President Lincoln Cautions General Ulysses S. Grant

July 17, 1864

President Lincoln writes Union General Ulysses S. Grant: “In your despatch of yesterday to Gen. Sherman, I find the following, towit: ‘I shall make a desparate effort to get a position here which will hold the enemy without the necessity of so many men.’

Pressed as we are by lapse of time, I am glad to hear you say this; and yet I do hope you may find a way that the effort shall not be desparate in the sense of great loss of life.

President Lincoln writes General David Hunter, commander of the Union army in the Shenandoah Valley: “Yours of this morning received. You misconceive. The order you complain of was only nominally mine; and was framed by those who really made it, with no thought of making you a scape-goat. It seemed to be Gen. Grant’s wish that the forces under Gen. Wright and those under you should join and drive at the enemy, under Gen. Wright. Wright had the larger part of the force, but you had the rank. It was thought that you would prefer Crook’s commanding your part, to your serving in person under Wright. That is all of it. Gen. Grant wishes you to remain in command of the Department, and I do not wish to order otherwise.”

President Lincoln telegraphs Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin: “Please come here, as soon as convenient, and you and I will absolutely fix up the 2nd. Heavy Artillery matters, before you leave.” Curtin responds: “I regret that I cannot leave Harrisburg at this time having fully expressed my views as to the two (2) Heavy Artillery P.V. in my letters of the 16th and 18th June. I do not know of anything now I could suggest. . . . I have directed my military agent . . . to call and see you. . . . He is fully informed and can give you facts of importance in reference to the present condition of the men.”   Curtin wanted to replace the regiment’s commander.

New York Tribune Editor Horace Greeley writes the supposed Confederate peace commissioners at Niagara Falls “I am informed that you are duly accredited from Richmond as the bearers of propositions looking to the establishment of peace; that you desire to visit Washington in the fulfilment of your mission; and that you further desire that Mr. George N. Sanders shall accompany you. If my information be thus far substantially correct, I am authorized by the President fo the United States to tender you his safe-conduct on journey proposed, and to accompany you at the earliest time that will be agreeable to you.”

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