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Creation of the Office of Lieutenant-General.-General Grant Appointed.-Army Reorganization.-Draft for Two Hundred Thousand Men.-General Grant assumes Command in Chief.-Powers of the Lieutenant-General.-Country between Washington and Richmond.-Rule of Advance.-Rebel Position.
THE main army was now rested, and measures were in progress to give it a thorough reorganization. Congress having passed a bill reviving the office of Lieutenant-General, and recommending General Grant for the office, on the 10th March a general order issued relieving General Halleck from duty as general-in-chief of the army, and assigning General Grant to the command of the armies of the United States, with head-quarters in the field. General Halleck was appointed chief of the staff. The command was assumed on the following general order :
"HEAD-QUARTERS OF TUB AESSER, March 17, 1864 STATES,}
GENERAL ORDER, NO. 12.
"In pursuance of the following order of the President:
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 10, 1864. "Under the authority of the act of Congress to appoint to the grade of lieutenantgeneral in the army, of February 29, 1864, Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, United States Army, is appointed to the command of the armies of the United States.
-I assume command of the armies of the United States. Head-quarters will be in the field, and, until further orders, will be with the Army of the Potomac. There will be an office head-quarters in Washington, to which all official communications will be sent, except those from the army where the head-quarters are at the date of their address. "U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General." Following this order was a new call for a draft of two hundred thousand men, as follows:
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, March 14, 1864. GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 100..
"In order to supply the force required to be drafted for the Navy, and to provide an ample reserve force for all contingencies, in addition to the five hundred thousand men called for February 1, 1864, the call is hereby made, and a draft ordered, for two hundred thousand men for the military service, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps of the United States.
"The proportional quotas for the different wards, towns, townships, precincts, or election districts or counties, will be made known through the Provost-Marshal-General's Bureau, and accounts will be taken of the credits and deficiencies of former quotas.
"The 15th day of April, 1864, is designated as the time up to which the numbers required from each ward of a city, town, &c., may be raised by voluntary enlistment, and drafts will be made in such wards of a city, town, &c., which shall not have filled the quota assigned to it within the time designated for the number required to fill said quota.
"The drafts will be commenced as soon after the 15th of April as practicable. "The Government bounties, as now paid, continue until April 1, 1864, at which time the additional bounties cease. On and after that date, one hundred dollars only will be paid, as provided by the act approved July 22, 1861.
"Official: E. D. TOWNSEND, A. A. G."
This call, with the two previous ones of October and February, made seven hundred thousand men called for in six months. While the material was thus provided, the Army of the Potomac underwent an entire reorganization, as may be seen by the following order :
REORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
"HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Thursday, March 24, 1864.
"GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 10.
"The following order has been received from the War Department:
**WAR DEPARTMENT, ADN, MINT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
"GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 415.
"First.-By direction of the President of the United States, the number of army corps composing the Army of the Potomac will be reduced to three, viz.: the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps. The troops of the other two corps, viz., the First and Third Corps, will be temporarily reorganized and distributed among the Second, Fifth, and Sixth, by the commanding general, who will determine what existing organization will retain their corps badges and other distinctive marks. The staff officers of the two corps which are temporarily broken up, will be assigned to vacancies in the other corps, so far as such vacancies may exist. Those for whom there are no vacancies will cease to be considered as officers of the general staff of army corps.
Second.-Major-General G. W. Warren is assigned by the President to the command of the Fifth Corps.
"Third.-The following general officers are detached from the Army of the Potomac, and will report for orders to the adjutant of the army, viz.: Major-General George Sykes, U. S. Vols., Major-General W. H. French, U. S. Vols., Major-General John Newton, U. S. Vols., Brigadier-General J. R. Kenly, U. S. Vols., Brigadier-General F. Spinola, U. S. Vols., Brigadier-General Solomon Meredith, U. S. Vols.
"By order of the Secretary of War.
"E. D. TOWNSEND, A. A. G.'
"Fourth. The following arrangements are made to carry out the provisions of the foregoing order: -The Second, Fifth, and Sixth Army Corps will be consolidated into two divisions. The first and second divisions of the Third Corps are transferred to the Second Corps, preserving their badges and distinctive marks. The third division of the Third Corps is transferred permanently to the Sixth Corps. The three divisions now forming the First Corps are transferred to the Fifth Corps, preserving their badges and distinctive marks, and on joining the Fifth Corps, they will be consolidated into two divisious. The commander of the division transferred to the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps will at once report to the commanders of those corps for instructions. BrigadierGeneral J. B. Carr will report to Major-General Hancock, commanding the Second Corps, and Brigadier-General H. Prince to Major-General Sedgwick, commanding the Sixth Corps. The chief of artillery will assign eight batteries each to the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps, these batteries to be taken from those now with the corps, and with the First and Third Corps. The batteries with the several corps in excess of the above allowance will join the artillery reserve. The consolidation of divisions called for in this order will be made by the corps commanders concerned, who are authorized to rearrange the brigades of their respective commands in such manner as they may think best for the service. The reassignment of officers of the staff departments, consequent upon the reorganization of the army, will be made upon the nominations of the chiefs of staff departments at these head-quarters. Special instructions will be given hereafter with respect to staff officers of the two corps temporarily broken up. "Fifth.-The major-general commanding avails himself of the occasion to say, that in view of the reduced strength of nearly all the regiments serving in this army, the temporary reduction of the army corps to three is a measure imperatively demanded by the best interests of the service, and that the reasons for attaching the First and Third Corps, for the time being, to other corps, were in no respect founded upon any sup
posed inferiority of those corps to the other corps of this army. All the corps have equally proved their valor on many fields, and all have equal claims to the confidence of the Government and of the country. The First and Third Corps will retain their badges and distinctive marks, and the major-general commanding indulges the hope that the ranks of the army will be filled at an early day, so that those corps can again be reorganized.
"By command of Major-General Meade.
"S. WILLIAMS, A. A. G."
The following is a summary of the reorganization of the corps :
FIFTH ARMY CORPS.
Major-General Warren, Commanding.
The consolidation of divisions and arrangement of brigades is made as follows:-The commanding officer of the First Division of the old Fifth Corps is ordered to consolidate the three brigades into two brigades, to be designated as the First and Second Brigades, First Division, Fifth Army Corps. The old Second Division, Fifth Corps, has been consolidated into one brigade, to be designated as the Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps, commanded by Brigadier-General R. B. Ayres. The old Third Division, Fifth Corps, will remain as the new Third Division, Fifth Army Corps. The Second Brigade of the Third Division, First Army Corps, has been transferred to the Second Division, First Army Corps, and this division will hereafter be designated as the Second Division, Fifth Army Corps. The First Brigade of the Third Division, First Army Corps, has been transferred to the First Division, First Army Corps, and this division will hereafter be designated as the Fourth Division, Fifth Army Corps. The designating flags of the old Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps; of the old Second Division, Fifth Army Corps; of the old Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Army Corps, and of Third Division, First Army Corps, are ordered to be turned in to the corps quarter
The following is the assignment of general officers to commands in the consolidated corps :
1. Brigadier-General J. S. Wadsworth, commanding Fourth Division.
2. Brigadier-General S. W. Crawford, commanding Third Division.
3. Brigadier-General J. C. Robinson, commanding Second Division.
4. Brigadier-General Charles Griffin, commanding First Division.
5. Brigadier-General R. B. Ayres, commanding Third Brigade, First Division.
6. Brigadier-General L. Cuttor, commanding First Brigade, Fourth Division.
7. Brigadier-General Henry Baxter, commanding Second Brigade, Second Division.
8. Brigadier-General J. J. Bartlett, commanding Second Brigade, First Division. 9. Brigadier-General James Barnes, commanding First Brigade, First Division. 10. Brigadier-General J. C. Rice, commanding Second Brigade, Fourth Division. The following is a portion of the corps staff:
Lieutenant-Colonel H. C. Bankhead, Inspector-General.
The other officers of the staff have not yet been assigned.
Major-General Hancock, Commanding.
The original regiments of the Second Corps have been consolidated into two divisions, with a new assignment of division and brigade commanders.
The division formerly known as the First Division of the Third Corps, commanded by Major-General Birney, has been designated as the Third Division of the Second Corps. The division formerly known as the Second Division of the Third Corps, to which Brigadier-General Carr has been assigned as commander, will hereafter be known as the Fourth Division of the Second Corps. Each of these divisions has been reduced to two brigades. The organization of the staff of the Second Corps has not yet been completed.
The following is the arrangement of divisions and assignment of commanders :
Brigadier-General T. C. Barlow.
First Brigade-Colonel N. A. Niles, Sixty-first New York.
Brigadier-General John Gibbon.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General A. S. Webb.
Major-General D. B. Birney.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General J. H. Ward.
Brigadier-General J. B. Carr.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General G. Mott.
Second Brigade-Colonel W. R. Brewster, Seventy-third New York.
General Sedgwick, Commanding.
The old Third Division, Sixth Corps, is broken up, one brigade (Shaler's) going to the First Division; the Second (Wheaton's and Eustis's) going to the Second Division. The Third Division, Third Corps, is transferred to the Sixth Corps, and General Prince is assigned to the command of it. The three brigades of this division are consolidated into two, under General Russell and General Morris.
Brigadier-General H. G. Wright.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General A. T. A. Torbert.
Second Brigade-Colonel E. Upton, One Hundred and Twenty-first New York.
Fourth Brigade-Brigadier-General A. Shaler.
Brigadier-General G. W. Getty.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General F. Wheaton.
Second Brigade-Colonel L. A. Grant, "Fremont" Brigade.
Brigadier-General H. Prince.
First Brigade-Brigadier-General W. H. Morris.
Second Brigade-Brigadier-General D. A. Russell.
Colonel C. H. Tompkins, First Rhode Island Artillery, commanding Artillery.
Each of the generals detached took leave of his troops in a general order. Major-General P. H. Sheridan was summoned from the West to take command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.
Lieutenant-General Grant arrived in Washington on Tuesday, April 8th, accompanied by General Rawlings and Colonel Comstock. On the afternoon of Wednesday, the 9th, the President formally presented to him at the Cabinet Chamber, in the presence of the entire Cabinet, his commission as lieutenant-general, and thus addressed him:
"GENERAL GRANT:-The nation's appreciation of what you have done, and its reliance upon you for what remains to be done in the existing great struggle, are now presented with this commission constituting you Lieutenant-General in the Army of the United States. With this high honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add, that with what I here speak for the nation goes my own hearty personal concurrence."
To which General Grant replied as follows:
"MR. PRESIDENT:-I accept the commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred. With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me, and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men."
General Grant was then introduced to the Cabinet, and some time was spent in conversation.
The new general lost little time in commencing his new duties. He issued an order directing all civilians, sutlers, and their employes, to proceed to the rear with all their property, and stopped all furloughs. He personally inspected the several Eastern departments, visiting Fortress Monroe, Annapolis, and other points, during the month of April. The weather during the month was adverse to army movements, as incessant rains sufficed to make the roads impassable. The enemy on his side had recruited with great vigor, and was indefatigable in the construction of earthworks.
In illustration of the ample powers conferred upon General Grant, and of the policy pursued towards him by the President, the following correspondence is of interest:
"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, April 30, 1864.
"Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know, nor seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster, or capture of our men in great numbers, shall be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there be any thing wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it. "And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you.
"Yours, very truly,
CULPEPPER COURT-HOUSE, May 1, 1864.
"THE PRESIDENT:-Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence you express for the future and satisfaction for the past in my military administration, is acknowledged with pride. It shall be my earnest endeavor that you and the country shall not be disappointed. From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country until the present day, I have never had cause of complaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint against the Administration or the Secretary of War, for throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting what appeared to be my duty.
Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command of all the armies, and in view of the great responsibility and importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thing asked for has been yielded, without even an ex