Monday, December 9, 2013

December 10, 1863 (Wednesday): Grant Thanks His Troops

General U.S. Grant


Numbers 9.
In the Field, Chattanooga, Tennessee

December 10, 1863.
    The general commanding takes this opportunity of returning his sincere thanks and congratulations to the brave armies of the Cumberland, the Ohio, the Tennessee, and their comrades from the Potomac, for the recent splendid and decisive successes achieved over the enemy. In a short time you have recovered from him the control of the Tennessee River, from Bridgeport to Knoxville; you dislodged him from his great stronghold upon Lookout Mountain; drove him from Chattanooga Valley; wrested from his determined grasp the possession of Missionary Ridge; repelled, with heavy loss to him, his repeated assaults upon Knoxville, forcing him to raise the siege there; driving him at all points, utterly routed and discomfited, beyond the limits of the State. By your noble heroism and determined courage you have most effectually defeated the plans of the enemy for regaining possession of the States of Kentucky and Tennessee. You have secured positions from which no rebellious power can drive or dislodge you. For all this the general commanding thanks you collectively and individually. The loyal people of the United States thank and bless you. Their hopes and prayers for your success against this unholy rebellion are with you daily. Their faith in you will not be in vain. Their hopes will not be blasted. Their prayers to Almighty God will be answered. You will yet go to other fields of strife, and, with the invincible bravery and unflinching loyalty to justice and right which have characterized you in the past, you will prove that no enemy can withstand you, and that no defenses, however formidable, can check your onward march.
    By order of Major General U. S. Grant:

    T. S. BOWERS,
    Assistant Adjutant-General.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 31, Part 2, Pages 51-52.

Well did Grant's men deserve the accolades they won.  Grant's summation was accurate and reflected how much the Union had accomplished in Tennessee in a short period of time.  Although Gettysburg is regarded by many as a turning point in the war, it would be hard to argue that Chattanooga and Knoxville were not at least equal pivot points.  So much a success were they for the north they prompted Davis to call Lee to Richmond to discuss taking command in the west.  There was now a sense in the North the war was moving toward a conclusion.  Perhaps not an immediate one, but the tide had turned.

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