[March 9, 1864]
I accept the commission with gratitude for the high honor confered.
With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations. I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving on me and know that if they are met it will be due to those armies, and above all to the favor of that Providence which leads both Nations and men.
AD, DLC-USG, I, C. USG spoke in response to President Abraham Lincoln. "The nation's appreciation of what you have done, and its reliance upon you for what remains to do, in the existing great struggle, are now presented with this commission, constituting you Lieutenant General in the Army of the United States. With this high honor devolves upon you also, a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, it will sustain you. I scarcely need to add that with what I here speak for the nation goes my own hearty personal concurrence." AD, USG 3. Lincoln, Works, VII, 234.
On March 10, 1864, Lincoln wrote to USG. "Under the authority of the act of Congress to revive the grade of Lieutenant General in the United States Army, approved February 29th 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, U. S. Army, is assigned to the command of the armies of the United States." LS, USG 3. O. R., III, iv, 160-61. On the same day, 1:40 P. M., Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton telegraphed to USG. "Pursuant to the authority of the Act of Congress approved February 29th 1864, the President, by Executive order of this date, has assigned to you the command of the Armies of the United States." ALS (telegram sent), DNA, RG 107, Telegrams Collected (Bound). O. R., I, xxxiii, 663.
On March 9, Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck wrote to Stanton, sending a copy to USG. "Under the provisions of the Act of April 4th 1862, which authorizes the President to assign to command officers of the same grade, without regard to seniority of rank, the undersigned, a Major General, was assigned, in July 1862, to the command of the land forces of the United States. Since that time the higher grade of Lieutenant General has been created, and the distinguished officer promoted to that rank has received his commission and reported for duty. I, therefore, respectfully request that orders be issued placing him in command of the Army and relieving me from that duty. In making this request I am influanced solely by a desire to conform to the provisions of the law, which, in my opinion, impose upon the Lieutenant General the duties and responsibilities of General in Chief of the Army" LS, DNA, RG 108, Letters Received. O. R., III, iv, 160. On March 12, Col. Edward D. Townsend issued AGO General Orders No. 98 relieving Halleck as gen. in chief and assigning him as chief of staff, announcing USG's assignment to command the armies of the U. S., and placing Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in command of the Military Div. of the Miss. and Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson in command of the Dept. and Army of