Friday, March 16, 2012

Three Cheers! Mar 16, 1862

At Savannah, the men aboard the New Uncle Sam scrambled to the upper decks as word spread that a steamboat had just arrived from Fort Henry.  Their own boat was momentarily in danger of capsizing as the soldiers pressed to the railing to see a familiar figure in slouch hat and blue frock coat cross the gangplank to the landing below the Cherry Mansion.  The general that led them to victory at Fort Donelson had arrived to take command of the Army of the Tennessee. The troops gave him a welcoming cheer as he climbed the hill to his new headquarters.

Young General Ulysses S. Grant in his customary slouch hat and blue frock coat, c. 1863.

Whether  it was because of the pressing need to relieve General Smith (he was no longer fit for field duty) or the result of intervention by Lincoln (who reportedly said, "I need him. He fights."), General Halleck had asked Grant to resume command.  He was ordered to await the arrival of Buell, who's advance from Nashville was being delayed by boggy roads and washed-out,or possibly sabotaged, bridges.  Halleck  planned to leave Fort Henry and take command of the combined armies at Savannah.  Under no circumstance was Grant to engage the enemy.

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