President Lincoln Directs Order to General Philip Sheridan

August 3, 1864

President Lincoln writes General Ulysses S. Grant: “I have seen your despatch in which you say, ‘I want Sheridan put in command of all the troops in the field, with instructions to put himself south of the enemy, and follow him to the death. Wherever the enemy goes, let our troops go along.’ This, I think, is exactly right, as to how our forces should move. But please look over the despatches you may have received from here, even since you made that order, and discover, if you can, that there is any idea in the head of any one here of ‘putting our army south of the enemy,’ or of ‘following him to the death‘ in any direction. I repeat to you it will neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day, and hour, and force it.”

Grant wrote in his memoirs that he responded: “‘’I would start in two hours for Washington,’ and soon got off, going directly to the Monocacy without stopping at Washington on my way. I found General Hunter’s army encamped there, scattered over the fields along the banks of the Monocacy, with many hundreds of cars and locomotives, belonging to the Baltimore and Ohio, Railroad, which he had taken the precaution to bring back and collect at that point. I asked the general where the enemy was. He replied that he did not know. He said the fact was, that he was so embarrassed with orders from Washington moving him first to the right and then to the left that he had lost all trace of the enemy.”

General Benjamin F. Butler writes about one of the cases of imprisonment which has led to conflict with civil authorities and repeated complaints by Governor Francis H. Peirpoint: “In the case of Edward K Snead of Norfolk who was stayed because he threatened disobedience to my orders & whose case I have reported to you by mail, no further present action need be taken as Snead has given his word not to disobey any military order of this Dept & has been released to go about his business.”

Philadelphia Congressman William D. Kelley again demands the dismissal of Philadelphia Cornelius A. Walborn, who has instructed Post Office employees to oppose Kelley’s renomination: “If Mr Walborn is permitted to pursue the dictatorial course he is now engaged in — as he falsely asserts with your approval — they will I fear be scenes of disgraceful violence in many precin[c]ts

I find no opposition that is not fomented by him — the Navy agent — & their patron Genl Cameron — and that would vanish as by magic, were it not that they have impressed their adherents with the conviction that they are executing your wishes as expressed to Mr Walborn.

I beg leave again to remind you that I do not appeal to you for support; but simply ask you, for the sake of the great cause we have at heart, to relieve yourself from an odious responsibility which is thus falsely put upon you.

Fearing that my letters to you are tampered with I will withold my frank from this & let my daughter direct it. It is with pain that I thus add to your many anxities. I would not do it did not a sense of duty constrain me

Kelley is supported by a letter to President Lincoln by John W. Forney, a key political player and editor in both Philadelphia and Washington: “The political condition of the district represented by the Hon Wm D. Kelly is such that your immediate interposition is necessary. He is clearly the choice of the Union people of the dis-trict for renomination, and I greatly fear if he should be defeated, for that renomination, by the malpractice of partisans who claim to be your friends, that we may lose the election in October next.”

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Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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