UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA, FROM DECEMBER 1, 1864, TO JANUARY 23, 1865.--#5
O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLV/2 [S# 94]


GENERAL ORDERS No. ---

WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D.C., December 9, 1864.

In accordance with the following dispatch from Lieutenant-General Grant, viz--

Please telegraph order relieving him (General Thomas) at once and placing Schofield in command. Thomas should be directed to turn over all dispatches received since the battle of Franklin to Schofield.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

The President orders:

I. That Maj. Gen. J. M. Schofield assume command of all troops in the Departments of the Cumberland, the Ohio, and the Tennessee.

II. That Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas report to General Schofield for duty and turn over to him all orders and dispatches received by him, as specified above.

By order of the Secretary of War:
------ ------.


WASHINGTON, D.C.,
December 9, 1864--10.30 a.m.

Major-General THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.:

        General Grant expresses much dissatisfaction at your delay in attacking the enemy. If you wait till General Wilson mounts all his cavalry, you will wait till doomsday, for the waste equals the supply. Moreover, you will soon be in same condition that Rosecrans was last year--with so many animals that you cannot feed them. Reports already come in of a scarcity of forage.

H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


NASHVILLE, TENN., December 9, 1864--2 p.m.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Washington D.C.:

        Your dispatch of 10.30 a.m. this date is received. I regret that General Grant should feel dissatisfaction at my delay in attacking the enemy. I feel conscious that I have done everything in my power to prepare, and that the troops could not have been gotten ready before this, and if he should order me to be relieved I will submit without a murmur. A terrible storm of freezing rain has come on since daylight, which will render an attack impossible until it breaks.

GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.


NASHVILLE, TENN., December 9, 1864--9.30 p.m.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Washington, D.C.:

        There is no perceptible change in the appearance of the enemy's lines to-day. Have heard from Cumberland River, between Harpeth and Clarksville, and there are no indications of any preparations on the part of the enemy to cross. The storm still continues.

GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.


NASHVILLE, December 9, 1864--1 p.m.

Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT, City Point, Va.:

        Your dispatch of 8.30 p.m. of the 8th is just received. I had nearly completed my preparations to attack the enemy to-morrow morning, but a terrible storm of freezing rain has come on today, which will make it impossible for our men to fight to any advantage. I am, therefore, compelled to wait for the storm to break and make the attack immediately after. Admiral Lee is patrolling the river above and below the city, and I believe will be able to prevent the enemy from crossing. There is no doubt but that Hood's forces are considerably scattered along the river with the view of attempting a crossing, but it has been impossible for me to organize and equip the troops for an attack at an earlier time. Major-General Halleck informs me that you are very much dissatisfied with my delay in attacking. I can only say I have done all in my power to prepare, and if you should deem it necessary to relieve me I shall submit without a murmur.

GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.


CITY POINT, VA., December 9, 1864--7.30 p.m.

Major-General THOMAS,
Nashville, Tenn.:

        Your dispatch of 1 p.m. received. I have as much confidence in your conducting a battle rightly as I have in any other officer; but it has seemed to me that you have been slow, and I have had no explanation of affairs to convince me otherwise. Receiving your dispatch of 2 p.m. from General Halleck, before I did the one to me, I telegraphed to suspend the order relieving you until we should hear further. I hope most sincerely that there will be no necessity of repeating the orders, and that the facts will show that you have been right all the time.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.


NASHVILLE, December 9, 1864--11.30 p.m.
(Received 10th.)

Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT, City Point, Va.:

        Your dispatch 7.30 p.m. is just received. I can only say in further explanation why I have not attacked Hood that I could not concentrate my troops and get their transportation in order in shorter time than it has been done, and am satisfied I have made every effort that was possible to complete the task.

GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding.


CITY POINT VA., December 9, 1864--11 a.m.
(Received 1.45 p.m.)

Major-General HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.:

        Dispatch of 8 p.m. last evening from Nashville shows the enemy scattered for more than seventy miles down the river, and no attack yet made by Thomas. Please telegraph orders relieving him at once and placing Schofield in command. Thomas should be directed to turn over all orders and dispatches received since the battle of Franklin to Schofield.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.


WASHINGTON, December 9, 1864--4.10 p.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,
City Point, Va.:

        Orders relieving General Thomas had been made out when his telegram of this p.m. was received. If you still wish these orders telegraphed to Nashville they will be forwarded.

H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.


CITY POINT, VA., December 9, 1864--5.30 p.m.
(Received 6 p.m.)

Major-General HALLECK,
Washington:

        General Thomas has been urged in every way possible to attack the enemy, even to the giving the positive order. He did say he thought he would be able to attack on the 7th, but didn't do so, nor has he given a reason for not doing it. I am very unwilling to do injustice to an officer who has done as much good service as General Thomas has, however, and will, therefore, suspend the order relieving him until it is seen whether he will do anything.

U.S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.

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