Tuesday, May 13, 2014

March 24, 1864 (Monday): Reorganization

General John Newton

CULPEPER COURT-HOUSE, VA., March 24, 1864.
(Receive 2. 35 p. m.)
Secretary of War:
    I would respectfully suggest that the order relieving General Pleasonton from duty here, and sending him to the Department of the Missouri, be made at once. I will then direct General Meade to place the senior officer of the cavalry corps in command of it until General Sheridan arrives.

    U. S. GRANT,

(Received 2. 20 p. m.
Major-General HALLECK,
Chief of Staff:
    Will you please send me a map, with lines marked, showing the territory now occupied by our forces; also a copy of the returns of the army you showed me? If practicable to spare them from their present stations, three regiments of heavy artillery, one commanded by Colonel Tidball to be one of them, could be advantageously used with the Army of the Potomac.

   U. S. GRANT,

March 24, 1864. (Received 4. 05 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:
    I would like to have General Sigel directed to relieve Wheaton's brigade, Sixth Army Corps, and ordered here. If Terry's brigade is not absolutely needed at Sandusky I would like to have it also. According to my recollection of the forces in General Heintzelman's department, he can easily spare troops from other places to take their place.

   U. S. GRANT,

Washington, March 24, 1864.
* * * *
64. The following officers, on being relieved from duty in the Army of the Potomac, will report as follows:
Major General George Sykes, U. S. Volunteers, in person, to Major-General Curtis, commanding Department of Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, Kans. Major General W. H. French, U. S. Volunteers, will repair to Philadelphia, Pa., and report by letter to the Adjutant-General U. S. Army. Major General John Newton, U. S. volunteers, will repair to Cincinnati, Ohio, and report to Major-General Sherman, commanding Division of the Mississippi. Brigadier General J. R. Kenly, U. S. Volunteers, in person, to Major-General Wallace, U. S. Volunteers, commanding Middle Department, Baltimore, Md. Brigadier General Solomon Meredith, U. S. Volunteers, will repair to Cairo, Ill., and report to the commanding officer at that place.
    By order of the Secretary of War:

    Assistant Adjutant-General.

March 24, 1864.
I. The following order has been received from the War Department:*
* * * *
II. The following arrangements are made to carry out the provisions of the foregoing order:
The Second, Fifth, and Sixth Army Corps will each be consolidated into two divisions. The First and Second Divisions of the
Third Corps are transferred to the Second Corps, preserving their badged and distinctive marks. The Third Division of the Third Corps is transferred permanently to the Sixth Corps. The three divisions now forming the First Corps are transferred to the Fifth Corps, preserving their badges and distinctive marks, and on joining the Fifth Corps they will be consolidated into two divisions.
The commanders of the divisions transferred to the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps will at once report to the commanders of those corps for instructions.
Brigadier General J. B. Carr will report to Major-General Hancock, commanding Second Corps, and Brigadier General H. Prince to Major-General Sedgwick, commanding Sixth Corps.
The chief of artillery will assign eight batteries each to the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps; these batteries to be taken from those now with those corps and with the First and Third Corps. The batteries with the several corps, in excess of the above allowance, will join the Artillery Reserve.
The consolidation of divisions called for in this order will be made by the corps commanders concerned, who are authorized to re-arrange the brigades of their respective commands in such manner as they may think best for the service.
The re-assignment of officers of the staff departments, consequent upon the reorganization of the army, will be made upon the nomination of the chiefs of the staff departments at these headquarters. Special instructions will be given hereafter with respect to the staff officers of the two corps temporarily broken up.
III. The major-general commanding avails himself of the occasion to say that, in view of the reduced strength of nearly all the regiments serving in this army, the temporary reduction of the number of army corps to three is a measure imperatively demanded by the best interests of the service, and that the reasons for attaching the First and Third Corps, for the time being, to other corps were in no respect founded upon any supposed inferiority of those corps to the other corps of this army. All the corps have equally proved their valor on many fields, and all have equal claims to the confidence of the Government and of the country. The First and Third Corps will retain their badges and distinctive marks, and the major-general commanding indulges the hope that the ranks of the army will be filled at an early day, so that those corps can again be reorganized.
    By command of Major-General Meade:

    Assistant Adjutant-General.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33. Part 1, Pages 721-723.

Grant wasted little time reorganizing his army.  He consolidated corps because of lack of strength, but recognized the men's identification with their old units by allowing them to retain their badges.  Pleasanton, Sykes, French, and Newton all had to some degree been part of the political infighting within the Army of the Potomac.  Are were now dispatched to lesser posts, with the exception of Newton, who would continue to see heavy combat for the remainder of the war while serving with Sherman.  

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