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1864 March 19: Grant Commissioned Lieutenant General

March 23, 2014

The following articles about Ulysses S. Grant are from the March 19, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.  Grant had just been made a lieutenant general, a newly revived grade which no one had held since George Washington.

From The Polk County Press:

General Grant Promoted.

WASHINGTON, Mar. 9—The President of the United State, this p. m. formally presented to Maj. General Grant his commission as Lieutenant General.  The ceremony took place in the Cabinet Chamber, in presence of the entire Cabinet, Gen. Halleck [Henry W. Halleck], Representative Lovejoy, Gen. Rawlings and Col. Comstock of Grant’s staff, the son of Gen. Grant, and Mr. Nicolay.

Thee [sic] President addressed him thus:  “General Grant, in consequence of the nation’s appreciation of what you have done, and its reliance upon you for what remains to be done in the existing struggle, you are now presented with this commission constituting you Lieutenant General in the Army of the United States.  With this high honor devolved upon you, also, a corresponding responsibility ;  as the country herein trusts you, so, under God it will sustain you.  I scarcely need to add, that with what I here speak for the nation, goes my hearty personal concurrence.”

To which Gen. Grant replied as follows :  “Mr. President:—I accept this commission with gratitude for the high honor conferred upon me.  With the aid of the noble armies that have fought on so many fields for our common country, it will be my earnest endeavor not to disappoint your expectations.  I feel the full weight of the responsibilities now devolving upon me, and I know that if they are met, it will be due to those armies, and above all, to the favor of that Providence which leads both nations and men.”

The President then introduced the General to all the members of the Cabinet, after which the company was seated, and about half an hour was spent in social conversation.

Gen. Grant’s Battles.

Lieut. Gen. Grant has fought more battles and won more victories than any other officer of his age probably in the world.  And, what is still more remarkable, he has never sustained a defeat.  The following is the shining record of the officer whom the Paris Press calls the American Massena¹ :

Palo Alto May 8, 1846
Resaca de le Palma May 9, 1846
Monterey September 19, 20 and 21, 1846
Vera Cruz siege March 7 to 27, 1847
Cerro Gordo April 18, 1847
San Antonio August 20, 1847
Churubusco August 20, 1847
Molino del Rey September 8, 1847
Chepultepec [sic] September 13, 1847
Garita San Cozano September 14, 1847
City of Mexico September 14, 1847
Belmont November 7, 1861
Fort Henry February 16, 1862
Fort Donelson February 13, 14, 15 and 16, 1862
Shiloh April 6 and 7, 1862
Corinth Siege April 23 to May 30, 1862
Iuka September 19, 1862
Hatchie October 5, 1862
Corinth October 3 and 4, 1862
Talahatchie [sic] December 1, 1862
Fort Gibson May 1, 1863
Raymond May 12, 1863
Jackson May 14, 1863
Champion Hill May 16, 1863
Black River Bridge May 17, 1863
Vicksburg July 4, 1863
Chattanooga November 23, 24, 25 and 26, 1863

The above list of battles is inscribed on the elegant sword to be presented to Gen. GRANT by the citizens of Jo Daviess county, Illinois.

From The Prescott Journal:

CHANGES IN THE ARMY.

The President has issued a general order, assigning General Grant to the command of the armies of the United States ;  relieving Gen. Halleck from his position as General in Chief, and appointing him Chief of State of the army, under the direction of the Secretary of War and General Grant ;  assigning General Sherman [William T. Sherman] to Grant’s late command of the Departments of Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee and Arkansas ;  and Gen. McPherson [James B. McPherson] to the command of Grant’s original department, which embraces the territory West of the Tennessee, and South of Vicksburg.  Nothing is said about the Army of the Potomac, but we infer from the statement that Grant’s headquarters are to be in Washington and in the field, that he will assume immediate command of that army with Gen. Smith, or some other officer of his own selection, next under him.  We trust this impression may prove correct, because that army most needs a commander who will be independent of and untrammeled by, Washington influence.  Gen. Grant, however, will find in Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] and his army, foemen of sterner calibre than any he ever met in the West.  Our prayer is that he may be more successful than his predecessors.—St. Paul Pioneer.

1.  Comparing Grant to André Massena (1758-1817), a French military commander during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of Napoleon’s original eighteen Marshals of the Empire. His nickname was “dear child of victory”.

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