soldier with rifle american civil warJOE RYAN

Grant's Correspondence with Halleck

Halleck to Grant, April 2, 1863

"What is most desired, and your attention is again called to this object, is that your forces and those of General Banks should be brought into cooperation as early as possible. If he cannot get up to cooperate with you on Vicksburg, cannot you get troops down to help him on Port Hudson?

I know that you can judge these matters there much better than I can here; but as the President, who seems to be rather impatient about matters on the Mississippi, has several times asked me these questions, I repeat them to you."

Grant to Halleck, April 4, 1863

"My expectation now is for a portion of the naval fleet to run the batteries of Vicksburg, whilst the army moves through by this new route. Once there, I will move either to Warrenton or Grand Gulf; most probably the latter. From either of these points there are good roads to Vicksburg, and from Grand Gulf there is a good road to Jackson.

This is the only move I now see as practicable, and hope it will meet with your approval. I will keep my army together, and see to it that I am not cut off from my supplies, or beaten in any other way than in a fair fight.

Halleck to Grant, April 9, 1863

"You are too well advised of the anxiety of the Government for your success, and its disappointment at the delay, to render it necessary to urge upon you the importance of early action. In my opinion this is the most important operation of the war, and nothing must be neglected to insure success."

Grant to Halleck, April 11, from Milliken's Bend

"My forces in a few days will all be concentrated here. Grand Gulf is the point at which I expect to strike, and send an army corps to Port Hudson to cooperate with General Banks. Will reach the Mississippi at New Carthage, now in my possession, with wagon road and canal and bayous navigable for tugs and barges between here and there."

Grant to Halleck, April 19, from Milliken's Bend

"I hope very soon to report our possession of Grand Gulf, with a practicable and safe route to furnish supplies to the troops. Once there I do not feel a doubt of success in the entire cleaning out of the enemy from the banks of the river.

At least three of my army corps commanders take hold of the new policy of arming the negroes and using them against the enemy with a will."

Grant to Halleck, April 27, Near Grand Gulf

"Moving troops to Smith's plantation has been a tedious operation. I am now embarking troops for an attack on Grand Gulf. Expect to reduce it tomorrow."

Grant to Halleck, April 29, Near Grand Gulf

"The gunboats engaged Grand Gulf batteries. The army and transports are now below Grand Gulf. A landing will be effected on the east bank of the river tomorrow. I feel that the battle is now more than half won."

Grant to Halleck, May 3, Grand Gulf

"On April 29 Admiral Porter attacked the fortifications at Grand Gulf with seven iron clads. During this time I had 10,000 troops on board transports and in barges alongside ready to land them, but [because the batteries were too strong for the gunboats] I decided upon landing my forces on the Louisiana shore and march them across the point to below the Gulf. At night the gunboats made another attack and in the din the transports safely ran the blockade.

On April 30, the whole of the force with me was transferred to Bruinsburg, and the march commenced for Port Gibson. At about 2:00 a.m. on May 1 McClernand's corps met the enemy at that place. Logan's division of McPherson's corps followed. The fighting continued all day, over the most broken country I ever saw. The whole country is a series of irregular ridges, divided by deep and impassable ravines, grown up heavy with timber, undergrowth, and vane. It was impossible to engage any considerable portion of our forces at any one time.

On May 2, our troops entered Port Gibson and found the bridges across Bayou Pierre destroyed. By nightfall the bridges were rebuilt and the troops moved toward the Big Black and I came to this place.

The country will supply all the forage and fresh beef I need. Other supplies will be drawn from Milliken's Bend. This is a long and precarious route.

I shall not bring my troops to this place, but immediately follow the enemy, and, if all works out, not stop until Vicksburg is in our possession."

Halleck to Grant, May 11

"If possible, the forces of yourself and of General Banks should be united between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, so as to attack these places separately with combined forces."

Grant to Halleck, May 12, HQ in the field

"Ferrying and transportation of rations to Grand Gulf is detaining us on the Big Black River. I will move as soon as three days rations are received. Our advance is 15 miles from Edward's Depot on the Southern Railroad."

Grant to Halleck, May 14, From Raymond

"McPherson took this place on the 12th. McPherson is now at Clinton; Sherman on the direct Jackson road. McClernand bringing up the rear. I will attack the state capital today."

Grant to Halleck, May 15, From Jackson

"This place fell into our hands yesterday. A dispatch from Banks showed him to be off in Louisiana, not to return until May 10. I could not lose the time."

Grant to Halleck, May 22, Near Vicksburg

"Vicksburg is now entirely invested. I have possession of Haines Bluff and the Yazoo; consequently have supplies."

Halleck to Grant, July 7

"It gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have been appointed a major-general in the Regular Army, to rank from July 4, the date of your capture of Vicksburg."

Halleck to Grant, August 1

"Your narrative of the campaign, like the operations themselves, is brief, soldierly, and I every respect creditable and satisfactory. In boldness of plan, rapidity of execution, and brilliancy of results, these operations will compare most favorably with those of Napoleon at Ulm."

Note: Compare the attitude of  Halleck toward Grant during the Vicksburg campaign with his correspondence in the winter/spring of 1862.


Halleck to Stanton, February 8, 1862

"Brigadier-generals Sherman, Pope, Grant, Curtis, Hurlbut, Sigel, Prentiss, and McCLernand, all in this department are of same date (of rank), and each unwilling to serve under the other. If Brig-Gen. E.A. Hitchcock could be made major-general of volunteers and assigned to this department it will satisfy all and reconcile all differences. If it can be done there should be no delay, as an experienced officer of high rank is wanted immediately on the Tennessee Line." (On February 7, Grant captured Fort Henry)

Halleck to Buell, February 13, 1862

"Why not come down and take immediate command of the Cumberland column yourself? If so, I will transfer Sherman and Grant to the Tennessee column." (Grant was now in front of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.)

Halleck to Cullum at Cairo, Ill, February 14, 1862

"Sherman is assigned command of District of Cairo and Grant to command of District of West Tennessee."

McClellan to Halleck, February 14, 1862

"What disposition do you intend to make of Hitchcock? If you do not go in person to the Tennessee and Cumberland, I shall probably write Buell to take the line of the Tennessee."

Halleck to Buell, February 18, 1862

"To remove all questions as to rank, I have asked the President to make you a major-general. Come down to the Cumberland and take command. The battle of the West is to be fought in that vicinity. You should be in it as the ranking general in immediate command. Don't hesitate. Say that you will come, and I will have everything there for you. Help me and I will help you. Hunter has acted nobly. Without his aid [in sending troops] I should have failed before Donelson. We came within an ace of being defeated." (On February 16th, Grant captured Donelson, and this resulted in his gaining the rank of major-general of volunteers)

Halleck to Grant, March 1, 1862

"Transports will be sent to you as soon as possible to move your column up the Tennessee River. The main object will be to destroy the railroad bridge near Eastport, Miss. Avoid any general engagement with strong forces. It will be better to retreat than to risk a general battle."

Halleck to McClellan, March 3, 1862

"I have had no communication with Grant for more than a week. He left his command without my authority and went to Nashville. His army seems to be as much demoralized by the victory at Fort Donelson as was that of the Potomac by the defeat at Bull Run. It is hard to censure a successful general immediately after a victory, but I think he richly deserves it. I can no information of any kind from him. I am worn out and tired with this neglect and inefficiency. C.F. Smith is almost the only officer equal to the emergency."

McClellan to Halleck, March 3, 1862

"The future success of our cause demands that conduct such as Grant's should at once be checked. Do not hesitate to arrest him at once if the good of the service requires it, and place C.F. Smith in command." (Smith had been Commandant of cadets at West Point when Grant was a plebe.)

Halleck to McClellan, March 4, 1862

"A rumor has reached me that since the taking of Donelson General Grant has resumed his former bad habits. If so, it will account for his neglect of my often-repeated orders. I do not deem it advisable to arrest him at present, but have placed General Smith in command of the expedition up the Tennessee."

Halleck to Grant, March 4, 1862

"You will place General Smith in command of expedition (up Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing) and remain yourself at Fort Henry. Why do you not obey my orders to report strength and positions of your command?"

Halleck to Grant, March 6, 1862

"I enclose a copy of a letter addressed to Judge Davis. The want of order and discipline and the numerous irregularities in your command since the capture of Donelson are matters of general notoriety. Unless these things are immediately corrected I am directed to relieve you of the command."

Grant to Halleck, March 7, 1862

"I did all I could to get you returns. I have done my very best to obey orders and to carry out the interests of the service. Believing sincerely that I must have enemies between you and myself, who are trying to impair my usefulness, I respectfully ask to be relieved from further duty in the department."

Halleck to McClellan, March 8, 1862

"Strange to say, I have not yet received any returns whatever from Grant. We must pierce the center of the enemy's new line somewhere below Florence. As Savannah is near the railroad, I have directed a landing to be made at that place, unless General Smith, from local information, should deem some other point preferable. I have sent entrenching tools."

Halleck to Grant, March 8, 1862

"You are mistaken, There is no enemy between you and me."

Grant to Halleck, March 9, 1862

"I am not aware of ever having disobeyed any order from headquarters."

Halleck to Grant, March 9, 1862

"Your letter of March 5, just received, contains the first information of your actual forces. I telegraphed you time after time and got no answer. This indicated a general lack of order and system in your command. Don't let such neglect occur again. But to business. All troops should be sent up the Tennessee as rapidly as possible. As soon as these things are arranged you will hold yourself in readiness to take the command."

Lorenzo Thomas, AG, to Halleck, March 10

"It has been reported that soon after the battle for Donelson, Grant left his command without leave. By direction of the President the Secretary of War desires you to ascertain and report whether Grant left his command without proper authority, and whether he has committed any acts which are not in accordance with military subordination or propriety, and, if so, what."

Halleck to Grant, March 10

"Curtis's troops will be sent to you immediately. Arrange for them as they arrive, and be ready yourself to take the general command." (Halleck now wants to placate Grant and Grant resists.)

Grant to Halleck, March 11, 1862

"There is such a disposition to find fault with me that I again ask to be relieved from further duty until I can be placed right in the estimation of those higher in authority."

Halleck to Grant, March 13, 1862

"You cannot be relieved from your command. There is no good reason for it. Instead of relieving you, I wish you as soon as your new army is in the field to assume the immediate command and lead it on to new victories."

Grant to Halleck, March 14, 1862

"Your telegram of  yesterday places a different phase upon my position that I will again assume command."

Halleck to Thomas, March 15, 1862

"General Grant has made the proper explanations, and has been directed to resume his command in the field. There has never been any want of military subordination on the part of General Grant." (About this date, Smith now suffers an injury that incapacitates him for command)

Halleck to Grant, March 16, 1862

"As the enemy is evidently in strong force, my instructions not to advance so as to bring on an engagement must be strictly obeyed. General Smith must hold his position without exposing himself until we can strongly reinforce him. General Buell is moving in his direction. We must strike no blow until we are strong enough to admit no doubt of the result."

Grant to Buell, March 19, 1862

"I am massing troops at Pittsburg Landing. There is every reason to think the enemy has a large force at Corinth (twenty miles away)."

Halleck to Grant, March 20, 1862

"Your telegrams received. I do not fully understand you. By all means keep your forces together until you connect with Buell, who is now at Columbia, and will move toward you. Don't let the enemy draw you into an engagement now. Wait until you are properly fortified and receive orders."

Grant to Smith, March 20, 1862

Hold all the command at Pittsburg Landing subject to marching orders at any time."

Grant to Smith, March 23, 1862

Carry out your idea of occupying and partially fortifying Pea Ridge (a ridge about three miles west of Shiloh). I do not hear one word from Halleck. I am clearly of the opinion that the enemy are gathering strength at Corinth and the sooner we attack the easier will be the task of taking the place."

Grant to Halleck, March 24, 1862

"Your letter enclosing AG Thomas's letter is received. I do not feel I have neglected a single duty. I must fully appreciate your justness, general, in the part you have taken, and you may rely upon me to carry out your orders."

Halleck to Grant, March 31, 1862

"I know nothing about the issue of rank between Smith and McClernand, except that McClellan directed me to place Smith in command of the expedition until you were ordered to join it." (The record does not support Halleck's statement.)

Buell to Halleck, April 1

"I expect to concentrate at Savannah Sunday or Monday."

Sherman to Buckland, April 3

"You may march your brigade today forward on the Corinth road about 3 miles by way of drill and instruction."

Grant to Sherman, Pittsburg, April 4

"Information received indicates the enemy may attack Wallace at Crump's Landing. I have directed reinforcement in case of an attack, although I look for nothing of the kind, but it is best to be prepared. Advise your advance guards to keep a sharp lookout."

Buell to Grant, April 4

:I shall be in Savannah myself tomorrow. Can I meet you there?"

Grant to Buell, April 5

I will be at Savannah to meet you tomorrow. The enemy at and near Corinth are probably 80,000."

Sherman to Grant, April 5

"All is quiet along my lines now. We are in the act of exchanging cavalry according to your order. The enemy has cavalry in our front and I think two regiments of infantry about two miles out. I have no doubt that nothing will occur today more than some picket firing. I do not apprehend anything like an attack on our position."

Grant to Halleck, April 5, From Savannah

"The main force of the enemy is at Corinth. The number of the enemy cannot be far from 80,000 men. Buell will be here himself today. Some skirmishing taking place."

Halleck to Grant, April 5

"Buell is made a major-general. You will act in concert, but he will exercise separate command, unless the enemy should attack you. In that case you are authorized to take the general command."

Grant to Buell, April 6

"The attack on my forces has been very spirited. If you will get upon the field, it will possibly save the day for us." (Sidney Johnston drove Grant to the bank of the Tennessee. Buell saved the day.)

Note: General Halleck arrived at Shiloh on April 9 and relieved Grant of army command, giving it to George Thomas who held it, while Grant stood on the sidelines, until after Corinth was occupied and Halleck was called to Washington. Grant then resumed command of the armies within the Department of Western Tennesse, because he ranked everyone else. He never looked back.