Eager for combat, Grant wastes no time contacting Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, who took command of the Department of the
Halleck, who is endowed with an abundance of caution but a shortage of patience, either sees through Grant’s little subterfuge or is just too busy settling into his new office. He snaps back by wire, “You will send reports, in writing….[You] cannot just now be ordered to
Grant, who knows how to attack on more than one front, also writes a letter to his Congressman, Elihu B. Washburn, who lives in
Grant thanks Washburn for “the very flattering interest you have taken in my personal welfare and advancement” and promises to pay the Congressman back by “exerting my utmost.”
But Grant obliquely works into the Washburn letter some of the thought behind the doomed telegram to Halleck. Because of its strategic location on the
Grant disavows asking for anything for himself, but he is asking to be turned loose against the enemy. He wants to raise the curtain on some action in the Western Theater. In the Eastern Theater, on the other hand, the problem is quite the opposite: Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan seems rooted to the soil near
And, with time, the contrasts between the eastern and western theaters will only grow.