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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

March 10, 1864

Grant Promoted; Sherman in Command of Army in Georgia

General Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and given command of all active United States forces; this would leave ultimate command of the Union army in Georgia to General William T. Sherman. Grant was in Washington D.C.; where he would he headquartered with the Army of the Potomac, facing Confederate General (and by now Southern legend) Robert E. Lee. Grant met with the Union commander of the Army of the Potomac - General George Meade. Meade offered his services to Grant as the two agreed to work together to try to defeat Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, which had humiliated the Union forces the previous two years, prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.

On this same day, Grant received a letter from Sherman, congratulating him on his promotion, but urging him to leave Washington and come out west to finish what they had started together.

“…You do yourself injustice and too much honor in assigning to us too large a share of the merits which have led to your high advancement. … You are now Washington’s legitimate successor, and occupy a position of almost dangerous elevation; but if you can continue as heretofore to be yourself, simple, honest, and unpretending, you will enjoy through life the respect and love of friends, and the homage of millions of human beings who will award to you a large share for securing to them and their descendants a government of law and stability. … I believe you are as brave, patriotic, and just, as the great prototype Washington; as unselfish, kind-hearted, and honest, as a man should be; but the chief characteristic in your nature is the simple faith in success you have always manifested… Now to the future. Do not stay in Washington. … Come out west; take to yourself the whole Mississippi Valley; let us make it dead-sure, and I will tell you the Atlantic slope and Pacific shores will follow its destiny… For God’s sake and for your country’s sake, come out of Washington! …”