Two Letters

Executive Mansion

Washington, April 30, 1864

Lieutenant General Grant.

Not expecting to see you again before the Spring Campaign opens, I wish to express, in this way, my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it. The particulars of your plans I neither know, or seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster, or the capture of our men in great numbers, shall be avoided, I know these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there is anything wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it.

And now with a brave Army, and a just cause, may God sustain you.

Yours very truly

A. Lincoln


Headquarters Armies of the United States

Culpepper C. H. Va. May 1st 1864

The President,

Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence you express for the future, and satisfaction with the past, in my Military administration is acknowledged with pride. It will be my earnest endeavor that you, and the country, shall not be disappointed.

From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country, to the present day, I have never had cause of complaint, have never expressed or implied a complaint, against the Administration, or the Sec. of War, for throwing any embarassment in the way of my vigerously prossecuting what appeared to me my duty. Indeed since the promotion which placed me in command of all the Armies, and in view of the great responsibility, and importance of success, I have been astonished at the readiness with which every thin asked for has been yielded without even an explaination being asked. Should my success be less than I desire, and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you.

Very truly

your obt. svt.

U. S. Grant

Lt. Gen.

April 30, 1863

Some 150 years ago this week two Union armies crossed two rivers. In one case the army stayed across the river; in the other case it recrossed the river within a week. Therein lies a tale worth remembering.

We’re going to hear a great deal about what happened at Chancellorsville 150 years ago this week. Sometimes termed “Lee’s greatest victory,” it was a perfect example of what the Army of Northern Virginia could do under the right circumstances. Of course, it helped that the commander of the Army of the Potomac, Joseph Hooker, failed to live up to expectations (including his own), and that several subordinates fell short. The daring Confederate victory came at serious cost, however: some 13,000 casualties (more than the Union lost at Fredericksburg the previous December), including the loss of Thomas J. Jackson, who fell a victim to “friendly” fire on the evening of May 2 and died eight days later. Moreover, Lee’s men were spared even more losses when a planned Confederate attack on May 6 discovered that Hooker had withdrawn overnight. Had an assault taken place, the Confederates might have encountered a foe ready to do serious damage, much as the Army of the Potomac would ponder the same what-ifs just over two months later. Continue reading