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“ FOURTH. Major-General J. B. McPherson is assigned to the command of the Department and Army of the Tennessee.
“Fifth. In relieving Major-General Halleck from duty as General-in-Chief, the President desires to express his approbation and thanks for the able and zealous manner in which the arduous and responsible duties of that position have been performed. By order of the
“ SECRETARY OF WAR." "HEAD-QUARTERS IN THE FIELD.” If there was really any opposition to the appointment of Grant as Lieutenant-General, it came from a class of men of a practical turn of mind, who had witnessed General Grant's great ability in the field, and who had learned to think that his actual presence with our armies in action was of prime importance. They regretted this popular movement, because they could but regard it as detrimental to our success, if, as they supposed, the Lieutenant-General's head-quarters were to be established in Washington. But they little knew the man. When General Grant accepted bis commission from the hands of the President, he was prepared to assume all the responsibilities of the position. It was not an empty title to him; a distinction behind which he might hide himself in a military bureau at the capital. His motto was
" ACTION.” He understood perfectly well that the country fully expected him to personally superintend the movements of our armies ; but his own desire to see and know for himself the position of affairs was a sufficient incentive, and in his first order, on assuming supreme command, there was the ring of the true metal that served to reconcile all the shades of public sentiment. Not all the warm blandishments of society, and the civilities of public life and national distinction tendered him, could induce him to desert his sterner duties. GENERAL BURNSIDE ON GENERAL GRANT.
Major-General Ambrose E. Burnside in a speech delivered at Chicago, spoke as follows of Lieutenant-General Grant :
I have known him for a great number of years. If there is any quality for which General Grant is particularly characterized, it is that of magnanimity. He is one of the most magnanimous men I ever knew. He is entirely unambitious and unselfish. He is a capital judge of men, and is possessed of a remarkable degree of common sense. Those qualities, I think, make a pretty good general-pretty good, like when he has good generals to deal wit
because if he has magnanimity he will give credit to the general for what be has done. If he is not ambitious, he will not seek to undermine any other person who may seem to be in his way. If he has good common sense and judgment, he will pick each man for his specific duty with good judgment. So that the General who combines all these qualifications has every hope to succeed. Now, General Grant has thus far succeeded, and really I believe the chances are that he will succeed in the future. He is to leave the West for the present, and take command of the Eastern Army, and without saying
any thing of the Generals who bave heretofore commanded the Eastern Army, I think he will infuse into that army a degree of confidence, which it has not felt for some time, because success always carries with it confidence, and that is what you all want. There is not a gentleman or lady in this whole assemblage that does not desire success, to-night, and, inasmuch as he has been successful heretofore, he will have the confidence of the community, and have the qualifications, which I think he has, and which I have said to you he has, it seems to me we can all go home to night, believing that success is going to attend General Grant in the command of all the armies of the United States, during this campaign. Every loyal heart will go home to-night and sincerely and honestly pray to God he may be strengthened in the work he has to do, and that he will be enabled during this present campaign to crush this infernal rebellion, which has threatened to ruin and disrupt the Government which we all love so much.”
THE LIEUTENANT-GENERAL'S ORDER ON
ASSUMING COMMAND. A few days found him again at Nashville perfecting the movements to be made in the Division of the Mississippi. Here he issued the following order : “ HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
“NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, March 17, 1864. “In pursuance of the following order of the President:
• EXECUTIVE Mansion, WASHINGTON, March 10, 1864. "Under the authority of the act of Congress to appoint to the grade of Lieutenant-General in the army, of March
1st, 1864, Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, United States Army, is appointed to the command of the armies of the United States.
"' ABRAHAM LINCOLN.' “I assume command of the Armies of the United States. Head-quarters will be in the field, and, until further orders, will be with the Army of the Potomac. There will be an office head-quarters in Washington, to which all official communications will be sent, except those from the Army where the head-quarters are at the date of their address.
“ U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."
On the 23d of March, 1864, General Grant again arrived in Washington, accompanied by his wife and son. Brig. Gen. Rawlings, Col. Duff, Maj. Rawley, and Capt. Bedeau, of the General's staff, were with him. In a few days he had established his head-quarters in the Army of the Potomac, at Culpepper Court House.
“ON TO RICHMOND." The transfer of the Lieutenant-General's head-quarters to the Army of the Potomac, showed that he intended to makc Virginia the immediate theatre of action. Richmond seems almost to have been invulnerable-unconquerable, and our armies had so often failed in their advances upon the Rebel Capital, that that place had begun to assume more importance in the eyes of the world than any other in the so-called confederacy.
The Army of the Potomac was still confronted by the Army of Northern Virginia, oscillating between points nearer and more distant from the goal of our ambition, without attaining any practical results. General Grant bad a herculean task before him. He had in front of him an army that was unquestionably the largest and most splendid in the Rebel service, under command of a General worthy of his steel. That army was covering its
Capital, to which it could but be expected it would hold on with grim desperation. But to take this place would have an immense moral effect upon both Northern and Southern minds. As it was, the moral effect of our reverses was damaging to the national cause. “And why had we failed ?" was a not unfrequent question; and Congress took up the refrain. Jealousy, rivalry and inordinate ambition doubtless had much to do with our misfortunes ; but the great fault did not lie there. It was mainly in the peculiar geographical and topographical configuration of the country. A military writer whose attention was attracted to this subject at this time, wrote:
“ Two armies of equal numbers and commanded with equal ability, being opposed to each other, their movements and achievements must be entirely determined by the nature of the theatre of operations. Perhaps never in the history of warfare has the character of the ground exerted more influence on campaigns, than that of the portion of Virginia which lies between Washington and Richmond. On the right of our army are chains of mountains which enable the Rebels to conceal any flanking movement they may undertake, while the valleys afford to them the means for an easy and uninterrupted passage to the Potomac above Washington, and one almost entirely secure from attacks in their rear. On our front is a succession of rivers, presenting great natural obstacles to our advance, and at the same time easily defensible; to make flanking movements by ascending them is to open our rear to attacks from Fredericksburg, and to cross below the Rebel army, leaves the railroad a prey to guerillas. The country is, moreover, masked in every direction by dense forests, rendering any thing like a surprise in force impracticable. A few rebel scouts may at all times easily detect and thwart such a movement. Such are the natural features of the country.”
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT AND MAJOR
GENERAL MEADE. It is necessary to premise our remarks upon the opening campaign by saying, that General Grant did not assume the immediate command of the Army of the Potomac, which remained under the direction of General Meade. The orders were issued by General Meade and he commanded the army in person.
General Grant held a supervisory control over the whole. His wishes were however respected and implicitly followed; while at the same time the movements of all the armies, bowever far separated, were under the guiding hand of the Lieutenant-General.
A RE-ORGANIZATION. On the 24th of March, 1864, & re-organization of the Army of the Potomac was effected.
The number of army corps was reduced to three ; the Second, under command of Major General Winfield S. Hancock; the Fifth, under command of Major-General G. W. Warren; and the Sixth, under command of General Sedgwick. On the fourth of April, 1864, Major-General Sheridan was placed in command of the cavalry corps.
Division officers were also re-assigned.
A partial re-organization was also effected in the Army of the Southwest. By direction of the President, under date of April fourth, 1864, the Eleventh and Twelfth corps were consolidated and placed under command of MajorGeneral Hooker, and the new corps was called the Twentieth.
The Lieutenant-General, accompanied by several of his staff officers, made a tour of survey of all our forces in Virginia, Gen. W. F. Smith, accompanying him in his visit to Butler's command.
By order of General Grant, active measures were taken to get into the field all recruits, new organizations and all troops that could be spared. Reinforcements were con