Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 6.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Ulysses S. Grant [1]

Executive Mansion,
My dear General Grant: Washington, August 9, 1863.

I see by a despatch of yours that you incline quite strongly towards an expedition against Mobile. This would appear tempting to me also, were it not that in view of recent events in Mexico, I am greatly impressed with the importance of re-establishing the national authority in Western Texas as soon as possible. I am not making an order, however. That I leave, for the present at least, to the General-in-Chief.

A word upon another subject. Gen. Thomas has gone again to the Mississippi Valley, with the view of raising colored troops. I have no reason to doubt that you are doing what you reasonably can upon the same subject. I believe it is a resource which, if vigorously applied now, will soon close the contest. It works doubly, weakening the enemy and strengthening us. We were not fully ripe for it until the river was opened. Now, I think at least a hundred thousand can, and ought to be rapidly organized along it's shores, relieving all the white troops to serve elsewhere.

Mr. Dana understands you as believing that the emancipation proclamation has helped some in your military operations. I am very glad if this is so. Did you receive a short letter from me, dated the 13th. of July? Yours very truly A. LINCOLN.


[1]   ALS,ICHi; ADfS, DLC-RTL.General Grant's despatch to Halleck of July 24, responding to Halleck's of July 11 that he was ``exceedingly anxious about General Banks' command'' (OR, I, XXIV, III, 497), reported, ``I have sent Banks one division, numbering full 4,000 effective men . . . . My troops are very much exhausted, and entirely unfit for any present duty requiring much marching. But, by selecting, any duty of immediate pressing importance could be done. It seems to me that Mobile is the point deserving the most immediate attention . . . . (ibid., pp. 546-47). At Cairo, Illinois, on August 23, Grant replied to Lincoln's letter:

``Your letter of the 9th inst. reached me at Vicksburg just as I was about starting for this place. Your letter of the 13th of July was also duly received.

``After the fall of Vicksburg I did incline very much to an immediate move on Mobile. I believed then the place could be taken with but little effort, and . . . we would have . . . a base to opperate from . . . as would make themPage  375 abandon entirely the states bound . . . by the Miss. I see however the importance of a movement into Texas just at this time.

``I have reinforced Gen. Banks with the 13th Army Corps . . . .

``I have given the subject of arming the negro my hearty support. This, with the emancipation . . . is the heavyest blow yet given the Confederacy . . . .

``There has been great difficulty in getting able bodied negroes to fill up the colored regiments in consequence of the rebel cavalry running off all that class to Georgia and Texas . . . . I am . . . moving a Brigade of Cavalry . . . to Vicksburg . . . which will . . . facilitate materially the recruiting service.

``Gen. [Lorenzo] Thomas is now with me and you may rely on it I will give him all the aid in my power . . . .'' (DLC-RTL).