Ch. IX.]

ruled alternately an uninstructed enthusiasm and a purblind pedantry."

A change seemed to be imperatively called for; and whether it was Halleck'H fault or not, it was a settled fact,'in the judgment of the people, that there must be a new head to the army; a ta live" head, as the phrase was, one able to grasp the situation fully and firmly, and possessing comprehensive and administrative ability sufficient to regulate, control, and direct to the one great result, the vast military power in the hands of the government for crushing the rebellion. Gen. Grant, who had been unusually successful in his career in the West, and who seemed to be possessed of very high qualifications for the important duties of commander in chief, was fixed upon by popular consent as the man for the existing emergency. Congress and the president eagerly ratified this conviction of the people. Grant had been made a majorgeneral in the regular army, July 4th, 1863: and in order to place him in the rank above all others, and meet all the demands of military etiquette, there was revived the grade of lieutenant-general. The bill passed by Congress for this purpose was approved by Mr. Lincoln, February 29th; he immediately nominated Gen. Grant, who was confirmed by the Senate on the 2d of March, 1864, and thus elevated to the rank which Washington alone had ever held in the army of the United States.

Grant was summoned to Washington to receive his commission as lieutenantgeneral and arrived on the 8th of March. The next day, in the executive chamber, the president, in the presence of the en


tire cabinet, Gen. Rawlins, Grant's chief of staff, Gen. Halleck, and a few others, bestowed the high commission upon Grant. His address was brief and dignified, fully recognizing the solemnity of the occasion:

"Gen. Grant,—The nation's appreciation of what you have done, and its j reliance upon you for what remains to j be done in the existing great struggle, is now presented with this commission, constituting you lieutenant-general in the army of the United States. With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As | the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add, that, with what I here speak for the nation, goes my own i hearty personal concurrence." Gen.! Grant, in simple but pertinent language, replied, as follows: "Mr. President: —I accept the commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred. , With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon me; and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those armies, and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men."

The day following, March 10th, by j special order of the president, Grant! was " appointed to the command of the armies of the United States." On the 11th of March, he returned to Nashville, Tenn., and on the 12th, the order was issued by the war department, re organizing the chief military commands


for the ensuing campaign. Halleck was made chief of staff of the army, under the direction of the secretary of war and the lieut.-general commanding. Sherman was assigned to the command of the military division, composed of the department of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas. McPherson was assigned to the command of the department and Army of the Tennessee.

On the 17th of March, at Nashville, Grant issued an order, in which he said:—" I assume command of the armies of the United States. My headquarters will be in the field, and until further orders will be with the Army of the Potomac. There will be an officers' headquarters in Washington, to which all official communications will be sent, except those from the army where headquarters are at the date of this address." Two days later, Grant left Nashville for Washington, and proceeded thence to the Army of the Potomac, to prepare for active measures at the earliest moment.

At this point the reader will be interested in having the lieut.-general's views upon the great question at issue, as well as upon the steps necessary to be taken in so grave an emergency. We quote from the beginning of his official report, made in July, 1865. "From an early period in the rebellion I had been impressed with the idea that active and continuous operations of all the troops that could be brought into the field, regardless of season and weather, were necessary to a speedy termination of the war. The resources of the enemy and his numerical strength


were far inferior to ours; but as an off set to this, we had a vast territory, with a population hostile to the government, to garrison, and long lines of river aml railroad communication to protect, to enable us to supply the operating armies.

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

"From the first, I was firm in the conviction that no peace could be had that would be stable and conducive to the happiness of the people, both North and South, until the military power of the rebellion was entirely broken. I therefore determined, first, to use the greatest number of troops practicable against the armed force of the enemy; preventing him from using the same force at different seasons against first one and then another of our armies, and the possibility of repose for refitting anc' producing necessary supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources, until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there

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should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the loyal section of our common country to the Constitution and laws of the land."

In connection with these statements, it is important to notice the situation of the loyal forces at this date, as well as of those in array against them. The Mississippi River was strongly garrisoned by our troops from St. Louis, Missouri, to its mouth. The line "of the Arkansas was also held, which gave us possession of all west of the Mississippi and north of the Arkansas. A few points were held in Southern Louisiana, and there was a small garrison at the mouth of the Rio Grande. All the balance of the vast territory of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas was in possession of the rebels, who numbered in the field not less probably than 80,000 effective men, and could, had occasion required, have brought them all into active service against our forces. But. in Grant's opinion, "the let-alone policy had demoralized this force of the rebels so much, that probably little more than one-half of it was ever present in garrison at any one time. The one-half, however, or 40,000 men, with the bands of guerrillas scattered through Missouri, Arkansas, and along the Mississippi River, and the disloyal character of much of the population, compelled the use of a large number of troops to keep navigation open on the river, and to protect the loyal people to the west of it. To the east of the Mississippi we held substantially with the line of the Tennessee and Holston Rivers, running eastward to include nearly all of the state of Tennessee. South of Chatta

nooga, a small foothold had been obtained in Georgia, sufficient to protect East Tennessee from incursions from the enemy's force at Dalton, Georgia. West Virginia was substantially within our lines. Virginia, with the exception of the northern border, the Potomac River, a small area about the mouth of _„


the James River, covered by the troops at Norfolk and Fort Monroe, and the territory covered by the Army of the Potomac lying along the Rapidan, was in the possession of the enemy. Along the sea-coast footholds had been obtained at Plymouth, Washington, and Newbern, in North Carolma; Beaufort, Folly, and Morris Islands, Hilton Head, Fort Pulaski, and Port Royal, in South Carolina; Fernandina and St. Augustine, in Florida. Key West and Pensacola were also in our possession, while all the important ports were blockaded by our navy." Bands of guerrillas behind our lines and a population largely disaffected and hostile, made it necessary to guard every foot of road or river used in supplying our armies. And as military despotism prevailed in the South, to which we have before referred, every man and boy of eighteen was made a soldier, (p. 259), and the rebels were able to bring into the field their entire strength; conscious, as they were, that the last great struggle was at hand, and that if they did not succeed now in their ambitious designs, the so-called "Confederacy" would be swept away forever.

Grant, immediately on assuming command of all the armies of the United States, directed a re-organization of the Army of the Potomac, which, under Gen. Meade, by order of March 24th, was carried at once into effect.* In view of the reduced strength of nearly all the regiments serving in the army, the number of corps was reduced from five to three, leaving the 2d, 5th, and 6th respectively commanded by Generals Hancock, G. K. Warren, and Sedgwick. The 1st and 3d corps, lately commanded by Generals French and Newton, were distributed among the other corps. Gen. Pleasanton, so honorably distinguished at the head of the cavalry corps, was relieved, and Gen. P. H. Sheridan assigned to his command. The latter, in the prime of manhood, had already distinguished himself in the South-west, and great and important results were expected at his hands in the extremely responsible charge now committed to Ins trust. The 9th corps, under Gen. Burnside, was recruited to a considerable extent at Annapolis with negro troops. It was a matter of doubt for some time where the services of this corps were to be employed; but having been reviewed by the president on the 23d of April, it was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, f

* In referring to Gen. Meade's position, Gen. Grant says, with evident consideration and fairness: "I may here stato that, commanding all the armies as I did, I tried, as far as possible, to leave Gen. Meade in independent command of the Army of the Potomac. My instructions for that army were all through him, and were general in their nature, leaving all the details and tho execution to him. The campaigns that followed proved him to be the right man in the right place His commanding always in the presence of an officer superior to him in rank, has drawn from him much of that public attention that his zeal and ability entitle lum to, and which he would otherwise have received."—Gen. Grant's " Report," p. 12.

\ According to Mr. Swinton's statements "the uni

Early in March, Gen. Sigel was assigned to the command of the forces in the department of Western Virginia, for the purpose of co-operating with Grant by way of the Shenandoah Valley. Large additions were made to his force, and important interests depended on its success. Gen. Butler, in com maud at Fortress Monroe, was als > reinforced,* and was expected to render very efficient aid in carrying out the plan of the campaign as determined upon by Grant. Gen. W. F. Smith, from the western army, was assigned to the command of the 18th corps; aud Gen. Gillmore, from the department of the South, was assigned to the command of the 10th corps. Both these officers were to act under Butler's command, with reference to the one great object Grant had in view, i. e., the taking of Richmond, and, if possible, tho capture or destruction of Lee's army.f

Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, was instructed by Grant "that Lee's army would be his objective point; that wherever Lee went he would go also. For his movement two plans presented themselves: One to cross the Kapidan below Lee, moving by his right flank; the other

ted strength of the four corps gave Grant a moveable column of about 140,000 men of all arms. The rolls of Lee's army showed a force, present for duty, of M.62G men, foot, horse, and artillery."—" Army of the Polomac," p. 413.

* For the letter of instruction addressed to Kuiler, April 2d, see Grant's " Report," pp. 8, 9.

f On tho 21st of April, the governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, tendered to the government the services of 100,000 men for one hundred days. The object was, to afford valuable help in garrisoning tiic fort*, cities, etc, and thus to relieve the veteran troo 8 occupied in this kind of duty. The president very gladly accepted the offer, and directions were givet to carry the same into effect

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above, moving by his left. Each, presented advantages over the other, with corresponding objections. By crossing above, Lee would be cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond or going north on a raid. But if we took this route all we did would have to be done whilst the rations we started with held out; besides, it separated us from Butler, so that he could [ not be directed how to co-operate. If we took the other route, Brandy Station could be used as a base of supplies until another was secured on the York or James Rivers. Of these, however, it was decided to take the lower route."

The lieutenant-general took the earliest opportunity of visiting and inspecting the Army of the Potomac, and also the forces under Butler in command at Fortress Monroe. During the month of April, preparations of every kind were actively carried forward. Lee's army held its long established lines, formidably entrenched in his most advantageous position south of the Rapidan, with his headquarters at Orange Court House. To the north of the Rapidan, with its line of communication by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, lay the Army of the Potomac, threatening its adversary and guarding the approaches to Washington. Grant's headquarters was established at Culpepper.

Owing to the weather and bad condition of the roads, operations were delayed until the beginning of May, when, everything being in readiness, and the roads favorable, orders were given for a general movement of all the armies, to take place as early as the 4th of

VOL. IV—54.

May. Accordingly, on Tuesday, May 3d, the Army of the Potomac broke camp, and with six days' rations began its march. About two P.m., Gregg's cavalry division, with a part of the pontoon train, moved towards Richardsville, and were occupied in repairing the roads to Ely's Ford. Wilson's cavalry division performed a similar service with reference to Germania Ford, eight miles above; and about midnight, the means of crossing having been secured, Hancock, with the 2d corps, moved to Ely's Ford, and passed with his entire force over the Rapidan by daylight. Warren began to move at the same time, and Sedgwick followed closely in his steps. During the day, May 4th, the crossing was effected by the three corps without opposition. Burnside, with the 9th corps, advanced to the banks of the Rapidan, but did not cross over, being held as a reserve. "Before night" (on the 4th of May), says Grant, speaking of this crossing, "the whole army was across the Rapidan (the 5th and 6th corps crossing at Germania Ford, and the 2d coi-ps at Ely's Ford, the cavalry, under MajorGeneral Sheridan, moving in advance), with the greater part of its trains, numbering about 4,000 wagons, meeting with but slight opposition. This 1 regarded as a great success, and it removed from my mind the most serious apprehensions I had entertained, that of crossing the river in the face of an active, large, well-appointed and ably commanded army, and how so large a train was to be carried through a hostile country and protected."*

* "But," is Swinton's criticism, "the trouble in ro

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