CITY POINT, VA., July 25, 1864.
President A. LINCOLN:
After the late raid into Maryland had expended itself, seeing the necessity of having the four departments of the Susquehanna, the Middle, West Virginia, and Washington, under one head, I recommended that they be merged into one, and named General Franklin as a suitable person to command the whole. I still think it highly essential that these four departments should be in one command. I do not insist that the departments should be broken up, nor do I insist upon General Franklin commanding. All A ask is that one general officer, in whom I and yourself have confidence, should command the whole. General Franklin was named because he was available and I know him to be capable and believe him to be trustworthy. It would suit me equally as well to call the four departments referred to a "Military Division," and to have placed in command of it General Meade. In this case I would suggest General Hancock for command of the Army of the Potomac, and General Gibbon for the command of the Second Corps. With General Meade in command of such a division I would have every confidence that all the troops within the military division would be used to the very best advantage from a personal examination of the ground, and [he] would adopt means of getting the earliest information of any advance of the enemy, and would prepare to meet it.
During the last raid the wires happened to be down between here and Fort Monroe and the cable broken between there and Cherrystone. This made it take from twelve to twenty-four hours each way for dispatches to pass. Under such circumstances it was difficult for me to give positive orders or directions, because I could not tell how the conditions might during the transit of dispatches. Many reasons might be assigned for the changes here suggested, some of which I would not care to commit to paper, but would not hesitate to give verbally. I send by Brigadier-General Rawlins, chief of staff, who will be able to give more information of the situation here than I could give you in a letter.
Hoping that you will see this matter in the light I do, I have the honor of subscribing myself, &c.,
U. S. GRANT,
CITY POINT, VA., July 25, 1864-10.30 p.m.
(Received 2.25 p.m. 26th.)
Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
If the enemy move back toward the Potomac he must be promptly met by Wright and all the force that can be collected. Dispatches being so long between here and Washington orders must be given from there to meet pressing emergencies.
U. S. GRANT,
WASHINGTON [July 25, 1864]-10 a.m.
Your telegram of 24th, suggesting change of Special Orders, Numbers 236, is received. The change has been made accordingly.
E. D. TOWNSEND,