portant to support corps commanders in their authority that I must sustain General Ord for the time being.
Having invested the place, I ordered Colonel Bussey, chief of cavalry with his cavalry force, numbering about 1,000 effectives, to proceed to Canton and destroy the cars, locomotives, railroads, and machine-shops there, and proceed on to the Big Black River Bridge and destroy that.
He has returned, having found Canton occupied by a force too large for him to attack, and he did not go to the bridge at all, as he deemed it unsafe to pass so considerable a force by the flank, but he destroyed 2 locomotives and 14 box cars at Calhoun Station.
At the same time the cavalry force attached to General Ord's corps were dispatched south. This party has also returned, having burned five bridges on the road out for 15 miles. We have also in our possession here about 20 platform cars, which will be completely burned, and two brigades are kept on daily duty burning the railroad ties and iron north and south, with orders to completely destroy it for 10 miles each way, so that a very fair beginning has been made toward the destruction of this railway; but I am determined that it shall be so effectually destroyed that it cannot be repaired during the war.
A force of 500 cavalry, with four guns and five wagons, will start tomorrow south for Brookhaven, with orders to destroy the road at many places, especially at Gallatin and Brookhaven, and Colonel Bussey's cavalry, with Woods' brigade of infantry, and Landgraeber's battery of light artillery, will also be dispatched again to Canton to destroy that place, with all its machinery and railroads, and then to proceed to the bridge, 12 miles beyond, and burn it. Thus I hope to make a break of 100 miles in this Great Central Railroad; to be so effectually destroyed that the enemy will not even attempt its reconstruction. General McArthur's DIVISION is on the road, two brigades at Clinton and one at Champion's Hill, so disposed as to insure the safety of our trains against the enemy's cavalry, of which I can learn but little. There is a DIVISION of cavalry commanded by General Jackson; two brigades, commanded by Whitfield and Cosby, containing, I think, about 3,000 men. Cosby is, I suppose, at Canton and the bridge, and Whitfield is east of Pearl River, guardiback to Meridian, with some scattered squads hanging about the country. Our foraging parties now go out about 15 miles, but are invariably guarded by a regiment of infantry. We are absolutely stripping the country of corn, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, everything, and the new-growing corn is being thrown open as pasture fields or hauled for the use of our animals. The wholesale destruction to which this country is now being subjected is terrible to contemplate, but it is the scourge of war, to which ambitions men have appealed, rather than the judgment of the learned and pure tribunals which our forefathers had provided for supposed wrongs and injuries. Therefore, so much of my instructions as contemplated destroying and weakening the resources of our enemy are being executed with rigor, and we have also done much toward the destruction of Johnston's army. If he waits a day or two, I will so threaten his rear that he will be compelled to come out and fight or run, and in either event I feel confident of success. I know that much plunder has been sent by him to the east of Pearl River, but his army is still in Jackson, and several very heavy guns are mounted at the salients and reply to our fire. Their parapets are also well manned, and our sharpshooters are closing nearer and nearer, and becoming familiar with their respective fronts. We are now ready for a sally, and if he attempts to escape we ought to defect the movement very early, and will, of course, take advantage of it. Captain