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MAJOR-GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT MADE LIEUTENANT-GENERAL OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES.
Coincident with the resolution of thanks to General Grant, adopted by Congress in December, 1863 was the introduction of a bill by Mr. Washburne, reviving the grade of Lieutenant-General of the army. This bill had been left without decisive action until Monday, the 1st of February, 1864, when the consideration of the bill was resumed. Some opposition was manifested against its passage. A resolution to lay the bill on the table was lost, and the bill passed by a decided vote, there being but nineteen votes against it.
The bill authorized the President, whenever he should see fit, to appoint a commander of the army, subject to the action of the senate, “ to be selected during the war, from among those officers in the military service of the United States, not below the grade of Major-General, most distinguished for courage, skill, and ability, and who being commissioned as Lieutenant-General, shall be authorized, under the direction of the President, to command the armies of the United States.” The pay, allowances, and staff of the Lieutenant-General to be selected were made the same as those fixed by the acts of May 28th, 1798, and August 22d, 1842, with the provision that nothing in the bill was to be construed in any way to affect the rank, pay, or allowances of Brevet Lieutenant-General Scott. Major-General Ulysses S. Grant was especially recommended in this bill for the appointment.
Some attacks having been made upon the object of the bill, Mr. Washburne again came to the rescue.
He said, in the course of his speech upon the question, alluding to General Grant:
"Look at what this man has done for his country, for humanity, and civilization this modest and unpretend.
ing General, whom gentlemen appear to be so much afraid of.
He has fought more battles and won more victories than any living man. He has captured more prisoners and taken more guns than any General of modern times. To us in the great valley of the West he has rendered a service in opening our great channel of communication the ocean, so that the great 'Father of Waters' now goes
unvexed to the sea,' which endears him to all our hearts. Sir, when his blue legions crowned the crest of Vicksburg, and the hosts of the rebellion laid their arms at the feet of this great conqueror, the rebel Confederacy was cut in twain, and the back bone of the rebellion was broken. At that moment was seen in General Grant that greatest of all gifts—of a military man--the gift of deciding instantly amid the pressure of the greatest emergencies. I was with him when Porter reported his inability to reduce the batteries; and in an instant he made his new dispositions and gave his orders. They were to debark all his troops, and march them down three miles below Grand Gulf; 'and,' said he, “after nightfall I will run every transport I have below their batteries, and not one shall be injured ;' and, sure enough, when it became dark, Porter again attacked the batteries with his fleet, and, amid the din and clatter of the attack, the transports all safely passed Grand Gulf.
“And that which must ever be regarded by the historian as the most extraordinary feature of this campaign is the astounding fact that, when General Grant landed in the State of Mississippi and made his campaign in the enemy's country, he had a smaller force than the enemy. There he was, in the enemy's country, cut off, in a measure, from his supplies, with a great river in his rear, and in one of the most defensible of countries, through which he had to pass. To his indomitable courage and energy, to his unparalleled celerity of movement, striking the enemy in
detail, and beating him on every field, is the country indebted for those wonderful successes of that campaign, which have not only challenged the gratitude and admiration of our own countrymen, but the admiration of the best military men of all ages. My colleague [Mr. Farnsworth] has well said, that General Grant is no carpet knight. If gentlemen could know him as I know him, and as his soldiers know him, they would not be so reluctant about conferring this honor. If they could have seen him as I saw him on that expedition; if they could have witnessed his terrible earnestness, his devotion to his duty, his care, his vigilance, and his unchallenged courage, I think their opposition to this bill would give way. gentlemen say 'wait, and confer this rank when the war is over.'
“Sir, I want it conferred now, because it is my most solemn and earnest conviction that General Grant is the man upon whom we must depend to fight out this rebellion in the field, and bring this war to a speedy and triumphant close.”
Owing to some disagreements in the Senate, the bill went to a committee of conference, in which it was amended, making the appointment of Lieutenant-General to be during the pleasure of the President, and on the first of March, 1864, President Lincoln approved the bill, and on the next day sent into the Senate his message, appointing, as Lieutenant-General of the armies of the United States, Major-General Ulysses S. Grant. The nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL AND THE PEOPLE.
The action of Congress and the President in appointing General Grant to this position was earnestly looked for by the people, who had learned to love him, mainly because in every instance where responsibility had been reposed in
him, his indefatigable energy and perseverance, and his unsurpassed intrepidity in action, had worked out a victory.
GENERAL GRANT AT WASHINGTON. Lieutenant-General Grant arrived at Washington on the eighth of March, 1864, in obedience to the call of the President, accompanied by General Rawlings and Colonel Comstock, of his staff, and by his son. His coming was devoid of any ostentation on his part. Indeed, his presence was not known until some hours after his arrival, when he was recognized at the hotel tea-table by a gentleman who had seen the General at New Orleans. All the guests immediately rose to their feet in honor of the Lieutenant-General of the United States, and cheers rent the air. IS COMMISSIONED LIEUTENANT-GENERAL
PROCEEDINGS AT THE WHITE HOUSE. On the afternoon of the ninth of March, 1864, General Grant visited the White House, when he received his commission as Lieutenant-General. A large concourse of people had followed him to the executive mansion. President Lincoln greeted the general most cordially. There were present in the executive chamber, on this occasion, the entire Cabinet, General Halleck, and other distinguished men. The President, holding the commission in his hand, said :
“GENERAL GRANT: The nation's appreciation of what you have already done, and its reliance upon you for what still remains to do in the existing great struggle, are now presented with this commission, constituting you Lieutenant-General of the armies 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 country, goes my own hearty personal concurrence."
Having received the commission, Lieutenant-General Grant answered :
“MR. PRESIDENT: I accept this commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies who have fought on so many battle-fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibility now devolving on me. I know that if it is properly met, it will be due to these armies ; and above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men."
Lieutenant-General Grant was then introduced to the Cabinet, and on the next day visited the Army of the Potomac in company with General Meade. LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT AND
GENERAL HALLECK. On the evening of March 9th be had a long interview with General Halleck in reference to further plans and movements, and the following order was subsequently issued :
“WAR DEPARTMÉNT, ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
" WASHINGTON, March 12, 1864. “ GENERAL ORDERS, No. 98. “ The President of the United States orders as follows:
· First. Major-General Halleck is, at his own request, relieved from duty as General-in-Chief of the army, and Lieutenant-General U. Š. Grant is assigned to the command of the armies of the United States. The head-quarters of the army will be in Washington, and also with Lieutenant-General Grant in the field.
“ Second. Major-General Halleck is assigned to-duty in Washington as chief of staff of the army, under the direction of the Secretary of War and the Lieutenant-General commanding. His orders will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
“ Third. Major-General W. T. Sherman is assigned to the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, composed of the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas.