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THANKS OF CONGRESS AND A GOLD MEDAL.
Congress assembled on Monday, the 8th of December, 1863, when the news of General Grant's last success was creating a sensation on the streets of Washington. first resolution passed at this, the thirty-eighth session, was offered by Hon. Wm. Washburne, of Illinois, and passed both houses unanimously, without debate, as follows :
“ Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the thanks of Congress be and they hereby are presented to MajorGeneral Ulysses S. Grant, and through him to the officers and soldiers who have fought under his command during this rebellion, for their gallantry and good conduct in the battles in which they have been engaged; and that the President of the United States be requested to cause a gold medal to be struck, with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be presented to Major-General Grant.
“SECTION 2. And be it further resolved, That, when the said medal shall have been struck, the President shall cause a copy of this joint resolution to be engrossed on parchment, and shall transmit the same, together with the said medal, to Major-General Grant, to be presented to him in the name of the people of the United States of America.
“ SECTION 3. And be it further resolved, That a sufficient sum of money to carry this resolution into effect is hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated."
And on the 17th day of December the resolution received the President's approval.
This medal on one side presents a profile of the General, surrounded by a laurel wreath, beneath which is his name and the dates of his victories. On the obverse is the fig. ure of Fame reclining on the American eagle, shielded ; Fame holding in her right hand a trumpet, and in her left a scroll on wbich is inscribed “VICKSBURG, CORINTH, MisSISSIPPI RIVER, CHATTANOOGA;" on her head an ornamented helmet. Beneath all, are represented sprigs of pine and palm intertwined ; while over all are the words “ Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land."
His praise was in every mouth. The press lauded his triumph in applauding leaders. Legislatures passed resolutions thanking him for his public services; and various religious and civic societies publicly testified their gratitude to him. A pair of Colt’s revolvers, with handles of black horn, beautifully polished, and the barrels, magazines, and other steel parts elaborately inlaid with pure gold, beaten into a design previously cut out of the steel, the whole enclosed in a handsome rosewood box, lined with velvet, and accompanied by all the tools, etc., belonging to them, the cartridge boxes and the equipments being of solid silver, were presented to him by several of his personal friends. Honors were showered upon him in profusion at every place he went.
HE VISITS THE OUTPOSTS. The rebel cavalry Generals, Wheeler, Morgan, Forrest, and Rhoddy, had increased their commands, and were already on the move, in various directions, to harass Grant, by pouncing upon the garrisons along our lines of communication, and were bidding fair to turn their operations to some favorable account.
With the view of thoroughly understanding his position, General Grant visited all the points along his lines, journeying over the mountainous regions of the Cumberland, passing through Knoxville and Nashville in his progress.
At Knoxville he was called upon by the people for a speech, in answer to which General Leslie Coombs was obliged to say that “General Grant had told him in confidence that he had never made a speech, knew nothing about speech-making, and had no disposition to learn." After thoroughiy examining the country, and having re-opened the railroad communications between Nashville and Chattanooga, General Grant arrived at Louisville,
Kentucky, on the 11th of January, 1864, and, returning, reached Chattanooga on the 13th.
AT ST. LOUIS-A PUBLIC DINNER. Learning that his son was ill at home, General Grant paid a visit to St. Louis, which he reached on the 26th. He was not idle here, employing his time in visiting and inspecting the National defences. He was invited by the citizens of St. Louis to a public dinner, which he attended. About two hundred guests were present on the occasion. Judge Treat presided. Generals Rosecrans, Schofield, Osterhaus, Totten, McNeill, and other distinguished military gentlemen, together with the father-in-law of General Grant, were present. In response to a toast in his honor, General Grant said it was impossible for him to do more than thank his fellow-citizens. A letter from the city council was read, conveying their great esteem, regard, and indebtedness due his modest, unswerving energies, swayed neither by the mighty successes which had crowned his genius and his efforts in behalf of the Government, nor by the machinations of politics, which were regarded as evidences of the true patriot and soldier.
This sentiment was read :
“ MAJOR-GENERAL Grant: he is emphatically U. S. Grant, for he has given US and the U. S. an earnest of those victories which will finally rescue the nation from the rebellion and its curse-American Slavery."
He was loudly importuned by the crowd for a speech, as he stood upon the verandah of the hotel, after the ceremonies of the dinner, smoking his inevitable cigar ; but he could only assure his friends that he could not and never intended to make a speech. LETTER TO THE WESTERN SANITARY COM
MISSION. General Grant, in response to an invitation to attend a
public meeting of the citizens of St. Louis in aid of the Western Sanitary Commission, wrote a letter on the 31st of January, 1864, declining the invitation, owing to his proposed return to active duties, as follows :
" The gratuitous offerings of our loyal citizens at home, through the agency of Sanitary Commissions, to our brave soldiers in the field, bave been to them the most encouraging and gratifying evidence that, whilst they are risking life and health for the suppression of this most wicked rebellion, their friends, who cannot assist them with musket and sword, are with them in sympathy and heart. The Western Sanitary Commission have issued many tons of stores to the army under my command. These voluntary offerings of this and other kindred asso. ciations have made glad the hearts of many thousands of wounded and sick soldiers, who otherwise would have been subjected to severe privations. I hope for you a full and enthusiastic meeting, and a fair to follow, which will bring together many old friends, who bave been kept apart for the last three years, and unite them all again in one common cause—that of our country and of peace.”
GENERAL GRANT OPENS THE SPRING CAM
PAIGN. From St. Louis, General Grant went to Nashville, passing through Louisville on the 3d of February, 1864, where he was serenaded.
The rebel raiding cavalry bad been rather worsted in their encounters with our forces. Our videttes in front of Chattanooga were pushed forward, when it was ascertained that the rebels under Johnston had suddenly retired beyond Ringgold and Dalton, taking positions with the evident intention of holding the key to Georgia. It was apparent that Johnston had been re-inforced, in anticipation of an onward movement of our forces. General
Sherman was called in from Vicksburg, with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps, under Generals Hurlbut and McPherson. General W. Long Smith, Grant's chief of cavalry, and Grierson, were marched south of Holly Springs, with a column of cavalry and mounted infantry, on a grand raid through Mississippi. To supply troops for these movements, Corinth, and the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad as far east as General Logan's outposts, were abandoned, the fortifications having been destroyed and all public property removed. On the 5th, General Sherman passed through Jackson, Mississippi, and on the 9th reached Morton in his onward march eastward. Sherman's main body was at Meridian on the 20th, and his advance had been pushed thirty-five miles beyond that point, when through the failure of another officer, whose column was to co-operate with this army, to make a junction with Sherman at the proper time, the latter was obliged to retreat on his base. The movement, had, however, the effeet of frightening the rebels in the south-west to such an extent as to keep employed a large number of re-inforcements at Mobile, and with Polk, opposite Meridian, that otherwise would have been thrown upon some point along our extended lines, that might not have been prepared for an attack.
In the mean time, the advance of General Grant's main body, under Schofield, was some forty miles east of Knoxyille, from the immediate front of which Longstreet bad retired. General Thomas, at Chattanooga, was prepared to advance on Johnston.
These were the preliminaries to the grand movements in the south-west, which were crowned with such great success—covering a region of country from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, over which General Grant had supreme command ; and in this state of affairs, he was called to Washington by the President.