The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: October 1, 1861-January 7, 1862 - Vol. 3

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: October 1, 1861-January 7, 1862 - Vol. 3

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: October 1, 1861-January 7, 1862 - Vol. 3

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: October 1, 1861-January 7, 1862 - Vol. 3

Synopsis

Grant's career in the closing months of 1861 has been obscured by the success which came to him on the battlefield early in the following year, beginning with the victory at Fort Donelson in February 1862. Hence, Volume 3 of this definitive edition will be especially valuable to historians of the presidency as well as the Civil War for the clear, comprehensive insight itprovides into Grant's attitudes and motives on the eve of his military victories.

The fourteen-week period covered by this volume has been exhaustively researched, and includes a great store of previously unpublished material, which has been combined with already available Grant documents- many of them now printed from the original manuscripts. All the correspondence has been placed in context and annotated. As in previous volumes of the Papers, a deepening portrait of Grant emerges. Here is the key to his future actions and policies and a guide to the thought of generations who looked to him for military and political leadership.

Excerpt

For fourteen weeks, from October 1, 1861 through January 7, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant maintained headquarters at Cairo, Illinois, his army remained fairly stable in size, and he made no permanent advance southward. Yet these were not weeks of inactivity and stalemate. Cairo and Columbus, Kentucky, some twenty miles downriver, represented the crucial Mississippi River bastions of Union and Confederate defense lines stretching across Missouri and Kentucky. Neither side had the strength to break the other line on the Mississippi, but both were subjected to such barrages of misinformation that the strength of the enemy had to be probed through continual reconnaissances, raids, and demonstrations. Both sides, furthermore, had to maintain pressure so that enemy troops could not be detached for action on a weaker part of the line. Early in November, Grant used orders for a series of demonstrations to justify his first battle of the Civil War; although Belmont did not alter the basic military situation along the Mississippi, it prepared Grant and his army for more aggressive action.

Other factors were altering the war along the river. Late in December the seven thousand or so troops at Paducah and Smithland, Kentucky, were placed under Grant's command, making it possible to plan a broader advance into Kentucky. Command of Paducah brought Grant an able subordinate, Brigadier General Charles F. Smith, an experienced professional soldier whose judgment and ability Grant could trust. Even more important was the enlargement of the gunboat force at Cairo from the three converted steamboats available at the beginning of October to a flotilla including nine ironclad gunboats and thirty-eight mortar boats by the end of the year. the ironclads were innovations in naval warfare, subject to innumerable mechanical . . .

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