To the Army of the Potomac: I have just read your Commanding General’s preliminary report of the battle of Fredericksburg. Although you were not successful, the attempt was not an error, nor the failure other than an accident. The courage with which you, in an open field, maintained the contest against an entrenched foe, and the consummate skill and success with which you crossed and re-crossed the river, in face of the enemy, show that you possess all the qualities of a great army, which will yet give victory to the cause of the country and of popular government. Condoling with the mourners for the dead, and sympathizing with the severely wounded, I congratulate you that the number of both is comparatively so small.
I tender to you, officers and soldiers, the thanks of the nation.
From his headquarters on the Forest Queen ship, U.S. Major General William T. Sherman sends a message to Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter on the Flag Ship Black Hawk letting him know that they are ready to pick up additional troops. More importantly, Sherman feels that C.S.A. Lieutenant General Theophilius Holmes is at the Port of Arkansas watching his movements. He suggests that they lay low tonight, though he knows that once they cross Gaines Landing the Confederates will have no doubt where Sherman’s final destination is. While Sherman works to coordinate his movements with the rest of the fleet, he is still in the dark that Major General Ulysses S. Grant has had to change his plans as he has lost his lines of supply and communication due to clever Confederate cavalry work. Grant is no longer heading by land to meet up with Sherman; for now, Sherman is the only one making his way to Vicksburg.