Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 7.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Ulysses S. Grant [1]

Cypher. Office U. S. Military Telegraph, Lieut. Genl. Grant War Department,
City-Point, Va. Washington, D. C., August 3, 1864.

I have seen your despatch in which you say ``I want Sheridan put in command of all the troops in the field, with instructions to put himself South of the enemy, and follow him to the death. Wherever the enemy goes, let our troops go also.'' This, I think, is exactly right, as to how our forces should move. But please look over the despatches you may have receved from here, even since you made that order, and discover, if you can, that there is any idea in the head of any one here, of ``putting our army South of the enemy'' or of following him to the death'' in any direction. I repeat to you it will neither be done nor attempted unless you watch it every day, and hour, and force it. A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 121. In several printed sources this telegram has been misdated August 4, the date it was received at Grant's headquarters. On August 1 Grant had telegraphed Halleck: ``I am sending General Sheridan for temporary duty whilst the enemy is being expelled from the border. Unless General Hunter is in the field in person, I want Sheridan put in command of all the troops in the field, with instructions to put himself south of the enemy and follow him to the death. Wherever the enemy goes let our troops go also. Once started up the Valley they ought to be followed until we get possession of the Virginia Central Railroad. If General Hunter is in the field give Sheridan direct command of the Sixth Corps and cavalry division. All the cavalry I presume will reach Washington in the course of to-morrow.'' (OR, I, XXXVII, II, 558).

At 12 M., August 4, Grant replied to Lincoln's telegram: ``Your dispatch of 6 P. M. just received. I will start in two hours for Washington & will spend a day with the Army under Genl Hunter.'' (DLC-RTL).