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[564] next day, to the President and Cabinet; when he was addressed by the former as follows:
General Grant: The Nation's appreciation of what you have already done, and its reliance upon you for what still remains to be done in the existing great struggle, are now presented with this commission constituting you Lieutenant-General of the armies 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.

Gen. Grant replied, in perhaps the longest speech he ever made, 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 battle-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 properly met, it will be due to those armies; and, above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.

The President's order, investing him with the chief command of all the armies of the United States, appeared the day following; on which day, he paid a flying visit to the Army of the Potomac, and started next morning on his return to arrange matters in the West, preparatory to movements inaugurating the general campaign. Gen. Halleck was announced as relieved from command at his own request, and assigned to duty in Washington as “ Chief of Staff to the Army.” Gen. Grant, in a brief and modest order, assumed command, announcing that his headquarters would be in the field, and, until further orders, with the Army of the Potomac. Gen. W. T. Sherman was assigned to the command of the military division of the Mississippi, comprising the Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Arkansas; Gen. J. B. McPherson, commanding, under him, the Department and Army of the Tennessee.

The residue of March and nearly the whole of April were devoted to careful preparation for the campaign. The Army of the Potomac, still commanded immediately by Gen. Meade, was completely reorganized; its five corps being reduced to three, commanded respectively by Gens. Hancock (2d), Warren (5th), and Sedgwick (6th). Maj.-Gens. Sykes, French, and Newton, with Brig.-Gens. Kenly, Spinola, and Sol. Meredith, were “relieved,” and sent to Washington for orders. Gen. Burnside, who had been reorganizing and receiving large accessions to his (9th) corps in Maryland, crossed1 the Potomac and joined Meade's army; though the formal incorporation therewith was postponed till after the passage of the Rapidan. This junction again raised the positive or fighting strength of that Army to considerably more than 100,000 men.

Earlier in the Spring, Gen. Custer, with 1,500 cavalry, had crossed2 the Rapidan, flanking the Rebel Army on the west, and moved from Culpepper C. H. by Madison C. H. to within four miles of Charlottesville, where he found his road blocked by a far superior Rebel force, and was turned back; being again waylaid near Stannardsville by a force of cavalry only, which he pushed aside with little loss, and returned3 to his old camp, followed by some hundreds of refugees from slavery to Rebels, but

1 April 23.

2 Feb. 27.

3 March 2.

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