HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
February 1, 1863.
Colonel J. C. KELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: Herewith I inclose you copy of General Orders, Number 13, from these headquarters, and of correspondence between General McClernand and myself, growing out of it.
It is due to myself to state that I am not ambitious to have this or any other command. I am willing to do all in my power in any position assigned me.
General McClernand was assigned to duty in this department, with instructions to me to assign him to the command of an army corps operating on the Mississippi River, and to give him the chief command, under my direction. This I did, but subsequently receiving authority to assign the command to any one I though most competent, or to take it myself, I determined to at least be present with the expedition. *
If General Sherman had been left in command here, such is my confidence in him that I would not have though my presence necessary. But whether I do General McClernand injustice or not, I have not confidence in his ability as a soldier to conduct an expedition of the magnitude of this one successfully. In this opinion I have no doubt but I am borne out by a majority of the officers of the expedition, though I have not questioned one of them on the subject.
I respectfully submit this whole matter to the General-in-Chief and the President. Whatever the decision made by them, I will cheerfully submit to and give a hearty support.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT,
[Inclosure Number 1.]
GENERAL ORDERS, Number 13. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE, In Field, Young's Point, La., January 30, 1863.
I. Major General U. S. Grant, commanding Department of the Tennessee, hereby assumes the immediate command of the expedition against Vicksburg, and department headquarters will hereafter be with the expedition.
II. Army corps commanders will resume the immediate command of their respective corps, and will report to and receive orders direct from these headquarters.
III. As army corps to be effective should be complete in their organization, and ready at all times for any move they may be called on to make, without looking to department or other headquarters for anything more than the replenishing of their supplies, no changes of transfers will be made by department orders, unless absolutely necessary for the interest of the service.
IV. The Thirteenth Army Corps, Major General J. A. McClernand commanding, is charged with garrisoning the post of Helena, Ark., and any other point on the WEST bank of the river it may be necessary to hold south of that place.
By order of Major General U. S. Grant:
JUNumbers A. REALIGNS,
*See Series I, VOL. XVII, Part I, p. 476, and Part II, p. 555.