April 30, 1864: Lincoln’s Letter to Grant


What became known as Grant’s Overland Campaign, his drive to destroy Lee’s Army by threatening Richmond, was about to begin 156 years ago.  Lincoln writes a letter to Grant expressing full confidence in him.  Lincoln has often intervened in military matters over the years, maddened by Generals he perceived as being unwilling to fight.  Lincoln knows that, whatever else may occur, Grant will fight with all resources in his command.  Lincoln can now place on Grant’s shoulders the task of beating one of the great commanders in world history, Robert E. Lee.  The destiny of the country, and the Lincoln administration, is now in the hands of the failure from Galena, and his unexpected genius for war:


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


Published in: on April 30, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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  1. Lincoln’s frustrations must have been huge up to this point. Finally he got his bulldog, a man that would march forward and not sit in his tent. There is so much to war it seems. I remember reading years ago, can’t site it (sorry) but that the engineering corp under Grant became very proficient. They could rebuild a section of railroad as fast or faster than the Confederacy could destroy it. In the book was a photo of rails that had been “bowtied” around a tree. The rebs had stacked steel rails built a fire in the center and when hot enough pulled both ends of the rail around the tree and let it cool.
    The material supply that manufacturing in the north could supply had to have a huge influence on the outcome of the war. Up to Grants taking over, the combat skill of war seemed to lie more with the south.
    Thanks for keeping up your blog.
    In Christ,
    Dennis McCutcheon

    • The North always had the vast resources to crush the South Dennis, but it simply lacked able generals, at least in the Eastern Theater. In Grant Lincoln at last had a fighter and an able general, and he could at leave the fight against Lee in Grant’s hands, to Lincoln’s great relief, which radiates from most of his messages to Grant.

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