August 3, 1863: Organize black troops in Mississippi

Henry Halleck

Halleck authorizes Grant to organize black troops and, if he wants, white Mississippians as Union soldiers. He also tells Grant to let people think Mobile is next. I’m curious as to his motive for this. As we’ve seen, Banks wants Grant’s troops to come help take Mobile, but this dispatch suggests that Halleck wants to make that a feint.

Official Records


WASHINGTON, August 3, 1863-12. 15 p. m.
Major-General GRANT, Vicksburg, MISS.:

Your views in regard to organizing negro troops are approved. Adjutant-General Thomas is now on his way to Vicksburg, to assist in the organization, and to put some officer in place of General [John. P.] Hawkins, now absent sick. If in your opinion it be deemed advisable, you are authorized to enlist and organize into regiments deserters and citizens of Mississippi. It will be well to keep up the impression in your army that Mobile will be the next point of attack.

H. W. HALLECK.

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