroads connect the two oceans and all parts of the interior;
maps, nearly perfect, of every part of the country are now
furnished the student of geography.

The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We
have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity
at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought
to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the

I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be
great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot
stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy;
but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally
kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed
that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of
the answer to "Let us have peace."

The expression of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a
section of the country, nor to a division of the people. They
came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all
denominations--the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and
from the various societies of the land--scientific, educational,
religious or otherwise. Politics did not enter into the matter
at all.

I am not egotist enough to suppose all this significance should
be given because I was the object of it. But the war between
the States was a very bloody and a very costly war. One side or
the other had to yield principles they deemed dearer than life
before it could be brought to an end. I commanded the whole of
the mighty host engaged on the victorious side. I was, no
matter whether deservedly so or not, a representative of that
side of the controversy. It is a significant and gratifying
fact that Confederates should have joined heartily in this
spontaneous move. I hope the good feeling inaugurated may
continue to the end.


ARMIES 1864-65.

July 22, 1865.

HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the
operations of the Armies of the United States from the date of
my appointment to command the same.

From an early period in the rebellion I had been impressed with
the idea that active and continuous operations of all the troops
that could be brought into the field, regardless of season and
weather, were necessary to a speedy termination of the war. The
resources of the enemy and his numerical strength were far
inferior to ours; but as an offset to this, we had a vast
territory, with a population hostile to the government, to
garrison, and long lines of river and railroad communications to
protect, to enable us to supply the operating armies.

The armies in the East and West acted independently and without
concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together,
enabling the enemy to use to great advantage his interior lines
of communication for transporting troops from East to West,
reinforcing the army most vigorously pressed, and to furlough
large numbers, during seasons of inactivity on our part, to go
to their homes and do the work of producing, for the support of
their armies. It was a question whether our numerical strength
and resources were not more than balanced by these disadvantages
and the enemy's superior position.

From the first, I was firm in the conviction that no peace could
be had that would be stable and conducive to the happiness of the
people, both North and South, until the military power of the
rebellion was entirely broken.

I therefore determined, first, to use the greatest number of
troops practicable against the armed force of the enemy;
preventing him from using the same force at different seasons
against first one and then another of our armies, and the
possibility of repose for refitting and producing necessary
supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to hammer
continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his
resources, until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there
should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the
loyal section of our common country to the constitution and laws
of the land.

These views have been kept constantly in mind, and orders given
and campaigns made to carry them out. Whether they might have
been better in conception and execution is for the people, who
mourn the loss of friends fallen, and who have to pay the
pecuniary cost, to say. All I can say is, that what I have done
has been done conscientiously, to the best of my ability, and in
what I conceived to be for the best interests of the whole

At the date when this report begins, the situation of the
contending forces was about as follows: The Mississippi River
was strongly garrisoned by Federal troops, from St. Louis,
Missouri, to its mouth. The line of the Arkansas was also held,
thus giving us armed possession of all west of the Mississippi,
north of that stream. A few points in Southern Louisiana, not
remote from the river, were held by us, together with a small
garrison at and near the mouth of the Rio Grande. All the
balance of the vast territory of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas
was in the almost undisputed possession of the enemy, with an
army of probably not less than eighty thousand effective men,
that could have been brought into the field had there been
sufficient opposition to have brought them out. The let-alone
policy had demoralized this force so that probably but little
more than one-half of it was ever present in garrison at any one
time. But the one-half, or forty thousand men, with the bands of
guerillas scattered through Missouri, Arkansas, and along the
Mississippi River, and the disloyal character of much of the
population, compelled the use of a large number of troops to
keep navigation open on the river, and to protect the loyal
people to the west of it. To the east of the Mississippi we
held substantially with the line of the Tennessee and Holston
rivers, running eastward to include nearly all of the State of
Tennessee. South of Chattanooga, a small foothold had been
obtained in Georgia, sufficient to protect East Tennessee from
incursions from the enemy's force at Dalton, Georgia. West
Virginia was substantially within our lines. Virginia, with the
exception of the northern border, the Potomac River, a small area
about the mouth of James River, covered by the troops at Norfolk
and Fort Monroe, and the territory covered by the Army of the
Potomac lying along the Rapidan, was in the possession of the
enemy. Along the sea-coast footholds had been obtained at
Plymouth, Washington, and New Bern, in North Carolina; Beaufort,
Folly and Morris Islands, Hilton Head, Fort Pulaski, and Port
Royal, in South Carolina; Fernandina and St. Augustine, in
Florida. Key West and Pensacola were also in our possession,
while all the important ports were blockaded by the navy. The
accompanying map, a copy of which was sent to General Sherman
and other commanders in March, 1864, shows by red lines the
territory occupied by us at the beginning of the rebellion, and
at the opening of the campaign of 1864, while those in blue are
the lines which it was proposed to occupy.

Behind the Union lines there were many bands of guerillas and a
large population disloyal to the government, making it necessary
to guard every foot of road or river used in supplying our
armies. In the South, a reign of military despotism prevailed,
which made every man and boy capable of bearing arms a soldier;
and those who could not bear arms in the field acted as provosts
for collecting deserters and returning them. This enabled the
enemy to bring almost his entire strength into the field.

The enemy had concentrated the bulk of his forces east of the
Mississippi into two armies, commanded by Generals R. E. Lee and
J. E. Johnston, his ablest and best generals. The army commanded
by Lee occupied the south bank of the Rapidan, extending from
Mine Run westward, strongly intrenched, covering and defending
Richmond, the rebel capital, against the Army of the Potomac.
The army under Johnston occupied a strongly intrenched position
at Dalton, Georgia, covering and defending Atlanta, Georgia, a
place of great importance as a railroad centre, against the
armies under Major-General W. T. Sherman. In addition to these
armies he had a large cavalry force under Forrest, in North-east
Mississippi; a considerable force, of all arms, in the Shenandoah
Valley, and in the western part of Virginia and extreme eastern
part of Tennessee; and also confronting our sea-coast garrisons,
and holding blockaded ports where we had no foothold upon land.

These two armies, and the cities covered and defended by them,
were the main objective points of the campaign.

Major-General W. T. Sherman, who was appointed to the command of
the Military Division of the Mississippi, embracing all the
armies and territory east of the Mississippi River to the
Alleghanies and the Department of Arkansas, west of the
Mississippi, had the immediate command of the armies operating
against Johnston.

Major-General George G. Meade had the immediate command of the
Army of the Potomac, from where I exercised general supervision
of the movements of all our armies.

General Sherman was instructed to move against Johnston's army,
to break it up, and to go into the interior of the enemy's
country as far as he could, inflicting all the damage he could
upon their war resources. If the enemy in his front showed
signs of joining Lee, to follow him up to the full extent of his
ability, while I would prevent the concentration of Lee upon him,
if it was in the power of the Army of the Potomac to do so. More
specific written instructions were not given, for the reason that
I had talked over with him the plans of the campaign, and was
satisfied that he understood them and would execute them to the
fullest extent possible.

Major-General N. P. Banks, then on an expedition up Red River
against Shreveport, Louisiana (which had been organized previous
to my appointment to command), was notified by me on the 15th of
March, of the importance it was that Shreveport should be taken
at the earliest possible day, and that if he found that the
taking of it would occupy from ten to fifteen days' more time
than General Sherman had given his troops to be absent from
their command, he would send them back at the time specified by
General Sherman, even if it led to the abandonment of the main
object of the Red River expedition, for this force was necessary
to movements east of the Mississippi; that should his expedition
prove successful, he would hold Shreveport and the Red River
with such force as he might deem necessary, and return the
balance of his troops to the neighborhood of New Orleans,
commencing no move for the further acquisition of territory,
unless it was to make that then held by him more easily held;
that it might be a part of the spring campaign to move against
Mobile; that it certainly would be, if troops enough could be
obtained to make it without embarrassing other movements; that
New Orleans would be the point of departure for such an
expedition; also, that I had directed General Steele to make a
real move from Arkansas, as suggested by him (General Banks),
instead of a demonstration, as Steele thought advisable.

On the 31st of March, in addition to the foregoing notification
and directions, he was instructed as follows:

"1st. If successful in your expedition against Shreveport, that
you turn over the defence of the Red River to General Steele and
the navy.

"2d. That you abandon Texas entirely, with the exception of
your hold upon the Rio Grande. This can be held with four
thousand men, if they will turn their attention immediately to
fortifying their positions. At least one-half of the force
required for this service might be taken from the colored troops.

"3d. By properly fortifying on the Mississippi River, the force
to guard it from Port Hudson to New Orleans can be reduced to ten
thousand men, if not to a less number. Six thousand more would
then hold all the rest of the territory necessary to hold until
active operations can again be resumed west of the river.
According to your last return, this would give you a force of
over thirty thousand effective men with which to move against
Mobile. To this I expect to add five thousand men from
Missouri. If however, you think the force here stated too small
to hold the territory regarded as necessary to hold possession
of, I would say concentrate at least twenty-five thousand men of
your present command for operations against Mobile. With these
and such additions as I can give you from elsewhere, lose no
time in making a demonstration, to be followed by an attack upon
Mobile. Two or more iron-clads will be ordered to report to
Admiral Farragut. This gives him a strong naval fleet with
which to co-operate. You can make your own arrangements with
the admiral for his co-operation, and select your own line of
approach. My own idea of the matter is that Pascagoula should
be your base; but, from your long service in the Gulf
Department, you will know best about the matter. It is intended
that your movements shall be co-operative with movements
elsewhere, and you cannot now start too soon. All I would now
add is, that you commence the concentration of your forces at
once. Preserve a profound secrecy of what you intend doing, and
start at the earliest possible moment.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

Major-General Meade was instructed that Lee's army would be his
objective point; that wherever Lee went he would go also. For
his movement two plans presented themselves: One to cross the
Rapidan below Lee, moving by his right flank; the other above,
moving by his left. Each presented advantages over the other,
with corresponding objections. By crossing above, Lee would be
cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond or going north on a
raid. But if we took this route, all we did would have to be
done whilst the rations we started with held out; besides, it
separated us from Butler, so that he could not be directed how
to cooperate. If we took the other route, Brandy Station could
be used as a base of supplies until another was secured on the
York or James rivers. Of these, however, it was decided to take
the lower route.

The following letter of instruction was addressed to
Major-General B. F. Butler:

"FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA, April 2, 1864.

"GENERAL:-In the spring campaign, which it is desirable shall
commence at as early a day as practicable, it is proposed to
have cooperative action of all the armies in the field, as far
as this object can be accomplished.

"It will not be possible to unite our armies into two or three
large ones to act as so many units, owing to the absolute
necessity of holding on to the territory already taken from the
enemy. But, generally speaking, concentration can be
practically effected by armies moving to the interior of the
enemy's country from the territory they have to guard. By such
movement, they interpose themselves between the enemy and the
country to be guarded, thereby reducing the number necessary to
guard important points, or at least occupy the attention of a
part of the enemy's force, if no greater object is gained. Lee's
army and Richmond being the greater objects towards which our
attention must be directed in the next campaign, it is desirable
to unite all the force we can against them. The necessity of
covering Washington with the Army of the Potomac, and of
covering your department with your army, makes it impossible to
unite these forces at the beginning of any move. I propose,
therefore, what comes nearest this of anything that seems
practicable: The Army of the Potomac will act from its present
base, Lee's army being the objective point. You will collect
all the forces from your command that can be spared from
garrison duty--I should say not less than twenty thousand
effective men--to operate on the south side of James River,
Richmond being your objective point. To the force you already
have will be added about ten thousand men from South Carolina,
under Major-General Gillmore, who will command them in person.
Major-General W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you, to
command the troops sent into the field from your own department.

"General Gillmore will be ordered to report to you at Fortress
Monroe, with all the troops on transports, by the 18th instant,
or as soon thereafter as practicable. Should you not receive
notice by that time to move, you will make such disposition of
them and your other forces as you may deem best calculated to
deceive the enemy as to the real move to be made.

"When you are notified to move, take City Point with as much
force as possible. Fortify, or rather intrench, at once, and
concentrate all your troops for the field there as rapidly as
you can. From City Point directions cannot be given at this
time for your further movements.

"The fact that has already been stated--that is, that Richmond
is to be your objective point, and that there is to be
co-operation between your force and the Army of the
Potomac--must be your guide. This indicates the necessity of
your holding close to the south bank of the James River as you
advance. Then, should the enemy be forced into his
intrenchments in Richmond, the Army of the Potomac would follow,
and by means of transports the two armies would become a unit.

"All the minor details of your advance are left entirely to your
direction. If, however, you think it practicable to use your
cavalry south of you, so as to cut the railroad about Hicksford,
about the time of the general advance, it would be of immense

"You will please forward for my information, at the earliest
practicable day, all orders, details, and instructions you may
give for the execution of this order.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

On the 16th these instructions were substantially reiterated. On
the 19th, in order to secure full co-operation between his army
and that of General Meade, he was informed that I expected him
to move from Fort Monroe the same day that General Meade moved
from Culpeper. The exact time I was to telegraph him as soon as
it was fixed, and that it would not be earlier than the 27th of
April; that it was my intention to fight Lee between Culpeper
and Richmond, if he would stand. Should he, however, fall back
into Richmond, I would follow up and make a junction with his
(General Butler's) army on the James River; that, could I be
certain he would be able to invest Richmond on the south side,
so as to have his left resting on the James, above the city, I
would form the junction there; that circumstances might make
this course advisable anyhow; that he should use every exertion
to secure footing as far up the south side of the river as he
could, and as soon as possible after the receipt of orders to
move; that if he could not carry the city, he should at least
detain as large a force there as possible.

In co-operation with the main movements against Lee and
Johnston, I was desirous of using all other troops necessarily
kept in departments remote from the fields of immediate
operations, and also those kept in the background for the
protection of our extended lines between the loyal States and
the armies operating against them.

A very considerable force, under command of Major-General Sigel,
was so held for the protection of West Virginia, and the
frontiers of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Whilst these troops
could not be withdrawn to distant fields without exposing the
North to invasion by comparatively small bodies of the enemy,
they could act directly to their front, and give better
protection than if lying idle in garrison. By such a movement
they would either compel the enemy to detach largely for the
protection of his supplies and lines of communication, or he
would lose them. General Sigel was therefore directed to
organize all his available force into two expeditions, to move
from Beverly and Charleston, under command of Generals Ord and
Crook, against the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.
Subsequently, General Ord having been relieved at his own
request, General Sigel was instructed at his own suggestion, to
give up the expedition by Beverly, and to form two columns, one
under General Crook, on the Kanawha, numbering about ten
thousand men, and one on the Shenandoah, numbering about seven
thousand men. The one on the Shenandoah to assemble between
Cumberland and the Shenandoah, and the infantry and artillery
advanced to Cedar Creek with such cavalry as could be made
available at the moment, to threaten the enemy in the Shenandoah
Valley, and advance as far as possible; while General Crook would
take possession of Lewisburg with part of his force and move down
the Tennessee Railroad, doing as much damage as he could,
destroying the New River Bridge and the salt-works, at
Saltville, Va.

Owing to the weather and bad condition of the roads, operations
were delayed until the 1st of May, when, everything being in
readiness and the roads favorable, orders were given for a
general movement of all the armies not later than the 4th of May.

My first object being to break the military power of the
rebellion, and capture the enemy's important strongholds, made
me desirous that General Butler should succeed in his movement
against Richmond, as that would tend more than anything else,
unless it were the capture of Lee's army, to accomplish this
desired result in the East. If he failed, it was my
determination, by hard fighting, either to compel Lee to
retreat, or to so cripple him that he could not detach a large
force to go north, and still retain enough for the defence of
Richmond. It was well understood, by both Generals Butler and
Meade, before starting on the campaign, that it was my intention
to put both their armies south of the James River, in case of
failure to destroy Lee without it.

Before giving General Butler his instructions, I visited him at
Fort Monroe, and in conversation pointed out the apparent
importance of getting possession of Petersburg, and destroying
railroad communication as far south as possible. Believing,
however, in the practicability of capturing Richmond unless it
was reinforced, I made that the objective point of his
operations. As the Army of the Potomac was to move
simultaneously with him, Lee could not detach from his army with
safety, and the enemy did not have troops elsewhere to bring to
the defence of the city in time to meet a rapid movement from
the north of James River.

I may here state that, commanding all the armies as I did, I
tried, as far as possible, to leave General Meade in independent
command of the Army of the Potomac. My instructions for that
army were all through him, and were general in their nature,
leaving all the details and the execution to him. The campaigns
that followed proved him to be the right man in the right
place. His commanding always in the presence of an officer
superior to him in rank, has drawn from him much of that public
attention that his zeal and ability entitle him to, and which he
would otherwise have received.

The movement of the Army of the Potomac commenced early on the
morning of the 4th of May, under the immediate direction and
orders of Major-General Meade, pursuant to instructions. Before
night, the whole army was across the Rapidan (the fifth and sixth
corps crossing at Germania Ford, and the second corps at Ely's
Ford, the cavalry, under Major-General Sheridan, moving in
advance,) with the greater part of its trains, numbering about
four thousand wagons, meeting with but slight opposition. The
average distance travelled by the troops that day was about
twelve miles. This I regarded as a great success, and it
removed from my mind the most serious apprehensions I had
entertained, that of crossing the river in the face of an
active, large, well-appointed, and ably commanded army, and how
so large a train was to be carried through a hostile country,
and protected. Early on the 5th, the advance corps (the fifth,
Major-General G. K. Warren commanding) met and engaged the enemy
outside his intrenchments near Mine Run. The battle raged
furiously all day, the whole army being brought into the fight
as fast as the corps could be got upon the field, which,
considering the density of the forest and narrowness of the
roads, was done with commendable promptness.

General Burnside, with the ninth corps, was, at the time the
Army of the Potomac moved, left with the bulk of his corps at
the crossing of the Rappahannock River and Alexandria Railroad,
holding the road back to Bull Run, with instructions not to move
until he received notice that a crossing of the Rapidan was
secured, but to move promptly as soon as such notice was
received. This crossing he was apprised of on the afternoon of
the 4th. By six o'clock of the morning of the 6th he was
leading his corps into action near the Wilderness Tavern, some
of his troops having marched a distance of over thirty miles,
crossing both the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. Considering
that a large proportion, probably two-thirds of his command, was
composed of new troops, unaccustomed to marches, and carrying the
accoutrements of a soldier, this was a remarkable march.

The battle of the Wilderness was renewed by us at five o'clock
on the morning of the 6th, and continued with unabated fury
until darkness set in, each army holding substantially the same
position that they had on the evening of the 5th. After dark,
the enemy made a feeble attempt to turn our right flank,
capturing several hundred prisoners and creating considerable
confusion. But the promptness of General Sedgwick, who was
personally present and commanded that part of our line, soon
reformed it and restored order. On the morning of the 7th,
reconnoissances showed that the enemy had fallen behind his
intrenched lines, with pickets to the front, covering a part of
the battle-field. From this it was evident to my mind that the
two days' fighting had satisfied him of his inability to further
maintain the contest in the open field, notwithstanding his
advantage of position, and that he would wait an attack behind
his works. I therefore determined to push on and put my whole
force between him and Richmond; and orders were at once issued
for a movement by his right flank. On the night of the 7th, the
march was commenced towards Spottsylvania Court House, the fifth
corps moving on the most direct road. But the enemy having
become apprised of our movement, and having the shorter line,
was enabled to reach there first. On the 8th, General Warren
met a force of the enemy, which had been sent out to oppose and
delay his advance, to gain time to fortify the line taken up at
Spottsylvania. This force was steadily driven back on the main
force, within the recently constructed works, after considerable
fighting, resulting in severe loss to both sides. On the morning
of the 9th, General Sheridan started on a raid against the
enemy's lines of communication with Richmond. The 9th, 10th,
and 11th were spent in manoeuvring and fighting, without
decisive results. Among the killed on the 9th was that able and
distinguished soldier Major-General John Sedgwick, commanding the
sixth army corps. Major-General H. G. Wright succeeded him in
command. Early on the morning of the 12th a general attack was
made on the enemy in position. The second corps, Major-General
Hancock commanding, carried a salient of his line, capturing
most of Johnson's division of Ewell's corps and twenty pieces of
artillery. But the resistance was so obstinate that the
advantage gained did not prove decisive. The 13th, 14th, 15th,
16th, 17th, and 18th, were consumed in manoeuvring and awaiting
the arrival of reinforcements from Washington. Deeming it
impracticable to make any further attack upon the enemy at
Spottsylvania Court House, orders were issued on the 15th with a
view to a movement to the North Anna, to commence at twelve
o'clock on the night of the 19th. Late in the afternoon of the
19th, Ewell's corps came out of its works on our extreme right
flank; but the attack was promptly repulsed, with heavy loss.
This delayed the movement to the North Anna until the night of
the 21st, when it was commenced. But the enemy again, having
the shorter line, and being in possession of the main roads, was
enabled to reach the North Anna in advance of us, and took
position behind it. The fifth corps reached the North Anna on
the afternoon of the 23d, closely followed by the sixth corps.
The second and ninth corps got up about the same time, the
second holding the railroad bridge, and the ninth lying between
that and Jericho Ford. General Warren effected a crossing the
same afternoon, and got a position without much opposition. Soon
after getting into position he was violently attacked, but
repulsed the enemy with great slaughter. On the 25th, General
Sheridan rejoined the Army of the Potomac from the raid on which
he started from Spottsylvania, having destroyed the depots at
Beaver Dam and Ashland stations, four trains of cars, large
supplies of rations, and many miles of railroad-track;
recaptured about four hundred of our men on their way to
Richmond as prisoners of war; met and defeated the enemy's
cavalry at Yellow Tavern; carried the first line of works around
Richmond (but finding the second line too strong to be carried by
assault), recrossed to the north bank of the Chickahominy at
Meadow Bridge under heavy fire, and moved by a detour to
Haxall's Landing, on the James River, where he communicated with
General Butler. This raid had the effect of drawing off the
whole of the enemy's cavalry force, making it comparatively easy
to guard our trains.

General Butler moved his main force up the James River, in
pursuance of instructions, on the 4th of May, General Gillmore
having joined him with the tenth corps. At the same time he
sent a force of one thousand eight hundred cavalry, by way of
West Point, to form a junction with him wherever he might get a
foothold, and a force of three thousand cavalry, under General
Kautz, from Suffolk, to operate against the road south of
Petersburg and Richmond. On the 5th, he occupied, without
opposition, both City Point and Bermuda Hundred, his movement
being a complete surprise. On the 6th, he was in position with
his main army, and commenced intrenching. On the 7th he made a
reconnoissance against the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad,
destroying a portion of it after some fighting. On the 9th he
telegraphed as follows:

May 9, 1864.

"HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

"Our operations may be summed up in a few words. With one
thousand seven hundred cavalry we have advanced up the
Peninsula, forced the Chickahominy, and have safely, brought
them to their present position. These were colored cavalry, and
are now holding our advance pickets towards Richmond.

"General Kautz, with three thousand cavalry from Suffolk, on the
same day with our movement up James River, forced the Black
Water, burned the railroad bridge at Stony Creek, below
Petersburg, cutting into Beauregard's force at that point.

"We have landed here, intrenched ourselves, destroyed many miles
of railroad, and got a position which, with proper supplies, we
can hold out against the whole of Lee's army. I have ordered up
the supplies.

"Beauregard, with a large portion of his force, was left south
by the cutting of the railroads by Kautz. That portion which
reached Petersburg under Hill I have whipped to-day, killing and
wounding many, and taking many prisoners, after a severe and
well-contested fight.

"General Grant will not be troubled with any further
reinforcements to Lee from Beauregard's force.

"BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General."

On the evening of the 13th and morning of the 14th he carried a
portion of the enemy's first line of defences at Drury's Bluff,
or Fort Darling, with small loss. The time thus consumed from
the 6th lost to us the benefit of the surprise and capture of
Richmond and Petersburg, enabling, as it did, Beauregard to
collect his loose forces in North and South Carolina, and bring
them to the defence of those places. On the 16th, the enemy
attacked General Butler in his position in front of Drury's
Bluff. He was forced back, or drew back, into his intrenchments
between the forks of the James and Appomattox rivers, the enemy
intrenching strongly in his front, thus covering his railroads,
the city, and all that was valuable to him. His army,
therefore, though in a position of great security, was as
completely shut off from further operations directly against
Richmond as if it had been in a bottle strongly corked. It
required but a comparatively small force of the enemy to hold it

On the 12th, General Kautz, with his cavalry, was started on a
raid against the Danville Railroad, which he struck at
Coalfield, Powhatan, and Chula Stations, destroying them, the
railroad-track, two freight trains, and one locomotive, together
with large quantities of commissary and other stores; thence,
crossing to the South Side Road, struck it at Wilson's,
Wellsville, and Black's and White's Stations, destroying the
road and station-houses; thence he proceeded to City Point,
which he reached on the 18th.

On the 19th of April, and prior to the movement of General
Butler, the enemy, with a land force under General Hoke and an
iron-clad ram, attacked Plymouth, N. C., commanded by General H.
W. Wessells, and our gunboats there, and, after severe fighting,
the place was carried by assault, and the entire garrison and
armament captured. The gunboat Smithfield was sunk, and the
Miami disabled.

The army sent to operate against Richmond having hermetically
sealed itself up at Bermuda Hundred, the enemy was enabled to
bring the most, if not all, the reinforcements brought from the
south by Beauregard against the Army of the Potomac. In addition
to this reinforcement, a very considerable one, probably not less
than fifteen thousand men, was obtained by calling in the
scattered troops under Breckinridge from the western part of

The position of Bermuda Hundred was as easy to defend as it was
difficult to operate from against the enemy. I determined,
therefore, to bring from it all available forces, leaving enough
only to secure what had been gained; and accordingly, on the 22d,
I directed that they be sent forward, under command of
Major-General W. F. Smith, to join the Army of the Potomac.

On the 24th of May, the 9th army corps, commanded by
Major-General A. E. Burnside, was assigned to the Army of the
Potomac, and from this time forward constituted a portion of
Major-General Meade's command.

Finding the enemy's position on the North Anna stronger than
either of his previous ones, I withdrew on the night of the 26th
to the north bank of the North Anna, and moved via Hanover Town
to turn the enemy's position by his right.

Generals Torbert's and Merritt's divisions of cavalry, under
Sheridan, and the 6th corps, led the advance, crossed the
Pamunkey River at Hanover Town, after considerable fighting, and
on the 28th the two divisions of cavalry had a severe, but
successful engagement with the enemy at Hawes's Shop. On the
29th and 30th we advanced, with heavy skirmishing, to the
Hanover Court House and Cold Harbor Road, and developed the
enemy's position north of the Chickahominy. Late on the evening
of the last day the enemy came out and attacked our left, but was
repulsed with very considerable loss. An attack was immediately
ordered by General Meade, along his whole line, which resulted
in driving the enemy from a part of his intrenched skirmish line.

On the 31st, General Wilson's division of cavalry destroyed the
railroad bridges over the South Anna River, after defeating the
enemy's cavalry. General Sheridan, on the same day, reached
Cold Harbor, and held it until relieved by the 6th corps and
General Smith's command, which had just arrived, via White
House, from General Butler's army.

On the 1st day of June an attack was made at five P.M. by the
6th corps and the troops under General Smith, the other corps
being held in readiness to advance on the receipt of orders.
This resulted in our carrying and holding the enemy's first line
of works in front of the right of the 6th corps, and in front of
General Smith. During the attack the enemy made repeated
assaults on each of the corps not engaged in the main attack,
but was repulsed with heavy loss in every instance. That night
he made several assaults to regain what he had lost in the day,
but failed. The 2d was spent in getting troops into position
for an attack on the 3d. On the 3d of June we again assaulted
the enemy's works, in the hope of driving him from his
position. In this attempt our loss was heavy, while that of the
enemy, I have reason to believe, was comparatively light. It was
the only general attack made from the Rapidan to the James which
did not inflict upon the enemy losses to compensate for our own
losses. I would not be understood as saying that all previous
attacks resulted in victories to our arms, or accomplished as
much as I had hoped from them; but they inflicted upon the enemy
severe losses, which tended, in the end, to the complete
overthrow of the rebellion.

From the proximity of the enemy to his defences around Richmond,
it was impossible, by any flank movement, to interpose between
him and the city. I was still in a condition to either move by
his left flank, and invest Richmond from the north side, or
continue my move by his right flank to the south side of the
James. While the former might have been better as a covering
for Washington, yet a full survey of all the ground satisfied me
that it would be impracticable to hold a line north and east of
Richmond that would protect the Fredericksburg Railroad, a long,
vulnerable line, which would exhaust much of our strength to
guard, and that would have to be protected to supply the army,
and would leave open to the enemy all his lines of communication
on the south side of the James. My idea, from the start, had
been to beat Lee's army north of Richmond, if possible. Then,
after destroying his lines of communication north 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. After
the battle of the Wilderness, it was evident that the enemy
deemed it of the first importance to run no risks with the army
he then had. He acted purely on the defensive, behind
breastworks, or feebly on the offensive immediately in front of
them, and where, in case of repulse, he could easily retire
behind them. Without a greater sacrifice of life than I was
willing to make, all could not be accomplished that I had
designed north of Richmond. I therefore determined to continue
to hold substantially the ground we then occupied, taking
advantage of any favorable circumstances that might present
themselves, until the cavalry could be sent to Charlottesville
and Gordonsville to effectually break up the railroad connection
between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg; and
when the cavalry got well off, to move the army to the south
side of the James River, by the enemy's right flank, where I
felt I could cut off all his sources of supply, except by the

On the 7th, two divisions of cavalry, under General Sheridan,
got off on the expedition against the Virginia Central Railroad,
with instructions to Hunter, whom I hoped he would meet near
Charlottesville, to join his forces to Sheridan's, and after the
work laid out for them was thoroughly done, to join the Army of
the Potomac by the route laid down in Sheridan's instructions.

On the 10th of June, General Butler sent a force of infantry,
under General Gillmore, and of cavalry under General Kautz, to
capture Petersburg, if possible, and destroy the railroad and
common bridges across the Appomattox. The cavalry carried the
works on the south side, and penetrated well in towards the
town, but were forced to retire. General Gillmore, finding the
works which he approached very strong, and deeming an assault
impracticable, returned to Bermuda Hundred without attempting

Attaching great importance to the possession of Petersburg, I
sent back to Bermuda Hundred and City Point, General Smith's
command by water, via the White House, to reach there in advance
of the Army of the Potomac. This was for the express purpose of
securing Petersburg before the enemy, becoming aware of our
intention, could reinforce the place.

The movement from Cold Harbor commenced after dark on the
evening of the 12th. One division of cavalry, under General
Wilson, and the 5th corps, crossed the Chickahominy at Long
Bridge, and moved out to White Oak Swamp, to cover the crossings
of the other corps. The advance corps reached James River, at
Wilcox's Landing and Charles City Court House, on the night of
the 13th.

During three long years the Armies of the Potomac and Northern
Virginia had been confronting each other. In that time they had
fought more desperate battles than it probably ever before fell
to the lot of two armies to fight, without materially changing
the vantage ground of either. The Southern press and people,
with more shrewdness than was displayed in the North, finding
that they had failed to capture Washington and march on to New
York, as they had boasted they would do, assumed that they only
defended their Capital and Southern territory. Hence, Antietam,
Gettysburg, and all the other battles that had been fought, were
by them set down as failures on our part, and victories for
them. Their army believed this. It produced a morale which
could only be overcome by desperate and continuous hard
fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North
Anna and Cold Harbor, bloody and terrible as they were on our
side, were even more damaging to the enemy, and so crippled him
as to make him wary ever after of taking the offensive. His
losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the fact that
we were, save in the Wilderness, almost invariably the attacking
party; and when he did attack, it was in the open field. The
details of these battles, which for endurance and bravery on the
part of the soldiery, have rarely been surpassed, are given in
the report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate reports
accompanying it.

During the campaign of forty-three days, from the Rapidan to the
James River, the army had to be supplied from an ever-shifting
base, by wagons, over narrow roads, through a densely wooded
country, with a lack of wharves at each new base from which to
conveniently discharge vessels. Too much credit cannot,
therefore, be awarded to the quartermaster and commissary
departments for the zeal and efficiency displayed by them. Under
the general supervision of the chief quartermaster,
Brigadier-General R. Ingalls, the trains were made to occupy all
the available roads between the army and our water-base, and but
little difficulty was experienced in protecting them.

The movement in the Kanawha and Shenandoah valleys, under
General Sigel, commenced on the 1st of May. General Crook, who
had the immediate command of the Kanawha expedition, divided his
forces into two columns, giving one, composed of cavalry, to
General Averell. They crossed the mountains by separate routes.
Averell struck the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, near
Wytheville, on the 10th, and proceeding to New River and
Christiansburg, destroyed the road, several important bridges
and depots, including New River Bridge, forming a junction with
Crook at Union on the 15th. General Sigel moved up the
Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy at New Market on the 15th, and,
after a severe engagement, was defeated with heavy loss, and
retired behind Cedar Creek. Not regarding the operations of
General Sigel as satisfactory, I asked his removal from command,
and Major-General Hunter appointed to supersede him. His
instructions were embraced in the following dispatches to
Major-General H. W. Halleck, chief of staff of the army:

"May 20, 1864.

* * * * * * *
"The enemy are evidently relying for supplies greatly on such as
are brought over the branch road running through Staunton. On
the whole, therefore, I think it would be better for General
Hunter to move in that direction; reach Staunton and
Gordonsville or Charlottesville, if he does not meet too much
opposition. If he can hold at bay a force equal to his own, he
will be doing good service. * * *

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

"JERICHO FORD, VA., May 25, 1864.

"If Hunter can possibly get to Charlottesville and Lynchburg, he
should do so, living on the country. The railroads and canal
should be destroyed beyond possibility of repairs for weeks.
Completing this, he could find his way back to his original
base, or from about Gordonsville join this army.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

General Hunter immediately took up the offensive, and, moving up
the Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy on the 5th of June at
Piedmont, and, after a battle of ten hours, routed and defeated
him, capturing on the field of battle one thousand five hundred
men, three pieces of artillery, and three hundred stand of small
arms. On the 8th of the same month he formed a junction with
Crook and Averell at Staunton, from which place he moved direct
on Lynchburg, via Lexington, which place he reached and invested
on the 16th day of June. Up to this time he was very successful;
and but for the difficulty of taking with him sufficient ordnance
stores over so long a march, through a hostile country, he would,
no doubt, have captured that, to the enemy important, point. The
destruction of the enemy's supplies and manufactories was very
great. To meet this movement under General Hunter, General Lee
sent a force, perhaps equal to a corps, a part of which reached
Lynchburg a short time before Hunter. After some skirmishing on
the 17th and 18th, General Hunter, owing to a want of ammunition
to give battle, retired from before the place. Unfortunately,
this want of ammunition left him no choice of route for his
return but by way of Kanawha. This lost to us the use of his
troops for several weeks from the defence of the North.

Had General Hunter moved by way of Charlottesville, instead of
Lexington, as his instructions contemplated, he would have been
in a position to have covered the Shenandoah Valley against the
enemy, should the force he met have seemed to endanger it. If
it did not, he would have been within easy distance of the James
River Canal, on the main line of communication between Lynchburg
and the force sent for its defence. I have never taken
exception to the operations of General Hunter, and am not now
disposed to find fault with him, for I have no doubt he acted
within what he conceived to be the spirit of his instructions
and the interests of the service. The promptitude of his
movements and his gallantry should entitle him to the
commendation of his country.

To return to the Army of the Potomac: The 2d corps commenced
crossing the James River on the morning of the 14th by
ferry-boats at Wilcox's Landing. The laying of the pontoon-
bridge was completed about midnight of the 14th, and the
crossing of the balance of the army was rapidly pushed forward
by both bridge and ferry.

After the crossing had commenced, I proceeded by steamer to
Bermuda Hundred to give the necessary orders for the immediate
capture of Petersburg.

The instructions to General Butler were verbal, and were for him
to send General Smith immediately, that night, with all the
troops he could give him without sacrificing the position he
then held. I told him that I would return at once to the Army
of the Potomac, hasten its crossing and throw it forward to
Petersburg by divisions as rapidly as it could be done, that we
could reinforce our armies more rapidly there than the enemy
could bring troops against us. General Smith got off as
directed, and confronted the enemy's pickets near Petersburg
before daylight next morning, but for some reason that I have
never been able to satisfactorily understand, did not get ready
to assault his main lines until near sundown. Then, with a part
of his command only, he made the assault, and carried the lines
north-east of Petersburg from the Appomattox River, for a
distance of over two and a half miles, capturing fifteen pieces
of artillery and three hundred prisoners. This was about seven
P.M. Between the line thus captured and Petersburg there were no
other works, and there was no evidence that the enemy had
reinforced Petersburg with a single brigade from any source. The
night was clear the moon shining brightly and favorable to
further operations. General Hancock, with two divisions of the
2d corps, reached General Smith just after dark, and offered the
service of these troops as he (Smith) might wish, waiving rank to
the named commander, who he naturally supposed knew best the
position of affairs, and what to do with the troops. But
instead of taking these troops and pushing at once into
Petersburg, he requested General Hancock to relieve a part of
his line in the captured works, which was done before midnight.

By the time I arrived the next morning the enemy was in force.
An attack was ordered to be made at six o'clock that evening by
the troops under Smith and the 2d and 9th corps. It required
until that time for the 9th corps to get up and into position.
The attack was made as ordered, and the fighting continued with
but little intermission until six o'clock the next morning, and
resulted in our carrying the advance and some of the main works
of the enemy to the right (our left) of those previously
captured by General Smith, several pieces of artillery, and over
four hundred prisoners.

The 5th corps having got up, the attacks were renewed and
persisted in with great vigor on the 17th and 18th, but only
resulted in forcing the enemy into an interior line, from which
he could not be dislodged. The advantages of position gained by
us were very great. The army then proceeded to envelop
Petersburg towards the South Side Railroad as far as possible
without attacking fortifications.

On the 16th the enemy, to reinforce Petersburg, withdrew from a
part of his intrenchment in front of Bermuda Hundred, expecting,
no doubt, to get troops from north of the James to take the place
of those withdrawn before we could discover it. General Butler,
taking advantage of this, at once moved a force on the railroad
between Petersburg and Richmond. As soon as I was apprised of
the advantage thus gained, to retain it I ordered two divisions
of the 6th corps, General Wright commanding, that were embarking
at Wilcox's Landing, under orders for City Point, to report to
General Butler at Bermuda Hundred, of which General Butler was
notified, and the importance of holding a position in advance of
his present line urged upon him.

About two o'clock in the afternoon General Butler was forced
back to the line the enemy had withdrawn from in the morning.
General Wright, with his two divisions, joined General Butler on
the forenoon of the 17th, the latter still holding with a strong
picket-line the enemy's works. But instead of putting these
divisions into the enemy's works to hold them, he permitted them
to halt and rest some distance in the rear of his own line.
Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon the enemy
attacked and drove in his pickets and re-occupied his old line.

On the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st a lodgment was
effected by General Butler, with one brigade of infantry, on the
north bank of the James, at Deep Bottom, and connected by
pontoon-bridge with Bermuda Hundred.

On the 19th, General Sheridan, on his return from his expedition
against the Virginia Central Railroad, arrived at the White House
just as the enemy's cavalry was about to attack it, and compelled
it to retire. The result of this expedition was, that General
Sheridan met the enemy's cavalry near Trevilian Station, on the
morning of the 11th of June, whom he attacked, and after an
obstinate contest drove from the field in complete rout. He
left his dead and nearly all his wounded in our hands, and about
four hundred prisoners and several hundred horses. On the 12th
he destroyed the railroad from Trevilian Station to Louisa Court
House. This occupied until three o'clock P.M., when he advanced
in the direction of Gordonsville. He found the enemy reinforced
by infantry, behind well-constructed rifle-pits, about five miles
from the latter place and too strong to successfully assault. On
the extreme right, however, his reserve brigade carried the
enemy's works twice, and was twice driven therefrom by
infantry. Night closed the contest. Not having sufficient
ammunition to continue the engagement, and his animals being
without forage (the country furnishing but inferior grazing),
and hearing nothing from General Hunter, he withdrew his command
to the north side of the North Anna, and commenced his return
march, reaching White House at the time before stated. After
breaking up the depot at that place, he moved to the James
River, which he reached safely after heavy fighting. He
commenced crossing on the 25th, near Fort Powhatan, without
further molestation, and rejoined the Army of the Potomac.

On the 22d, General Wilson, with his own division of cavalry of
the Army of the Potomac, and General Kautz's division of cavalry
of the Army of the James moved against the enemy's railroads
south of Richmond. Striking the Weldon Railroad at Reams's
Station, destroying the depot and several miles of the road, and
the South Side road about fifteen miles from Petersburg, to near
Nottoway Station, where he met and defeated a force of the
enemy's cavalry. He reached Burkesville Station on the
afternoon of the 23d, and from there destroyed the Danville
Railroad to Roanoke Bridge, a distance of twenty-five miles,
where he found the enemy in force, and in a position from which
he could not dislodge him. He then commenced his return march,
and on the 28th met the enemy's cavalry in force at the Weldon
Railroad crossing of Stony Creek, where he had a severe but not
decisive engagement. Thence he made a detour from his left with
a view of reaching Reams's Station (supposing it to be in our
possession). At this place he was met by the enemy's cavalry,
supported by infantry, and forced to retire, with the loss of
his artillery and trains. In this last encounter, General
Kautz, with a part of his command, became separated, and made
his way into our lines. General Wilson, with the remainder of
his force, succeeded in crossing the Nottoway River and coming
in safely on our left and rear. The damage to the enemy in this
expedition more than compensated for the losses we sustained. It
severed all connection by railroad with Richmond for several

With a view of cutting the enemy's railroad from near Richmond
to the Anna rivers, and making him wary of the situation of his
army in the Shenandoah, and, in the event of failure in this, to
take advantage of his necessary withdrawal of troops from
Petersburg, to explode a mine that had been prepared in front of
the 9th corps and assault the enemy's lines at that place, on the
night of the 26th of July the 2d corps and two divisions of the
cavalry corps and Kautz's cavalry were crossed to the north bank
of the James River and joined the force General Butler had
there. On the 27th the enemy was driven from his intrenched
position, with the loss of four pieces of artillery. On the
28th our lines were extended from Deep Bottom to New Market
Road, but in getting this position were attacked by the enemy in
heavy force. The fighting lasted for several hours, resulting in
considerable loss to both sides. The first object of this move
having failed, by reason of the very large force thrown there by
the enemy, I determined to take advantage of the diversion made,
by assaulting Petersburg before he could get his force back
there. One division of the 2d corps was withdrawn on the night
of the 28th, and moved during the night to the rear of the 18th
corps, to relieve that corps in the line, that it might be
foot-loose in the assault to be made. The other two divisions
of the 2d corps and Sheridan's cavalry were crossed over on the
night of the 29th and moved in front of Petersburg. On the
morning of the 30th, between four and five o'clock, the mine was
sprung, blowing up a battery and most of a regiment, and the
advance of the assaulting column, formed of the 9th corps,
immediately took possession of the crater made by the explosion,
and the line for some distance to the right and left of it, and a
detached line in front of it, but for some cause failed to
advance promptly to the ridge beyond. Had they done this, I
have every reason to believe that Petersburg would have
fallen. Other troops were immediately pushed forward, but the
time consumed in getting them up enabled the enemy to rally from
his surprise (which had been complete), and get forces to this
point for its defence. The captured line thus held being
untenable, and of no advantage to us, the troops were withdrawn,
but not without heavy loss. Thus terminated in disaster what
promised to be the most successful assault of the campaign.

Immediately upon the enemy's ascertaining that General Hunter
was retreating from Lynchburg by way of the Kanawha River, thus
laying the Shenandoah Valley open for raid into Maryland and
Pennsylvania, he returned northward and moved down that
valley. As soon as this movement of the enemy was ascertained,
General Hunter, who had reached the Kanawha River, was directed
to move his troops without delay, by river and railroad, to
Harper's Ferry; but owing to the difficulty of navigation by
reason of low water and breaks in the railroad, great delay was
experienced in getting there. It became necessary, therefore,
to find other troops to check this movement of the enemy. For
this purpose the 6th corps was taken from the armies operating
against Richmond, to which was added the 19th corps, then
fortunately beginning to arrive in Hampton Roads from the Gulf
Department, under orders issued immediately after the
ascertainment of the result of the Red River expedition. The
garrisons of Baltimore and Washington were at this time made up
of heavy-artillery regiments, hundred days' men, and detachments
from the invalid corps. One division under command of General
Ricketts, of the 6th corps, was sent to Baltimore, and the
remaining two divisions of the 6th corps, under General Wright,
were subsequently sent to Washington. On the 3d of July the
enemy approached Martinsburg. General Sigel, who was in command
of our forces there, retreated across the Potomac at
Shepherdtown; and General Weber, commanding at Harper's Ferry,
crossed the occupied Hagerstown, moving a strong column towards
Frederick City. General Wallace, with Rickett's division and
his own command, the latter mostly new and undisciplined troops,
pushed out from Baltimore with great promptness, and met the
enemy in force on the Monocacy, near the crossing of the
railroad bridge. His force was not sufficient to insure
success, but he fought the enemy nevertheless, and although it
resulted in a defeat to our arms, yet it detained the enemy, and
thereby served to enable General Wright to reach Washington with
two division of the 6th corps, and the advance of the 19th
corps, before him. From Monocacy the enemy moved on Washington,
his cavalry advance reaching Rockville on the evening of the
10th. On the 12th a reconnoissance was thrown out in front of
Fort Stevens, to ascertain the enemy's position and force. A
severe skirmish ensued, in which we lost about two hundred and
eighty in killed and wounded. The enemy's loss was probably
greater. He commenced retreating during the night. Learning
the exact condition of affairs at Washington, I requested by
telegraph, at forty-five minutes past eleven P.M., on the 12th,
the assignment of Major-General H. G. Wright to the command of
all the troops that could be made available to operate in the
field against the enemy, and directed that he should get outside
of the trenches with all the force he could, and push Early to
the last moment. General Wright commenced the pursuit on the
13th; on the 18th the enemy was overtaken at Snicker's Ferry, on
the Shenandoah, when a sharp skirmish occurred; and on the 20th,
General Averell encountered and defeated a portion of the rebel
army at Winchester, capturing four pieces of artillery and
several hundred prisoners.

Learning that Early was retreating south towards Lynchburg or
Richmond, I directed that the 6th and 19th corps be got back to
the armies operating against Richmond, so that they might be
used in a movement against Lee before the return of the troops
sent by him into the valley; and that Hunter should remain in
the Shenandoah Valley, keeping between any force of the enemy
and Washington, acting on the defensive as much as possible. I
felt that if the enemy had any notion of returning, the fact
would be developed before the 6th and 19th corps could leave
Washington. Subsequently, the 19th corps was excepted form the
order to return to the James.

About the 25th it became evident that the enemy was again
advancing upon Maryland and Pennsylvania, and the 6th corps,
then at Washington, was ordered back to the vicinity of Harper's
Ferry. The rebel force moved down the valley, and sent a raiding
party into Pennsylvania which on the 30th burned Chambersburg,
and then retreated, pursued by our cavalry, towards
Cumberland. They were met and defeated by General Kelley, and
with diminished numbers escaped into the mountains of West
Virginia. From the time of the first raid the telegraph wires
were frequently down between Washington and City Point, making
it necessary to transmit messages a part of the way by boat. It
took from twenty-four to thirty-six hours to get dispatches
through and return answers would be received showing a
different state of facts from those on which they were based,
causing confusion and apparent contradiction of orders that must
have considerably embarrassed those who had to execute them, and
rendered operations against the enemy less effective than they
otherwise would have been. To remedy this evil, it was evident
to my mind that some person should have the supreme command of
all the forces in the Department of West Virginia, Washington,
Susquehanna, and the Middle Department, and I so recommended.

On the 2d of August, I ordered General Sheridan to report in
person to Major-General Halleck, chief of staff, at Washington,
with a view to his assignment to the command of all the forces
against Early. At this time the enemy was concentrated in the
neighborhood of Winchester, while our forces, under General
Hunter, were concentrated on the Monocacy, at the crossing of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, leaving open to the enemy
Western Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania. From where I was, I
hesitated to give positive orders for the movement of our forces
at Monocacy, lest by so doing I should expose Washington.
Therefore, on the 4th, I left City Point to visit Hunter's
command, and determine for myself what was best to be done. On
arrival there, and after consultation with General Hunter, I
issued to him the following instructions:

August 5, 1864--8 P.M.

"GENERAL:--Concentrate all your available force without delay in
the vicinity of Harper's Ferry, leaving only such railroad guards
and garrisons for public property as may be necessary. Use, in
this concentrating, the railroad, if by so doing time can be
saved. From Harper's Ferry, if it is found that the enemy has
moved north of the Potomac in large force, push north, following
him and attacking him wherever found; follow him, if driven south
of the Potomac, as long as it is safe to do so. If it is
ascertained that the enemy has but a small force north of the
Potomac, then push south with the main force, detaching under a
competent commander, a sufficient force to look after the
raiders, and drive them to their homes. In detaching such a
force, the brigade of the cavalry now en route from Washington
via Rockville may be taken into account.

"There are now on their way to join you three other brigades of
the best cavalry, numbering at least five thousand men and
horses. These will be instructed, in the absence of further
orders, to join you by the south side of the Potomac. One
brigade will probably start to-morrow. In pushing up the
Shenandoah Valley, where it is expected you will have to go
first or last, it is desirable that nothing should be left to
invite the enemy to return. Take all provisions, forage, and
stock wanted for the use of your command; such as cannot be
consumed, destroy. It is not desirable that the buildings
should be destroyed--they should rather be protected; but the
people should be informed that, so long as an army can subsist
among them, recurrence of theses raids must be expected, and we
are determined to stop them at all hazards.

"Bear in mind, the object is to drive the enemy south; and to do
this you want to keep him always in sight. Be guided in your
course by the course he takes.

"Make your own arrangements for supplies of all kinds, giving
regular vouchers for such as may be taken from loyal citizens in
the country through which you march.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

The troops were immediately put in motion, and the advance
reached Halltown that night.

General Hunter having, in our conversation, expressed a
willingness to be relieved from command, I telegraphed to have
General Sheridan, then at Washington, sent to Harper's Ferry by
the morning train, with orders to take general command of all
the troops in the field, and to call on General Hunter at
Monocacy, who would turn over to him my letter of
instructions. I remained at Monocacy until General Sheridan
arrived, on the morning of the 6th, and, after a conference with
him in relation to military affairs in that vicinity, I returned
to City Point by way of Washington.

On the 7th of August, the Middle Department, and the Departments
of West Virginia, Washington, and Susquehanna, were constituted
into the "Middle Military Division," and Major-General Sheridan
was assigned to temporary command of the same.

Two divisions of cavalry, commanded by Generals Torbert and
Wilson, were sent to Sheridan from the Army of the Potomac. The
first reached him at Harper's Ferry about the 11th of August.

His operations during the month of August and the fore part of
September were both of an offensive and defensive character,
resulting in many severe skirmishes, principally by the cavalry,
in which we were generally successful, but no general engagement
took place. The two armies lay in such a position--the enemy on
the west bank of the Opequon Creek covering Winchester, and our
forces in front of Berryville--that either could bring on a
battle at any time. Defeat to us would lay open to the enemy
the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania for long distances
before another army could be interposed to check him. Under
these circumstances I hesitated about allowing the initiative to
be taken. Finally, the use of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,
and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which were both obstructed by
the enemy, became so indispensably necessary to us, and the
importance of relieving Pennsylvania and Maryland from
continuously threatened invasion so great, that I determined the
risk should be taken. But fearing to telegraph the order for an
attack without knowing more than I did of General Sheridan's
feelings as to what would be the probable result, I left City
Point on the 15th of September to visit him at his headquarters,
to decide, after conference with him, what should be done. I met
him at Charlestown, and he pointed out so distinctly how each
army lay; what he could do the moment he was authorized, and
expressed such confidence of success, that I saw there were but
two words of instructions necessary--Go in! For the
conveniences of forage, the teams for supplying the army were
kept at Harper's Ferry. I asked him if he could get out his
teams and supplies in time to make an attack on the ensuing
Tuesday morning. His reply was, that he could before daylight
on Monday. He was off promptly to time, and I may here add,
that the result was such that I have never since deemed it
necessary to visit General Sheridan before giving him orders.

Early on the morning of the 19th, General Sheridan attacked
General Early at the crossing on the Opequon Creek, and after a
most sanguinary and bloody battle, lasting until five o'clock in
the evening, defeated him with heavy loss, carrying his entire
position from Opequon Creek to Winchester, capturing several
thousand prisoners and five pieces of artillery. The enemy
rallied, and made a stand in a strong position at Fisher's Hill,
where he was attacked, and again defeated with heavy loss on the
20th [22d]. Sheridan pursued him with great energy through
Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps of the Blue Ridge. After
stripping the upper valley of most of the supplies and
provisions for the rebel army, he returned to Strasburg, and
took position on the north side of Cedar Creek.

Having received considerable reinforcements, General Early again
returned to the valley, and, on the 9th of October, his cavalry
encountered ours near Strasburg, where the rebels were defeated,
with the loss of eleven pieces of artillery and three hundred and
fifty prisoners. On the night of the 18th, the enemy crossed the
mountains which separate the branches of the Shenandoah, forded
the North Fork, and early on the morning of the 19th, under
cover of the darkness and the fog, surprised and turned our left
flank, and captured the batteries which enfiladed our whole
line. Our troops fell back with heavy loss and in much
confusion, but were finally rallied between Middletown and
Newtown. At this juncture, General Sheridan, who was at
Winchester when the battle commenced arrived on the field,
arranged his lines just in time to repulse a heavy attack of the
enemy, and immediately assuming the offensive, he attacked in
turn with great vigor. The enemy was defeated with great
slaughter, and the loss of most of his artillery and trains, and
the trophies he had captured in the morning. The wreck of his
army escaped during the night, and fled in the direction of
Staunton and Lynchburg. Pursuit was made to Mount Jackson. Thus
ended this, the enemy's last attempt to invade the North via the
Shenandoah Valley. I was now enabled to return the 6th corps to
the Army of the Potomac, and to send one division from Sheridan's
army to the Army of the James, and another to Savannah, Georgia,
to hold Sherman's new acquisitions on the sea-coast, and thus
enable him to move without detaching from his force for that

Reports from various sources led me to believe that the enemy
had detached three divisions from Petersburg to reinforce Early
in the Shenandoah Valley. I therefore sent the 2d corps and
Gregg's division of cavalry, of the Army of the Potomac, and a
force of General Butler's army, on the night of the 13th of
August, to threaten Richmond from the north side of the James,
to prevent him from sending troops away, and, if possible, to
draw back those sent. In this move we captured six pieces of
artillery and several hundred prisoners, detained troops that
were under marching orders, and ascertained that but one
division (Kershaw's), of the three reputed detached, had gone.

The enemy having withdrawn heavily from Petersburg to resist
this movement, the 5th corps, General Warren commanding, was
moved out on the 18th, and took possession of the Weldon
Railroad. During the day he had considerable fighting. To
regain possession of the road, the enemy made repeated and
desperate assaults, but was each time repulsed with great
loss. On the night of the 20th, the troops on the north side of
the James were withdrawn, and Hancock and Gregg returned to the
front at Petersburg. On the 25th, the 2d corps and Gregg's
division of cavalry, while at Reams's Station destroying the
railroad, were attacked, and after desperate fighting, a part of
our line gave way, and five pieces of artillery fell into the
hands of the enemy.

By the 12th of September, a branch railroad was completed from
the City Point and Petersburg Railroad to the Weldon Railroad,
enabling us to supply, without difficulty, in all weather, the
army in front of Petersburg.

The extension of our lines across the Weldon Railroad compelled
the enemy to so extend his, that it seemed he could have but few
troops north of the James for the defence of Richmond. On the
night of the 28th, the 10th corps, Major-General Birney, and the
18th corps, Major-General Ord commanding, of General Butler's
army, were crossed to the north side of the James, and advanced
on the morning of the 29th, carrying the very strong
fortifications and intrenchments below Chaffin's Farm, known as
Fort Harrison, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery, and the
New Market Road and intrenchments. This success was followed up
by a gallant assault upon Fort Gilmer, immediately in front of
the Chaffin Farm fortifications, in which we were repulsed with
heavy loss. Kautz's cavalry was pushed forward on the road to
the right of this, supported by infantry, and reached the
enemy's inner line, but was unable to get further. The position
captured from the enemy was so threatening to Richmond, that I
determined to hold it. The enemy made several desperate
attempts to dislodge us, all of which were unsuccessful, and for
which he paid dearly. On the morning of the 30th, General Meade
sent out a reconnoissance with a view to attacking the enemy's
line, if it was found sufficiently weakened by withdrawal of
troops to the north side. In this reconnoissance we captured
and held the enemy's works near Poplar Spring Church. In the
afternoon, troops moving to get to the left of the point gained
were attacked by the enemy in heavy force, and compelled to fall
back until supported by the forces holding the captured works.
Our cavalry under Gregg was also attacked, but repulsed the
enemy with great loss.

On the 7th of October, the enemy attacked Kautz's cavalry north
of the James, and drove it back with heavy loss in killed,
wounded, and prisoners, and the loss of all the artillery eight
or nine pieces. This he followed up by an attack on our
intrenched infantry line, but was repulsed with severe
slaughter. On the 13th, a reconnoissance was sent out by
General Butler, with a view to drive the enemy from some new
works he was constructing, which resulted in very heavy loss to

On the 27th, the Army of the Potomac, leaving only sufficient
men to hold its fortified line, moved by the enemy's right
flank. The 2d corps, followed by two divisions of the 5th
corps, with the cavalry in advance and covering our left flank,
forced a passage of Hatcher's Run, and moved up the south side
of it towards the South Side Railroad, until the 2d corps and
part of the cavalry reached the Boydton Plank Road where it
crosses Hatcher's Run. At this point we were six miles distant
from the South Side Railroad, which I had hoped by this movement
to reach and hold. But finding that we had not reached the end
of the enemy's fortifications, and no place presenting itself
for a successful assault by which he might be doubled up and
shortened, I determined to withdraw to within our fortified
line. Orders were given accordingly. Immediately upon
receiving a report that General Warren had connected with
General Hancock, I returned to my headquarters. Soon after I
left the enemy moved out across Hatcher's Run, in the gap
between Generals Hancock and Warren, which was not closed as
reported, and made a desperate attack on General Hancock's right
and rear. General Hancock immediately faced his corps to meet
it, and after a bloody combat drove the enemy within his works,
and withdrew that night to his old position.

In support of this movement, General Butler made a demonstration
on the north side of the James, and attacked the enemy on the
Williamsburg Road, and also on the York River Railroad. In the
former he was unsuccessful; in the latter he succeeded in
carrying a work which was afterwards abandoned, and his forces
withdrawn to their former positions.

From this time forward the operations in front of Petersburg and
Richmond, until the spring campaign of 1865, were confined to the
defence and extension of our lines, and to offensive movements
for crippling the enemy's lines of communication, and to prevent
his detaching any considerable force to send south. By the 7th
of February, our lines were extended to Hatcher's Run, and the
Weldon Railroad had been destroyed to Hicksford.

General Sherman moved from Chattanooga on the 6th of May, with
the Armies of the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio, commanded,
respectively, by Generals Thomas McPherson, and Schofield, upon
Johnston's army at Dalton; but finding the enemy's position at
Buzzard's Roost, covering Dalton, too strong to be assaulted,
General McPherson was sent through Snake Gap to turn it, while
Generals Thomas and Schofield threatened it in front and on the
north. This movement was successful. Johnston, finding his
retreat likely to be cut off, fell back to his fortified
position at Resaca, where he was attacked on the afternoon of
May 15th. A heavy battle ensued. During the night the enemy
retreated south. Late on the 17th, his rear-guard was overtaken
near Adairsville, and heavy skirmishing followed. The next
morning, however, he had again disappeared. He was vigorously
pursued, and was overtaken at Cassville on the 19th, but during
the ensuing night retreated across the Etowah. While these
operations were going on, General Jefferson C. Davis's division
of Thomas's army was sent to Rome, capturing it with its forts
and artillery, and its valuable mills and foundries. General
Sherman, having give his army a few days' rest at this point,
again put it in motion on the 23d, for Dallas, with a view of
turning the difficult pass at Allatoona. On the afternoon of
the 25th, the advance, under General Hooker, had a severe battle
with the enemy, driving him back to New Hope Church, near
Dallas. Several sharp encounters occurred at this point. The
most important was on the 28th, when the enemy assaulted General
McPherson at Dallas, but received a terrible and bloody repulse.

On the 4th of June, Johnston abandoned his intrenched position
at New Hope Church, and retreated to the strong positions of
Kenesaw, Pine, and Lost mountains. He was forced to yield the
two last-named places, and concentrate his army on Kenesaw,
where, on the 27th, Generals Thomas and McPherson made a
determined but unsuccessful assault. On the night of the 2d of
July, Sherman commenced moving his army by the right flank, and
on the morning of the 3d, found that the enemy, in consequence
of this movement, had abandoned Kenesaw and retreated across the

General Sherman remained on the Chattahoochee to give his men
rest and get up stores until the 17th of July, when he resumed
his operations, crossed the Chattahoochee, destroyed a large
portion of the railroad to Augusta, and drove the enemy back to
Atlanta. At this place General Hood succeeded General Johnston
in command of the rebel army, and assuming the
offensive-defensive policy, made several severe attacks upon
Sherman in the vicinity of Atlanta, the most desperate and
determined of which was on the 22d of July. About one P.M. of
this day the brave, accomplished, and noble-hearted McPherson
was killed. General Logan succeeded him, and commanded the Army
of the Tennessee through this desperate battle, and until he was
superseded by Major-General Howard, on the 26th, with the same
success and ability that had characterized him in the command of
a corps or division.

In all these attacks the enemy was repulsed with great loss.
Finding it impossible to entirely invest the place, General
Sherman, after securing his line of communications across the
Chattahoochee, moved his main force round by the enemy's left
flank upon the Montgomery and Macon roads, to draw the enemy
from his fortifications. In this he succeeded, and after
defeating the enemy near Rough-and-Ready, Jonesboro, and
Lovejoy's, forcing him to retreat to the south, on the 2d of
September occupied Atlanta, the objective point of his campaign.

About the time of this move, the rebel cavalry, under Wheeler,
attempted to cut his communications in the rear, but was
repulsed at Dalton, and driven into East Tennessee, whence it
proceeded west to McMinnville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin, and
was finally driven south of the Tennessee. The damage done by
this raid was repaired in a few days.

During the partial investment of Atlanta, General Rousseau
joined General Sherman with a force of cavalry from Decatur,
having made a successful raid upon the Atlanta and Montgomery
Railroad, and its branches near Opelika. Cavalry raids were also
made by Generals McCook, Garrard, and Stoneman, to cut the
remaining Railroad communication with Atlanta. The first two
were successful the latter, disastrous.

General Sherman's movement from Chattanooga to Atlanta was
prompt, skilful, and brilliant. The history of his flank
movements and battles during that memorable campaign will ever
be read with an interest unsurpassed by anything in history.

His own report, and those of his subordinate commanders,
accompanying it, give the details of that most successful

He was dependent for the supply of his armies upon a
single-track railroad from Nashville to the point where he was
operating. This passed the entire distance through a hostile
country, and every foot of it had to be protected by troops. The
cavalry force of the enemy under Forrest, in Northern
Mississippi, was evidently waiting for Sherman to advance far
enough into the mountains of Georgia, to make a retreat
disastrous, to get upon this line and destroy it beyond the
possibility of further use. To guard against this danger,
Sherman left what he supposed to be a sufficient force to
operate against Forrest in West Tennessee. He directed General
Washburn, who commanded there, to send Brigadier-General S. D.
Sturgis in command of this force to attack him. On the morning
of the 10th of June, General Sturgis met the enemy near Guntown,
Mississippi, was badly beaten, and driven back in utter rout and
confusion to Memphis, a distance of about one hundred miles,
hotly pursued by the enemy. By this, however, the enemy was
defeated in his designs upon Sherman's line of communications.
The persistency with which he followed up this success exhausted
him, and made a season for rest and repairs necessary. In the
meantime, Major-General A. J. Smith, with the troops of the Army
of the Tennessee that had been sent by General Sherman to General
Banks, arrived at Memphis on their return from Red River, where
they had done most excellent service. He was directed by
General Sherman to immediately take the offensive against
Forrest. This he did with the promptness and effect which has
characterized his whole military career. On the 14th of July,
he met the enemy at Tupelo, Mississippi, and whipped him
badly. The fighting continued through three days. Our loss was
small compared with that of the enemy. Having accomplished the
object of his expedition, General Smith returned to Memphis.

During the months of March and April this same force under
Forrest annoyed us considerably. On the 24th of March it
captured Union City, Kentucky, and its garrison, and on the 24th
attacked Paducah, commanded by Colonel S. G. Hicks, 40th Illinois
Volunteers. Colonel H., having but a small force, withdrew to
the forts near the river, from where he repulsed the enemy and
drove him from the place.

On the 13th of April, part of this force, under the rebel
General Buford, summoned the garrison of Columbus, Kentucky, to
surrender, but received for reply from Colonel Lawrence, 34th
New Jersey Volunteers, that being placed there by his Government
with adequate force to hold his post and repel all enemies from
it, surrender was out of the question.

On the morning of the same day Forrest attacked Fort Pillow,
Tennessee, garrisoned by a detachment of Tennessee cavalry and
the 1st Regiment Alabama colored troops, commanded by Major
Booth. The garrison fought bravely until about three o'clock in
the afternoon, when the enemy carried the works by assault; and,
after our men threw down their arms, proceeded to an inhuman and
merciless massacre of the garrison.

On the 14th, General Buford, having failed at Columbus, appeared
before Paducah, but was again driven off.

Guerillas and raiders, seemingly emboldened by Forrest's
operations, were also very active in Kentucky. The most noted
of these was Morgan. With a force of from two to three thousand
cavalry, he entered the State through Pound Gap in the latter
part of May. On the 11th of June they attacked and captured
Cynthiana, with its entire garrison. On the 12th he was
overtaken by General Burbridge, and completely routed with heavy
loss, and was finally driven out of the State. This notorious
guerilla was afterwards surprised and killed near Greenville,
Tennessee, and his command captured and dispersed by General

In the absence of official reports of the commencement of the
Red River expedition, except so far as relates to the movements
of the troops sent by General Sherman under General A. J. Smith,
I am unable to give the date of its starting. The troops under
General Smith, comprising two divisions of the 16th and a
detachment of the 17th army corps, left Vicksburg on the 10th of
March, and reached the designated point on Red River one day
earlier than that appointed by General Banks. The rebel forces
at Fort de Russy, thinking to defeat him, left the fort on the
14th to give him battle in the open field; but, while occupying
the enemy with skirmishing and demonstrations, Smith pushed
forward to Fort de Russy, which had been left with a weak
garrison, and captured it with its garrison about three hundred
and fifty men, eleven pieces of artillery, and many
small-arms. Our loss was but slight. On the 15th he pushed
forward to Alexandria, which place he reached on the 18th. On
the 21st he had an engagement with the enemy at Henderson's
Hill, in which he defeated him, capturing two hundred and ten
prisoners and four pieces of artillery.

On the 28th, he again attacked and defeated the enemy under the
rebel General Taylor, at Cane River. By the 26th, General Banks
had assembled his whole army at Alexandria, and pushed forward to
Grand Ecore. On the morning of April 6th he moved from Grand
Ecore. On the afternoon of the 7th, he advanced and met the
enemy near Pleasant Hill, and drove him from the field. On the
same afternoon the enemy made a stand eight miles beyond
Pleasant Hill, but was again compelled to retreat. On the 8th,
at Sabine Cross Roads and Peach Hill, the enemy attacked and
defeated his advance, capturing nineteen pieces of artillery and
an immense amount of transportation and stores. During the
night, General Banks fell back to Pleasant Hill, where another
battle was fought on the 9th, and the enemy repulsed with great
loss. During the night, General Banks continued his retrograde
movement to Grand Ecore, and thence to Alexandria, which he
reached on the 27th of April. Here a serious difficulty arose
in getting Admiral Porter's fleet which accompanied the
expedition, over the rapids, the water having fallen so much
since they passed up as to prevent their return. At the
suggestion of Colonel (now Brigadier-General) Bailey, and under
his superintendence, wing-dams were constructed, by which the
channel was contracted so that the fleet passed down the rapids
in safety.

The army evacuated Alexandria on the 14th of May, after
considerable skirmishing with the enemy's advance, and reached
Morganzia and Point Coupee near the end of the month. The
disastrous termination of this expedition, and the lateness of
the season, rendered impracticable the carrying out of my plans
of a movement in force sufficient to insure the capture of

On the 23d of March, Major-General Steele left Little Rock with
the 7th army corps, to cooperate with General Banks's
expedition on the Red River, and reached Arkadelphia on the
28th. On the 16th of April, after driving the enemy before him,
he was joined, near Elkin's Ferry, in Washita County, by General
Thayer, who had marched from Fort Smith. After several severe
skirmishes, in which the enemy was defeated, General Steele
reached Camden, which he occupied about the middle of April.

On learning the defeat and consequent retreat of General Banks
on Red River, and the loss of one of his own trains at Mark's
Mill, in Dallas County, General Steele determined to fall back
to the Arkansas River. He left Camden on the 26th of April, and
reached Little Rock on the 2d of May. On the 30th of April, the
enemy attacked him while crossing Saline River at Jenkins's
Ferry, but was repulsed with considerable loss. Our loss was
about six hundred in killed, wounded and prisoners.

Major-General Canby, who had been assigned to the command of the
"Military Division of the West Mississippi," was therefore
directed to send the 19th army corps to join the armies
operating against Richmond, and to limit the remainder of his
command to such operations as might be necessary to hold the
positions and lines of communications he then occupied.

Before starting General A. J. Smith's troops back to Sherman,
General Canby sent a part of it to disperse a force of the enemy
that was collecting near the Mississippi River. General Smith
met and defeated this force near Lake Chicot on the 5th of
June. Our loss was about forty killed and seventy wounded.

In the latter part of July, General Canby sent Major-General
Gordon Granger, with such forces as he could collect, to
co-operate with Admiral Farragut against the defences of Mobile
Bay. On the 8th of August, Fort Gaines surrendered to the
combined naval and land forces. Fort Powell was blown up and

On the 9th, Fort Morgan was invested, and, after a severe
bombardment, surrendered on the 23d. The total captures
amounted to one thousand four hundred and sixty-four prisoners,
and one hundred and four pieces of artillery.

About the last of August, it being reported that the rebel
General Price, with a force of about ten thousand men, had
reached Jacksonport, on his way to invade Missouri, General A.
J. Smith's command, then en route from Memphis to join Sherman,
was ordered to Missouri. A cavalry force was also, at the same
time, sent from Memphis, under command of Colonel Winslow. This
made General Rosecrans's forces superior to those of Price, and
no doubt was entertained he would be able to check Price and
drive him back; while the forces under General Steele, in
Arkansas, would cut off his retreat. On the 26th day of
September, Price attacked Pilot Knob and forced the garrison to
retreat, and thence moved north to the Missouri River, and
continued up that river towards Kansas. General Curtis,
commanding Department of Kansas, immediately collected such
forces as he could to repel the invasion of Kansas, while
General Rosecrans's cavalry was operating in his rear.

The enemy was brought to battle on the Big Blue and defeated,
with the loss of nearly all his artillery and trains and a large
number of prisoners. He made a precipitate retreat to Northern
Arkansas. The impunity with which Price was enabled to roam
over the State of Missouri for a long time, and the incalculable
mischief done by him, show to how little purpose a superior force
may be used. There is no reason why General Rosecrans should not
have concentrated his forces, and beaten and driven Price before
the latter reached Pilot Knob.

September 20th, the enemy's cavalry, under Forrest, crossed the
Tennessee near Waterloo, Alabama, and on the 23d attacked the
garrison at Athens, consisting of six hundred men, which
capitulated on the 24th. Soon after the surrender two regiments
of reinforcements arrived, and after a severe fight were
compelled to surrender. Forrest destroyed the railroad
westward, captured the garrison at Sulphur Branch trestle,
skirmished with the garrison at Pulaski on the 27th, and on the
same day cut the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad near
Tullahoma and Dechard. On the morning of the 30th, one column
of Forrest's command, under Buford, appeared before Huntsville,
and summoned the surrender of the garrison. Receiving an answer
in the negative, he remained in the vicinity of the place until
next morning, when he again summoned its surrender, and received
the same reply as on the night before. He withdrew in the
direction of Athens which place had been regarrisoned, and
attacked it on the afternoon of the 1st of October, but without
success. On the morning of the 2d he renewed his attack, but
was handsomely repulsed.

Another column under Forrest appeared before Columbia on the
morning of the 1st, but did not make an attack. On the morning
of the 3d he moved towards Mount Pleasant. While these
operations were going on, every exertion was made by General
Thomas to destroy the forces under Forrest before he could
recross the Tennessee, but was unable to prevent his escape to
Corinth, Mississippi.

In September, an expedition under General Burbridge was sent to
destroy the saltworks at Saltville, Virginia. He met the enemy
on the 2d of October, about three miles and a half from
Saltville, and drove him into his strongly intrenched position
around the salt-works, from which he was unable to dislodge
him. During the night he withdrew his command and returned to

General Sherman, immediately after the fall of Atlanta, put his
armies in camp in and about the place, and made all preparations
for refitting and supplying them for future service. The great
length of road from Atlanta to the Cumberland River, however,
which had to be guarded, allowed the troops but little rest.

During this time Jefferson Davis made a speech in Macon,
Georgia, which was reported in the papers of the South, and soon
became known to the whole country, disclosing the plans of the
enemy, thus enabling General Sherman to fully meet them. He
exhibited the weakness of supposing that an army that had been
beaten and fearfully decimated in a vain attempt at the
defensive, could successfully undertake the offensive against
the army that had so often defeated it.

In execution of this plan, Hood, with this army, was soon
reported to the south-west of Atlanta. Moving far to Sherman's
right, he succeeded in reaching the railroad about Big Shanty,
and moved north on it.

General Sherman, leaving a force to hold Atlanta, with the
remainder of his army fell upon him and drove him to Gadsden,
Alabama. Seeing the constant annoyance he would have with the
roads to his rear if he attempted to hold Atlanta, General
Sherman proposed the abandonment and destruction of that place,
with all the railroads leading to it, and telegraphed me as


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