The American Civil War Overview
THE EASTERN THEATER: GRANT TAKES COMMAND
On March 9, 1864, President Lincoln promoted U.S. Grant to the newly revived rank of Lieutenant General and on March 12 was made General in Chief of the Armies of the United States, taking over the strategic direction of the Federal war effort. Major General Hallack was made Chief of Staff to oversee the administration and logistics details and so removed from Grant the burden of paperwork and allowed him to concentrate solely on overall Federal strategy.
Grant's plan was fairly simple. Sherman, who took Grant's old job in command of the Federal armies in the Western Theater, would advance against the Confederate Army of Tennessee defending Atlanta while Grant would do the same against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond. Once the armies were engaged, there would be no let up in pressure against the remaining Confederate forces. Whoever reached their objective first would then join the other for final offensive operations.
After shaking up the command of the Army of the Potomac, removing many "rear area" units from their cushy assignments and putting them into combat organizations, and bringing Phil Sheridan east to command his 13,000 Federal cavalry, Grant was ready, by the beginning of May, to move south. After giving Sherman his go-ahead, the Army of the Potomac was again ready to go into action.
This Page last updated 11/13/01
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CHAPTER XV, The Eastern Theater: The Forty Days