Wednesday, May 14, 2014

March 25, 1864 (Tuesday): Headquarters In The Field

Wartime Culpeper (Grant's HQ in Barbour House near spire)

Culpeper, Va., March 25, 1864-4 p. m. (Received 6 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Chief of Staff:
    I sent a letter to General Banks before leaving Nashville, directing him to finish his present expedition, and assemble all his available force at New Orleans as soon as possible, and prepare to receive orders for the taking of Mobile. If Shreveport is carried, about 8,000 troops can be spared from Steele and Rosecrans to join Banks, and if more are necessary to insure success against Mobile, they can be taken from Sherman. I would prefer Gillmore to act entirely on the defensive at Charleston, and hold all the spare force he has in readiness for orders. I will want him to co-operate with this army against Lee. I would like it if the Secretary of the Navy would order two of the iron-clads from Charleston to report to Admiral Farragut, with instructions to the latter not to attack until the army is ready to operate with him.

     U. S. GRANT,

WASHINGTON, March 25, 1864-2 p. m.
Lieutenant-General GRANT,
Army of the Potomac:
     General Gillmore reports that, if he is to act only on the defensive, he can spare from 7,000 to 11,000 troops from the Department of the South to operate elsewhere. Admiral Farragut reports that, with his present fleet and two or three iron-clads from Charleston, he can take Mobile, if a land force can be sent to hold it. The troops in the Department of the South are not fully supplied with transportation for operating in the interior of the country.

    H. W. HALLECK,
    Major-General, Chief of Staff.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 729.

An advantage of Grant coming east was he knew the capabilities of the western armies and their ability to work in concert with him.  The movement of troops away from Charleston was also a solid strategic move.  During warmer months troops in the Low Country of South Carolina were subject to disease and of little use in offensive operations.  Grant rightfully was focusing on taking Mobile and augmenting his forces in the east.

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