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[435] was effected at Goldsboro; on the 24th, Sheridan set out from White House to rejoin the army of the Potomac after a separation of nearly eight months; and on that day Grant issued his orders to Meade and Ord and the great cavalry leader for a movement against the right of Lee.

He meant to gather up all the threads, and overlooked no quarter, however distant, of the theatre of war. Pope had superseded Rosecrans in Missouri, and on the 21st of March, Arkansas was added to his command. The same day Grant wrote at length, instructing him to begin offensive operations against Price, and drive him across the Red river. ‘By taking an early start,’ he said, ‘going light, Pope will be able at least to throw the enemy beyond the Red river, not to return again.’ Then, confident that his plans at the East were approaching their consummation, he instructed his subordinate accordingly. ‘Movements now in progress may end in such results as to enable me to send you forces enough for any campaign you may want to make, even to the overrunning of Texas. If so, and you want them, they will be promptly sent.’

On the 24th, he covered all the ground. To Halleck, on this day, he said: ‘I have no present purpose of making a campaign with the forces in the Middle Department, but want them in the best possible condition for either offensive or defensive operations. If Lee should retreat south, the surplus force under Hancock1 could be transferred to another field. If he should go to Lynchburg, they will be required where they are.’ No contingency was forgotten, no preparation omitted.

1 Hancock had been placed in command of the Middle Department when Sheridan rejoined Grant.

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