Grant Burns Rosecrans

“Rosecrans will do less harm doing nothing than on duty. I know no Department or Army Commander deserving such punishment as the infliction of Rosecrans upon him.”

–Ulysses S. Grant to Edwin M. Stanton, December 2, 1864

17 thoughts on “Grant Burns Rosecrans

  1. Tony June 16, 2014 / 12:49 am

    Is this Grant nursing a grudge for the backstabbing he received from Rosecrans? Rosecrans was fairly solid strategically, and a decent fighter with one notable exception. I suppose it boils down to this: what commander wants a subordinate that is going to be smearing him in the press?

    • Ned June 16, 2014 / 8:51 pm

      I think it boils down to that Grant found Rosecrans a pain the ass to work with.
      In September 1864 Halleck wrote Grant “I have just learned that General Rosecrans has ordered to Saint Louis a veteran Illinois regiment belonging to General Sherman and also a Wisconsin regiment en route to Nashville. He has no authority for this, but, on the contrary, I refused to permit him to stop troops belonging to General Sherman. I have telegraphed him to forward them on immediately, but I presume he will, as usual, disobey orders.” That last part is harsh but it shows what they thought of him.

      • Tony June 18, 2014 / 9:12 am

        That’s funny. Do you know any specific instances where Rosecrans disobeyed orders from Halleck prior to this?

        • Ned June 18, 2014 / 7:38 pm

          There was an incident in July 1864 where Halleck ordered Rosecrans to send two regiments to Illinois. Rosecrans argued about it and made excuses for why he could not obey.

          There was also a problem in May 1864 when Missouri was added to Canby’s command but Rosecrans argued about whether this was proper.

          • Ned June 23, 2014 / 7:59 pm

            The May incident can be found in the OR series 1, volume 34, part 4, pages 49 and 64

            The July incident can be found in the OR, series 1, volume 42, part 2, pages 49, 60, 84, 85, 98, and 126,

            The September incident can be found int he OR, series 1, volume 41, part 3, page 468

            These are just incidents I am aware of; there maybe others.

          • Mr Dave June 25, 2014 / 12:38 pm

            Before Price’s invasion of Missouri which began Sept 27, 1864 Rosecrans had reasons for wanting to hold on to his troops. Here is one citation:
            http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?page=60&dir=084

            After the invasion according to John Rawlins Rosecrans did comply with the orders to strip his command of troops. See Lamers, Rdge of Glory p 435 and
            http://ehistory.osu.edu/osu/sources/recordView.cfm?page=430&dir=086

            I know you don’t like Rosecrans but I hope you don’t think he was evil.
            Btw after Price’s Invasion in the words of Stephen Z. Starr: “Except for the operations, long past the end of the war, of guerrillas, gangs, or individuals professing to be laboring for the Confederacy, the Civil War west of the Mississippi came effectively to an end when Price crossed the Arkansas River on November 7, 1864.” (Union Cavalry in the Civil War Vol III p. 526)
            It seems keeping those troops was a smart thing to do.

          • Ned B June 27, 2014 / 9:52 am

            I am sure Rosecrans had reasons for what he did and I do not feel knowledgeable enough to judge the validity of his reasons. The issue i was pointing out was that the way he communicated about his reasons caused friction with Halleck and was a pattern of difficulty between Rosecrans and his superior commanders.

  2. jfepperson June 16, 2014 / 9:14 am

    I think Tony nails it.

  3. John Foskett June 16, 2014 / 9:32 am

    As we know, the Grant-Rosecrans “thing” was off the rails long before this, going back at least to Iuka. This quote from Grant is clearly over the top.

  4. Joshism June 17, 2014 / 4:34 pm

    Strong words for a guy who worked with Ambrose Burnside.

    • jfepperson June 18, 2014 / 4:29 am

      Burnside was an affable doofus—most people liked him.

    • John Foskett June 18, 2014 / 7:58 am

      Not to mention Baldy Smith.

      • jfepperson June 18, 2014 / 8:10 am

        Baldy never met anyone he couldn’t carp about, usually behind their back.

  5. Mr Dave June 20, 2014 / 9:24 pm

    BTW another historian has looked at the Grant-Rosecrans “issue” and come to a conclusion
    at variance with the accepted interpretation.
    Here’s a link, go to page 172 for a look at the first few pages.of the relevant chapter.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=VwM6AwAAQBAJ&pg=PR4&lpg=PR4&dq=Gateway+to+the+Confederacy:+New+Perspectives+evan+jones&source=bl&ots=8ZiN-DqTa2&sig=tACs9bnbHx9qH1y20YMUEqp1k5k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CAilU8C8O8iTyATCjoDIBg&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=Gateway%20to%20the%20Confederacy%3A%20New%20Perspectives%20evan%20jones&f=false

    • John Foskett June 22, 2014 / 8:00 am

      Frank Varney’s recent book covers the Grant-Rosecrans issue in detail. The general thrust is against Grant and his “campaign” to distort the historical record against Rosecrans. Most reviews have been favorable, although I recall seeing one that challenged Varney’s interpretation of the OR in several instances. I’ve only skimmed it myself thus far so I’m not qualified to speak to its persuasiveness.

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