The march will begin on the 20th instant, and the corps commanders will not pass Union and Decatur until they have communicated with each other by couriers across at those points.
III. Buildings must not be burned on the return march, save by order of the commanding general of a corps or division, unless they are used as a cover to the enemy from which to fire at our men. Then any commissioned officer may cause them to be destroyed, and report the fact to his division commander.
IV. The march should be conducted slowly (about 15 miles per day) and in good order. Foraging parties must be strong and well commanded. There is no seeming danger, but every precaution should be taken against cavalry dashes at our trains. The wagons should be distributed by brigades along the column, and not kept in a single corps train.
V. The general commanding will accompany General Hurlbut's column, and reports will be made accordingly.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
[Inclosure Numbers 13.]
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE,
Canton, Miss., February 26, 1864.
I. The troops composing the expedition will rest at and near Canton until the general commanding can ride to Vicksburg and dispatch back orders for the next movement dependent on the state of affairs since our departure. The following dispositions will be made of the troops:*
1. General Hurlbut will cause the crossing at Big Black to be reconnoitered and boats and materials collected to built a bridge if ordered or needed.
2. The Sixteenth Corps will occupy the space from Canton to the Big Black on the Yazoo City road. The Seventeenth Corps the space from Canton to Pearl River by the road on which we marched.
3. General McPherson will cause the bridge built on the Pearl River by his pioneers to be guarded till the last moment of its utility to us, when it must be destroyed in toto.
4. The cavalry will take post to the north and east of Canton, and will picket and scout out daily between Pearl and Big Black Rivers at least 20 miles.
II. Corps commanders will, at the earliest practicable moment, dispatch into Vicksburg, under escort of three or four regiments entitled to furloughs by reason of re-enlistment, all the surplus wagons and captured stock, all sick and wounded men, all prisoners, negroes, and indeed everything that is an impediment or dead weight to the army, retaining only the effective force of soldiers and servants and the necessary transportation for short movements.
III. General Tuttle, commanding at Big Black, will dispatch immediately, under escort of one of his regiments, about 60 wagon loads of hard bread, sugar, salt, and coffee in the proportion of the rations to be divided between the two corps of the army, including the cavalry
* A copy of this order was forwarded by Brigadier General W. H. Jackson to Major General S. D. Lee, March 6.