War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0173 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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Numbers 3. Reports of Major General William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the Tennessee.

VICKSBURG, MISS.,

February 27, 1864.

GENERAL: I got in this morning from Canton, where I left my army in splendid heart and condition.

We reached Jackson February 6, crossed Pearl and passed through Brandon to Morton, where the enemy made dispositions for battle but fled in the night; pushed on over all obstacles and reached Meridian February 14.

General Polk, having a railroad to assist him in his retreat, escaped across the Tombigbee on the 17th.

We staid at Meridian a week, and made the most complete destruction of railroads ever beheld; south below Quitman, east to Cube Station, 20 miles north to Lauderdale Springs, and west all the way back to Jackson. I could her nothing of the cavalry force of General William Sooy Smith, ordered to be there by February 10.

I inclose this by mail with a copy of his instructions.*

I then began to move back slowly, making a circuit by the north to Canton, where I left the army yesterday in splendid condition. I will leave it there five days in hopes the cavalry from Memphis will turn up. Then I will have them come in.

Banks writes he will be ready for his Red River trip March 5, and will want 10,000 men of me. I will run down to see him to-night; also Admiral Porter, who is near Red River. I know if we wipe out Shreveport as I have done Meridian you can safely call for 20,000 men from here and Arkansas in all April.+

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

General J. A. RAWLINS,

Nashville, Tenn.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,

Vicksburg, Miss., March 7, 1864.

GENERAL: I now the honor to submit a report of the recent operations in the State of Mississippi:

You will remember that when in July last Vicksburg surrendered and a detachment from the Army of the Tennessee under my command had pushed the rebel army of General Johnson into and beyond Jackson, it was the purpose to go on eastward and destroy the remaining railroads of the State in and near Meridian.

The period of the year, the intense heat and drought, and the condition of our men after the long siege of Vicksburg rendered the accomplishment of the plan then impracticable, and it had to be deferred to a later period.

Events subsequently occurred during September in East Tennessee

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* See inclosure Numbers 3, p. 181.

+ This dispatch without the inclosure was telegraphed to Kalleck and Grant from Cairo, March 10, 1864.

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