Monday March 21, 1864

Cincinnati, Ohio

Grant and I looked at maps and discussed plans all day. Amidst constant interruptions of a business and social nature we reached the satisfactory conclusion that as soon as the season will permit, all the armies of the Union will assume the ‘bold offensive1 by ‘concentric lines’ on the common enemy, and finish up the job in a single campaign if possible. The main objectives are Lee’s Army behind the Rapidan in Virginia, and Joseph E. Johnston’s Army at Dalton, Georgia.

Johnston’s army is our work, in a nut-shell. We will take a bold offensive. Beat Johnston and get into the interior. Inflict damage, and keep our enemy so busy that he cannot reinforce elsewhere.

Grant agreed to leave most of the commanders in the West with me. Philip Sheridan and Baldy Smith were to go east with Grant. I will have good infantry commanders. I would have preferred Sheridan in command of my cavalry. Perhaps the cavalry commander will emerge.

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