Chapter 15: Atlanta campaign-nashville and Chattanooga to Kenesaw.
March, April, and May, 1864.
On the 18th day of March, 1864, at Nashville, Tennessee
, I relieved Lieutepant-General Grant
in command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, embracing the Departments of the Ohio
, Cumberland, Tennessee
, and Arkansas
, commanded respectively by Major-Generals Schofield
, and Steele
. General Grant
was in the act of starting East to assume command of all the armies of the United States
, but more particularly to give direction in person to the Armies of the Potomac
, operating against Richmond
; and I accompanied him as far as Cincinnati
on his way, to avail myself of the opportunity to discuss privately many little details incident to the contemplated changes, and of preparation for the great events then impending.
Among these was the intended assignment to duty of many officers of note and influence, who had, by the force of events, drifted into inactivity and discontent.
Among these stood prominent Generals McClellan
, and Fremont
, in the East
; and Generals Buell
, and Crittenden
, at the West
My understanding was that General Grant
thought it wise and prudent to give all these officers appropriate commands, that would
enable them to regain the influence they had lost; and, as a general reorganization of all the armies was then necessary, he directed me to keep in mind especially the claims of Generals Buell
, and Crittenden
, and endeavor to give them commands that would be as near their rank and dates of commission as possible; but I was to do nothing until I heard further from him on the subject, as he explained that he would have to consult the Secretary of War
before making final orders.
and his officers had been subjected to a long ordeal by a court of inquiry, touching their conduct of the campaign in Tennessee
, that resulted in the battle of Perryville
, or Chaplin's Hills, October 8, 1862, and they had been substantially acquitted; and, as it was manifest that we were to have some hard fighting, we were anxious to bring into harmony every man and every officer of skill in the profession of arms.
Of these, Generals Buell
were prominent in rank, and also by reason of their fame acquired in Mexico
, as well as in the earlier part of the civil war.
After my return to Nashville
I addressed myself to the task of organization and preparation, which involved the general security of the vast region of the South
which had been already conquered, more especially the several routes of supply and communication with the active armies at the front, and to organize a large army to move into Georgia
, coincident with the advance of the Eastern
armies against Richmond
I soon received from Colonel J. B. Fry
--now of the Adjutant-General
's Department, but then at Washington
in charge of the Provost-Marshal-General
's office--a letter asking me to do something for General Buell
I answered him frankly, telling him of my understanding with General Grant
, and that I was still awaiting the expected order of the War Department, assigning General Buell
to my command.
, as General Buell
's special friend, replied that he was very anxious that I should make specific application for the services of General Buell
by name, and inquired what I proposed to offer him. To this I answered that, after the agreement with General Grant
that he would notify me from Washington
, I could not with propriety press the matter, but if
should be assigned to me specifically I was prepared to assign him to command all the troops on the Mississippi River
, comprising about three divisions, or the equivalent of a corps d'armee
. General Grant
never afterward communicated to me on the subject at all; and I inferred that Mr. Stanton
, who was notoriously vindictive in his prejudices, would not consent to the employment of these high officers.
, toward the close of the war, published a bitter political letter, aimed at General Grant
, reflecting on his general management of the war, and stated that both Generals Canby
had offered him a subordinate command, which he had declined because he had once out-ranked us. This was not true as to me, or Canby
either, I think, for both General Canby
and I ranked him at West Point
and in the old army, and he (General Buell
) was only superior to us in the date of his commission as major-general, for a short period in 1862.
This newspaper communication, though aimed at General Grant
, reacted on himself, for it closed his military career.
afterward obtained authority for service, and I offered him a division, but he declined it for the reason, as I understood it, that he had at one time commanded a corps.
He is now in the United States
service, commanding the Seventeenth Infantry. General McCook
obtained a command under General Canby
, in the Department of the Gulf, where he rendered good service, and he is also in the regular service, lieutenant-colonel
I returned to Nashville
about the 25th of March, and started at once, in a special car attached to the regular train, to inspect my command at the front, going to Pulaski, Tennessee
, where I found General G. M. Dodge
; thence to Huntsville, Alabama
, where I had left a part of my personal staff and the records of the department during the time we had been absent at Meridian
; and there I found General McPherson
, who had arrived from Vicksburg
, and had assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee. General McPherson
accompanied me, and we proceeded by the cars to Stevenson
, etc., to Chattanooga
, where we spent a day or two
with General George H. Thomas
, and then continued on to Knoxville
, where was General Schofield
He returned with us to