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perceive that there was no force in the way to stay their march towards Washington. On July 6th Grant came to the conclusion that Washington was their objective, and as he was now charged with the management of all military operations, defensive as well as offensive, he became exceedingly anxious to know exactly what was taking place so far to the rear. To that end, several days later, he asked Dana to return to Washington, for which place he started at once, arriving there for duty on the 11th. He found both Washington and Baltimore in a state of great excitement. The air was filled with alarming rumors, the Confederate forces were reported as advancing on Baltimore; several Confederate generals were said to have dined at Rockville a day or two before; houses had been burned near Washington, and clouds of dust could be seen in several quarters. Having sifted reports and rumors as carefully as he could, he summed them all up in a despatch, which he sent to Grant at ten o'clock th
when the visit was ended accompanied them to Washington for a few days. As both the President and Secretary of War were anxious to have his daily reports of the operations around Petersburg, he made haste to return, arriving at headquarters on July 1st. Here he found a condition of affairs far from encouraging. Instead of waiting for Sheridan's return from his movement against the railroads north of Richmond, Grant sent the rest of his cavalry straight out into the Confederacy to break up thd to a confidential friend that all of Meade's attacks have been made without brains and without generalship. Additional light is thrown on the state of affairs treated of above by certain private notes which Dana wrote me that week. From one of July 2d, I quote as follows: You can't imagine how delighted we were yesterday to hear of your safety. Kautz's report had made us fear that most of your command might have been captured. Still we knew that you were a hard fellow to catch, a
I was out at Petersburg with a lot of senators this morning. The Official Records show that Grant requested Halleck to obtain an order assigning Smith to the command of the Eighteenth army corps and sending Butler back to Fort Monroe, on July 6th, at 10 A. M., and that the order was issued by the War Department on July 7th. They also show that two days thereafter Smith took advantage of ten days leave of absence, which had been granted to him the day before on account of his head, and trted by Meade, were moving down the Shenandoah Valley. Having disposed of Hunter and forced him to withdraw in the direction of the Ohio, they were quick to perceive that there was no force in the way to stay their march towards Washington. On July 6th Grant came to the conclusion that Washington was their objective, and as he was now charged with the management of all military operations, defensive as well as offensive, he became exceedingly anxious to know exactly what was taking place so fa
the organization of the forces was fatal to close and efficient co-operation. While Grant, as generalissimo, had full power, and was primarily responsible, he was disposed to place much of the blame for the inconclusive results on Meade, and by July 7th seriously thought of relieving him from command. This is shown by Dana's despatch of 8 A. M. that day, stating that A change in the commander of the Army of the Potomac now seems probable. . . . Grant seems to be coming to the conviction ial Records show that Grant requested Halleck to obtain an order assigning Smith to the command of the Eighteenth army corps and sending Butler back to Fort Monroe, on July 6th, at 10 A. M., and that the order was issued by the War Department on July 7th. They also show that two days thereafter Smith took advantage of ten days leave of absence, which had been granted to him the day before on account of his head, and that before leaving he turned over the command of his corps to the next in rank
Dana minimized Grant's merits and joined the hostile critics in denouncing his management of the campaign against Lee, instead of doing all in his power to magnify his performances, he might have seriously weakened the confidence of the government in the general's abilities and character even at that late day. Finally, had Dana proved unequal to the duties of his position on his return to Washington, and left Grant to learn from others the disagreeable facts which he communicated to him on July 11th and 12th, or had he failed to transmit to Grant the vigorous opinions of the Secretary of War as to the headless condition of military affairs about Washington, or had Grant elected to remain at City Point, and to leave to others the management of the campaign against Early and Ewell, his reputation must have suffered greatly in the public mind, as well as in the estimation of the administration. Viewing the circumstances as set forth in this narrative, and drawing such conclusions from
efforts to intercept them, long before our forces can be so concentrated as to be able to strike an effective blow. Dana gave emphasis to the foregoing despatch by two others which he sent to General Grant the next day. The first was dated July 12th-11.30 A. M., and after reciting the fact that no attack had been made on either Washington or Baltimore, it reiterated the statement that nothing can possibly be done towards cutting off the enemy for want of a commander, and added that Augur cl's abilities and character even at that late day. Finally, had Dana proved unequal to the duties of his position on his return to Washington, and left Grant to learn from others the disagreeable facts which he communicated to him on July 11th and 12th, or had he failed to transmit to Grant the vigorous opinions of the Secretary of War as to the headless condition of military affairs about Washington, or had Grant elected to remain at City Point, and to leave to others the management of the camp
at Fort Monroe. The next day Butler is said to have called upon Grant with a request for Smith's removal. Exactly what he based this upon, or what took place in the interview which followed, has never been fully stated. From the Official Records it is certain, however, that an order was issued from Grant's headquarters on July 19, 1864, relieving Smith, while still absent, from the command of the Eighteenth army corps, and that this order was followed by Smith's farewell address, dated July 20th. As the circumstances related above led to one of the most persistent and acrimonious controversies connected with the Civil War, every detail throwing light upon it has been looked upon as important. Grant ignores the subject in his Memoirs, but Dana, who was sitting with Grant when Butler called, described the meeting to me many times afterwards as an embarrassing one, in which Butler, clad in full uniform, with a haughty air and flushed face, held out a copy of the order directing
June 21st, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 21
Chapter 20: Confederate operations in Northern Virginia Dana returns to Washington generals Smith and Butler defensive attitude in front of Petersburg despatches to Grant services to Grant and the army On June 21, 1864, the President and a small party, including the Secretary of War, arrived at City Point on a short visit to General Grant and the army. Dana joined them at once, and when the visit was ended accompanied them to Washington for a few days. As both the President and Secretary of War were anxious to have his daily reports of the operations around Petersburg, he made haste to return, arriving at headquarters on July 1st. Here he found a condition of affairs far from encouraging. Instead of waiting for Sheridan's return from his movement against the railroads north of Richmond, Grant sent the rest of his cavalry straight out into the Confederacy to break up those leading west and south from Petersburg. Meade had tried to extend his left to cover the hi
July 11th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 21
e of great excitement. The air was filled with alarming rumors, the Confederate forces were reported as advancing on Baltimore; several Confederate generals were said to have dined at Rockville a day or two before; houses had been burned near Washington, and clouds of dust could be seen in several quarters. Having sifted reports and rumors as carefully as he could, he summed them all up in a despatch, which he sent to Grant at ten o'clock that night. I Official Records, Dana to Grant, July 11, 1864-10 P. M. In this despatch he reported the burning of the Gunpowder Bridge, beyond Baltimore, the capture of General Franklin, the defeat of Wallace at Monocacy, heavy skirmishing by Lowell's cavalry in front of Washington, and great activity on the part of Augur, Gillmore, McCook, and Ord in preparing for the defence of the capital. He reported also a great destruction of mills, workshops, and factories, and the breaking of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for many miles. This despatch e
July 19th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 21
he turned over the command of his corps to the next in rank, and notified Butler accordingly. He appears to have started that afternoon, and to have spent the night at Fort Monroe. The next day Butler is said to have called upon Grant with a request for Smith's removal. Exactly what he based this upon, or what took place in the interview which followed, has never been fully stated. From the Official Records it is certain, however, that an order was issued from Grant's headquarters on July 19, 1864, relieving Smith, while still absent, from the command of the Eighteenth army corps, and that this order was followed by Smith's farewell address, dated July 20th. As the circumstances related above led to one of the most persistent and acrimonious controversies connected with the Civil War, every detail throwing light upon it has been looked upon as important. Grant ignores the subject in his Memoirs, but Dana, who was sitting with Grant when Butler called, described the meeting t
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