Thursday Evening, May 14, 1863

General Grant has ordered me to oversee the destruction of enemy property in Jackson.


Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Commanding, Fifteenth Army Corps:

Designate a brigade from your command to guard the city. Collect stores and forage, and collect all public property of the enemy. The DIVISION from which such brigade may be selected will be the last to leave the city. You will direct them, therefore, to commence immediately the effectual destruction of the river railroad bridge and the road as far east as practicable, as well as north and south. The Fourth Iowa Cavalry and a brigade of infantry should be sent east of the river, with instructions for the cavalry to go on east as far as possible.

Troops going east of the river should burn all C. S. A. cotton and stores they find.


I have ordered Mower’s Division to attend to the tasks at Jackson. It is especially important to destroy the rails so they cannot be repaired. My engineers have devised a convenient method. The tracks are dismantled and the wooden ties piled with the rail across them. The ties are burned, heating the rails until they are red hot. With a special tool, the men twist the rails so they cannot be straightened. The entire rail is then twisted around a tree or telegraph pole. Recovery of the iron requires them to cut down the tree or further destroy the rail.

HEADQUARTERS, Fifteenth ARMY CORPS, Numbers 105
Jackson, MISSISSIPPI, May 14, 1863

The SECOND Brigade, THIRD DIVISION, Brigadier General J. A. Mower commanding, will constitute the garrison of the post of Jackson, MISSISSIPPI. General Mower will report to the commanding general for specific instructions. General Mower will detail a provost-marshall for the post, and all prisoners of war will be sent to him, at the State-house.

The First and THIRD DIVISIONS of this corps will proceed, early tomorrow morning, to destroy the railroads leading from this post, the First DIVISION taking the roads running to the east and south, and the THIRD DIVISION those to the north and west. The destruction of the roads will be extended out as far as possible, and must be complete. The rails and ties will be taken up and placed in stacks, and the ties set on fire, in order to warp the rails and so render them unfit for use. Dispatch is of the utmost importance.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-General

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