Monday, April 18, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

I issued General Orders No. 7. I don’t want my troops to be encumbered by excess baggage.

General Orders No. 7

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi,
Nashville, Tennessee April 18, 1864

I. When troops serving in this military division are transferred
from one post to another, or from one department to another department, the orders will embrace transportation for all the wagons,
mules, horses, tents, clothing, and camp equipage properly pertain
ing to such troops.

II. When troops are ordered to march for action, or to be in
condition for action, all incumberances must be left in store at the
most safe and convenient point. Mounted officers (general, regimental, or cavalry) will be expected to carry on their own or led
horses the necessary bedding and changes of clothing, with forage
and provisions for themselves for three days, which must last five
days. Infantry officers and soldiers must carry on their persons or
on led horses or mules the same; to which end will be allowed to
each company, when practicable, one led horse or pack-mule. Artillery can carry the same on their caissons, so that all troops must be
in readiness for motion without wagons for a five days’ operation.

For longer periods of service, the generals in command of armies, divisions, or brigades will indicate in orders beforehand the number of wagons to each headquarters and subdivision of command. In no event will tents be carried, or chests, or boxes, or trunks. Wagons must be reserved for ammunition proper, for cooking utensils, for provisions consisting exclusively or bread or flour, salt, sugar, coffee, and bacon or pork, in the proportion of thirty days’ sugar and coffee, double of salt, twenty days’ of bread or flour, and six of pork or bacon. The meat ration must be gathered in the country or driven on the hoof. Officers must be restricted to the same food as soldiers, and the general commanding knows that our soldiers will submit to any deprivation, provided lire and health can be sustained and they are satisfied of the necessity.

One or two ambulances and one wagon should follow each regiment. All other wheeled vehicles should be made up into trains of convenient size, always under command of some, quartermaster with a proper escort; and minute instructions should be imparted to the officers in charge of trains as to keeping closed up, doubling up on the roads when they are wide enough, or parking in side fields when there is any cause of delay ahead, so that the long periods of standing in a road, which fatigue the troops -so much, may be avoided.

These orders are preliminary.
By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman :
R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-General

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Monday, April 18, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

Grant telegraphed me asking about Johnston’s army. He is not sending any reinforcements to Lee. Thomas demonstrations keep him in place.

Sooy Smith requested 30,000 horses without authorization from me. Grant suggested using dismounted cavalry instead. I had already ordered it. There is far greater need for horses than availability.

Hurlbut protested his change of command and asked for a court of inquiry, which I forwarded to Halleck. Grant denied the request, citing his right to replace an officer with another who is deemed more effective.

I have been trying to get beef cattle driven here to feed the troops. The purchasers are worried about the cost. Cost does not matter. Delaying our movement to wait on supplies will have greater cost.

I can spare no men from here to chase Forrest. I will bring some of McPherson’s troops down from Cairo to Purdy and the Tennessee and attempt to cut Forrest off. McPherson has issued the orders:

Commanding Fourth Division, 17th Army Corps, Cairo, Illinois


You will proceed immediately to organize the detachments of regiments belonging to the Fourth Division which may be at Cairo and vicinity, into an effective force, to which you will add any veteran regiments belonging to the Third or Fourth Divisions, Leggett’s and Crocker’s, of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which may be returning from furlough, in order to bring your command up to 3,000 or upward.

Select from the artillery of the Fourth Division one 6-gun battery, or at the rate of four guns for a thousand men, to accompany you. Embark with this force on transports as soon as possible and proceed up the Tennessee River to Savannah or Crump’s Landing. where you will disembark and push out to Purdy and the Hatchie to operate against Forrest and cut off his retreat if possible.

You should come up provided with 100 rounds of infantry ammunition to the man, besides that in cartridge-boxes, and 200 rounds of artillery ammunition per piece; fifteen days’ rations of hard bread and small-stores, and ten days’ rations of meat, and without camp and garrison equipage. Bring along transportation enough to carry your supplies and ammunition, cooking utensils for the men, and the minimum amount of baggage for the officers. The pioneer corps of the Fourth Division should accompany you.

On your arrival at Purdy you will have to be governed very much by your own judgment and discretion, the great object being to whip Forrest and prevent him from getting away with his plunder. Forrest’s style of fighting is bold and dashing, and he will maneuver to attack you in front and on both flanks at the same time. In this case dash through him in force, and then sweep around him on the detached parties. Try and open communication with Memphis so as to act in conjunction with the force operating from there.

Should you learn that Forrest has crossed the Tennessee River, and be certain of the fact, you will move to Pulaski via Savannah or Clifton. Communicate with me as often as possible via Clifton.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Jason B. McPherson, Major-General

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Monday, April 18, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Tom,
I got your letter enclosing Miss Bailey’s appreciation for a lock of my hair. Her first letter was referred to my redheaded orderly Hill, whose modesty was so shocked that his face outrivalled in brilliancy his brick top. Miss Bailey’s 2nd letter I answered sending autograph and describing my hair as red, bristly & horrid. I think She is satisfied to leave my locks out of the cluster of flowers to be made up out of the hairs of the Great men of the day. Such nonsense is repulsive to me, and I can’t stop to notice Such things.

I am intent on Collecting from all the corners the vast army I have on paper, and by May 1st, I hope to have a host as vast & terrible as Alaric led into Rome’s doomed Empire. I am waiting for the men I sent up Red River which were loaned to Banks for one month, and which Should now be coming back. I hope they took Shreveport, as the expedition will not be complete till that Stronghold is ours.

Grant is now the Chief & I abstain from any action west of the Mississippi further than is imposed on me by orders. I have given it as my opinion that all the Department west of the Mississippi should be united under one mind. It should be done as my thoughts and interests will naturally be drawn to the objects to my immediate front, and may lead me to Slight other & quite as important interests.

My opinion is Grant will unite everything East and go straight on Lee. I will do the Same against Johnston. If we can defeat these two armies, the Smaller ones will gradually disband leaving us to deal only with scattered bands, which however mischievous to neighborhoods, can in no wise influence the great course of the war. Forrest’s whole movement was intended to divert our attention from this concentration, which Johnston has surely detected.

Hugh is at Mumfordsville commanding the District of West Kentucky, and Charley is Lt. Colonel of the 15th Corps at Huntsville. I suppose both want to be with me, but my staff is now less than even before, because I deal only with the heads of these large armies, which have a complete organization.

W. T. Sherman

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Sunday, April 17, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

Grant is sending me all forces that can be spared from Missouri to go up the Tennessee and cut off Forrest. I would like to do so, but he is a secondary issue. The main issue is to prepare my army to go against Johnston. We have procured 8000 head of beef. I want them driven to Chattanooga so our men can be supplied with food without need to carry it.

McPherson and I have discussed pontoons needed to cross major rivers. I have one here he can transport, or he can build one on site out of lumber taken from houses.

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi,
Nashville. Tennessee, April 17, 1864
Major General James B. McPherson,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee, Huntsville, Alabama

General: Captain Poe, U.S. Engineers, has here a fine Pontoon train of 600 feet, complete in all respects. It is subject, to your control. I wish you to think well over the matter. You will have to cross the Coosa, but to reach it will have near 75 miles to march, over two mountains, the Sand Mountain and Raccoon. Each wagon, of which there are about twenty, will require about 8 mules, and these are scarce and have to be fed.

Now we know that we can always safely count on lumber of old houses. We can make balks of trees, and can make abutments and piers of logs, as well as trestles of such timber as we can count on at the banks of Coosa. You can take the whole or part of this pontoon train, and I leave it somewhat to your judgment and experience. The labor for such a train for the distance named will almost, if not entirely, equal that of construction when we get there. We will need boats, and I am willing you should have them, and spikes, nails, ropes, and everything likely to be needed, but I do doubt the necessity of carrying along the whole train. After you have thought the matter all over, you can send an officer here to Nashville to take down just what you want.

The pontoons consist of two side frames, with cross-pieces all ready tenoned and morticed, with canvas to cover all the baffles and chesses, with anchors, ropes, and everything complete, are here ready to march off as soon as mules are hitched on. But you and I know the labor and trouble of hauling such heavy loads, but I leave it to you to determine.

I am, &c,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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Saturday, April 16, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

I still hope to send a force from the Tennessee River to cut off Forrest’s escape route. I wrote to McPherson to that end:

Headquarters, Military Division op the Mississippi
Nashville, Tennessee April 16, 1864
General McPherson, Huntsville:

General Grant is properly offended at Hurlbut’s timidity, and has ordered me to relieve him. I have ordered him up to Cairo. General Washburn will be ordered by General Grant to Cairo, and General Hunt to Columbus. Give orders that the wagons, mules, and detachments of your two divisions be carried up to Clifton, and make up a force out of these detachments and the first regiments to arrive at Cairo to ascend the Tennessee and strike at Forrest inland. Were Veatch now at Purdy this would be certain of success.

It may also be necessary for you to send a force across from Pulaski to Savannah and Purdy to cure that mistake. Notify General Slocum to hasten to Vicksburg and put in active motion the troops there to occupy the full attention of Lee’s cavalry and prevent their going north to Forrest. I have good information that Loring’s infantry is moving eastward; they were at Montgomery on Monday last. It is all humbug about their repairing the railroad, though the railroad companies, are working to that end for supplies to the city of Mobile.

I expect to hear of A. J. Smith in a day or so, but he had better hurry round to the Tennessee River. Steele is moving too slow. He had stopped on the 6th at Camden to await provisions from Pine Bluff, but I have reason to believe that Generals Smith and Banks, with gun-boats, were well up toward Shreveport.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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Saturday, April 16, 1864

Nashville, Tennessee

I replied to General Halleck about commands in the West. He is correct, that it is too large for one officer. I do not think any of the generals now there are best to command the whole area.

Confidential.] Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, April 16, 1864

Major General H. W. Halleck, Washington, D. C.

Dear General:
Yours of April 8 is received. I see the points you make and admit their full force.

The division of a large command into departments, coupled with the fact that the law confers on the department commanders the power of discharge, furloughs, &c. is a good and sufficient reason for the present plan. All I can then ask is that you keep in mind that the territory lying so remote as Arkansas is more naturally belonging to a division west of the Mississippi than this, more especially as soon I will be in immediate command of an army that will engross all my thoughts and action. I dislike even to attempt to name a commander west of the Mississippi that could reconcile the discordant claims of Curtis, Rosecrans, Steele, and Banks. Of them I would prefer Steele, because he will fight, but his movements are too slow for this stage of the war.

Banks is entirely too much engrossed in schemes of civil experiments. These ought to be deferred till all large armies of the Confederacy are broken up and destroyed. Our efforts heretofore to cover trading schemes, local, interests, and matters of civil reconstruction has almost paralyzed large armies by dividing them up into little squads easy of surprise and capture. The recent garrison of Pillow was not a part of our army, but a nondescript body, in process of formation and posted there to cover a trading post for the convenience of families supposed to be friendly to us, or at least not hostile.

But all these things are well known to you, and I should not refer to them. Though Steele is subject to my orders I must naturally leave him to act on his own judgment, confining my attention to the concentration of force now rapidly being made on the Tennessee from Chattanooga to Decatur.

I am, with respect, yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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Friday, April 15, 1864

I am still trying to get enough food for my men on the march. I plan to drive cattle to feed the army when we march.

General J. P. Taylor,

No commissary has yet reported to me. Colonel Beck with is not here. I must have by May 1 near Chattanooga a large amount of beef cattle on the hoof, and each commissary is making separate contracts utterly useless. We cannot supply transportation for cattle. They must travel by land, and I may be forced to seize even breeding cattle in Tennessee to supply meat, for we can’t wait our movement for such matters of economy.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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