Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order to the “Soldiers of the Armies of the United States”

General Orders No. 108

Washington, D.C., June 2, 1865

General Ulysses S. Grant issues his General Orders No. 108., in which he thanks his soldiers for their service to the Union. It was time for Johnny to come marching home again.

General Ulysses S. Grant

General Ulysses S. Grant

GENERAL ORDERS,

WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL’S OFFICE, Numbers 108.

Washington, D. C., June 2, 1865.

SOLDIERS OF THE ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES:

By your patriotic devotion to your country in the hour of danger and alarm-your magnificent fighting, bravery, and endurance-you have maintained the supremacy of the Union and the Constitution, overthrown all armed opposition to the enforcement of the laws, and of the proclamation forever abolishing slavery-the cause and pretext of the rebellion-and opened the way to the rightful authorities to restore order and inaugurate peace on a permanent and enduring basis on every foot of American soil.

Your marches, sieges, and battles, in distance, duration, resolution, and brilliancy of result dim the luster of the world’s past military achievements, and will be the patriot’s precedent in defense of liberty and right in all time to come.

In obedience to your country’s call you left your homes and families and volunteered in its defense. Victory has crowned your valor and secured the purpose of your patriotic hearts, and with the gratitude of your countrymen, and the highest honors a great and free nation can accord, you will soon be permitted to return to your homes and families conscious of having discharged the highest duty of American citizens.

To achieve these glorious triumphs, and secure to yourselves, your fellow countrymen, and posterity the blessings of free institutions, tens of thousands of your gallant comrades have fallen and sealed the priceless legacy with their lives. The graves of these, a grateful nation bedews with tears, honors their memories, and will ever cherish and support their stricken families.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

General Robert E. Lee’s Farewell Order

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Acoustic Shadow In The Civil War

Civil War Mortar

Civil War Mortar

Acoustic Shadow (sometimes called Silent Battle) is a strange thing. It is a circumstance where sound is unheard close to the cause of the sound, but the same sound is heard a far distance away from its source.

With a unique combination of factors such as wind, weather, temperature, land topography, elevation, forest or other vegetation, battle sounds are not heard at a distance they normally would be heard clearly.

Acoustic Shadow Can Hurt Battle Communication

The distance the sound of battle is heard may be great, even hundreds of miles, yet nearby and sometimes only mere miles away the sounds are not heard. Battles where Acoustic Shadow occurred in the Civil War are Gettysburg, Seven Pines, Iuka, Fort Donelson, Five Forks, Perryville, and Chancellorsville.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg

Acoustic Shadow could have a profound effect on a battle. During the Civil War it was common for armies to be spread out over large distances and timely communication between the split parts of an army was crucial to battlefield success.

Army commanders must make decisions based on current knowledge of the situation before them. The sounds of a battle would be a form of communication, signaling to a Civil War commander and his staff where a battle is taking place, and what troops (including the enemy) may be involved.

If Acoustic Shadow hides battle action from being heard by a commander, then communication has been lost and dire consequences may follow as the commander does not respond as needed to the battlefield situation.

Acoustic Shadow During Civil War Battles

3 Inch Ordnance Rifle at Gettysburg

3 Inch Ordnance Rifle at Gettysburg

  • The Battle of Gettysburg – The battle sounds from Gettysburg could be heard over one hundred miles away in Pittsburgh, but were not heard only ten miles from the battlefield.
  • Battle of Gaines’s Mill – More than 91,000 men were engaged in battle at Gaines’s Mill, Virginia on June 27, 1862. Confederate commanders and troops were less than two miles from the battlefield and could plainly see the smoke and flashes from the guns and artillery, but not a sound could be heard of the battle for two hours. Strangely, the battle sounds from the Battle of Gaines’s Mill were easily heard in Staunton, Virginia over one hundred miles away.
  • Five Forks – Fives Forks was part of the Appomattox Campaign and fought from March 30 to April 1, 1865. Confederate Generals George Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee were enjoying a shad bake with other generals north of Hatcher’s Run when the battle of Five Forks began a short distance away. Because of Acoustic Shadow, Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee were unaware a fight was under way. Pickett finally responded, but arrived late for the battle. Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee have been criticized by Civil War historians (please see Lee’s Lieutenants, III, 665-670) for not acting on “the dread immediacy of the crisis” (ibid., 665) at Five Forks.
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