The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Vol. I., Part 2
William T. Sherman

Part 4 out of 6

Grant in the news papers at the North. Even Mr. Lincoln and
General Halleck seemed to be shaken; but at no instant of time did
we (his personal friends) slacken in our loyalty to him. One
night, after such a discussion, and believing that General
McClernand had no real plan of action shaped in his mind, I wrote
my letter of April 8, 1863, to Colonel Rawlins, which letter is
embraced in full at page 616 of Badeau's book, and which I now
reproduce here:


Colonel J. A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General to General GRANT.

SIR: I would most respectfully suggest (for reasons which I will
not name) that General Grant call on his corps commanders for their
opinions, concise and positive, on the best general plan of a
campaign. Unless this be done, there are men who will, in any
result falling below the popular standard, claim that their advice
was unheeded, and that fatal consequence resulted therefrom. My
own opinions are:

First. That the Army of the Tennessee is now far in advance of the
other grand armies of the United States.

Second. That a corps from Missouri should forthwith be moved from
St. Louis to the vicinity of Little Rock, Arkansas; supplies
collected there while the river is full, and land communication
with Memphis opened via Des Arc on the White, and Madison on the
St. Francis River.

Third. That as much of the Yazoo Pass, Coldwater, and Tallahatchie
Rivers, as can be gained and fortified, be held, and the main army
be transported thither by land and water; that the road back to
Memphis be secured and reopened, and, as soon as the waters
subside, Grenada be attacked, and the swamp-road across to Helena
be patrolled by cavalry.

Fourth. That the line of the Yalabusha be the base from which to
operate against the points where the Mississippi Central crosses
Big Black, above Canton; and, lastly, where the Vicksburg & Jackson
Railroad crosses the same river (Big Black). The capture of
Vicksburg would result.

Fifth. That a minor force be left in this vicinity, not to exceed
ten thousand men, with only enough steamboats to float and
transport them to any desired point; this force to be held always
near enough to act with the gunboats when the main army is known to
be near Vicksburg--Haines's Bluff or Yazoo City.

Sixth. I do doubt the capacity of Willow Bayou (which I estimate
to be fifty miles long and very tortuous) as a military channel, to
supply an army large enough to operate against Jackson,
Mississippi, or the Black River Bridge; and such a channel will be
very vulnerable to a force coming from the west, which we must
expect. Yet this canal will be most useful as the way to convey
coals and supplies to a fleet that should navigate the lower reach
of the Mississippi between Vicksburg and the Red River.

Seventh. The chief reason for operating solely by water was the
season of the year and high water in the Tallahatchie and Yalabusha
Rivers. The spring is now here, and soon these streams will be no
serious obstacle, save in the ambuscades of the forest, and
whatever works the enemy may have erected at or near Grenada.
North Mississippi is too valuable for us to allow the enemy to hold
it and make crops this year.

I make these suggestions, with the request that General Grant will
read them and give them, as I know he will, a share of his
thoughts. I would prefer that he should not answer this letter,
but merely give it as much or as little weight as it deserves.
Whatever plan of action he may adopt will receive from me the same
zealous cooperation and energetic support as though conceived by
myself. I do not believe General Banks will make any serious
attack on Port Hudson this spring. I am, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

This is the letter which some critics have styled a "protest." We
never had a council of war at any time during the Vicksburg
campaign. We often met casually, regardless of rank or power, and
talked and gossiped of things in general, as officers do and
should. But my letter speaks for itself--it shows my opinions
clearly at that stage of the game, and was meant partially to
induce General Grant to call on General McClernand for a similar
expression of opinion, but, so far as I know, he did not. He went
on quietly to work out his own designs; and he has told me, since
the war, that had we possessed in December, 1862, the experience of
marching and maintaining armies without a regular base, which we
afterward acquired, he would have gone on from Oxford as first
contemplated, and would not have turned back because of the
destruction of his depot at Holly Springs by Van Dorn. The
distance from Oxford to the rear of Vicksburg is little greater
than by the circuitous route we afterward followed, from Bruinsburg
to Jackson and Vicksburg, during which we had neither depot nor
train of supplies. I have never criticised General Grant's
strategy on this or any other occasion, but I thought then that
he had lost an opportunity, which cost him and us six months'
extra-hard work, for we might have captured Vicksburg from the
direction of Oxford in January, quite as easily as was afterward
done in July, 1863.

General Grant's orders for the general movement past Vicksburg, by
Richmond and Carthage, were dated April 20, 1863. McClernand was
to lead off with his corps, McPherson next, and my corps (the
Fifteenth) to bring up the rear. Preliminary thereto, on the night
of April 16th, seven iron-clads led by Admiral Porter in person, in
the Benton, with three transports, and ten barges in tow, ran the
Vicksburg batteries by night. Anticipating a scene, I had four
yawl-boats hauled across the swamp, to the reach of the river below
Vicksburg, and manned them with soldiers, ready to pick up any of
the disabled wrecks as they floated by. I was out in the stream
when the fleet passed Vicksburg, and the scene was truly sublime.
As soon as the rebel gunners detected the Benton, which was in the
lead, they opened on her, and on the others in succession, with
shot and shell; houses on the Vicksburg side and on the opposite
shore were set on fire, which lighted up the whole river; and the
roar of cannon, the bursting of shells, and finally the burning of
the Henry Clay, drifting with the current, made up a picture of the
terrible not often seen. Each gunboat returned the fire as she
passed the town, while the transports hugged the opposite shore.
When the Benton had got abreast of us, I pulled off to her,
boarded, had a few words with Admiral Porter, and as she was
drifting rapidly toward the lower batteries at Warrenton, I left,
and pulled back toward the shore, meeting the gunboat Tuscumbia
towing the transport Forest Queen into the bank out of the range of
fire. The Forest Queen, Captain Conway, had been my flag-boat up
the Arkansas, and for some time after, and I was very friendly with
her officers. This was the only transport whose captain would not
receive volunteers as a crew, but her own officers and crew stuck
to their boat, and carried her safely below the Vicksburg
batteries, and afterward rendered splendid service in ferrying
troops across the river at Grand Gulf and Bruinsburg. In passing
Vicksburg, she was damaged in the hull and had a steam-pipe cut
away, but this was soon repaired. The Henry Clay was set on fire
by bursting shells, and burned up; one of my yawls picked up her
pilot floating on a piece of wreck, and the bulk of her crew
escaped in their own yawl-boat to the shore above. The Silver
Wave, Captain McMillan, the same that was with us up Steele's
Bayou, passed safely, and she also rendered good service afterward.

Subsequently, on the night of April 26th, six other transports with
numerous barges loaded with hay, corn, freight, and provisions,
were drifted past Vicksburg; of these the Tigress was hit, and sunk
just as she reached the river-bank below, on our side: I was there
with my yawls, and saw Colonel Lagow, of General Grant's staff, who
had passed the batteries in the Tigress, and I think he was
satisfied never to attempt such a thing again. Thus General
Grant's army had below Vicksburg an abundance of stores, and boats
with which to cross the river. The road by which the troops
marched was very bad, and it was not until the 1st of May that it
was clear for my corps. While waiting my turn to march, I received
a letter from General Grant, written at Carthage, saying that he
proposed to cross over and attack Grand Gulf, about the end of
April, and he thought I could put in my time usefully by making a
"feint" on Haines's Bluff, but he did not like to order me to do
it, because it might be reported at the North that I had again been
"repulsed, etc." Thus we had to fight a senseless clamor at the
North, as well as a determined foe and the obstacles of Nature. Of
course, I answered him that I would make the "feint," regardless of
public clamor at a distance, and I did make it most effectually;
using all the old boats I could get about Milliken's Bend and the
mouth of the Yazoo, but taking only ten small regiments, selected
out of Blair's division, to make a show of force. We afterward
learned that General Pemberton in Vicksburg had previously
dispatched a large force to the assistance of General Bowers, at
Grand Gulf and Port Gibson, which force had proceeded as far as
Hankinson's Ferry, when he discovered our ostentatious movement up
the Yazoo, recalled his men, and sent them up to Haines's Bluff to
meet us. This detachment of rebel troops must have marched nearly
sixty miles without rest, for afterward, on reaching Vicksburg, I
heard that the men were perfectly exhausted, and lay along the road
in groups, completely fagged out. This diversion, made with so
much pomp and display, therefore completely fulfilled its purpose,
by leaving General Grant to contend with a minor force, on landing
at Bruinsburg, and afterward at Port Gibson and Grand Gulf.

In May the waters of the Mississippi had so far subsided that all
our canals were useless, and the roads had become practicable.
After McPherson's corps had passed Richmond, I took up the route of
march, with Steele's and Tuttle's divisions. Blair's division
remained at Milliken's Bend to protect our depots there, till
relieved by troops from Memphis, and then he was ordered to follow
us. Our route lay by Richmond and Roundabout Bayou; then,
following Bayou Vidal we struck the Mississippi at Perkins's
plantation. Thence the route followed Lake St. Joseph to a
plantation called Hard Times, about five miles above Grand Gulf.
The road was more or less occupied by wagons and detachments
belonging to McPherson's corps; still we marched rapidly and
reached Hard Times on the 6th of May. Along the Bayou or Lake St.
Joseph were many very fine cotton plantations, and I recall that of
a Mr. Bowie, brother-in-law of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson, of
Baltimore. The house was very handsome, with a fine, extensive
grass-plot in front. We entered the yard, and, leaving our horses
with the headquarters escort, walked to the house. On the
front-porch I found a magnificent grand-piano, with several
satin-covered arm-chairs, in one of which sat a Union soldier (one
of McPherson's men), with his feet on the keys of the piano, and
his musket and knapsack lying on the porch. I asked him what he
was doing there, and he answered that he was "taking a rest;" this
was manifest and I started him in a hurry, to overtake his command.
The house was tenantless, and had been completely ransacked;
articles of dress and books were strewed about, and a handsome
boudoir with mirror front had been cast down, striking a French
bedstead, shivering the glass. The library was extensive, with a
fine collection of books; and hanging on the wall were two
full-length portraits of Reverdy Johnson and his wife, one of the
most beautiful ladies of our country, with whom I had been
acquainted in Washington at the time of General Taylor's
administration. Behind the mansion was the usual double row of
cabins called the "quarters." There I found an old negro (a family
servant) with several women, whom I sent to the house to put things
in order; telling the old man that other troops would follow, and
he must stand on the porch to tell any officers who came along that
the property belonged to Mr. Bowie, who was the brother-in-law of
our friend Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Baltimore, asking them to see
that no further harm was done. Soon after we left the house I saw
some negroes carrying away furniture which manifestly belonged to
the house, and compelled them to carry it back; and after reaching
camp that night, at Hard Times, I sent a wagon back to Bowie's
plantation, to bring up to Dr. Hollingsworth's house the two
portraits for safe keeping; but before the wagon had reached
Bowie's the house was burned, whether by some of our men or by
negroes I have never learned.

At the river there was a good deal of scrambling to get across,
because the means of ferriage were inadequate; but by the aid of
the Forest Queen and several gunboats I got my command across
during the 7th of May, and marched out to Hankiuson's Ferry
(eighteen miles), relieving General Crocker's division of
McPherson's corps. McClernand's corps and McPherson's were still
ahead, and had fought the battle of Port Gibson, on the 11th. I
overtook General Grant in person at Auburn, and he accompanied my
corps all the way into Jackson, which we reached May 14th.
McClernand's corps had been left in observation toward Edwards's
Ferry. McPherson had fought at Raymond, and taken the left-hand
road toward Jackson, via Clinton, while my troops were ordered by
General Grant in person to take the right-hand road leading through
Mississippi Springs. We reached Jackson at the same time;
McPherson fighting on the Clinton road, and my troops fighting just
outside the town, on the Raymond road, where we captured three
entire field-batteries, and about two hundred prisoners of war.
The rebels, under General Joe Johnston, had retreated through the
town northward on the Canton road. Generals Grant, McPherson, and
I, met in the large hotel facing the State-House, where the former
explained to us that he had intercepted dispatches from Pemberton
to Johnston, which made it important for us to work smart to
prevent a junction of their respective forces. McPherson was
ordered to march back early the next day on the Clinton road to
make junction with McClernand, and I was ordered to remain one day
to break up railroads, to destroy the arsenal, a foundery, the
cotton-factory of the Messrs. Green, etc., etc., and then to
follow McPherson.

McPherson left Jackson early on the 15th, and General Grant during
the same day. I kept my troops busy in tearing up railroad-tracks,
etc., but early on the morning of the 16th received notice from
General Grant that a battle was imminent near Edwards's Depot; that
he wanted me to dispatch one of my divisions immediately, and to
follow with the other as soon as I had completed the work of
destruction. Steele's division started immediately, and later in
the day I followed with the other division (Tuttle's). Just as I
was leaving Jackson, a very fat man came to see me, to inquire if
his hotel, a large, frame building near the depot, were doomed to
be burned. I told him we had no intention to burn it, or any other
house, except the machine-shops, and such buildings as could easily
be converted to hostile uses. He professed to be a law-abiding
Union man, and I remember to have said that this fact was manifest
from the sign of his hotel, which was the "Confederate Hotel;" the
sign "United States" being faintly painted out, and "Confederate"
painted over it! I remembered that hotel, as it was the
supper-station for the New Orleans trains when I used to travel the
road before the war. I had not the least purpose, however, of
burning it, but, just as we were leaving the town, it burst out in
flames and was burned to the ground. I never found out exactly who
set it on fire, but was told that in one of our batteries were some
officers and men who had been made prisoners at Shiloh, with
Prentiss's division, and had been carried past Jackson in a
railroad-train; they had been permitted by the guard to go to this
very hotel for supper, and had nothing to pay but greenbacks, which
were refused, with insult, by this same law-abiding landlord.
These men, it was said, had quietly and stealthily applied the fire
underneath the hotel just as we were leaving the town.

About dark we met General Grant's staff-officer near Bolton
Station, who turned us to the right, with orders to push on to
Vicksburg by what was known as the upper Jackson Road, which
crossed the Big Black at Bridgeport. During that day (May 16th)
the battle of Champion Hills had been fought and won by
McClernand's and McPherson's corps, aided by one division of mine
(Blairs), under the immediate command of General Grant; and
McPherson was then following the mass of Pemberton's army,
disordered and retreating toward Vicksburg by the Edwards's Ferry
road. General Blair's division had come up from the rear, was
temporarily attached to McClernand's corps, taking part with it in
the battle of Champion Hills, but on the 17th it was ordered by
General Grant across to Bridgeport, to join me there.

Just beyond Bolton there was a small hewn-log house, standing back
in a yard, in which was a well; at this some of our soldiers were
drawing water. I rode in to get a drink, and, seeing a book on the
ground, asked some soldier to hand it to me. It was a volume of
the Constitution of the United States, and on the title-page was
written the name of Jefferson Davis. On inquiry of a negro, I
learned that the place belonged to the then President of the
Southern Confederation. His brother Joe Davis's plantation was not
far off; one of my staff-officers went there, with a few soldiers,
and took a pair of carriage-horses, without my knowledge at the
time. He found Joe Davis at home, an old man, attended by a young
and affectionate niece; but they were overwhelmed with grief to see
their country overran and swarming with Federal troops.

We pushed on, and reached the Big Black early, Blair's
troops having preceded us by an hour or so. I found General
Blair in person, and he reported that there was no bridge across
the Big Black; that it was swimming-deep; and that there was
a rebel force on the opposite side, intrenched. He had ordered
a detachment of the Thirteenth United States Regulars, under
Captain Charles Ewing, to strip some artillery-horses, mount the
men, and swim the river above the ferry, to attack and drive
away the party on the opposite bank. I did not approve of this
risky attempt, but crept down close to the brink of the
river-bank, behind a corn-crib belonging to a plantation house near
by, and saw the parapet on the opposite bank. Ordering a section of
guns to be brought forward by hand behind this corn-crib, a few
well-directed shells brought out of their holes the little party
that was covering the crossing, viz., a lieutenant and ten men, who
came down to the river-bank and surrendered. Blair's pon-toon-train
was brought up, consisting of India-rubber boats, one of which was
inflated, used as a boat, and brought over the prisoners. A
pontoon-bridge was at once begun, finished by night, and the troops
began the passage. After dark, the whole scene was lit up with
fires of pitch-pine. General Grant joined me there, and we sat on a
log, looking at the passage of the troops by the light of those
fires; the bridge swayed to and fro under the passing feet, and made
a fine war-picture. At daybreak we moved on, ascending the ridge,
and by 10 a.m. the head of my column, long drawn out, reached the
Benton road, and gave us command of the peninsula between the Yazoo
and Big Black. I dispatched Colonel Swan, of the Fourth Iowa
Cavalry, to Haines's Bluff, to capture that battery from the rear,
and he afterward reported that he found it abandoned, its garrison
having hastily retreated into Vicksburg, leaving their guns
partially disabled, a magazine full of ammunition, and a hospital
full of wounded and sick men. Colonel Swan saw one of our gunboats
lying about two miles below in the Yazoo, to which he signaled. She
steamed up, and to its commander the cavalry turned over the battery
at Haines's Bluff, and rejoined me in front of Vicksburg. Allowing
a couple of hours for rest and to close up the column, I resumed the
march straight on Vicksburg. About two miles before reaching the
forts, the road forked; the left was the main Jackson road, and the
right was the "graveyard" road, which entered Vicksburg near a large
cemetery. General Grant in person directed me to take the
right-hand road, but, as McPherson had not yet got up from the
direction of the railroad-bridge at Big Black, I sent the Eighth
Missouri on the main Jackson road, to push the rebel skirmishers
into town, and to remain until relieved by McPherson's advance,
which happened late that evening, May 18th. The battalion of the
Thirteenth United States Regulars, commanded by Captain Washington,
was at the head of the column on the right-hand road, and pushed the
rebels close behind their parapets; one of my staff, Captain
Pitzman, receiving a dangerous wound in the hip, which apparently
disabled him for life. By night Blair's whole division had closed up
against the defenses of Vicksburg, which were found to be strong and
well manned; and, on General Steele's head of column arriving, I
turned it still more to the right, with orders to work its way down
the bluff, so as to make connection with our fleet in the
Mississippi River. There was a good deal of desultory fighting that
evening, and a man was killed by the aide of General Grant and
myself, as we sat by the road-side looking at Steele's division
passing to the right. General Steele's men reached the road which
led from Vicksburg up to Haines's Bluff, which road lay at the foot
of the hills, and intercepted some prisoners and wagons which were
coming down from Haines's Bluff.

All that night McPherson's troops were arriving by the main Jackson
road, and McClernand'a by another near the railroad, deploying
forward as fast as they struck the rebel works. My corps (the
Fifteenth) had the right of the line of investment; McPherson's
(the Seventeenth) the centre; and McClernand's (the Thirteenth) the
left, reaching from the river above to the railroad below. Our
lines connected, and invested about three-quarters of the
land-front of the fortifications of Vicksburg. On the supposition
that the garrison of Vicksburg was demoralized by the defeats at
Champion Hills and at the railroad crossing of the Big Black,
General Grant ordered an assault at our respective fronts on the
19th. My troops reached the top of the parapet, but could not
cross over. The rebel parapets were strongly manned, and the enemy
fought hard and well. My loss was pretty heavy, falling chiefly on
the Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain
Washington, was killed, and several other regiments were pretty
badly cut up. We, however, held the ground up to the ditch till
night, and then drew back only a short distance, and began to
counter-trench. On the graveyard road, our parapet was within less
than fifty yards of the rebel ditch.

On the 20th of May, General Grant called the three corps commanders
together, viz., McClernand, McPherson, and Sherman. We compared
notes, and agreed that the assault of the day before had failed, by
reason of the natural strength of the position, and because we were
forced by the nature of the ground to limit our attacks to the
strongest parts of the enemy's line, viz., where the three
principal roads entered the city.

It was not a council of war, but a mere consultation, resulting in
orders from General Grant for us to make all possible preparations
for a renewed assault on the 22d, simultaneously, at 10 a.m. I
reconnoitred my front thoroughly in person, from right to left, and
concluded to make my real attack at the right flank of the bastion,
where the graveyard road entered the enemy's intrenchments, and at
another point in the curtain about a hundred yards to its right
(our left); also to make a strong demonstration by Steele's
division, about a mile to our right, toward the river. All our
field batteries were put in position, and were covered by good
epaulements; the troops were brought forward, in easy support,
concealed by the shape of the ground; and to the: minute, viz.,
10 a.m. of May 22d, the troops sprang to the assault. A small
party, that might be called a forlorn hope, provided with plank to
cross the ditch, advanced at a run, up to the very ditch; the lines
of infantry sprang from cover, and advanced rapidly in line of
battle. I took a position within two hundred yards of the rebel
parapet, on the off slope of a spur of ground, where by advancing
two or three steps I could see every thing. The rebel line,
concealed by the parapet, showed no sign of unusual activity, but
as our troops came in fair view, the enemy rose behind their
parapet and poured a furious fire upon our lines; and, for about
two hours, we had a severe and bloody battle, but at every point we
were repulsed. In the very midst of this, when shell and shot fell
furious and fast, occurred that little episode which has been
celebrated in song and story, of the boy Orion P. Howe, badly
wounded, bearing me a message for cartridges, calibre 54,
described in my letter to the Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War.
This boy was afterward appointed a cadet to the United States Naval
Academy, at Annapolis, but he could not graduate, and I do not now
know what has become of him.

After our men had been fairly beaten back from off the parapet, and
had got cover behind the spurs of ground close up to the rebel
works, General Grant came to where I was, on foot, having left his
horse some distance to the rear. I pointed out to him the rebel
works, admitted that my assault had failed, and he said the result
with McPherson and McClernand was about the same. While he was
with me, an orderly or staff-officer came and handed him a piece of
paper, which he read and handed to me. I think the writing was in
pencil, on a loose piece of paper, and was in General McClernand's
handwriting, to the effect that "his troops had captured the rebel
parapet in his front," that, "the flag of the Union waved over the
stronghold of Vicksburg," and asking him (General Grant) to give
renewed orders to McPherson and Sherman to press their attacks on
their respective fronts, lest the enemy should concentrate on him
(McClernand). General Grant said, "I don't believe a word of it;"
but I reasoned with him, that this note was official, and must be
credited, and I offered to renew the assault at once with new
troops. He said he would instantly ride down the line to
McClernand's front, and if I did not receive orders to the
contrary, by 3 o'clock p.m., I might try it again. Mower's fresh
brigade was brought up under cover, and some changes were made in
Giles Smith's brigade; and, punctually at 3 p.m., hearing heavy
firing down along the line to my left, I ordered the second
assault. It was a repetition of the first, equally unsuccessful
and bloody. It also transpired that the same thing had occurred
with General McPherson, who lost in this second assault some most
valuable officers and men, without adequate result; and that
General McClernand, instead of having taken any single point of the
rebel main parapet, had only taken one or two small outlying
lunettes open to the rear, where his men were at the mercy of the
rebels behind their main parapet, and most of them were actually
thus captured. This affair caused great feeling with us, and
severe criticisms on General McClernand, which led finally to his
removal from the command of the Thirteenth Corps, to which
General Ord succeeded. The immediate cause, however, of
General McClernand's removal was the publication of a sort of
congratulatory order addressed to his troops, first published in
St. Louis, in which he claimed that he had actually succeeded in
making a lodgment in Vicksburg, but had lost it, owing to the fact
that McPherson and Sherman did not fulfill their parts of the
general plan of attack. This was simply untrue. The two several
assaults made May 22d, on the lines of Vicksburg, had failed, by
reason of the great strength of the position and the determined
fighting of its garrison. I have since seen the position at
Sevastopol, and without hesitation I declare that at Vicksburg to
have been the more difficult of the two.

Thereafter our proceedings were all in the nature of a siege.
General Grant drew more troops from Memphis, to prolong our general
line to the left, so as completely to invest the place on its
land-side, while the navy held the river both above and below.
General Mower's brigade of Tuttle's division was also sent across
the river to the peninsula, so that by May 31st Vicksburg was
completely beleaguered. Good roads were constructed from our camps
to the several landing-places on the Yazoo River, to which points
our boats brought us ample supplies; so that we were in a splendid
condition for a siege, while our enemy was shut up in a close fort,
with a large civil population of men, women, and children to feed,
in addition to his combatant force. If we could prevent sallies,
or relief from the outside, the fate of the garrison of Vicksburg
was merely a question of time.

I had my headquarters camp close up to the works, near the centre
of my corps, and General Grant had his bivouac behind a ravine to
my rear. We estimated Pemberton's whole force in Vicksburg at
thirty thousand men, and it was well known that the rebel General
Joseph E. Johnston was engaged in collecting another strong force
near the Big Black, with the intention to attack our rear, and thus
to afford Pemberton an opportunity to escape with his men. Even
then the ability of General Johnston was recognized, and General
Grant told me that he was about the only general on that side whom
he feared. Each corps kept strong pickets well to the rear; but,
as the rumors of Johnston's accumulating force reached us, General
Grant concluded to take stronger measures. He had received from
the North General J. G. Parker's corps (Ninth), which had been
posted at Haines's Bluff; then, detailing one division from each of
the three corps d'armee investing Vicksburg, he ordered me to go
out, take a general command of all, and to counteract any movement
on the part of General Johnston to relieve Vicksburg. I
reconnoitred the whole country, from Haines's Bluff to the railroad
bridge, and posted the troops thus:

Parke's two divisions from Haines's Bluff out to the Benton or
ridge road; Tuttle's division, of my corps, joining on and
extending to a plantation called Young's, overlooking Bear Creek
valley, which empties into the Big Black above Messinger's Ferry;
then McArthurs division, of McPherson's corps, took up the line,
and reached to Osterhaus's division of McClernand's corps, which
held a strong fortified position at the railroad-crossing of the
Big Black River. I was of opinion that, if Johnston should cross
the Big Black, he could by the favorable nature of the country be
held in check till a concentration could be effected by us at the
point threatened. From the best information we could gather,
General Johnston had about thirty or forty thousand men. I took
post near a plantation of one Trible, near Markham's, and
frequently reconnoitred the whole line, and could see the enemy
engaged in like manner, on the east aide of Big Black; but he never
attempted actually to cross over, except with some cavalry, just
above Bear Creek, which was easily driven back. I was there from
June 20th to the 4th of July. In a small log-house near Markham's
was the family of Mr. Klein, whose wife was the daughter of Mrs.
Day, of New Orleans, who in turn was the sister of Judge T. W.
Bartley, my brother-in-law. I used frequently to drop in and take
a meal with them, and Mrs. Klein was generally known as the
general's cousin, which doubtless saved her and her family from
molestation, too common on the part of our men.

One day, as I was riding the line near a farm known as Parson
Fog's, I heard that the family of a Mr. Wilkinson, of New Orleans,
was "refugeeing" at a house near by. I rode up, inquired, and
found two young girls of that name, who said they were the children
of General Wilkinson, of Louisiana, and that their brother had been
at the Military School at Alexandria. Inquiring for their mother,
I was told she was spending the day at Parson Fox's. As this house
was on my route, I rode there, went through a large gate into the
yard, followed by my staff and escort, and found quite a number of
ladies sitting on the porch. I rode up and inquired if that were
Parson Fox's. The parson, a fine-looking, venerable old man, rose,
and said that he was Parson Fox. I then inquired for Mrs.
Wilkinson, when an elderly lady answered that she was the person.
I asked her if she were from Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana, and she
said she was. I then inquired if she had a son who had been a
cadet at Alexandria when General Sherman was superintendent, and
she answered yes. I then announced myself, inquired after the boy,
and she said he was inside of Vicksburg, an artillery lieutenant.
I then asked about her husband, whom I had known, when she burst
into tears, and cried out in agony, "You killed him at Bull Run,
where he was fighting for his country!" I disclaimed killing
anybody at Bull Run; but all the women present (nearly a dozen)
burst into loud lamentations, which made it most uncomfortable for
me, and I rode away. On the 3d of July, as I sat at my bivouac by
the road-side near Trible's, I saw a poor, miserable horse,
carrying a lady, and led by a little negro boy, coming across a
cotton-field toward me; as they approached I recognized poor Mrs.
Wilkinson, and helped her to dismount. I inquired what had brought
her to me in that style, and she answered that she knew Vicksburg,
was going to surrender, and she wanted to go right away to see her
boy. I had a telegraph-wire to General Grant's headquarters, and
had heard that there were symptoms of surrender, but as yet nothing
definite. I tried to console and dissuade her, but she was
resolved, and I could not help giving her a letter to General
Grant, explaining to him who she was, and asking him to give her
the earliest opportunity to see her son. The distance was fully
twenty miles, but off she started, and I afterward learned that my
letter had enabled her to see her son, who had escaped unharmed.
Later in the day I got by telegraph General Grant's notice of the
negotiations for surrender; and, by his directions, gave general
orders to my troops to be ready at a moment's notice to cross the
Big Black, and go for Joe Johnston.

The next day (July 4, 1863) Vicksburg surrendered, and orders were
given for at once attacking General Johnston. The Thirteenth Corps
(General Ord) was ordered to march rapidly, and cross the Big Black
at the railroad-bridge; the Fifteenth by Mesainger's, and the Ninth
(General Parker) by Birdsong's Ferry-all to converge on Bolton. My
corps crossed the Big Black during the 5th and 6th of July, and
marched for Bolton, where we came in with General Ord's troops; but
the Ninth Corps was delayed in crossing at Birdsong's. Johnston
had received timely notice of Pemberton's surrender, and was in
full retreat for Jackson. On the 8th all our troops reached the
neighborhood of Clinton, the weather fearfully hot, and water
scarce. Johnston had marched rapidly, and in retreating had caused
cattle, hogs, and sheep, to be driven into the ponds of water, and
there shot down; so that we had to haul their dead and stinking
carcasses out to use the water. On the l0th of July we had driven
the rebel army into Jackson, where it turned at bay behind the
intrenchments, which had been enlarged and strengthened since our
former visit in May. We closed our lines about Jackson; my corps
(Fifteenth) held the centre, extending from the Clinton to the
Raymond road; Ord's (Thirteenth) on the right, reaching Pearl River
below the town; and Parker's (Ninth) the left, above the town.

On the 11th we pressed close in, and shelled the town from every
direction. One of Ords brigades (Lauman's) got too close, and was
very roughly handled and driven back in disorder. General Ord
accused the commander (General Lauman) of having disregarded his
orders, and attributed to him personally the disaster and heavy
loss of men. He requested his relief, which I granted, and General
Lauman went to the rear, and never regained his division. He died
after the war, in Iowa, much respected, as before that time he had
been universally esteemed a most gallant and excellent officer.
The weather was fearfully hot, but we continued to press the siege
day and night, using our artillery pretty freely; and on the
morning of July 17th the place was found evacuated. General
Steele's division was sent in pursuit as far as Brandon (fourteen
miles), but General Johnston had carried his army safely off, and
pursuit in that hot weather would have been fatal to my command.

Reporting the fact to General Grant, he ordered me to return, to
send General Parkes's corps to Haines's Bluff, General Ord's back
to Vicksburg, and he consented that I should encamp my whole corps
near the Big Black, pretty much on the same ground we had occupied
before the movement, and with the prospect of a period of rest for
the remainder of the summer. We reached our camps on the 27th of

Meantime, a division of troops, commanded by Brigadier-General W.
Sooy Smith, had been added to my corps. General Smith applied for
and received a sick-leave on the 20th of July; Brigadier-General
Hugh Ewing was assigned to its command; and from that time it
constituted the Fourth Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps.

Port Hudson had surrendered to General Banks on the 8th of July (a
necessary consequence of the fall of Vicksburg), and thus
terminated probably the most important enterprise of the civil
war--the recovery of the complete control of the Mississippi River,
from its source to its mouth--or, in the language of Mr. Lincoln,
the Mississippi went "unvexed to the sea."

I put my four divisions into handsome, clean camps, looking to
health and comfort alone, and had my headquarters in a beautiful
grove near the house of that same Parson Fox where I had found the
crowd of weeping rebel women waiting for the fate of their friends
in Vicksburg.

The loss sustained by the Fifteenth Corps in the assault of May
19th, at Vicksburg, was mostly confined to the battalion of the
Thirteenth Regulars, whose commanding officer, Captain Washington,
was mortally wounded, and afterward died in the hands of the enemy,
which battalion lost seventy-seven men out of the two hundred and
fifty engaged; the Eighty-third Indiana (Colonel Spooner), and the
One Hundred and Twenty seventh Illinois (Lieutenant-Colonel
Eldridge), the aggregate being about two hundred.

In the assaults of the 22d, the loss in the Fifteenth Corps was
about six hundred.

In the attack on Jackson, Mississippi, during the 11th-16th of
July, General Ord reported the loss in the Thirteenth Army Corps
seven hundred and sixty-two, of which five hundred and thirty-three
were confined to Lauman's division; General Parkes reported, in the
Ninth Corps, thirty-seven killed, two hundred and fifty-eight
wounded, and thirty-three missing: total, three hundred and
twenty-eight. In the Fifteenth Corps the loss was less; so that,
in the aggregate, the loss as reported by me at the time was less
than a thousand men, while we took that number alone of prisoners.

In General Grant's entire army before Vicksburg, composed of the
Ninth, part of the Sixteenth, and the whole of the Thirteenth;
Fifteenth, and Seventeenth Corps, the aggregate loss, as stated by
Badeau, was:

Killed: ....................... 1243
Wounded:....................... 7095
Missing: ...................... 535

Total: ........................ 8873

Whereas the Confederate loss, as stated by the same author,

Surrendered at Vicksburg .............. 32000
Captured at Champion Hills............. 3000
Captured at Big Black Bridge .......... 2000
Captured at Port Gibson................ 2000
Captured with Loring .................. 4000
Killed and wounded .................... 10000
Stragglers............................. 3000

Total.................................. 56000

Besides which, "a large amount of public property, consisting of
railroads, locomotives, cars, steamers, cotton, guns, muskets,
ammunition, etc., etc., was captured in Vicksburg."

The value of the capture of Vicksburg, however, was not measured by
the list of prisoners, guns, and small-arms, but by the fact that
its possession secured the navigation of the great central river of
the continent, bisected fatally the Southern Confederacy, and set
the armies which had been used in its conquest free for other
purposes; and it so happened that the event coincided as to time
with another great victory which crowned our arms far away, at
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That was a defensive battle, whereas
ours was offensive in the highest acceptation of the term, and the
two, occurring at the same moment of time, should have ended the
war; but the rebel leaders were mad, and seemed determined that
their people should drink of the very lowest dregs of the cup of
war, which they themselves had prepared.

The campaign of Vicksburg, in its conception and execution,
belonged exclusively to General Grant, not only in the great whole,
but in the thousands of its details. I still retain many of his
letters and notes, all in his own handwriting, prescribing the
routes of march for divisions and detachments, specifying even the
amount of food and tools to be carried along. Many persons gave
his adjutant general, Rawlins, the credit for these things, but
they were in error; for no commanding general of an army ever gave
more of his personal attention to details, or wrote so many of his
own orders, reports, and letters, as General Grant. His success at
Vicksburg justly gave him great fame at home and abroad. The
President conferred on him the rank of major-general in the regular
army, the highest grade then existing by law; and General McPherson
and I shared in his success by receiving similar commissions as
brigadier-generals in the regular army.

But our success at Vicksburg produced other results not so
favorable to our cause--a general relaxation of effort, and desire
to escape the hard drudgery of camp: officers sought leaves of
absence to visit their homes, and soldiers obtained furloughs and
discharges on the most slender pretexts; even the General
Government seemed to relax in its efforts to replenish our ranks
with new men, or to enforce the draft, and the politicians were
pressing their schemes to reorganize or patch up some form of civil
government, as fast as the armies gained partial possession of the

In order to illustrate this peculiar phase of our civil war, I give
at this place copies of certain letters which have not heretofore
been published:


WASHINGTON, August 29, 1868.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Vicksburg, Mississippi

My DEAR GENERAL: The question of reconstruction in Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, will soon come up for decision of the
Government, and not only the length of the war, but our ultimate
and complete success, will depend upon its decision. It is a
difficult matter, but I believe it can be successfully solved, if
the President will consult opinions of cool and discreet men, who
are capable of looking at it in all its bearings and effects. I
think he is disposed to receive the advice of our generals who have
been in these States, and know much more of their condition than
gassy politicians in Congress. General Banks has written pretty
fully, on the subject. I wrote to General Grant, immediately,
after the fall of Vicksburg, for his views in regard to
Mississippi, but he has not yet answered.

I wish you would consult with Grant, McPherson, and others of cool,
good judgment, and write me your views fully, as I may wish to use
them with the President. You had better write me unofficially, and
then your letter will not be put on file, and cannot hereafter be
used against you. You have been in Washington enough to know how
every thing a man writes or says is picked up by his enemies and
misconstrued. With kind wishes for your further success,

I am yours truly,


[Private and Confidential.]

H. W. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.

DEAR GENERAL: I have received your letter of August 29th, and with
pleasure confide to you fully my thoughts on the important matters
you suggest, with absolute confidence that you will use what is
valuable, and reject the useless or superfluous.

That part of the continent of North America known as Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Arkansas, is in my judgment the key to the whole
interior. The valley of the Mississippi is America, and, although
railroads have changed the economy of intercommunication, yet the
water-channels still mark the lines of fertile land, and afford
cheap carriage to the heavy products of it.

The inhabitants of the country on the Monongahela, the Illinois,
the Minnesota, the Yellowstone, and Osage, are as directly
concerned in the security of the Lower Mississippi as are those who
dwell on its very banks in Louisiana; and now that the nation has
recovered its possession, this generation of men will make a
fearful mistake if they again commit its charge to a people liable
to misuse their position, and assert, as was recently done, that,
because they dwelt on the banks of this mighty stream, they had a
right to control its navigation.

I would deem it very unwise at this time, or for years to come, to
revive the State governments of Louisiana, etc., or to institute in
this quarter any civil government in which the local people have
much to say. They had a government so mild and paternal that they
gradually forgot they had any at all, save what they themselves
controlled; they asserted an absolute right to seize public moneys,
forts, arms, and even to shut up the natural avenues of travel and
commerce. They chose war--they ignored and denied all the
obligations of the solemn contract of government and appealed to

We accepted the issue, and now they begin to realize that war is a
two-edged sword, and it may be that many of the inhabitants cry for
peace. I know them well, and the very impulses of their nature;
and to deal with the inhabitants of that part of the South which
borders on the great river, we must recognize the classes into
which they have divided themselves:

First. The large planters, owning lands, slaves, and all kinds of
personal property. These are, on the whole, the ruling class.
They are educated, wealthy, and easily approached. In some
districts they are bitter as gall, and have given up slaves,
plantations, and all, serving in the armies of the Confederacy;
whereas, in others, they are conservative. None dare admit a
friendship for us, though they say freely that they were at the
outset opposed to war and disunion. I know we can manage this
class, but only by action. Argument is exhausted, and words have
lost their usual meaning. Nothing but the logic of events touches
their understanding; but, of late, this has worked a wonderful
change. If our country were like Europe, crowded with people, I
would say it would be easier to replace this class than to
reconstruct it, subordinate to the policy of the nation; but, as
this is not the case, it is better to allow the planters, with
individual exceptions, gradually to recover their plantations, to
hire any species of labor, and to adapt themselves to the new order
of things. Still, their friendship and assistance to reconstruct
order out of the present ruin cannot be depended on. They watch
the operations of our armies, and hope still for a Southern
Confederacy that will restore to them the slaves and privileges
which they feel are otherwise lost forever. In my judgment, we
have two more battles to win before we should even bother our minds
with the idea of restoring civil order--viz., one near Meridian, in
November, and one near Shreveport, in February and March next, when
Red River is navigable by our gunboats. When these are done, then,
and not until then, will the planters of Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Mississippi, submit. Slavery is already gone, and, to cultivate
the land, negro or other labor must be hired. This, of itself, is
a vast revolution, and time must be afforded to allow men to adjust
their minds and habits to this new order of things. A civil
government of the representative type would suit this class far
less than a pure military role, readily adapting itself to actual
occurrences, and able to enforce its laws and orders promptly and

Second. The smaller farmers, mechanics, merchants, and laborers.
This class will probably number three-quarters of the whole; have,
in fact, no real interest in the establishment of a Southern
Confederacy, and have been led or driven into war on the false
theory that they were to be benefited somehow--they knew not how.
They are essentially tired of the war, and would slink back home if
they could. These are the real tiers etat of the South, and are
hardly worthy a thought; for they swerve to and fro according to
events which they do not comprehend or attempt to shape. When the
time for reconstruction comes, they will want the old political
system of caucuses, Legislatures, etc., to amuse them and make them
believe they are real sovereigns; but in all things they will
follow blindly the lead of the planters. The Southern politicians,
who understand this class, use them as the French do their masses
--seemingly consult their prejudices, while they make their orders
and enforce them. We should do the same.

Third. The Union men of the South. I must confess I have little
respect for this class. They allowed a clamorous set of demagogues
to muzzle and drive them as a pack of curs. Afraid of shadows,
they submit tamely to squads of dragoons, and permit them, without
a murmur, to burn their cotton, take their horses, corn, and every
thing; and, when we reach them, they are full of complaints if our
men take a few fence-rails for fire, or corn to feed our horses.
They give us no assistance or information, and are loudest in their
complaints at the smallest excesses of our soldiers. Their sons,
horses, arms, and every thing useful, are in the army against us,
and they stay at home, claiming all the exemptions of peaceful
citizens. I account them as nothing in this great game of war.

Fourth. The young bloods of the South: sons of planters, lawyers
about towns, good billiard-players and sportsmen, men who never did
work and never will. War suits them, and the rascals are brave,
fine riders, bold to rashness, and dangerous subjects in every
sense. They care not a sou for niggers, land, or any thing. They
hate Yankees per se, and don't bother their brains about the past,
present, or future. As long as they have good horses, plenty of
forage, and an open country, they are happy. This is a larger
class than most men suppose, and they are the most dangerous set of
men that this war has turned loose upon the world. They are
splendid riders, first-rate shots, and utterly reckless. Stewart,
John Morgan, Forrest, and Jackson, are the types and leaders of
this class. These men must all be killed or employed by us before
we can hope for peace. They have no property or future, and
therefore cannot be influenced by any thing, except personal
considerations. I have two brigades of these fellows in my front,
commanded by Cosby, of the old army, and Whitfield, of Texas.
Stephen D. Lee is in command of the whole. I have frequent
interviews with their officers, a good understanding with them, and
am inclined to think, when the resources of their country are
exhausted, we must employ them. They are the best cavalry in the
world, but it will tax Mr. Chase's genius for finance to supply
them with horses. At present horses cost them nothing; for they
take where they find, and don't bother their brains as to who is to
pay for them; the same may be said of the cornfields, which have,
as they believe, been cultivated by a good-natured people for their
special benefit. We propose to share with them the free use of
these cornfields, planted by willing hands, that will never gather
the crops.

Now that I have sketched the people who inhabit the district of
country under consideration, I will proceed to discuss the future.

A civil government now, for any part of it, would be simply
ridiculous. The people would not regard it, and even the military
commanders of the antagonistic parties would treat it lightly.
Governors would be simply petitioners for military assistance, to
protect supposed friendly interests, and military commanders would
refuse to disperse and weaken their armies for military reasons.
Jealousies would arise between the two conflicting powers, and,
instead of contributing to the end of the war, would actually defer
it. Therefore, I contend that the interests of the United States,
and of the real parties concerned, demand the continuance of the
simple military role, till after all the organized armies of the
South are dispersed, conquered, and subjugated.

The people of all this region are represented in the Army of
Virginia, at Charleston, Mobile, and Chattanooga. They have sons
and relations in each of the rebel armies, and naturally are
interested in their fate. Though we hold military possession of
the key-points of their country, still they contend, and naturally,
that should Lee succeed in Virginia, or Bragg at Chattanooga, a
change will occur here also. We cannot for this reason attempt to
reconstruct parts of the South as we conquer it, till all idea of
the establishment of a Southern Confederacy is abandoned. We
should avail ourselves of the present lull to secure the
strategical points that will give us an advantage in the future
military movements, and we should treat the idea of civil
government as one in which we as a nation have a minor or
subordinate interest. The opportunity is good to impress on the
population the truth that they are more interested in civil
government than we are; and that, to enjoy the protection of laws,
they most not be passive observers of events, but must aid and
sustain the constituted authorities in enforcing the laws; they
must not only submit themselves, but should pay their share of
taxes, and render personal services when called on.

It seems to me, in contemplating the history of the past two years,
that all the people of our country, North, South, East, and West,
have been undergoing a salutary political schooling, learning
lessons which might have been acquired from the experience of other
people; but we had all become so wise in our own conceit that we
would only learn by actual experience of our own. The people even
of small and unimportant localities, North as well as South, had
reasoned themselves into the belief that their opinions were
superior to the aggregated interest of the whole nation. Half our
territorial nation rebelled, on a doctrine of secession that they
themselves now scout; and a real numerical majority actually
believed that a little State was endowed with such sovereignty that
it could defeat the policy of the great whole. I think the present
war has exploded that notion, and were this war to cease now, the
experience gained, though dear, would be worth the expense.

Another great and important natural truth is still in contest, and
can only be solved by war. Numerical majorities by vote have been
our great arbiter. Heretofore all men have cheerfully submitted to
it in questions left open, but numerical majorities are not
necessarily physical majorities. The South, though numerically
inferior, contend they can whip the Northern superiority of
numbers, and therefore by natural law they contend that they are
not bound to submit. This issue is the only real one, and in my
judgment all else should be deferred to it. War alone can decide
it, and it is the only question now left for us as a people to
decide. Can we whip the South? If we can, our numerical majority
has both the natural and constitutional right to govern them. If
we cannot whip them, they contend for the natural right to select
their own government, and they have the argument. Our armies must
prevail over theirs; our officers, marshals, and courts, must
penetrate into the innermost recesses of their land, before we have
the natural right to demand their submission.

I would banish all minor questions, assert the broad doctrine that
as a nation the United States has the right, and also the physical
power, to penetrate to every part of our national domain, and that
we will do it--that we will do it in our own time and in our own
way; that it makes no difference whether it be in one year, or two,
or ten, or twenty; that we will remove and destroy every obstacle,
if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of
property, every thing that to us seems proper; that we will not
cease till the end is attained; that all who do not aid us are
enemies, and that we will not account to them for our acts. If the
people of the South oppose, they do so at their peril; and if they
stand by, mere lookers-on in this domestic tragedy, they have no
right to immunity, protection, or share in the final results.

I even believe and contend further that, in the North, every member
of the nation is bound by both natural and constitutional law to
"maintain and defend the Government against all its enemies and
opposers whomsoever." If they fail to do it they are derelict, and
can be punished, or deprived of all advantages arising from the
labors of those who do. If any man, North or South, withholds his
share of taxes, or his physical assistance in this, the crisis of
our history, he should be deprived of all voice in the future
elections of this country, and might be banished, or reduced to the
condition of a mere denizen of the land.

War is upon us, none can deny it. It is not the choice of the
Government of the United States, but of a faction; the Government
was forced to accept the issue, or to submit to a degradation fatal
and disgraceful to all the inhabitants. In accepting war, it
should be "pure and simple" as applied to the belligerents. I
would keep it so, till all traces of the war are effaced; till
those who appealed to it are sick and tired of it, and come to the
emblem of our nation, and sue for peace. I would not coax them, or
even meet them half-way, but make them so sick of war that
generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.

I know what I say when I repeat that the insurgents of the South
sneer at all overtures looking to their interests. They scorn the
alliance with the Copperheads; they tell me to my face that they
respect Grant, McPherson, and our brave associates who fight
manfully and well for a principle, but despise the Copperheads and
sneaks at the North, who profess friendship for the South and
opposition to the war, as mere covers for their knavery and

God knows that I deplore this fratricidal war as much as any man
living, but it is upon us, a physical fact; and there is only one
honorable issue from it. We must fight it out, army against army,
and man against man; and I know, and you know, and civilians begin
to realize the fact, that reconciliation and reconstruction will be
easier through and by means of strong, well-equipped, and organized
armies than through any species of conventions that can be framed.
The issues are made, and all discussion is out of place and
ridiculous. The section of thirty-pounder Parrott rifles now
drilling before my tent is a more convincing argument than the
largest Democratic meeting the State of New York can possibly
assemble at Albany; and a simple order of the War Department to
draft enough men to fill our skeleton regiments would be more
convincing as to our national perpetuity than an humble pardon to
Jeff. Davis and all his misled host.

The only government needed or deserved by the States of Louisiana,
Arkansas, and Mississippi, now exists in Grant's army. This needs,
simply, enough privates to fill its ranks; all else will follow in
due season. This army has its well-defined code of laws and
practice, and can adapt itself to the wants and necessities of a
city, the country, the rivers, the sea, indeed to all parts of this
land. It better subserves the interest and policy of the General
Government, and the people here prefer it to any weak or servile
combination that would at once, from force of habit, revive sad
perpetuate local prejudices and passions. The people of this
country have forfeited all right to a voice in the councils of the
nation. They know it and feel it, and in after-years they will be
the better citizens from the dear bought experience of the present
crisis. Let them learn now, and learn it well, that good citizens
must obey as well as command. Obedience to law, absolute--yea,
even abject--is the lesson that this war, under Providence, will
teach the free and enlightened American citizen. As a nation, we
shall be the better for it.

I never have apprehended foreign interference in our family
quarrel. Of coarse, governments founded on a different and it may
be an antagonistic principle with ours naturally feel a pleasure at
our complications, and, it may be, wish our downfall; but in the
end England and France will join with us in jubilation at the
triumph of constitutional government over faction. Even now the
English manifest this. I do not profess to understand Napoleon's
design in Mexico, and I do not, see that his taking military
possession of Mexico concerns us. We have as much territory now as
we want. The Mexicans have failed in self-government, and it was a
question as to what nation she should fall a prey. That is now
solved, and I don't see that we are damaged. We have the finest
part of the North American Continent, all we can people and can
take care of; and, if we can suppress rebellion in our own land,
and compose the strife generated by it, we shall have enough
people, resources, and wealth, if well combined, to defy
interference from any and every quarter.

I therefore hope the Government of the United States will continue,
as heretofore, to collect, in well-organized armies, the physical
strength of the nation; applying it, as heretofore, in asserting
the national authority; and in persevering, without relaxation, to
the end. This, whether near or far off, is not for us to say; but,
fortunately, we have no choice. We must succeed--no other choice
is left us except degradation. The South must be ruled by us, or
she will rule us. We must conquer them, or ourselves be conquered.
There is no middle course. They ask, and will have, nothing else,
and talk of compromise is bosh; for we know they would even scorn
the offer.

I wish the war could have been deferred for twenty years, till the
superabundant population of the North could flow in and replace the
losses sustained by war; but this could not be, and we are forced
to take things as they are.

All therefore I can now venture to advise is to raise the draft to
its maximum, fill the present regiments to as large a standard as
possible, and push the war, pure and simple. Great attention
should be paid to the discipline of our armies, for on them may be
founded the future stability of the Government.

The cost of the war is, of course, to be considered, but finances
will adjust themselves to the actual state of affairs; and, even if
we would, we could not change the cost. Indeed, the larger the
cost now, the less will it be in the end; for the end must be
attained somehow, regardless of loss of life and treasure, and is
merely a question of time.

Excuse so long a letter. With great respect, etc.,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

General Halleck, on receipt of this letter, telegraphed me that Mr.
Lincoln had read it carefully, and had instructed him to obtain my
consent to have it published. At the time, I preferred not to be
drawn into any newspaper controversy, and so wrote to General
Halleck; and the above letter has never been, to my knowledge,
published; though Mr. Lincoln more than once referred to it with
marks of approval.

CAMP ON BIG BLACK, September 17, 1863

Brigadier-General J. A. RAWLINS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Vicksburg.

DEAR GENERAL: I inclose for your perusal, and for you to read to
General Grant such parts as you deem interesting, letters received
by me from Prof. Mahan and General Halleck, with my answers. After
you have read my answer to General Halleck, I beg you to inclose it
to its address, and return me the others.

I think Prof. Mahan's very marked encomium upon the campaign of
Vicksburg is so flattering to General Grant, that you may offer to
let him keep the letter, if he values such a testimonial. I have
never written a word to General Halleck since my report of last
December, after the affair at Chickasaw, except a short letter a
few days ago, thanking him for the kind manner of his transmitting
to me the appointment of brigadier-general. I know that in
Washington I am incomprehensible, because at the outset of the war
I would not go it blind and rush headlong into a war unprepared and
with an utter ignorance of its extent and purpose. I was then
construed unsound; and now that I insist on war pure and simple,
with no admixture of civil compromises, I am supposed vindictive.
You remember what Polonius said to his son Laertes: "Beware of
entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear it, that the opposed may
beware of thee." What is true of the single man, is equally true
of a nation. Our leaders seemed at first to thirst for the
quarrel, willing, even anxious, to array against us all possible
elements of opposition; and now, being in, they would hasten to
quit long before the "opposed" has received that lesson which he
needs. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no
symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy; indeed, I know,
and you know, that the end would be reached quicker by such a
course than by any seeming yielding on our part. I don't want our
Government to be bothered by patching up local governments, or by
trying to reconcile any class of men. The South has done her
worst, and now is the time for us to pile on our blows thick and

Instead of postponing the draft till after the elections, we ought
now to have our ranks full of drafted men; and, at best, if they
come at all, they will reach us when we should be in motion.

I think General Halleck would like to have the honest, candid
opinions of all of us, viz., Grant, McPherson, and Sherman. I have
given mine, and would prefer, of course, that it should coincide
with the others. Still, no matter what my opinion may be, I can
easily adapt my conduct to the plane of others, and am only too
happy when I find theirs better, than mine.

If no trouble, please show Halleck's letter to McPherson, and ask
him to write also. I know his regiments are like mine (mere
squads), and need filling up. Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.




After the fall of Vicksburg, and its corollary, Port Hudson, the
Mississippi River was wholly in the possession of the Union forces,
and formed a perfect line of separation in the territories of our
opponents. Thenceforth, they could not cross it save by stealth,
and the military affairs on its west bank became unimportant.
Grant's army had seemingly completed its share of the work of war,
and lay, as it were, idle for a time. In person General Grant went
to New Orleans to confer with General Banks, and his victorious
army was somewhat dispersed. Parke's corps (Ninth) returned to
Kentucky, and afterward formed part of the Army of the Ohio, under
General Burnside; Ord's corps (Thirteenth) was sent down to
Natchez, and gradually drifted to New Orleans and Texas; McPhersons
(Seventeenth) remained in and near Vicksburg; Hurlbut's (Sixteenth)
was at Memphis; and mine (Fifteenth) was encamped along the Big
Black, about twenty miles east of Vicksburg. This corps was
composed of four divisions: Steele's (the First) was posted at and
near the railroad-bridge; Blair's (the Second), next in order, near
Parson Fox's; the Third Division (Tuttle's) was on the ridge about
the head of Bear Creek; and the Fourth (Ewing's) was at Messinger's
Ford. My own headquarters were in tents in a fine grove of old
oaks near Parson Fox's house, and the battalion of the Thirteenth
Regulars was the headquarters guard.

All the camps were arranged for health, comfort, rest, and drill.
It being midsummer, we did not expect any change till the autumn
months, and accordingly made ourselves as comfortable as possible.
There was a short railroad in operation from Vicksburg to the
bridge across the Big Black, whence supplies in abundance were
hauled to our respective camps. With a knowledge of this fact Mrs.
Sherman came down from Ohio with Minnie, Lizzie, Willie, and Tom,
to pay us a visit in our camp at Parson Fog's. Willie was then
nine years old, was well advanced for his years, and took the most
intense interest in the affairs of the army. He was a great
favorite with the soldiers, and used to ride with me on horseback
in the numerous drills and reviews of the time. He then had the
promise of as long a life as any of my children, and displayed more
interest in the war than any of them. He was called a "sergeant"
in the regular battalion, learned the manual of arms, and regularly
attended the parade and guard-mounting of the Thirteenth, back of
my camp. We made frequent visits to Vicksburg, and always stopped
with General McPherson, who had a large house, and boarded with a
family (Mrs. Edwards's) in which were several interesting young
ladies. General Grant occupied another house (Mrs. Lum's) in
Vicksburg during that summer, and also had his family with him.
The time passed very agreeably, diversified only by little events
of not much significance, among which I will recount only one.

While, we occupied the west bank of the Big Black, the east bank
was watched by a rebel cavalry-division, commanded by General
Armstrong. He had four brigades, commanded by Generals Whitfield,
Stark, Cosby, and Wirt Adams. Quite frequently they communicated
with us by flags of truce on trivial matters, and we reciprocated;
merely to observe them. One day a flag of truce, borne by a
Captain B...., of Louisville, Kentucky, escorted by about
twenty-five men, was reported at Messinger's Ferry, and I sent
orders to let them come right into my tent. This brought them
through the camps of the Fourth Division, and part of the Second;
and as they drew up in front of my tent, I invited Captain B....
and another officer with him (a major from Mobile) to dismount, to
enter my tent, and to make themselves at home. Their escort was
sent to join mine, with orders to furnish them forage and every
thing they wanted. B.... had brought a sealed letter for General
Grant at Vicksburg, which was dispatched to him. In the evening we
had a good supper, with wine and cigars, and, as we sat talking,
B.... spoke of his father and mother, in Louisville, got leave to
write them a long letter without its being read by any one, and
then we talked about the war. He said: "What is the use of your
persevering? It is simply impossible to subdue eight millions of
people;" asserting that "the feeling in the South had become so
embittered that a reconciliation was impossible." I answered that,
"sitting as we then were, we appeared very comfortable, and surely
there was no trouble in our becoming friends." "Yes," said he,
"that is very true of us, but we are gentlemen of education, and
can easily adapt ourselves to any condition of things; but this
would not apply equally well to the common people, or to the common
soldiers." I took him out to the camp-fires behind the tent, and
there were the men of his escort and mine mingled together,
drinking their coffee, and happy as soldiers always seem. I asked
B.... what he thought of that, and he admitted that I had the best
of the argument. Before I dismissed this flag of truce, his
companion consulted me confidentially as to what disposition he
ought to make of his family, then in Mobile, and I frankly gave him
the best advice I could.

While we were thus lying idle in camp on the big Black, the Army of
the Cumberland, under General Rosecrans, was moving against Bragg
at Chattanooga; and the Army of the Ohio, General Burnside, was
marching toward East Tennessee. General Rosecrans was so confident
of success that he somewhat scattered his command, seemingly to
surround and capture Bragg in Chattanooga; but the latter,
reenforced from Virginia, drew out of Chattanooga, concentrated his
army at Lafayette, and at Chickamauga fell on Rosecrans, defeated
him, and drove him into Chattanooga. The whole country seemed
paralyzed by this unhappy event; and the authorities in Washington
were thoroughly stampeded. From the East the Eleventh Corps
(Slocum), and the Twelfth Corps (Howard), were sent by rail to
Nashville, and forward under command of General Hooker; orders were
also sent to General Grant, by Halleck, to send what reenforcements
he could spare immediately toward Chattanooga.

Bragg had completely driven Rosecrans's army into Chattanooga; the
latter was in actual danger of starvation, and the railroad to his
rear seemed inadequate to his supply. The first intimation which I
got of this disaster was on the 22d of September, by an order from
General Grant to dispatch one of my divisions immediately into
Vicksburg, to go toward Chattanooga, and I designated the First,
General Osterhaus--Steele meantime having been appointed to the
command of the Department of Arkansas, and had gone to Little Rock.
General Osterhaus marched the same day, and on the 23d I was
summoned to Vicksburg in person, where General Grant showed me the
alarming dispatches from General Halleck, which had been sent from
Memphis by General Hurlbut, and said, on further thought, that he
would send me and my whole corps. But, inasmuch as one division of
McPherson's corps (John E. Smith's) had already started, he
instructed me to leave one of my divisions on the Big Black, and to
get the other two ready to follow at once. I designated the
Second, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith, and the
Fourth, commanded by Brigadier-General Corse.

On the 25th I returned to my camp on Big Black, gave all the
necessary orders for these divisions to move, and for the Third
(Tittle's) to remain, and went into Vicksburg with my family. The
last of my corps designed for this expedition started from camp on
the 27th, reached Vicksburg the 28th, and were embarked on boats
provided for them. General Halleck's dispatches dwelt upon the
fact that General Rosecrans's routes of supply were overtaxed, and
that we should move from Memphis eastward, repairing railroads as
we progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, whence I was to report to
General Rosecrans, at Chattanooga, by letter.

I took passage for myself and family in the steamer Atlantic,
Captain Henry McDougall. When the boat was ready to start, Willie
was missing. Mrs. Sherman supposed him to have been with me,
whereas I supposed he was with her. An officer of the Thirteenth
went up to General McPherson's house for him, and soon returned,
with Captain Clift leading him, carrying in his hands a small
double-barreled shot gun; and I joked him about carrying away
captured property. In a short time we got off. As we all stood on
the guards to look at our old camps at Young's Point, I remarked
that Willie was not well, and he admitted that he was sick. His
mother put him to bed, and consulted Dr. Roler, of the Fifty-fifth
Illinois, who found symptoms of typhoid fever. The river was low;
we made slow progress till above Helena; and, as we approached
Memphis, Dr. Roler told me that Willie's life was in danger, and he
was extremely anxious to reach Memphis for certain medicines and
for consultation. We arrived at Memphis on the 2d of October,
carried Willie up to the Gayoso Hotel, and got the most experienced
physician there, who acted with Dr. Roler, but he sank rapidly, and
died the evening of the 3d of October. The blow was a terrible one
to us all, so sudden and so unexpected, that I could not help
reproaching myself for having consented to his visit in that sickly
region in the summer-time. Of all my children, he seemed the most
precious. Born in San Francisco, I had watched with intense
interest his development, and he seemed more than any of the
children to take an interest in my special profession. Mrs.
Sherman, Minnie, Lizzie, and Tom, were with him at the time, and we
all, helpless and overwhelmed, saw him die. Being in the very
midst of an important military enterprise, I had hardly time to
pause and think of my personal loss. We procured a metallic
casket, and had a military funeral, the battalion of the Thirteenth
United States Regulars acting as escort from the Gayoso Hotel to
the steamboat Grey Eagle, which conveyed him and my family up to
Cairo, whence they proceeded to our home at Lancaster, Ohio, where
he was buried. I here give my letter to Captain C. C. Smith, who
commanded the battalion at the time, as exhibiting our intense

October 4, 1863, Midnight

Captain C. C. SMITH, commanding Battalion Thirteenth United States

MY DEAR FRIEND: I cannot sleep to-night till I record an expression
of the deep feelings of my heart to you, and to the officers and
soldiers of the battalion, for their kind behavior to my poor
child. I realize that you all feel for my family the attachment of
kindred, and I assure you of full reciprocity. Consistent with a
sense of duty to my profession and office, I could not leave my
post, and sent for the family to come to me in that fatal climate,
and in that sickly period of the year, and behold the result! The
child that bore my name, and in whose future I reposed with more
confidence than I did in my own plan of life, now floats a mere
corpse, seeking a grave in a distant land, with a weeping mother,
brother, and sisters, clustered about him. For myself, I ask no
sympathy. On, on I must go, to meet a soldier's fate, or live to
see our country rise superior to all factions, till its flag is
adored and respected by ourselves and by all the powers of the

But Willie was, or thought he was, a sergeant in the Thirteenth. I
have seen his eye brighten, his heart beat, as he beheld the
battalion under arms, and asked me if they were not real soldiers.
Child as he was, he had the enthusiasm, the pure love of truth,
honor, and love of country, which should animate all soldiers.

God only knows why he should die thus young. He is dead, but will
not be forgotten till those who knew him in life have followed him
to that same mysterious end.

Please convey to the battalion my heart-felt thanks, and assure
each and all that if in after-years they call on me or mine, and
mention that they were of the Thirteenth Regulars when Willie was a
sergeant, they will have a key to the affections of my family that
will open all it has; that we will share with them our last
blanket, our last crust! Your friend,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-general.

Long afterward, in the spring of 1867, we had his body disinterred
and brought to St. Louis, where he is now buried in a beautiful
spot, in Calvary Cemetery, by the side of another child, "Charles,"
who was born at Lancaster, in the summer of 1864, died early, and
was buried at Notre Dame, Indiana. His body was transferred at the
same time to the same spot. Over Willie's grave is erected a
beautiful marble monument, designed and executed by the officers
and soldiers, of that battalion which claimed him as a sergeant and

During the summer and fall of 1863 Major-General S. A. Hurlbut was
in command at Memphis. He supplied me copies of all dispatches
from Washington, and all the information he possessed of the events
about Chattanooga. Two of these dispatches cover all essential

WASHINGTON CITY, September 15, 1863--5 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis:

All the troops that can possibly be spared in West Tennessee and on
the Mississippi River should be sent without delay to assist
General Rosecrans on the Tennessee River.

Urge Sherman to act with all possible promptness.

If you have boats, send them down to bring up his troops.

Information just received indicates that a part of Lee's army has
been sent to reenforce Bragg.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

Washington, September 19, 1868--4 p.m.

Major-General S. A. HURLBUT, Memphis, Tennessee:

Give me definite information of the number of troops sent toward
Decatur, and where they are. Also, what other troops are to
follow, and when.

Has any thing been heard from the troops ordered from Vicksburg?

No efforts must be spared to support Rosecrans's right, and to
guard the crossings of the Tennessee River.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

My special orders were to repair the Memphis & Charleston Railroad
eastward as I progressed, as far as Athens, Alabama, to draw
supplies by that route, so that, on reaching Athens, we should not
be dependent on the roads back to Nashville, already overtaxed by
the demand of Rosecrans's army.

On reaching Memphis, October 2d, I found that Osterhaus's division
had already gone by rail as far as Corinth, and than John E.
Smith's division was in the act of starting by cars. The Second
Division, then commanded by Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith,
reached Memphis at the same time with me; and the Fourth Division,
commanded by Brigadier-General John M. Corse, arrived a day or two
after. The railroad was in fair condition as far as Corinth,
ninety-six miles, but the road was badly stocked with locomotives
and cars, so that it took until the 9th to get off the Second
Division, when I gave orders for the Fourth Division and
wagon-trains to march by the common road.

On Sunday morning, October 11th, with a special train loaded with
our orderlies and clerks, the horses of our staff, the battalion of
the Thirteenth United States Regulars, and a few officers going
forward to join their commands, among them Brigadier-General Hugh
Ewing, I started for Corinth.

At Germantown, eight miles, we passed Corse's division (Fourth) on
the march, and about noon the train ran by the depot at
Colliersville, twenty-six miles out. I was in the rear car with my
staff, dozing, but observed the train slacking speed and stopping
about half a mile beyond the depot. I noticed some soldiers
running to and fro, got out at the end of the car, and soon Colonel
Anthony (Silty-sixth Indiana), who commanded the post, rode up and
said that his pickets had just been driven in, and there was an
appearance of an attack by a large force of cavalry coming from the
southeast. I ordered the men to get off the train, to form on the
knoll near the railroad-cut, and soon observed a rebel officer
riding toward us with a white flag. Colonel Anthony and Colonel
Dayton (one of my aides) were sent to meet him, and to keep him in
conversation as long as possible. They soon returned, saying it
was the adjutant of the rebel general Chalmers, who demanded the
surrender of the place. I instructed them to return and give a
negative answer, but to delay him as much as possible, so as to
give us time for preparation. I saw Anthony, Dayton, and the rebel
bearer of the flag, in conversation, and the latter turn his horse
to ride back, when I ordered Colonel McCoy to run to the station,
and get a message over the wires as quick as possible to Memphis
and Germantown, to hurry forward Corse's division. I then ordered
the train to back to the depot, and drew back the battalion of
regulars to the small earth redoubt near it. The depot-building
was of brick, and had been punctured with loop-holes. To its east,
about two hundred yards, was a small square earthwork or fort, into
which were put a part of the regulars along with the company of the
Sixty-sixth Indiana already there. The rest of the men were
distributed into the railroad-cut, and in some shallow
rifle-trenches near the depot. We had hardly made these
preparations when the enemy was seen forming in a long line on the
ridge to the south, about four hundred yards off, and soon after two
parties of cavalry passed the railroad on both sides of us, cutting
the wires and tearing up some rails. Soon they opened on us with
artillery (of which we had none), and their men were dismounting and
preparing to assault. To the south of us was an extensive
cornfield, with the corn still standing, and on the other side was
the town of Colliersville. All the houses near, that could give
shelter to the enemy, were ordered to be set on fire, and the men
were instructed to keep well under cover and to reserve their fire
for the assault, which seemed inevitable. A long line of rebel
skirmishers came down through the cornfield, and two other parties
approached us along the railroad on both sides. In the fort was a
small magazine containing some cartridges. Lieutenant James, a
fine, gallant fellow, who was ordnance-officer on my staff, asked
leave to arm the orderlies and clerks with some muskets which he had
found in the depot, to which I consented; he marched them into the
magazine, issued cartridges, and marched back to the depot to assist
in its defense. Afterward he came to me, said a party of the enemy
had got into the woods near the depot, and was annoying him, and he
wanted to charge and drive it away. I advised him to be extremely
cautious, as our enemy vastly outnumbered us, and had every
advantage in position and artillery; but instructed him, if they got
too near, he might make a sally. Soon after, I heard a rapid fire
in that quarter, and Lieutenant. James was brought in on a
stretcher, with a ball through his breast, which I supposed to be

[After the fight we sent him back to Memphis, where his mother and
father came from their home on the North River to nurse him. Young
James was recovering from his wound, but was afterward killed by a
fall from his horse, near his home, when riding with the daughters
of Mr. Hamilton Fish, now Secretary of State.]

The enemy closed down on us several times, and got possession of
the rear of our train, from which they succeeded in getting five of
our horses, among them my favorite mare Dolly; but our men were
cool and practised shots (with great experience acquired at
Vicksburg), and drove them back. With their artillery they knocked
to pieces our locomotive and several of the cars, and set fire to
the train; but we managed to get possession again, and extinguished
the fire. Colonel Audenreid, aide-de-camp, was provoked to find
that his valise of nice shirts had been used to kindle the fire.
The fighting continued all round us for three or four hours, when
we observed signs of drawing off, which I attributed to the
rightful cause, the rapid approach of Corse's division, which
arrived about dark, having marched the whole distance from Memphis,
twenty-six miles, on the double-quick. The next day we repaired
damages to the railroad and locomotive, and went on to Corinth.

At Corinth, on the 16th, I received the following important

MEMPHIS, October 14, 1863--11 a.m.

Arrived this morning. Will be off in a few hours. My orders are
only to go to Cairo, and report from there by telegraph. McPherson
will be in Canton to-day. He will remain there until Sunday or
Monday next, and reconnoitre as far eastward as possible with
cavalry, in the mean time.

U. S. GRANT, Major-General.

WASHINGTON, October 14, 1863--1 p.m.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Corinth

Yours of the 10th is received. The important matter to be attended
to is that of supplies. When Eastport can be reached by boats, the
use of the railroad can be dispensed with; but until that time it
must be guarded as far as need. The Kentucky Railroad can barely
supply General Rosecrans. All these matters must be left to your
judgment as circumstances may arise. Should the enemy be so strong
as to prevent your going to Athena, or connecting with General
Rosecrans, you will nevertheless have assisted him greatly by
drawing away a part of the enemy's forces.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

On the 18th, with my staff and a small escort, I rode forward to
Burnsville, and on the 19th to Iuka, where, on the next day, I was
most agreeably surprised to hear of the arrival at Eastport (only
ten miles off) of two gunboats, under the command of Captain
Phelps, which had been sent up the Tennessee River by Admiral
Porter, to help us.

Satisfied that, to reach Athens and to communicate with General
Rosecrans, we should have to take the route north of the Tennessee
River, on the 24th I ordered the Fourth Division to cross at
Eastport with the aid of the gunboats, and to move to Florence.
About the same time, I received the general orders assigning
General Grant to command the Military Division of the Mississippi,
authorizing him, on reaching Chattanooga, to supersede General
Rosecrans by General George H. Thomas, with other and complete
authority, as set, forth in the following letters of General
Halleck, which were sent to me by General Grant; and the same
orders devolved on me the command of the Department and Army of the

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 16, 1863

Major-General U. S. GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: You will receive herewith the orders of the President of
the United States, placing you in command of the Departments of the
Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee. The organization of these
departments will be changed as you may deem most practicable. You
will immediately proceed to Chattanooga, and relieve General
Rosecrans. You can communicate with Generals Burnside and Sherman
by telegraph. A summary of the orders sent to these officers will
be sent to you immediately. It is left optional with you to
supersede General Rosecrans by General G. H. Thomas or not. Any
other changes will be made on your request by telegram.

One of the first objects requiring your attention is the supply of
your armies. Another is the security of the passes in the Georgia
mountains, to shut out the enemy from Tennessee and Kentucky. You
will consult with General Meigs and Colonel Scott in regard to
transportation and supplies.

Should circumstances permit, I will visit you personally in a few
days for consultation.

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 20, 1868.

Major-General GRANT, Louisville.

GENERAL: In compliance with my promise, I now proceed to give you
a brief statement of the objects aimed at by General Rosecrans and
General Burnside's movement into East Tennessee, and of the
measures directed to be taken to attain these objects.

It has been the constant desire of the government, from the
beginning of the war, to rescue the loyal inhabitants of East
Tennessee from the hands of the rebels, who fully appreciated the
importance of continuing their hold upon that country. In addition
to the large amount of agricultural products drawn from the upper
valley of the Tennessee, they also obtained iron and other
materials from the vicinity of Chattanooga. The possession of East
Tennessee would cut off one of their most important railroad
communications, and threaten their manufactories at Rome, Atlanta,

When General Buell was ordered into East Tennessee in the summer of
1882, Chattanooga was comparatively unprotected; but Bragg reached
there before Buell, and, by threatening his communications, forced
him to retreat on Nashville and Louisville. Again, after the
battle of Perryville, General Buell was urged to pursue Bragg's
defeated army, and drive it from East Tennessee. The same was
urged upon his successor, but the lateness of the season or other
causes prevented further operations after the battle of Stone

Last spring, when your movements on the Mississippi River had drawn
out of Tennessee a large force of the enemy, I again urged General
Rosecrans to take advantage of that opportunity to carry out his
projected plan of campaign, General Burnside being ready to
cooperate, with a diminished but still efficient force. But he
could not be persuaded to act in time, preferring to lie still till
your campaign should be terminated. I represented to him, but
without avail, that by this delay Johnston might be able to
reenforce Bragg with the troops then operating against you.

When General Rosecrans finally determined to advance, he was
allowed to select his own lines and plans for carrying out the
objects of the expedition. He was directed, however, to report his
movements daily, till he crossed the Tennessee, and to connect his
left, so far as possible, with General Burnside's right. General
Burnside was directed to move simultaneously, connecting his right,
as far as possible, with General Rosecrans's left so that, if the
enemy concentrated upon either army, the other could move to its
assistance. When General Burnside reached Kingston and Knoxville,
and found no considerable number of the enemy in East Tennessee, he
was instructed to move down the river and cooperate with General

These instructions were repeated some fifteen times, but were not
carried out, General Burnside alleging as an excuse that he
believed that Bragg was in retreat, and that General Rosecrans
needed no reenforcements. When the latter had gained possession of
Chattanooga he was directed not to move on Rome as he proposed, but
simply to hold the mountain-passes, so as to prevent the ingress of
the rebels into East Tennessee. That object accomplished, I
considered the campaign as ended, at least for the present. Future
operations would depend upon the ascertained strength and;
movements of the enemy. In other words, the main objects of the
campaign were the restoration of East Tennessee to the Union, and
by holding the two extremities of the valley to secure it from
rebel invasion.

The moment I received reliable information of the departure of
Longstreet's corps from the Army of the Potomac, I ordered forward
to General Rosecrans every available man in the Department of the
Ohio, and again urged General Burnside to move to his assistance.
I also telegraphed to Generals Hurlbut, Sherman, and yourself, to
send forward all available troops in your department. If these
forces had been sent to General Rosecrans by Nashville, they could
not have been supplied; I therefore directed them to move by
Corinth and the Tennessee River. The necessity of this has been
proved by the fact that the reinforcements sent to him from the
Army of the Potomac have not been able, for the want of railroad
transportation, to reach General Rosecrans's army in the field.

In regard to the relative strength of the opposing armies, it is
believed that General Rosecrans when he first moved against Bragg
had double, if not treble, his force. General Burnside, also, had
more than double the force of Buckner; and, even when Bragg and
Buckner united, Rosecrans's army was very greatly superior in
number. Even the eighteen thousand men sent from Virginia, under
Longstreet, would not have given the enemy the superiority. It is
now ascertained that the greater part of the prisoners parolled by
you at Vicksburg, and General Banks at Port Hudson, were illegally
and improperly declared exchanged, and forced into the ranks to
swell the rebel numbers at Chickamauga. This outrageous act, in
violation of the laws of war, of the cartel entered into by the
rebel authorities, and of all sense of honor, gives us a useful
lesson in regard to the character of the enemy with whom we are
contending. He neither regards the rules of civilized warfare, nor
even his most solemn engagements. You may, therefore, expect to
meet in arms thousands of unexchanged prisoners released by you and
others on parole, not to serve again till duly exchanged.

Although the enemy by this disgraceful means has been able to
concentrate in Georgia and Alabama a much larger force than we
anticipated, your armies will be abundantly able to defeat him.
Your difficulty will not be in the want of men, but in the means of
supplying them at this season of the year. A single-track railroad
can supply an army of sixty or seventy thousand men, with the usual
number of cavalry and artillery; but beyond that number, or with a
large mounted force, the difficulty of supply is very great.

I do not know the present condition of the road from Nashville to
Decatur, but, if practicable to repair it, the use of that triangle
will be of great assistance to you. I hope, also, that the recent
rise of water in the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers will enable
you to employ water transportation to Nashville, Eastport, or

If you reoccupy the passes of Lookout Mountain, which should never
have been given up, you will be able to use the railroad and river
from Bridgeport to Chattanooga. This seems to me a matter of vital
importance, and should receive your early attention.

I submit this summary in the hope that it will assist you in fully
understanding the objects of the campaign, and the means of
attaining these objects. Probably the Secretary of War, in his
interviews with you at Louisville, has gone over the same ground.
Whatever measures you may deem proper to adopt under existing
circumstances, you will receive all possible assistance from the
authorities at Washington. You have never, heretofore, complained
that such assistance has not been afforded you in your operations,
and I think you will have no cause of complaint in your present
campaign. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief

General Frank P. Blair, who was then ahead with the two divisions
of Osterhaus and John E. Smith, was temporarily assigned to the
command of the Fifteenth Corps. General Hurlbut remained at
Memphis in command of the Sixteenth Corps, and General McPherson at
Vicksburg with the Seventeenth. These three corps made up the Army
of the Tennessee. I was still busy in pushing forward the repairs
to the railroad bridge at Bear Creek, and in patching up the many
breaks between it and Tuscumbia, when on the 27th of October, as I
sat on the porch of a house, I was approached by a dirty,
black-haired individual with mixed dress and strange demeanor, who
inquired for me, and, on being assured that I was in fact the man,
he handed me a letter from General Blair at Tuscumbia, and another
short one, which was a telegraph-message from General Grant at
Chattanooga, addressed to me through General George Crook,
commanding at Huntsville, Alabama, to this effect:

Drop all work on Memphis & Charleston Railroad, cross the Tennessee
and hurry eastward with all possible dispatch toward Bridgeport,
till you meet further orders from me.


The bearer of this message was Corporal Pike, who described to me,
in his peculiar way, that General Crook had sent him in a canoe;
that he had paddled down the Tennessee River, over Muscle Shoals,
was fired at all the way by guerrillas, but on reaching Tuscumbia
he had providentially found it in possession of our troops. He had
reported to General Blair, who sent him on to me at Iuka. This
Pike proved to be a singular character; his manner attracted my
notice at once, and I got him a horse, and had him travel with us
eastward to about Elkton, whence I sent him back to General Crook
at Huntsville; but told him, if I could ever do him a personal
service, he might apply to me. The next spring when I was in
Chattanooga, preparing for the Atlanta campaign, Corporal Pike made
his appearance and asked a fulfillment of my promise. I inquired
what he wanted, and he said he wanted to do something bold,
something that would make him a hero. I explained to him, that we
were getting ready to go for Joe Johnston at Dalton, that I
expected to be in the neighborhood of Atlanta about the 4th of
July, and wanted the bridge across the Savannah River at Augusta,
Georgia, to be burnt about that time, to produce alarm and
confusion behind the rebel army. I explained to Pike that the
chances were three to one that he would be caught and hanged; but
the greater the danger the greater seemed to be his desire to
attempt it. I told him to select a companion, to disguise himself
as an East Tennessee refugee, work his way over the mountains into
North Carolina, and at the time appointed to float down the
Savannah River and burn that bridge. In a few days he had made his
preparations and took his departure. The bridge was not burnt, and
I supposed that Pike had been caught and hanged.

When we reached Columbia, South Carolina, in February, 1865, just
as we were leaving the town, in passing near the asylum, I heard my
name called, and saw a very dirty fellow followed by a file of men
running toward me, and as they got near I recognized Pike. He
called to me to identify him as one of my men; he was then a
prisoner under guard, and I instructed the guard to bring him that
night to my camp some fifteen miles up the road, which was done.
Pike gave me a graphic narrative of his adventures, which would
have filled a volume; told me how he had made two attempts to burn
the bridge, and failed; and said that at the time of our entering
Columbia he was a prisoner in the hands of the rebels, under trial
for his life, but in the confusion of their retreat he made his
escape and got into our lines, where he was again made a prisoner
by our troops because of his looks. Pike got some clothes, cleaned
up, and I used him afterward to communicate with Wilmington, North
Carolina. Some time after the war, he was appointed a lieutenant
of the Regular, Cavalry, and was killed in Oregon, by the
accidental discharge of a pistol. Just before his death he wrote
me, saying that he was tired of the monotony of garrison-life, and
wanted to turn Indian, join the Cheyennes on the Plains, who were
then giving us great trouble, and, after he had gained their
confidence, he would betray them into our hands. Of course I wrote
him that he must try and settle down and become a gentleman as well
as an officer, apply himself to his duties, and forget the wild
desires of his nature, which were well enough in time of war, but
not suited to his new condition as an officer; but, poor fellow I
he was killed by an accident, which probably saved him from a
slower but harder fate.

At Iuka I issued all the orders to McPherson and Hurlbut necessary
for the Department of the Tennessee during my absence, and,
further, ordered the collection of a force out of the Sixteenth
Corps, of about eight thousand men, to be commanded by General G.
M. Dodge, with orders to follow as far east as Athens, Tennessee,
there to await instructions. We instantly discontinued all
attempts to repair the Charleston Railroad; and the remaining three
divisions of the Fifteenth Corps marched to Eastport, crossed the
Tennessee River by the aid of the gunboats, a ferry-boat, and a
couple of transports which had come up, and hurried eastward.

In person I crossed on the 1st of November, and rode forward to
Florence, where I overtook Ewing's division. The other divisions
followed rapidly. On the road to Florence I was accompanied by my
staff, some clerks, and mounted orderlies. Major Ezra Taylor
was chief of artillery, and one of his sons was a clerk at
head-quarters. The latter seems to have dropped out of the column,
and gone to a farm house near the road. There was no organized
force of the rebel army north of the Tennessee River, but the
country was full of guerrillas. A party of these pounced down on
the farm, caught young Taylor and another of the clerks, and after
reaching Florence, Major Taylor heard of the capture of his son, and
learned that when last seen he was stripped of his hat and coat, was
tied to the tail-board of a wagon, and driven rapidly to the north
of the road we had traveled. The major appealed to me to do
something for his rescue. I had no cavalry to send in pursuit, but
knowing that there was always an understanding between these
guerrillas and their friends who staid at home, I sent for three or
four of the principal men of Florence (among them a Mr. Foster, who
had once been a Senator in Congress), explained to them the capture
of young Taylor and his comrade, and demanded their immediate
restoration. They, of course, remonstrated, denied all knowledge of
the acts of these guerrillas, and claimed to be peaceful citizens of
Alabama, residing at home. I insisted that these guerrillas were
their own sons and neighbors; that they knew their haunts, and could
reach them if they wanted, and they could effect the restoration to
us of these men; and I said, moreover, they must do it within
twenty-four hours, or I would take them, strip them of their hats
and coats, and tie them to the tail-boards of our wagons till they
were produced. They sent off messengers at once, and young Taylor
and his comrade were brought back the next day.

Resuming our march eastward by the large road, we soon reached Elk
River, which was wide and deep, and could only be crossed by a
ferry, a process entirely too slow for the occasion; so I changed
the route more by the north, to Elkton, Winchester, and Deckerd.
At this point we came in communication with the Army of the
Cumberland, and by telegraph with General Grant, who was at
Chattanooga. He reiterated his orders for me and my command to
hurry forward with all possible dispatch, and in person I reached
Bridgeport during the night of November 13th, my troops following
behind by several roads. At Bridgeport I found a garrison guarding
the railroad-bridge and pontoon bridge there, and staid with the
quartermaster, Colonel William G. Le Due (who was my school-mate at
How's School in 1836). There I received a dispatch from General
Grant, at Chattanooga, to come up in person, leaving my troops to
follow as fast as possible. At that time there were two or three
small steamboats on the river, engaged in carrying stores up as far
as Kelly's Ferry. In one of these I took passage, and on reaching
Kelly's Ferry found orderlies, with one of General Grant's private
horses, waiting for me, on which I rode into Chattanooga, November
14th. Of course, I was heartily welcomed by Generals Grant,
Thomas, and all, who realized the extraordinary efforts we had made
to come to their relief. The next morning we walked out to Fort
Wood, a prominent salient of the defenses of the place, and from
its parapet we had a magnificent view of the panorama. Lookout
Mountain, with its rebel flags and batteries, stood out boldly, and
an occasional shot fired toward Wauhatchee or Moccasin Point gave
life to the scene. These shots could barely reach Chattanooga, and
I was told that one or more shot had struck a hospital inside the
lines. All along Missionary Ridge were the tents of the rebel
beleaguering force; the lines of trench from Lookout up toward the
Chickamauga were plainly visible; and rebel sentinels, in a
continuous chain, were walking their posts in plain view, not a
thousand yards off. "Why," said I, "General Grant, you are
besieged;" and he said, "It is too true." Up to that moment I had
no idea that things were so bad. The rebel lines actually extended
from the river, below the town, to the river above, and the Army of
the Cumberland was closely held to the town and its immediate
defenses. General Grant pointed out to me a house on Missionary
Ridge, where General Bragg's headquarters were known to be. He
also explained the situation of affairs generally; that the mules
and horses of Thomas's army were so starved that they could not
haul his guns; that forage, corn, and provisions, were so scarce
that the men in hunger stole the few grains of corn that were given
to favorite horses; that the men of Thomas's army had been so
demoralized by the battle of Chickamauga that he feared they could
not be got out of their trenches to assume the offensive; that
Bragg had detached Longstreet with a considerable force up into
East Tennessee, to defeat and capture Burnside; that Burnside was
in danger, etc.; and that he (Grant) was extremely anxious to
attack Bragg in position, to defeat him, or at least to force him
to recall Longstreet. The Army of the Cumberland had so long been
in the trenches that he wanted my troops to hurry up, to take the
offensive first; after which, he had no doubt the Cumberland army
would fight well. Meantime the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under
General Hooker, had been advanced from Bridgeport along the
railroad to Wauhatchee, but could not as yet pass Lookout Mountain.
A pontoon-bridge had been thrown across the Tennessee River at
Brown's Ferry, by which supplies were hauled into Chattanooga from
Kelly's and Wauhatchee..

Another bridge was in course of construction at Chattanooga, under
the immediate direction of Quartermaster-General Meigs, but at the
time all wagons, etc., had to be ferried across by a flying-bridge.
Men were busy and hard at work everywhere inside our lines, and
boats for another pontoon-bridge were being rapidly constructed
under Brigadier-General W. F. Smith, familiarly known as "Baldy
Smith," and this bridge was destined to be used by my troops, at a
point of the river about four miles above Chattanooga, just below
the mouth of the Chickamauga River. General Grant explained to me
that he had reconnoitred the rebel line from Lookout Mountain up to
Chickamauga, and he believed that the northern portion of
Missionary Ridge was not fortified at all; and he wanted me, as
soon as my troops got up, to lay the new pontoon-bridge by night,
cross over, and attack Bragg's right flank on that part of the
ridge abutting on Chickamauga Creek, near the tunnel; and he
proposed that we should go at once to look at the ground. In
company with Generals Thomas, W. F. Smith, Brannan, and others, we
crossed by the flying-bridge, rode back of the hills some four
miles, left our horses, and got on a hill overlooking the whole
ground about the mouth of the Chickamauga River, and across to the
Missionary Hills near the tunnel. Smith and I crept down behind a
fringe of trees that lined the river-bank, to the very point
selected for the new bridge, where we sat for some time, seeing the
rebel pickets on the opposite bank, and almost hearing their words.

Having seen enough, we returned to Chattanooga; and in order to
hurry up my command, on which so much depended, I started back to
Kelly's in hopes to catch the steamboat that same evening; but on
my arrival the boat had gone. I applied to the commanding officer,
got a rough boat manned by four soldiers, and started down the
river by night. I occasionally took a turn at the oars to relieve
some tired man, and about midnight we reached Shell Mound, where
General Whittaker, of Kentucky, furnished us a new and good crew,
with which we reached Bridgeport by daylight. I started Ewings


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