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Title: Recollections of the Civil War - With the Leader at Washington and in the Field in the Sixties
Author: Dana, Charles A.
Language: English
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    _With the Leaders at Washington
    and in the Field in the Sixties_





    [Illustration: Publisher's seal]

    _D. Appleton and Company_

    COPYRIGHT, 1898,

[Illustration: C. A. Dana. (Signature)]



    =Recollections of the Civil War.=

      By CHARLES A. DANA. With Portrait. Large 12mo.
      Cloth, gilt top, uncut, $2.00.

    The late Charles A. Dana's "Recollections of the Civil War" forms
    one of the most remarkable volumes of historical, political, and
    personal reminiscences which have been given to the public. Mr. Dana
    was not only practically a member of the Cabinet and in the
    confidence of the leaders of Washington, but he was also the chosen
    representative of the War Department with General Grant and other
    military commanders, and he was present at many of the councils
    which preceded movements of the greatest importance.

    =Appletons' American Cyclopædia.=

      A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge. Edited by
      CHARLES A. DANA and GEORGE RIPLEY. Complete in
      16 volumes of over 800 pages each. Fully illustrated with
      several thousand Wood Engravings and numerous Colored
      Lithographic Maps. _Sold only by subscription._

    =The Household Book of Poetry.=

      Edited by CHARLES A. DANA. Illustrated with Steel Engravings.
      New and enlarged edition. Royal 8vo. Cloth,
      $5.00; morocco, antique, $10.00; tree calf, $12.00.

    =Fifty Perfect Poems.=

      Selected and edited by CHARLES A. DANA and ROSSITER
      JOHNSON. Royal 8vo. Illustrated. White silk, $10.00;
      morocco, $15.00.

    =The Household Book of Songs.=

      Collected and arranged by CHARLES A. DANA and F. A.
      BOWMAN. Half roan, cloth sides, $2.50.

    =The Art of Newspaper Making.=

      Three Lectures. 16mo. Cloth, $1.00.

    =Eastern Journeys.=

      Some Notes of Travel in Russia, in the Caucasus, and to
      Jerusalem. 16mo. Cloth, $1.00.



Mr. Dana wrote these Recollections of the civil war according to a
purpose which he had entertained for several years. They were completed
only a few months before his death on October 17, 1897. A large part of
the narrative has been published serially in McClure's Magazine. In the
chapter about Abraham Lincoln and the Lincoln Cabinet Mr. Dana has drawn
from a lecture which he delivered in 1896 before the New Haven Colony
Historical Society. The incident of the self-wounded spy, in the chapter
relating to the secret service of the war, was first printed in the
North American Review for August, 1891. A few of the anecdotes about Mr.
Lincoln which appear in this book were told by Mr. Dana originally in a
brief contribution to a volume entitled Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln
by Distinguished Men of his Time, edited by the late Allen Thorndike
Rice, and published in 1886.

Although Mr. Dana was in one sense the least reminiscent of men, living
actively in the present, and always more interested in to-morrow than
in yesterday, and although it was his characteristic habit to toss into
the wastebasket documents for history which many persons would have
treasured, he found in the preparation of the following chapters
abundant material wherewith to stimulate and confirm his own memory, in
the form of his official and unofficial reports written at the front for
the information of Mr. Stanton and Mr. Lincoln, and private letters to
members of his family and intimate friends.

Charles Anderson Dana was forty-four years old when his appointment as
Assistant Secretary of War put him behind the scenes of the great drama
then enacting, and brought him into personal relations with the
conspicuous civilians and soldiers of the war period. Born in New
Hampshire on August 8, 1819, he had passed by way of western New York,
Harvard College, and Brook Farm into the profession which he loved and
in which he labored almost to the last day of his life. When Secretary
Stanton called him to Washington he had been engaged for nearly fifteen
years in the management of the New York Tribune, the journal most
powerful at that time in solidifying Northern sentiment for the crisis
that was to come. When the war was over and the Union preserved, he
returned at once to journalism. His career subsequently as the editor of
The Sun for thirty years is familiar to most Americans.

It is proper to note the circumstance that the three years covered by
Mr. Dana's Recollections as here recorded constitute the only term
during which he held any public office, and the only break in more than
half a century of continuous experience in the making of newspapers. His
connection with the Government during those momentous years is an
episode in the story of a life that throbbed from boyhood to age with
intellectual energy, and was crowded with practical achievement.

  NEW YORK, _October 17, 1898_.


    CHAP.                                                         PAGE

    I.--FROM THE TRIBUNE TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT                       1

      First meeting with Mr. Lincoln--Early correspondence
      with Mr. Stanton--A command obtained for General
      Frémont--The new energy in the military operations--Mr.
      Stanton disclaims the credit--The War Secretary's opinion
      of McClellan--Mr. Dana called into Government service--The
      Cairo investigation and its results--First acquaintance
      with General Grant.

    II.--AT THE FRONT WITH GRANT'S ARMY                             16

      War speculation in cotton--In business partnership
      with Roscoe Conkling--Appointed special commissioner
      to Grant's army--The story of a cipher code--From Memphis
      to Milliken's Bend--The various plans for taking
      Vicksburg--At Grant's headquarters--The beginning of
      trouble with McClernand.

    III.--BEFORE AND AROUND VICKSBURG                               35

      The hard job of reopening the Mississippi--Admiral
      Porter runs the Confederate batteries--Headquarters moved
      to Smith's plantation--Delay and confusion in McClernand's
      command--The unsuccessful attack on Grand Gulf--The
      move to the east shore--Mr. Dana manages with
      Grant's help to secure a good horse.


      Marching into the enemy's country--A night in a
      church with a Bible for pillow--Our communications are
      cut--Entering the capital of Mississippi--The War
      Department gives Grant full authority--Battle of Champion's
      Hill--General Logan's peculiarity--Battlefield
      incidents--Vicksburg invested and the siege begun--Personal
      traits of Sherman, McPherson, and McClernand.

    V.--SOME CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS                                 61

      Grant before his great fame--His friend and mentor,
      General Rawlins--James Harrison Wilson--Two semi-official
      letters to Stanton--Character sketches for the information
      of the President and Secretary--Mr. Dana's early
      judgment of soldiers who afterward won distinction.

    VI.--THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG                                     78

      Life behind Vicksburg--Grant's efforts to procure
      reinforcements--The fruitless appeal to General Banks--Mr.
      Stanton responds to Mr. Dana's representations--A steamboat
      trip with Grant--Watching Joe Johnston--Visits to Sherman
      and Admiral Porter--The negro troops win glory--Progress
      and incidents of the siege--Vicksburg wakes up--McClernand's

    VII.--PEMBERTON'S SURRENDER                                     91

      The artillery assault of June 20th--McPherson springs
      a mine--Grant decides to storm the city--Pemberton asks
      for an interview and terms--The "unconditional surrender"
      note--At the meeting of Grant and Pemberton between
      the lines--The ride into Vicksburg and the Fourth
      of July celebration there.

    VIII.--WITH THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND                          103

      Appointment as Assistant Secretary of War--Again to
      the far front--An interesting meeting with Andrew
      Johnson--Rosecrans's complaints--His view of the situation
      at Chattanooga--At General Thomas's headquarters--The
      first day of Chickamauga--The battlefield telegraph
      service--A night council of war at Widow Glenn's--Personal
      experiences of the disastrous second day's battle--The
      "Rock of Chickamauga."

    IX.--THE REMOVAL OF ROSECRANS                                   120

      Preparing to defend Chattanooga--Effect on the army
      of the day of disaster and glory--Mr. Dana suggests Grant
      or Thomas as Rosecrans's successor--Portrait of Thomas--The
      dignity and loyalty of his character illustrated--The
      army reorganized--It is threatened with starvation--An
      estimate of Rosecrans--He is relieved of the command
      of the Army of the Cumberland.

    X.--CHATTANOOGA AND MISSIONARY RIDGE                            132

      Thomas succeeds Rosecrans in the Army of the
      Cumberland--Grant supreme at Chattanooga--A visit to the
      army at Knoxville--A Tennessee Unionist's family--Impressions
      of Burnside--Grant against Bragg at Chattanooga--The
      most spectacular fighting of the war--Watching
      the first day's battle--With Sherman the second day--The
      moonlight fight on Lookout Mountain--Sheridan's
      whisky flask--The third day's victory and the glorious
      spectacle it afforded--The relief of General Burnside.

    XI.--THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN WAR TIMES                           156

      Grant's plans blocked by Halleck--Mr. Dana on duty at
      Washington--Edwin McMasters Stanton--His deep religious
      feeling--His swift intelligence and almost superhuman
      energy--The Assistant Secretary's functions--Contract
      supplies and contract frauds--Lincoln's intercession
      for dishonest contractors with political influence--A
      characteristic letter from Sherman.

    XII.--ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND HIS CABINET                          168

      Daily intercourse with Lincoln--The great civil leaders
      of the period--Seward and Chase--Gideon Welles--Friction
      between Stanton and Blair--Personal traits of the
      President--Lincoln's surpassing ability as a politician--His
      true greatness of character and intellect--His genius
      for military judgment--Stanton's comment on the Gettysburg
      speech--The kindness of Abraham Lincoln's heart.

    XIII.--THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC IN '64                          186

      Mr. Lincoln sends Mr. Dana again to the front--General
      Halleck's character--First visit to the Army of the
      Potomac--General Meade's good qualities and bad--Winfield
      Scott Hancock--Early acquaintance with Sedgwick--His
      death--Humphreys's accomplishments as a soldier and as
      a swearer--Grant's plan of campaign against Lee--Incidents
      at Spottsylvania--The "Bloody Angle."

    XIV.--THE GREAT GAME BETWEEN GRANT AND LEE                     200

      Maneuvering and fighting in the rain, mud, and
      thickets--Virginian conditions of warfare--Within eight
      miles of Richmond--The battle of Cold Harbor--The
      tremendous losses of the campaign--The charge of butchery
      against Grant considered in the light of statistics--What
      it cost in life and blood to take Richmond.

    XV.--THE MARCH ON PETERSBURG                                   212

      In camp at Cold Harbor--Grant's opinion of Lee--Trouble
      with newspaper correspondents--Moving south of
      the James River--The great pontoon bridge--The fighting
      of the colored troops--Failure to take Petersburg at first
      attack--Lee loses Grant and Beauregard finds him--Beauregard's
      service to the Confederacy.

    XVI.--EARLY'S RAID AND THE WASHINGTON PANIC                    224

      President Lincoln visits the lines at Petersburg--Trouble
      with General Meade--Jubal Early menaces the Federal
      capital--The excitement in Washington and Baltimore--Clerks
      and veteran reserves called out to defend Washington--Grant
      sends troops from the front--Plenty of generals, but no
      head--Early ends the panic by withdrawing--A fine letter
      from Grant about Hunter.

    XVII.--THE SECRET SERVICE OF THE WAR                           235

      Mr. Stanton's agents and spies--Regular subterranean
      traffic between Washington and Richmond--A man who
      spied for both sides--The arrest of the Baltimore
      merchants--Stanton's remarkable speech on the meaning
      of disloyalty--Intercepting Jefferson Davis's letters
      to Canada--Detecting the plot to burn New York, and the
      plan to invade Vermont--Story of the cleverest and
      pluckiest of spies and his remarkable adventures.

    XVIII.--A VISIT TO SHERIDAN IN THE VALLEY                      248

      Mr. Dana carries to Sheridan his major-general's
      commission--A ride through the Army of the Shenandoah--The
      affection of Sheridan's soldiers for the general--How
      he explained it--His ideas about personal courage in
      battle--The War Department and the railroads--How the
      department worked for Lincoln's re-election--Election
      night of November, 1864--Lincoln reads aloud passages
      from Petroleum V. Nasby while the returns come in.

    XIX.--"ON TO RICHMOND" AT LAST!                                263

      The fall of the Confederacy--In Richmond just after
      the evacuation--A search for Confederate archives--Lincoln's
      propositions to the Virginians--A meeting with the
      Confederate Assistant Secretary of War--Andrew Johnson
      turns up at Richmond--His views as to the necessity of
      punishing rebels--The first Sunday services at the
      Confederate capital under the old flag--News of Lee's
      surrender reaches Richmond--Back to Washington with Grant.

    XX.--THE CLOSING SCENES AT WASHINGTON                           273

      Last interview with Mr. Lincoln--Why Jacob Thompson
      escaped--At the deathbed of the murdered President--Searching
      for the assassins--The letters which Mr. Lincoln
      had docketed "Assassination"--At the conspiracy
      trial--The Confederate secret cipher--Jefferson Davis's
      capture and imprisonment--A visit to the Confederate
      President at Fortress Monroe--The grand review of the
      Union armies--The meeting between Stanton and Sherman--End
      of Mr. Dana's connection with the War Department.

    INDEX.                                                         293




    First meeting with Mr. Lincoln--Early correspondence with Mr.
    Stanton--A command obtained for General Frémont--The new energy in
    the military operations--Mr. Stanton disclaims the credit--The War
    Secretary's opinion of McClellan--Mr. Dana called into Government
    service--The Cairo investigation and its results--First acquaintance
    with General Grant.

I had been associated with Horace Greeley on the New York Tribune for
about fifteen years when, one morning early in April, 1862, Mr.
Sinclair, the advertising manager of the paper, came to me, saying that
Mr. Greeley would be glad to have me resign. I asked one of my
associates to find from Mr. Greeley if that was really his wish. In a
few hours he came to me saying that I had better go. I stayed the day
out in order to make up the paper and give them an opportunity to find a
successor, but I never went into the office after that. I think I then
owned a fifth of the paper--twenty shares; this stock my colleagues

Mr. Greeley never gave a reason for dismissing me, nor did I ever ask
for one. I know, though, that the real explanation was that while he
was for peace I was for war, and that as long as I stayed on the Tribune
there was a spirit there which was not his spirit--that he did not like.

My retirement from the Tribune was talked of in the newspapers for a day
or two, and brought me a letter from the Secretary of War, Edwin M.
Stanton, saying he would like to employ me in the War Department. I had
already met Mr. Lincoln, and had carried on a brief correspondence with
Mr. Stanton. My meeting with Mr. Lincoln was shortly after his
inauguration. He had appointed Mr. Seward to be his Secretary of State,
and some of the Republican leaders of New York who had been instrumental
in preventing Mr. Seward's nomination to the presidency, and in securing
that of Mr. Lincoln, had begun to fear that they would be left out in
the cold in the distribution of the offices. General James S. Wadsworth,
George Opdyke, Lucius Robinson, T. B. Carroll, and Henry B. Stanton were
among the number of these gentlemen. Their apprehensions were somewhat
mitigated by the fact that Mr. Chase, to whom we were all friendly, was
Secretary of the Treasury. But, notwithstanding, they were afraid that
the superior tact and pertinacity of Mr. Seward and of Mr. Thurlow Weed,
Seward's close friend and political manager, would get the upper hand,
and that the power of the Federal administration would be put into the
control of the rival faction; accordingly, several of them determined to
go to Washington, and I was asked to go with them.

I believe the appointment for our interview with the President was made
through Mr. Chase; but at any rate we all went up to the White House
together, except Mr. Henry B. Stanton, who stayed away because he was
himself an applicant for office.

Mr. Lincoln received us in the large room upstairs in the east wing of
the White House, where he had his working office. The President stood up
while General Wadsworth, who was our principal spokesman, and Mr. Opdyke
stated what was desired. After the interview had begun, a big Indian,
who was a messenger in attendance in the White House, came into the room
and said to the President:

"She wants you."

"Yes, yes," said Mr. Lincoln, without stirring.

Soon afterward the messenger returned again, exclaiming, "I say, she
wants you!"

The President was evidently annoyed, but instead of going out after the
messenger he remarked to us:

"One side shall not gobble up everything. Make out a list of places and
men you want, and I will endeavor to apply the rule of give and take."

General Wadsworth answered:

"Our party will not be able to remain in Washington, but we will leave
such a list with Mr. Carroll, and whatever he agrees to will be
agreeable to us."

Mr. Lincoln continued: "Let Mr. Carroll come in to-morrow, and we will
see what can be done."

This is the substance of the interview, and what most impressed me was
the evident fairness of the President. We all felt that he meant to do
what was right and square in the matter. While he was not the man to
promote factious quarrels and difficulties within his party, he did not
intend to leave in the lurch the friends through whose exertions his
nomination and election had finally been brought about. At the same time
he understood perfectly that we of New York and our associates in the
Republican body had not gone to Chicago for the purpose of nominating
him, or of nominating any one in particular, but only to beat Mr.
Seward, and thereupon to do the best that could be done as regards the
selection of the candidate.

My acquaintance with Mr. Stanton had come about through an editorial
which I had written for the Tribune on his entrance to the War
Department. I had sent it to him with a letter calling his attention to
certain facts with which it seemed to me the War Department ought to
deal. In reply I received the following letter:

                                   WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1862_.

     MY DEAR SIR: Yours of the 22d only reached me this evening. The
     facts you mention were new to me, but there is too much reason to
     fear they are true. But that matter will, I think, be corrected
     _very speedily_.

     You can not tell how much obligation I feel myself under for your
     kindness. Every man who wishes the country to pass through this
     trying hour should stand on watch, and aid me. Bad passions and
     little passions and mean passions gather around and hem in the
     great movements that should deliver this nation.

     Two days ago I wrote you a long letter--a three pager--expressing
     my thanks for your admirable article of the 21st, stating my
     position and purposes; and in that letter I mentioned some of the
     circumstances of my unexpected appointment. But, interrupted before
     it was completed, I will not inflict, or afflict, you with it.

     I know the task that is before us--I say _us_, because the Tribune
     has its mission as plainly as I have mine, and they tend to the
     same end. But I am not in the smallest degree dismayed or
     disheartened. By God's blessing we shall prevail. I feel a deep,
     _earnest_ feeling growing up around me. We have no jokes or
     trivialities, but all with whom I act show that they are now in
     dead earnest.

     I know you will rejoice to know this.

     As soon as I can get the machinery of the office working, the rats
     cleared out, and the rat holes stopped we shall _move_. This army
     has got to fight or run away; and while men are striving nobly in
     the West, the champagne and oysters on the Potomac must be stopped.
     But patience for a short while only is all I ask, if you and others
     like you will rally around me.

                      Yours truly,
                                  EDWIN M. STANTON.

     C. A. DANA, Esq.

A few days after this I wrote Mr. Stanton a second letter, in which I
asked him to give General Frémont a chance. At the breaking out of the
war Frémont had been made a major general in the regular army and the
command of the Western Department had been given to him. His campaign in
Missouri in the summer of 1861 gave great dissatisfaction, and in
November, 1861, he was relieved, after an investigation by the Secretary
of War. Since that time he had been without a command. I believed, as
did many others, that political intrigue was keeping Frémont back. I was
anxious that he should have fair play, in order that the great mass of
people who had supported him for the presidency in 1856, and who still
were his warm friends, might not be dissatisfied. To my letter Mr.
Stanton replied:

                                   WASHINGTON, _February 1, 1862_.

     DEAR SIR: If General Frémont has any fight in him, he shall (so far
     as I am concerned) have a chance to show it, and I have told _him_
     so. The times require the help of every man according to his gifts,
     and, having neither partialities nor grudges to indulge, it will be
     my aim to practice on the maxim, "the tools to him that can handle

     There will be serious trouble between Hunter and Lane. What Lane's
     expedition has in view, how it came to be set on foot, and what is
     expected to be accomplished by it, I do not know and have tried in
     vain to find out. It seems to be a haphazard affair that no one
     will admit himself to be responsible for. But believing that Lane
     has pluck, and is an earnest man, he _shall have fair play_. If you
     know anything about him or his expedition pray tell it to me.

     To bring the War Department up to the standard of the times, and
     work an army of five hundred thousand with machinery adapted to a
     peace establishment of twelve thousand, is no easy task. This was
     Mr. Cameron's great trouble, and the cause of much of the
     complaints against him. All I ask is reasonable time and patience.
     The pressure of members of Congress for clerk and army
     appointments, notwithstanding the most stringent rules, and the
     persistent strain against all measures essential to obtain time for
     thought, combination, and conference, is discouraging in the
     extreme--it often tempts me to quit the helm in despair. The only
     consolation is the confidence and support of good and patriotic
     men; to their aid I look for strength.

                Yours truly,        EDWIN M. STANTON.

    C. A. DANA, Esq., Tribune Office.

Very soon after Mr. Stanton went into office military affairs were
energized, and a forward movement of the armies was apparent. It was
followed by several victories, notably those of Fort Henry and Fort
Donelson. On several occasions the Tribune credited to the head of the
War Department this new spirit which seemed to inspire officers and men.
Mr. Stanton, fearful of the effect of this praise, sent to the paper the
following dispatch:

     _To the Editor of the New York Tribune:_

     SIR: I can not suffer undue merit to be ascribed to my official
     action. The glory of our recent victories belongs to the gallant
     officers and soldiers that fought the battles. No share of it
     belongs to me.

     Much has recently been said of military combinations and organizing
     victory. I hear such phrases with apprehension. They commenced in
     infidel France with the Italian campaign, and resulted in Waterloo.
     Who can organize victory? Who can combine the elements of success
     on the battlefield? We owe our recent victories to the spirit of
     the Lord that moved our soldiers to rush into battle and filled the
     heart of our enemies with dismay. The inspiration that conquered in
     battle was in the hearts of the soldiers and from on high; and
     wherever there is the same inspiration there will be the same
     results. Patriotic spirit, with resolute courage in officers and
     men, is a military combination that never failed.

     We may well rejoice at the recent victories, for they teach us that
     battles are to be won now and by us in the same and only manner
     that they were ever won by any people, or in any age, since the
     days of Joshua, by boldly pursuing and striking the foe. What,
     under the blessing of Providence, I conceive to be the true
     organization of victory and military combination to end this war,
     was declared in a few words by General Grant's message to General
     Buckner: "_I propose to move immediately on your works._"

          Yours truly,      EDWIN M. STANTON.

On receiving this I at once wired to our representative in Washington to
know if Mr. Stanton meant to "repudiate" the Tribune. I received my
answer from Mr. Stanton himself:

                                   WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1862_.

     DEAR SIR: It occurred to me that your kind notice of myself might
     be perverted into a disparagement of the Western officers and
     soldiers to whom the merit of the recent victories justly belongs,
     and that it might create an antagonism between them and the head of
     the War Department. To avoid _that_ misconstruction was the object
     of my dispatch--leaving the matter to be determined as to
     publication to the better judgment of the Tribune, my own mind not
     being clear on the point of its expediency. Mr. Hill called to see
     me this evening, and from the tenor of your dispatch it seemed to
     me that your judgment did not approve the publication, or you would
     not speak of me as "repudiating" anything the Tribune says. On
     reflection _I am convinced the communication should not be
     published_, as it might imply an antagonism between myself and the
     Tribune. On this, as on any future occasion, I defer to your
     judgment. We have one heart and mind in this great cause, and upon
     many essential points you have a wider range of observation and
     clearer sight than myself; I am therefore willing to be guided by
     your wisdom.

              Yours truly,      EDWIN M. STANTON.

    C. A. DANA, Esq.

On receiving this letter we of course published his telegram at once.

When Mr. Stanton went into the War Department there was great
dissatisfaction in the Tribune office with McClellan. He had been placed
in command of the Army of the Potomac in the preceding August, and since
November 1st had been in command of all the armies of the United States;
but while he had proved himself an excellent drillmaster, he had at the
same time proved that he was no general at all. His friends were loyal,
however, and whatever success our armies met with was attributed to his

When the capture of Fort Donelson was announced, McClellan's friends
claimed that he had directed it by telegraph from his headquarters on
the Potomac. Now the terminus of the telegraph toward Fort Donelson was
many miles from the battlefield. Besides, the absurdity of a general
directing the movements of a battle a thousand miles off, even if he had
fifty telegraph wires leading to every part of the field, was apparent.
Nevertheless, McClellan's supporters kept up their claim. On February
20th the Associated Press agent at Washington, in reporting a railroad
convention in Washington at which Mr. Stanton had spoken, said:

"Secretary Stanton in the course of his address paid a high compliment
to the young and gallant friend at his side, Major-General McClellan, in
whom he had the utmost confidence, and the results of whose military
schemes, gigantic and well matured, were now exhibited to a rejoicing
country. The Secretary, with upraised hands, implored Almighty God to
aid them and himself, and all occupying positions under the Government,
in crushing out this unholy rebellion."

I did not believe Stanton had done any such thing, so I sent the
paragraph to him. The Secretary replied:


                                   WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1862_.

     DEAR SIR: The paragraph to which you called my attention was a
     ridiculous and impudently impertinent effort to puff the general by
     a false publication of words I never uttered. Sam Barlow, one of
     the secretaries of the meeting, was its author, as I have been
     informed. It is too small a matter for _me_ to contradict, but I
     told Mr. Kimlen, the other secretary, that I thought the gentlemen
     who invited me to be present at their meeting owed it to themselves
     to see that one of their own officers should not misrepresent what
     I said. It was for them, and due to their own honor, to see that an
     officer of the Government might communicate with them in safety;
     and if it was not done, I should take care to afford no other
     opportunity for such practices.

     The fact is that the agents of the Associated Press and a gang
     around the Federal Capitol appear to be organized for the purpose
     of magnifying their idol.

     And if such men as those who composed the railroad convention in
     this city do not rebuke such a practice as that perpetrated in this
     instance, they can not be conferred with in future.

     You will of course see the propriety of my not noticing the matter
     and thereby giving it importance beyond the contempt it inspires. I
     think you are well enough acquainted with me to judge in future the
     value of any such statement.

     I notice the Herald telegraphic reporter announces that I had a
     second attack of illness on Friday and could not attend the
     department. I was in the department, or in the Cabinet, from nine
     in the morning until nine at night, and never enjoyed more perfect
     health than on that day and at present.

     For _your_ kind solicitude accept my thanks. I shall not needlessly
     impair my means of usefulness.

                     Yours truly,      EDWIN M. STANTON.

    C. A. DANA, Esq.

     P.S.--Was it not a funny sight to see a certain military hero in
     the telegraph office at Washington last Sunday organizing victory,
     and by sublime military combinations capturing Fort Donelson _six
     hours_ after Grant and Smith had taken it sword in hand and had
     victorious possession! It would be a picture worthy of Punch.

Thus, when the newspapers announced my unexpected retirement from the
Tribune, I was not unknown to either the President or the Secretary of

To Mr. Stanton's letter asking me to go into the service of the War
Department, I replied that I would attempt anything he wanted me to do,
and in May he wrote me that I was to be appointed on a commission to
audit unsettled claims against the quartermaster's department at Cairo,
Ill. I was directed to be in Cairo on June 17th. My formal appointment,
which I did not receive until after I reached Cairo, read thus:

               WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., _June 16, 1862_.

     SIR: By direction of the President, a commission has been
     appointed, consisting of Messrs. George S. Boutwell, Stephen T.
     Logan, and yourself, to examine and report upon all unsettled
     claims against the War Department, at Cairo, Ill., that may have
     originated prior to the first day of April, 1862.

     Messrs. Boutwell and Logan have been requested to meet with you at
     Cairo on the eighteenth day of June instant, in order that the
     commission may be organized on that day and enter immediately upon
     the discharge of its duties.

     You will be allowed a compensation of eight dollars per day and

     Mr. Thomas Means, who has been appointed solicitor for the
     Government, has been directed to meet you at Cairo on the
     eighteenth instant, and will act, under the direction of the
     commission, in the investigation of such claims as may be

                            EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                      _Secretary of War_.

    Hon. CHARLES A. DANA, of New York,
           Cairo, Ill.

On reaching Cairo on the appointed day, I found my associates, Judge
Logan, of Springfield, Ill., one of Mr. Lincoln's friends, and Mr.
Boutwell, of Massachusetts, afterward Governor of his State, Secretary
of the Treasury, and a United States senator. We organized on the 18th,
as directed. Two days after we met Judge Logan was compelled by illness
to resign from the commission, and Shelby M. Cullom, now United States
senator from Illinois, was appointed in his place.

The main Union armies had by this time advanced far to the front, but
Cairo was still an important military depot, almost an outpost, in
command of General William K. Strong, whom I had known well in New York
as a politician. There was a large number of troops stationed in the
town, and from there the armies on the Mississippi River, in Missouri,
and in Kentucky, got all their supplies and munitions of war. The
quartermaster's department at Cairo had been organized hastily, and the
demands upon it had increased rapidly. Much of the business had been
done by green volunteer officers who did not understand the technical
duties of making out military requisitions and returns. The result was
that the accounts were in great confusion, and hysterical newspapers
were charging the department with fraud and corruption. The War
Department decided to make a full investigation of all disbursements at
Cairo from the beginning. Little actual cash had thus far been paid out
upon contracts, and it was not too late to correct overcharges and
straighten out the system. The matter could not be settled by any
ordinary means, and the commission went there as a kind of supreme
authority, accepting or rejecting claims and paying them as we thought
fit after examining the evidence.

Sixteen hundred and ninety-six claims, amounting to $599,219.36, were
examined by us. Of those approved and certified for payment the amount
was $451,105.80. Of the claims rejected, a considerable portion were for
losses suffered in the active operations of the army, either through
departure from discipline on the part of soldiers, or from requisitions
made by officers who failed to give receipts and certificates to the
persons concerned, who were thus unable to support their claims by
sufficient evidence. Many claims of this description were also presented
by men whose loyalty to the Government was impeached by credible
witnesses. In rejecting these the commission set forth the disloyalty of
the claimants, in the certificates written on the face of their
accounts. Other accounts, whose rightfulness was established, were
rejected on proof of disloyalty. The commission regarded complicity in
the rebellion as barring all claims against the United States.

A question of some interest was raised by the claim of the trustees of
the Cairo city property to be paid for the use by the Government wharf
boats of the paved portion of the levee which protected the town against
the Ohio River. We were unable to see the matter in the light presented
by the trustees. Our judgment was that the Government ought not to pay
for the use of necessary landing places on these rivers or elsewhere
during the exigencies of the war, and we so certified upon the face of
the claims. A similar principle guided our decision upon several claims
for the rent of vacant lots in Cairo, which had been used by the
military authorities for the erection of temporary barracks or stables.
We determined that for these no rent ought, under the circumstances, to
be allowed, but we suggested that in justice to the owners this
temporary occupation should be terminated as soon as possible by the
sale and removal of the buildings.

A very small percentage of the claims were rejected because of fraud. In
almost every case it was possible to suppose that the apparent fraud was
accident. My observation throughout the war was the same. I do not
believe that so much business could be transacted with a closer
adherence to the line of honesty. That there were frauds is a matter of
course, because men, and even some women, are wicked, but frauds were
the exception.

Our commission finished its labors at Cairo on July 31, 1862, and I went
at once to Washington with the report, placing it in the hands of Mr.
Stanton on August 5th. It was never printed, and the manuscript is still
in the files of the War Department.

There was a great deal of curiosity among officers in Washington about
the result of our investigation, and all the time that I was in the city
I was being questioned on the subject. It was natural enough that they
should have felt interested in our report. The charges of fraud and
corruption against officers and contractors had become so reckless and
general that the mere sight of a man in conference with a high official
led to the suspicion and often the charge that he was conspiring to rob
the Government. That in this case, where the charges seemed so well
based, so small a percentage of corruption had been proved was a source
of solid satisfaction to every one in the War Department.

All the leisure that I had while in Cairo I spent in horseback riding up
and down the river banks and in visiting the adjacent military posts. My
longest and most interesting trip was on the Fourth of July, when I went
down the Mississippi to attend a big celebration at Memphis. I remember
it particularly because it was there that I first met General Grant. The
officers stationed in the city gave a dinner that day, to which I was
invited. At the table I was seated between Grant and Major John A.
Rawlins, of his staff. I remember distinctly the pleasant impression
Grant made--that of a man of simple manners, straightforward, cordial,
and unpretending. He had already fought the successful battles of Fort
Donelson and Shiloh, and, when I met him, was a major general in command
of the district of West Tennessee, Department of the Missouri, under
Halleck, with headquarters at Memphis. Although one would not have
suspected it from his manners, he was really under a cloud at the time
because of his operations at Shiloh. Those who did not like Grant had
accused him of having been taken by surprise there, and had declared
that he would have been beaten if Buell had not come up. I often talked
later with Grant's staff officers about Shiloh, and they always affirmed
that he would have been successful if Buell had not come to his relief.
I believe Grant himself thought so, although he never said so directly
in any one of the many talks I had with him about the battle.


[A] A month later General Frémont was assigned to the command of the
"Mountain Department," composed of parts of Virginia, Kentucky, and



    War speculation in cotton--In business partnership with Roscoe
    Conkling--Appointed special commissioner to Grant's army--The story
    of a cipher code--From Memphis to Milliken's Bend--The various plans
    for taking Vicksburg--At Grant's headquarters--The beginning of
    trouble with McClernand.

As Mr. Stanton had no immediate need of my services, I returned in
August to New York, where I was occupied with various private affairs
until the middle of November, when I received a telegram from
Assistant-Secretary-of-War P. H. Watson, asking me to go immediately to
Washington to enter upon another investigation. I went, and was received
by Mr. Stanton, who offered me the place of Assistant Secretary of War.
I said I would accept.

"All right," said he; "consider it settled."

As I went out from the War Department into the street I met Major
Charles G. Halpine--"Miles O'Reilly"--of the Sixty-ninth New York
Infantry. I had known Halpine well as a newspaper man in New York, and I
told him of my appointment as Mr. Stanton's assistant. He immediately
repeated what I had told him to some newspaper people. It was reported
in the New York papers the next morning. The Secretary was greatly
offended and withdrew the appointment. When I told Halpine I had, of
course, no idea he was going to repeat it; besides, I did not think
there was any harm in telling.

Immediately after this episode I formed a partnership with Roscoe
Conkling and George W. Chadwick to buy cotton. The outcry which the
manufacturers had raised over the inability to get cotton for their
industries had induced the Government to permit trading through the
lines of the army, and the business looked profitable. Conkling and I
each put ten thousand dollars into the firm, and Chadwick gave his
services, which, as he was an expert in cotton, was considered equal to
our capital. To facilitate our operations, I went to Washington to ask
Mr. Stanton for letters of recommendation to the generals on and near
the Mississippi, where we proposed to begin our purchases. Mr. Stanton
and I had several conversations about the advisability of allowing such
traffic, but he did not hesitate about giving me the letters I asked.
There were several of them: one to General Hurlbut, then at Memphis;
another to General Grant, who had begun his movement against Vicksburg;
and another to General Curtis, who commanded in Arkansas. The general
purport of them was: "Mr. Dana is my friend; you can rely upon what he
says, and if you can be kind to him in any way you will oblige me."

It was in January, 1863, that Chadwick and I went to Memphis, where we
stayed at the Gayoso House, at that time the swell hotel of the town and
the headquarters of several officers.

It was not long after I began to study the trade in cotton before I saw
it was a bad business and ought to be stopped. I at once wrote Mr.
Stanton the following letter, which embodied my observations and gave my
opinion as to what should be done:

                                        MEMPHIS, _January 21, 1863_.

     DEAR SIR: You will remember our conversations on the subject of
     excluding cotton speculators from the regions occupied by our
     armies in the South. I now write to urge the matter upon your
     attention as a measure of military necessity.

     The mania for sudden fortunes made in cotton, raging in a vast
     population of Jews and Yankees scattered throughout this whole
     country, and in this town almost exceeding the numbers of the
     regular residents, has to an alarming extent corrupted and
     demoralized the army. Every colonel, captain, or quartermaster is
     in secret partnership with some operator in cotton; every soldier
     dreams of adding a bale of cotton to his monthly pay. I had no
     conception of the extent of this evil until I came and saw for

     Besides, the resources of the rebels are inordinately increased
     from this source. Plenty of cotton is brought in from beyond our
     lines, especially by the agency of Jewish traders, who pay for it
     ostensibly in Treasury notes, but really in gold.

     What I would propose is that no private purchaser of cotton shall
     be allowed in any part of the occupied region.

     Let quartermasters buy the article at a fixed price, say twenty or
     twenty-five cents per pound, and forward it by army transportation
     to proper centers, say Helena, Memphis, or Cincinnati, to be sold
     at public auction on Government account. Let the sales take place
     on regular fixed days, so that all parties desirous of buying can
     be sure when to be present.

     But little capital will be required for such an operation. The
     sales being frequent and for cash, will constantly replace the
     amount employed for the purpose. I should say that two hundred
     thousand dollars would be sufficient to conduct the movement.

     I have no doubt that this two hundred thousand dollars so employed
     would be more than equal to thirty thousand men added to the
     national armies.

     My pecuniary interest is in the continuance of the present state of
     things, for while it lasts there are occasional opportunities of
     profit to be made by a daring operator; but I should be false to my
     duty did I, on that account, fail to implore you to put an end to
     an evil so enormous, so insidious, and so full of peril to the

     My first impulse was to hurry to Washington to represent these
     things to you in person; but my engagements here with other persons
     will not allow me to return East so speedily. I beg you, however,
     to act without delay, if possible. An excellent man to put at the
     head of the business would be General Strong. I make this
     suggestion without any idea whether the employment would be
     agreeable to him.

            Yours faithfully,      CHARLES A. DANA.

    Mr. STANTON.

     P.S.--Since writing the above I have seen General Grant, who fully
     agrees with all my statements and suggestions, except that imputing
     corruption to every officer, which of course I did not intend to be
     taken literally.

     I have also just attended a public sale by the quartermaster here
     of five hundred bales of cotton confiscated by General Grant at
     Oxford and Holly Springs. It belonged to Jacob Thompson and other
     notorious rebels. This cotton brought to-day over a million and a
     half of dollars, cash. This sum alone would be five times enough to
     set on foot the system I recommend, without drawing upon the
     Treasury at all. In fact, there can be no question that by adopting
     this system the quartermaster's department in this valley _would
     become self-supporting_, while the army would become honest again,
     and the slaveholders would no longer find that the rebellion had
     quadrupled the price of their great staple, but only doubled it.

As soon as I could get away from Memphis I went to Washington, where I
had many conversations with Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton about
restricting the trade in cotton. They were deeply interested in my
observations, and questioned me closely about what I had seen. My
opinion that the trade should be stopped had the more weight because I
was able to say, "General Grant and every general officer whom I have
seen hopes it will be done."

The result of these consultations was that on March 31, 1863, Mr.
Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring unlawful all commercial
intercourse with the States in insurrection, except when carried on
according to the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the
Treasury. These regulations Mr. Chase prepared at once. At the same time
that Mr. Lincoln issued his proclamation, Mr. Stanton issued an order
forbidding officers and all members of the army to have anything to do
with the trade. In spite of all these regulations, however, and the
modifications of them which experience brought, there was throughout the
war more or less difficulty over cotton trading.

From Washington I went back to New York. I had not been there long
before Mr. Stanton sent for me to come to Washington. He wanted some one
to go to Grant's army, he said, to report daily to him the military
proceedings, and to give such information as would enable Mr. Lincoln
and himself to settle their minds as to Grant, about whom at that time
there were many doubts, and against whom there was some complaint.

"Will you go?" Mr. Stanton asked. "Yes," I said. "Very well," he
replied. "The ostensible function I shall give you will be that of
special commissioner of the War Department to investigate the pay
service of the Western armies, but your real duty will be to report to
me every day what you see."

On March 12th Mr. Stanton wrote me the following letter:

               WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, _March 12, 1863_.

     DEAR SIR: I inclose you a copy of your order of appointment and the
     order fixing your compensation, with a letter to Generals
     Sumner,[B] Grant, and Rosecrans, and a draft for one thousand
     dollars. Having explained the purposes of your appointment to you
     personally, no further instructions will be given unless specially
     required. Please acknowledge the receipt of this, and proceed as
     early as possible to your duties.

                  Yours truly,      EDWIN M. STANTON.

    C. A. DANA, Esq., New York.

My commission read:

    ORDERED, That C. A. Dana, Esq., be and he is hereby appointed
    special commissioner of the War Department to investigate and report
    upon the condition of the pay service in the Western armies. All
    paymasters and assistant paymasters will furnish to the said
    commissioner for the Secretary of War information upon any matters
    concerning which he may make inquiry of them as fully and
    completely and promptly as if directly called for by the Secretary
    of War. Railroad agents, quartermasters, and commissioners will give
    him transportation and subsistence. All officers and persons in the
    service will aid him in the performance of his duties, and will
    afford him assistance, courtesy, and protection. The said
    commissioner will make report to this department as occasion may

The letters of introduction and explanation to the generals were

    GENERAL: Charles A. Dana, Esq., has been appointed a special
    commissioner of this department to investigate and report upon the
    condition of the pay service in the Western armies. You will please
    aid him in the performance of his duties, and communicate to him
    fully your views and wishes in respect to that branch of the service
    in your command, and also give to him such information as you may
    deem beneficial to the service. He is specially commended to your
    courtesy and protection. Yours truly,

                                        EDWIN M. STANTON.

I started at once for Memphis, going by way of Cairo and Columbus.

I sent my first dispatch to the War Department from Columbus, on March
20th. It was sent by a secret cipher furnished by the War Department,
which I used myself, for throughout the war I was my own cipher clerk.
The ordinary method at the various headquarters was for the sender to
write out the dispatch in full, after which it was translated from plain
English into the agreed cipher by a telegraph operator or clerk retained
for that exclusive purpose, who understood it, and by another it was
retranslated back again at the other end of the line. So whatever
military secret was transmitted was at the mercy always of at least two
outside persons, besides running the gantlet of other prying eyes.
Dispatches written in complex cipher codes were often difficult to
unravel, unless transmitted by the operator with the greatest precision.
A wrong word sometimes destroyed the sense of an entire dispatch, and
important movements were delayed thereby. This explains the oft-repeated
"I do not understand your telegram" found in the official correspondence
of the war period.

I have become familiar since the war with a great many ciphers, but I
never found one which was more satisfactory than that which I used in my
messages to Mr. Stanton. In preparing my message I first wrote it out in
lines of a given number of words, spaced regularly so as to form five,
six, seven, eight, nine, and ten columns. My key contained various
"routes," to be followed in writing out the messages for transmission.
Thus, a five-column message had one route, a six-column another, and so
on. The route was indicated by a "commencement word." If I had put my
message into five columns, I would write at the beginning the word
"Army," or any one in a list of nine words. The receiver, on looking for
that word in his key, would see that he was to write out what he had
received in lines of five words, thus forming five columns; and then he
was to read it down the fifth column, up the third, down the fourth, up
the second, down the first. At the end of each column an "extra" or
"check" word was added as a blind. A list of "blind" words was also
printed in the key, with each route, which could be inserted, if wished,
at the end of each line so as still further to deceive curious people
who did not have the key. The key contained also a large number of
cipher words. Thus, P. H. Sheridan was "soap" or "Somerset"; President
was "Pembroke" or "Penfield." Instead of writing "there has been," I
wrote "maroon"; instead of secession, "mint"; instead of Vicksburg,
"Cupid." My own cipher was "spunky" or "squad." The days, months, hours,
numerals, and alphabet all had ciphers.

The only message sent by this cipher to be translated by an outsider on
the route, so far as I know, was that one of 4 P.M., September 20, 1863,
in which I reported the Union defeat at Chickamauga. General R. S.
Granger, who was then at Nashville, was at the telegraph office waiting
for news when my dispatch passed through. The operator guessed out the
dispatch, as he afterward confessed, and it was passed around Nashville.
The agent of the Associated Press at Louisville sent out a private
printed circular quoting me as an authority for reporting the battle as
a total defeat, and in Cincinnati Horace Maynard repeated, the same day
of the battle, the entire second sentence of the dispatch, "Chickamauga
is as fatal a name in our history as Bull Run."

This premature disclosure to the public of what was only the truth, well
known at the front, caused a great deal of trouble. I immediately set on
foot an investigation to discover who had penetrated our cipher code,
and soon arrived at a satisfactory understanding of the matter, of which
Mr. Stanton was duly informed. No blame could attach to me, as was
manifest upon the inquiry; nevertheless, the sensation resulted in
considerable annoyance all along the line from Chattanooga to
Washington. I suggested to Mr. Stanton the advisability of concocting a
new and more difficult cipher, but it was never changed, so far as I now

It was from Columbus, Ky., on March 20, 1863, that I sent my first
telegram to the War Department. I did not remain in Columbus long, for
there was absolutely no trustworthy information there respecting affairs
down the river, but took a boat to Memphis, where I arrived on March
23d. I found General Hurlbut in command. I had met Hurlbut in January,
when on my cotton business, and he gave me every opportunity to gather
information concerning the operations against Vicksburg. Four different
plans for reaching the city were then on foot, the essential element of
all of them being to secure for the army on the high ground behind the
city a foothold whence it could strike, and at the same time be supplied
from a river base. The first and oldest and apparently most promising of
these plans was that of the canal across the neck of the peninsula
facing Vicksburg, on the Louisiana side. When I reached Memphis this
canal was thought to be nearly done.

The second route was by Lake Providence, about forty miles north of
Vicksburg, in Louisiana. It was close to the western bank of the
Mississippi, with which it was proposed to connect it by means of a
canal. The Bayou Macon connected Lake Providence with the Tensas River.
By descending the Tensas to the Washita, the Washita to the Red, the
Red to the Mississippi, the army could be landed on the east bank of the
Mississippi about one hundred and fifty miles south of Vicksburg, and
thence could be marched north. McPherson, with his Seventeenth Corps,
had been ordered by Grant on January 30th to open this route. It was
reported at Memphis when I arrived there that the cutting of Lake
Providence was perfectly successful, but that Bayou Macon was full of
snags, which must be got out before the Tensas would be accessible.

The third and fourth routes proposed for getting behind
Vicksburg--namely, by Yazoo Pass and Steele's Bayou--were attracting the
chief attention when I reached Memphis. Yazoo Pass opened from the
eastern bank of the Mississippi at a point about one hundred and fifty
miles above Vicksburg into Moon Lake, and thence into the Coldwater
River. Through the Coldwater and the Tallahatchie the Yazoo River was
reached. If troops could follow this route and capture Haynes's Bluff,
fourteen miles from the mouth of the Yazoo, Vicksburg at once became
untenable. The Yazoo Pass operation had begun in February, but the
detachment had had bad luck, and on my arrival at Memphis was lying up
the Yallabusha waiting for re-enforcements and supplies.

An attempt was being made also to reach the Yazoo by a roundabout route
through Steele's Bayou, Deer Creek, the Rolling Fork, and the Big
Sunflower. Grant had learned of this route only a short time before my
arrival, and had at once sent Sherman with troops and Admiral Porter
with gunboats to attempt to reach the Yazoo. On March 27th reports came
to Memphis that Sherman had landed twenty regiments on the east bank of
the Yazoo above Haynes's Bluff, and that the gunboats were there to
support him. Reports from other points also were so encouraging that the
greatest enthusiasm prevailed throughout the army, and General Grant was
said to be dead sure he would have Vicksburg within a fortnight.

Five days later, however, we heard at Memphis that there had been a
series of disasters in these different operations, that the Yazoo Pass
expedition was definitely abandoned, and that General Grant had an
entirely new plan of campaign.

I had not been long at Memphis before I decided that it was impossible
to gather trustworthy news there. I had to rely for most of my
information on the reports brought up the river by occasional officers,
not all of whom were sure of what they told, and on the stories of
persons coming from the vicinity of the different operations.
Occasionally an intelligent planter arrived whom I was inclined to
believe, but on the whole I found that my sources of information were
few and uncertain. I accordingly suggested to Mr. Stanton, three days
after my arrival, that I would be more useful farther down the river. In
reply he telegraphed:

                      WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, _March 30, 1863_.

     C. A. DANA, Esq., Memphis, Tenn., via Cairo:

     Your telegrams have been received, and although the information has
     been meager and unsatisfactory, I am conscious that arises from no
     fault of yours. You will proceed to General Grant's headquarters,
     or wherever you may be best able to accomplish the purposes
     designated by this department. You will consider your movements to
     be governed by your own discretion, without any restriction.

                                   EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                          _Secretary of War_.

As soon after receiving his telegram as I could get a boat I left
Memphis for Milliken's Bend, where General Grant had his headquarters. I
reached there at noon on April 6th.

The Mississippi at Milliken's Bend was a mile wide, and the sight as we
came down the river by boat was most imposing. Grant's big army was
stretched up and down the river bank over the plantations, its white
tents affording a new decoration to the natural magnificence of the
broad plains. These plains, which stretch far back from the river, were
divided into rich and old plantations by blooming hedges of rose and
Osage orange, the mansions of the owners being inclosed in roses,
myrtles, magnolias, oaks, and every other sort of beautiful and noble
trees. The negroes whose work made all this wealth and magnificence were
gone, and there was nothing growing in the fields.

For some days after my arrival I lived in a steamboat tied up to the
shore, for though my tent was pitched and ready, I was not able to get a
mattress and pillow. From the deck of the steamer I saw in those days
many a wonderful and to me novel sight. One I remember still. I was
standing out on the upper deck with a group of officers, when we saw far
away, close to the other shore of the river, a long line of something
white floating in the water. We thought it was foam, but it was too long
and white, and that it was cotton which had been thrown into the river,
but it was too straight and regular. Presently we heard a gun fired,
then another, and then we saw it was an enormous flock of swans. They
arose from the water one after the other, and sailed away up the river
in long, curving, silver lines, bending and floating almost like clouds,
and finally disappearing high up in the air above the green woods on the
Mississippi shore. I suppose there were a thousand of them.

I had not been long at Milliken's Bend before I was on friendly terms
with all the generals, big and little, and one or two of them I found
were very rare men. Sherman especially impressed me as a man of genius
and of the widest intellectual acquisitions. Every day I rode in one
direction or another with an officer, inspecting the operations going
on. From what I saw on my rides over the country I got a new insight
into slavery, which made me no more a friend to that institution than I
was before. I had seen slavery in Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, and
Missouri, but it was not till I saw these great Louisiana plantations
with all their apparatus for living and working that I really felt the
aristocratic nature of the institution, and the infernal baseness of
that aristocracy. Every day my conviction was intensified that the
territorial and political integrity of the nation must be preserved at
all costs, no matter how long it took; that it was better to keep up the
existing war as long as was necessary, rather than to make arrangement
for indefinite wars hereafter and for other disruptions; that we must
have it out then, and settle forever the question, so that our children
would be able to attend to other matters. For my own part, I preferred
one nation and one country, with a military government afterward, if
such should follow, rather than two or three nations and countries with
the semblance of the old Constitution in each of them, ending in wars
and despotisms everywhere.

As soon as I arrived at Milliken's Bend, on April 6th, I had hunted up
Grant and explained my mission. He received me cordially. Indeed, I
think Grant was always glad to have me with his army. He did not like
letter writing, and my daily dispatches to Mr. Stanton relieved him from
the necessity of describing every day what was going on in the army.
From the first neither he nor any of his staff or corps commanders
evinced any unwillingness to show me the inside of things. In this first
interview at Milliken's Bend, for instance, Grant explained to me so
fully his new plan of campaign--for there was now but one--that by three
o'clock I was able to send an outline of it to Mr. Stanton. From that
time I saw and knew all the interior operations of that toughest of
tough jobs, the reopening of the Mississippi.

The new project, so Grant told me, was to transfer his army to New
Carthage, and from there carry it over the Mississippi, landing it at or
about Grand Gulf; to capture this point, and then to operate rapidly on
the southern and eastern shore of the Big Black River, threatening at
the same time both Vicksburg and Jackson, and confusing the Confederates
as to his real objective. If this could be done he believed the enemy
would come out of Vicksburg and fight.

The first element in this plan was to open a passage from the
Mississippi near Milliken's Bend, above Vicksburg, to the bayou on the
west side, which led around to New Carthage below. The length of
navigation in this cut-off was about thirty-seven miles, and the plan
was to take through with small tugs perhaps fifty barges, enough, at
least, to transfer the whole army, with artillery and baggage, to the
other side of the Mississippi in twenty-four hours. If necessary, troops
were to be transported by the canal, though Grant hoped to march them by
the road along its bank. Part of McClernand's corps had already reached
New Carthage overland, and Grant was hurrying other troops forward. The
canal to the bayou was already half completed, thirty-five hundred men
being at work on it when I arrived.

The second part of the plan was to float down the river, past the
Vicksburg batteries, half a dozen steamboats protected by defenses of
bales of cotton and wet hay; these steamboats were to serve as
transports of supplies after the army had crossed the Mississippi.

Perhaps the best evidence of the feasibility of the project was found in
the fact that the river men pronounced its success certain. General
Sherman, who commanded one of the three corps in Grant's army, and with
whom I conversed at length upon the subject, thought there was no
difficulty in opening the passage, but that the line would be a
precarious one for supplies after the army was thrown across the
Mississippi. Sherman's preference was for a movement by way of Yazoo
Pass, or Lake Providence, but it was not long before I saw in our daily
talks that his mind was tending to the conclusion of General Grant. As
for General Grant, his purpose was dead set on the new scheme. Admiral
Porter cordially agreed with him.

An important modification was made a few days after my arrival in the
plan of operations. It was determined that after the occupation of Grand
Gulf the main army, instead of operating up the Big Black toward
Jackson, should proceed down the river against Port Hudson, co-operating
with General Banks against that point, and that after the capture of
Port Hudson the two united forces should proceed against Vicksburg.

There seemed to be only one hitch in the campaign. Grant had intrusted
the attack on Grand Gulf to McClernand. Sherman, Porter, and other
leading officers believed this a mistake, and talked frankly with me
about it. One night when we had all gathered at Grant's headquarters and
were talking over the campaign very freely, as we were accustomed to do,
both Sherman and Porter protested against the arrangement. But Grant
would not be changed. McClernand, he said, was exceedingly desirous of
the command. He was the senior of the other corps commanders. He was an
especial favorite of the President, and the position which his corps
occupied on the ground when the movement was first projected was such
that the advance naturally fell to its lot; besides, he had entered
zealously into the plan from the first, while Sherman had doubted and
criticised, and McPherson, whom Grant said he would really have much
preferred, was away at Lake Providence, and though he had approved of
the scheme, he had taken no active part in it.

I believed the assignment of this duty to McClernand to be so dangerous
that I added my expostulation to those of the generals, and in reporting
the case to Mr. Stanton I wrote: "I have remonstrated so far as I could
properly do so against intrusting so momentous an operation to

Mr. Stanton replied: "Allow me to suggest that you carefully avoid
giving any advice in respect to commands that may be assigned, as it may
lead to misunderstanding and troublesome complications." Of course,
after that I scrupulously observed his directions, even in extreme

As the days went on everybody, in spite of this hitch, became more
sanguine that the new project would succeed. For my part I had not a
doubt of it, as one can see from this fragment written from Milliken's
Bend on April 13th to one of my friends:

"Like all who really know the facts, I feel no sort of doubt that we
shall before long get the nut cracked. Probably before this letter
reaches New York on its way to you the telegraph will get ahead of it
with the news that Grant, masking Vicksburg, deemed impregnable by its
defenders, has carried the bulk of his army down the river through a
cut-off which he has opened without the enemy believing it could be
done; has occupied Grand Gulf, taken Port Hudson, and, effecting a
junction with the forces of Banks, has returned up the river to
threaten Jackson and compel the enemy to come out of Vicksburg and fight
him on ground of his own choosing. Of course this scheme may miscarry in
whole or in parts, but as yet the chances all favor its execution, which
is now just ready to begin."


[B] General E. V. Sumner, who had just been relieved, at his own
request, from the Army of the Potomac and appointed to the Department of
the Missouri. He was on his way thither when he died, on March 21st.



    The hard job of reopening the Mississippi--Admiral Porter runs the
    Confederate batteries--Headquarters moved to Smith's
    plantation--Delay and confusion in McClernand's command--The
    unsuccessful attack on Grand Gulf--The move to the east shore--Mr.
    Dana secures a good horse.

On the new lines adopted by General Grant, the work went on cheeringly,
though every day changes were made in the details. I spent my days in
riding from point to point, noting the progress. I went out often with
Colonel G. G. Pride, the engineer officer, in whose mess I was, and who
was superintending the construction of the canal which led from Duckport
to the bayou. The work on this canal was a curious sight to see, for
there was a force equal to five regiments at the digging, while a large
number of pioneers were engaged in clearing the bayou beyond. The canal
was opened on April 13th, and the authorities agreed that there was no
reason to doubt its usefulness, though the obstructions in the bayou
were so numerous that it was thought that it would require several days
more to clear a passage for tugs and barges.

One of my most interesting trips from Milliken's Bend was made with
Major James H. Wilson to view the casemated batteries our engineers were
constructing on the shore opposite Vicksburg. They hoped with the
thirty-pound Parrotts they were putting in to be able to destroy any
building in the town. From behind the levee of the peninsula we were
able with our glasses to examine the fortifications of Vicksburg.

The best look I had at that town, however, while I was at Milliken's
Bend was not from the peninsula opposite, but from a gunboat. On April
12th I went down with a flag of truce to the vicinity of Vicksburg, so
that I got a capital view. It was an ugly place, with its line of bluffs
commanding the channel for fully seven miles, and battery piled above
battery all the way.

Admiral Porter's arrangements for carrying out the second part of
Grant's scheme--that is, running the Vicksburg batteries--were all
completed by April 16th, the ironclads and steamers being protected in
vulnerable parts by bulwarks of hay, cotton, and sand bags, and the
barges loaded with forage, coal, and the camp equipment of General
McClernand's corps, which was already at New Carthage. No doubt was felt
that the design was known in Vicksburg, and it was arranged that Admiral
Porter should open fire there with all his guns as he swept past the
town, and that the new batteries on the levee opposite the city should
also participate. Admiral Porter was to go with the expedition on a
small tug, and he invited me to accompany him, but it seemed to me that
I ought not to get out of my communications, and so refused. Instead, I
joined Grant on his headquarters boat, which was stationed on the right
bank of the river, where from the bows we could see the squadron as it
started, and could follow its course until it was nearly past Vicksburg.

Just before ten o'clock on the night of April 16th the squadron cast
loose its moorings. It was a strange scene. First a mass of black things
detached itself from the shore, and we saw it float out toward the
middle of the stream. There was nothing to be seen except this big black
mass, which dropped slowly down the river. Soon another black mass
detached itself, and another, then another. It was Admiral Porter's
fleet of ironclad turtles, steamboats, and barges. They floated down the
Mississippi darkly and silently, showing neither steam nor light, save
occasionally a signal astern, where the enemy could not see it.

The vessels moved at intervals of about two hundred yards. First came
seven ironclad turtles and one heavy armed ram; following these were two
side-wheel steamers and one stern-wheel, having twelve barges in tow;
these barges carried the supplies. Far astern of them was one carrying
ammunition. The most of the gunboats had already doubled the tongue of
land which stretches northeasterly in front of Vicksburg, and they were
immediately under the guns of nearly all the Confederate batteries, when
there was a flash from the upper forts, and then for an hour and a half
the cannonade was terrific, raging incessantly along the line of about
four miles in extent. I counted five hundred and twenty-five discharges.
Early in the action the enemy put the torch to a frame building in front
of Vicksburg to light up the scene and direct his fire.

About 12.45 A.M. one our steamers, the Henry Clay, took fire, and
burned for three quarters of an hour. The Henry Clay was lost by being
abandoned by her captain and crew in a panic, they thinking her to be
sinking. The pilot refused to go with them, and said if they would stay
they would get her through safe. After they had fled in the yawls, the
cotton bales on her deck took fire, and one wheel became unmanageable.
The pilot then ran her aground, and got upon a plank, on which he was
picked up four miles below.

The morning after Admiral Porter had run the Vicksburg batteries I went
with General Grant to New Carthage to review the situation. We found the
squadron there, all in fighting condition, though most of them had been
hit. Not a man had been lost.

As soon as we returned to Milliken's Bend Grant ordered that six
transport steamers, each loaded with one hundred thousand rations and
forty days' coal, should be made ready to run the Vicksburg batteries.
The order was executed on the night of the 22d. The transports were
manned throughout, officers, engineers, pilots, and deck hands, by
volunteers from the army, mainly from Logan's division. This dangerous
service was sought with great eagerness, and experienced men had been
found for every post. If ten thousand men had been wanted instead of one
hundred and fifty, they would have engaged with zeal in the adventure.
In addition to bulwarks of hay, cotton, and pork barrels, each transport
was protected by a barge on each side of it. Orders were to drop
noiselessly down with the current from the mouth of the Yazoo, and not
show steam till the enemy's batteries began firing, when the boats were
to use all their legs. The night was cloudy, and the run was made with
the loss of one of the transports, the Tigress, which was sunk, and a
few men wounded.

The day after these transports with supplies ran the Vicksburg batteries
General Grant changed his headquarters to Smith's plantation, near New
Carthage. All of McClernand's corps, the Thirteenth, was now near there,
and that officer said ten thousand men would be ready to move from New
Carthage the next day. McPherson's corps, which had been busy upon the
Lake Providence expedition and other services, but which had been
ordered to join, was now, except one division, moving over from
Milliken's Bend. Sherman's corps, the Fifteenth, which had been
stationed at Young's Point, was also under marching orders to New

Grant's first object now was to cross the Mississippi as speedily as
possible and capture Grand Gulf before it could be re-enforced; but
first it was necessary to know the strength of this point. On the 22d
Admiral Porter had gone down with his gunboats and opened fire to
ascertain the position and strength of the batteries. He reported them
too strong to overcome, and earnestly advised against a direct attack.
He suggested that the troops either be marched down the west side from
New Carthage to a point where they could be ferried over the Mississippi
just below Grand Gulf, or that they be embarked on the transports and
barges and floated past the batteries in the night.

The day after Grant changed his headquarters to Smith's plantation he
went himself with General Porter to reconnoiter Grand Gulf. His
reconnoissance convinced him that the place was not so strong as Admiral
Porter had supposed, and an attack was ordered to be made as soon as the
troops could be made ready, the next day, April 26th, if possible.

An irritating delay occurred then, however. McClernand's corps was not
ready to move. When we came to Smith's plantation, on the 24th, I had
seen that there was apparently much confusion in McClernand's command,
and I was astonished to find, now that he was ordered to move across the
Mississippi, that he was planning to carry his bride with her servants,
and baggage along with him, although Grant had ordered that officers
should leave behind everything that could impede the march.

On the 26th, the day when it was hoped to make an attack on Grand Gulf,
I went with Grant by water from our headquarters at Smith's plantation
down to New Carthage and to Perkins's plantation below, where two of
McClernand's divisions were encamped. These troops, it was supposed,
were ready for immediate embarkation, and there were quite as many as
all the transports could carry, but the first thing which struck us both
on approaching the points of embarkation was that the steamboats and
barges were scattered about in the river and in the bayou as if there
was no idea of the imperative necessity of the promptest movement

We at once steamed to Admiral Porter's flagship, which was lying just
above Grand Gulf, and Grant sent for McClernand, ordering him to embark
his men without losing a moment. In spite of this order, that night at
dark, when a thunderstorm set in, not a single cannon or man had been
moved. Instead, McClernand held a review of a brigade of Illinois troops
at Perkins's about four o'clock in the afternoon. At the same time a
salute of artillery was fired, notwithstanding the positive orders that
had repeatedly been given to use no ammunition for any purpose except
against the enemy.

When we got back from the river to headquarters, on the night of the
26th, we found that McPherson had arrived at Smith's plantation with the
first division of his corps, the rear being not very far behind. His
whole force would have been up the next day, but it was necessary to
arrest its movements until McClernand could be got out of the way; this
made McClernand's delay the more annoying. General Lorenzo Thomas, who
was on the Mississippi at this time organizing negro troops, told me
that he believed now that McPherson would actually have his men ready to
embark before McClernand.

Early the next morning, April 27th, I went with Grant from Smith's
plantation back to New Carthage. As soon as we arrived the general wrote
a very severe letter to McClernand, but learning that at last the
transport steamers and barges had been concentrated for use he did not
send the rebuke. Grant spent the day there completing the preparations
for embarking, and on the morning of the 28th about ten thousand men
were on board. This force was not deemed sufficient for the attack on
Grand Gulf, so the troops were brought down to Hard Times landing, on
the Louisiana side, almost directly across the river from Grand Gulf,
where a portion of them were debarked, and the transports sent back for
Hovey's division, six thousand strong. We spent the night at Hard Times
waiting for these troops, which arrived about daylight on the morning of
the 29th.

There were now sixteen thousand men at Hard Times ready to be landed at
the foot of the Grand Gulf bluff as soon as its batteries were silenced.
At precisely eight o'clock the gunboats opened their attack. Seven, all
ironclads, were engaged, and a cannonade was kept up for nearly six
hours. We soon found that the enemy had five batteries, the first and
most formidable of them being placed on the high promontory close to the
mouth of the Big Black. The lower batteries, mounting smaller guns and
having no more than two pieces each, were silenced early in the action,
but this one obstinately resisted. For the last four hours of the
engagement the whole seven gunboats were employed in firing at this one
battery, now at long range, seeking to drop shells within the parapet,
now at the very foot of the hill, within about two hundred yards,
endeavoring to dismount its guns by direct fire. It was hit again and
again, but its pieces were not disabled. At last, about half past one
o'clock, Admiral Porter gave the signal to withdraw. The gunboats had
been hit more or less severely. I was on board the Benton during the
attack, and saw that her armor had been pierced repeatedly both in her
sides and her pilot house, but she had not a gun disabled; and except
for the holes through her mail, some of them in her hull, she was as
ready to fight as at the beginning of the action.

The batteries having proved too much for the gunboats, General Grant
determined to execute an alternative plan which he had had in mind from
the first; that was, to debark the troops and march them south across
the peninsula which faces Grand Gulf to a place out of reach of the
Confederate guns. While the engagement between the gunboats and
batteries had been going on, all the rest of McClernand's corps had
reached Hard Times, having marched around by land, and three divisions
of McPherson's corps had also come up. This entire body of about
thirty-five thousand men was immediately started across the peninsula to
De Shroon's plantation, where it was proposed to embark them again.

Late in the evening I left Hard Times with Grant to ride across the
peninsula to De Shroon's. The night was pitch dark, and, as we rode side
by side, Grant's horse suddenly gave a nasty stumble. I expected to see
the general go over the animal's head, and I watched intently, not to
see if he was hurt, but if he would show any anger. I had been with
Grant daily now for three weeks, and I had never seen him ruffled or
heard him swear. His equanimity was becoming a curious spectacle to me.
When I saw his horse lunge my first thought was, "Now he will swear."
For an instant his moral status was on trial; but Grant was a tenacious
horseman, and instead of going over the animal's head, as I imagined he
would, he kept his seat. Pulling up his horse, he rode on, and, to my
utter amazement, without a word or sign of impatience. And it is a fact
that though I was with Grant during the most trying campaigns of the
war, I never heard him use an oath.

In order to get the transports past Grand Gulf, Porter's gunboats had
engaged the batteries about dusk. This artillery duel lasted until about
ten o'clock, the gunboats withdrawing as soon as the transports were
safely past, and steaming at once to De Shroon's plantation, where
General McClernand's corps was all ready to take the transports. The
night was spent in embarking the men. By eleven o'clock the next
morning, April 30th, three divisions were landed on the east shore of
the Mississippi at the place General Grant had selected. This was
Bruinsburg, sixty miles south of Vicksburg, and the first point south of
Grand Gulf from which the highlands of the interior could be reached by
a road over dry land.

I was obliged to separate from Grant on the 30th, for the means for
transporting troops and officers were so limited that neither an extra
man nor a particle of unnecessary baggage was allowed, and I did not get
over until the morning of May 1st, after the army had moved on Port
Gibson, where they first engaged the enemy. As soon as I was landed at
Bruinsburg I started in the direction of the battle, on foot, of course,
as no horses had been brought over. I had not gone far before I overtook
a quartermaster driving toward Port Gibson; he took me into his wagon.
About four miles from Port Gibson we came upon the first signs of the
battle, a field where it was evident that there had been a struggle. I
got out of the wagon as we approached, and started toward a little white
house with green blinds, covered with vines. The little white house had
been taken as a field hospital, and the first thing my eyes fell upon as
I went into the yard was a heap of arms and legs which had been
amputated and thrown into a pile outside. I had seen men shot and dead
men plenty, but this pile of legs and arms gave me a vivid sense of war
such as I had not before experienced.

As the army was pressing the Confederates toward Port Gibson all that
day I followed in the rear, without overtaking General Grant. While
trailing along after the Union forces I came across Fred Grant, then a
lad of thirteen, who had been left asleep by his father on a steamer at
Bruinsburg, but who had started out on foot like myself as soon as he
awoke and found the army had marched. We tramped and foraged together
until the next morning, when some officers who had captured two old
horses gave us each one. We got the best bridles and saddles we could,
and thus equipped made our way into Port Gibson, which the enemy had
deserted and where General Grant now had his headquarters. I rode that
old horse for four or five days, then by a chance I got a good one. A
captured Confederate officer had been brought before General Grant for
examination. Now this man had a very good horse, and after Grant had
finished his questions the officer said:

"General, this horse and saddle are my private property; they do not
belong to the Confederate army; they belong to me as a citizen, and I
trust you will let me have them. Of course, while I am a prisoner I do
not expect to be allowed to ride the horse, but I hope you will regard
him as my property, and finally restore him to me."

"Well," said Grant, "I have got four or five first-rate horses wandering
somewhere about the Southern Confederacy. They have been captured from
me in battle or by spies. I will authorize you, whenever you find one of
them, to take possession of him. I cheerfully give him to you; but as
for this horse, I think he is just about the horse Mr. Dana needs."

I rode my new acquisition afterward through that whole campaign, and
when I came away I turned him over to the quartermaster. Whenever I went
out with General Grant anywhere he always had some question to ask about
that horse.



    Marching into the enemy's country--A night in a church with a Bible
    for pillow--Our communications are cut--Entering the capital of
    Mississippi--The War Department gives Grant full authority--Battle
    of Champion's Hill--General Logan's peculiarity--Battlefield
    incidents--Vicksburg invested and the siege begun--Personal traits
    of Sherman, McPherson, and McClernand.

It was the second day of May, 1863, when I rode into Port Gibson, Miss.,
and inquired for Grant's headquarters. I found the general in a little
house of the village, busily directing the advance of the army. He told
me that in the battle of the day before the Confederates had been driven
back on the roads to Grand Gulf and Vicksburg, and that our forces were
now in full pursuit. By the next morning, May 3d, our troops had
possession of the roads as far as the Big Black. As soon as he was sure
of this, General Grant started with a brigade of infantry and some
twenty cavalrymen for Grand Gulf. I accompanied him on the trip. When
within about seven miles of Grand Gulf we found that the town had been
deserted, and leaving the brigade we entered with the cavalry escort.

During this ride to Grand Gulf Grant made inquiries on every side about
the food supplies of the country we were entering. He told me he had
been gathering information on this point ever since the army crossed
the Mississippi, and had made up his mind that both beef and cattle and
corn were abundant in the country. The result of this inquiry was that
here at Grand Gulf Grant took the resolve which makes the Vicksburg
campaign so famous--that of abandoning entirely his base of supplies as
soon as the army was all up and the rations on the way arrived, boldly
striking into the interior, and depending on the country for meat and
even for bread.

We did not reach Grand Gulf until late on May 3d, but at one o'clock on
the morning of the 4th Grant was off for the front. He had decided that
it was useless to bring up the army to this place, to the capture of
which we had been so long looking, and which had been abandoned so
quickly now that our army was across the Mississippi. I did not follow
until later in the day, and so had an opportunity of seeing General
Sherman. His corps was marching from above as rapidly as possible down
to Hard Times landing, and he had come over to Grand Gulf to see about
debarking his troops there; this he succeeded in doing a couple of days

That evening I joined Grant at his new headquarters at Hankinson's Ferry
on the Big Black, and now began my first experience with army marching
into an enemy's territory. A glimpse of my life at this time is given in
a letter to a child, written the morning after I rejoined Grant:

"All of a sudden it is very cold here. Two days ago it was hot like
summer, but now I sit in my tent in my overcoat, writing, and thinking
if I only were at home instead of being almost two thousand miles away.

"Away yonder, in the edge of the woods, I hear the drum-beat that calls
the soldiers to their supper. It is only a little after five o'clock,
but they begin the day very early and end it early. Pretty soon after
dark they are all asleep, lying in their blankets under the trees, for
in a quick march they leave their tents behind. Their guns are all ready
at their sides, so that if they are suddenly called at night they can
start in a moment. It is strange in the morning before daylight to hear
the bugle and drums sound the reveille, which calls the army to wake up.
It will begin perhaps at a distance and then run along the whole line,
bugle after bugle and drum after drum taking it up, and then it goes
from front to rear, farther and farther away, the sweet sounds throbbing
and rolling while you lie on the grass with your saddle for a pillow,
half awake, or opening your eyes to see that the stars are all bright in
the sky, or that there is only a faint flush in the east, where the day
is soon to break.

"Living in camp is queer business. I get my meals in General Grant's
mess, and pay my share of the expenses. The table is a chest with a
double cover, which unfolds on the right and the left; the dishes,
knives and forks, and caster are inside. Sometimes we get good things,
but generally we don't. The cook is an old negro, black and grimy. The
cooking is not as clean as it might be, but in war you can't be
particular about such things.

"The plums and peaches here are pretty nearly ripe. The strawberries
have been ripe these few days, but the soldiers eat them up before we
get a sight of them. The figs are as big as the end of your thumb, and
the green pears are big enough to eat. But you don't know what beautiful
flower gardens there are here. I never saw such roses; and the other day
I found a lily as big as a tiger lily, only it was a magnificent red."

Grant's policy now was to push the Confederates ahead of him up the Big
Black River, threatening Jackson, the State capital, and the Big Black
bridge behind Vicksburg, and capturing both if necessary. His opinion
was that this maneuver would draw Pemberton out of Vicksburg and bring
on a decisive battle within ten days.

From Hankinson's Ferry, the headquarters were changed on the 7th to
Rocky Springs, and there we remained until the 11th. By that time
McClernand and McPherson had advanced to within ten or twelve miles of
the railroad which runs from Vicksburg to Jackson, and were lying nearly
in an east and west line; and Sherman's entire corps had reached
Hankinson's Ferry. Supplies which Grant had ordered from Milliken's Bend
had also arrived. The order was now given to Sherman to destroy the
bridge at Hankinson's Ferry, the rear guards were abandoned, and our
communications cut. So complete was our isolation that it was ten days
after we left Rocky Springs, on May 11th, before I was able to get
another dispatch to Mr. Stanton.

This march toward Jackson proved to be no easy affair. More than one
night I bivouacked on the ground in the rain after being all day in my
saddle. The most comfortable night I had, in fact, was in a church of
which the officers had taken possession. Having no pillow, I went up to
the pulpit and borrowed the Bible for the night. Dr. H. L. Hewitt, who
was medical director on Grant's staff, slept near me, and he always
charged me afterward with stealing that Bible.

In spite of the roughness of our life, it was all of intense interest to
me, particularly the condition of the people over whose country we were
marching. A fact which impressed me was the total absence of men capable
of bearing arms. Only old men and children remained. The young men were
all in the army or had perished in it. The South was drained of its
youth. An army of half a million with a white population of only five
millions to draw upon, must soon finish the stock of raw material for
soldiers. Another fact of moment was that we found men who had at the
first sympathized with the rebellion, and even joined in it, now of
their own accord rendering Grant the most valuable assistance, in order
that the rebellion might be ended as speedily as possible, and something
saved by the Southern people out of the otherwise total and hopeless
ruin. "Slavery is gone, other property is mainly gone," they said, "but,
for God's sake, let us save some relic of our former means of living."

In this forward movement the left of the army was ordered to hug the Big
Black as closely as possible, while the right moved straight on Raymond.
On the 12th, the right wing, under McPherson, met the enemy just west of
Raymond. Grant at the time had his headquarters about at the center of
the army, with Sherman's corps, some seven miles west of Raymond. I left
him to go to the scene of the battle at once. It was a hard-fought
engagement, lasting some three hours. McPherson drove the Confederates
back to and through Raymond, and there stopped. The next day the advance
of the army toward Jackson was continued. It rained heavily on the march
and the roads were very heavy, but the troops were in the best of
spirits at their successes and prospects. This work was a great
improvement on digging canals and running batteries. On the afternoon of
the 14th, about two and a half miles west of Jackson, McPherson and
Sherman were temporarily stopped by the enemy, but he was quickly
defeated, and that night we entered the capital of Mississippi.

At Jackson I received an important telegram from Stanton, though how it
got to me there I do not remember. General Grant had been much troubled
by the delay McClernand had caused at New Carthage, but he had felt
reluctant to remove him as he had been assigned to his command by the
President. My reports to the Secretary on the situation had convinced
him that Grant ought to have perfect independence in the matter, so he
telegraphed me as follows:

                                   WASHINGTON, D.C., _May 6, 1863_.

     C. A. DANA, Esq., Smith's Plantation, Ia.

     General Grant has full and absolute authority to enforce his own
     commands and to remove any person who by ignorance in action or any
     cause interferes with or delays his operations. He has the full
     confidence of the Government, is expected to enforce his authority,
     and will be firmly and heartily supported, but he will be
     responsible for any failure to exert his powers. You may
     communicate this to him.

                                   E. M. STANTON, _Secretary of War_.

The very evening of the day that we reached Jackson, Grant learned that
Lieutenant-General Pemberton had been ordered by General Joe Johnston to
come out of Vicksburg and attack our rear. Grant immediately faced the
bulk of his army about to meet the enemy, leaving Sherman in Jackson to
tear up the railroads and destroy all the public property there that
could be of use to the Confederates. I remained with Sherman to see the
work of destruction. I remember now nothing that I saw except the
burning of vast quantities of cotton packed in bales, and that I was
greatly astonished to see how slowly it burned.

On the afternoon of the 15th I joined Grant again at his headquarters at
Clinton. Early the next morning we had definite information about
Pemberton. He was about ten miles to the west, with twenty-five thousand
men, as reported, and our advance was almost up with him. We at once
went forward to the front. Here we found Pemberton in a most formidable
position on the crest of a wooded ridge called Champion's Hill, over
which the road passed longitudinally. About eleven o'clock in the
morning of the 16th the battle began, and by four in the afternoon it
was won.

After the battle I started out on horseback with Colonel Rawlins to
visit the field. When we reached Logan's command we found him greatly
excited. He declared the day was lost, and that he would soon be swept
from his position. I contested the point with him. "Why, general," I
said, "we have gained the day."

He could not see it. "Don't you hear the cannon over there?" he
answered. "They will be down on us right away! In an hour I will have
twenty thousand men to fight."

I found afterward that this was simply a curious idiosyncrasy of
Logan's. In the beginning of a fight he was one of the bravest men that
could be, saw no danger, went right on fighting until the battle was
over. Then, after the battle was won, his mind gained an immovable
conviction that it was lost. Where we were victorious, he thought that
we were defeated. I had a very interesting conversation with Logan on
this day, when he attempted to convince me that we had lost the battle
of Champion's Hill. It was merely an intellectual peculiarity. It did
not in the least impair his value as a soldier or commanding officer. He
never made any mistake on account of it.

On leaving Logan, Rawlins and I were joined by several officers, and we
continued our ride over the field. On the hill where the thickest of the
fight had taken place we stopped, and were looking around at the dead
and dying men lying all about us, when suddenly a man, perhaps
forty-five or fifty years old, who had a Confederate uniform on, lifted
himself up on his elbow, and said:

"For God's sake, gentlemen, is there a Mason among you?"

"Yes," said Rawlins, "I am a Mason." He got off his horse and kneeled by
the dying man, who gave him some letters out of his pocket. When he came
back Rawlins had tears on his cheeks. The man, he told us, wanted him
to convey some souvenir--a miniature or a ring, I do not remember
what--to his wife, who was in Alabama. Rawlins took the package, and
some time afterward he succeeded in sending it to the woman.

I remained out late that night conversing with the officers who had been
in the battle, and think it must have been about eleven o'clock when I
got to Grant's headquarters, where I was to sleep. Two or three officers
who had been out with me went with me into the little cottage which
Grant had taken possession of. We found a wounded man there, a tall and
fine-looking man, a Confederate. He stood up suddenly and said: "Kill
me! Will some one kill me? I am in such anguish that it will be mercy to
do it--I have got to die--kill me--don't let me suffer!" We sent for a
surgeon, who examined his case, but said it was hopeless. He had been
shot through the head, so that it had cut off the optic nerve of both
eyes. He never could possibly see again. Before morning he died.

I was up at daylight the next day, and off with Grant and his staff
after the enemy. We rode directly west, and overtook Pemberton at the
Big Black. He had made a stand on the bottom lands at the east head of
the Big Black bridge. Here he fought in rifle-pits, protected by abatis
and a difficult bayou. Lawler's brigade, of McClernand's corps, charged
the left of the Confederate rifle-pits magnificently, taking more
prisoners than their own numbers. The others fled. Pemberton burned his
bridge and retreated rapidly into Vicksburg, with only three cannon out
of sixty-three with which he had entered upon this short, sharp, and
decisive campaign.

There was nothing for Grant to do now but build bridges and follow.
Before morning four bridges had been thrown across the Big Black, and by
the evening of that day, the 18th, the army had arrived behind
Vicksburg, which was now its front. In twenty-four hours after Grant's
arrival the town was invested, the bluffs above the town had been seized
so that we could get water from the Mississippi, and Haynes's Bluff up
the Yazoo had been abandoned by the Confederates. With the Yazoo
highlands in our control there was no difficulty in establishing a line
of supplies with our original base on the Mississippi. On the 20th I was
able to get off to Mr. Stanton the first dispatch from the rear of
Vicksburg. In it I said, "Probably the town will be carried to-day."

The prediction was not verified. The assault we expected was not made
until the morning of the 22d. It failed, but without heavy loss. Early
in the afternoon, however, McClernand, who was on the left of our lines,
reported that he was in possession of two forts of the rebel line, was
hard pressed, and in great need of re-enforcements. Not doubting that he
had really succeeded in taking and holding the works he pretended to
hold, General Grant sent a division to his support, and at the same time
ordered Sherman and McPherson to make new attacks. McClernand's report
was false, for, although a few of his men had broken through in one
place, he had not taken a single fort, and the result of the second
assault was disastrous. We were repulsed, losing quite heavily, when
but for his error the total loss of the day would have been

The failure of the 22d convinced Grant of the necessity of a regular
siege, and immediately the army settled down to that. We were in an
incomparable position for a siege as regarded the health and comfort of
our men. The high wooded hills afforded pure air and shade, and the deep
ravines abounded in springs of excellent water, and if they failed it
was easy to bring it from the Mississippi. Our line of supplies was
beyond the reach of the enemy, and there was an abundance of fruit all
about us. I frequently met soldiers coming into camp with buckets full
of mulberries, blackberries, and red and yellow wild plums.

The army was deployed at this time in the following way: The right of
the besieging force was held by General Sherman, whose forces ran from
the river along the bluffs around the northeast of the town. Sherman's
front was at a greater distance from the enemy than that of any other
corps, and the approach less advantageous, but he began his siege works
with great energy and admirable skill. Everything I saw of Sherman at
the Vicksburg siege increased my admiration for him. He was a very
brilliant man and an excellent commander of a corps. Sherman's
information was great, and he was a clever talker. He always liked to
have people about who could keep up with his conversation; besides, he
was genial and unaffected. I particularly admired his loyalty to Grant.
He had criticised the plan of campaign frankly in the first place, but
had supported every movement with all his energy, and now that we were
in the rear of Vicksburg he gave loud praise to the commander in chief.

To the left of Sherman lay the Seventeenth Army Corps, under
Major-General J. B. McPherson. He was one of the best officers we had.
He was but thirty-two years old at the time, and a very handsome,
gallant-looking man, with rather a dark complexion, dark eyes, and a
most cordial manner. McPherson was an engineer officer of fine natural
ability and extraordinary acquirements, having graduated Number One in
his class at West Point, and was held in high estimation by Grant and
his professional brethren. Halleck gave him his start in the civil war,
and he had been with Grant at Donelson and ever since. He was a man
without any pretensions, and always had a pleasant hand-shake for you.

It is a little remarkable that the three chief figures in this great
Vicksburg campaign--Grant, Sherman, and McPherson--were all born in
Ohio. The utmost cordiality and confidence existed between these three
men, and it always seemed to me that much of the success achieved in
these marches and battles was owing to this very fact. There was no
jealousy or bickering, and in their unpretending simplicity they were as
alike as three peas. No country was ever more faithfully, unselfishly
served than was ours in the Vicksburg campaign by these three Ohio

To McPherson's left was the Thirteenth Army Corps, under Major-General
John A. McClernand. Next to Grant he was the ranking officer in the
army. The approaches on his front were most favorable to us, and the
enemy's line of works evidently much the weakest there, but he was very
inefficient and slow in pushing his siege operations. Grant had resolved
on the 23d to relieve McClernand for his false dispatch of the day
before stating that he held two of the enemy's forts, but he changed his
mind, concluding that it would be better on the whole to leave him in
his command till the siege was concluded. From the time that I had
joined Grant's army at Milliken's Bend and heard him criticising Porter,
Sherman, and other officers, I had been observing McClernand narrowly
myself. My own judgment of him by this time was that he had not the
qualities necessary for commander even of a regiment. In the first
place, he was not a military man; he was a politician and a member of
Congress. He was a man of a good deal of a certain kind of talent, not
of a high order, but not one of intellectual accomplishments. His
education was that which a man gets who is in Congress five or six
years. In short, McClernand was merely a smart man, quick, very
active-minded, but his judgment was not solid, and he looked after
himself a good deal. Mr. Lincoln also looked out carefully for
McClernand, because he was an Illinois Democrat, with a considerable
following among the people. It was a great thing to get McClernand into
the war in the first place, for his natural predisposition, one would
have supposed, would have been to sympathize with the South. As long as
he adhered to the war he carried his Illinois constituency with him; and
chiefly for this reason, doubtless, Lincoln made it a point to take
special care of him. In doing this the President really served the
greater good of the cause. But from the circumstances of Lincoln's
supposed friendship, McClernand had more consequence in the army than he



    Grant before his great fame--His friend and mentor, General
    Rawlins--James Harrison Wilson--Two semi-official letters to
    Stanton--Character sketches for the information of the President and
    Secretary--Mr. Dana's early judgment of soldiers who afterward won

Living at headquarters as I did throughout the siege of Vicksburg, I
soon became intimate with General Grant, not only knowing every
operation while it was still but an idea, but studying its execution on
the spot. Grant was an uncommon fellow--the most modest, the most
disinterested, and the most honest man I ever knew, with a temper that
nothing could disturb, and a judgment that was judicial in its
comprehensiveness and wisdom. Not a great man, except morally; not an
original or brilliant man, but sincere, thoughtful, deep, and gifted
with courage that never faltered; when the time came to risk all, he
went in like a simple-hearted, unaffected, unpretending hero, whom no
ill omens could deject and no triumph unduly exalt. A social, friendly
man, too, fond of a pleasant joke and also ready with one; but liking
above all a long chat of an evening, and ready to sit up with you all
night, talking in the cool breeze in front of his tent. Not a man of
sentimentality, not demonstrative in friendship, but always holding to
his friends, and just even to the enemies he hated.

After Grant, I spent more time at Vicksburg with his assistant adjutant
general, Colonel John A. Rawlins, and with Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson,
than with anybody else. Rawlins was one of the most valuable men in the
army, in my judgment. He had but a limited education, which he had
picked up at the neighbourhood school and in Galena, Ill., near which
place he was born and where he had worked himself into the law; but he
had a very able mind, clear, strong, and not subject to hysterics. He
bossed everything at Grant's headquarters. He had very little respect
for persons, and a rough style of conversation. I have heard him curse
at Grant when, according to his judgment, the general was doing
something that he thought he had better not do. But he was entirely
devoted to his duty, with the clearest judgment, and perfectly fearless.
Without him Grant would not have been the same man. Rawlins was
essentially a good man, though he was one of the most profane men I ever
knew; there was no guile in him--he was as upright and as genuine a
character as I ever came across.

James H. Wilson I had first met at Milliken's Bend, when he was serving
as chief topographical engineer and assistant inspector general of the
Army of the Tennessee. He was a brilliant man intellectually, highly
educated, and thoroughly companionable. We became warm friends at once,
and were together a great deal throughout the war. Rarely did Wilson go
out on a specially interesting tour of inspection that he did not
invite me to accompany him, and I never failed, if I were at liberty, to
accept his invitations. Much of the exact information about the
condition of the works which I was able to send to Mr. Stanton Wilson
put in my way.

I have already spoken of McClernand, Sherman, and McPherson, Grant's
three chief officers, but there were many subordinate officers of value
in his army, not a few of whom became afterward soldiers of distinction.
At the request of Secretary Stanton, I had begun at Vicksburg a series
of semi-official letters, in which I undertook to give my impressions of
the officers in Grant's army. These letters were designed to help Mr.
Lincoln and Mr. Stanton in forming their judgments of the men. In order
to set the _personnel_ of the commanding force distinctly before the
reader, I quote here one of these letters, written at Cairo after the
siege had ended. It has never been published before, and it gives my
judgment at that time of the subordinate officers in the Vicksburg

                                   CAIRO, ILL., _July 12, 1863_.

     DEAR SIR: Your dispatch of June 29th, desiring me to "continue my
     sketches," I have to-day seen for the first time. It was sent down
     the river, but had not arrived when I left Vicksburg on the 5th

     Let me describe the generals of division and brigade in Grant's
     army in the order of the army corps to which they are attached,
     beginning with the Thirteenth.

     The most prominent officer of the Thirteenth Corps, next to the
     commander of the corps, is Brigadier-General A. P. Hovey. He is a
     lawyer of Indiana, and from forty to forty-five years old. He is
     ambitious, active, nervous, irritable, energetic, clear-headed,
     quick-witted, and prompt-handed. He works with all his might and
     all his mind; and, unlike most volunteer officers, makes it his
     business to learn the military profession just as if he expected to
     spend his life in it. He distinguished himself most honorably at
     Port Gibson and Champion's Hill, and is one of the best officers in
     this army. He is a man whose character will always command respect,
     though he is too anxious about his personal renown and his own
     advancement to be considered a first-rate man morally, judged by
     the high standard of men like Grant and Sherman.

     Hovey's principal brigadiers are General McGinnis and Colonel
     Slack. McGinnis is brave enough, but too excitable. He lost his
     balance at Champion's Hill. He is not likely ever to be more than a
     brigadier. Slack is a solid, steady man, brave, thorough, and
     sensible, but will never set the river afire. His education is
     poor, but he would make a respectable brigadier general, and, I
     know, hopes to be promoted.

     Next to Hovey is Osterhaus. This general is universally well spoken
     of. He is a pleasant, genial fellow, brave and quick, and makes a
     first-rate report of a reconnoissance. There is not another general
     in this army who keeps the commander in chief so well informed
     concerning whatever happens at his outposts. As a disciplinarian he
     is not equal to Hovey, but is much better than some others. On the
     battlefield he lacks energy and concentrativeness. His brigade
     commanders are all colonels, and I don't know much of them.

     The third division of the Thirteenth Corps is commanded by General
     A. J. Smith, an old cavalry officer of the regular service. He is
     intrepid to recklessness, his head is clear though rather thick,
     his disposition honest and manly, though given to boasting and
     self-exaggeration of a gentle and innocent kind. His division is
     well cared for, but is rather famous for slow instead of rapid
     marching. McClernand, however, disliked him, and kept him in the
     rear throughout the late campaign. He is a good officer to command
     a division in an army corps, but should not be intrusted with any
     important independent command.

     Smith's principal brigadier is General Burbridge, whom I judge to
     be a mediocre officer, brave, rather pretentious, a good fellow,
     not destined to greatness.

     The fourth division in the Thirteenth Corps is General Carr's. He
     has really been sick throughout the campaign, and had leave to go
     home several weeks since, but stuck it out till the surrender. This
     may account for a critical, hang-back disposition which he has
     several times exhibited. He is a man of more cultivation,
     intelligence, and thought than his colleagues generally. The
     discipline in his camps I have thought to be poor and careless. He
     is brave enough, but lacks energy and initiative.

     Carr's brigadiers comprise General M. K. Lawler and General Lee, of
     Kansas. Lawler weighs two hundred and fifty pounds, is a Roman
     Catholic, and was a Douglas Democrat, belongs in Shawneetown, Ill.,
     and served in the Mexican War. He is as brave as a lion, and has
     about as much brains; but his purpose is always honest, and his
     sense is always good. He is a good disciplinarian and a first-rate
     soldier. He once hung a man of his regiment for murdering a
     comrade, without reporting the case to his commanding general
     either before or after the hanging, but there was no doubt the man
     deserved his fate. Grant has two or three times gently reprimanded
     him for indiscretions, but is pretty sure to go and thank him after
     a battle. Carr's third brigadier I don't know.

     In the Fifteenth Corps there are two major generals who command
     divisions--namely, Steele and Blair--and one brigadier, Tuttle.
     Steele has also been sick through the campaign, but has kept
     constantly at his post. He is a gentlemanly, pleasant fellow....
     Sherman has a high opinion of his capacity, and every one says that
     he handles troops with great coolness and skill in battle. To me
     his mind seems to work in a desultory way, like the mind of a
     captain of infantry long habituated to garrison duty at a frontier
     post. He takes things in bits, like a gossiping companion, and
     never comprehensively and strongly, like a man of clear brain and a
     ruling purpose. But on the whole I consider him one of the best
     division generals in this army, yet you can not rely on him to make
     a logical statement, or to exercise any independent command.

     Of Steele's brigadiers, Colonel Woods eminently deserves promotion.
     A Hercules in form, in energy, and in pertinacity, he is both safe
     and sure. Colonel Manter, of Missouri, is a respectable officer.
     General Thayer is a fair but not first-rate officer.

     Frank Blair is about the same as an officer that he is as a
     politician. He is intelligent, prompt, determined, rather inclining
     to disorder, a poor disciplinarian, but a brave fighter. I judge
     that he will soon leave the army, and that he prefers his seat in
     Congress to his commission.

     In Frank Blair's division there are two brigadier generals, Ewing
     and Lightburne. Ewing seems to possess many of the qualities of his
     father, whom you know better than I do, I suppose. Lightburne has
     not served long with this army, and I have had no opportunity of
     learning his measure. Placed in a command during the siege where
     General Sherman himself directed what was to be done, he has had
     little to do. He seems to belong to the heavy rather than the rapid
     department of the forces.

     Colonel Giles Smith is one of the very best brigadiers in Sherman's
     corps, perhaps the best of all next to Colonel Woods. He only
     requires the chance to develop into an officer of uncommon power
     and usefulness. There are plenty of men with generals' commissions
     who in all military respects are not fit to tie his shoes.

     Of General Tuttle, who commands Sherman's third division, I have
     already spoken, and need not here repeat it. Bravery and zeal
     constitute his only qualifications for command. His principal
     brigadier is General Mower, a brilliant officer, but not of large
     mental calibre. Colonel Wood, who commands another of his brigades,
     is greatly esteemed by General Grant, but I do not know him;
     neither do I know the commander of his third brigade.

     Three divisions of the Sixteenth Corps have been serving in Grant's
     army for some time past. They are all commanded by brigadier
     generals, and the brigades by colonels. The first of these
     divisions to arrive before Vicksburg was Lauman's. This general got
     his promotion by bravery on the field and Iowa political influence.
     He is totally unfit to command--a very good man but a very poor
     general. His brigade commanders are none of them above mediocrity.
     The next division of the Sixteenth Corps to join the Vicksburg army
     was General Kimball's. He is not so bad a commander as Lauman, but
     he is bad enough; brave, of course, but lacking the military
     instinct and the genius of generalship. I don't know any of his
     brigade commanders. The third division of the Sixteenth Corps now
     near Vicksburg is that of General W. S. Smith. He is one of the
     best officers in that army. A rigid disciplinarian, his division is
     always ready and always safe. A man of brains, a hard worker,
     unpretending, quick, suggestive, he may also be a little crotchety,
     for such is his reputation; but I judge that he only needs the
     opportunity to render great services. What his brigade commanders
     are worth I can't say, but I am sure they have a first-rate
     schoolmaster in him.

     I now come to the Seventeenth Corps and to its most prominent
     division general, Logan. This is a man of remarkable qualities and
     peculiar character. Heroic and brilliant, he is sometimes unsteady.
     Inspiring his men with his own enthusiasm on the field of battle,
     he is splendid in all its crash and commotion, but before it begins
     he is doubtful of the result, and after it is over he is fearful we
     may yet be beaten. A man of instinct and not of reflection, his
     judgments are often absurd, but his extemporaneous opinions are
     very apt to be right. Deficient in education, he is full of
     generous attachments and sincere animosities. On the whole, few can
     serve the cause of the country more effectively than he, and none
     serve it more faithfully.

     Logan's oldest brigade commander is General John D. Stevenson, of
     Missouri. He is a person of much talent, but a grumbler. He was one
     of the oldest colonels in the volunteer service, but because he had
     always been an antislavery man all the others were promoted before
     him. This is still one of his grounds for discontent, and in
     addition younger brigadiers have been put before him since. Thus
     the world will not go to suit him. He has his own notions, too, of
     what should be done on the field of battle, and General McPherson
     has twice during this campaign had to rebuke him very severely for
     his failure to come to time on critical occasions.

     Logan's second brigade is commanded by General Leggett, of Ohio.
     This officer has distinguished himself during the siege, and will
     be likely to distinguish himself hereafter. He possesses a clear
     head, an equable temper, and great propulsive power over his men.
     He is also a hard worker, and whatever he touches goes easily. The
     third brigade of this division has for a short time been commanded
     by Colonel Force. I only know that Logan, McPherson, and Grant all
     think well of him.

     Next in rank among McPherson's division generals is McArthur. He
     has been in the reserve throughout the campaign, and has had little
     opportunity of proving his mettle. He is a shrewd, steady
     Scotchman, trustworthy rather than brilliant, good at hard knocks,
     but not a great commander. Two of his brigadiers, however, have
     gained very honorable distinction in this campaign, namely Crocker,
     who commanded Quinby's division at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson,
     and Champion's Hill, and Ransom. Crocker was sick throughout, and,
     as soon as Quinby returned to his command, had to go away, and it
     is feared may never be able to come back. He is an officer of great
     promise and remarkable power. Ransom has commanded on McPherson's
     right during the siege, and has exceeded every other brigadier in
     the zeal, intelligence, and efficiency with which his siege works
     were constructed and pushed forward. At the time of the surrender
     his trenches were so well completed that the engineers agreed that
     they offered the best opportunity in the whole of our lines for the
     advance of storming columns. Captain Comstock told me that ten
     thousand men could there be marched under cover up to the very
     lines of the enemy. In the assault of May 22d, Ransom was equally
     conspicuous for the bravery with which he exposed himself. No young
     man in all this army has more future than he.

     The third brigade of McArthur's division, that of General Reid, has
     been detached during the campaign at Lake Providence and elsewhere,
     and I have not been able to make General R.'s acquaintance.

     The third division of the Seventeenth Corps was commanded during
     the first of the siege by General Quinby. This officer was also
     sick, and I dare say did not do justice to himself. A good
     commander of a division he is not, though he is a most excellent
     and estimable man, and seemed to be regarded by the soldiers with
     much affection. But he lacks order, system, command, and is the
     very opposite of his successor, General John E. Smith, who, with
     much less intellect than Quinby, has a great deal better sense,
     with a firmness of character, a steadiness of hand, and a freedom
     from personal irritability and jealousy which must soon produce the
     happiest effect upon the division. Smith combines with these
     natural qualities of a soldier and commander a conscientious
     devotion not merely to the doing but also to the learning of his
     duty, which renders him a better and better general every day. He
     is also fit to be intrusted with any independent command where
     judgment and discretion are as necessary as courage and activity,
     for in him all these qualities seem to be happily blended and

     Of General Matthias, who commands the brigade in this division so
     long and so gallantly commanded by the late Colonel Boomer, I hear
     the best accounts, but do not know him personally. The medical
     inspector tells me that no camps in the lines are kept in so good
     condition as his; and General Sherman, under whom he lately served,
     speaks of him as a very valuable officer. The second brigade is
     commanded by Colonel Sanborn, a steady, mediocre sort of man; the
     third by Colonel Holmes, whom I don't know personally, but who made
     a noble fight at Champion's Hill, and saved our center there from
     being broken.

     General Herron's division is the newest addition to the forces
     under Grant, except the Ninth Corps, of which I know nothing except
     that its discipline and organization exceed those of the Western
     troops. Herron is a driving, energetic sort of young fellow, not
     deficient either in self-esteem or in common sense, and, as I
     judge, hardly destined to distinctions higher than those he has
     already acquired. Of his two brigadiers, Vandever has not proved
     himself of much account during the siege; Orme I have seen, but do
     not know. Herron has shown a great deal more both of capacity and
     force than either of them. But he has not the first great requisite
     of a soldier, obedience to orders, and believes too much in doing
     things his own way. Thus, for ten days after he had taken his
     position he disregarded the order properly to picket the bottom
     between the bluff and the river on his left. He had made up his own
     mind that nobody could get out of the town by that way, and
     accordingly neglected to have the place thoroughly examined in
     order to render the matter clear and certain. Presently Grant
     discovered that men from the town were making their escape through
     that bottom, and then a more peremptory command to Herron set the
     matter right by the establishment of the necessary pickets.

     I must not omit a general who formerly commanded a brigade in
     Logan's division, and has for some time been detached to a separate
     command at Milliken's Bend. I mean General Dennis. He is a
     hard-headed, hard-working, conscientious man, who never knows when
     he is beaten, and consequently is very hard to beat. He is not
     brilliant, but safe, sound, and trustworthy. His predecessor in
     that command, General Sullivan, has for some time been at Grant's
     headquarters, doing nothing with more energy and effect than he
     would be likely to show in any other line of duty. He is a
     gentlemanly fellow, intelligent, a charming companion, but heavy,
     jovial, and lazy.

     I might write another letter on the staff officers and staff
     organization of Grant's army, should you desire it.

              Yours faithfully,      C. A. DANA.


The day after sending to Mr. Stanton this letter on the generals of
divisions and of brigades in the army which besieged Vicksburg, I wrote
him another on the staff officers of the various corps. Like its
predecessor, this letter has never appeared in the records of the war:

                                   CAIRO, ILL., _July 13, 1863_.

     DEAR SIR: In my letter of yesterday I accidentally omitted to
     notice General C. C. Washburn among the generals of division in
     Grant's army. He is now in command of two of the divisions detached
     from the Sixteenth Army Corps--namely, that of Kimball and that of
     W. S. Smith--and, as I happen to know, is anxious to be put in
     command of an army corps, for which purpose it has been suggested
     that a new corps might be created out of these two divisions, with
     the addition of that of Lauman, also detached from the Sixteenth,
     or that of Herron. But I understand from General Grant that he is
     not favorable to any such arrangement. Washburn being one of the
     very youngest in rank of his major generals, he intends to put him
     in command of a single division as soon as possible, in order that
     he may prove his fitness for higher commands by actual service, and
     give no occasion for older soldiers to complain that he is promoted
     without regard to his merits.

     I know Washburn very well, both as a politician and a military man,
     and I say frankly that he has better qualities for the latter than
     for the former function. He is brave, steady, respectable; receives
     suggestions and weighs them carefully; is not above being advised,
     but acts with independence nevertheless. His judgment is good, and
     his vigilance sufficient. I have not seen him in battle, however,
     and can not say how far he holds his mind there. I don't find in
     him, I am sorry to say, that effort to learn the military art which
     every commander ought to exhibit, no matter whether he has received
     a military education or not. Washburn's whole soul is not put into
     the business of arms, and for me that is an unpardonable defect.
     But he is a good man, and above the average of our generals, at
     least of those in Grant's command.

     I now come to the staff organization and staff officers of this
     army, beginning, of course, with those connected with the head of
     the department. Grant's staff is a curious mixture of good, bad,
     and indifferent. As he is neither an organizer nor a disciplinarian
     himself, his staff is naturally a mosaic of accidental elements and
     family friends. It contains four working men, two who are able to
     accomplish their duties without much work, and several who either
     don't think of work, or who accomplish nothing no matter what they

     Lieutenant-Colonel Rawlins, Grant's assistant adjutant general, is
     a very industrious, conscientious man, who never loses a moment,
     and never gives himself any indulgence except swearing and
     scolding. He is a lawyer by profession, a townsman of Grant's, and
     has a great influence over him, especially because he watches him
     day and night, and whenever he commits the folly of tasting liquor
     hastens to remind him that at the beginning of the war he gave him
     [Rawlins] his word of honor not to touch a drop as long as it
     lasted. Grant thinks Rawlins a first-rate adjutant, but I think
     this is a mistake. He is too slow, and can't write the English
     language correctly without a great deal of careful consideration.
     Indeed, illiterateness is a general characteristic of Grant's
     staff, and in fact of Grant's generals and regimental officers of
     all ranks.

     Major Bowers, judge-advocate of Grant's staff, is an excellent man,
     and always finds work to do. Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, inspector
     general, is a person of similar disposition. He is a captain of
     engineers in the regular army, and has rendered valuable services
     in that capacity. The fortifications of Haynes's Bluff were
     designed by him and executed under his direction. His leading idea
     is the idea of duty, and he applies it vigorously and often
     impatiently to others. In consequence he is unpopular among all who
     like to live with little work. But he has remarkable talents and
     uncommon executive power, and will be heard from hereafter.

     The quartermaster's department is under charge of
     Lieutenant-Colonel Bingham, who is one of those I spoke of as
     accomplishing much with little work. He is an invalid almost, and I
     have never seen him when he appeared to be perfectly well; but he
     is a man of first-rate abilities and solid character, and, barring
     physical weakness, up to even greater responsibilities than those
     he now bears.

     The chief commissary, Lieutenant-Colonel Macfeely, is a jolly,
     agreeable fellow, who never seems to be at work, but I have heard
     no complaints of deficiencies in his department. On the contrary,
     it seems to be one of the most efficacious parts of this great

     Lieutenant-Colonel Kent, provost-marshal general, is a very
     industrious and sensible man, a great improvement on his
     predecessor, Colonel Hillyer, who was a family and personal friend
     of Grant's.

     There are two aides-de-camp with the rank of colonel, namely,
     Colonel ---- and Colonel ----, both personal friends of Grant's.
     ---- is a worthless, whisky-drinking, useless fellow. ---- is
     decent and gentlemanly, but neither of them is worth his salt so
     far as service to the Government goes. Indeed, in all my
     observation, I have never discovered the use of Grant's
     aides-de-camp at all. On the battlefield he sometimes sends orders
     by them, but everywhere else they are idle loafers. I suppose the
     army would be better off if they were all suppressed, especially
     the colonels.

     Grant has three aides with the rank of captain. Captain ---- is a
     relative of Mrs. Grant. He has been a stage driver, and violates
     English grammar at every phrase. He is of some use, for he attends
     to the mails. Captain ---- is an elegant young officer of the
     regular cavalry. He rides after the general when he rides out; the
     rest of the time he does nothing at all. Captain Badeau, wounded at
     Port Hudson since he was attached to Grant's staff, has not yet

     I must not omit the general medical staff of this army. It is in
     bad order. Its head, Dr. Mills, is impracticable, earnest,
     quarrelsome. He was relieved several weeks since, but Grant likes
     him, and kept him on till the fall of Vicksburg. In this he was
     right, no doubt, for a change during the siege would have been
     troublesome. The change, I presume, will now be made. It must be
     for the better.

     The office of chief of artillery on the general staff I had
     forgotten, as well as that of chief engineer. The former is
     occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Duff, of the Second Illinois
     Artillery. He is unequal to the position, not only because he is
     disqualified by sickness, but because he does not sufficiently
     understand the management of artillery. The siege suffered greatly
     from his incompetence. General Grant knows, of course, that he is
     not the right person; but it is one of his weaknesses that he is
     unwilling to hurt the feelings of a friend, and so he keeps him on.

     The chief engineer, Captain Comstock, is an officer of great merit.
     He has, too, what his predecessor, Captain Prime, lacked, a talent
     for organization. His accession to the army will be the source of
     much improvement.

     If General Grant had about him a staff of thoroughly competent men,
     disciplinarians and workers, the efficiency and fighting quality of
     his army would soon be much increased. As it is, things go too much
     by hazard and by spasms; or, when the pinch comes, Grant forces
     through, by his own energy and main strength, what proper
     organization and proper staff officers would have done already.

     The staff of the Thirteenth Corps was formed by General McClernand.
     The acting adjutant general, Lieutenant-Colonel Scates, is a man of
     about fifty-five or sixty years old; he was a judge in Illinois,
     and left an honored and influential social position to serve in the
     army. General Ord speaks in high terms of him as an officer. The
     chief of artillery, Colonel ----, is an ass. The chief
     quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel ----, General McClernand's
     father-in-law, lately resigned his commission. He was
     incompetent.... His successor has not yet been appointed. The chief
     commissary, Lieutenant-Colonel ----, is a fussy fellow, who with
     much show accomplishes but little. General McClernand's aides went
     away with him or are absent on leave. Not a man of them is worth
     having. The engineer on his staff, Lieutenant Hains, is an
     industrious and useful officer. The medical director, Dr. Hammond,
     had just been appointed.

     In the Fifteenth Corps staff all have to be working men, for
     Sherman tolerates no idlers and finds something for everybody to
     do. If an officer proves unfit for his position, he shifts him to
     some other place. Thus his adjutant, Lieutenant-Colonel Hammond, a
     restless Kentuckian, kept everything in a row as long as he
     remained in that office. Sherman has accordingly made him inspector
     general, and during the last two months has kept him constantly
     employed on scouting parties. In his place as adjutant is Captain
     Sawyer, a quiet, industrious, efficient person. The chief of
     artillery, Major Taylor, directed by Sherman's omnipresent eye and
     quick judgment, is an officer of great value, though under another
     general he might not be worth so much. The chief engineer, Captain
     Pitzman, wounded about July 15th, is a man of merit, and his
     departure was a great loss to the regular ranks. General Sherman
     has three aides-de-camp, Captain McCoy, Captain Dayton, and
     Lieutenant Hill, and, as I have said, neither of them holds a
     sinecure office. His medical director, Dr. McMillan, is a good
     physician, I believe; he has been in a constant contention with Dr.
     Mills. The quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Smith, is a most
     efficient officer; he has been doing duty as commissary also.

     On the whole, General Sherman has a very small and very efficient
     staff; but the efficiency comes mainly from him. What a splendid
     soldier he is!

     The staff of the Seventeenth Army Corps is the most complete, the
     most numerous, and in some respects the most serviceable in this

     The adjutant general, Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, is a person of
     uncommon quickness, is always at work, and keeps everything in his
     department in first-rate order. The inspector general,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Strong, does his duties with promptness and
     thoroughness; his reports are models. The chief of artillery,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, thoroughly understands his business, and
     attends to it diligently. The provost-marshal general,
     Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, is a judicious and industrious man. Both
     the quartermaster and commissary are new men, captains, and I do
     not know them, but McPherson speaks highly of them. The medical
     director, Dr. Boucher, has the reputation of keeping his hospitals
     in better order and making his reports more promptly and
     satisfactorily than any other medical officer in this army. General
     McPherson has four aides-de-camp: Captain Steele, Captain Gile,
     Lieutenant Knox, and Lieutenant Vernay. The last of these is the
     best, and Captain Steele is next to him. The engineer officer,
     Captain Hickenlooper, is a laborious man, quick, watchful, but not
     of great capacity. The picket officer, Major Willard, whom I
     accidentally name last, is a person of unusual merit.

     In the staffs of the division and brigadier generals I do not now
     recall any officer of extraordinary capacity. There may be such,
     but I have not made their acquaintance. On the other hand, I have
     made the acquaintance of some who seemed quite unfit for their
     places. I must not omit, however, to speak here of Captain
     Tresilian, engineer on the staff of Major-General Logan. His
     general services during the siege were not conspicuous, but he
     deserves great credit for constructing the wooden mortars which
     General McPherson used near its close with most remarkable effect.
     Both the idea and the work were Tresilian's.

     Very possibly you may not wish to go through this mass of details
     respecting so many officers of inferior grades, upon whose claims
     you may never be called to pass judgment. But if you care to read
     them here they are. I remain, dear sir,

          Yours very faithfully,      C. A. DANA.




    Life behind Vicksburg--Grant's efforts to procure
    reinforcements--The fruitless appeal to General Banks--Mr. Stanton
    responds to Mr. Dana's representations--A steamboat trip with
    Grant--Watching Joe Johnston--Visits to Sherman and Admiral
    Porter--The negro troops win glory--Progress and incidents of the
    siege--Vicksburg wakes up--McClernand's removal.

We had not been many days in the rear of Vicksburg before we settled
into regular habits. The men were detailed in reliefs for work in the
trenches, and being relieved at fixed hours everybody seemed to lead a
systematic life.

My chief duty throughout the siege was a daily round through the
trenches, generally with the corps commander or some one of his staff.
As the lines of investment were six or seven miles long, it occupied the
greater part of my day; sometimes I made a portion of my tour of
inspection in the night. One night in riding through the trenches I must
have passed twenty thousand men asleep on their guns. I still can see
the grotesque positions into which they had curled themselves. The
trenches were so protected that there was no danger in riding through
them. It was not so safe to venture on the hills overlooking Vicksburg.
I went on foot and alone one day to the top of a hill, and was looking
at the town, when I suddenly heard something go whizz, whizz, by my ear.
"What in the world is that?" I asked myself. The place was so desolate
that it was an instant before I could believe that these were bullets
intended for me. When I did realize it, I immediately started to lie
down. Then came the question, which was the best way to lie down. If I
lay at right angles to the enemy's line the bullets from the right and
left might strike me; if I lay parallel to it then those directly from
the front might hit me. So I concluded it made no difference which way I
lay. After remaining quiet for a time the bullets ceased, and I left the
hill-top. I was more cautious in the future in venturing beyond cover.

Through the entire siege I lived in General Grant's headquarters, which
were on a high bluff northeast of Sherman's extreme left. I had a tent
to myself, and on the whole was very comfortable. We never lacked an
abundance of provisions. There was good water, enough even for the bath,
and we suffered very little from excessive heat. The only serious
annoyance was the cannonade from our whole line, which from the first of
June went on steadily by night as well as by day. The following bit from
a letter I wrote on June 2d, to my little daughter, tells something of
my situation:

    It is real summer weather here, and, after coming in at noon to-day
    from my usual ride through the trenches, I was very glad to get a
    cold bath in my tent before dinner. I like living in tents very
    well, especially if you ride on horseback all day. Every night I
    sleep with one side of the tent wide open and the walls put up all
    around to get plenty of air. Sometimes I wake up in the night and
    think it is raining, the wind roars so in the tops of the great oak
    forest on the hillside where we are encamped, and I think it is
    thundering till I look out and see the golden moonlight in all its
    glory, and listen again and know that it is only the thunder of
    General Sherman's great guns, that neither rest nor let others rest
    by night or by day.

We were no sooner in position behind Vicksburg than Grant saw that he
must have reinforcements. Joe Johnston was hovering near, working with
energy to collect forces sufficient to warrant an attempt to relieve
Vicksburg. The Confederates were also known to be reorganizing at
Jackson. Johnston eventually gathered an army behind Grant of about
twenty-five thousand men.

Under these threatening circumstances it was necessary to keep a certain
number of troops in our rear, more than Grant could well spare from the
siege, and he therefore made every effort to secure reinforcements. He
ordered down from Tennessee, and elsewhere in his own department, all
available forces. He also sent to General Banks, who was then besieging
Port Hudson, a request to bring his forces up as promptly as
practicable, and assuring him that he (Grant) would gladly serve under
him as his senior in rank, or simply co-operate with him for the benefit
of the common cause, if Banks preferred that arrangement. To Halleck, on
May 29th, he telegraphed: "If Banks does not come to my assistance I
must be reinforced from elsewhere. I will avoid a surprise, and do the
best I can with the means at hand." This was about the extent of
Grant's personal appeals to his superiors for additional forces. No
doubt, however, he left a good deal to my representations.

As no reply came from Banks, I started myself on the 30th for Port
Hudson at Grant's desire, to urge that the reinforcements be furnished.

The route used for getting out from the rear of Vicksburg at that time
was through the Chickasaw Bayou into the Yazoo and thence into the
Mississippi. From the mouth of the Yazoo I crossed the Mississippi to
Young's Point, and from there went overland across the peninsula to get
a gunboat at a point south of Vicksburg. As we were going down the river
we met a steamer just above Grand Gulf bearing one of the previous
messengers whom Grant had sent to Banks. He was bringing word that Banks
could send no forces; on the other hand, he asked reinforcements from
Grant to aid in his siege of Port Hudson, which he had closely invested.
This news, of course, made my trip unnecessary, and I returned at once
to headquarters, having been gone not over twenty-four hours.

As soon as this news came from Banks, I sent an urgent appeal to Mr.
Stanton to hurry reinforcements sufficient to make success beyond all
peradventure. The Government was not slow to appreciate Grant's needs or
the great opportunity he had created. Early in June I received the
following dispatch from Mr. Stanton:

                                   WAR DEPARTMENT, _June 5, 1863_.

     Your telegrams up to the 30th have been received. Everything in the
     power of this Government will be put forth to aid General Grant.
     The emergency is not underrated here. Your telegrams are a great
     obligation, and are looked for with deep interest. I can not thank
     you as much as I feel for the service you are now rendering. You
     have been appointed an assistant adjutant general, with rank of
     major, with liberty to report to General Grant if he needs you. The
     appointment may be a protection to you. I shall expect daily
     reports if possible.

                                 EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                      _Secretary of War_.

          C. A. DANA, Esq.,
    Grant's Headquarters near Vicksburg.

My appointment as assistant adjutant general was Stanton's own idea. He
was by nature a very anxious man. When he perceived from my dispatches
that I was going every day on expeditions into dangerous territory, he
became alarmed lest I might be caught by the Confederates; for as I was
a private citizen it would have been difficult to exchange me. If I were
in the regular volunteer service as an assistant adjutant general,
however, there would be no trouble about an exchange, hence my

The chief variations from my business of watching the siege behind
Vicksburg were these trips I made to inspect the operations against the
enemy, who was now trying to shut us in from the rear beyond the Big
Black. His heaviest force was to the northeast. On June 6th the reports
from Satartia, our advance up the Yazoo, were so unsatisfactory that
Grant decided to examine the situation there himself. That morning he
said to me at breakfast:

"Mr. Dana, I am going to Satartia to-day; would you like to go along?"

I said I would, and we were soon on horseback, riding with a cavalry
guard to Haynes's Bluff, where we took a small steamer reserved for
Grant's use and carrying his flag. Grant was ill and went to bed soon
after he started. We had gone up the river to within two miles of
Satartia, when we met two gunboats coming down. Seeing the general's
flag, the officers in charge of the gunboats came aboard our steamer and
asked where the general was going. I told them to Satartia.

"Why," said they, "it will not be safe. Kimball [our advance was under
the charge of Brigadier-General Nathan Kimball, Third Division,
Sixteenth Army Corps] has retreated from there, and is sending all his
supplies to Haynes's Bluff. The enemy is probably in the town now."

I told them Grant was sick and asleep, and that I did not want to waken
him. They insisted that it was unsafe to go on, and that I would better
call the general. Finally I did so, but he was too sick to decide.

"I will leave it with you," he said. I immediately said we would go back
to Haynes's Bluff, which we did.

The next morning Grant came out to breakfast fresh as a rose, clean
shirt and all, quite himself. "Well, Mr. Dana," he said, "I suppose we
are at Satartia now."

"No, general," I said, "we are at Haynes's Bluff." And I told him what
had happened.

He did not complain, but as he was short of officers at that point he
asked me to go with a party of cavalry toward Mechanicsburg to find if
it were true, as reported, that Joe Johnston was advancing from Canton
to the Big Black. We had a hard ride, not getting back to Vicksburg
until the morning of the eighth. The country was like all the rest
around Vicksburg, broken, wooded, unpopulous, with bad roads and few
streams. It still had many cattle, but the corn was pretty thoroughly
cleared out. We found that Johnston had not moved his main force as
rumored, and that he could not move it without bringing all his supplies
with him.

Throughout the siege an attack from Johnston continued to threaten Grant
and to keep a part of our army busy. Almost every one of my dispatches
to Mr. Stanton contained rumors of the movements of the Confederates,
and the information was so uncertain that often what I reported one day
had to be contradicted the next. About the 15th of June the movements of
the enemy were so threatening that Grant issued an order extending
Sherman's command so as to include Haynes's Bluff, and to send there the
two divisions of the Ninth Corps under General Parke. These troops had
just arrived from Kentucky, and Grant had intended to place them on the
extreme left of our besieging line.

Although our spies brought in daily reports of forces of the enemy at
different points between Yazoo City and Jackson, Johnston's plan did not
develop opportunity until the 22d, when he was said to be crossing the
Big Black north of Bridgeport. Sherman immediately started to meet him
with about thirty thousand troops, including cavalry. Five brigades more
were held in readiness to reinforce him if necessary. The country was
scoured by Sherman in efforts to beat Johnston, but no trace of an enemy
was found. It was, however, ascertained that he had not advanced, but
was still near Canton. As there was no design to attack Johnston until
Vicksburg was laid low, Sherman made his way to Bear Creek, northwest of
Canton, where he could watch the Confederates, and there went into camp.

I went up there several times to visit him, and always came away
enthusiastic over his qualities as a soldier. His amazing activity and
vigilance pervaded his entire force. The country where he had encamped
was exceedingly favorable for defense. He had occupied the commanding
points, opened rifle-pits wherever they would add to his advantage,
obstructed the cross-roads and most of the direct roads also, and
ascertained every point where the Big Black could be forded between the
line of Benton on the north and the line of railroads on the south. By
his rapid movements, also, and by widely deploying on all the ridges and
open headlands, Sherman produced the impression that his forces were ten
times as numerous as they really were. Sherman remained in his camp on
Bear Creek through the rest of the siege, in order to prevent any
possible attack by Joe Johnston, the reports about whose movements
continued to be contradictory and uncertain.

Another variation in my Vicksburg life was visiting Admiral Porter, who
commanded the fleet which hemmed in the city on the river-side. Porter
was a very active, courageous, fresh-minded man, and an experienced
naval officer, and I enjoyed the visits I made to his fleet. His boats
were pretty well scattered, for the Confederates west of the Mississippi
were pressing in, and unless watched might manage to cross somewhere.
Seven of the gunboats were south of Vicksburg, one at Haynes's Bluff,
one was at Chickasaw Bayou, one at Young's Point, one at Milliken's
Bend, one at Lake Providence, one at Greenell, one at Island Sixty-five,
two were at White River, and so on, and several were always in motion.
They guarded the river so completely that no hostile movement from the
west ever succeeded, or was likely to do so.

The most serious attack from the west during the siege was that on June
7th, when a force of some two thousand Confederates engaged about a
thousand negro troops defending Milliken's Bend. This engagement at
Milliken's Bend became famous from the conduct of the colored troops.
General E. S. Dennis, who saw the battle, told me that it was the
hardest fought engagement he had ever seen. It was fought mainly hand to
hand. After it was over many men were found dead with bayonet stabs, and
others with their skulls broken open by butts of muskets. "It is
impossible," said General Dennis, "for men to show greater gallantry
than the negro troops in that fight."

The bravery of the blacks in the battle at Milliken's Bend completely
revolutionized the sentiment of the army with regard to the employment
of negro troops. I heard prominent officers who formerly in private had
sneered at the idea of the negroes fighting express themselves after
that as heartily in favor of it. Among the Confederates, however, the
feeling was very different. All the reports which came to us showed that
both citizens and soldiers on the Confederate side manifested great
dismay at the idea of our arming negroes. They said that such a policy
was certain to be followed by insurrection with all its horrors.

Although the presence of Joe Johnston on the east, and the rumors of
invasion by Kirby Smith from the west, compelled constant attention, the
real work behind Vicksburg was always that of the siege. No amount of
outside alarm loosened Grant's hold on the rebel stronghold. The siege
went on steadily and effectively. By June 10th the expected
reinforcements began to report. Grant soon had eighty-five thousand men
around Vicksburg, and Pemberton's last hope was gone. The first troops
to arrive were eight regiments under General Herron. They came from
Missouri, down the Mississippi to Young's Point, where they were
debarked and marched across the peninsula, care being taken, of course,
that the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg should see the whole march.
The troops were then ferried across the Mississippi, and took a position
south of Vicksburg between Lauman's troops and the Mississippi River,
completely closing the lines, and thus finally rendering egress and
ingress absolutely impossible. Herron took this position on June 13th.
He went to work with so much energy that on the night of the 15th he was
able to throw forward his lines on his left, making an advance of five
hundred yards, and bringing his artillery and rifle-pits within two or
three hundred yards of the enemy's lines.

Herron was a first-rate officer, and the only consummate dandy I ever
saw in the army. He was always handsomely dressed; I believe he never
went out without patent-leather boots on, and you would see him in the
middle of a battle--well, I can not say exactly that he went into battle
with a lace pocket-handkerchief, but at all events he always displayed a
clean white one. But these little vanities appeared not to detract from
his usefulness. Herron had already proved his ability and fighting
qualities at the battle of Prairie Grove, December 7, 1862.

Just as our reinforcements arrived we began to receive encouraging
reports from within Vicksburg. Deserters said that the garrison was worn
out and hungry; besides, the defense had for several days been conducted
with extraordinary feebleness, which Grant thought was due to the
deficiency of ammunition or to exhaustion and depression in the
garrison, or to their retirement to an inner line of defense. The first
and third of these causes no doubt operated to some extent, but the
second we supposed to be the most influential. The deserters also said
that fully one third of the garrison were in hospital, and that
officers, as well as men, had begun to despair of relief from Johnston.

These reports from within the town, as well as the progress of the siege
and the arrival of reinforcements, pointed so strongly to the speedy
surrender of the place that I asked Mr. Stanton in my dispatch of June
14th to please inform me by telegram whether he wished me to go to
General Rosecrans after the fall of Vicksburg or whether he had other
orders for me.

The next day after this letter, however, the enemy laid aside his
long-standing inactivity and opened violently with both artillery and
musketry. Two mortars which the Confederates got into operation that day
in front of General A. J. Smith particularly interested our generals. I
remember going with a party of some twenty officers, including Sherman,
Ord, McPherson, and Wilson, to the brow of a hill on McPherson's front
to watch this battery with our field glasses. From where we were we
could study the whole operation. We saw the shell start from the mortar,
sail slowly through the air toward us, fall to the ground and explode,
digging out a hole which looked like a crater. I remember one of these
craters which must have been nine feet in diameter. As you watched a
shell coming you could not tell whether it would fall a thousand feet
away or by your side. Yet nobody budged. The men sat there on their
horses, their reins loose, studying and discussing the work of the
batteries, apparently indifferent to the danger. It was very interesting
as a study of human steadiness.

By the middle of June our lines were so near the enemy's on Sherman's
and McPherson's front that General Grant began to consider the project
of another general assault as soon as McClernand's, Lauman's, and
Herron's lines were brought up close. Accordingly, Sherman and McPherson
were directed to hold their work until the others were up to them.
Herron, of course, had not had time to advance, though since his arrival
he had worked with great energy. Lauman had done little in the way of
regular approaches. But the chief difficulty in the way was the
backwardness of McClernand. His trenches were mere rifle-pits, three or
four feet wide, and would allow neither the passage of artillery nor the
assemblage of any considerable number of troops. His batteries were,
with scarcely an exception, in the position they apparently had held
when the siege was opened.

This obstacle to success was soon removed. On the 18th of June
McClernand was relieved and General Ord was put into his place. The
immediate occasion of McClernand's removal was a congratulatory address
to the Thirteenth Corps which he had fulminated in May, and which first
reached the besieging army in a copy of the Missouri Democrat. In this
extraordinary address McClernand claimed for himself most of the glory
of the campaign, reaffirmed that on May 22d he had held two rebel forts
for several hours, and imputed to other officers and troops failure to
support him in their possession, which must have resulted in the capture
of the town, etc. Though this congratulatory address was the occasion of
McClernand's removal, the real causes of it dated farther back. These
causes, as I understood at the time, were his repeated disobedience of
important orders, his general unfortunate mental disposition, and his
palpable incompetence for the duties of his position. I learned in
private conversation that in General Grant's judgment it was necessary
that McClernand should be removed for the reason, above all, that his
bad relations with other corps commanders, especially Sherman and
McPherson, rendered it impossible that the chief command of the army
should devolve upon him, as it would have done were General Grant
disabled, without some pernicious consequence to the Union cause.



    The artillery assault of June 20--McPherson springs a mine--Grant
    decides to storm the city--Pemberton asks for an interview and
    terms--The "unconditional surrender" note--At the meeting of Grant
    and Pemberton between the lines--The ride into Vicksburg and the
    Fourth of July celebration there.

Two days after McClernand's removal General Grant attempted to settle
the question whether he should make a further attempt to storm Vicksburg
or leave its reduction to the regular progress of siege operations. To
test what an assault would do, he began, at four o'clock on the morning
of June 20th, an artillery attack, in which about two hundred cannon
were engaged. During the attack no Confederates were visible, nor was
any reply made to our artillery. Their musketry fire also amounted to
nothing. Of course, some damage was done to the buildings of the town by
our concentrated cannonade, but we could not tell whether their mills,
foundry, or storehouses were destroyed. Their rifle-pits and defenses
were little injured. At ten o'clock the cannonade ceased. It was evident
that the probabilities of immediate success by assault would not
compensate for the sacrifices.

After the artillery attack on the 20th, the next exciting incident of
the siege was the springing of a mine by McPherson. Directly in front
of his position the enemy had a great fort which was regarded as the key
of their line. As soon as McPherson had got into position behind
Vicksburg he had begun to run trenches toward this fort, under which he
subsequently tunneled, hoping that by an explosion he would open it to
our occupation. The mine was sprung about four o'clock on the afternoon
of June 25th. It was charged with twelve hundred pounds of powder. The
explosion was terrific, forming a crater fully thirty-five feet in
diameter, but it did not open the fort. There still remained between the
new ground which we had gained by the explosion and the main works of
the fort an ascent so steep that an assault was practically impossible.
The enemy very soon opened a galling fire from within the fort with
shells with short fuses, thrown over the ridge by hand, like grenades,
and these did some execution. The wounds inflicted by these missiles
were frightful. To this we replied as actively as possible, and this
conflict between parties invisible to each other, not only on account of
the darkness, but also on account of the barrier between them, was kept
up with fury during the night and the next forenoon. Immediately on the
springing of the mine a tremendous cannonade was opened along our whole
line, accompanied by active firing from the rifle-pits. This fire was
continued with little relaxation during the night and the next day.
After several days of this kind of warfare, we had made no progress
whatever, not being able either to plant a battery or to open a
rifle-pit upon the new ground.

Eventually McPherson completed another mine, which he exploded on the
first day of July. Many Confederates were killed, and six were thrown
over into our lines by the explosion. They were all dead but one, a
negro, who got well and joined our army. McPherson did not, however, get
possession of the place through this mine, as he had hoped.

Little advancement was made in the siege after McPherson sprang his
first mine on the 25th of June, except in the matter of time and in the
holding of the lines of investment. Several things conspired to produce
inactivity and a sort of listlessness among the various commands--the
heat of the weather, the unexpected length of the siege, the endurance
of the defense, the absence of any thorough organization of the engineer
department, and, above all, the well-grounded general belief of our
officers and men that the town must presently fall through starvation,
without any special effort or sacrifice. This belief was founded on the
reports from within Vicksburg. Every new party of deserters which
reached us agreed that the provisions of the place were near the point
of total exhaustion, that rations had been reduced lower than ever, that
extreme dissatisfaction existed among the garrison, and it was generally
expected--indeed, there was a sort of conviction--on all hands that the
city would be surrendered on Saturday, July 4th, if, indeed, it could
hold out so long as that.

While apathy grew in our ranks, the Confederates displayed more activity
than ever. On the morning of June 27th they sprang a countermine on
Sherman's front, which destroyed the mines Sherman's engineers had
nearly finished, and threw the head of his sap into general confusion.
McPherson was prevented from taking possession of the fort, which had
been partially destroyed. Ord's (lately McClernand's) working parties,
which were now well up to the Confederate lines, were checked by hand
grenades. Lauman was almost nightly assailed by little sorties of the
enemy, and always lost a few men in them, killed, wounded, or captured.

The operations west of the Mississippi became more threatening, too. Our
scouts brought in word that Price and Kirby Smith were about to attempt
to provision Vicksburg by way of Milliken's Bend. There were rumors also
that some two thousand or more skiffs had been prepared within the town,
by which it was thought the garrison might escape.

The general indisposition of our troops to prosecute the siege
zealously, and the evident determination on the part of the enemy to
hold out until the last, caused General Grant to hold a council of war
on the morning of June 30th, to take judgment on the question of trying
another general assault, or leaving the result to the exhaustion of the
garrison. The conclusion of the council was in favor of the latter
policy, but two days later, July 2d, Grant told me that if the enemy did
not give up Vicksburg by the 6th he should storm it.

Happily, there was no need to wait until the 6th. The general
expectation that something would happen by July 4th was about to be
confirmed. On the morning of Friday, July 3d, a soldier appeared on the
Confederate line, in McPherson's front, bearing a flag of truce.
General A. J. Smith was sent to meet this man, who proved to be an
officer, General J. S. Bowen. He bore a letter from Pemberton addressed
to Grant. The letter was taken to headquarters, where it was read by the
general and its contents were made known to the staff. It was a request
for an armistice to arrange terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg. To
this end Pemberton asked that three commissioners be appointed to meet a
like number to be named by himself. Grant immediately wrote this reply:

    The useless effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course
    can be ended at any time you may choose by an unconditional
    surrender of the city and garrison. Men who have shown so much
    endurance and courage as those now in Vicksburg will always
    challenge the respect of an adversary, and I can assure you will be
    treated with all the respect due to prisoners of war.

     I do not favor the proposition of appointing commissioners to
     arrange terms of capitulation, because I have no terms other than
     those indicated above.

Bowen, the bearer of Pemberton's letter, who had been received by A. J.
Smith, expressed a strong desire to converse with General Grant. While
declining this, Grant requested Smith to say to Bowen that if General
Pemberton desired to see him an interview would be granted between the
lines in McPherson's front at any hour in the afternoon which Pemberton
might appoint. After Bowen's departure a message was soon sent back to
Smith, accepting the proposal for an interview, and appointing three
o'clock as the hour. Grant was there with his staff and with Generals
Ord, McPherson, Logan, and A. J. Smith. Sherman was not present, being
with his command watching Joe Johnston, and ready to spring upon the
latter as soon as Pemberton was captured. Pemberton came late, attended
by General Bowen and Colonel L. M. Montgomery.

It must have been a bitter moment for the Confederate chieftain.
Pemberton was a Northern man, a Pennsylvanian by birth, from which State
he was appointed to West Point, graduating in 1837. In the old army he
fell under the spell of the influence of Jefferson Davis, whose close
friend he was. Davis appears to have thought Pemberton was a military
genius, for he was jumped almost at a stroke, without much previous
service, to be a lieutenant general, and the defense of the Mississippi
River was given over to his charge. His dispositions throughout the
entire campaign, after Grant crossed at Bruinsburg, were weak, and he
was easily overcome, although his troops fought well. As Joe Johnston
truthfully remarks in his Narrative, Pemberton did not understand
Grant's warfare at all. Penned up and finally compelled to surrender a
vital post and a great army to his conqueror, an almost irremediable
disaster to his cause, Pemberton not only suffered the usual pangs of
defeat, but he was doubly humiliated by the knowledge that he would be
suspected and accused of treachery by his adopted brethren, and that the
result would be used by the enemies of Davis, whose favorite he was, to
undermine the Confederate administration. As the events proved, it was
indeed a great blow to Davis's hold upon the people of the South. These
things must have passed through Pemberton's mind as he faced Grant for
this final settlement of the fate of Vicksburg.

The conversation was held apart between Pemberton and his two officers
and Grant, McPherson, and A. J. Smith, the rest of us being seated on
the ground near by.

We could, however, see that Pemberton was much excited, and was
impatient in his answers to Grant. He insisted that his army be paroled
and allowed to march beyond our lines, officers and all, with eight
days' rations, drawn from their own stores, officers to retain their
private property and body servants. Grant heard what Pemberton had to
say, and left him at the end of an hour and a half, saying that he would
send in his ultimatum in writing before evening; to this Pemberton
promised to reply before night, hostilities to cease in the meantime.
Grant then conferred at his headquarters with his corps and division
commanders, all of whom, except Steele, who advised unconditional
surrender, favored a plan proposed by McPherson, and finally adopted by
Grant. The argument against the plan was one of feeling only. In its
favor it was urged that it would at once not only tend to the
demoralization of the enemy, but also release Grant's whole army for
offensive operations against Joe Johnston and Port Hudson, while to
guard and transport so many prisoners would require a great portion of
our army's strength. Keeping the prisoners would also absorb all our
steamboat transportation, while paroling them would leave it free to
move our troops. Paroling would also save us an enormous expenditure.

After long consideration, General Grant reluctantly gave way to these
reasons, and at six o'clock in the afternoon he sent a letter by the
hands of General Logan and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, in which he stated
as terms that, as soon as rolls could be made out and paroles signed by
officers and men, Pemberton would be allowed to march out of our lines,
the officers taking with them their side-arms and clothing, and the
field, staff, and cavalry officers one horse each. The rank and file
were to retain all their clothing, but no other property. If these
conditions were accepted, any amount of rations deemed necessary was to
be taken from the stores they had, besides the necessary cooking
utensils. Thirty wagons also, counting two two-horse or mule teams as
one, were to be allowed to transport such articles as could not be
carried along. The same conditions were allowed to all sick and wounded
officers and soldiers as fast as they became able to travel.

The officer who received this letter stated that it would be impossible
to answer it by night, and it was not till a little before peep of day
that the reply was furnished. In the main the terms were accepted, but
Pemberton proposed as amendments:

    At 10 A.M. to-morrow I propose to evacuate the works in and around
    Vicksburg, and to surrender the city and garrison under my command
    by marching out with my colors and arms, stacking them in front of
    my present lines, after which you will take possession. Officers to
    retain their side-arms and personal property, and the rights and
    property of citizens to be respected.

General Grant immediately replied:

    I can make no stipulations with regard to the treatment of citizens
    and their private property.... The property which officers will be
    allowed to take with them will be as stated in my proposition of
    last evening.... If you mean by your proposition for each brigade to
    march to the front of the line now occupied by it, and stack arms at
    10 A.M., and then return to the inside and there remain as prisoners
    until properly paroled, I will make no objection to it.

     Should no notification be received of your acceptance of my terms
     by 9 A.M., I shall regard them as having been rejected, and shall
     act accordingly.

The answer came back promptly, "The terms proposed by you are accepted."

We had a glorious celebration that day. Pemberton's note had been
received just after daylight, and at the appointed hour of ten o'clock
the surrender was consummated, the Confederate troops marching out and
stacking arms in front of their works, while Pemberton appeared for a
moment with his staff upon the parapet of the central fort. At eleven
o'clock Grant entered the city. He was received by Pemberton with more
marked impertinence than at their former interview. Grant bore it like a
philosopher, and in reply treated Pemberton with even gentler courtesy
and dignity than before.

I rode into Vicksburg at the side of the conqueror, and afterward
perambulated among the conquered. The Confederate soldiers were
generally more contented even than we were. Now they were going home,
they said. They had had enough of the war. The cause of the Confederacy
was lost. They wanted to take the oath of allegiance many of them. I
was not surprised to learn a month later that of the twenty-odd thousand
well men who were paroled at Vicksburg the greater part had since
dispersed, and I felt sure they could never be got to serve again. The
officers, on the other hand, all declared their determination never to
give in. They had mostly on that day the look of men who have been
crying all night. One major, who commanded a regiment from Missouri,
burst into tears as he followed his disarmed men back into their lines
after they had surrendered their colors and the guns in front of them.

I found the buildings of Vicksburg much less damaged than I had
expected. Still, there were a good many people living in caves dug in
the banks. Naturally the shells did less damage to these vaults than to
dwellings. There was a considerable supply of railroad cars in the town,
with one or two railroad locomotives in working condition. There was
also an unexpected quantity of military supplies. At the end of the
first week after our entrance sixty-six thousand stand of small arms had
been collected, mainly in good condition, and more were constantly being
discovered. They were concealed in caves, as well as in all sorts of
buildings. The siege and seacoast guns found exceeded sixty, and the
whole captured artillery was above two hundred pieces. The stores of
rebel ammunition also proved to be surprisingly heavy. As Grant
expressed it, there was enough to have kept up the defense for six years
at the rate they were using it. The stock of army clothing was
officially invoiced at five million dollars--Confederate prices. Of
sugar, molasses, and salt there was a large quantity, and sixty thousand
pounds of bacon were found in one place.

The way in which Grant handled his army at the capitulation of Vicksburg
was a splendid example of his energy. As soon as negotiations for
surrender began on the 3d, he sent word to Sherman, at his camp on Bear
Creek, to get ready to move against Johnston. Sherman always acted on
the instant, and that very afternoon he threw bridges across the Big
Black. He started his forces over the river on the 4th as soon as he
received word that Pemberton had accepted Grant's ultimatum.

In the meantime Grant had ordered part of Ord's corps, all of Steele's
division, and the two divisions of the Ninth Corps, which was at
Haynes's Bluff, to be ready to join Sherman as soon as the capitulation
was effected. Their movement was so prompt that by Sunday night, July
5th, part of Ord's force was across the Big Black and Steele was well up
to the river.

As Grant supposed that Banks needed help at Port Hudson, he had sent a
messenger to him on the 1st of the month telling him the surrender was
imminent, and offering aid if he needed it. A division--that of
Herron--was now made ready to march as soon as word came back. In the
city itself there was the greatest activity. The occupation of the place
by our forces was directed by General McPherson, who was appointed to
the command. Three divisions were detailed to garrison the line of
fortifications and to furnish the guards for the interior of the city.
By the night of the 5th no troops remained outside of Vicksburg.

The paroling of the Confederate troops began as soon as the occupation
was complete, and was pushed with all possible rapidity. At the same
time those parts of the fortifications which we were now to defend were
selected, and the men began to obliterate the siege approaches at which
they had worked so hard and so long. So busy was Grant with the
mobilization of his army for offensive field operations and the
garrisoning of Vicksburg that he did not take time even to write to
Washington. My telegram of July 5th to Mr. Stanton describing the
surrender and the condition of things in Vicksburg conveyed this request
from Grant for instructions from Washington:

    General Grant, being himself intensely occupied, desires me to say
    that he would like to receive from General Halleck as soon as
    practicable either general or specific instructions as to the future
    conduct of the war in his department. He has no idea of going into
    summer quarters, nor does he doubt his ability to employ his army so
    as to make its blows tell toward the great result; but he would like
    to be informed whether the Government wishes him to follow his own
    judgment or to co-operate in some particular scheme of operations.

With the fall of Vicksburg my mission was at an end. On the 6th of July
I left Grant for the North, stopping at Helena, Ark., on my way up the
river long enough to get news of Gen. Prentiss's recent operations.
Thence I went on to Cairo and Washington.



    Appointment as Assistant Secretary of War--Again to the far
    front--An interesting meeting with Andrew Johnson--Rosecrans's
    complaints--His view of the situation at Chattanooga--At General
    Thomas's headquarters--The first day of Chickamauga--The battlefield
    telegraph service--A night council of war at Widow Glenn's--Personal
    experiences of the disastrous second day's battle--The "Rock of

I happened to be the first man to reach the capital from Vicksburg, and
everybody wanted to hear the story and to ask questions. I was anxious
to get home and see my family, however, and left for New York as soon as
I could get away. A few days after I arrived in New York I received an
invitation to go into business there with Mr. Ketchum, a banker, and
with George Opdyke, the merchant. I wrote Mr. Stanton of the opening,
but he urged me to remain in the War Department as one of his
assistants, which I consented to do.[C]

The first commission with which Mr. Stanton charged me after my
appointment as his assistant was one similar to that which I had just
finished--to go to Tennessee to observe and report the movements of
Rosecrans against Bragg. General Rosecrans, who, after the battle of
Stone's River, or Murfreesboro, on December 31st to January 2, 1863, had
lain for nearly six months at Murfreesboro, obstructing on various
excuses all the efforts Lincoln and Stanton and Halleck put forth to
make him move against Bragg, who occupied what was known as the
Tullahoma line, had toward the end of June moved on Bragg and driven him
across the Tennessee River. He had then settled down to rest again,
while Bragg had taken possession of his new line in and about

Burnside, who was in Kentucky, had been ordered to unite with Rosecrans
by way of East Tennessee, in order that the combined force should attack
Bragg, but, despite the urgency of the administration, no movement was
made by Rosecrans until the middle of August. As soon as it was evident
that he was really going out against the Confederates, Mr. Stanton asked
me to join the Army of the Cumberland. My orders were to report directly
to Rosecrans's headquarters. I carried the following letter of
introduction to that general:

                    WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, _August 30, 1863_.

     MAJ.-GEN. ROSECRANS, Commanding, etc.

     GENERAL: This will introduce to you Charles A. Dana, Esq., one of
     my assistants, who visits your command for the purpose of
     conferring with you upon any subject which you may desire to have
     brought to the notice of the department. Mr. Dana is a gentleman of
     distinguished character, patriotism, and ability, and possesses the
     entire confidence of the department. You will please afford to him
     the courtesy and consideration which he merits, and explain to him
     fully any matters which you may desire through him to bring to the
     notice of the department.

                    Yours truly,      EDWIN M. STANTON.

As soon as my papers arrived I left for my post. I was much delayed on
railroads and steamboats, and when I reached Cincinnati found it was
impossible to join Burnside by his line of march to Knoxville and from
him go to Rosecrans, as I had intended. Accordingly I went on to
Louisville, where I arrived on September 5th. I found there that
Burnside had just occupied Knoxville; that the Ninth Corps, which two
months before I had left near Vicksburg, was now about to go to him from
near Louisville; and that Rosecrans had queerly enough telegraphed to
the clergy all over the country that he expected a great battle that day
and desired their prayers.

I went directly from Louisville to Nashville, where I found General
Gordon Granger in command. As he and Governor Johnson were going to the
front in a day or two, I waited to go with them. The morning after my
arrival at Nashville I went to call on Johnson. I had never met him

Andrew Johnson was short and stocky, of dark complexion, smooth face,
dark hair, dark eyes, and of great determination of appearance. When I
went to see him in his office, the first thing he said was:

"Will you have a drink?"

"Yes, I will," I answered. So he brought out a jug of whisky and poured
out as much as he wanted in a tumbler, and then made it about half and
half water. The theoretical, philosophical drinker pours out a little
whisky and puts in almost no water at all--drinks it pretty nearly
pure--but when a man gets to taking a good deal of water in his whisky,
it shows he is in the habit of drinking a good deal. I noticed that the
Governor took more whisky than most gentlemen would have done, and I
concluded that he took it pretty often.

I had a prolonged conversation that morning with Governor Johnson, who
expressed himself in cheering terms in regard to the general condition
of Tennessee. He regarded the occupation of Knoxville by Burnside as
completing the permanent expulsion of Confederate power, and said he
should order a general election for the first week in October. He
declared that slavery was destroyed in fact, but must be abolished
legally. Johnson was thoroughly in favor of immediate emancipation both
as a matter of moral right and as an indispensable condition of the
large immigration of industrious freemen which he thought necessary to
repeople and regenerate the State.

On the 10th of September we started for the front, going by rail to
Bridgeport, on the Tennessee River. This town at that date was the
terminus of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. The bridge across
the river and part of the railroad beyond had been destroyed by Bragg
when he retreated in the preceding summer from Tullahoma. It was by way
of Bridgeport that troops were joining Rosecrans at the far front, and
all supplies went to him that way. On reaching the town, we heard that
Chattanooga had been occupied by Crittenden's corps of Rosecrans's army
the day before, September 9th; so the next day, September 11th, I pushed
on there by horseback past Shellmound and Wauhatchie. The country
through which I passed is a magnificent region of rocks and valleys, and
I don't believe there is anywhere a finer view than that I had from
Lookout Mountain as I approached Chattanooga.

When I reached Chattanooga I went at once to General Rosecrans's
headquarters and presented my letter. He read it, and then burst out in
angry abuse of the Government at Washington. He had not been sustained,
he said. His requests had been ignored, his plans thwarted. Both Stanton
and Halleck had done all they could, he declared, to prevent his

"General Rosecrans," I said, "I have no authority to listen to
complaints against the Government. I was sent here for the purpose of
finding out what the Government could do to aid you, and have no right
to confer with you on other matters."

He quieted down at once, and explained his situation to me. He had
reached Chattanooga, he said, on the 10th, with Crittenden's troops, the
Twenty-first Corps, the town having been evacuated the day before by the
Confederates. As all the reports brought in seemed to indicate that
Bragg was in full retreat toward Rome, Ga., Crittenden had immediately
started in pursuit, and had gone as far as Ringgold. On the night before
(September 11th) it had seemed evident that Bragg had abandoned his
retreat on Rome, and behind the curtain of the woods and hills had
returned with the purpose of suddenly falling with his whole army upon
the different corps and divisions of our army, now widely separated by
the necessity of crossing the mountains at gaps far apart.

This was a serious matter for Rosecrans, if true, for at that moment his
army was scattered over a line more than fifty miles long, extending
from Chattanooga on the north to Alpine on the south. Rosecrans pointed
out to me the positions on the map. Crittenden, he explained, had been
ordered immediately to leave Ringgold and move westward to the valley of
the West Chickamauga. He was near a place known as Lee and Gordon's
Mills. General Thomas, who commanded the Fourteenth Corps, had marched
across Lookout Mountain and now held Stevens's Gap, perhaps twenty-five
miles south of Chattanooga. McCook, with the Twentieth Corps, had been
ordered, after crossing the Tennessee, to march southeast, and now was
at Alpine, fully thirty-five miles south of Crittenden. Orders had been
sent McCook, when it was found that Bragg had made a stand, to rest his
left flank on the southern base of Mission Ridge, and, extending his
line toward Summerville, fall on the flank of the enemy should he follow
the valley that way. The reserve, under Gordon Granger, was still north
of the Tennessee, although one division had reached Bridgeport and the
rest were rapidly approaching. Notwithstanding the signs that Bragg
might not be retreating so fast as he at first appeared to have been,
Rosecrans was confident as late as the 12th that the Confederate
commander was merely making a show of the offensive to check pursuit,
and that he would make his escape to Rome as soon as he found our army
concentrated for battle east of Lookout Mountain.

The next day (the 13th) I left Chattanooga with Rosecrans and his staff
for Thomas's headquarters at Stevens's Gap. We found everything
progressing favorably there. The movements for the concentration of the
three corps were going forward with energy. Scouts were coming in
constantly, who reported that the enemy had withdrawn from the basin
where our army was assembling; that he was evacuating Lafayette and
moving toward Rome. It seemed as if at last the Army of the Cumberland
had practically gained a position from which it could effectually
advance upon Rome and Atlanta, and deliver there the finishing blow of
the war. The difficulties of gaining this position, of crossing the
Cumberland Mountains, passing the Tennessee, turning and occupying
Chattanooga, traversing the mountain ridges of northern Georgia, and
seizing the passes which led southward had been enormous. It was only
when I came personally to examine the region that I appreciated what had
been done. These difficulties were all substantially overcome. The army
was in the best possible condition, and was advancing with all the
rapidity which the nature of the country allowed. Our left flank toward
East Tennessee was secured by Burnside, and the only disadvantage which
I could see was that a sudden movement of the enemy to our right might
endanger our long and precarious line of communications and compel us to
retreat again beyond the Tennessee. I felt this so keenly that I urged
Mr. Stanton, in a dispatch sent to him on the 14th from Thomas's
headquarters, to push as strong a column as possible eastward from
Corinth, in northeastern Mississippi. It seemed to me that it would be
better to recall the troops from the West rather than to risk a check
here, where the heart of rebellion was within reach and the final blow
all prepared.

But, after all, there was something of a mystery about the real location
of Bragg's army, its strength, and the designs of its chief. At any rate
it was soon manifest that Bragg was not withdrawing to the southward, as
at first supposed. Some queer developments down the Chickamauga on the
16th and 17th caused Rosecrans considerable anxiety for Chattanooga. The
impression began to grow, too, that Bragg had been playing 'possum, and
had not retreated at all. Rosecrans at once abandoned all idea of
operations against the Confederate line of retreat and supply, drew his
army in rapidly, and began to look sharply after his own communications
with Chattanooga, which had now become his base.

By noon of September 18th the concentration was practically complete.
Our army then lay up and down the valley, with West Chickamauga Creek in
front of the greater part of the line. The left was held by Crittenden,
the center by Thomas, and the right by McCook, whose troops were now all
in the valley except one brigade. The army had not concentrated any too
soon, for that very afternoon the enemy appeared on our left, and a
considerable engagement occurred. It was said at headquarters that a
battle was certain the next day. The only point Rosecrans had not
determined at five o'clock on the afternoon of the 18th was whether to
make a night march and fall on Bragg at daylight or to await his onset.

But that night it became pretty clear to all that Bragg's plan was to
push by our left into Chattanooga. This compelled another rapid movement
by the left down the Chickamauga. By a tiresome night march Thomas moved
down behind Crittenden and below Lee and Gordon's Mills, taking position
on our extreme left. Crittenden followed, connecting with Thomas's
right, and thus taking position in the center. McCook's corps also
extended down stream to the left, but still covered the creek as high up
as Crawfish Spring, while part of his troops acted as a reserve. These
movements were hurriedly made, and the troops, especially those of
Thomas, were very much exhausted by their efforts to get into position.

Rosecrans had not been mistaken in Bragg's intention. About nine o'clock
the next morning at Crawfish Spring, where the general headquarters
were, we heard firing on our left, and reports at once came in that the
battle had begun there, Bragg being in command of the enemy. Thomas had
barely headed the Confederates off from Chattanooga. We remained at
Crawfish Springs on this day until after one o'clock, waiting for the
full proportions of the conflict to develop. When it became evident that
the battle was being fought entirely on our left, Rosecrans removed his
headquarters nearer to the scene, taking a little house near Lee and
Gordon's Mills, known as the Widow Glenn's. Although closer to the
battle, we could see no more of it here than at Crawfish Springs, the
conflict being fought altogether in a thick forest, and being invisible
to outsiders. The nature of the firing and the reports from the
commanders alone enabled us to follow its progress.

That we were able to keep as well informed as we were was due to our
excellent telegraphic communications. By this time the military
telegraph had been so thoroughly developed that it was one of the most
useful accessories of our army, even on a battlefield. For instance,
after Rosecrans had taken Crawfish Springs as his headquarters, he had
given orders, on September 17th, to connect the place with Chattanooga,
thirteen miles to the northwest. The line was completed after the battle
began on the 19th, and we were in communication not only with
Chattanooga, but with Granger at Rossville and with Thomas at his
headquarters. When Rosecrans removed to the Widow Glenn's, the
telegraphers went along, and in an hour had connections made and an
instrument clicking away in Mrs. Glenn's house. We thus had constant
information of the way the battle was going, not only from the
orderlies, but also from the wires.

This excellent arrangement enabled me also to keep the Government at
Washington informed of the progress of the battle. I sent eleven
dispatches that day to Mr. Stanton. They were very brief, but they
reported all that I, near as I was to the scene, knew of the battle of
September 19th at Chickamauga.

It was not till after dark that firing ceased and final reports began
to come in. From these we found that the enemy had been defeated in his
attempt to turn and crush our left flank and secure possession of the
Chattanooga roads, but that he was not wholly defeated, for he still
held his ground in several places, and was preparing, it was believed,
to renew the battle the next day.

That evening Rosecrans decided that if Bragg did not retreat he would
renew the fight at daylight, and a council of war was held at our
headquarters at the Widow Glenn's, to which all the corps and division
commanders were summoned. There must have been ten or twelve general
officers there. Rosecrans began by asking each of the corps commanders
for a report of the condition of his troops and of the position they
occupied; also for his opinion of what was to be done. Each proposition
was discussed by the entire council as it was made. General Thomas was
so tired--he had not slept at all the night before, and he had been in
battle all day--that he went to sleep every minute. Every time Rosecrans
spoke to him he would straighten up and answer, but he always said the
same thing, "I would strengthen the left," and then he would be asleep,
sitting up in his chair. General Rosecrans, to the proposition to
strengthen the left, made always the same reply, "Where are we going to
take it from?"

After the discussion was ended, Rosecrans gave his orders for the
disposition of the troops on the following day. Thomas's corps was to
remain on the left with his line somewhat drawn in, but substantially as
he was at the close of the day. McCook was to close on Thomas and cover
the position at Widow Glenn's, and Crittenden was to have two divisions
in reserve near the junction of McCook's and Thomas's lines, to be able
to succor either. These orders were written for each corps commander.
They were also read in the presence of all, and the plans fully
explained. Finally, after everything had been said, hot coffee was
brought in, and then McCook was called upon to sing the Hebrew Maiden.
McCook sang the song, and then the council broke up and the generals
went away.

This was about midnight, and, as I was very tired, I lay down on the
floor to sleep, beside Captain Horace Porter, who was at that time
Rosecrans's chief of ordnance. There were cracks in the floor of the
Widow Glenn's house, and the wind blew up under us. We would go to
sleep, and then the wind would come up so cold through the cracks that
it would wake us up, and we would turn over together to keep warm.

At daybreak we at headquarters were all up and on our horses ready to go
with the commanding general to inspect our lines. We rode past McCook,
Crittenden, and Thomas to the extreme left, Rosecrans giving as he went
the orders he thought necessary to strengthen the several positions. The
general intention of these orders was to close up on the left, where it
was evident the attack would begin. We then rode back to the extreme
right, Rosecrans stopping at each point to see if his orders had been
obeyed. In several cases they had not been obeyed, and he made them more
peremptory. When we found that McCook's line had been elongated so that
it was a mere thread, Rosecrans was very angry, and sent for the
general, rebuking him severely, although, as a matter of fact, General
McCook's position had been taken under the written orders of the
commander in chief, given the night before.

About half past eight or nine o'clock the battle began on the left,
where Thomas was. At that time Rosecrans, with whom I always remained,
was on the right, directing the movements of the troops there. Just
after the cannon began I remember that a ten-pound shell came crashing
through our staff, but hurting nobody. I had not slept much for two
nights, and, as it was warm, I dismounted about noon and, giving my
horse to my orderly, lay down on the grass and went to sleep. I was
awakened by the most infernal noise I ever heard. Never in any battle I
had witnessed was there such a discharge of cannon and musketry. I sat
up on the grass, and the first thing I saw was General Rosecrans
crossing himself--he was a very devout Catholic. "Hello!" I said to
myself, "if the general is crossing himself, we are in a desperate

I was on my horse in a moment. I had no sooner collected my thoughts and
looked around toward the front, where all this din came from, than I saw
our lines break and melt away like leaves before the wind. Then the
headquarters around me disappeared. The gray-backs came through with a
rush, and soon the musket balls and the cannon shot began to reach the
place where we stood. The whole right of the army had apparently been
routed. My orderly stuck to me like a veteran, and we drew back for
greater safety into the woods a little way. There I came upon General
Porter--Captain Porter he was then--and Captain Drouillard, an
aide-de-camp infantry officer attached to General Rosecrans's staff,
halting fugitives. They would halt a few of them, get them into some
sort of a line, and make a beginning of order among them, and then there
would come a few rounds of cannon shot through the tree-tops over their
heads and the men would break and run. I saw Porter and Drouillard plant
themselves in front of a body of these stampeding men and command them
to halt. One man charged with his bayonet, menacing Porter; but Porter
held his ground, and the man gave in. That was the only case of real
mutiny that I ever saw in the army, and that was under such
circumstances that the man was excusable. The cause of all this disaster
was the charge of the Confederates through the hiatus in the line caused
by the withdrawal of Wood's division, under a misapprehension of orders,
before its place could be filled.

I attempted to make my way from this point in the woods to Sheridan's
division, but when I reached the place where I knew it had been a little
time before, I found it had been swept from the field. Not far away,
however, I stumbled on a body of organized troops. This was a brigade of
mounted riflemen under Colonel John T. Wilder, of Indiana. "Mr. Dana,"
asked Colonel Wilder, "what is the situation?"

"I do not know," I said, "except that this end of the army has been
routed. There is still heavy fighting at the left front, and our troops
seem to be holding their ground there yet."

"Will you give me any orders?" he asked.

"I have no authority to give orders," I replied; "but if I were in your
situation I should go to the left, where Thomas is."

Then I turned my horse, and, making my way over Missionary Ridge, struck
the Chattanooga Valley and rode to Chattanooga, twelve or fifteen miles
away. The whole road was filled with flying soldiers; here and there
were pieces of artillery, caissons, and baggage wagons. Everything was
in the greatest disorder. When I reached Chattanooga, a little before
four o'clock, I found Rosecrans there. In the helter-skelter to the rear
he had escaped by the Rossville road. He was expecting every moment that
the enemy would arrive before the town, and was doing all he could to
prepare to resist his entrance. Soon after I arrived the two corps
commanders, McCook and Crittenden, both came into Chattanooga.

The first thing I did on reaching town was to telegraph Mr. Stanton. I
had not sent him any telegrams in the morning, for I had been in the
field with Rosecrans, and part of the time at some distance from the
Widow Glenn's, where the operators were at work. The boys kept at their
post there until the Confederates swept them out of the house. When they
had to run, they went instruments and tools in hand, and as soon as out
of reach of the enemy set up shop on a stump. It was not long before
they were driven out of this. They next attempted to establish an office
on the Rossville road, but before they had succeeded in making
connections a battle was raging around them, and they had to retreat to
Granger's headquarters at Rossville.

Having been swept bodily off the battlefield, and having made my way
into Chattanooga through a panic-stricken rabble, the first telegram
which I sent to Mr. Stanton was naturally colored by what I had seen and
experienced. I remember that I began the dispatch by saying: "My report
to-day is of deplorable importance. Chickamauga is as fatal a name in
our history as Bull Run." By eight o'clock that evening, however, I
found that I had given too dark a view of the disaster.

Early the next morning things looked still better. Rosecrans received a
telegram from Thomas at Rossville, to which point he had withdrawn after
the nightfall, saying that his troops were in high spirits, and that he
had brought off all his wounded. A little while before noon General
James A. Garfield, who was chief of Rosecrans's staff, arrived in
Chattanooga and gave us the first connected account we had of the battle
on the left after the rout. Garfield said that he had become separated
from Rosecrans in the rout of our right wing and had made his way to the
left, and spent the afternoon and night with General Thomas. There he
witnessed the sequel of the battle in that part of the field. Thomas,
finding himself cut off from Rosecrans and the right, at once marshalled
the remaining divisions for independent fighting. Refusing both his
right and left, his line assumed the form of a horseshoe, posted along
the slope and crest of a partly wooded ridge. He was soon joined by
Granger from Rossville, with Steedman and most of the reserve; and with
these forces, more than two thirds of the army, he firmly maintained
the fight till after dark. Our troops were as immovable as the rocks
they stood on. Longstreet hurled against them repeatedly the dense
columns which had routed Davis and Sheridan in the early afternoon, but
every onset was repulsed with dreadful slaughter. Falling first on one
and then another point of our lines, for hours the rebels vainly sought
to break them. Thomas seemed to have filled every soldier with his own
unconquerable firmness, and Granger, his hat torn by bullets, raged like
a lion wherever the combat was hottest with the electrical courage of a
Ney. When night fell, this body of heroes stood on the same ground they
had occupied in the morning, their spirit unbroken, but their numbers
greatly diminished.


[C] Although appointed some months before, Mr. Dana was not nominated in
the Senate as Second Assistant Secretary of War until January 20, 1864;
the nomination was confirmed on January 26.



    Preparing to defend Chattanooga--Effect on the army of the day of
    disaster and glory--Mr. Dana suggests Grant or Thomas as Rosecrans's
    successor--Portrait of Thomas--The dignity and loyalty of his
    character illustrated--The army reorganized--It is threatened with
    starvation--An estimate of Rosecrans--He is relieved of the command
    of the Army of the Cumberland.

All the news we could get the next day of the enemy's movements seemed
to show that the Confederate forces were concentrating on Chattanooga.
Accordingly, Rosecrans gave orders for all our troops to gather in the
town at once and prepare for the attack which would probably take place
within a day or two. By midnight the army was in Chattanooga. The troops
were in wonderful spirits, considering their excessive fatigues and
heavy losses, and the next morning went to work with energy on the
fortifications. All the morning of the 22d the enemy were approaching,
resisted by our advance parties, and by the middle of the afternoon the
artillery firing was so near that it seemed certain that the battle
would be fought before dark. No attack was made that day, however, nor
the next, and by the morning of the 24th the Herculean labors of the
army had so fortified the place that it was certain that it could be
taken only by a regular siege or by a turning movement. The strength of
our forces was about forty-five thousand effective men, and we had ten
days' full rations on hand. Chattanooga could hold out, but it was
apparent that no offensive operations were possible until
re-enforcements came. These we knew had been hurried toward us as soon
as the news of the disaster of the 20th reached Washington. Burnside was
coming from Knoxville, we supposed, Hooker had been ordered from
Washington by rail, Sherman from Vicksburg by steamer, and some of
Hurlbut's troops from Memphis.

The enemy by the 24th were massed in Chattanooga Valley, and held
Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. The summit of Lookout Mountain,
almost the key to Chattanooga, was not given up by Rosecrans until the
morning of the 24th; then he ordered the withdrawal of the brigade which
held the heights, and the destruction of the wagon road which winds
along its side at about one third of its height and connects the valleys
of Chattanooga and Lookout. Both Granger and Garfield earnestly
protested against this order, contending that the mountain and the road
could be held by not more than seven regiments against the whole power
of the enemy. They were obviously right, but Rosecrans was sometimes as
obstinate and inaccessible to reason as at others he was irresolute,
vacillating, and inconclusive, and he pettishly rejected all their
arguments. The mountain was given up.

As soon as we felt reasonably sure that Chattanooga could hold out until
re-enforcements came, the disaster of the 20th of September became the
absorbing topic of conversation in the Army of the Cumberland. At
headquarters, in camp, in the street, on the fortifications, officers
and soldiers and citizens wrangled over the reasons for the loss of the
day. By the end of the first week after the disaster a serious
fermentation reigned in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Army Corps, and,
indeed, throughout the whole army, growing out of events connected with
the battle.

There was at once a manifest disposition to hold McCook and Crittenden,
the commanders of the two corps, responsible, because they had left the
field of battle amid the rout of the right wing and made their way to
Chattanooga.[D] It was not generally understood or appreciated at that
time that, because of Thomas's repeated calls for aid and Rosecrans's
consequent alarm for his left, Crittenden had been stripped of all his
troops and had no infantry whatever left to command, and that McCook's
lines also had been reduced to a fragment by similar orders from
Rosecrans and by fighting. A strong opposition to both sprang up, which
my telegrams to Mr. Stanton immediately after the battle fully reflect.
The generals of division and of brigade felt the situation deeply, and
said that they could no longer serve under such superiors, and that, if
this was required of them, they must resign. This feeling was universal
among them, including men like Major-Generals Palmer and Sheridan and
Brigadier-Generals Wood, Johnson, and Hazen.

The feeling of these officers did not seem in the least to partake of a
mutinous or disorderly character; it was rather conscientious
unwillingness to risk their men and the country's cause in hands which
they thought to be unsafe. No formal representation of this
unwillingness was made to Rosecrans, but he was made aware of the state
of things by private conversations with several of the parties. The
defects of his character complicated the difficulty. He abounded in
friendliness and approbativeness, and was greatly lacking in firmness
and steadiness of will. In short, he was a temporizing man; he dreaded
so heavy an alternative as was now presented, and hated to break with
McCook and Crittenden.

Besides, there was a more serious obstacle to Rosecrans's acting
decisively in the fact that if Crittenden and McCook had gone to
Chattanooga, with the sound of artillery in their ears, from that
glorious field where Thomas and Granger were saving their army and their
country's honor, he had gone to Chattanooga also. It might be said in
his excuse that, under the circumstances of the sudden rout, it was
perfectly proper for the commanding general to go to the rear to prepare
the next line of defense. Still, Rosecrans felt that that excuse could
not entirely clear him either in his own eyes or in those of the army.
In fact, it was perfectly plain that, while the subordinate commanders
would not resign if he was retained in the chief command, as I believe
they certainly would have done if McCook and Crittenden had not been
relieved, their respect for Rosecrans as a general had received an
irreparable blow.

The dissatisfaction with Rosecrans seemed to me to put the army into a
very dangerous condition, and, in writing to Mr. Stanton on September
27th, I said that if it was decided to change the chief commander I
would suggest that some Western commander of high rank and great
prestige, like Grant, would be preferable as Rosecrans's successor to
one who had hitherto commanded in the East alone.

The army, however, had its own candidate for Rosecrans's post. General
Thomas had risen to the highest point in their esteem, as he had in that
of every one who witnessed his conduct on that unfortunate and glorious
day, and I saw that, should there be a change in the chief command,
there was no other man whose appointment would be so welcome. I
earnestly recommended Mr. Stanton that in event of a change in the chief
command Thomas's merits be considered. He was certainly an officer of
the very highest qualities, soldierly and personally. He was a man of
the greatest dignity of character. He had more the character of George
Washington than any other man I ever knew. At the same time he was a
delightful man to be with; there was no artificial dignity about Thomas.
He was a West Point graduate, and very well educated. He was very set
in his opinions, yet he was not impatient with anybody--a noble

In reply to my recommendation of Thomas, I received a telegram from the
Secretary of War, saying: "I wish you to go directly to see General
Thomas, and say to him that his services, his abilities, his character,
his unselfishness, have always been most cordially appreciated by me,
and that it is not my fault that he has not long since had command of an
independent army."

Accordingly, I went at once over to General Thomas's headquarters. I
remember that I got there just after they had finished dinner; the table
was not cleared off, but there was nobody in the dining room. When
General Thomas came in, I read to him the telegram from the Secretary.
He was too much affected by it to reply immediately. After a moment he

"Mr. Dana, I wish you would say to the Secretary of War that I am
greatly affected by this expression of his confidence; that I should
have long since liked to have had an independent command, but what I
should have desired would have been the command of an army that I could
myself have organized, disciplined, distributed, and combined. I wish
you would add also that I would not like to take the command of an army
where I should be exposed to the imputation of having intrigued or of
having exercised any effort to supplant my previous commander."

This was on October 4th. Four days later General Thomas sent a
confidential friend to me, saying rumors had come to him that he was to
be put in Rosecrans's place; that, while he would gladly accept any
other command to which Mr. Stanton should see fit to assign him, he
could not consent to become the successor of General Rosecrans. He would
not do anything to give countenance to the suspicion that he had
intrigued against his commander's interest. He declared that he had
perfect confidence in the fidelity and capacity of General Rosecrans.

The first change in the Army of the Cumberland was an order from
Washington consolidating the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps. The news
reached Chattanooga on October 5th in a Nashville newspaper, and, not
having been previously promulgated, it caused a sensation. Crittenden
was much excited, and said that, as the Government no longer required
his services, he would resign; at any rate, he would not hibernate like
others, drawing pay and doing no work. McCook took it easily. The
consolidation of the two corps was generally well received, and, as it
was to be followed by a general reorganization of the army, it seemed as
if the most happy consequences would be produced. The only serious
difficulty which followed the change was that the men in the
consolidated corps were troubled by letters from home, showing that
their friends regarded a consolidation as a token of disgrace and

Although the reorganization of the army was going on, there was no real
change in our situation, and by the middle of October it began to look
as if we were in a helpless and precarious position. No re-enforcements
had yet reached us, the enemy was growing stronger every day, and, worse
still, we were threatened with starvation. Rosecrans's error in
abandoning Lookout Mountain to the enemy on September 24th was now
apparent. Our supplies came by rail from Nashville to Bridgeport; but
the enemy controlled the south shore of the Tennessee between us and
Bridgeport, and thus prevented our rebuilding the railroad from
Bridgeport to Chattanooga; with their shore batteries they stopped the
use of our steamboats. They even made the road on the north shore
impassable, the sharpshooters on the south bank being able to pick off
our men on the north. The forage and supplies which we had drawn from
the country within our reach were now exhausted, and we were dependent
upon what could be got to us over the roads north of the river. These
were not only disturbed by the enemy, but were so bad in places that the
mud was up to the horses' bellies. The animals themselves had become too
weak to haul the empty train up the mountain, while many had died of
starvation. On October 15th the troops were on half rations, and
officers as they went about where the men were working on the
fortifications frequently heard the cry of "Crackers!"

In the midst of these difficulties General Rosecrans seemed to be
insensible to the impending danger; he dawdled with trifles in a manner
which scarcely can be imagined. With plenty of zealous and energetic
officers ready to do whatever needed to be done, precious time was lost
because our dazed and mazy commander could not perceive the catastrophe
that was close upon us, nor fix his mind upon the means of preventing
it. I never saw anything which seemed so lamentable and hopeless. Our
animals were starving, the men had starvation before them, and the enemy
was bound soon to make desperate efforts to dislodge us. Yet the
commanding general devoted that part of the time which was not employed
in pleasant gossip to the composition of a long report to prove that the
Government was to blame for his failure on the 20th.

While few persons exhibited more estimable social qualities, I have
never seen a public man possessing talent with less administrative
power, less clearness and steadiness in difficulty, and greater
practical incapacity than General Rosecrans. He had inventive fertility
and knowledge, but he had no strength of will and no concentration of
purpose. His mind scattered; there was no system in the use of his busy
days and restless nights, no courage against individuals in his
composition, and, with great love of command, he was a feeble commander.
He was conscientious and honest, just as he was imperious and
disputatious; always with a stray vein of caprice and an overweening
passion for the approbation of his personal friends and the public

Although the army had been reorganized as a result of the consolidation
of the Twentieth and Twenty-first Corps, it was still inefficient and
its discipline defective. The former condition proceeded from the fact
that General Rosecrans insisted on directing personally every
department, and kept every one waiting and uncertain till he himself
could directly supervise every operation. The latter proceeded from his
utter lack of firmness, his passion for universal applause, and his
incapacity to hurt any man's feelings by just severity.

My opinion of Rosecrans and my fears that the army would soon be driven
from Chattanooga by starvation, if not by the Confederates, I had
reiterated in my letters to Mr. Stanton. On the morning of October 19th
I received a dispatch from Mr. Stanton, sent from Washington on October
16th, asking me to meet him that day at the Gait House in Louisville. I
wired him that, unless he ordered to the contrary, Rosecrans would
retreat at once from Chattanooga, and then I started for Louisville. It
was a hard trip by horseback over Walden's Ridge and through Jasper to
Bridgeport, and the roads were not altogether safe. Ten days before
this, in riding along the edge of a bank near the river shore, the earth
had given way under my horse's hind feet, and he and I had been tumbled
together down a bank, about fourteen feet high; we rolled over each
other in the sand at the bottom. I got off with no worse injury than a
bruise of my left shoulder and a slight crack on the back of my head
from the horse's hind foot, which made the blood run a little. The roads
over Walden Ridge and along the river were even worse now than when I
got my tumble, and, besides, they were filled with wagons trying to get
supplies to Chattanooga. It took at that time ten days for wagon teams
to go from Stevenson, where we had a depot, to Chattanooga. Though
subsistence stores were so nearly exhausted, the wagons were compelled
to throw overboard portions of their precious cargo in order to get
through. The returning trains were blockaded. On the 17th of October
five hundred teams were halted between the mountain and the river
without forage for the animals, and unable to move in any direction;
the whole road was strewn with dead animals.

The railway from Bridgeport to Nashville was not much more comfortable
or safer than the road. Early in the month I had gone to Nashville on
business, and had come back in a tremendous storm in a train of eighteen
cars crowded with soldiers, and was twenty-six hours on the road instead
of ten. On the present trip, however, I got along very well until within
about eight miles from Nashville, when our train narrowly escaped
destruction. A tie had been inserted in a cattle guard to throw the
train down an embankment, but it had been calculated for a train going
south, so that ours simply broke it off. From what we learned afterward,
we thought it was intended for a train on which it was supposed General
Grant was going to Bridgeport.

My train was bound through to Louisville. Indeed, I think there was no
one with me except the train hands and the engineer. We reached
Nashville about ten o'clock on the night of October 20th, and there were
halted. Directly there came in an officer--I think it was
Lieutenant-Colonel Bowers, of General Grant's staff--who said:

"General Grant wants to see you."

This was the first that I knew Grant was in Tennessee. I got out of my
train and went over to his. I hadn't seen him since we parted at

"I am going to interfere with your journey, Mr. Dana," he said as soon
as I came in. "I have got the Secretary's permission to take you back
with me to Chattanooga. I want you to dismiss your train and get in
mine; we will give you comfortable quarters."

"General," I said, "did you ask the Secretary to let me go back with

"I did," he said; "I wanted to have you."

So, of course, I went. On the way down he told me that he had been
appointed to the command of the "Military Division of the Mississippi,"
with permission to leave Rosecrans in command of the Department of the
Cumberland or to assign Thomas in his place. He had done the latter, he
said, and had telegraphed Thomas to take charge of the army the night
after Stanton, at Louisville, had received my dispatch of the 19th
saying Rosecrans would retreat from Chattanooga unless ordered to
remain. Rosecrans was assigned to the Department of the Missouri, with
headquarters at St. Louis.


[D] The feeling of the army toward McCook and Crittenden was afterward
greatly modified. A court of inquiry examined their cases, and in
February, 1864, gave its final finding and opinion. McCook it relieved
entirely from responsibility for the reverse of September 20th,
declaring that the small force at his disposal was inadequate to defend,
against greatly superior numbers, the long line he had taken under
instructions, and adding that, after the line was broken, he had done
everything he could to rally and hold his troops, giving the necessary
orders to his subordinates. General Crittenden's conduct, the court
likewise declared, showed no cause for censure, and he was in no way
responsible for the disaster to the right wing.



    Thomas succeeds Rosecrans in the Army of the Cumberland--Grant
    supreme at Chattanooga--A visit to the army at Knoxville--A
    Tennessee Unionist's family--Impressions of Burnside--Grant against
    Bragg at Chattanooga--The most spectacular fighting of the
    war--Watching the first day's battle--With Sherman the second
    day--The moonlight fight on Lookout Mountain--Sheridan's whisky
    flask--The third day's victory and the glorious spectacle it
    afforded--The relief of General Burnside.

With Grant I left Nashville for the front on the morning of the 21st. We
arrived safe in Bridgeport in the evening. The next morning, October
22d, we left on horseback for Chattanooga by way of Jasper and Walden's
Ridge. The roads were in such a condition that it was impossible for
Grant, who was on crutches from an injury to his leg received by the
fall of a horse in New Orleans some time before, to make the whole
distance of fifty-five miles in one day, so I pushed on ahead, running
the rebel picket lines, and reaching Chattanooga in the evening in
company with Colonel Wilson, Grant's inspector general.

The next morning I went to see General Thomas; it was not an official
visit, but a friendly one, such a visit as I very often made on the
generals. When we had shaken hands, he said:

"Mr. Dana, you have got me this time; but there is nothing for a man to
do in such a case as this but to obey orders."

This was in allusion to his assignment to the command of the Army of the
Cumberland. The change in command was received with satisfaction by all
intelligent officers, so far as I could ascertain, though, of course,
Rosecrans had many friends who were unable to conceive why he was
relieved. They reported that he was to be put in command of the Army of
the Potomac. The change at headquarters was already strikingly
perceptible, order prevailing instead of universal chaos.

On the evening of the 23d Grant arrived, as I stated in my dispatch to
Mr. Stanton, "wet, dirty, and well." The next morning he was out with
Thomas and Smith to reconnoiter a position which the latter general had
discovered at the mouth of Lookout Valley, which he believed, if it
could be taken possession of and at the same time if Raccoon Mountain
could be occupied, would give us Lookout Valley, and so enable us again
to bring supplies up the river. In preparation for this movement, Smith
had been getting bridges ready to throw across the river at the mouth of
the valley, and been fitting up a steamer to use for supplies when we
should control the river.

The Confederates at that time were massed in Chattanooga Valley, south
of Chattanooga. They held Missionary Ridge to the east, and Lookout
Mountain to the west. They had troops in Lookout Valley also, and their
pickets extended westward over Raccoon Mountain to the river. South of
the river, at Brown's Ferry, were several low mamelons. Smith's idea
was to surprise the Confederate pickets here at night and seize the
position in time to unite with Hooker, who in the meantime should be
ordered up from Bridgeport by way of Shellmound, Whiteside, and
Wauhatchie. That night Grant gave orders for the movement; in fact, he
began it by sending Palmer's division across Walden's Ridge to Rankin's
Ferry, where he was to cross and occupy Shellmound, thus guarding
Hooker's rear. Hooker he ordered to march from Bridgeport on the morning
of the 26th.

I went to Bridgeport on the 25th to observe Hooker's movement, but found
he was not there, and would not be ready to march the next morning as
ordered. Hooker came up from Stevenson to Bridgeport on the evening of
the 26th. He was in an unfortunate state of mind for one who had to
co-operate--fault-finding and criticising. No doubt it was true that the
chaos of the Rosecrans administration was as bad as he described it to
be, but he was quite as truculent toward the plan that he was now to
execute as toward the impotence and confusion of the old _régime_. By
the next morning he was ready to start, and the troops moved out for
Shellmound about half past six. By half past four in the afternoon we
arrived at Whiteside Valley; thence the march was directly to
Wauhatchie. Here there was an insignificant skirmish, which did not stop
us long. By the afternoon of the 28th we were at the mouth of the
Lookout Valley, where we found that General Smith, by an operation whose
brilliancy can not be exaggerated, had taken the mamelons south of the
river. The only serious opposition to our occupancy of the position
came that night, but the enemy was successfully repulsed.

Our forces now held Lookout Valley and controlled the river from Brown's
Ferry to Bridgeport. The next day supplies were started up the river. At
first they came no farther than Kelley's Ferry, which was about ten
miles from Chattanooga. This was because the steamer at Bridgeport could
not get through the Suck, an ugly pass in the mountains through which
the river runs; but on the night of the 30th we succeeded in getting our
steamer at Chattanooga past the pickets on Lookout Mountain and down to
Brown's Ferry. She could pass the Suck, and after that supplies came by
water to Brown's Ferry.

Within a week after Grant's arrival we were receiving supplies daily.
There was no further danger of the Army of the Cumberland being starved
out of Chattanooga. The Confederates themselves at once recognized this,
for a copy of the Atlanta Appeal of November 3d which reached me said
that if we were not dislodged from Lookout Valley our possession of
Chattanooga was secure for the winter.

It was now certain that we could hold Chattanooga; but until Sherman
reached us we could do nothing against the enemy and nothing to relieve
Burnside, who had been ordered to unite with Rosecrans in August, but
had never got beyond Knoxville. He was shut up there much in the same
way as we were in Chattanooga, and it was certain that the Confederates
were sending forces against him.

The day after Grant arrived we had good evidence that the Confederates
were moving in large force to the northeastward of Chattanooga, for
heavy railroad trains went out in that direction and light ones
returned. Deserters to us on the morning of the 25th reported that a
large force was at Charleston, Tenn., and that fully five thousand
mounted infantry had crossed the Tennessee River above Washington. That
night it was noticed that the pickets on Lookout Mountain, and even down
into the valley on the Chattanooga side, were much diminished. We judged
from this that the enemy had withdrawn both from the top of the mountain
and from the valley. There were other rumors of their movements toward
Burnside during the next few days, and on November 6th some definite
information came through a deserter, a Northern man who had lived in
Georgia before the war and had been forced into the service. He reported
that two divisions had moved up the Tennessee some time ago, and
confirmed our suspicion that the troops had been withdrawn from Lookout
Mountain. He said it was well understood among the Confederates that
these forces were going by way of Loudon to join those which had already
gone up the river, to co-operate with a force of Lee's army in driving
Burnside out of East Tennessee.

Grant's first move to meet this plan of the enemy was to direct Sherman,
who had been trying to rebuild and hold the railroad from Memphis as he
marched forward, to abandon this work and hasten up to Stevenson. Grant
then considered what movement could be made which would compel the
enemy to recall the troops sent against Burnside.

Grant was so anxious to know the real condition of Burnside that he
asked me to go to Knoxville and find out. So on November 9th I started,
accompanied by Colonel Wilson of Grant's staff. The way in which such a
trip as this of Wilson and mine was managed in those days is told in
this letter to a child, written just before we left Chattanooga for

    I expect to go all the way on horseback, and it will take about five
    days. About seventy horsemen will go along with their sabers and
    carbines to keep off the guerillas. Our baggage we shall have
    carried on pack mules. These are funny little rats of creatures,
    with the big panniers fastened to their sides to carry their burdens
    in. I shall put my bed in one pannier and my carpet bag and
    India-rubber things in the other. Colonel Wilson, who is to go with
    me, will have another mule for his traps, and a third will carry the
    bread and meat and coffee that we are to live on. At night we shall
    halt in some nice shady nook where there is a spring, build a big
    roaring fire, cook our supper, spread our blankets on the ground,
    and sleep with our feet toward the fire, while half a dozen of the
    soldiers, with their guns ready loaded, watch all about to keep the
    rebels at a safe distance. Then in the morning we shall first wake
    up, then wash our faces, get our breakfasts, and march on, like John
    Brown's soul, toward our destination. How long I shall stay at
    Knoxville is uncertain, but I hope not very long--though it must be
    very charming in that country of mountains and rivers--and then I
    shall pray for orders that will take me home again.

We were not obliged to camp out every night on this trip. One evening,
just about supper time, we reached a large stone house, the home of a
farmer. The man, we found, was a strong Unionist, and he gave us a
hearty invitation to occupy his premises. Our escort took possession of
the barn for sleeping, and we cooked our supper in the yard, the family
lending us a table and sending us out fresh bread. After supper Wilson
and I were invited into the house, where the farmer listened eagerly to
the news of the Union army. There were two or three young and very
pretty girls in the farmer's family, and while we talked they dipped
snuff, a peculiar custom that I had seen but once or twice before.

We reached Knoxville on the 13th, and I at once went to headquarters to
talk over the situation with Burnside. This was the first time I had met
that general. He was rather a large man physically, about six feet tall,
with a large face and a small head, and heavy side whiskers. He was an
energetic, decided man, frank, manly, and well educated. He was a very
showy officer--not that he _made_ any show; he was naturally that. When
he first talked with you, you would think he had a great deal more
intelligence than he really possessed. You had to know him some time
before you really took his measure.

I found that Burnside's forces, something like thirty-three thousand men
of all arms, were scattered all the way from Kentucky, by Cumberland
Gap, down to Knoxville. In and about Knoxville he had not concentrated
more than twelve thousand to fourteen thousand men. The town was
fortified, though unable to resist an attack by a large force. Up to
this time Burnside and his army had really been very well off, for he
had commanded a rich region behind Knoxville, and thence had drawn food
and forage. He even had about one hundred miles of railroad in active
operation for foraging, and he had plenty of mills and workshops in the
town which he could use.

After a detailed conversation with Burnside, I concluded that there was
no reason to believe that any force had been sent from Lee's army to
attack him on the northeast, as we had heard in Chattanooga, but that it
was certain that Longstreet was approaching from Chattanooga with thirty
thousand troops. Burnside said that he would be unable long to resist
such an attack, and that if Grant did not succeed in making a
demonstration which would compel Longstreet to return he must retreat.

If compelled to retreat, he proposed, he said, to follow the line of
Cumberland Gap, and to hold Morristown and Bean's Station. At these
points he would be secure against any force the enemy could bring
against him; he would still be able to forage over a large extent of
country on the south and east, he could prevent the repair of the
railroads by the rebels, and he would still have an effective hold on
East Tennessee.

A few hours after this talk with Burnside, about one o'clock in the
morning of the 14th, a report reached Knoxville that completely upset
his plan for retreating by Cumberland Gap. This was the news that the
enemy had commenced building bridges across the Tennessee near Loudon,
only about twenty-five miles south of Knoxville. Burnside immediately
decided that he must retreat; and he actually dictated orders for
drawing his whole army south of the Holston into Blount County, where
all his communications would have been cut off, and where on his own
estimate he could not have subsisted more than three weeks. General
Parke argued against this in vain, but finally Colonel Wilson overcame
it by representing that Grant did not wish Burnside to include the
capture of his entire army among the plans of his operations. He then
determined to retreat toward the gaps, after destroying the workshops
and mills in Knoxville and on the line of his march.

Before we left, however, which was about six o'clock in the morning of
the 14th, General Burnside had begun to feel that perhaps he might not
be obliged to pass the mountains and abandon East Tennessee entirely. He
had even decided to send out a force to attack the enemy's advance. When
Wilson and I reached Lenoir's Station that morning on our way to
Chattanooga, we discovered that the enemy's attack was not as imminent
as Burnside feared. Their bridges were not complete, and no artillery or
cavalry had crossed. From everything I could learn of their strength, in
fact, it seemed to me that there was a reasonable probability that
Burnside would be able to hold Knoxville until relieved by operations at

We found that our departure from Knoxville had been none too soon. So
completely were the Confederates taking possession of the country
between Knoxville and Chattanooga that had we delayed a single day we
could have got out only through Cumberland Gap or that of Big Creek. We
were four days in returning, and Mr. Stanton became very uneasy, as I
learned from this dispatch received soon after my return:

                  WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C., _November 19, 1863_.

     Hon. C. A. DANA, Chattanooga.

     Your dispatches of yesterday are received. I am rejoiced that you
     have got safely back. My anxiety about you for several days had
     been very great. Make your arrangements to remain in the field
     during the winter. Continue your reports as frequently as possible,
     always noting the hour.

                                        EDWIN M. STANTON.

Colonel Wilson and I reached Chattanooga on November 17th. As soon as I
arrived I went to Grant's and Thomas's headquarters to find out the
news. There was the greatest hopefulness everywhere. Sherman, they told
me, had reached Bridgeport, and a plan for attacking Bragg's position
was complete and its execution begun by moving a division of Sherman's
army from Bridgeport to Trenton, where it ought to arrive that day,
threatening the enemy by Stevens's Gap. The remainder of that army was
to move into Lookout Valley by way of Whiteside, extending its lines up
the valley toward Trenton, as if to repeat the flanking movement of
Rosecrans when he followed Bragg across the Tennessee. Having drawn the
enemy's attention to that quarter, Sherman was to disappear on the night
of the 18th and encamp his forces behind the ridge of hills north of the
Tennessee, opposite to Chattanooga, and keep them there out of sight of
the enemy during the 19th. That same night a bridge was to be thrown
across the river just below the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, so that on
Saturday morning, November 20th, Sherman's command would be across
before daylight, if possible. As soon as over he was to push for the
head of Missionary Ridge, and there engage the enemy.

At the same time that Sherman's wing advanced, Granger, with about
eighteen thousand men, was to move up on the left of the Chattanooga
lines and engage the Confederate right with all possible vigor. Hooker,
who had been in the Lookout Valley ever since he joined the army in
November, was to attack the head of Lookout Mountain simultaneously with
Sherman's attack at the head of Missionary Ridge, and, if practicable,
to carry the mountain.

It is almost never possible to execute a campaign as laid out,
especially when it requires so many concerted movements as this one.
Thus, instead of all of Sherman's army crossing the Tennessee on the
night of the 18th, and getting out of sight as expected behind the hills
that night, a whole corps was left behind at daylight, and one division
had to march down the valley on the morning of the 20th in full view of
the enemy, who now understood, of course, that he was to be attacked.
Bragg evidently did not care to risk a battle, for he tried to alarm
Grant that afternoon by sending a flag over, and with it a letter,
saying, "As there may still be some non-combatants in Chattanooga, I
deem it proper to notify you that prudence would dictate their early
withdrawal." Of course, we all knew this was a bluff.

On the morning of the 20th a heavy rain began, which lasted two days and
made the roads so bad that Sherman's advance was almost stopped. His
march was still further retarded by a singular blunder which had been
committed in moving his forces from Bridgeport. Instead of moving all
the troops and artillery first, the numerous trains which had been
brought from West Tennessee were sent in front rather than in rear of
each division. Grant said the blunder was his; that he should have given
Sherman explicit orders to leave his wagons behind; but no one was so
much astonished as Grant on learning that they had not been left, even
without such orders.

Owing to these unforeseen circumstances, Sherman's rear was so far
behind on the morning of the 23d, three days after Grant had planned for
the attack, that it was doubtful whether he could be ready to join the
movement the next day, November 24th. It was also feared that the enemy,
who had seen the troops march through Lookout Valley and then disappear,
might have discovered where they were concealed, and thus surmise our

On account of these hitches in carrying out the operations as speedily
as Grant had hoped, it was not until November 23d that the first
encounter in the battle of Chattanooga occurred. It was the beginning of
the most spectacular military operations I ever saw--operations
extending over three days and full of the most exciting incidents.

Our army lay to the south and east of the town of Chattanooga, the river
being at our back. Facing us, in a great half circle, and high above us
on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, were the Confederates. Our
problem was to drive them from these heights. We had got our men well
together, all the re-enforcements were up, and now we were to strike.

The first thing Grant tried to do was to clear out the Confederate lines
which were nearest to ours on the plain south of Chattanooga, and to get
hold of two bald knobs, or low hills, where Bragg's forces had their
advance guard. As the entire field where this attack was to be made was
distinctly visible from one of our forts, I went there on the 23d with
the generals to watch the operations. The troops employed for the attack
were under the immediate orders of Gordon Granger. There were some
capital officers under Granger, among them Sheridan, Hazen, and T. J.
Wood. Just before one o'clock the men moved out of their intrenchments,
and remained in line for three quarters of an hour in full view of the
enemy. The spectacle was one of singular magnificence.

Our point of view was Fort Wood. Usually in a battle one sees only a
little corner of what is going on, the movements near where you happen
to be; but in the battle of Chattanooga we had the whole scene before
us. At last, everything being ready, Granger gave the order to advance,
and three brigades of men pushed out simultaneously. The troops advanced
rapidly, with all the precision of a review, the flags flying and the
bands playing. The first sign of a battle one noticed was the fire
spitting out of the rifles of the skirmishers. The lines moved steadily
along, not halting at all, the skirmishers all the time advancing in
front, firing and receiving fire.

The first shot was fired at two o'clock, and in five minutes Hazen's
skirmishers were briskly engaged, while the artillery of Forts Wood and
Thomas was opening upon the rebel rifle-pits and camps behind the line
of fighting. The practice of our gunners was splendid, but it elicited
no reply from the camps and batteries of the enemy, about a mile and
three quarters distant; and it was soon evident that the Confederates
had no heavy artillery, in that part of their lines at least. Our
troops, rapidly advancing toward the knobs upon which they were
directed, occupied them at twenty minutes past two. Ten minutes later
Samuel Beatty, who commanded a brigade, driving forward across an open
field, carried the rifle-pits in his front, the occupants fleeing as
they fired their last volley; and Sheridan, moving through the forest
which stretched before him, drove in the enemy's pickets. Sheridan
halted his advance, in obedience to orders, on reaching the rifle-pits,
where the rebel force was waiting for his attack. No such attack was
made, however, the design being to secure only the height. The entire
movement was carried out in such an incredibly short time that at half
past three I was able to send a telegram to Mr. Stanton describing the

We took about two hundred prisoners, mostly Alabama troops, and had
gained a position which would be of great importance should the enemy
still attempt to hold the Chattanooga Valley. With these heights in our
possession, a column marching to turn Missionary Ridge was secure from
flank attack. The Confederates fired three small guns only during the
affair, and that tended to confirm the impression that they had
withdrawn their main force. About four o'clock in the afternoon the
enemy opened fire from the top of Missionary Ridge, the total number of
cannon they displayed being about twelve, but nothing was developed to
show decisively whether they would fight or flee. Grant thought the
latter; other judicious officers the former.

That evening I left Chattanooga to join General Sherman, who had his
troops north of the river concealed behind the hills, and ready to
attempt to cross the Tennessee that very night, so as to be able to
attack the east head of Missionary Ridge on the night of the 24th or the
morning of the 25th.

Sherman had some twenty-five thousand men, and crossing them over a
river as wide and rapid as the Tennessee was above Chattanooga seemed to
me a serious task, and I watched the operations of the night with great
curiosity. The first point was to get a sufficient body of troops on the
south bank to hold a position against the enemy (the Confederates had
pickets for a long distance up and down the Tennessee, above
Chattanooga), and then from there commence building the pontoon bridge
by which the bulk of the men were to be got over.

About one o'clock in the morning the pontoon boats, which had been sent
up the river some distance, were filled with men and allowed to drop
down to the point General Sherman had chosen for the south end of his
bridge. They landed about 2.30 in the morning, seized the pickets, and
immediately began to fortify their position. The boats in the meantime
were sent across the river to bring over fresh loads of men. They kept
this up until morning. Then a small steamer which Sherman had got hold
of came up and began to bring over troops. At daybreak some of the boats
were taken from the ferrying and a bridge was begun. It was marvelous
with what vigor the work went on. Sherman told me he had never seen
anything done so quietly and so well, and he declared later in his
report that he did not believe the history of war could show a bridge of
that length--about thirteen hundred and fifty feet--laid down so
noiselessly and in so short a time. By one o'clock in the afternoon
(November 24th) the bridge was done, and the balance of his forces were
soon marching briskly across. As soon as Sherman saw that the crossing
was insured, he set the foremost of his column in motion for the head of
Missionary Ridge. By four o'clock he had gained the crest of the ridge
and was preparing for the next day's battle.

As soon as I saw Sherman in position, I hurried back to Chattanooga. I
reached there just in time to see the famous moonlight battle on Lookout
Mountain. The way this night battle happened to be fought was that
Hooker, who had been holding Lookout Valley, had been ordered to gain a
foothold on Lookout Mountain if possible, and that day, while I was with
Sherman, had really succeeded in scaling the side of the mountain. But
his possession of the point he had reached had been so hotly disputed
that a brigade had been sent from Chattanooga to aid him. These troops
attacked the Confederate lines on the eastern slope of the mountain
about eight o'clock that evening. A full moon made the battlefield as
plain to us in the valley as if it were day, the blaze of their camp
fires and the flashes of their guns displaying brilliantly their
position and the progress of their advance. No report of the result was
received that night, but the next morning we knew that Bragg had
evacuated Lookout Mountain the night before, and that our troops
occupied it.

After the successes of the two days a decisive battle seemed inevitable,
and orders were given that night for a vigorous attack the next morning.
I was up early, sending my first dispatch to Mr. Stanton at half past
seven o'clock. As the result of the operations of the day before, Grant
held the point of Lookout Mountain on the southwest and the crest of the
east end of Missionary Ridge, and his line was continuous between these
points. As the result of the movement on November 23d, our lines in
front had been advanced to Orchard Knob. The bulk of the Confederate
force was intrenched along Missionary Ridge, five to six hundred feet
above us, and facing our center and left. From Chattanooga we could see
the full length of our own and the enemy's lines spread out like a scene
in a theater.

About nine o'clock the battle was commenced on Sherman's line on our
left, and it raged furiously all that forenoon both east of Missionary
Ridge and along its crest, the enemy making vigorous efforts to crush
Sherman and dislodge him from his position on the ridge. All day, while
this battle was going on, I was at Orchard Knob, where Grant, Thomas,
Granger, and several other officers were observing the operations. The
enemy kept firing shells at us, I remember, from the ridge opposite.
They had got the range so well that the shells burst pretty near the top
of the elevation where we were, and when we saw them coming we would
duck--that is, everybody did except Generals Grant and Thomas and Gordon
Granger. It was not according to their dignity to go down on their
marrow bones. While we were there Granger got a cannon--how he got it I
do not know--and he would load it with the help of one soldier and fire
it himself over at the ridge. I recollect that Rawlins was very much
disgusted at the guerilla operations of Granger, and induced Grant to
order him to join his troops elsewhere.

As we thought we perceived, soon after noon, that the enemy had sent a
great mass of their troops to crush Sherman, Grant gave orders at two
o'clock for an assault upon the left of their lines; but owing to the
fault of Granger, who was boyishly intent upon firing his gun instead of
commanding his corps, Grant's order was not transmitted to the division
commanders until he repeated it an hour later.

It was fully four o'clock before the line moved out to the attack. It
was a bright, sunny afternoon, and, as the forces marched across the
valley in front of us as regularly as if on parade, it was a great
spectacle. They took with ease the first rifle-pits at the foot of the
ridge as they had been ordered, and then, to the amazement of all of us
who watched on Orchard Knob, they moved out and up the steep ahead of
them, and before we realized it they were at the top of Missionary
Ridge. It was just half past four when I wired to Mr. Stanton:

    Glory to God! the day is decisively ours. Missionary Ridge has just
    been carried by the magnificent charge of Thomas's troops, and the
    rebels routed.

As soon as Grant saw the ridge was ours, he started for the front. As he
rode the length of the lines, the men, who were frantic with joy and
enthusiasm over the victory, received him with tumultuous shouts. The
storming of the ridge by our troops was one of the greatest miracles in
military history. No man who climbs the ascent by any of the roads that
wind along its front can believe that eighteen thousand men were moved
in tolerably good order up its broken and crumbling face unless it was
his fortune to witness the deed. It seemed as awful as a visible
interposition of God. Neither Grant nor Thomas intended it. Their orders
were to carry the rifle-pits along the base of the ridge and capture
their occupants; but when this was accomplished, the unaccountable
spirit of the troops bore them bodily up those impracticable steeps, in
spite of the bristling rifle-pits on the crest, and the thirty cannons
enfilading every gully. The order to storm appears to have been given
simultaneously by Generals Sheridan and Wood because the men were not to
be held back, dangerous as the attempt appeared to military prudence.
Besides, the generals had caught the inspiration of the men, and were
ready themselves to undertake impossibilities.

The first time I saw Sheridan after the battle I said to him, "Why did
you go up there?"

"When I saw the men were going up," he replied, "I had no idea of
stopping them; the rebel pits had been taken and nobody had been hurt,
and after they had started I commanded them to go right on. I looked up
at the head of the ridge as I was going up, and there I saw a
Confederate general on horseback. I had a silver whisky flask in my
pocket, and when I saw this man on the top of the hill I took out my
flask and waved my hand toward him, holding up the shining, glittering
flask, and then I took a drink. He waved back to me, and then the whole
corps went up."

All the evening of the 25th the excitement of the battle continued.
Bragg had retreated down the Chickamauga Valley and was burning what he
could not carry away, so that the east was lit by his fires, while
Sheridan continued his fight along the east slope of Missionary Ridge
until nine o'clock in the evening. It was a bright moonlight night, and
we could see most of the operations as plainly as by day. The next
morning Bragg was in full retreat. I went to Missionary Ridge in the
morning, and from there I could see along ten miles of Chickamauga
Valley the fires of the depots and bridges he was burning as he fled.

At intervals throughout the day I sent dispatches to Washington, where
they were eagerly read, as the following telegram sent me on the 27th

                   WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, _November 27, 1863_.

     Hon. C. A. DANA, Chattanooga, Tenn.:

     The Secretary of War is absent and the President is sick, but both
     receive your dispatches regularly and esteem them highly, not
     merely because they are reliable, but for their clearness of
     narrative and their graphic pictures of the stirring events they

     The patient endurance and spirited valor exhibited by commanders
     and men in the last great feat of arms, which has crowned our cause
     with such a glorious success, is making all of us hero worshipers.

                                       P. H. WATSON,
                                   _Acting Secretary of War_.

The enemy was now divided. Bragg was flying toward Rome and Atlanta, and
Longstreet was in East Tennessee besieging Burnside. Our victorious army
was between them. The first thought was, of course, to relieve Burnside,
and Grant ordered Granger with the Fourth Corps instantly forward to his
aid, taking pains to write Granger a personal letter, explaining the
exigencies of the case and the imperative need of energy. It had no
effect, however, in hastening the movement, and a day or two later Grant
ordered Sherman to assume command of all the forces operating from the
south to save Knoxville. Grant became imbued with a strong prejudice
against Granger from this circumstance.

As any movement against Bragg was impracticable at that season, the only
operations possible to Grant, beyond the relief of Burnside, were to
hold Chattanooga and the line of the Hiwassee, to complete and protect
the railroads and the steamboats upon the Tennessee, and to amass food,
forage, and ordnance stores for the future. But all this would require
only a portion of the forces under his command; and, instead of holding
the remainder in winter quarters, he evolved a plan to employ them in
an offensive winter campaign against Mobile and the interior of Alabama.
He asked me to lay his plan before Mr. Stanton, and urge its approval by
the Government, which, of course, I did at once by telegraph.

I did not wait at Chattanooga to learn the decision of the Government on
Grant's plan, but left on November 29th, again with Colonel Wilson, to
join Sherman, now well on his way to Knoxville, and to observe his

I fell in with Sherman on November 30th at Charleston, on the Hiwassee.
The Confederate guard there fled at his approach, after half destroying
the bridges, and we had to stay there until one was repaired. When we
reached Loudon, on December 3d, the bridge over the Tennessee was gone,
so that the main body of the army marched to a point where it was
believed a practicable ford might be found. The ford, however, proved
too deep for the men, the river being two hundred yards wide, and the
water almost at freezing point. We had a great deal of fun getting
across. I remember my horse went through--swam through, where his feet
could not strike the ground--and I got across without any difficulty. I
think Wilson got across, too; but when the lieutenant of our squad of
cavalrymen got in the middle of the river, where it was so deep that as
he sat in the saddle the water came up to his knees almost, and a little
above the breast of the mule he rode, the animal turned his head upward
toward the current, at that place very strong, and would not stir. This
poor fellow sat there in the middle of the stream, and, do his best, he
could not move his beast. Finally, they drove in a big wagon, or truck,
with two horses, and tied that to the bits of the mule, and dragged him

Colonel Wilson at once set about the construction of a trestle bridge,
and by working all night had it so advanced that the troops could begin
to cross by daylight the next morning.

While the crossing was going on, we captured a Confederate mail, and
first learned something authentic about Burnside. He had been assailed
by Longstreet on the 29th of November, but had repulsed him. He was
still besieged, and all the letter writers spoke of the condition in the
town with great despondency, evidently regarding their chance of
extrication as very poor. Longstreet, we gathered from the mail, thought
that Sherman was bringing up only a small force.

By noon of December 5th we had our army over, and, as we were now only
thirty-five miles from Knoxville, we pushed ahead rapidly, the enemy
making but little resistance. When Longstreet discovered the strength of
our force he retreated, and we entered Knoxville at noon on the 6th. We
found to our surprise that General Burnside had fully twenty days'
provisions--much more, in fact, than at the beginning of the siege.
These supplies had been drawn from the French Broad by boats, and by the
Sevierville road. The loyal people of East Tennessee had done their
utmost through the whole time to send in provisions and forage, and
Longstreet left open the very avenues which Burnside most desired. We
found ammunition very short, and projectiles for our rifle guns had
been made in the town. The utmost constancy and unanimity had prevailed
during the whole siege, from Burnside down to the last private; no man
thought of retreat or surrender.

The next morning after our arrival, December 7th, Sherman started back
to Chattanooga with all his force not needed there. Colonel Wilson and I
returned with him, reaching Chattanooga on December 10th.

Everything in the army was now so safe, quiet, and regular that I felt I
could be more useful anywhere else, so the day I got back I asked leave
of Mr. Stanton to go North. I did not wait for his reply, however. The
morning of the 12th Grant sent for me to come to his headquarters, and
asked me to go to Washington to represent more fully to Stanton and
Halleck his wishes with regard to the winter campaign. As the matter was
important, I started at once, telegraphing Mr. Stanton that, if he
thought it unnecessary for me to go, orders would reach me at any point
on the railroad.



    Grant's plans blocked by Halleck--Mr. Dana on duty at
    Washington--Edwin McMasters Stanton--His deep religious feeling--His
    swift intelligence and almost superhuman energy--The Assistant
    Secretary's functions--Contract supplies and contract
    frauds--Lincoln's intercession for dishonest contractors with
    political influence--A characteristic letter from Sherman.

I reached Washington about the middle of December, and immediately gave
to Mr. Stanton an outline of Grant's plan and reasons for a winter
campaign. The President, Mr. Stanton, and General Halleck all agreed
that the proposed operations were the most promising in sight; indeed,
Mr. Stanton was enthusiastic in favor of the scheme as I presented it to
him. He said that the success of Grant's campaign would end the war in
the Mississippi Valley, and practically make prisoners of all the rebel
forces in the interior of Mississippi and Alabama, without our being at
the direct necessity of guarding and feeding them. But Halleck, as a
_sine qua non_, insisted that East Tennessee should first be cleared out
and Longstreet driven off permanently and things up to date secured,
before new campaigns were entered upon.

The result was that no winter campaign was made in 1863-'64 toward the
Alabama River towns and Mobile. Its success, in my opinion, was certain,
and I so represented to Mr. Stanton. Without jeoparding our interests in
any other quarter, Grant would have opened the Alabama River and
captured Mobile a full year before it finally fell. Its success meant
permanent security for everything we had already laid hold of, at once
freeing many thousands of garrison troops for service elsewhere. As long
as the rebels held Alabama, they had a base from which to strike
Tennessee. I had unbounded confidence in Grant's skill and energy to
conduct such a campaign into the interior, cutting loose entirely from
his base and subsisting off the enemy's country. At the time he had the
troops, and could have finished the job in three months.

After I had explained fully my mission from Grant, I asked the Secretary
what he wanted me to do. Mr. Stanton told me he would like to have me
remain in the department until I was needed again at the front.
Accordingly, an office in the War Department was provided for me, and I
began to do the regular work of an assistant to the Secretary of War.
This was the first time since my relations with the War Department began
that I had been thrown much with the Secretary, and I was very glad to
have an opportunity to observe him.

Mr. Stanton was a short, thick, dark man, with a very large head and a
mass of black hair. His nature was intense, and he was one of the most
eloquent men that I ever met. Stanton was entirely absorbed in his
duties, and his energy in prosecuting them was something almost
superhuman. When he took hold of the War Department the armies seemed to
grow, and they certainly gained in force and vim and thoroughness.

One of the first things which struck me in Mr. Stanton was his deep
religious feeling and his familiarity with the Bible. He must have
studied the Bible a great deal when he was a boy. He had the firmest
conviction that the Lord directed our armies. Over and over again have I
heard him express the same opinion which he wrote to the Tribune after
Donelson: "Much has recently been said of military combinations and
organizing victory. I hear such phrases with apprehension. They
commenced in infidel France with the Italian campaign, and resulted in
Waterloo. Who can organize victory? Who can combine the elements of
success on the battlefield? We owe our recent victories to the Spirit of
the Lord, that moved our soldiers to rush into battle, and filled the
hearts of our enemies with dismay. The inspiration that conquered in
battle was in the hearts of the soldiers and from on high; and wherever
there is the same inspiration there will be the same results." There was
never any cant in Stanton's religious feeling. It was the
straightforward expression of what he believed and lived, and was as
simple and genuine and real to him as the principles of his business.

Stanton was a serious student of history. He had read many books on the
subject--more than on any other, I should say--and he was fond of
discussing historical characters with his associates; not that he made a
show of his learning. He was fond, too, of discussing legal questions,
and would listen with eagerness to the statement of cases in which
friends had been interested. He was a man who was devoted to his
friends, and he had a good many with whom he liked to sit down and talk.
In conversation he was witty and satirical; he told a story well, and
was very companionable.

There is a popular impression that Mr. Stanton took a malevolent delight
in browbeating his subordinates, and every now and then making a
spectacle of some poor officer or soldier, who unfortunately fell into
his clutches in the Secretary's reception room, for the edification of
bystanders. This idea, like many other false notions concerning great
men, is largely a mistaken one. The stories which are told of Mr.
Stanton's impatience and violence are exaggerated. He could speak in a
very peremptory tone, but I never heard him say anything that could be
called vituperative.

There were certain men in whom he had little faith, and I have heard him
speak to some of these in a tone of severity. He was a man of the
quickest intelligence, and understood a thing before half of it was told
him. His judgment was just as swift, and when he got hold of a man who
did not understand, who did not state his case clearly, he was very

If Stanton liked a man, he was always pleasant. I was with him for
several years in the most confidential relations, and I can now recall
only one instance of his speaking to me in a harsh tone. It was a
curious case. Among the members of Congress at that period was a Jew
named Strouse. One of Strouse's race, who lived in Virginia, had gone
down to the mouth of the James River when General Butler was at
Fortress Monroe, and had announced his wish to leave the Confederacy.
Now, the orders were that when a man came to a commanding officer with a
request to go through the lines, he was to be examined and all the money
he had was to be taken from him. General Butler had taken from this
Virginian friend of Strouse between fifty thousand and seventy-five
thousand dollars. When a general took money in this way he had to
deposit it at once in the Treasury; there a strict account was kept of
the amount, whom it was taken by, and whom it was taken from. Butler
gave a receipt to this man, and he afterward came to Washington to get
his money. He and Strouse came to the War Department, where they
bothered Mr. Stanton a good deal. Finally, Mr. Stanton sent for me.

"Strouse is after me," he said; "he wants that money, and I want you to
settle the matter."

"What shall I do?" I asked; "what are the orders?" He took the papers in
the case and wrote on the back of them:

    Referred to Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, to be settled as
    in his judgment shall be best.

                                        E. M. STANTON.

The man then turned his attention from the Secretary to me. I looked
into the matter, and gave him back the money. The next day Mr. Stanton
sent for me. I saw he was angry.

"Did you give that Jew back his money?" he asked in a harsh tone.

"Yes, sir."

"Well," he said, "I should like to know by what authority you did it."

"If you will excuse me while I go to my room, I will show my authority
to you," I replied.

So I went up and brought down the paper he had indorsed, and read to

"Referred to Mr. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, to be settled as in
his judgment shall be best." Then I handed it over to him. He looked at
it, and then he laughed.

"You are right," he said; "you have got me this time." That was the only
time he spoke to me in a really harsh tone.

At the time that I entered the War Department for regular duty, it was a
very busy place. Mr. Stanton frequently worked late at night, keeping
his carriage waiting for him. I never worked at night, as my eyes would
not allow it. I got to my office about nine o'clock in the morning, and
I stayed there nearly the whole day, for I made it a rule never to go
away until my desk was cleared. When I arrived I usually found on my
table a big pile of papers which were to be acted on, papers of every
sort that had come to me from the different departments of the office.

The business of the War Department during the first winter that I spent
in Washington was something enormous. Nearly $285,000,000 was paid out
that year (from June, 1863, to June, 1864) by the quartermaster's
office, and $221,000,000 stood in accounts at the end of the year
awaiting examination before payment was made. We had to buy every
conceivable thing that an army of men could need. We bought fuel,
forage, furniture, coffins, medicine, horses, mules, telegraph wire,
sugar, coffee, flour, cloth, caps, guns, powder, and thousands of other
things. Sometimes our supplies came by contract; again by direct
purchase; again by manufacture. Of course, by the fall of 1863 the army
was pretty well supplied; still, that year we bought over 3,000,000
pairs of trousers, nearly 5,000,000 flannel shirts and drawers, some
7,000,000 pairs of stockings, 325,000 mess pans, 207,000 camp kettles,
over 13,000 drums, and 14,830 fifes. It was my duty to make contracts
for many of these supplies.

In making contracts for supplies of all kinds, we were obliged to take
careful precautions against frauds. I had a colleague in the department,
the Hon. Peter H. Watson, the distinguished patent lawyer, who had a
great knack at detecting army frauds. One which Watson had spent much
time in trying to ferret out came to light soon after I went into
office. This was an extensive fraud in forage furnished to the Army of
the Potomac. The trick of the fraud consisted in a dishonest mixture of
oats and Indian corn for the horses and mules of the army. By changing
the proportions of the two sorts of grain, the contractors were able to
make a considerable difference in the cost of the bushel, on account of
the difference in the weight and price of the grain, and it was
difficult to detect the cheat. However, Watson found it out, and at once
arrested the men who were most directly involved.

Soon after the arrest Watson went to New York. While he was gone,
certain parties from Philadelphia interested in the swindle came to me
at the War Department. Among them was the president of the Corn
Exchange. They paid me thirty-three thousand dollars to cover the sum
which one of the men confessed he had appropriated; thirty-two thousand
dollars was the amount restored by another individual. The morning after
this transaction the Philadelphians returned to me, demanding both that
the villains should be released, and that the papers and funds belonging
to them, taken at the time of their arrest, should be restored. It was
my judgment that, instead of being released, they should be remanded to
solitary confinement until they could clear up all the forage frauds and
make complete justice possible. Then I should have released them, but
not before. So I telegraphed to Watson what had happened, and asked him
to return to prevent any false step.

Now, it happened that the men arrested were of some political importance
in Pennsylvania, and eminent politicians took a hand in getting them out
of the scrape. Among others, the Hon. David Wilmot, then Senator of the
United States and author of the famous Wilmot proviso, was very active.
He went to Mr. Lincoln and made such representations and appeals that
finally the President consented to go with him over to the War
Department and see Watson in his office. Wilmot remained outside, and
Mr. Lincoln went in to labor with the Assistant Secretary. Watson
eloquently described the nature of the fraud, and the extent to which it
had already been developed by his partial investigation. The President,
in reply, dwelt upon the fact that a large amount of money had been
refunded by the guilty men, and urged the greater question of the safety
of the cause and the necessity of preserving united the powerful support
which Pennsylvania was giving to the administration in suppressing the
rebellion. Watson answered:

"Very well, Mr. President, if you wish to have these men released, all
that is necessary is to give the order; but I shall ask to have it in
writing. In such a case as this it would not be safe for me to obey a
verbal order; and let me add that if you do release them the fact and
the reason will necessarily become known to the people."

Finally Mr. Lincoln took up his hat and went out. Wilmot was waiting in
the corridor, and came to meet him.

"Wilmot," he said, "I can't do anything with Watson; he won't release

The reply which the Senator made to this remark can not be printed here,
but it did not affect the judgment or the action of the President.

The men were retained for a long time afterward. The fraud was fully
investigated, and future swindles of the kind were rendered impossible.
If Watson could have had his way, the guilty parties--and there were
some whose names never got to the public--would have been tried by
military commission and sternly dealt with. But my own reflections upon
the subject led me to the conclusion that the moderation of the
President was wiser than the unrelenting justice of the Assistant
Secretary would have been.

Not a little of my time at the department was taken up with people who
had missions of some kind within the lines of the army. I remember one
of these particularly, because it brought me a characteristic letter
from General Sherman. There was much suffering among the loyal citizens
and the Quakers of East Tennessee in the winter of 1863-'64, and many
relief committees came to us seeking transportation and safe conduct for
themselves and their supplies into that country. Some of these were
granted, to the annoyance of General Sherman, then in command of the
Military Division of the Mississippi. The reasons for his objections he
gave in this letter to me:

                                NASHVILLE, TENN., _April 21, 1864_.

     C. A. DANA, Esq., Ass't Sec. of War, Washington.

     MY DEAR FRIEND: It may be parliamentary, but is not military, for
     me to write you; but I feel assured anything I may write will only
     have the force of a casual conversation, such as we have indulged
     in by the camp fire or as we jogged along by the road. The text of
     my letter is one you gave a Philadelphia gentleman who is going up
     to East Tennessee to hunt up his brother Quakers and administer the
     bounties of his own and his fellow-citizens' charity. Now who would
     stand in the way of one so kindly and charitably disposed? Surely
     not I. But other questions present themselves. We have been working
     hard with tens of thousands of men, and at a cost of millions of
     dollars, to make railroads to carry to the line of the Tennessee
     enough provisions and material of war to enable us to push in our
     physical force to the next stop in the war. I have found on
     personal inspection that hitherto the railroads have barely been
     able to feed our men, that mules have died by the thousand, that
     arms and ammunition had [have] laid in the depot for two weeks for
     want of cars, that no accumulation at all of clothing and stores
     had been or could be moved at Chattanooga, and that it took four
     sets of cars and locomotives to accommodate the passes given by
     military commanders; that gradually the wants of citizens and
     charities were actually consuming the real resources of a road
     designed exclusively for army purposes. You have been on the spot
     and can understand my argument. At least one hundred citizens daily
     presented good claims to go forward--women to attend sick children,
     parents in search of the bodies of some slain in battle, sanitary
     committees sent by States and corporations to look after the
     personal wants of their constituents, ministers and friends to
     minister to the Christian wants of their flocks; men who had fled,
     anxious to go back to look after lost families, etc.; and, more
     still, the tons of goods which they all bore on their merciful
     errands. None but such as you, who have been present and seen the
     tens, hundreds, and thousands of such cases, can measure them in
     the aggregate and segregate the exceptions.

     I had no time to hesitate, for but a short month was left me to
     prepare, and I must be ready to put in motion near one hundred
     thousand men to move when naught remains to save life. I figured up
     the mathematics, and saw that I must have daily one hundred and
     forty-five car loads of essentials for thirty days to enable me to
     fill the requirement. Only seventy-five daily was all the roads
     were doing. Now I have got it up to one hundred and thirty-five.
     Troops march, cattle go by the road, sanitary and sutler's stores
     limited, and all is done that human energy can accomplish. Yet come
     these pressing claims of charity, by men and women who can not
     grasp the great problem. My usual answer is, "Show me that your
     presence at the front is more valuable than two hundred pounds of
     powder, bread, or oats"; and it is generally conclusive. I have
     given Mr. Savery a pass on your letter, and it takes two hundred
     pounds of bread from our soldiers, or the same of oats from our
     patient mules; but I could not promise to feed the suffering
     Quakers at the expense of our army. I have ordered all who can not
     provide food at the front to be allowed transportation back in our
     empty cars; but I can not undertake to transport the food needed by
     the worthy East Tennesseeans or any of them. In peace there is a
     beautiful harmony in all the departments of life--they all fit
     together like the Chinese puzzle; but in war all is ajar. Nothing
     fits, and it is the struggle between the stronger and weaker; and
     the latter, however it may appeal to the better feelings of our
     nature, must kick the beam. To make war we must and will harden our

     Therefore, when preachers clamor and the sanitaries wail, don't
     join in, but know that war, like the thunderbolt, follows its laws,
     and turns not aside even if the beautiful, the virtuous, and
     charitable stand in its path.

     When the day and the hour comes, I'll strike Joe Johnston, be the
     result what it may; but in the time allotted to me for preparation
     I must and will be selfish in making those preparations which I
     know to be necessary.

                    Your friend,
                        W. T. SHERMAN, _Major General_.



    Daily intercourse with Lincoln--The great civil leaders of the
    period--Seward and Chase--Gideon Welles--Friction between Stanton
    and Blair--Personal traits of the President--Lincoln's surpassing
    ability as a politician--His true greatness of character and
    intellect--His genius for military judgment--Stanton's comment on
    the Gettysburg speech--The kindness of Abraham Lincoln's heart.

During the first winter I spent in Washington in the War Department I
had constant opportunities of seeing Mr. Lincoln, and of conversing with
him in the cordial and unofficial manner which he always preferred. Not
that there was ever any lack of dignity in the man. Even in his freest
moments one always felt the presence of a will and of an intellectual
power which maintained the ascendancy of his position. He never posed,
or put on airs, or attempted to make any particular impression; but he
was always conscious of his own ideas and purposes, even in his most
unreserved moments.

I knew, too, and saw frequently, all the members of his Cabinet. When
Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated as President, his first act was to name his
Cabinet; and it was a common remark at the time that he had put into it
every man who had competed with him for the nomination. The first in
importance was William H. Seward, of New York, Mr. Lincoln's most
prominent competitor. Mr. Seward was made Secretary of State. He was an
interesting man, of an optimistic temperament, and he probably had the
most cultivated and comprehensive intellect in the administration. He
was a man who was all his life in controversies, yet he was singular in
this, that, though forever in fights, he had almost no personal enemies.
Seward had great ability as a writer, and he had what is very rare in a
lawyer, a politician, or a statesman--imagination. A fine illustration
of his genius was the acquisition of Alaska. That was one of the last
things that he did before he went out of office, and it demonstrated
more than anything else his fixed and never-changing idea that all North
America should be united under one government.

Mr. Seward was an admirable writer and an impressive though entirely
unpretentious speaker. He stood up and talked as though he were engaged
in conversation, and the effect was always great. It gave the impression
of a man deliberating "out loud" with himself.

The second man in importance and ability to be put into the Cabinet was
Mr. Chase, of Ohio. He was an able, noble, spotless statesman, a man who
would have been worthy of the best days of the old Roman republic. He
had been a candidate for the presidency, though a less conspicuous one
than Seward. Mr. Chase was a portly man; tall, and of an impressive
appearance, with a very handsome, large head. He was genial, though very
decided, and occasionally he would criticise the President, a thing I
never heard Mr. Seward do. Chase had been successful in Ohio politics,
and in the Treasury Department his administration was satisfactory to
the public. He was the author of the national banking law. I remember
going to dine with him one day--I did that pretty often, as I had known
him well when I was on the Tribune--and he said to me: "I have completed
to-day a very great thing. I have finished the National Bank Act. It
will be a blessing to the country long after I am dead."

The Secretary of the Navy throughout the war was Gideon Welles, of
Connecticut. Welles was a curious-looking man: he wore a wig which was
parted in the middle, the hair falling down on each side; and it was
from his peculiar appearance, I have always thought, that the idea that
he was an old fogy originated. I remember Governor Andrew, of
Massachusetts, coming into my office at the War Department one day and
asking where he could find "that old Mormon deacon, the Secretary of the
Navy." In spite of his peculiarities, I think Mr. Welles was a very
wise, strong man. There was nothing decorative about him; there was no
noise in the street when he went along; but he understood his duty, and
did it efficiently, continually, and unvaryingly. There was a good deal
of opposition to him, for we had no navy when the war began, and he had
to create one without much deliberation; but he was patient, laborious,
and intelligent at his task.

Montgomery Blair was Postmaster-General in Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet. He was
a capable man, sharp, keen, perhaps a little cranky, and not friendly
with everybody; but I always found him pleasant to deal with, and I saw
a great deal of him. He and Mr. Stanton were not very good friends, and
when he wanted anything in the War Department he was more likely to come
to an old friend like me than to go to the Secretary. Stanton, too,
rather preferred that.

The Attorney-General of the Cabinet was Edward Bates, of Missouri. Bates
had been Mr. Greeley's favorite candidate for the presidency. He was put
into the Cabinet partly, I suppose, because his reputation was good as a
lawyer, but principally because he had been advocated for President by
such powerful influences. Bates must have been about sixty-eight years
old when he was appointed Attorney-General. He was a very eloquent
speaker. Give him a patriotic subject, where his feelings could expand,
and he would make a beautiful speech. He was a man of very gentle,
cordial nature, but not one of extraordinary brilliancy.

The relations between Mr. Lincoln and the members of his Cabinet were
always friendly and sincere on his part. He treated every one of them
with unvarying candor, respect, and kindness; but, though several of
them were men of extraordinary force and self-assertion--this was true
especially of Mr. Seward, Mr. Chase, and Mr. Stanton--and though there
was nothing of self-hood or domination in his manner toward them, it was
always plain that he was the master and they the subordinates. They
constantly had to yield to his will in questions where responsibility
fell upon him. If he ever yielded to theirs, it was because they
convinced him that the course they advised was judicious and
appropriate. I fancied during the whole time of my intimate intercourse
with him and with them that he was always prepared to receive the
resignation of any one of them. At the same time I do not recollect a
single occasion when any member of the Cabinet had got his mind ready to
quit his post from any feeling of dissatisfaction with the policy or
conduct of the President. Not that they were always satisfied with his
actions; the members of the Cabinet, like human beings in general, were
not pleased with everything. In their judgment much was imperfect in the
administration; much, they felt, would have been done better if their
views had been adopted and they individually had had charge of it. Not
so with the President. He was calm, equable, uncomplaining. In the
discussion of important questions, whatever he said showed the
profoundest thought, even when he was joking. He seemed to see every
side of every question. He never was impatient, he never was in a hurry,
and he never tried to hurry anybody else. To every one he was pleasant
and cordial. Yet they all felt it was his word that went at last; that
every case was open until he gave his decision.

This impression of authority, of reserve force, Mr. Lincoln always gave
to those about him. Even physically he was impressive. According to the
record measurements, he was six feet four inches in height. That is, he
was at least four inches taller than the tall, ordinary man. When he
rode out on horseback to review an army, as I have frequently seen him
do, he wore usually a high hat, and then he looked like a giant. There
was no waste or excess of material about his frame; nevertheless, he was
very strong and muscular. I remember that the last time I went to see
him at the White House--the afternoon before he was killed--I found him
in a side room with coat off and sleeves rolled up, washing his hands.
He had finished his work for the day, and was going away. I noticed then
the thinness of his arms, and how well developed, strong, and active his
muscles seemed to be. In fact, there was nothing flabby or feeble about
Mr. Lincoln physically. He was a very quick man in his movements when he
chose to be, and he had immense physical endurance. Night after night he
would work late and hard without being wilted by it, and he always
seemed as ready for the next day's work as though he had done nothing
the day before.

Mr. Lincoln's face was thin, and his features were large. His hair was
black, his eyebrows heavy, his forehead square and well developed. His
complexion was dark and quite sallow. His smile was something most
lovely. I have never seen a woman's smile that approached it in its
engaging quality; nor have I ever seen another face which would light up
as Mr. Lincoln's did when something touched his heart or amused him. I
have heard it said that he was ungainly, that his step was awkward. He
never impressed me as being awkward. In the first place, there was such
a charm and beauty about his expression, such good humor and friendly
spirit looking from his eyes, that when you were near him you never
thought whether he was awkward or graceful; you thought of nothing
except, What a kindly character this man has! Then, too, there was such
shrewdness in his kindly features that one did not care to criticise
him. His manner was always dignified, and even if he had done an
awkward thing the dignity of his character and manner would have made it
seem graceful and becoming.

The great quality of his appearance was benevolence and benignity: the
wish to do somebody some good if he could; and yet there was no flabby
philanthropy about Abraham Lincoln. He was all solid, hard, keen
intelligence combined with goodness. Indeed, the expression of his face
and of his bearing which impressed one most, after his benevolence and
benignity, was his intelligent understanding. You felt that here was a
man who saw through things, who understood, and you respected him

Lincoln was a supreme politician. He understood politics because he
understood human nature. I had an illustration of this in the spring of
1864. The administration had decided that the Constitution of the United
States should be amended so that slavery should be prohibited. This was
not only a change in our national policy, it was also a most important
military measure. It was intended not merely as a means of abolishing
slavery forever, but as a means of affecting the judgment and the
feelings and the anticipations of those in rebellion. It was believed
that such an amendment to the Constitution would be equivalent to new
armies in the field, that it would be worth at least a million men, that
it would be an intellectual army that would tend to paralyze the enemy
and break the continuity of his ideas.

In order thus to amend the Constitution, it was necessary first to have
the proposed amendment approved by three fourths of the States. When
that question came to be considered, the issue was seen to be so close
that one State more was necessary. The State of Nevada was organized and
admitted into the Union to answer that purpose. I have sometimes heard
people complain of Nevada as superfluous and petty, not big enough to be
a State; but when I hear that complaint, I always hear Abraham Lincoln
saying, "It is easier to admit Nevada than to raise another million of

In March, 1864, the question of allowing Nevada to form a State
government finally came up in the House of Representatives. There was
strong opposition to it. For a long time beforehand the question had
been canvassed anxiously. At last, late one afternoon, the President
came into my office, in the third story of the War Department. He used
to come there sometimes rather than send for me, because he was fond of
walking and liked to get away from the crowds in the White House. He
came in and shut the door.

"Dana," he said, "I am very anxious about this vote. It has got to be
taken next week. The time is very short. It is going to be a great deal
closer than I wish it was."

"There are plenty of Democrats who will vote for it," I replied. "There
is James E. English, of Connecticut; I think he is sure, isn't he?"

"Oh, yes; he is sure on the merits of the question."

"Then," said I, "there's 'Sunset' Cox, of Ohio. How is he?"

"He is sure and fearless. But there are some others that I am not clear
about. There are three that you can deal with better than anybody else,
perhaps, as you know them all. I wish you would send for them."

He told me who they were; it isn't necessary to repeat the names here.
One man was from New Jersey and two from New York.

"What will they be likely to want?" I asked.

"I don't know," said the President; "I don't know. It makes no
difference, though, what they want. Here is the alternative: that we
carry this vote, or be compelled to raise another million, and I don't
know how many more, men, and fight no one knows how long. It is a
question of three votes or new armies."

"Well, sir," said I, "what shall I say to these gentlemen?"

"I don't know," said he; "but whatever promise you make to them I will

I sent for the men and saw them one by one. I found that they were
afraid of their party. They said that some fellows in the party would be
down on them. Two of them wanted internal revenue collector's
appointments. "You shall have it," I said. Another one wanted a very
important appointment about the custom house of New York. I knew the man
well whom he wanted to have appointed. He was a Republican, though the
congressman was a Democrat. I had served with him in the Republican
county committee of New York. The office was worth perhaps twenty
thousand dollars a year. When the congressman stated the case, I asked
him, "Do you want that?"

"Yes," said he.

"Well," I answered, "you shall have it."

"I understand, of course," said he, "that you are not saying this on
your own authority?"

"Oh, no," said I; "I am saying it on the authority of the President."

Well, these men voted that Nevada be allowed to form a State government,
and thus they helped secure the vote which was required. The next
October the President signed the proclamation admitting the State. In
the February following Nevada was one of the States which ratified the
Thirteenth Amendment, by which slavery was abolished by constitutional
prohibition in all of the United States. I have always felt that this
little piece of side politics was one of the most judicious, humane, and
wise uses of executive authority that I have ever assisted in or

The appointment in the New York Custom House was to wait until the term
of the actual incumbent had run out. My friend, the Democratic
congressman, was quite willing. "That's all right," he said; "I am in no
hurry." Before the time had expired, Mr. Lincoln was murdered and Andrew
Johnson became President. I was in the West, when one day I got a
telegram from Roscoe Conkling:

"Come to Washington." So I went.

"I want you to go and see President Johnson," Mr. Conkling said, "and
tell him that the appointment of this man to the custom house is a
sacred promise of Mr. Lincoln's, and that it must be kept."

Then I went to the White House, and saw President Johnson.

"This is Mr. Lincoln's promise," I urged. "He regarded it as saving the
necessity of another call for troops and raising, perhaps, a million
more men to continue the war. I trust, Mr. President, that you will see
your way clear to execute this promise."

"Well, Mr. Dana," he replied, "I don't say that I won't; but I have
observed in the course of my experience that such bargains tend to

The appointment was not made. I am happy to say, however, that the
gentleman to whom the promise was given never found any fault either
with President Lincoln or with the Assistant Secretary who had been the
means of making the promise to him.

One of the cleverest minor political moves which Mr. Lincoln ever made
was an appointment he once gave Horace Greeley. Mr. Greeley never
approved of Mr. Lincoln's manner of conducting the war, and he sometimes
abused the President roundly for his deliberation. As the war went on,
Greeley grew more and more irritable, because the administration did not
make peace on some terms. Finally, in July, 1864, he received a letter
from a pretended agent of the Confederate authorities in Canada, saying:

    I am authorized to state to you for our use only, not the public,
    that two ambassadors of Davis and Company are now in Canada with
    full and complete powers for a peace, and Mr. Sanders requests that
    you come on immediately to me at Cataract House to have a private
    interview; or, if you will send the President's protection for him
    and two friends, they will come on and meet you. He says the whole
    matter can be consummated by me, them, and President Lincoln.

This letter was followed the next day by a telegram, saying: "Will you
come here? Parties have full power."

Upon receiving this letter, Mr. Greeley wrote to President Lincoln, more
or less in the strain of the articles that he had published in the
Tribune. He complained bitterly of the way the business of the
Government was managed in the great crisis, and told the President that
now there was a way open to peace. He explained that the Confederates
wanted a conference, and he told Mr. Lincoln that he thought that he
ought to appoint an ambassador, or a diplomatic agent, of the United
States Government, to meet the Confederate agents at Niagara and hear
what they had to say. Mr. Lincoln immediately responded by asking Mr.
Greeley to be himself the representative and to go to Niagara Falls.

"If you can find any person anywhere," the President wrote, "professing
to have any proposition of Jefferson Davis, in writing, for peace,
embracing the restoration of the Union, and abandonment of slavery,
whatever else it embraces, say to him he may come to me with you, and
that if he really brings such proposition he shall at the least have
safe conduct with the paper (and without publicity, if he chooses) to
the point where you shall have met him. The same, if there be two or
more persons."

Mr. Greeley went to Niagara, but his mission ended in nothing, except
that the poor man, led astray by too great confidence, failed in his
undertaking, and was almost universally laughed at. I saw the President
not long after that, and he said, with a funny twinkle in his eye: "I
sent Brother Greeley a commission. I guess I am about even with him

Lincoln had the most comprehensive, the most judicious mind; he was the
least faulty in his conclusions of any man I have ever known. He never
stepped too soon, and he never stepped too late. When the whole Northern
country seemed to be clamoring for him to issue a proclamation
abolishing slavery, he didn't do it. Deputation after deputation went to
Washington. I remember once a hundred gentlemen, dressed in black coats,
mostly clergymen, from Massachusetts, came to Washington to appeal to
him to proclaim the abolition of slavery. But he did not do it. He
allowed Mr. Cameron and General Butler to execute their great idea of
treating slaves as contraband of war and protecting those who had got
into our lines against being recaptured by their Southern owners; but he
would not prematurely make the proclamation that was so much desired.
Finally the time came, and of that he was the judge. Nobody else decided
it; nobody commanded it; the proclamation was issued as he thought best,
and it was efficacious. The people of the North, who during the long
contest over slavery had always stood strenuously by the compromises of
the Constitution, might themselves have become half rebels if this
proclamation had been issued too soon. At last they were tired of
waiting, tired of endeavoring to preserve even a show of regard for what
was called "the compromises of the Constitution" when they believed the
Constitution itself was in danger. Thus public opinion was ripe when
the proclamation came, and that was the beginning of the end. He could
have issued this proclamation two years before, perhaps, and the
consequence of it might have been our entire defeat; but when it came it
did its work, and it did us no harm whatever. Nobody protested against
it, not even the Confederates themselves.

This unerring judgment, this patience which waited and which knew when
the right time had arrived, is an intellectual quality that I do not
find exercised upon any such scale and with such absolute precision by
any other man in history. It proves Abraham Lincoln to have been
intellectually one of the greatest of rulers. If we look through the
record of great men, where is there one to be placed beside him? I do
not know.

Another interesting fact about Abraham Lincoln is that he developed into
a great military man; that is to say, a man of supreme military
judgment. I do not risk anything in saying that if one will study the
records of the war and study the writings relating to it, he will agree
with me that the greatest general we had, greater than Grant or Thomas,
was Abraham Lincoln. It was not so at the beginning; but after three or
four years of constant practice in the science and art of war, he
arrived at this extraordinary knowledge of it, so that Von Moltke was
not a better general, or an abler planner or expounder of a campaign,
than was President Lincoln. To sum it up, he was a born leader of men.
He knew human nature; he knew what chord to strike, and was never afraid
to strike it when he believed that the time had arrived.

Mr. Lincoln was not what is called an educated man. In the college that
he attended a man gets up at daylight to hoe corn, and sits up at night
by the side of a burning pine-knot to read the best book he can find.
What education he had, he had picked up. He had read a great many books,
and all the books that he had read he knew. He had a tenacious memory,
just as he had the ability to see the essential thing. He never took an
unimportant point and went off upon that; but he always laid hold of the
real question, and attended to that, giving no more thought to other
points than was indispensably necessary.

Thus, while we say that Mr. Lincoln was an uneducated man in the college
sense, he had a singularly perfect education in regard to everything
that concerns the practical affairs of life. His judgment was excellent,
and his information was always accurate. He knew what the thing was. He
was a man of genius, and contrasted with men of education the man of
genius will always carry the day. Many of his speeches illustrate this.

I remember very well Mr. Stanton's comment on the Gettysburg speeches of
Edward Everett and Mr. Lincoln. "Edward Everett has made a speech," he
said, "that will make three columns in the newspapers, and Mr. Lincoln
has made a speech of perhaps forty or fifty lines. Everett's is the
speech of a scholar, polished to the last possibility. It is elegant,
and it is learned; but Lincoln's speech will be read by a thousand men
where one reads Everett's, and will be remembered as long as anybody's
speeches are remembered who speaks in the English language."

That was the truth. Who ever thinks of or reads Everett's Gettysburg
speech now? If one will compare those two speeches he will get an idea
how superior genius is to education; how superior that intellectual
faculty is which sees the vitality of a question and knows how to state
it; how superior that intellectual faculty is which regards everything
with the fire of earnestness in the soul, with the relentless purpose of
a heart devoted to objects beyond literature.

Another remarkable peculiarity of Mr. Lincoln's was that he seemed to
have no illusions. He had no freakish notions that things were so, or
might be so, when they were not so. All his thinking and reasoning, all
his mind, in short, was based continually upon actual facts, and upon
facts of which, as I said, he saw the essence. I never heard him say
anything that was not so. I never heard him foretell things; he told
what they were, but I never heard him intimate that such and such
consequences were likely to happen without the consequences following. I
should say, perhaps, that his greatest quality was wisdom. And that is
something superior to talent, superior to education. It is again genius;
I do not think it can be acquired. All the advice that he gave was wise,
and it was always timely. This wisdom, it is scarcely necessary to add,
had its animating philosophy in his own famous words, "With malice
toward none, with charity for all."

Another remarkable quality of Mr. Lincoln was his great mercifulness. A
thing it seemed as if he could not do was to sign a death warrant. One
day General Augur, who was the major general commanding the forces in
and around Washington, came to my office and said:

"Here is So-and-So, a spy. He has been tried by court-martial; the facts
are perfectly established, he has been sentenced to death, and here is
the warrant for his execution, which is fixed for to-morrow morning at
six o'clock. The President is away. If he were here, the man certainly
wouldn't be executed. He isn't here. I think it very essential to the
safety of the service and the safety of everything that an example
should be made of this spy. They do us great mischief; and it is very
important that the law which all nations recognize in dealing with
spies, and the punishment which every nation assigns to them, should be
inflicted upon at least one of these wretches who haunt us around
Washington. Do you know whether the President will be back before

"I understand that he won't be back until to-morrow afternoon," I

"Well, as the President is not here, will you sign the warrant?"

"Go to Mr. Stanton," I said; "he is the authority."

"I have been to him, and he said I should come to you."

Well, I signed the order; I agreed with General Augur in his view of the
question. At about eleven o'clock the next day I met the general. "The
President got home at two o'clock this morning," he said, "and he
stopped it all."

But it was not only in matters of life and death that Mr. Lincoln was
merciful. He was kind at heart toward all the world. I never heard him
say an unkind thing about anybody. Now and then he would laugh at
something jocose or satirical that somebody had done or said, but it was
always pleasant humor. He would never allow the wants of any man or
woman to go unattended to if he could help it. I noticed his sweetness
of nature particularly with his little son, a child at that time perhaps
seven or nine years old, who used to roam the departments and whom
everybody called "Tad." He had a defective palate, and couldn't speak
very plainly. Often I have sat by his father, reporting to him some
important matter that I had been ordered to inquire into, and he would
have this boy on his knee. While he would perfectly understand the
report, the striking thing about him was his affection for the child.

He was good to everybody. Once there was a great gathering at the White
House on New Year's Day, and all the diplomats came in their uniforms,
and all the officers of the army and navy in Washington were in full
costume. A little girl of mine said, "Papa, couldn't you take me over to
see that?" I said, "Yes"; so I took her over and put her in a corner,
where she beheld this gorgeous show. When it was finished, I went up to
Mr. Lincoln and said, "I have a little girl here who wants to shake
hands with you." He went over to her, and took her up and kissed her and
talked to her. She will never forget it if she lives to be a thousand
years old.



    Mr. Lincoln sends Mr. Dana again to the front--General Halleck's
    character--First visit to the Army of the Potomac--General Meade's
    good qualities and bad--Winfield Scott Hancock--Early acquaintance
    with Sedgwick--His death--Humphreys's accomplishments as a soldier
    and as a swearer--Grant's plan of campaign against Lee--Incidents at
    Spottsylvania--The "Bloody Angle."

I remained in Washington the entire winter of 1863-'64, occupied mainly
with the routine business of the department. Meantime the Chattanooga
victory had made Grant the great military figure of the country, and
deservedly so. The grade of lieutenant general had been immediately
revived by act of Congress, and the President had promptly promoted him
to the new rank, and made him general in chief of all the armies of the
United States. His military prestige was such that everything was put
into his hands, everything yielded to his wishes. The coming of Grant
was a great relief to the President and the Secretary. Halleck, the late
general in chief, consented to serve as Grant's chief of staff in
Washington, practically continuing his old service of chief military
adviser to the President and the Secretary of War, while Grant took the
field in active direction of operations against Richmond.

Halleck was not thought to be a great man in the field, but he was
nevertheless a man of military ability, and by reason of his great
accomplishments in the technics of armies and of war was almost
invaluable as an adviser to the civilians Lincoln and Stanton. He was an
honest man, perhaps somewhat lacking in moral courage, yet earnest and
energetic in his efforts to sustain the national government. I have
heard Halleck accused of being unjust to his inferiors in rank,
especially to Grant. I believe this wrong. I never thought him unjust to
anybody. He always had his own ideas, and insisted strenuously on
following his own course, but I never detected a sign of injustice in
his conduct toward others. I think this false impression came from the
fact that he was a very critical man. The first impulse of his mind
toward a new plan was not enthusiasm; it was analysis, criticism. His
habit of picking men and manners to pieces to see what they were worth
gave the idea that he was unjust and malicious toward certain of his

It was March when Grant came to Washington to receive his new grade of
lieutenant general. Soon afterward he joined the Army of the Potomac. On
the 4th of May he had moved out from Culpeper, where the army had been
in winter quarters since the previous December, and crossed the Rapidan
with an effective force of one hundred and twenty thousand men. General
Lee, his opponent, had about seventy thousand.

For two days after Grant moved we had no authentic reports from the
army, although it was known that great events were occurring. Mr.
Stanton and Mr. Lincoln had begun to get uneasy. The evening of May 6th
I was at a reception when a messenger came with summons to the War
Department. I hurried over to the office in evening dress. The President
was there, talking very soberly with Stanton.

"Dana," said Mr. Lincoln, "you know we have been in the dark for two
days since Grant moved. We are very much troubled, and have concluded to
send you down there. How soon can you start?"

"In half an hour," I replied.

In about that time I had an engine fired up at Alexandria, and a cavalry
escort of a hundred men awaiting me there. I had got into my camp
clothes, had borrowed a pistol, and with my own horse was aboard the
train at Maryland Avenue that was to take me to Alexandria. My only
baggage was a tooth-brush. I was just starting when an orderly galloped
up with word that the President wished to see me. I rode back to the
department in hot haste. Mr. Lincoln was sitting in the same place.

"Well, Dana," said he, looking up, "since you went away I've been
thinking about it. I don't like to send you down there."

"But why not, Mr. President?" I asked, a little surprised.

"You can't tell," continued the President, "just where Lee is or what he
is doing, and Jeb Stuart is rampaging around pretty lively in between
the Rappahannock and the Rapidan. It's a considerable risk, and I don't
like to expose you to it."

"Mr. President," I said, "I have a cavalry guard ready and a good horse
myself. If we are attacked, we probably will be strong enough to fight.
If we are not strong enough to fight, and it comes to the worst, we are
equipped to run. It's getting late, and I want to get down to the
Rappahannock by daylight. I think I'll start."

"Well, now, Dana," said the President, with a little twinkle in his
eyes, "if you feel that way, I rather wish you would. Good night, and
God bless you."

By seven o'clock on the morning of May 7th I was at the Rappahannock,
where I found a rear guard of the army. I stopped there for breakfast,
and then hurried on to Grant's headquarters, which were at Piney Branch
Meeting House. There I learned of the crossing of the Rapidan by our
army, and of the desperate battle of the Wilderness on May 5th and 6th.

The Army of the Potomac was then composed of the Second, Fifth, Sixth,
and Ninth Army Corps, and of one cavalry corps. In command of the army
was Major-General George C. Meade. He was a tall, thin man, rather
dyspeptic, I should suppose from the fits of nervous irritation to which
he was subject. He was totally lacking in cordiality toward those with
whom he had business, and in consequence was generally disliked by his
subordinates. With General Grant Meade got along always perfectly,
because he had the first virtue of a soldier--that is, obedience to
orders. He was an intellectual man, and agreeable to talk with when his
mind was free, but silent and indifferent to everybody when he was
occupied with that which interested him.

As a commander, Meade seemed to me to lack the boldness that was
necessary to bring the war to a close. He lacked self-confidence and
tenacity of purpose, and he had not the moral authority that Grant had
attained from his grand successes in other fields. As soon as Meade had
a commander over him he was all right, but when he himself was the
commander he began to hesitate. Meade had entirely separate headquarters
and a separate staff, and Grant sent his orders to him.

In command of the Second Army Corps was Major-General W. S. Hancock. He
was a splendid fellow, a brilliant man, as brave as Julius Cæsar, and
always ready to obey orders, especially if they were fighting orders. He
had more of the aggressive spirit than almost anybody else in that army.
Major-General G. K. Warren, who commanded the Fifth Army Corps, was an
accomplished engineer. Major-General John Sedgwick commanded the Sixth
Army Corps. I had known him for over twenty years. Sedgwick graduated at
West Point in 1837, and was appointed a second lieutenant in the Second
Artillery. At the time of the McKenzie rebellion in Canada Sedgwick's
company was stationed at Buffalo during a considerable time. I was
living in Buffalo then, and in this rebellion the young men of the town
organized a regiment of city guards, and I was a sergeant in one of
those companies, so that I became quite familiar with all the military
movements then going on. Then it was that I got acquainted with
Sedgwick. He was a very solid man; no flummery about him. You could
always tell where Sedgwick was to be found, and in a battle he was apt
to be found where the hardest fighting was. He was not an ardent,
impetuous soldier like Hancock, but was steady and sure.

Two days after I reached the army, on May 9th, not far from
Spottsylvania Courthouse, my old friend Sedgwick was killed. He had gone
out in the morning to inspect his lines, and, getting beyond the point
of safety, was struck in the forehead by a sharpshooter and instantly
killed. The command of the Sixth Army Corps was given to General H. G.
Wright. Wright was another engineer officer, well educated, of good,
solid intellect, with capacity for command, but no special predilection
for fighting. From the moment Meade assumed command of the army, two
days before Gettysburg, the engineers rapidly came to the front, for
Meade had the pride of corps strongly implanted in his heart.

Major-General Burnside, whom I had last seen at Knoxville in December,
was in command of the Ninth Army Corps. Immediately after the siege of
Knoxville, at his own request, Burnside had been relieved of the command
in East Tennessee by Major-General John G. Foster. The President somehow
always showed for Burnside great respect and good will. After Grant's
plans for the spring campaign were made known, the Ninth Corps was moved
by rail to Annapolis, where it was recruited up to about twenty-five
thousand men. As the time for action neared it was set in motion, and by
easy marches reached and re-enforced the Army of the Potomac on the
morning of the 6th of May, in the midst of the battle of the Wilderness.
It was not formally incorporated with that army until later, but, by a
sort of fiction, it was held to be a distinct army, Burnside acting in
concert with Meade, and receiving his orders directly from Grant, as did
Meade. These two armies were the excuse for Grant's personal presence,
without actually superseding Meade.

In my opinion, the great soldier of the Army of the Potomac at this time
was General Humphreys. He was the chief of staff to General Meade, and
was a strategist, a tactician, and an engineer. Humphreys was a fighter,
too, and in this an exception to most engineers. He was a very
interesting figure. He used to ride about in a black felt hat, the brim
of which was turned down all around, making him look like a Quaker. He
was very pleasant to deal with, unless you were fighting against him,
and then he was not so pleasant. He was one of the loudest swearers that
I ever knew. The men of distinguished and brilliant profanity in the war
were General Sherman and General Humphreys--I could not mention any
others that could be classed with them. General Logan also was a strong
swearer, but he was not a West Pointer: he was a civilian. Sherman and
Humphreys would swear to make everything blue when some dispatch had not
been delivered correctly or they were provoked. Humphreys was a very
charming man, quite destitute of vanity. I think he had consented to go
and serve with Meade as chief of staff out of pure patriotism. He
preferred an active command, and eventually, on the eve of the end,
succeeded to the command of the Second Corps, and bore a conspicuous
part in the Appomattox campaign.

Meade was in command of the Army of the Potomac, but it was Grant, the
lieutenant general of the armies of the United States, who was really
directing the movements. The central idea of the campaign had not
developed to the army when I reached headquarters, but it was soon clear
to everybody. Grant's great operation was the endeavor to interpose the
Federal army between Lee's army and Richmond, so as to cut Lee off from
his base of supplies. He meant to get considerably in advance of
Lee--between him and Richmond--thus compelling Lee to leave his
intrenchments and hasten southward. If in the collision thus forced
Grant found that he could not smash Lee, he meant to make another move
to get behind his army. That was to be the strategy of the campaign of
1864. That was what Lee thwarted, though he had a narrow escape more
than once.

The first encounter with Lee had taken place in the Wilderness on May
5th and 6th. The Confederates and many Northern writers love to call the
Wilderness a drawn battle. It was not so; in every essential light it
was a Union victory. Grant had not intended to fight a battle in those
dense, brushy jungles, but Lee precipitated it just as he had
precipitated the battle of Chancellorsville one year before, and not six
miles to the eastward of this very ground. In doing so he hoped to
neutralize the superior numbers of Grant as he had Hooker's, and so to
mystify and handle the Union leader as to compel a retreat across the
Rapidan. But he failed. Some of the fighting in the brush was a draw,
but the Union army did not yield a rood of ground; it held the roads
southward, inflicted great losses on its enemy, and then, instead of
recrossing the river, resumed its march toward Richmond as soon as
Lee's attacks had ceased. Lee had palpably failed in his objects. His
old-time tactics had made no impression on Grant. He never offered
general battle in the open afterward.

The previous history of the Army of the Potomac had been to advance and
fight a battle, then either to retreat or to lie still, and finally to
go into winter quarters. Grant did not intend to proceed in that way. As
soon as he had fought a battle and had not routed Lee, he meant to move
nearer to Richmond and fight another battle. But the men in the army had
become so accustomed to the old methods of campaigning that few, if any,
of them believed that the new commander in chief would be able to do
differently from his predecessors. I remember distinctly the sensation
in the ranks when the rumor first went around that our position was
south of Lee's. It was the morning of May 8th. The night before the army
had made a forced march on Spottsylvania Courthouse. There was no
indication the next morning that Lee had moved in any direction. As the
army began to realize that we were really moving south, and at that
moment were probably much nearer Richmond than was our enemy, the
spirits of men and officers rose to the highest pitch of animation. On
every hand I heard the cry, "On to Richmond!"

But there were to be a great many more obstacles to our reaching
Richmond than General Grant himself, I presume, realized on May 8, 1864.
We met one that very morning; for when our advance reached
Spottsylvania Courthouse it found Lee's troops there, ready to dispute
the right of way with us, and two days later Grant was obliged to fight
the battle of Spottsylvania before we could make another move south.

It is no part of my present plan to go into detailed description of all
the battles of this campaign, but rather to dwell on the incidents and
deeds which impressed me most deeply at the moment. In the battle of
Spottsylvania, a terrific struggle, with many dramatic features, there
is nothing I remember more distinctly than a little scene in General
Grant's tent between him and a captured Confederate officer, General
Edward Johnson. The battle had begun on the morning of May 10th, and had
continued all day. On the 11th the armies had rested, but at half past
four on the morning of the 12th fighting had been begun by an attack by
Hancock on a rebel salient. Hancock attacked with his accustomed
impetuosity, storming and capturing the enemy's fortified line, with
some four thousand prisoners and twenty cannon. The captures included
nearly all of Major-General Edward Johnson's division, together with
Johnson himself and General George H. Steuart.

I was at Grant's headquarters when General Johnson was brought in a
prisoner. He was a West Pointer, and had been a captain in the old army
before secession, and was an important officer in the Confederate
service, having distinguished himself in the Valley in 1863, and at
Gettysburg. Grant had not seen him since they had been in Mexico
together. The two men shook hands cordially, and at once began a brisk
conversation, which was very interesting to me, because nothing was
said in it on the subject in which they were both most interested just
then--that is, the fight that was going on, and the surprise that
Hancock had effected. It was the past alone of which they talked.

It was quite early in the morning when Hancock's prisoners were brought
in. The battle raged without cessation throughout the day, Wright and
Hancock bearing the brunt of it. Burnside made several attacks, in which
his troops generally bore themselves like good soldiers. The results of
the battle of Spottsylvania were that we had crowded the enemy out of
some of his most important positions, had weakened him by losses of
between nine thousand and ten thousand men killed, wounded, and
captured, besides many battle flags and much artillery, and that our
troops rested victorious upon the ground they had fought for.

After the battle was over and firing had nearly ceased, Rawlins and I
went out to ride over the field. We went first to the salient which
Hancock had attacked in the morning. The two armies had struggled for
hours for this point, and the loss had been so terrific that the place
has always been known since as the "Bloody Angle." The ground around the
salient had been trampled and cut in the struggle until it was almost
impassable for one on horseback, so Rawlins and I dismounted and climbed
up the bank over the outer line of the rude breastworks. Within we saw a
fence over which earth evidently had been banked, but which now was bare
and half down. It was here the fighting had been fiercest. We picked our
way to this fence, and stopped to look over the scene. The night was
coming on, and, after the horrible din of the day, the silence was
intense; nothing broke it but distant and occasional firing or the low
groans of the wounded. I remember that as I stood there I was almost
startled to hear a bird twittering in a tree. All around us the
underbrush and trees, which were just beginning to be green, had been
riddled and burnt. The ground was thick with dead and wounded men, among
whom the relief corps was at work. The earth, which was soft from the
heavy rains we had been having before and during the battle, had been
trampled by the fighting of the thousands of men until it was soft, like
thin hasty pudding. Over the fence against which we leaned lay a great
pool of this mud, its surface as smooth as that of a pond.

As we stood there, looking silently down at it, of a sudden the leg of a
man was lifted up from the pool and the mud dripped off his boot. It was
so unexpected, so horrible, that for a moment we were stunned. Then we
pulled ourselves together and called to some soldiers near by to rescue
the owner of the leg. They pulled him out with but little trouble, and
discovered that he was not dead, only wounded. He was taken to the
hospital, where he got well, I believe.

The first news which passed through the ranks the morning after the
battle of Spottsylvania was that Lee had abandoned his position during
the night. Though our army was greatly fatigued from the enormous
efforts of the day before, the news of Lee's departure inspired the men
with fresh energy, and everybody was eager to be in pursuit. Our
skirmishers soon found the enemy along the whole line, however, and the
conclusion was that their retrograde movement had been made to correct
their position after the loss of the key points taken from them the day
before, and that they were still with us in a new line as strong as the
old one. Of course, we could not determine this point without a battle,
and nothing was done that day to provoke one. It was necessary to rest
the men.

In changing his lines Lee had left more uncovered the roads leading
southward along his right wing, and Grant ordered Meade to throw the
corps of Warren, which held the right, and the corps of Wright, which
held the center of Meade's army, to the left of Burnside, leaving
Hancock upon our right. If not interrupted, Grant thought by this
maneuvre to turn Lee's flank and compel him to move southward.

The movement of the two corps to our left was executed during the night
of May 13th and 14th, but for three days it had rained steadily, and the
roads were so bad that Wright and Warren did not get up to surprise the
enemy at daylight as ordered. The only engagement brought on by this
move was an active little fight over a conspicuous hill, with a house
and plantation buildings upon it. The hill, which was on our left and
the enemy's right, was valuable as a lookout rather than for offensive
operations. Upton took it in the morning, and later the enemy retook it.
General Meade, who was there at that moment, narrowly escaped capture.
Our men very handsomely carried the hill again that evening.

The two armies were then lying in a semicircle, the Federal left well
around toward the south. We were concentrated to the last degree, and,
so far as we could tell, Lee's forces were equally compact. On the 15th,
16th, and 17th, we lay in about the same position. This inactivity was
caused by the weather. A pouring rain had begun on the 11th, and it
continued until the morning of the 16th; the mud was so deep that any
offensive operation, however successful, could not be followed up. There
was nothing to do but lie still and wait for better weather and drier

While waiting for the rain to stop, we had time to consider the field
returns of losses as they were handed in. The army had left winter
quarters at Culpeper Courthouse on May 4th, and on May 16th the total of
killed, wounded, and missing in both the Army of the Potomac and the
Ninth Corps amounted to a little over thirty-three thousand men. The
missing alone amounted to forty-nine hundred, but some of these were, in
fact, killed or wounded. When Grant looked over the returns, he
expressed great regret at the loss of so many men. Meade, who was with
him, remarked, as I remember, "Well, General, we can't do these little
tricks without losses."



    Maneuvering and fighting in the rain, mud, and thickets--Virginian
    conditions of warfare--Within eight miles of Richmond--The battle of
    Cold Harbor--The tremendous losses of the campaign--The charge of
    butchery against Grant considered in the light of statistics--What
    it cost in life and blood to take Richmond.

By the afternoon of May 17th the weather was splendid, and the roads
were rapidly becoming dry, even where the mud was worst. Grant
determined to engage Lee, and orders for a decisive movement of the army
were issued, to be executed during the night. At first he proposed an
attack upon the enemy's right, but changed the plan. Instead of
attacking there, Hancock and Wright made a night march back to our right
flank, and attacked at daylight upon the same lines where Hancock made
his successful assault on the 12th. They succeeded in pressing close to
the enemy's lines, and for a time were confident that at last they had
struck the lair of the enemy, but an impassable abatis stopped them. One
division of Hancock's corps attempted in vain to charge through this
obstacle, and held the ground before it for an hour or more under a
galling fire of canister. The difficulty of storming the enemy's
intrenched camp on that side being evidently of the most extreme
character, and both corps having artfully but unsuccessfully sought for
a weak point where they might break through, Grant, at nine o'clock,
ordered the attack to cease. The attempt was a failure. Lee was not to
be ousted; and Grant, convinced of it, issued orders for another
movement which he had had in contemplation for several days, but which
he did not wish to try till after a last attempt to get the enemy out of
his stronghold. This was nothing less than to slip away from Lee and
march on toward Richmond again.

The new order directed that Hancock's corps should march by night from
its present position southeast as far toward Richmond on the line of the
Fredericksburg road as he could go, fighting his way if necessary.
Warren was to follow, and, if Lee did not come out and attack when our
army was thus weakened, Wright and Burnside also were to march

This movement was begun on the night of the 20th. By the night of the
21st Hancock was across the Mattapony River at Milford. Warren had
crossed the same river at Guiney's Station, the point to which Grant had
moved his headquarters. By the morning of the 22d Wright and Burnside
were up in safety, and the forward movement was continued. We were now
in a fine, clear country, good to move in and fight in, and the advance
of the 22d was most successful. By night our army lay in an east and
west line along the Mattapony River, holding the crossings. On the right
was Wright; close to him at the left, Warren; in the center, Burnside;
on the left, Hancock. Our headquarters were at New Bethel Church. Our
talk that night was that in all probability we should meet the enemy on
the North Anna, a day's march to the south of our position.

The operations of the next day were much embarrassed by our ignorance of
the road and the entire incorrectness of our maps; nevertheless, by one
o'clock in the afternoon our right wing, under Warren, reached the North
Anna. The stream there was about one hundred and fifty feet wide, with
bluff banks from fifty to seventy-five feet high. Wright followed after
Warren. As soon as Warren reached Jericho Mills he pushed his
sharpshooters across the stream, which was easily fordable at that
place, following them with a compact body of infantry. A Confederate
regiment posted to watch the crossing at once gave way, leaving a single
prisoner in our hands. From this man Warren learned that another of the
enemy's divisions was drawn up to receive him near by. Under the orders
of General Grant, he promptly threw across the pontoon bridge, over
which he rapidly moved his artillery, at the same time urging forward
his infantry by the ford as well as by the bridge; and by five o'clock
he had transported his entire command, and had taken up a position of
great strength. Here he rapidly commenced intrenching himself.

Grant had by this time moved his headquarters up to Mount Carmel Church,
some four miles from Jericho Mills. About six o'clock we knew from the
firing that Warren had been attacked. I never heard more rapid or
heavier firing, either of artillery or musketry. It was not until about
half past ten that evening that we knew surely how the fight had gone;
then a dispatch from Warren announced that he had triumphantly repulsed
the enemy, and made considerable captures of prisoners.

About the same time that Warren was fighting for his position at Jericho
Mills, Hancock advanced on our left. By a vigorous charge of two
brigades of Birney's division, the enemy was driven over the North Anna
River. The next morning Hancock crossed over. That same morning, May
24th, we found that, as a result of the operations of the previous day,
we had about one thousand prisoners. They were more discouraged than any
set of prisoners I ever saw before. Lee had deceived them, they said,
and they declared that his army would not fight again except behind

The general opinion of every prominent officer in the army on the
morning of the 24th was that the enemy had fallen back, either to take
up a position beyond the South Anna or to go to Richmond, but by noon
the next day we knew this was a mistake. All through the day of the 24th
Lee blocked our southward march. The opinion prevailed that the enemy's
position was held by a rear guard only, but the obstinacy of their
skirmishers was regarded as very remarkable. About dark Hancock made an
attack, breaking into the Confederate line of works, taking some
prisoners, and satisfying himself that a whole corps was before him.
Soon afterward the division of Gibbon was attacked, but it beat back the
assault handsomely without any considerable loss. Just before dark
Crittenden--the same Crittenden who was at Chickamauga--was also
suddenly attacked, and one of his brigades damaged. No fighting of any
moment took place on the morning of the 25th, but the enemy showed such
strength as to leave no doubt that Lee's whole army was present. His
intrenchments were in the form of the letter V. He showed artillery on
both faces. By the morning of the 25th Grant was sure that Lee was
before him and strongly intrenched. He soon determined on a new move.
This was to withdraw his whole army as quickly as possible, and, before
Lee discovered his intention, to move it southeast, across the Pamunkey,
and perhaps on across the Chickahominy and the James, if he could not
meanwhile get Lee out of his earthworks.

The orders for the new move were received with the best spirit by the
army, in spite of the fact that the men were much jaded. Indeed, one of
the most important results of the campaign thus far was the entire
change which had taken place in the feelings of the armies. The
Confederates had lost all confidence, and were already morally defeated.
Our army had learned to believe that it was sure of ultimate victory.
Even our officers had ceased to regard Lee as an invincible military
genius. On the part of the enemy this change was evinced not only by
their not attacking, even when circumstances seemed to invite it, but by
the unanimous statements of prisoners taken from them.

The morning after we began to move from our position on the North Anna I
was so confident that I wrote Mr. Stanton, "Rely upon it, the end is
near as well as sure."

It was on the night of the 26th that our army was withdrawn from the
North Anna, without loss or disturbance, and by the evening of the 27th
Grant had his headquarters ten miles from Hanovertown, and his whole
army was well up toward the crossing. We had no news of Lee's movements
that day, though we heard that there was a force of the enemy at Hanover
Courthouse. Grant himself was very doubtful that day of our getting
across the Hanover Ferry; he told me that we might be obliged to go
farther to the southeast to get over. On the morning of the 27th
Sheridan and his cavalry seized the ferry, laying bridges, and, after
crossing, advancing well beyond. Everything went on finely that night
and during the 28th, the troops passing our headquarters in great
numbers and very rapidly. By noon of the 28th the movement of the army
across the Pamunkey was complete, with the exception of Burnside, who
did not arrive until midnight. The movement had been executed with
admirable celerity and success. The new position was one of great
strength, our lines extending from the Pamunkey to Totopotomoy Creek.
Wright was on the Pamunkey, Hancock on his left, and Warren on the
Totopotomoy. The orders for that day were to let the men rest, though
both officers and men were in high spirits at the successful execution
of this long and difficult flank movement.

We were now south of the Pamunkey, and occupying a very strong position,
but we did not know yet where Lee was. A general reconnoissance was at
once ordered, and the enemy was found in force south of the Totopotomoy
Creek; by the 30th there was no doubt that Lee's whole army, now
re-enforced by thirteen thousand men, was close at hand and strongly
intrenched again. Grant said he would fight here if there was a fair
chance, but he declared emphatically he would not run his head against
heavy works.

Our line began to push forward on the 30th. All the afternoon of that
day at headquarters, which were now at Hawes's Shop, we heard the noise
of fighting. First Warren on the left, who had reached a point only
about seven miles and a half from Richmond, had a short, sharp, and
decisive engagement with Early; and later an active conflict raged for
some time with our right on the Totopotomoy. We were successful all
along the line. The next day, the 31st, we pushed ahead until our lines
lay from Bethesda Church, on the east, to the railroad, on the west.
Desultory firing was constantly heard, but there was no very active
fighting that day until about five o'clock in the afternoon, when
Sheridan's cavalry, by hard work, drove out the enemy and secured Cold
Harbor, which was at that moment of vast importance to us strategically.

It was determined to make a fight here before the enemy could intrench.
Wright was at once ordered to have his whole force on the ground by
daylight on the 1st of June, to support Sheridan and take the offensive.
"Baldy" Smith, of Butler's army, who had landed at White House on the
31st with twelve thousand five hundred men, was ordered to the aid of
Wright and Sheridan. But there was an error in Smith's orders, and
Wright's march was so long that his corps did not get up to Cold Harbor
until the afternoon of the 1st. Meanwhile Sheridan's cavalry had
repulsed two attacks by two brigades of Kershaw's infantry.

It was not until six o'clock in the afternoon that we at headquarters at
Bethesda Church heard the cannon which indicated that an attack had at
last been made by Wright and Smith. From the sounds of artillery and
musketry, we judged the fight was furious. Rickett's division broke
through the rebel lines between Hoke and Kershaw, capturing five hundred
prisoners, and forcing the enemy to take up a new position farther back.
Smith's troops effected lodgments close up to the Confederate
intrenchments. Our losses this day were twenty-two hundred men in these
two corps. Warren was slightly engaged. Altogether they had done very
well, but meanwhile Lee was again concentrated and intrenched in our

Hancock was ordered to move during the night, and his advance arrived at
Cold Harbor about daylight. When I got up in the morning--I was then at
Bethesda Church--his rear was marching past our headquarters. In
conjunction with Wright and Smith, he was to fall upon Lee's right that
day. Warren and Burnside were also ordered in as soon as they heard that
the three corps on our left had begun battle. There was no battle that
day, however. Hancock's men were so tired with their forced march of
nearly twelve miles, and the heat and dust were so oppressive, that
General Grant ordered the attack to be postponed until half past four
o'clock the next morning.

So the battle Grant sought did not come until June 3d--that of Cold
Harbor. On the morning of the 3d our line lay with the right at Bethesda
Church, the left extending to the Chickahominy. Hancock commanded the
left; next to him was Wright, with his corps drawn up in three lines;
next, Smith, with the Eighteenth Corps in two lines; next, Warren, who
had his whole command in a single line, the distance he covered being
fully three miles. With this thin order of battle he was necessarily
unable to make any effective assault. Burnside held the extreme right.
Hancock, Wright, and Smith were to make the main attacks at daybreak.
Promptly at the hour they dashed out toward the rebel lines, under a
fearful fire of musketry and a cross fire of artillery. The losses were
great, but we gained advantages here and there. The entire charge
consumed hardly more than an hour. Barlow, of Hancock's corps, drove
through a very strong line, and at five o'clock reported that he had
taken intrenchments with guns and colors, but he could not stay there.
An interior breastwork commanded the one he had carried, and his men had
to withdraw, leaving behind them the captured cannon, and bringing out a
single Confederate standard and two hundred and twenty prisoners as
tokens of their brief success. Wright and Smith succeeded in carrying
the first line of rifle-pits, but could get no farther to the front. All
our forces held ground close up to the enemy. At some points they were
intrenched within a hundred feet of the rebel breastworks. Burnside, on
the right, captured some rifle-pits. Later he was attacked by Early, who
was roughly handled and repulsed. Warren was active, and repulsed a
vigorous attack by Gordon.

Thus by noon we had fully developed the Confederate lines, and Grant
could see what was necessary in order to get through them. Hancock
reported that in his front it could not be done. Wright was decidedly of
the opinion that a lodgment could be made in his front, but it would be
difficult to make much by it unless Hancock and Smith could also
advance. Smith thought he could carry the works before him, but was not
sanguine. Burnside also thought he could get through, but Warren, who
was nearest him, did not seem to share his opinion. In this state of
things, at half past one o'clock, General Grant ordered the attack to be
suspended. He had told Meade as early as seven in the morning to suspend
the movement if it became evident that success was impossible.

This was the battle of Cold Harbor, which has been exaggerated into one
of the bloodiest disasters of history, a reckless, useless waste of
human life. It was nothing of the kind. The outlook warranted the
effort. The breaking of Lee's lines meant his destruction and the
collapse of the rebellion. Sheridan took the same chances at Five Forks
ten months later, and won; so did Wright, Humphreys, Gibbon, and others
at Petersburg. They broke through far stronger lines than those at Cold
Harbor, and Lee fled in the night toward Appomattox. So it would have
been at Cold Harbor if Grant had won, and who would have thought of the

While we lay at Cold Harbor, as when we had been at Spottsylvania, the
principal topic of conversation was the losses of the army. The
discussion has never ceased. There are still many persons who bitterly
accuse Grant of butchery in this campaign. As a matter of fact, Grant
lost fewer men in his successful effort to take Richmond and end the war
than his predecessors lost in making the same attempt and failing. An
official table, showing the aggregate of the losses sustained by the
armies of McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, Meade, Butler,
and Ord, in the effort to capture the Confederate capital, is appended:

    _Comparative Statement of the Losses sustained in Action by the Army
    of Northeastern Virginia, the Army of the Potomac, and the Army of
    Virginia, under Command of Generals McDowell, McClellan, Pope,
    Burnside, Hooker, and Meade, from May 24, 1861, to May 4, 1864, and
    the Army of the Potomac (Meade) and the Army of the James (Butler
    and Ord), constituting the Armies operating against Richmond under
    General Grant, from May 5, 1864, to April 9, 1865_:

                                |       |        |Captured|.
                                |Killed.|Wounded.|   or   |Aggregate.
                                |       |        |missing.|
    ----------------------------+-------+--------+------- +----------
    Losses from May 24, 1861,   |       |        |        |
      to May 4, 1864:           |       |        |        |
                                |       |        |        |
    McDowell, May 24            |       |        |        |
      to August 19, 1861        |    493|   1,176|   1,342|    3,011
                                |       |        |        |
    McClellan, August 20, 1861, |       |        |        |
      to April 4, 1862          |     80|     268|     815|    1,163
                                |       |        |        |
    McClellan, April 5          |       |        |        |
      to August 8, 1862         |  3,263|  13,868|   7,317|   24,448
                                |       |        |        |
    Pope, June 26               |       |        |        |
      to September 2, 1862      |  2,065|   9,908|   4,982|   16,955
                                |       |        |        |
    McClellan, September 3      |       |        |        |
     to November 14, 1862       |  2,716|  11,979|  13,882|   28,577
                                |       |        |        |
    Burnside, November 15, 1862,|       |        |        |
      to January 25, 1863       |  1,296|   9,642|   2,276|   13,214
                                |       |        |        |
    Hooker, January 26          |       |        |        |
      to June 27                |  1,955|  11,160|  11,912|   25,027
                                |       |        |        |
    Meade, June 28, 1863,       |       |        |        |
      to May 4 1864             |  3,877|  18,078|   9,575|   31,530
        Total                   | 15,745|  76,079|  52,101|  143,925
                                |       |        |        |
                                |       |        |        |
    Grant's losses from May 5,  |       |        |        |
    1864, to April 9, 1865:     |       |        |        |
                                |       |        |        |
                                |       |        |        |
      May 5 to June 24,         |       |        |        |
        1864--Army of the       |       |        |        |
        Potomac, from the       |       |        |        |
        Rapidan to the James    |  7,621|  38,339|   8,966|   54,926
                                |       |        |        |
      May 5 to June 14--Army of |       |        |        |
        the James, south of     |       |        |        |
        James River             |    634|   3,903|   1,678|    6,215
                                |       |        |        |
      June 15 to July 31--Army  |       |        |        |
        of the Potomac and Army |       |        |        |
        of the James            |  2,928|  13,743|   6,265|   22,936
                                |       |        |        |
      August 1 to December      |       |        |        |
        31--Army of the Potomac |       |        |        |
        and Army of the James   |  2,172|  11,138|  11,311|   24,621
                                |       |        |        |
                                |       |        |        |
      January 1 to April 9,     |       |        |        |
        1865--Army of the       |       |        |        |
        Potomac and Army of     |       |        |        |
        the James and           |       |        |        |
        Sheridan's cavalry      |  1,784|  10,625|   3,283|   15,692
          Total                 | 15,139| 77,748 |  31,503|  124,390
                                |       |        |        |
              SUMMARY:          |       |        |        |
    Armies of McDowell,         |       |        |        |
      McClellan, Pope, Burnside,|       |        |        |
       Hooker, and Meade        | 15,745|  76,079|  52,101|  143,925
    Armies under Grant          | 15,139|  77,748|  31,503|  124,390
        Grand aggregate         | 30,884| 153,827|  83,604|  268,315
                                |       |        |        |
    Aggregate of losses from    |       |        |        |
      May 24, 1861, to May 4,   |       |        |        |
      1864                      |       |        |        |  143,925
    Aggregate of losses from    |       |        |        |
      May 4, 1864, to April 9,  |       |        |        |
      1865                      |       |        |        |  124,390
                                |       |        |        +----------
    Difference in Grant's favor |       |        |        |   19,535

This table shows exactly what Richmond cost us from May 24, 1861, when
McDowell crossed the Potomac into Virginia, to Lee's surrender at
Appomattox; and it proves that Grant in eleven months secured the prize
with less loss than his predecessors suffered in failing to win it
during a struggle of three years.



    In camp at Cold Harbor--Grant's opinion of Lee--Trouble with
    newspaper correspondents--Moving south of the James River--The great
    pontoon bridge--The fighting of the colored troops--Failure to take
    Petersburg at first attack--Lee loses Grant and Beauregard finds
    him--Beauregard's service to the Confederacy.

The affair of June 3d at Cold Harbor showed that Lee was not to be
driven from his position without a great sacrifice of life. A left flank
movement south of the James River was accordingly decided upon by Grant.
This was no new idea; that eventuality had been part of the original
plan of campaign, and preparations for bridging the James had been
ordered as early as the 15th of April, three weeks before the battle of
the Wilderness. One object of the movement across the James was to cut
off Richmond's line of supplies from the south. But before this could be
done another matter had to be attended to.

In General Grant's plan of campaign the effectual destruction of the
Virginia Central Railroad was an indispensable feature. In moving from
Culpeper he had expected that before reaching the Chickahominy he would
have a chance to crush Lee's army by fighting. This would have allowed
him an undisturbed opportunity to destroy that road, as well as the
Fredericksburg road from the Chickahominy to the North Anna. The
expectation had been disappointed by Lee's success in avoiding a
decisive battle. Before moving farther in accomplishing the great object
of the campaign, these roads must be so thoroughly destroyed that when
Richmond was cut off from other lines of communication with the south
the attempt to repair and use the line through Gordonsville and
Lynchburg would be hopeless. The work was first to be attempted by
Sheridan with cavalry. If he was not able to complete it, the whole army
was to be swung around for the purpose, even should it be necessary to
abandon temporarily our communications with White House.

This necessity, as well as that of making thorough preparations for the
difficult march south of the James and for the perfect co-operation of
Butler at Bermuda Hundred, detained Grant at Cold Harbor until June
12th. Two officers of his staff, Colonel Comstock and Colonel Porter,
had been sent to General Butler to arrange for co-operation in the
movement of the army to Bermuda Hundred, and to look over the ground to
be traversed and the means of crossing the river. Grant would not order
the movement until they returned. They did not get back until the 12th.

During this time the opposing lines of Grant and Lee were very close
together, and on our side the troops made regular siege approaches to
the Confederate works. The days passed quietly, with no fighting except
an occasional rattle of musketry and now and then a cannon shot. There
was occasionally a scare on the line. On the evening of June 5th
Wright's and Hancock's line responded to a stiff assault; the firing
lasted for twenty minutes, and it was very loud, but it was all about
nothing and no harm was done. The enemy were so near that in the dark
our men thought they were coming out to attack. On June 6th there was an
onslaught on Burnside just after midnight, which was successfully
repulsed, and in the afternoon a rush was made by a party of a hundred
picked men of the enemy, who came to find out what was the meaning of
Hancock's advancing siege lines. As a rule, everything was quiet except
the picket firing, which could not be prevented when the men were so
close together. The picket firing ceased only during the occasional
truces to bury the dead.

The operations around Cold Harbor, the close proximity of the two lines,
the unceasing firing, with no hour in the day or night when one could
not hear the sound of musketry and cannon, were precisely like the
conditions at Spottsylvania and those on the North Anna. It was a
constant feeling for the weak spot in Lee's armor. There was far less
maneuvering at Cold Harbor after the first efforts than during the long
struggle at Spottsylvania. We were merely waiting for the proper moment
to withdraw toward the James. Grant, Meade, and all the leading officers
were certain of ultimate success; although the fighting had been more
severe and continuous than anything in the previous history of the army,
I must say a cheerful, confident tone generally prevailed. All acted as
if they were at a job which required only time to finish.

Grant was disappointed, and talked to me a good deal about the failure
to get at Lee in an open battle which would wind up the Confederacy. The
general was constantly revolving plans to turn Lee out of his
intrenchments. The old-time fear of Lee's superior ability that was rife
among the officers of the Army of the Potomac had entirely disappeared.
They had begun to look upon him as an ordinary mortal, making a fairly
good effort to ward off fate, and nothing more. I think Grant respected
Lee's military ability and character, yet the boldness with which he
maneuvered in Lee's presence is proof that he was not overawed by Lee's
prestige as a strategist and tactician. He thought Lee's great forte was
as a defensive fighter, a quality displayed at Antietam and
Fredericksburg; but held no high opinion of his Chancellorsville
operations, where he had recklessly laid himself open to ruin. To me the
views of the military men at the different headquarters were interesting
and instructive.

While we were encamped at Cold Harbor, General Meade was very much
disturbed by a letter published in a Cincinnati paper, saying that after
the battle of the Wilderness he counselled retreat--a course which would
have destroyed the nation, but which Grant prohibited. This was entirely
untrue. Meade had not shown any weakness since moving from Culpeper, nor
once intimated doubt as to the successful issue of the campaign. Nor had
he intimated that any other plan or line would be more likely to win.
The newspaper correspondent who was responsible for the misstatement was
with us, and Meade ordered that, as a punishment, he should be paraded
through the lines and afterward expelled from the army. This was done
on June 8th, the correspondent being led through the army on horseback
by the provost-marshal guard. On his back and breast were tacked
placards inscribed, "Libeller of the Press."

It was not often, considering the conditions, that correspondents got
into trouble in the army. As a rule, they were discreet. Besides this
case of Meade, I remember now only one other in which I was actively
interested; that was a few months later, after I had returned to the
department. Mr. Stanton had been annoyed by a telegram which had been
published about Sherman's movements, and he ordered me to send it to the
general, so that we might know how much truth there was in it. I wired
him as follows:

                                   WAR DEPARTMENT, _November 9, 1864_.

     Major-General SHERMAN, Kingston, Ga.:

     Following, copied from evening papers, is sent for your

                                        CINCINNATI, _November 9, 1864_.

     "Yesterday's Indianapolis Journal says: 'Officers from Chattanooga
     report that Sherman returned to Atlanta early last week with five
     corps of his army, leaving two corps in Tennessee to watch Hood. He
     destroyed the railroad from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and is sending
     the iron into the former place. Atlanta was burned, and Sherman is
     now marching for Charleston, S.C.'"

Sherman sent back two characteristic dispatches. The first ran:

                                   KINGSTON, GA., _November 10, 1864_.

     Hon. C. A. DANA:

     Dispatch of 9th read. Can't you send to Indianapolis and catch
     that fool and have him sent to me to work on the forts? All well.

                              W. T. SHERMAN, _Major General_.

The second:

                                   KINGSTON, GA., _November 10, 1864_.

     Hon. C. A. DANA, Assistant Secretary of War:

     If indiscreet newspaper men publish information too near the truth,
     counteract its effect by publishing other paragraphs calculated to
     mislead the enemy, such as "Sherman's army has been re-enforced,
     especially in the cavalry, and he will soon move several columns in
     circuit, so as to catch Hood's army"; "Sherman's destination is not
     Charleston, but Selma, where he will meet an army from the Gulf,"

                                   W. T. SHERMAN, _Major General_.

So I telegraphed to Indianapolis to General A. P. Hovey, who was
stationed there:

                                   WAR DEPARTMENT, _November 10, 1864_.

     Major-General A. P. HOVEY, Indianapolis:

     In compliance with the request of Major-General Sherman, the
     Secretary of War directs that you ascertain what persons furnished
     the information respecting Sherman's alleged movement published in
     the Indianapolis Journal of the 8th inst. You will arrest them and
     send them under guard to such point in the Department of the
     Cumberland as Major-General Thomas may prefer, where they will be
     employed in hard labor upon the fortifications until General
     Sherman shall otherwise order.

General Hovey never found the man, however.

By the morning of the 12th of June Grant was ready for his last flank
movement of the campaign. Our army at that time, including Sheridan's
cavalry, consisted of approximately one hundred and fifteen thousand
fighting men. The plan for moving this great body was as follows: The
Eighteenth Corps was to move to White House without baggage or
artillery, and there embark for City Point. The Fifth Corps was to cross
the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, and take a position to secure the
passage of the remainder of the army, after which it was to cover the
rear. The Second, Sixth, and Ninth Corps were to cross in two columns at
Long Bridge and Jones's Bridge. At first it had been hoped, if not
opposed by the enemy in force, to strike James River immediately
opposite Bermuda Hundred; if resisted, then lower down, where General
Butler had been ordered to throw a bridge across and to corduroy the

The Fifth Corps having prepared the way, the whole army left the lines
about Cold Harbor on schedule time, just as soon after nightfall on the
12th as its movements could be concealed from the observation of the
enemy. It was in drawing orders for such complicated movements as these,
along different roads and by different crossings, that the ability of
General Humphreys, the chief of staff, was displayed. Everything went
perfectly from the start. That evening at seven o'clock, when I reached
Moody's, four miles from Long Bridge, the Fifth Corps (Warren's) was
moving rapidly past us. Our cavalry advance, under General Wilson, who
had also been transferred to the East, had previously taken Long Bridge
and laid a pontoon bridge in readiness for the crossing, so that by nine
o'clock that evening the Fifth Corps was south of the Chickahominy, well
out toward the approaches from Richmond, and covering them. All day,
the 13th, the army was hurrying toward the James. By night the Sixth
Corps had reached the river, and the rest of the troops were on the
march between there and the Chickahominy, which was our rear.

When I reached the James early the next day, the 14th, large numbers of
men were hard at work on the pontoon bridge and its approaches, by which
it was intended that the artillery and trains should cross. It was a
pretty heavy job to corduroy the marsh, which was fully half a mile wide
and quite deep. The bridge itself was unprecedented in military annals,
except, perhaps, by that of Xerxes, being nearly seven hundred yards

All day on the 14th everything went like a miracle. The pontoon bridge
was finished at two o'clock the next morning, and the cavalry of
Wilson's leading brigade, followed by the artillery trains, instantly
began crossing. By ten o'clock on the 15th Hancock's corps had been
ferried over, and he was off toward Petersburg to support Smith, who had
taken the Eighteenth Corps around by water from the White House, and had
been ordered to attack Petersburg that morning. All the news we had that
night at City Point, where headquarters had been set up, was that Smith
had assaulted and carried the principal line of the enemy before

The next morning early I was off for the heights southeast of the town.
Smith's success appeared to be of the most important kind. He had
carried heights which were defended by very formidable works. He
thought--and, indeed, we all thought for the moment--that his success
gave us perfect command of the city and railroad. I went over the
conquered lines with General Grant and the engineer officers, and they
all agreed that the works were of the very strongest kind, more
difficult even to take than Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga.

General Smith told us that the negro troops fought magnificently, the
hardest fighting being done by them. The forts they stormed were, I
think, the worst of all. After the affair was over, General Smith went
to thank them, and tell them he was proud of their courage and dash. He
said they had no superiors as soldiers, and that hereafter he should
send them into a difficult place as readily as the best white troops.
They captured six out of the sixteen cannons which he took.

It soon appeared, however, that Smith was far from having captured
points which commanded Petersburg. His success had but little effect in
determining the final result. He had stopped his advance a few minutes
and a considerable space too soon, because, as he subsequently alleged,
it was too dark and his men were too much fatigued for further
operations; and he feared Lee had already re-enforced the town. This
turned out not to be so; Lee did not know until the 17th that Grant had
crossed the James. And up to that date Lee's position was a mystery to
us; we could hardly suppose he had remained at Cold Harbor.

When Grant discovered exactly how much had been gained and lost, he was
very much dissatisfied. There was a controversy between Hancock and
Smith subsequently about the responsibility for this failure.

On June 16th, the day after Smith's attack, more of the troops arrived
before Petersburg. General Meade also arrived on the ground, and the job
of capturing Petersburg was now taken up in earnest by the whole Army of
the Potomac. It was no longer a mere matter of advancing eighty or one
hundred rods, as on the night previous, for meanwhile the enemy had been
largely and rapidly re-enforced. Much time and many thousands of
valuable lives were to be expended in getting possession of this vital
point, which had really been in our grasp on the evening of the 15th.
That afternoon there began a series of assaults on the works of the
enemy. The fighting lasted all night, the moonlight being very clear.
Our loss was heavy.

The next day, the 17th, another attack was made at Petersburg. It was
persistent, but Meade found that his men were so worn out with marching,
fighting, and digging that they must have rest, and so laid off until
noon of the 18th, when, all of the army being up, a general assault was
ordered. Nothing important was gained, and General Grant directed that
no more assaults should be made. He said that after this he should
maneuver to get possession of Petersburg.

I saw nothing of the fighting of June 16th and 17th, being ill in camp,
but the members of Grant's staff told me that our operations were
unsatisfactory, owing to our previous heavy loss in superior officers.
The men fought as well as ever, Colonel Comstock told me, but they were
not directed with the same skill and enthusiasm.

While these operations were going on, I made two or three trips to the
river to watch the crossing of the troops. It was an animated and
inspiring sight, for the great mass of men, animals, and baggage was
handled with the greatest intelligence. By the 17th our entire army was
south of the James, and the bridge over the river by which the trains
had crossed was taken up.

During all this period, from Cold Harbor to Petersburg, we knew nothing
of Lee. In making the disposition for this great and successful
movement--a far more brilliant evolution than McClellan's "change of
base" two years before over almost the same roads--the purpose was, of
course, to deceive Lee as to the ultimate direction of the army. The
design succeeded far beyond Grant's most sanguine hopes. As soon, on the
morning of the 13th, as the Confederate chieftain discovered our
withdrawal, he moved his army across the Chickahominy in hot haste,
flinging it between his capital and the foe, supposed to be advancing on
a new line between the James and the Chickahominy. He held and fortified
a line from White Oak swamp to Malvern Hill, and here he remained stock
still for four days, wondering what had become of Grant.

Lee had been completely deceived, and could not be made to believe by
Beauregard, on the 15th, 16th, and 17th, that Grant's whole army had
turned up before Petersburg. His troops, as we know now, did not cross
the James, to go to the relief of Beauregard until the 17th. He was
caught napping, and, but for mistakes by subordinates in carrying out
Grant's plans, Lee's cause would have been lost. In the operations from
the night of the 12th, when Grant changed his line and base with an army
of one hundred and fifteen thousand men, and all its vast trains of
artillery, crossing a wide and deep river on a temporary bridge, until
June 18th, when at last Lee awoke to the situation, General Beauregard
shines out on the Confederate side far more brilliantly than the general
in chief. He unquestionably saved Petersburg, and for the time the
Confederacy; but for him Lee had at that time lost the game.



    President Lincoln visits the lines at Petersburg--Trouble with
    General Meade--Jubal Early menaces the Federal capital--The
    excitement in Washington and Baltimore--Clerks and veteran reserves
    called out to defend Washington--Grant sends troops from the
    front--Plenty of generals, but no head--Early ends the panic by
    withdrawing--A fine letter from Grant about Hunter.

Although Grant had decided against a further direct attack on the works
of Petersburg, he was by no means idle. He sent out expeditions to break
up the railroads leading into the town. He began extending his lines
around to the south and southwest, so as to make the investment as
complete as possible. Batteries were put in place, weak spots in the
fortifications were felt for, and regular siege works were begun.
Indeed, by July 1st the general opinion seemed to be that the only way
we should ever gain Petersburg would be by a systematic siege.

A few days later we had an interesting visit from President Lincoln, who
arrived from Washington on June 21st, and at once wanted to visit the
lines before Petersburg. General Grant, Admiral Lee, myself, and several
others went with him. I remember that, as we passed along the lines, Mr.
Lincoln's high hat was brushed off by the branch of a tree. There were a
dozen young officers whose duty it was to get it and give it back to
the President; but Admiral Lee was off his horse before any of these
young chaps, and recovered the hat for the President. Admiral Lee must
have been forty-five or fifty years old. It was his agility that
impressed me so much.

As we came back we passed through the division of colored troops which
had so greatly distinguished itself under Smith on the 15th. They were
drawn up in double lines on each side of the road, and they welcomed the
President with hearty shouts. It was a memorable thing to behold him
whose fortune it was to represent the principle of emancipation passing
bareheaded through the enthusiastic ranks of those negroes armed to
defend the integrity of the nation.

I went back to Washington with the presidential party, but remained only
a few days, as Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton were anxious for my daily
reports of the operations around Petersburg. On the return, I arrived at
City Point on July 1st. The army occupied about the same positions as
when I had left it a week before. Two corps were engaged in siege work,
their effort being to get possession of a ridge before them, supposed to
command Petersburg; if they succeeded in this, Grant thought that the
enemy would have to abandon the south side of the Appomattox, and, of
course, the town. On the left our line extended southward and westward
across what was known as the Jerusalem road, but at so great a distance
from the Confederate fortifications as to have no immediate effect upon
them. Farther around to the west, toward the Appomattox above
Petersburg, the enemy's works extended, and the idea of enveloping them
for the whole distance had been given up. The efforts to break up the
railroads leading from Petersburg had been very successful, Grant told
me. There were plans for assault suggested, but Grant had not considered
any of them seriously.

Before the army had recovered from its long march from Cold Harbor and
the failure to capture the town, there was an unusual amount of
controversy going on among the officers. Smith was berated generally for
failing to complete his attack of June 15th. Butler and "Baldy" Smith
were deep in a controversial correspondence; and Meade and Warren were
so at loggerheads that Meade notified Warren that he must either ask to
be relieved as corps commander or he (Meade) would prefer charges
against him. It seemed as if Meade grew more unpopular every day.
Finally the difficulties between him and his subordinates became so
serious that a change in the commander of the Army of the Potomac seemed
probable. Grant had great confidence in Meade, and was much attached to
him personally; but the almost universal dislike of Meade which
prevailed among officers of every rank who came in contact with him, and
the difficulty of doing business with him, felt by every one except
Grant himself, so greatly impaired his capacities for usefulness and
rendered success under his command so doubtful that Grant seemed to be
coming to the conviction that he must be relieved.

I had long known Meade to be a man of the worst possible temper,
especially toward his subordinates. I think he had not a friend in the
whole army. No man, no matter what his business or his service,
approached him without being insulted in one way or another, and his own
staff officers did not dare to speak to him unless first spoken to, for
fear of either sneers or curses. The latter, however, I had never heard
him indulge in very violently, but he was said to apply them often
without occasion and without reason. At the same time, as far as I was
able to ascertain, his generals had lost their confidence in him as a
commander. His orders for the last series of assaults upon Petersburg,
in which we lost ten thousand men without gaining any decisive
advantage, were greatly criticised. They were, in effect, that he had
found it impracticable to secure the co-operation of corps commanders,
and that, therefore, each one was to attack on his own account and do
the best he could by himself. The consequence was that each gained some
advantage of position, but each exhausted his own strength in so doing;
while, for the want of a general purpose and a general commander to
direct and concentrate the whole, it all amounted to nothing but heavy
loss to ourselves. General Wright remarked confidentially to a friend
that all of Meade's attacks had been made without brains and without

The first week of July the subject came to pretty full discussion at
Grant's headquarters on account of an extraordinary correspondence
between Meade and Wilson. The Richmond Examiner had charged Wilson's
command with stealing not only negroes and horses, but silver plate and
clothing on a raid he had just made against the Danville and Southside
Railroad, and Meade, taking up the statement of the Examiner for truth,
read Wilson a lecture, and called on him for explanations. Wilson denied
the charge of robbing women and churches, and said he hoped Meade would
not be ready to condemn his command because its operations had excited
the ire of the public enemy. Meade replied that Wilson's explanation was
satisfactory; but this correspondence started a conversation in which
Grant expressed himself quite frankly as to the general trouble with
Meade, and his fear that it would become necessary to relieve him. In
that event, he said, it would be necessary to put Hancock in command.

In the first days of July we began to get inquiries at City Point from
Washington concerning the whereabouts of the Confederate generals Early
and Ewell. It was reported in the capital, our dispatches said, that
they were moving down the Shenandoah Valley. We seemed to have pretty
good evidence that Early was with Lee, defending Petersburg, and so I
wired the Secretary on July 3d. The next day we felt less positive. A
deserter came in on the morning of the 4th, and said that it was
reported in the enemy's camp that Ewell had gone into Maryland with his
entire corps. Another twenty-four hours, and Meade told me that he was
at last convinced that Early and his troops had gone down the valley. In
fact, Early had been gone three weeks. He left Lee's army near Cold
Harbor on the morning of the 13th of June, when we were on the march to
the James. Hunter's defeat of Jones near Staunton had forced Lee to
divide his army in order to stop Hunter's dangerous advance on

On the 6th General Grant was convinced that Washington was the
objective. The raid threatened was sufficiently serious to compel the
sending of troops to the defense of the capital, and a body of men
immediately embarked. Three days later I started myself to Washington,
in order to keep Grant informed of what was going on. When I arrived, I
found both Washington and Baltimore in a state of great excitement; both
cities were filled with people who had fled from the enemy. The damage
to private property done by the invaders was said to be almost beyond
calculation. Mills, workshops, and factories of every sort were reported
as destroyed, and from twenty-five to fifty miles of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad torn up.

During my first day in town, July 11th, all sorts of rumors came in.
General Lew Wallace, then in command at Baltimore, sent word that a
large force of the enemy had been seen that morning near that city. The
Confederate generals were said to have dined together at Rockville a day
or two before. The houses of Governor Bradford, Francis P. Blair,
senior, and his son, Montgomery, the Postmaster General, were reported
burned. We could see from Washington clouds of dust in several quarters
around the city, which we believed to be raised by bodies of hostile
cavalry. There was some sharp skirmishing that day, too, on the
Tennallytown road, as well as later in front of Fort Stevens, and at
night the telegraph operators at the latter place reported a
considerable number of camp fires visible in front of them.

I found that the Washington authorities had utilized every man in town
for defense. Some fifteen hundred employees of the quartermaster's
department had been armed and sent out; the veteran reserves about
Washington and Alexandria had likewise been sent to the front. General
Augur, commanding the defenses of Washington, had also drawn from the
fortifications on the south side of the town all the men that in his
judgment could possibly be spared. To this improvised force were added
that day some six boatloads of troops which General Grant had sent from
the Army of the Potomac. These troops went at once to Fort Stevens.

With the troops coming from Grant, there was force enough to save the
capital; but I soon saw that nothing could possibly be done toward
pursuing or cutting off the enemy for want of a commander. General
Hunter and his forces had not yet returned from their swing around the
circle. General Augur commanded the defenses of Washington, with A. McD.
McCook and a lot of brigadier generals under him, but he was not allowed
to go outside. Wright commanded only his own corps. General Gilmore had
been assigned to the temporary command of those troops of the Nineteenth
Corps just arrived from New Orleans, and all other troops in the Middle
Department, leaving Wallace to command Baltimore alone. But there was no
head to the whole. General Halleck would not give orders, except as he
received them from Grant; the President would give none; and, until
Grant directed positively and explicitly what was to be done, everything
was practically at a standstill. Things, I saw, would go on in the
deplorable and fatal way in which they had been going for a week. Of
course, this want of a head was causing a great deal of sharp comment on
all sides. Postmaster-General Blair was particularly incensed, and,
indeed, with real cause, for he had lost his house at Silver Springs.
Some of his remarks reached General Halleck, who immediately wrote to
Mr. Stanton the following letter:

                 HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, WASHINGTON, _July 13, 1864_.

     Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

     SIR: I deem it my duty to bring to your notice the following facts:
     I am informed by an officer of rank and standing in the military
     service that the Hon. M. Blair, Postmaster General, in speaking of
     the burning of his house in Maryland this morning, said, in effect,
     that the officers in command about Washington are poltroons; that
     there were not more that five hundred rebels on the Silver Springs
     road, and we had one million of men in arms; that it was a
     disgrace; that General Wallace was in comparison with them far
     better, as he would at least fight. As there have been for the last
     few days a large number of officers on duty in and about Washington
     who have devoted their time and energies, night and day, and have
     periled their lives in the support of the Government, it is due to
     them, as well as to the War Department, that it should be known
     whether such wholesale denouncement and accusation by a member of
     the Cabinet receives the sanction and approbation of the President
     of the United States. If so, the names of the officers accused
     should be stricken from the rolls of the army; if not, it is due
     to the honor of the accused that the slanderer should be dismissed
     from the Cabinet.

      Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                         H. W. HALLECK,
                    _Major General and Chief of Staff_.

The very day on which Halleck wrote this letter we had evidence that the
enemy had taken fright at the arrival in Washington of the troops sent
by Grant, and were moving off toward Edwards Ferry. It was pretty
certain that they were carrying off a large amount of cattle and other
plunder with them. By the end of another day there seemed no doubt that
Early had got the main body of his command across the river with his
captures. What they were, it was impossible to say precisely. One herd
of cattle was reported as containing two thousand head, and the number
of horses and mules taken from Maryland was reported as about five
thousand. This, however, was probably somewhat exaggerated.

The veterans, of course, at once moved out to attempt to overtake the
enemy. The irregulars were withdrawn from the fortifications, General
Meigs marching his division of quartermaster's clerks and employees back
to their desks; and Admiral Goldsborough, who had marshalled the marines
and sailors, returned to smoke his pipe on his own doorstep.

The pursuit of Early proved, on the whole, an egregious blunder,
relieved only by a small success at Winchester in which four guns and
some prisoners were captured. Wright accomplished nothing, and drew
back as soon as he got where he might have done something worth while.
As it was, Early escaped with the whole of his plunder.

One of the best letters Grant sent me during the war was at the time of
this Early raid on Washington. When the alarms of invasion first came,
Grant ordered Major-General David Hunter, then stationed at Parkersburg,
W. Va., to take the direction of operations against the enemy's forces
in the valley. Hunter did not come up to Mr. Stanton's expectations in
this crisis, and when I reached Washington the Secretary told me to
telegraph Grant that, in his opinion, Hunter ought to be removed. Three
days later I repeated in my dispatch to Grant certain rumors about
Hunter that had reached the War Department. The substance of them was
that Hunter had been engaged in an active campaign against the
newspapers in West Virginia, and that he had horsewhipped a soldier with
his own hand. I received an immediate reply:

                              CITY POINT, VA., _July 15, 1864_--8 P.M.

     C. A. DANA, Assistant Secretary of War:

     I am sorry to see such a disposition to condemn so brave an old
     soldier as General Hunter is known to be without a hearing. He is
     known to have advanced into the enemy's country toward their main
     army, inflicting a much greater damage upon them than they have
     inflicted upon us with double his force, and moving directly away
     from our main army. Hunter acted, too, in a country where we had no
     friends, while the enemy have only operated in territory where, to
     say the least, many of the inhabitants are their friends. If
     General Hunter has made war upon the newspapers in West Virginia,
     probably he has done right. In horsewhipping a soldier he has laid
     himself subject to trial, but nine chances out of ten he only acted
     on the spur of the moment, under great provocation. I fail to see
     yet that General Hunter has not acted with great promptness and
     great success. Even the enemy give him great credit for courage,
     and congratulate themselves that he will give them a chance of
     getting even with him.

                                   U. S. GRANT, _Lieutenant General_.



    Mr. Stanton's agents and spies--Regular subterranean traffic between
    Washington and Richmond--A man who spied for both sides--The arrest
    of the Baltimore merchants--Stanton's remarkable speech on the
    meaning of disloyalty--Intercepting Jefferson Davis's letters to
    Canada--Detecting the plot to burn New York, and the plan to invade
    Vermont--Story of the cleverest and pluckiest of spies and his
    remarkable adventures.

After Early's invaders had retired and quiet was restored, I went to Mr.
Stanton for new orders. As there was no probability of an immediate
change in the situation before Petersburg, the Secretary did not think
it necessary for me to go back to Grant, but preferred that I remain in
the department, helping with the routine work.

Much of my time at this period was spent in investigating charges
against defaulting contractors and dishonest agents, and in ordering
arrests of persons suspected of disloyalty to the Government. I
assisted, too, in supervising the spies who were going back and forth
between the lines. Among these I remember one, a sort of peddler--whose
name I will call Morse--who traveled between Washington and Richmond.
When he went down it was in the character of a man who had entirely
hoodwinked the Washington authorities, and who, in spite of them, or by
some corruption or other, always brought with him into the Confederate
lines something that the people wanted--dresses for the ladies or some
little luxury that they couldn't get otherwise. The things that he took
with him were always supervised by our agents before he went away. When
he came back he brought us in exchange a lot of valuable information. He
was doubtless a spy on both sides; but as we got a great deal of
information, which could be had in no other way, about the strength of
the Confederate armies, and the preparations and the movements of the
enemy, we allowed the thing to go on. The man really did good service
for us that summer, and, as we were frequently able to verify by other
means the important information he brought, we had a great deal of
confidence in him.

Early in October, 1864, he came back from Richmond, and, as usual, went
to Baltimore to get his outfit for the return trip. When he presented
himself again in Washington, the chief detective of the War Department,
Colonel Baker, examined his goods carefully, but this time he found that
Morse had many things that we could not allow him to take. Among his
stuff were uniforms and other military goods, and all this, of course,
was altogether too contraband to be passed. We had all his bills,
telling where he had bought these things in Baltimore. They amounted to
perhaps twenty-five thousand dollars, or more. So we confiscated the
contraband goods, and put Morse in prison.

But the merchants in Baltimore were partners in his guilt, and Secretary
Stanton declared he would arrest every one of them and put them in
prison until the affair could be straightened up. He turned the matter
over to me then, as he was going to Fort Monroe for a few days. I
immediately sent Assistant-Adjutant-General Lawrence to Baltimore with
orders to see that all persons implicated were arrested. Lawrence
telegraphed me, on October 16th, that the case would involve the arrest
of two hundred citizens. I reported to the Secretary, but he was
determined to go ahead. The next morning ninety-seven of the leading
citizens of Baltimore were arrested, brought to Washington, and confined
in Old Capitol Prison, principally in solitary cells. There was great
satisfaction among the Union people of the town, but great indignation
among Southern sympathizers. Presently a deputation from Baltimore came
over to see President Lincoln. It was an outrage, they said; the
gentlemen arrested were most respectable merchants and faultless
citizens, and they demanded that they all be set instantly at liberty
and damages paid them. Mr. Lincoln sent the deputation over to the War
Department, and Mr. Stanton, who had returned by this time, sent for me.
"All Baltimore is coming here," he said. "Sit down and hear the

They came in, the bank presidents and boss merchants of Baltimore--there
must have been at least fifty million dollars represented in the
deputation--and sat down around the fire in the Secretary's office.
Presently they began to make their speeches, detailing the circumstances
and the wickedness of this outrage. There was no ground for it, they
said, no justification. After half a dozen of them had spoken, Mr.
Stanton asked one after another if he had anything more to say, and they
all said no. Then Stanton began, and delivered one of the most eloquent
speeches that I ever heard. He described the beginning of the war, for
which, he said, there was no justification; being beaten in an election
was no reason for destroying the Government. Then he went on to the fact
that half a million of our young men had been laid in untimely graves by
this conspiracy of the slave interest. He outlined the whole conspiracy
in the most solemn and impressive terms, and then he depicted the
offense that this man Morse, aided by these several merchants, had
committed. "Gentlemen," he said, "if you would like to examine the bills
of what he was taking to the enemy, here they are."

When Stanton had finished, these gentlemen, without answering a word,
got up and one by one went away. That was the only speech I ever
listened to that cleared out the entire audience.

Early in the winter of 1863-'64 a curious thing happened in the secret
service of the War Department. Some time in the February or March
before, a slender and prepossessing young fellow, between twenty-two and
twenty-six apparently, had applied at the War Department for employment
as a spy within the Confederate lines.

The main body of the Army of Northern Virginia was then lying at
Gordonsville, and the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac were at
Culpeper Courthouse. General Grant had not yet come from the West to
take command of the momentous campaign which afterward opened with his
movement into the Wilderness on the 5th of May.

The young man who sought this terrible service was well dressed and
intelligent, and professed to be animated by motives purely patriotic.
He was a clerk in one of the departments. All that he asked was that he
should have a horse and an order which would carry him safely through
the Federal lines, and, in return, he undertook to bring information
from General Lee's army and from the Government of the Confederacy in
Richmond. He understood perfectly the perilous nature of the enterprise
he proposed.

Finding that the applicant bore a good character in the office where he
was employed, it was determined to accept his proposal. He was furnished
with a horse, an order that would pass him through the Union lines, and
also, I believe, with a moderate sum of money, and then he departed. Two
or three weeks later he reported at the War Department. He had been in
Gordonsville and Richmond, had obtained the confidence of the
Confederate authorities, and was the bearer of a letter from Mr.
Jefferson Davis to Mr. Clement C. Clay, the agent of the Confederate
Government in Canada, then known to be stationed at St. Catherine's, not
far from Niagara Falls. Mr. Clay had as his official associate Jacob
Thompson, of Mississippi, who had been Secretary of the Interior in the
Cabinet of President Buchanan, and, like Mr. Clay, had been serving the
Confederate Government ever since its organization.

The letter from Mr. Davis the young man exhibited, but only the outside
of the envelope was examined. The address was in the handwriting of the
Confederate chief, and the statement of our young adventurer that it was
merely a letter of recommendation advising Messrs. Clay and Thompson
that they might repose confidence in the bearer, since he was ardently
devoted to the Confederate cause and anxious to serve the great purpose
that it had in view, appeared entirely probable; so the young man was
allowed to proceed to Niagara Falls and Canada. He made some general
report upon the condition of the rebel army at Gordonsville, but it was
of no particular value, except that in its more interesting features it
agreed with our information from other sources.

Our spy was not long in returning from St. Catherine's with a dispatch
which was also allowed to pass unopened, upon his assurance that it
contained nothing of importance. In this way he went back and forward
from Richmond to St. Catherine's once or twice. We supplied him with
money to a limited extent, and also with one or two more horses. He said
that he got some money from the Confederates, but had not thought it
prudent to accept from them anything more than very small sums, since
his professed zeal for the Confederate cause forbade his receiving
anything for his traveling expenses beyond what was absolutely

During the summer of 1864 the activity of Grant's campaign, and the
fighting which prevailed all along the line, somewhat impeded our young
man's expeditions, but did not stop them. All his subsequent dispatches,
however, whether coming from Richmond or from Canada, were regularly
brought to the War Department, and were opened, and in every case a copy
of them was kept. As it was necessary to break the seals and destroy the
envelopes in opening them, there was some difficulty in sending them
forward in what should appear to be the original wrappers. Coming from
Canada, the paper employed was English, and there was a good deal of
trouble in procuring paper of the same appearance. I remember also that
one important dispatch, which was sealed with Mr. Clay's seal, had to be
delayed somewhat while we had an imitation seal engraved. But these
delays were easily accounted for at Richmond by the pretense that they
had been caused by accidents upon the road and by the necessity of
avoiding the Federal pickets. At any rate, the confidence of the
Confederates in our agent and in theirs never seemed to be shaken by any
of these occurrences.

Finally our dispatch bearer reported one day at the War Department with
a document which, he said, was of extraordinary consequence. It was
found to contain an account of a scheme for setting fire to New York and
Chicago by means of clock-work machines that were to be placed in
several of the large hotels and places of amusement--particularly in
Barnum's Museum in New York--and to be set off simultaneously, so that
the fire department in each place would be unable to attend to the great
number of calls that would be made upon it on account of these
Confederate conflagrations in so many different quarters, and thus these
cities might be greatly damaged, or even destroyed.

This dispatch was duly sealed up again and was taken to Richmond, and a
confidential officer was at once sent to New York to warn General Dix,
who was in command there, of the Confederate project. The general was
very unwilling to believe that any such design could be seriously
entertained, and Mr. John A. Kennedy, then superintendent of police, was
equally incredulous. But the Secretary of War was peremptory in his
orders, and when the day of the incendiary attempt arrived both the
military and the police made every preparation to prevent the threatened
catastrophe. The officer who went from Washington was lodged in the St.
Nicholas Hotel, one of the large establishments that were to be set on
fire, and while he was washing his hands in the evening, preparatory to
going to dinner, a fire began burning in the room next to his. It was
promptly put out, and was found to be caused by a clock-work apparatus
which had been left in that room by a lodger who had departed some hours
before. Other fires likewise occurred. In every instance these fires
were extinguished without much damage and without exciting any
considerable public attention, thanks to the precautions that had been
taken in consequence of the warning derived from Mr. Clay's dispatch to
Mr. Benjamin in Richmond. The plan of setting fire to Chicago proved
even more abortive; I do not remember that any report of actual burning
was received from there.

Later in the fall, after the military operations had substantially
terminated for the season, a dispatch was brought from Canada, signed by
Mr. Clay, and addressed to Mr. Benjamin, as Secretary of State in the
Confederate Government, conveying the information that a new and really
formidable military expedition against northern Vermont--particularly
against Burlington, if I am not mistaken--had been organized and fitted
out in Canada, and would make its attack as soon as practicable. This
was after the well-known attempt upon St. Albans and Lake Champlain, on
October 19, 1864, and promised to be much more injurious. The dispatch
reached Washington one Sunday morning, and was brought to the War
Department as usual, but its importance in the eyes of the Confederate
agents had led to its being prepared for transportation with uncommon
care. It was placed between two thicknesses of the pair of re-enforced
cavalry trousers which the messenger wore, and sewed up so that when he
was mounted it was held between his thigh and the saddle.

Having been carefully ripped out and opened, it was immediately carried
to Mr. Stanton, who was confined to his house by a cold. He read it.
"This is serious," he said. "Go over to the White House and ask the
President to come here." Mr. Lincoln was found dressing to go to church,
and he was soon driven to Mr. Stanton's house. After discussing the
subject in every aspect, and considering thoroughly the probability that
to keep the dispatch would put an end to communications by this channel,
they determined that it must be kept. The conclusive reason for this
step was that it established beyond question the fact that the
Confederates, while sheltering themselves behind the British Government
in Canada, had organized and fitted out a military expedition against
the United States. But while the dispatch afforded evidence that could
not be gainsaid, the mere possession of it was not sufficient. It must
be found in the possession of the Confederate dispatch bearer, and the
circumstances attending its capture must be established in such a manner
that the British Foreign Office would not be able to dispute the
genuineness of the document. "We must have this paper for Seward," said
Mr. Lincoln. "As for the young man, get him out of the scrape if you

Accordingly, the paper was taken back to the War Department and sewed up
again in the trousers whence it had been taken three hours before. The
bearer was instructed to start at dusk on the road which he usually took
in passing through the lines, to be at a certain tavern outside of
Alexandria at nine o'clock in the evening, and to stop there to water
his horse. Then information was sent through Major-General Augur,
commandant of Washington and the surrounding region, to Colonel Henry H.
Wells, then provost marshal general of the defenses south of the
Potomac, stationed at Alexandria, directing him to be at this tavern at
nine o'clock in the evening, and to arrest a Confederate dispatch
bearer, concerning whom authentic information had been received at the
War Department, and whose description was furnished for his (Wells's)
guidance. He was to do the messenger no injury, but to make sure of his
person and of all papers that he might have upon him, and to bring him
under a sufficient guard directly to the War Department. And General
Augur was directed to be present there, in order to assist in the
examination of the prisoner, and to verify any dispatches that might be

Just before midnight a carriage drove up to the door of the War
Department with a soldier on the box and two soldiers on the front seat
within, while the back seat was occupied by Colonel Wells and the
prisoner. Of course, no one but the two or three who had been in the
secret was aware that this gentleman had walked quietly out of the War
Department only a few hours previously, and that the paper which was the
cause of the entire ceremony had been sewed up in his clothes just
before his departure. Colonel Wells reported that, while the prisoner
had offered no resistance, he was very violent and outrageous in his
language, and that he boasted fiercely of his devotion to the
Confederacy and his detestation of the Union. During the examination
which now followed he said nothing except to answer a few questions, but
his bearing--patient, scornful, undaunted--was that of an incomparable
actor. If Mr. Clay and Mr. Benjamin had been present, they would have
been more than ever certain that he was one of their noblest young men.
His hat, boots, and other articles of his clothing were taken off one by
one. The hat and boots were first searched, and finally the dispatch was
found in his trousers and taken out. Its nature and the method of its
capture were stated in a memorandum which was drawn up on the spot and
signed by General Augur and Colonel Wells and one or two other officers
who were there for the purpose, and then the dispatch bearer himself was
sent off to the Old Capitol Prison.

The dispatch, with the documents of verification, was handed over to Mr.
Seward for use in London, and a day or two afterward the warden of the
Old Capitol Prison was directed to give the dispatch bearer an
opportunity of escaping, with a proper show of attempted prevention. One
afternoon the spy walked into my office. "Ah!" said I, "you have run

"Yes, sir," he answered.

"Did they shoot at you?"

"They did, and didn't hit me; but I didn't think that would answer the
purpose. So I shot myself through the arm."

He showed me the wound. It was through the fleshy part of the forearm,
and due care had been taken not to break any bones. A more deliberate
and less dangerous wound could not be, and yet it did not look trivial.

He was ordered to get away to Canada as promptly as possible, so that he
might explain the loss of his dispatch before it should become known
there by any other means. An advertisement offering two thousand dollars
for his recapture was at once inserted in the New York Herald, the
Pittsburgh Journal, and the Chicago Tribune. No one ever appeared to
claim the reward, but in about a week the escaped prisoner returned from
Canada with new dispatches that had been entrusted to him. They
contained nothing of importance, however. The wound in his arm had borne
testimony in his favor, and the fact that he had hurried through to St.
Catherine's without having it dressed was thought to afford conclusive
evidence of his fidelity to the Confederate cause.

The war was ended soon after this adventure, and, as his services had
been of very great value, a new place, with the assurance of lasting
employment, was found for the young man in one of the bureaus of the War
Department. He did not remain there very long, however, and I don't know
what became of him. He was one of the cleverest creatures I ever saw.
His style of patriotic lying was sublime; it amounted to genius.



    Mr. Dana carries to Sheridan his major-general's commission--A ride
    through the Army of the Shenandoah--The affection of Sheridan's
    soldiers for the general--How he explained it--His ideas about
    personal courage in battle--The War Department and the
    railroads--How the department worked for Lincoln's
    re-election--Election night of November, 1864--Lincoln reads aloud
    passages from Petroleum V. Nasby while the returns from the States
    come in.

It was just after the arrest of the Baltimore merchants, in October,
1864, that I visited Sheridan at his headquarters in the Shenandoah
Valley. He had finished the work of clearing out the valley by the
battle of Cedar Creek on October 19th, and the Government wanted to
recognize the victory by promoting him to the rank of major general in
the regular army. There were numerous volunteer officers who were also
officers in the regular army, and it was regarded as a considerable
distinction. The appointment was made, and then, as an additional
compliment to General Sheridan, instead of sending him the commission by
an ordinary officer from the department, Mr. Stanton decided that I
would better deliver it. I started on October 22d, going by special
train to Harper's Ferry, whither I telegraphed for an escort to be ready
for me. I was delayed so that I did not get started from Harper's Ferry
until about five o'clock on the morning of October 23d. It was a
distance of about fifty miles to Sheridan, and by riding all day I got
there about eleven o'clock at night. Sheridan had gone to bed, but in
time of war one never delays in carrying out orders, whatever their
nature. The general was awakened, and soon was out of his tent; and
there, by the flare of an army torch and in the presence of a few sleepy
aides-de-camp and of my own tired escort, I presented to Sheridan his
commission as major general in the regular army.

Sheridan did not say much in reply to my little speech, nor could he
have been expected to under the circumstances, though he showed lively
satisfaction in the Government's appreciation of his services, and spoke
most heartily, I remember, of the manner in which the administration had
always supported him.

The morning after this little ceremony, when we had finished our
breakfast, the general asked me if I would not like to ride through the
army with him. It was exactly what I did want to do, and we were soon on
horseback and off, accompanied by four of his officers. We rode through
the entire army that morning, dismounting now and then to give me an
opportunity to pay my respects to several officers whom I knew. I was
struck, in riding through the lines, by the universal demonstration of
personal affection for Sheridan. Everybody seemed personally to be
attached to him. He was like the most popular man after an election--the
whole force everywhere honored him. Finally I said to the general: "I
wish you would explain one thing to me. Here I find all these people of
every rank--generals, sergeants, corporals, and private soldiers; in
fact, everybody--manifesting a personal affection for you that I have
never seen in any other army, not even in the Army of the Tennessee for
Grant. I have never seen anything like it. Tell me what is the reason?"

"Mr. Dana," said he, "I long ago made up my mind that it was not a good
plan to fight battles with paper orders--that is, for the commander to
stand on a hill in the rear and send his aides-de-camp with written
orders to the different commanders. My practice has always been to fight
in the front rank."

"Well," said I, "General, that is dangerous; in the front rank a man is
much more liable to be killed than he is in the rear."

"Well," said he, "I know that there is a certain risk in it; but, in my
judgment, the advantage is much greater than the risk, and I have come
to the conclusion that that is the right thing to do. That is the reason
the men like me. They know that when the hard pinch comes I am exposed
just as much as any of them."

"But are you never afraid?" I asked.

"If I was I should not be ashamed of it," he said. "If I should follow
my natural impulse, I should run away always at the beginning of the
danger; the men who say they are never afraid in a battle do not tell
the truth."

I talked a great deal with Sheridan and his officers while at Cedar
Creek on the condition of the valley, and as to what should be done to
hold it. The active campaign seemed to be over in this region for that
year. The enemy were so decidedly beaten and scattered, and driven so
far to the south, that they could scarcely be expected to collect their
forces for another attempt during the season. Besides, the devastation
of the valley, extending as it did for a distance of about one hundred
miles, rendered it almost impossible that either the Confederates or our
own forces should make a new campaign in that territory. It looked to me
as if, when Sheridan had completed the same process down the valley to
the vicinity of the Potomac, and when the stores of forage which were
yet to be found were all destroyed or removed, the difficulty of any new
offensive operations on either side would be greatly increased.

The key to the Shenandoah Valley was, in Sheridan's judgment, the line
of the Opequan Creek, which was rather a deep cañon than an ordinary
watercourse. Sheridan's idea I understood to be to fall back to the
proper defensive point upon that creek, and there to construct
fortifications which would effectually cover the approach to the

I left Sheridan at Cedar Creek, and went back to Washington by way of
Manassas Gap.

All through the fall of 1864 and the following winter I remained in
Washington, very much occupied with the regular routine business of the
department and various matters of incidental interest. Some of these
incidents I shall group together here, without strict regard to

An important part of the work of the department was in relation to the
railroads and to railroad transportation. Sometimes it was a whole army
corps to be moved. At another time the demand would be equally sudden
and urgent, if less vital to the Union cause. I remember particularly
the great turkey movement in November of that year. The presidential
election was hardly over before the people of the North began to prepare
Thanksgiving boxes for the army. George Bliss, Jr., of New York,
telegraphed me, on November 16th, that they had twenty thousand turkeys
ready in that city to send to the front; and the next day, fearing, I
suppose, that that wasn't enough, he wired: "It would be a very great
convenience in our turkey business if I could know definitely the
approximate number of men in each of armies of Potomac, James, and
Shenandoah, respectively."

From Philadelphia I received a message asking for transportation to
Sheridan's army for "boxes containing four thousand turkeys, and Heaven
knows what else, as a Thanksgiving dinner for the brave fellows." And so
it was from all over the country. The North not only poured out food and
clothing generously for our own men, but, when Savannah was entered by
Sherman, great quantities of provisions were sent there for gratuitous
distribution, and when Charleston fell every effort was made to relieve

A couple of months later, in January, 1865, a piece of work not so
different from the "turkey business," but on a rather larger scale, fell
to me. This was the transfer of the Twenty-third Army Corps, commanded
by Major-General John M. Schofield, from its position on the Tennessee
River to Chesapeake Bay. There being no prospect of a winter campaign
under Thomas, Grant had ordered the corps transferred as quickly as
possible, and Mr. Stanton turned over the direction to me. On January
10th I telegraphed to Grant at City Point the plan to be followed. This,
briefly, was to send Colonel Lewis B. Parsons, chief of railroad and
river transportation, to the West to take charge of the corps. I
proposed to move the whole body by boats to Parkersburg if navigation
allowed, and thence by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Annapolis, for
I remembered well with what promptness and success Hooker's forces, the
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, were moved into Tennessee in 1863 by that
road. A capital advantage of that line was that it avoided all large
towns--and the temptations of large towns were bad for the soldiers in
transit. If the Ohio River should be frozen, I proposed to move the
corps by rail from Cairo, Evansville, and Jeffersonville to Parkersburg
or Bellaire, according to circumstances.

Commanders in the vicinity of the corps were advised of the change, and
ordered to prepare steamboats and transports. Loyal officers of
railroads were requested to meet Colonel Parsons at given points to
arrange for the concentration of rolling stock in case the river could
not be used. Liquor shops were ordered closed along the route, and
arrangements were made for the comfort of the troops by supplying to
them, as often as once in every hundred miles of travel, an abundance of
hot coffee in addition to their rations.

Colonel Parsons proceeded at once to Louisville, where he arrived on the
13th. By the morning of the 18th he had started the first division from
the mouth of the Tennessee up the Ohio, and had transportation ready
for the rest of the corps. He then hurried to Cincinnati, where, as the
river was too full of ice to permit a further transfer by water, he
loaded about three thousand men on the cars waiting there and started
them eastward. The rest of the corps rapidly followed. In spite of fogs
and ice on the river, and broken rails and machinery on the railroads,
the entire army corps was encamped on the banks of the Potomac on
February 2d.

The distance over which the corps was transported was nearly fourteen
hundred miles, about equally divided between land and water. The average
time of transportation, from the embarkment on the Tennessee to the
arrival on the banks of the Potomac, did not exceed eleven days; and
what was still more important was the fact that during the whole
movement not a single accident happened causing loss of life, limb, or
property, except in a single instance where a soldier improperly jumped
from the car, under apprehension of danger, and thus lost his life. Had
he remained quiet, he would have been as safe as were his comrades of
the same car.

Much of the success of the movement was due to the hearty co-operation
of J. W. Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Colonel
Parsons did not say too much when he wrote, in his report of the
transfer of Schofield's troops:

    The circumstances, I think, render it not invidious that I should
    especially refer to the management of the Baltimore and Ohio
    Railroad, where indomitable will, energy, and superior ability have
    been so often and so conspicuously manifested, and where such
    invaluable service has been rendered to the Government; a road
    nearly four hundred miles in length, so often broken and apparently
    destroyed, so constantly subjected to rebel incursions, that, had it
    been under ordinary management, it would long since have ceased
    operation; yet, notwithstanding all the difficulties of the severe
    winter season, the great disorganization of employees necessarily
    incident to a road thus situated, its most extraordinary curves,
    grades, bridges, tunnels, and the mountain heights it scales, it has
    moved this large force in the shortest possible time, with almost
    the exactness and regularity of ordinary passenger trains, and with
    a freedom from accident that, I think, has seldom, if ever, been

At the end of the war, when the department's energies were devoted to
getting itself as quickly and as thoroughly as possible upon a peace
footing, it fell to me to examine the condition of the numerous
railroads which the Government had seized and used in the time of active
military operations, and to recommend what was to be done with them.
This readjustment was not the least difficult of the complicated
questions of disarmament. The Government had spent millions of dollars
on improvements to some of these military railroads while operating
them. My report was not finished till late in May, 1865, and as it
contains much out-of-the-way information on the subject, and has never
been published, I introduce it here in full:

                                   WASHINGTON CITY, _May 29, 1865_.

     Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

     SIR: I have the honor to report that I have examined the subject of
     the disposition to be made of the railroads in the States lately in
     rebellion, referred to me in connection with the report of the
     quartermaster general, and the rules which he has recommended to be
     established. The second rule proposed by the quartermaster general
     provides that no charge shall be made against a railroad for
     expense of materials or expense of operation while it has been in
     the hands of the military authorities of the United States. In
     other words, he proposes to restore every railroad to its claimants
     without any special consideration from them for any improvements
     which the United States may have made upon it.

     It is true in his fourth rule he includes past expenditures of
     defense and repair as an equivalent for the use of the road while
     it has been in the public service, but in many cases this does not
     appear to me to be sufficient. Our expenditures upon some of these
     roads have been very heavy. For instance, we have added to the
     value of the road from Nashville to Chattanooga at least a million
     and a half dollars. When that road was recaptured from the public
     enemy it was in a very bad state of repair. Its embankments were in
     many places partially washed away, its iron was what is known as
     the U rail, and was laid in the defective old-fashioned manner,
     upon longitudinal sleepers, without cross ties. These sleepers were
     also in a state of partial decay, so that trains could not be run
     with speed or safety. All these defects have now been remedied. The
     roadbed has been placed in first-rate condition. The iron is now a
     heavy T rail, laid in new iron the entire length of the line.
     Extensive repair shops have also been erected, well furnished with
     the necessary tools and machinery. I do not conceive that it would
     be just or advisable to restore this road, with its improved tracks
     and these costly shops, without any equivalent for the great value
     of these improvements other than the use we have made of it since
     its recapture. The fact that we have replaced the heavy and
     expensive bridges over Elk, Duck, and Tennessee Rivers, and over
     Running Water Creek, should also not be forgotten in deciding this

     The above general remarks are also applicable to that portion of
     the Orange and Alexandria Railroad between the Potomac and the
     Rapidan. Very extensive repair shops have been erected at
     Alexandria, and furnished with costly machinery for the use of the
     road, and I understand that the iron and the roadbed are now much
     better than when the Government began to use it.

     The same is still more the case with the road between City Point
     and Petersburg. When that road was recaptured from the public enemy
     not only was the roadbed a good deal washed away and damaged, but
     neither rails nor sound ties were left upon it. Now it is in the
     best possible condition. Can any one contend that it ought to be
     restored to its claimants without charge for the new ties and iron?

     The case of the railroad from Harper's Ferry to Winchester is no
     less striking. It was a very poor road before the war, and was
     early demolished by the rebels. Not a pound of iron, not a sound
     tie, was to be found upon the line when we began its reconstruction
     in December last. We have spent about five hundred thousand dollars
     in bringing it to its present condition, and I have no doubt our
     improvements could be sold for that sum to the Baltimore and Ohio
     Company should they obtain the title to the roadbed from the proper
     authorities of Virginia. Why, then, should we give them up for

     On the Morehead City and Goldsboro' Railroad we have rebuilt
     twenty-seven miles of the track, and furnished it with new iron and
     laid new ties on many miles more since February last. These views
     also hold good, unless I am misinformed, with regard to the
     railroad leading into New Orleans, the Memphis and Little Rock
     Railroad, the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and the Mobile and
     Ohio Railroad. They have all been improved at great expense while
     in our hands.

     In the third rule proposed by the quartermaster general it is
     provided that all materials for permanent way used in the repair
     and construction of any road, and all damaged material of this
     class which may be left along its route, having been thrown there
     during operation of destruction and repair, shall be considered as
     part of the road, and given up with it also without compensation.
     If this means to give up any new iron that we have on the line of
     any road, it seems to me to concede to the parties to whom the
     roads are to be surrendered more than they have a right to claim.
     For instance, there is now lying at Alexandria, on the line of the
     Orange and Alexandria road, iron sufficient to lay thirty miles of
     track. It seems manifest to me that this iron should not be
     surrendered to the road without being paid for. In my judgment it
     is also advisable to establish the principle that the Government
     will not pay for the damages done any road in the prosecution of
     hostilities, any more than it will pay for similar damages done by
     the enemy. With these exceptions, the principles proposed by the
     quartermaster general appear to be correct.

     In accordance with these observations, I would recommend that the
     following rules be determined upon to govern the settlement of
     these matters:

     1. The United States will, as soon as it can dispense with military
     occupation and control of any road of which the Quartermaster's
     Department is in charge, turn it over to the parties asking to
     receive it who may appear to have the best claim, and be able to
     operate it in such a manner as to secure the speedy movement of all
     military stores and troops, the quartermaster general, upon the
     advice of the commander of the department, to determine when this
     can be done, subject to the approval of the Secretary of War.

     2. Where any State has a loyal board of works, or other executive
     officers charged with the supervision of railroads, such road shall
     be turned over to such board of officers rather than to any
     corporations or private parties.

     3. When any railroad shall be so turned over, a board of
     appraisers shall be appointed, who shall estimate and determine the
     value of any improvements which may have been made by the United
     States, either in the road itself or in its repair shop and
     permanent machinery, and the amount of such improvements shall be a
     lien upon the road.

     4. The parties to whom the road is turned over shall have the
     option of purchasing at their value any tools, iron, or any other
     materials for permanent way which have been provided by the United
     States for the improvement of the road and have not been used.

     5. All other movable property, including rolling stock of all
     kinds, the property of the United States, to be sold at auction,
     after full public notice, to the highest bidder.

     6. All rolling stock and materials of railroads captured by the
     forces of the United States, and not consumed, destroyed, or
     permanently fixed elsewhere--as, for instance, when captured iron
     has been laid upon other roads--shall be placed at the disposal of
     the roads which originally owned them, and shall be given up to
     these roads as soon as it can be spared and they appear by proper
     agents authorized to receive it.

     7. No payment or credit shall be given to any railroad recaptured
     from the enemy for its occupation or use by the United States to
     take possession of it, but its capture and restoration shall be
     considered a sufficient consideration for all such use; nor shall
     any indemnity be paid for injuries done to the property of any road
     by the forces of the United States during the continuance of the

     8. Roads which have not been operated by the United States
     Quartermaster's Department not to be interfered with unless under
     military necessity; such roads to be left in the possession of such
     persons as may now have possession, subject only to the removal of
     every agent, director, president, superintendent, or operative who
     has not taken the oath of allegiance to the United States.

     9. When superintendents in actual possession decline to take the
     oath, some competent person shall be appointed as receiver of the
     road, who will administer its affairs and account for its receipts
     to the board of directors, who may be formally recognized as the
     legal and formal board of managers, the receiver to be appointed by
     the Treasury Department, as in the case of abandoned property.

    I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                  C. A. DANA,
                           _Assistant Secretary of War_.

These recommendations were carried out partly in the transfer, which was
practically complete by the end of 1865. The department decided upon a
somewhat more liberal policy than I had thought justifiable. The roads
and bridges were transferred practically in the same condition as they
were in at the time of transfer. It was believed that this generosity
would react favorably upon the revenue and credit of the nation, and
there is no doubt that it did have a good influence.

During the presidential campaign of 1864, which resulted in Lincoln's
re-election and in the further prosecution of the war upon the lines of
Lincoln's policy, we were busy in the department arranging for soldiers
to go home to vote, and also for the taking of ballots in the army.
There was a constant succession of telegrams from all parts of the
country requesting that leave of absence be extended to this or that
officer, in order that his district at home might have the benefit of
his vote and political influence. Furloughs were asked for private
soldiers whose presence in close districts was deemed of especial
importance, and there was a widespread demand that men on detached
service and convalescents in hospitals be sent home.

All the power and influence of the War Department, then something
enormous from the vast expenditure and extensive relations of the war,
was employed to secure the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. The political
struggle was most intense, and the interest taken in it, both in the
White House and in the War Department, was almost painful. After the
arduous toil of the canvass, there was naturally a great suspense of
feeling until the result of the voting should be ascertained. On
November 8th, election day, I went over to the War Department about half
past eight o'clock in the evening, and found the President and Mr.
Stanton together in the Secretary's office. General Eckert, who then had
charge of the telegraph department of the War Office, was coming in
constantly with telegrams containing election returns. Mr. Stanton would
read them, and the President would look at them and comment upon them.
Presently there came a lull in the returns, and Mr. Lincoln called me to
a place by his side.

"Dana," said he, "have you ever read any of the writings of Petroleum V.

"No, sir," I said; "I have only looked at some of them, and they seemed
to be quite funny."

"Well," said he, "let me read you a specimen"; and, pulling out a thin
yellow-covered pamphlet from his breast pocket, he began to read aloud.
Mr. Stanton viewed these proceedings with great impatience, as I could
see, but Mr. Lincoln paid no attention to that. He would read a page or
a story, pause to consider a new election telegram, and then open the
book again and go ahead with a new passage. Finally, Mr. Chase came in,
and presently somebody else, and then the reading was interrupted.

Mr. Stanton went to the door and beckoned me into the next room. I shall
never forget the fire of his indignation at what seemed to him to be
mere nonsense. The idea that when the safety of the republic was thus at
issue, when the control of an empire was to be determined by a few
figures brought in by the telegraph, the leader, the man most deeply
concerned, not merely for himself but for his country, could turn aside
to read such balderdash and to laugh at such frivolous jests was, to his
mind, repugnant, even damnable. He could not understand, apparently,
that it was by the relief which these jests afforded to the strain of
mind under which Lincoln had so long been living, and to the natural
gloom of a melancholy and desponding temperament--this was Mr. Lincoln's
prevailing characteristic--that the safety and sanity of his
intelligence were maintained and preserved.



    The fall of the Confederacy--In Richmond just after the
    evacuation--A search for Confederate archives--Lincoln's
    propositions to the Virginians--A meeting with the Confederate
    Assistant Secretary of War--Andrew Johnson turns up at Richmond--His
    views as to the necessity of punishing rebels--The first Sunday
    services at the Confederate capital under the old flag--News of
    Lee's surrender reaches Richmond--Back to Washington with Grant.

It was evident to all of us, as the spring of 1865 came on, that the war
was drawing to a close. Sherman was coming northward from his triumphant
march to the sea, and would soon be in communication with Grant, who,
ever since I left him in July, 1864, had been watching Petersburg and
Richmond, where Lee's army was shut up. At the end of March Grant
advanced. On April 1st Sheridan won the battle of Five Forks; then on
April 2d came the successful assaults which drove Lee from Petersburg.

On the morning of April 3d, before I had left my house, Mr. Stanton sent
for me to come immediately to the War Department. When I reached his
office, he told me that Richmond had surrendered, and that he wanted me
to go down at once to report the condition of affairs. I started as soon
as I could get a steamboat, Roscoe Conkling and my son Paul accompanying
me. We arrived at City Point early on April 5th. Little was known there
of the condition of things in Richmond. There were but a few officers
left at the place, and those were overwhelmed with work. I had expected
to find the President at City Point, he having been in the vicinity for
several days, but Mr. Lincoln had gone up to Richmond the day before.

I started up the river immediately, and reached the town early in the
afternoon. I went at once to find Major-General Godfrey Weitzel, who was
in command of the United States forces. He was at his headquarters,
which were in Jefferson Davis's former residence. I had heard down the
river that Davis had sold his furniture at auction some days before the
evacuation, but I found when I reached the house that this was a
mistake--the furniture was all there.

Weitzel told me that he had learned at three o'clock in the morning of
Monday, April 3d, that Richmond was being evacuated. He had moved
forward at daylight, first taking care to give his men breakfast, in the
expectation that they might have to fight. He met no opposition, and on
entering the city was greeted with a hearty welcome from the mass of
people. The mayor went out to meet him to surrender the city, but missed
him on the road.

I took a walk around Richmond that day to see how much the city was
injured. The Confederates in retreating had set it on fire, and the
damage done in that way was enormous; nearly everything between Main
Street and the river, for about three quarters of a mile, was burned.
The custom house and the Spotswood Hotel were the only important
buildings remaining in the burned district. The block opposite the
Spotswood, including the Confederate War Department building, was
entirely consumed. The Petersburg Railroad bridge, and that of the
Danville road, were destroyed. All the enemy's vessels, excepting an
unfinished ram which had her machinery in perfect order, were burned.
The Tredegar Iron Works were unharmed. Libby Prison and Castle Thunder
had also escaped the fire.

Immediately upon arriving I began to make inquiries about official
papers. I found that the records and documents of the departments and of
Congress had generally been removed before the evacuation, and that
during the fire the Capitol had been ransacked and the documents there
scattered. In the rooms of the Secretary of the Senate and of the
Military Committee of the House of Representatives in the State House we
found some papers of importance. They were in various cases in drawers,
and all in great confusion. They were more or less imperfect and
fragmentary. In the State Engineer's office also there were some boxes
of papers relating to the Confederate works on the Potomac, around
Norfolk, and on the Peninsula. I had all of these packed for shipment,
without attempting to put them in order, and forwarded at once to

General Weitzel told me that he had found about twenty thousand people
in Richmond, half of them of African descent. He said that when
President Lincoln entered the town on the 4th he received a most
enthusiastic reception from the mass of the inhabitants. All the members
of Congress had escaped, and only the Assistant Secretary of War, Judge
John Archibald Campbell, remained in the fallen capital of the
Confederacy. Most of the newspaper editors had fled, but the Whig
appeared on the 4th as a Union paper, with the name of its former
proprietor at its head. The night after I arrived the theater opened.

There was much suffering and poverty among the population, the rich as
well as the poor being destitute of food. Weitzel had decided to issue
supplies to all who would take the oath. In my first message to Mr.
Stanton I spoke of this. He immediately answered: "Please ascertain from
General Weitzel under what authority he is distributing rations to the
people of Richmond, as I suppose he would not do it without authority;
and direct him to report daily the amount of rations distributed by his
order to persons not belonging to the military service, and not
authorized by law to receive rations, designating the color of the
persons, their occupation, and sex." Mr. Stanton seemed to be satisfied
when I wired him that Weitzel was working under General Ord's orders,
approved by General Grant, and that he was paying for the rations by
selling captured property.

The important question which the President had on his mind when I
reached Richmond was how Virginia could be brought back to the Union. He
had already had an interview with Judge Campbell and other prominent
representatives of the Confederate Government. All they asked, they
said, was an amnesty and a military convention to cover appearances.
Slavery they admitted to be defunct. The President did not promise the
amnesty, but he told them he had the pardoning power, and would save any
repentant sinner from hanging. They assured him that, if amnesty could
be offered, the rebel army would be dissolved and all the States return.

On the morning of the 7th, five members of the so-called Virginia
Legislature held a meeting to consider written propositions which the
President had handed to Judge Campbell. The President showed these
papers to me confidentially. They were two in number. One stated reunion
as a _sine qua non_; the second authorized General Weitzel to allow
members of the body claiming to be the Legislature of Virginia to meet
in Richmond for the purpose of recalling Virginia's soldiers from the
rebel armies, with safe conduct to them so long as they did and said
nothing hostile to the United States. In discussing with me these
documents, the President remarked that Sheridan seemed to be getting
rebel soldiers out of the war faster than the Legislature could think.

The next morning, on April 8th, I was present at an interesting
interview between General Weitzel and General Shepley, who had been
appointed as Military Governor of Richmond, and a committee of prominent
citizens and members of the Legislature. Various papers were read by the
Virginian representatives, but they were told plainly that no
propositions could be entertained that involved a recognition of the
Confederate authorities. The committee were also informed that if they
desired to prepare an address to the people, advising them to abandon
hostility to the Government at once, and begin to obey the laws of the
United States, they should have every facility for its circulation
through the State, provided, of course, that it met the approval of the
military authorities. The two Union generals said that if the committee
desired to call a convention of the prominent citizens of the State,
with a view to the restoration of the authority of the United States
Government, they would be allowed to go outside the lines of Richmond
for the purpose of visiting citizens in different parts of the State and
inducing them to take part in a convention. Safe conduct was promised to
them for themselves and such citizens as they could persuade to attend
the convention. They were also told that if they were not able to find
conveyances for themselves for the journey into the country, horses
would be loaned to them for that purpose. All this, they were informed,
was not to be considered as in any manner condoning any offense of which
any individual among them might have been guilty.

Judge Campbell said that he had no wish to take a prominent part in the
proceedings, but that he had long since made up his mind that the cause
of the South was hopeless. He had written a formal memorial to Jefferson
Davis, immediately after the Hampton Roads conference, urging him and
the Confederate Congress to take immediate steps to stop the war and
restore the Union. He had deliberately remained in Richmond to meet the
consequences of his acts. He said that if he could be used in the
restoration of peace and order, he would gladly undertake any labor that
might be desired of him.

The spirit of the committee seemed to be generally the same as Judge
Campbell's, though none of them equalled him in ability and clearness of
thought and statement. They were thoroughly conscious that they were
beaten, and sincerely anxious to stop all further bloodshed and restore
peace, law, and order. This mental condition seemed to me to be very
hopeful and encouraging.

One day, after the meeting of this committee, I was in the large room
downstairs of the Spotswood Hotel when my name was called, and I turned
around to see Andrew Johnson, the new Vice-President of the United
States. He took me aside and spoke with great earnestness about the
necessity of not taking the Confederates back without some conditions or
without some punishment. He insisted that their sins had been enormous,
and that if they were let back into the Union without any punishment the
effect would be very bad. He said they might be very dangerous in the
future. The Vice-President talked to me in this strain for fully twenty
minutes, I should think. It was an impassioned, earnest speech that he
made to me on the subject of punishing rebels. Finally, when he paused
and I got a chance to reply, I said:

"Why, Mr. Johnson, I have no power in this case. Your remarks are very
striking, very impressive, and certainly worthy of the most serious
consideration, but it does not seem to me necessary that they should be
addressed to me. They ought to be addressed to the President and to the
members of Congress, to those who have authority in the case, and who
will finally have to decide this question which you raise."

"Mr. Dana," said he, "I feel it to be my duty to say these things to
every man whom I meet, whom I know to have any influence. Any man whose
thoughts are considered by others, or whose judgment is going to weigh
in the case, I must speak to, so that the weight of opinion in favor of
the view of this question which I offer may possibly become
preponderating and decisive."

That was in April. When Mr. Johnson became President, not long after, he
soon came to take entirely the view which he condemned so earnestly in
this conversation with me.

Toward the end of the first week after we entered Richmond the question
about opening the churches on Sunday came up. I asked General Weitzel
what he was going to do. He answered that all the places of worship were
to be allowed to open on condition that no disloyalty should be uttered,
and that the Episcopal clergymen should read the prayer for the
President of the United States. But the next day General Shepley, the
military governor, came to me to ask that the order might be relaxed so
that the clergy should be required only not to pray for Davis. I
declined giving any orders, having received none from Washington, and
said that Weitzel must act in the matter entirely on his own judgment.
Judge Campbell used all his influence with Weitzel and Shepley to get
them to consent that a loyal prayer should not be exacted. Weitzel
concluded not to give a positive order; his decision was influenced by
the examples of New Orleans, Norfolk, and Savannah, where, he said, the
requirement had not been at first enforced. In a greater measure,
however, his decision was the result of the President's verbal direction
to him to "let the people down easy." The churches were all well filled
on Sunday, the ladies especially attending in great numbers. The sermons
were devout and not political, the city was perfectly quiet, and there
was more security for persons and property than had existed in Richmond
for many months.

On Monday morning the news of Lee's surrender reached us in Richmond. It
produced a deep impression. Even the most intensely partisan women now
felt that the defeat was perfect and the rebellion finished, while among
the men there was no sentiment but submission to the power of the
nation, and a returning hope that their individual property might escape
confiscation. They all seemed most keenly alive to this consideration,
and men like General Anderson, the proprietor of the Tredegar works,
were zealous in their efforts to produce a thorough pacification and
save their possessions.

The next morning I received from Mr. Stanton an order to proceed to
General Grant's headquarters and furnish from there such details as
might be of interest. It was at this time that I had an interesting talk
with Grant on the condition of Lee's army and about the men and arms
surrendered. He told me that, in the long private interview which he had
with Lee at Appomattox, the latter said that he should devote his whole
efforts to pacifying the country and bringing the people back to the
Union. Lee declared that he had always been for the Union in his own
heart, and could find no justification for the politicians who had
brought on the war, the origin of which he believed to have been in the
folly of extremists on both sides. The war, Lee declared, had left him a
poor man, with nothing but what he had upon his person, and his wife
would have to provide for herself until he could find some employment.

The officers of Lee's army, Grant said, all seemed to be glad that it
was over, and the men still more so than the officers. All were greatly
impressed by the generosity of the terms finally granted to them, for at
the time of the surrender they were surrounded and escape was
impossible. General Grant thought that these terms were of great
importance toward securing a thorough peace and undisturbed submission
to the Government.

I returned to Washington with General Grant, reaching there the 13th,
and taking up my work in the department at once.



    Last interview with Mr. Lincoln--Why Jacob Thompson escaped--At the
    deathbed of the murdered President--Searching for the assassins--The
    letters which Mr. Lincoln had docketed "Assassination"--At the
    conspiracy trial--The Confederate secret cipher--Jefferson Davis's
    capture and imprisonment--A visit to the Confederate President at
    Fortress Monroe--The grand review of the Union armies--The meeting
    between Stanton and Sherman--End of Mr. Dana's connection with the
    War Department.

It was one of my duties at this time to receive the reports of the
officers of the secret service in every part of the country. On the
afternoon of the 14th of April--it was Good Friday--I got a telegram
from the provost marshal in Portland, Me., saying: "I have positive
information that Jacob Thompson will pass through Portland to-night, in
order to take a steamer for England. What are your orders?"

Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi, had been Secretary of the Interior in
President Buchanan's administration. He was a conspicuous secessionist,
and for some time had been employed in Canada as a semi-diplomatic agent
of the Confederate Government. He had been organizing all sorts of
trouble and getting up raids, of which the notorious attack on St.
Albans, Vt., was a specimen. I took the telegram and went down and read
it to Mr. Stanton. His order was prompt: "Arrest him!" But as I was
going out of the door he called to me and said: "No, wait; better go
over and see the President."

At the White House all the work of the day was over, and I went into the
President's business room without meeting any one. Opening the door,
there seemed to be no one there, but, as I was turning to go out, Mr.
Lincoln called to me from a little side room, where he was washing his

"Halloo, Dana!" said he. "What is it? What's up?"

Then I read him the telegram from Portland.

"What does Stanton say?" he asked.

"He says arrest him, but that I should refer the question to you."

"Well," said the President slowly, wiping his hands, "no, I rather think
not. When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he's trying to
run away, it's best to let him run."

With this direction, I returned to the War Department.

"Well, what says he?" asked Mr. Stanton.

"He says that when you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is
trying to run away, it's best to let him run."

"Oh, stuff!" said Stanton.

That night I was awakened from a sound sleep by a messenger with the
news that Mr. Lincoln had been shot, and that the Secretary wanted me at
a house in Tenth Street. I found the President with a bullet wound in
the head, lying unconscious, though breathing heavily, on a bed in a
small side room, while all the members of the Cabinet, and the Chief
Justice with them, were gathered in the adjoining parlor. They seemed to
be almost as much paralyzed as the unconscious sufferer within the
little chamber. The surgeons said there was no hope. Mr. Stanton alone
was in full activity.

"Sit down here," said he; "I want you."

Then he began and dictated orders, one after another, which I wrote out
and sent swiftly to the telegraph. All these orders were designed to
keep the business of the Government in full motion until the crisis
should be over. It seemed as if Mr. Stanton thought of everything, and
there was a great deal to be thought of that night. The extent of the
conspiracy was, of course, unknown, and the horrible beginning which had
been made naturally led us to suspect the worst. The safety of
Washington must be looked after. Commanders all over the country had to
be ordered to take extra precautions. The people must be notified of the
tragedy. The assassins must be captured. The coolness and
clearheadedness of Mr. Stanton under these circumstances were most
remarkable. I remember that one of his first telegrams was to General
Dix, the military commander of New York, notifying him of what had
happened. No clearer brief account of the tragedy exists to-day than
this, written scarcely three hours after the scene in Ford's Theater, on
a little stand in the room where, a few feet away, Mr. Lincoln lay

I remained with Mr. Stanton until perhaps three o'clock in the morning.
Then he said: "That's enough. Now you may go home."

When I left, the President was still alive, breathing heavily and
regularly, though, of course, quite unconscious. About eight o'clock I
was awakened by a rapping on a lower window. It was Colonel Pelouze, of
the adjutant-general's office, and he said:

"Mr. Dana, the President is dead, and Mr. Stanton directs you to arrest
Jacob Thompson."

The order was sent to Portland, but Thompson couldn't be found there. He
had taken the Canadian route to Halifax.

The whole machinery of the War Department was now employed in the effort
to secure the murderer of the President and his accomplices. As soon as
I had recovered from the first shock of Mr. Lincoln's death, I
remembered that in the previous November I had received from General Dix
the following letter:

                           HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST,
                                  NEW YORK CITY,  _November 17, 1864_.

     C. A. DANA, Esq.

     MY DEAR SIR: The inclosed was picked up in a Third Avenue railroad
     car. I should have thought the whole thing got up for the Sunday
     Mercury but for the genuine letter from St. Louis in a female hand.
     The Charles Selby is obviously a manufacture. The party who dropped
     the letter was heard to say he would start for Washington Friday
     night. He is of medium size, has black hair and whiskers, but the
     latter are believed to be a disguise. He had disappeared before the
     letter was picked up and examined.

                    Yours truly,       JOHN A. DIX.

There were two inclosures, this being one of them:

    DEAR LOUIS: The time has at last come that we have all so wished
    for, and upon you everything depends. As it was decided before you
    left, we were to cast lots. Accordingly we did so, and you are to be
    the Charlotte Corday of the nineteenth century. When you remember
    the fearful, solemn vow that was taken by us, you will feel there is
    no drawback--Abe must die, and now. You can choose your weapons. The
    cup, the knife, the bullet. The cup failed us once, and might again.
    Johnson, who will give this, has been like an enraged demon since
    the meeting, because it has not fallen upon him to rid the world of
    the monster. He says the blood of his gray-haired father and his
    noble brother call upon him for revenge, and revenge he will have;
    if he can not wreak it upon the fountain-head, he will upon some of
    the bloodthirsty generals. Butler would suit him. As our plans were
    all concocted and well arranged, we separated, and as I am
    writing--on my way to Detroit--I will only say that all rests upon
    you. You know where to find your friends. Your disguises are so
    perfect and complete that without one knew your face no police
    telegraphic dispatch would catch you. The English gentleman
    "Harcourt" must not act hastily. Remember he has ten days. Strike
    for your home, strike for your country; bide your time, but strike
    sure. Get introduced, congratulate him, listen to his stories--not
    many more will the brute tell to earthly friends. Do anything but
    fail, and meet us at the appointed place within the fortnight.
    Inclose this note, together with one of poor Leenea. I will give the
    reason for this when we meet. Return by Johnson. I wish I could go
    to you, but duty calls me to the West; you will probably hear from
    me in Washington. Sanders is doing us no good in Canada.

      Believe me, your brother in love,
                                      CHARLES SELBY.

The other was in a woman's handwriting:

                                        ST. LOUIS, _October 21, 1864_.

     DEAREST HUSBAND: Why do you not come home? You left me for ten days
     only, and you now have been from home more than two weeks. In that
     long time only sent me one short note--a few cold words--and a
     check for money, which I did not require. What has come over you?
     Have you forgotten your wife and child? Baby calls for papa until
     my heart aches. We are so lonely without you. I have written to you
     again and again, and, as a last resource, yesterday wrote to
     Charlie, begging him to see you and tell you to come home. I am so
     ill, not able to leave my room; if I was, I would go to you
     wherever you were, if in this world. Mamma says I must not write
     any more, as I am too weak. Louis, darling, do not stay away any
     longer from your heart-broken wife.


On reading the letters, I had taken them at once to President Lincoln.
He looked at them, but made no special remark, and, in fact, seemed to
attach very little importance to them. I left them with him.

I now reminded Mr. Stanton of this circumstance, and he asked me to go
immediately to the White House and see if I could find the letters. I
thought it rather doubtful, for I knew the President received a great
many communications of a similar nature. However, I went over, and made
a thorough search through his private desk. He seemed to have attached
more importance to these papers than to others of the kind, for I found
them inclosed in an envelope marked in his own handwriting,
"Assassination." I kept the letters by me for some time, and then
delivered them to Judge John A. Bingham, special judge advocate in the
conspiracy trial. Judge Bingham seemed to think them of importance, and
asked me to have General Dix send the finder down to Washington. I wired
at once to the general. He replied that it was a woman who had found
the letters; that she was keeping a small store in New York, had several
children, was a widow, and had no servant; that she would have to find
some one to take care of her house, but would be in Washington in a day
or two.

A few days later she came. I was not in town when Mrs. Hudspeth, as her
name proved to be, arrived. I had gone to Chicago, but from the woman's
testimony on May 12th, I learned that in November, 1864, just after the
presidential election, and on the day, she said, on which General Butler
left New York, she had overheard a curious conversation between two men
in a Third Avenue car in New York city. She had observed, when a jolt of
the car pushed the hat of one of the men forward, that he wore false
whiskers. She had noticed that his hand was very beautiful; that he
carried a pistol in his belt; that, judging from his conversation, he
was a young man of education; she heard him say that he was going to
Washington that day. The young men left the car before she did, and
after they had gone her daughter, who was with her, had picked up a
letter from the floor. Mrs. Hudspeth, thinking it belonged to her, had
carried it from the car. She afterward discovered the two letters
printed above, and took them to General Scott, who, upon reading them,
said they were of great importance, and sent her to General Dix. When a
photograph of Booth was shown to Mrs. Hudspeth, she swore that it was
the man in disguise whom she had seen in the car. It was found that
Booth was in New York on the day that she indicated--that is, the day
General Butler left New York, November 11th--and likewise that Booth
had gone from there to Washington, as she had heard this man say he was
going to do. The inference was that the man who had dropped the letter
was Booth.

I was afterward called to the stand, on June 9th, to testify about the
letters. Judge Bingham used these documents as a link in his chain of
evidence showing that a conspiracy existed "to kill and murder Abraham
Lincoln, William H. Seward, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Edwin M.
Stanton, and others of his advisers," and that Booth was a partner in
this conspiracy.

I have said that I was in Chicago when Mrs. Hudspeth gave her testimony.
Just after I reached there I received from Major T. F. Eckert, the head
of the military telegraph, a message saying that the court wanted me
immediately as a witness in the conspiracy trial. I returned at once,
and on the 18th of May appeared in court. I was wanted that I might
testify to the identity of a key to a secret cipher which I had found on
the 6th of April in Richmond. On that day I had gone into the office of
Mr. Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of State; on a shelf, among Mr.
Benjamin's books and other things, I had found a secret cipher key.[E] I
saw it was the key to the official Confederate cipher, and, as we had
at times to decipher at the War Department a good many documents written
in that cipher, it seemed to me of interest, and I brought it away, with
several other interesting documents. When I returned to Washington I
gave it to Major Eckert, who had charge of cipher dispatches in the War

Now, on the night of Mr. Lincoln's assassination, Lieutenant W. H. Terry
had been sent to the National Hotel to seize the trunk of J. Wilkes
Booth. Among other things, he had found a paper containing a secret
cipher. When this was given to Major Eckert, he immediately saw that it
was the same as the one which I had found in Richmond. It was thought
that possibly by means of this evidence it could be shown that Booth was
in communication with the Confederate Government. I was called back to
identify the cipher key. Major Eckert at the same time presented
dispatches written in the cipher found in Booth's trunk and sent from
Canada to the Confederates. They had been captured and taken to the War
Department, where copies of them were made. By the key which I had found
these dispatches could be read. These dispatches indicated plots against
the leaders of our Government, though whether Booth had sent them or not
was, of course, never known.

Throughout the period of the trial I was constantly receiving and
answering messages and letters relative to the examination or arrest of
persons suspected of being connected with the affair. In most cases
neither the examinations nor arrests led to anything. The persons had
been acquaintances of the known conspirators, or they had been heard to
utter disloyal sentiments and had been reported to the department by
zealous Unionists. It was necessary, however, under the circumstances,
to follow up every clew given us, and, under Mr. Stanton's directions, I
gave attention to all cases reported.

While the trial was going on in Washington, Jefferson Davis was
captured, on May 10th, near Irwinsville, Ga., by a detachment of General
Wilson's cavalry. Mr. Davis and his family, with Alexander H. Stephens,
lately Vice-President of the Confederacy, John H. Reagan, Postmaster
General, Clement C. Clay, and other State prisoners, were sent to
Fortress Monroe. The propeller Clyde, with the party on board, reached
Hampton Roads on May 19th. The next day, May 20th, Mr. Stanton sent for
me to come to his office. He told me where Davis was, and said that he
had ordered General Nelson A. Miles to go to Hampton Roads to take
charge of the prisoners, transferring them from the Clyde to the
fortress. Mr. Stanton was much concerned lest Davis should commit
suicide; he said that he himself would do so in like circumstances. "I
want you to go to Fortress Monroe," he said, "and caution General Miles
against leaving Davis any possible method of suicide; tell him to put
him in fetters, if necessary. Davis must be brought to trial; he must
not be allowed to kill himself." Mr. Stanton also told me that he wanted
a representative of the War Department down there to see what the
military was doing, and to give suggestions and make criticisms and send
him full reports.

The status of Jefferson Davis at the time explains Mr. Stanton's
anxiety. It should be remembered that Davis had not surrendered when the
capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, was captured; neither had he
surrendered with either of the two principal armies under Lee and
Johnston. At that time the whole Confederate army west of the
Mississippi was still at large. To allow Davis to join this force was
only to give the Confederacy an opportunity to reassemble the forces
still unsurrendered and make another stand for life. Even more important
than this consideration was the fact that Davis was charged, in
President Johnson's proclamation of May 2, 1865, offering a reward for
his capture, with instigating the assassination of President Lincoln:

    _Whereas_, It appears, from evidence in the Bureau of Military
    Justice, that the atrocious murder of the late President, Abraham
    Lincoln, and the attempted assassination of the Hon. W. H. Seward,
    Secretary of State, were incited, concerted, and procured by and
    between Jefferson Davis, late of Richmond, Va., ... and other rebels
    and traitors against the Government of the United States, harbored
    in Canada;

     Now, therefore, to the end that justice may be done, I, Andrew
     Johnson, President of the United States, do offer and promise for
     the arrest of said persons or either of them, within the limits of
     the United States, so that they can be brought to trial, the
     following rewards: One hundred thousand dollars for the arrest of
     Jefferson Davis ... The provost marshal general of the United
     States is directed to cause the descriptions of said persons, with
     notice of the above rewards, to be published.

It was with the above facts in mind that I started for Hampton Roads on
May 20th. On the 22d the prisoners were transferred from the Clyde to
the fortress. The quarter selected for Davis's prison was a casemate
such as at that time, as well as at the present, is occupied by officers
and their families. In fact, an officer with his family was moved out of
the particular casemate in which Davis was placed. Any one who will take
the trouble to visit Fortress Monroe can see the place still, and it
certainly has not to-day a gloomy or forbidding appearance. The whole
scene of the transfer I described in a long telegram which I sent to Mr.
Stanton on the 22d. As it contains my fresh impressions, and has never
before been published, I give it here in full:

                    From FORTRESS MONROE, 1 P.M., _May 22, 1865_.

     Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

     The two prisoners have just been placed in their respective
     casemates. The sentries are stationed both within and without their
     doors. The bars and locks are fastened, and the regular routine of
     their imprisonment has begun. At precisely one o'clock General
     Miles left with a tug and a guard from the garrison to go for Davis
     and Clay. At half past one the tug left the Clyde for the fortress.
     She landed at the engineers' wharf, and the procession, led by the
     cavalrymen of Colonel Pritchard's command, moved through the water
     battery on the east front of the fortress and entered by a postern
     leading from that battery. The cavalrymen were followed by General
     Miles, holding Davis by the right arm. Next came half a dozen
     soldiers, and then Colonel Pritchard with Clay, and last the guard
     which Miles took out with him. The arrangements were excellent and
     successful, and not a single curious spectator was any where in

     Davis bore himself with a haughty attitude. His face was somewhat
     flushed, but his features were composed and his step firm. In
     Clay's manner there was less expression of bravado and dramatic
     determination. Both were dressed in gray, with drab slouched hats.
     Davis wore a thin dark overcoat. His hair and beard are not so gray
     as has been reported, and he seems very much less worn and broken
     by anxiety and labor than Mr. Blair reported when he returned from
     Richmond last winter. The parties were not informed that they were
     not to be removed to the fortress until General Miles went on board
     the Clyde, but they had before learned generally what was their

     From his staff officers Davis parted yesterday, shedding tears at
     the separation. The same scene has just been renewed at his parting
     from Harrison, his private secretary, who left at one o'clock for
     Washington. In leaving his wife and children he exhibited no great
     emotion, though she was violently affected. He told her she would
     be allowed to see him in the course of the day. Clay took leave of
     his wife in private, and he was not seen by the officers. Both
     asked to see General Halleck, but he will not see them.

     The arrangements for the security of the prisoners seem to me as
     complete as could be desired. Each one occupies the inner room of a
     casemate; the window is heavily barred. A sentry stands within,
     before each of the doors leading into the outer room. These doors
     are to be grated, but are now secured by bars fastened on the
     outside. Two other sentries stand outside of these doors. An
     officer is also constantly on duty in the outer room, whose duty is
     to see his prisoners every fifteen minutes. The outer door of all
     is locked on the outside, and the key is kept exclusively by the
     general officer of the guard. Two sentries are also stationed
     without that door, and a strong line of sentries cuts off all
     access to the vicinity of the casemates. Another line is stationed
     on the top of the parapet overhead, and a third line is posted
     across the moats on the counterscarps opposite the places of
     confinement. The casemates on each side and between these occupied
     by the prisoners are used as guard rooms, and soldiers are always
     there. A lamp is constantly kept burning in each of the rooms. The
     furniture of each prisoner is a hospital bed, with iron bedstead,
     chair and table, and a movable stool closet. A Bible is allowed to
     each. I have not given orders to have them placed in irons, as
     General Halleck seemed opposed to it, but General Miles is
     instructed to have fetters ready if he thinks them necessary. The
     prisoners are to be supplied with soldiers' rations, cooked by the
     guard. Their linen will be issued to them in the same way. I shall
     be back to-morrow morning.

                                        C. A. DANA.

Before leaving Fortress Monroe, on May 22d, I made out for General Miles
the order here printed in facsimile:

[Illustration: Fortress Monroe May 22, 1865.

Brevet Major General Miles is hereby authorized and directed to
place manacles and fetters upon the hands and feet of Jefferson Davis
and Clement C. Clay Jr, whenever he may think it advisable in order to
render their imprisonment more secure.

By order of the Secretary of War.

C. A. Dana. A. Secretary of War.]

This order was General Miles's authority for placing fetters upon Davis
a day or two later, when he found it necessary to change the inner doors
of the casemate, which were light wooden ones, without locks. While
these doors were being changed for grated ones, anklets were placed on
Davis; they did not prevent his walking, but did prevent any attempt to
jump past the guard, and they also prevented him from running. As soon
as the doors were changed (it required three days, I think), the anklets
were removed. I believe that every care was taken during Mr. Davis's
imprisonment to remove cause for complaint. Medical officers were
directed to superintend his meals and give him everything that would
excite his appetite. As it was complained that his quarters in the
casemate were unhealthy and disagreeable, he was, after a few weeks,
transferred to Carroll Hall, a building still occupied by officers and
soldiers. That Davis's health was not ruined by his imprisonment at
Fortress Monroe is proved by the fact that he came out of the prison in
better condition than when he went in, and that he lived for twenty
years afterward, and died of old age.

I hurried back to Washington from Fortress Monroe to be present at the
grand review of the Armies of the Potomac and Tennessee, which had been
arranged for May 23d and 24th. I reached the city early in the morning.
The streets were all alive with detachments of soldiers marching toward
Capitol Hill, for it was there that the parade was to start. Thousands
of visitors were also in the streets.

May 23d was given up to the review of the Army of the Potomac, and by
nine o'clock General Meade and his staff, at the head of the army,
started from the Capitol. Soon after, I joined the company on the
reviewing officers' stand, in front of the White House, in just the
place which the reviewing stand now occupies on inauguration days.
President Johnson had the central position on the platform. Upon his
right, a seat was retained for the commander of the corps undergoing
review. As soon as the corps commander with his staff had passed the
grand stand at the head of his troops, he rode into the grounds of the
White House, dismounted, and came to take his position at the right of
Mr. Johnson, while his troops continued their march. When all his men
had passed, he gave up his place to the commander of the next corps in
the column, and so on. Next to the corps commanders were seated
Secretary Stanton and Lieutenant-General Grant. On the left of the
President was Postmaster-General Dennison and, on the first day of the
parade, while the Army of the Potomac passed, Major-General Meade; and
on the second day, while the Army of the Tennessee passed, Major-General
Sherman. The other members of the Cabinet, many army officers, the
assistant secretaries in the different departments, and a number of
guests invited by the President and the secretaries, were grouped around
these central personages.

On the 24th, when Sherman's army was reviewed, I sat directly behind Mr.
Stanton at the moment when General Sherman, after having passed the
grand stand at the head of his army, dismounted and came on to the stand
to take his position and review his soldiers. As he had to pass
immediately in front of Secretary Stanton in order to reach the place
assigned to him on the President's right, I could see him perfectly. I
watched both men closely, for the difficulty between Stanton and Sherman
was at that moment known to everybody.

The terms upon which Sherman in April had accepted the surrender of
General Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina went beyond the
authority of a military commander, and touched upon political issues. It
is true that these terms were made conditional upon the approval of the
Government; nevertheless, Mr. Stanton was deeply indignant at the
general for meddling with matters beyond his jurisdiction. No doubt his
indignation was intensified by his dislike of Sherman. The two men were
antagonistic by nature. Sherman was an effervescent, mercurial,
expansive man, springing abruptly to an idea, expressing himself
enthusiastically on every subject, and often without reflection. Stanton
could not accommodate himself to this temperament.

When the memorandum of the agreement between Johnston and Sherman
reached Stanton, he sent Grant to the general in hot haste, and then
published in the newspapers, which need not have known anything of the
affair, a full account of the unwise compact, and an indignant
repudiation of it by the Government. Naturally this brought down a
furious attack upon Sherman. All his past services were forgotten for a
time, and he was even called a "traitor." The public quickly saw the
injustice of this attitude; so did most of the men in the Government,
and they hastened to appease Sherman, who was violently incensed over
what he called Stanton's insult. I think he never forgave the Secretary.
When, on May 19th, he reached Washington with his army, which he had
marched northward across the battlefields of Virginia, he refused to
have anything to do with Stanton, although Grant tried his best to bring
about a reconciliation and the President and several members of the
Cabinet showed him every attention.

I was, of course, curious to see what General Sherman would do in
passing before Mr. Stanton to take his place on the stand. The general
says in his Memoirs that, as he passed, Stanton offered his hand and he
refused to take it. He is entirely mistaken. I was watching narrowly.
The Secretary made no motion to offer his hand, or to exchange
salutations in any manner. As the general passed, Mr. Stanton gave him
merely a slight forward motion of his head, equivalent, perhaps, to a
quarter of a bow.

In May I had been asked to become the editor of a new paper to be
founded in Chicago, the Republican. The active promoter was a Mr. Mack,
and the concern was organized with a nominal capital of five hundred
thousand dollars. Only a small part of this was ever paid up; a large
block of the stock was set aside as a bonus to induce a proper man to
become the editor. Mr. Mack had offered the post to me, and, through the
influence of the Hon. Lyman Trumbull and other prominent men of
Illinois, I was persuaded to accept it. In deciding on the change, I had
arranged to stay in Washington until I could finish the routine
business upon which I was then engaged, and until Mr. Stanton could
conveniently spare me. This was not until the 1st of July. On the first
day of the month I sent to the President my resignation as Assistant
Secretary of War, and a few days later I left the capital for Chicago.


[E] The secret cipher key was a model consisting of a cylinder, six
inches in length and two and one half in diameter, fixed in a frame, the
cylinder having the printed key pasted over it. By shifting the pointers
fixed over the cylinder on the upper portion of the frame, according to
a certain arrangement previously agreed upon, the cipher letter or
dispatch could be deciphered readily. The model was put in evidence at
the trial.


    Army of the Cumberland reorganized, 126.

    Augur, General, and the spy, 183;
      in command at Washington, 244.

    Baltimore merchants arrested, 236.

    Banks, General, besieges Port Hudson, 80.

    Bates, Edward, impressions of, 171.

    Beauregard, General, 222.

    Blair, Montgomery, character, 170, 231.

    Booth, J. Wilkes, 281.

    Bragg, General, driven across the Tennessee, 104;
      maneuvers to reach Chattanooga, 107-111;
      evacuates Lookout Mountain, 148;
      retreats, 151.

    Burnside, General, shut up in Knoxville, 135;
      character, 138;
      forces, 138;
      repulses Longstreet, 154;
      relieved by Sherman, 154;
      transferred to command of Ninth Army Corps, 191.

    Cairo, the claims commission, 12.

    Campbell, Judge, negotiations with President Lincoln, 266, 270.

    Canada, proposed Confederate expedition from, 243.

    Cedar Creek, 248.

    Champion Hill, 53.

    Chase, Salmon P., impressions of, 169.

    Chattanooga, defense of, 120;
      battle, 143.

    Chickamauga, 111.

    Cipher dispatches, 22;
      Confederate, 280.

    Cold Harbor, 208.

    Conkling, Roscoe, 17, 177, 263.

    Cotton speculation, 17.

    Crittenden, General, censured for conduct at Chickamauga, 122;
      relieved, 126.

    Dana, Charles A., resigns from the Tribune, 1;
      first meeting with Lincoln, 2;
      early correspondence with Stanton, 4-11;
      commissioner of War Department, 21;
      at the front with Grant, 30 _et seq._;
      gets a horse, 45;
      assistant adjutant general, 82;
      Assistant Secretary of War, 103;
      with the Army of the Cumberland, 105 _et seq._;
      at Chattanooga, 132;
      interview with Burnside at Knoxville, 138;
      on duty at Washington, 156 _et seq._;
      relations with Stanton, 159;
      with the Army of the Potomac, 189 _et seq._;
      with Sheridan in the valley, 248 _et seq._;
      at Richmond, 263;
      last interview with Lincoln, 274;
      becomes editor of the Chicago Republican, 290.

    Davis, Jefferson, capture, 282;
      imprisonment, 284.

    Drouillard, Captain, 116.

    Early, General, menaces the capital, 228;
      withdraws, 232.

    Everett, Edward, 182.

    Five Forks, 263.

    Foster, General J. G., supersedes Burnside, 191.

    Frémont, General, 5, 6.

    Garfield, General, 118.

    Grand Gulf, attack on, 42.

    Granger, General Gordon, in command at Nashville, 105;
      at Chickamauga, 119;
      at Missionary Ridge, 149;
      fails to relieve Burnside, 152.

    Grant, General, impressions of, 15, 61;
      conduct at Shiloh criticised, 15;
      plan for Vicksburg campaign, 30;
      self-control, 43;
      invests Vicksburg, 56;
      asks re-enforcements, 80;
      enters Vicksburg, 99;
      rapid mobilization of his army, 101;
      at Chattanooga, 133;
      at Missionary Ridge, 148;
      made general in chief of the United States army, 186;
      crosses the Rapidan, 187;
      maneuvers against Lee, 200-207;
      at Cold Harbor, 208;
      charges of butchery, 209;
      in camp at Cold Harbor, 213;
      marches on Petersburg, 217 _et seq._;
      prepares for siege, 224.

    Halleck, General, obstructs Grant's plans, 156;
      Grant's chief of staff, 186;
      character, 187.

    Hancock, General, his energy, 190;
      at Spottsylvania, 195;
      advancing to Richmond, 201;
      at Cold Harbor, 208.

    Herron, General, 70, 87.

    Hooker, General, ordered to Lookout Valley, 134;
      at Lookout Mountain, 147.

    Hovey, General, 63, 217.

    Hudspeth, Mrs., gives evidence in conspiracy trial, 279.

    Humphreys, General, 192.

    Hunter, General, defeats Jones, 229;
      Grant's defense of, 233.

    Jackson, entered by United States army, 52.

    Johnson, Andrew, 105;
      urges punishment of rebels, 269.

    Johnston, General J. E., threatens Grant during siege of Vicksburg,
          83, 84, 289.

    Lee, General R. E., defeated in the Wilderness, 193;
      maneuvers against Grant, 201-207;
      Grant's estimate of, 215;
      outwitted by Grant, 222;
      driven from Petersburg, 263;
      surrender, 271.

    Lincoln, President, impressions of, 171-185;
      relations with his cabinet, 171;
      as a politician, 174-181;
      his mercifulness, 183;
      visits the lines before Petersburg, 224;
      re-election, 260;
      seeming flippancy, 261;
      in Richmond after surrender, 266;
      propositions to Confederates, 267;
      assassinated, 274.

    Logan, General, 53, 67.

    Longstreet, General, 119, 139.

    Lookout Mountain, 147.

    McClellan, dissatisfaction with, 8;
      absurd claims for, 9.

    McClernand, General, commands movement on Grand Gulf, 32;
      his annoying delays and inefficiency, 59, 89;
      removal, 90.

    McCook, General, censured for conduct at Chickamauga, 122;
      relieved, 126.

    McPherson, General, in movement on Grand Gulf, 41;
      at Raymond, 51;
      ability, 58;
      springs the mines before Vicksburg, 91.

    Meade, General, commands army of the Potomac, 189;
      character and ability, 189;
      before Petersburg, 221;
      difficulties with subordinates, 226.

    Milliken's Bend, 86.

    Mississippi, reopening of, 30.

    Missionary Ridge, 148.

    "Morse," case of, 235.

    Negro troops, their bravery, 86, 220.

    Nevada, why admitted, 174, 175.

    Newspaper correspondents, trouble with, 215.

    New York and Chicago, plans for burning, 241.

    Ord, General, supersedes McClernand, 90.

    Parsons, Colonel, 253.

    Pemberton, General, defeated at Champion's Hill, 53;
      retreat and losses, 55;
      asks for terms, 95;
      humiliation, 96;
      surrenders Vicksburg, 99.

    Porter, Admiral, runs the Vicksburg batteries, 36;
      character, 85.

    Porter, General, halts fugitives at Chickamauga, 116.

    Port Gibson, 44.

    Presidential campaign of 1864, 260.

    Railroads seized by the Government, disposition of, 255.

    Rawlins, Colonel J. A., and the Confederate Mason, 54;
      character, 62, 72.

    Raymond, engagement at, 51.

    Richmond surrendered, 263;
      evacuated, 264.

    Rosecrans, General, his delays, 104;
      occupies Chattanooga, 107;
      concentrates his army, 110;
      at Chickamauga, 111;
      prepares to defend Chattanooga, 120;
      indecision and incapacity, 123, 127;
      transferred to Department of the Missouri, 131.

    Schofield, General, troops transferred, 252.

    Secret service, 235 _et seq._

    Sedgwick, General John, 190.

    "Selby" and "Leenea" letters, 276, 277.

    Seward, Wm. H., impressions of, 168.

    Shepley, General, military governor of Richmond, 267, 270.

    Sheridan, General, at Chickamauga, 116;
      at Chattanooga, 145;
      at Missionary Ridge, 150;
      major-general, 248;
      affection of the army, 249;
      wins at Five Forks, 263.

    Sherman, General, impressions of, 29;
      commands a corps in Grant's army, 31;
      destroys public property in Jackson, 53;
      before Vicksburg, 57;
      in pursuit of Johnston, 84;
      ordered to join the forces at Chattanooga, 136;
      bridges the Tennessee, 146;
      at Missionary Ridge, 148;
      relieves Burnside at Knoxville, 154;
      letter on the relief passes, 165;
      difficulties with Stanton, 289.

    Smith, General A. J., 64, 95, 97.

    Smith, General "Baldy," 206, 207, 208, 219.

    Spottsylvania, 195.

    Stanton, E. M., early correspondence with Dana, 4-11;
      forbids army speculations in cotton, 20;
      gives complete authority to Grant, 52;
      appearance and character, 157;
      relations with his subordinates, 159;
      friction with Blair, 170;
      arrests the Baltimore merchants, 236.

    Strouse, Congressman, case of, 159.

    Table of Union losses, 210.

    Thomas, General, heads off the Confederates from Chattanooga, 111;
      holds the field at Chickamauga, 118;
      his high qualities and Stanton's esteem, 124;
      supersedes Rosecrans, 131;
      charge of his troops at Missionary Ridge, 150.

    Thompson, Jacob, 239, 273.

    "Turkey movement," 252.

    Vicksburg, campaign plans, 25, 30;
      batteries run, 36;
      attack on, 56;
      siege, 57, 78-99;
      surrender, 99.

    Virginia Legislature, negotiations with President Lincoln, 267.

    Wallace, General Lew, 229, 231.

    War Department, immense business, 161.

    Warren, General, 190, 202, 206, 209.

    Washburn, General, 71.

    Washington, panic at, 229.

    Watson, P. H., and the forage fraud, 162.

    Weitzel, General, in command at Richmond, 264, 266, 270.

    Welles, Gideon, impressions of, 170.

    Wilmot, David, 163.

    Wilson, General J. H., 137, 227.

    Wright, General, 191, 207, 208.


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been
retained except in obvious cases of typographical error.

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operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.