War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0039 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Richmond, that all communication with the city north of James River should be cut off. The enemy having withdrawn the bulk of his force from the Shenandoah Valley and sent it south, or replaced troops sent from Richmond, and desiring to re-enforce Sherman, it practicable, whole cavalry was greatly inferior in numbers to that of the enemy, I determined to make a move from the Shenandoah, which,if successful, would accomplish the first, at least, and possibly the latter of these objects. I therefore telegraphed General Sheridan as follows:

CITY POINT, VA., February 20, 1864-1 p.m.

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN:

GENERAL: As soon as it is possible to travel I think you will have no difficulty about reaching Lynchburg with a cavalry force alone. From here you could destroy the railroad and canal in every direction, so as to be of no further use to the rebellion. Sufficient cavalry should be left behind to look after Mosby's gang. From Lynchburg, if information you might get there would justify it, you could strike, south, heading the stream is Virginia to the westward of Danville, and push on and join General Sherman. This additional raid, with one now about starting from East Tennessee under Stoneman, numbering 4,000 or 5,000 cavalry, one from Vicksburg, numbering 7,000 or 8,000 cavalry; one from Eastport, Miss., 10,000 cavalry; Canby from Mobile Bay, with about 38,000 mixed troops, these three latter pushing for Tuscaloosa, Selma,and Montgomery,a nd Sherman with a large army eating out the vitals of South Carolina, is all that will be wanted to leave nothing for the rebellion to stand upon. I would advise you to overcome great obstacles to accomplish this. Charleston was evacuated on Tuesday last.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

On the 25th I received a dispatch from General Sheridan, inquiring where Sherman was aiming for, and if I could give him definite information as to the point he might be expected to move on this side of Charlotte, N. C. In answer the following telegram was sent him:

CITY POINT, VA., February 25, 1864.

Major General P. H. SHERIDAN:

GENERAL: Sherman's movements will depend on the amount of opposition he meets from the enemy. If strongly opposed, he may possibly have to fall back to Georgetown, S. C.(Horry County), and fit out for a new start. I think, however, all danger for the necessity of going to that point has passed. I believe he has passed Charlotte. He may take Fayetteville on his way to Goldsborough. If you reach Lynchburg you will have to be guided in your after movements by the information you obtain. Before you could possibly reach Sherman I think you would find him moving from Goldsborough toward Raleigh, or engaging the enemy strongly posted at one or the other of these places, with railroad communications opened from his army to Wilmington or New Berne.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

General Sheridan moved from Winchester on the 27th of February, with two divisions of cavalry,numbering about 5,000 each. On the 1st of March he secured the bridge, which the enemy attempted to destroy, across the Middle Fork of the Shenandoah, at Mount Crawford, and entered Staunton on the 2d, the enemy having retreated on Waynesborough. Thence he pushed on to Waynesborough, where he found the enemy in force in an intrenched position, under General Early. Without stopping to make a reconnaissance,an immediate attack was made, the position was carried, and 1,600 prisoners, 11 pieces of artillery, with horses and caissons complete, 200 wagons and teams loaded with subsistence, and 17 battle-flag were captured. The prisoners, under an escort of 1,500