By William F. Floyd, Jr. Everyone in Washington, D.C., knew the reason Maj. Gen. Ulysses Grant was in town. He had a hard time moving around without people applauding him everywhere he went. Elihu Washburne, a U.S. representative from Illinois, had proposed a bill reviving the rank of lieutenant general, and all of Washington knew who was in line for this promotion. President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law on February 26, 1864. Lincoln immediately sent the nomination to the Senate, where it was confirmed the next day. The formal promotion took place on March 9 at a meeting of the cabinet at the White House. Grant later told his wife, Julia, that his only regret at accepting the promotion was that it bound him to Washington. Grant left Washington to retrieve his family, which was still in Nashville, Tennessee, arriving back in Washington on March 23. Grant did not want to have his headquarters in Washington, so after getting Julia established in a house in Georgetown, he set up his command 50 miles away in Culpeper, Virginia, at the headquarters of Maj. Gen. George Meade and the Army of the Potomac. This placed Meade in a position such as Grant had with Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck while in the West, which was that of being second in command. Meade knew the reason Grant was now with the Army of the Potomac but chose not to make it a point of contention while maintaining nominal command of his army. Meade even offered to give up his command to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherm


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