eminently encouraging, and I feel strong to carry it out to a successful issue if the right help shall come from Washington.
I shall be glad if you will submit this letter to the Honorable the Secretary of War.
I am, any dear general, your very faithful friend and obedient servant,
Washington City, December 5, 1863.
Mr. PRESIDENT: A general summary of the military operations of the past year is furnished by the report of the General-in- Chief, herewith submitted.* A list of the detailed official reports that have been returned to this Department by the generals commanding also accompanies this report. The influence of these operations in suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the General Government cannot be overestimated. The victories of Stone's River and of Gettysburg, the operations before Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the occupation of East Tennessee, the battle of Chickamauga, and the recent splendid successes before Chattanooga, and other engagements of less note, are events that evince skill, courage, and loyal patriotism, and a brilliancy of military achievement by the forces of the United States unsurpassed in any age; while the less fortunate battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville manifested the spirit and fortitude of our troops in a degree worthy of the highest admiration.
By the reduction of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the navigation of the Mississippi River has been opened, and the national commerce is rapidly and securely returning to that great highway of the continent. The rebel territory has been cut in twain; the States west of the Mississippi no longer furnish their ample supplies to the rebels, while the people of those States are showing such signs of returning loyalty that a speedy restoration of civil government may confidently be anticipated.
In this view, the reduction of strongholds, the capture of prisoners by thousands, and the acquisition of immense stores of munitions of war are not more important than the political consequence of these great military achievements. The occupation of East Tennessee by the forces under General Burnside, and the operations resulting in the occupation of Chattanooga, and the defeat of Bragg's army by the forces under General Grant, not only shed luster upon our arms, but by affording protection to a loyal population they cannot fail greatly to weaken the rebel strength and operate strongly in restoring the authority of the Federperations against Charleston have not yet accomplished all that was expected from them, but the seizure and occupation of Morris Island by the forces under command of General Gillmore, the reduction of Forts Wagner and Sumter are exploits in which the skill and gallantry of the officers and the valor of our troops have been exhibited in a degree of which the country is justly proud.
In the State of Texas the flag of the Union has, during the whole war, been upheld by a small force at Franklin so that the rebels have never succeeded in wholly excluding Federal authority from that State. The large force under General Banks now operating in Texas will afford protection to the loyal population, who have long been
*See p. 1037.