PREPARING FOR THE CAMPAIGNS OF '64. (1)
BY ULYSSES S. GRANT, GENERAL, U. S. A.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC AT BRANDY STATION.
HEADQUARTERS FLAG, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
My commission as lieutenant-general was given to me on the 9th of March, 1864. On the following day I visited General Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, at his headquarters, Brandy Station, north of the Rapidan.
I had known General Meade slightly in the Mexican war, but had not met him since until this visit. I was a stranger to most of the Army of the Potomac ; I might say to all except the officers of the regular army who had served in the Mexican war. There had been some changes ordered in the organization of that army before my promotion. One was the consolidation of five corps into three, thus throwing some officers of rank out of important commands. Meade evidently thought that I might want to make still one more change not yet ordered.
He said to me that I might want an officer who had served with me in the West, mentioning Sherman especially, to take his place if so, he begged me not to hesitate about making the change. He urged that the work before us was of such vast importance to the whole nation that the feeling or wishes of no one person should stand in the way of selecting the right men for all positions. For himself he would serve to the best of his ability wherever placed. I assured him that I had no thought of substituting any one for him. As to Sherman he could not be spared from the West.
This incident gave me even a more favorable opinion of Meade than did his great victory at Gettysburg the July before. It is men who wait to be selected ,
(1) "Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant." Copyright, 1885, by U. S. Grant. All rights reserved.