Wednesday, July 15, 1863

Siege of Jackson, Mississippi

My goal is to defeat Johnston if he chooses battle, capture as many men and supplies as possible and destroy the ability to use Jackson as a place to congregate a large force that can operate against the Mississippi River. The weather is too hot and water too scare to conduct a long campaign through Eastern Mississippi. If Johnston quits, I will be forced to let him go. I intended to destroy all the railroads leading into Jackson for miles. I have issued these orders for the Infantry under Woods:

HDQRS. ARMY BEFORE JACKSON, Camp, July 15, 1863
Colonel CHARLES R. WOODS, Seventy-sixth Ohio, Comdg. Brigade:

SIR: You will proceed tomorrow north, along the Canton road. At your noon halt, destroy effectually a section of nearly a mile of the railroad by tearing up the ties, piling them into heaps, and placing on them the railroad iron, setting fire to the ties. The iron will bend so as to be useless for repairs or being used any more. In the evening go about 10 miles farther, beyond Calhoun Station, and camp. At your camp destroy in like manner another section of the railroad and burn the bridges near.

Early next morning proceed into Canton and destroy the railroad turn-outs, turn-tables, depots, factories, and machine shops of all kinds, and generally any property belonging to the Confederate Government, the railroad or anything that may be used against us in war. Colonel Bussey will meet you at Canton and will cooperate with you.

Whilst you are engaged in the destruction of property at Canton, Colonel Bussey will proceed to the railroad bridge across Black River, 12 miles beyond Canton, and destroy it. You will await his return, and, if he fails to destroy that bridge, you will call on him to accompany you. and proceed to destroy it with your infantry and artillery force.

If force is needed to engage the enemy with your combined force of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, Colonel Bussey must of necessity command the whole, as his rank is from August 14, 1861, the date of his muster into service. Having completed the work of destruction, you will return to your DIVISION by such route as you may choose, loading on your return the wagons with corn or property useful to this army, and will gather and bring in beef, cattle, sheep, and hogs.
As you return, make a full detailed report.

W. T. SHERMAN

I have issued these orders for the Cavalry under Bussey:

HEADQUARTERS, ARMY BEFORE JACKSON, Camp, July 15, 1863

Colonel CYRUS BUSSEY, Chief of Cavalry:

SIR: The expedition to destroy the railroad to the north will start tomorrow early, the infantry and artillery under command of Colonel C. R. Woods, Seventy-sixth Ohio, and the cavalry under your immediate command. Colonel Woods is ordered to start early tomorrow, to proceed about 10 miles, and then destroy a section of about a mile by tearing up track and burning the ties, with the iron so placed on the piles as to bend from the heat of the fire. In the evening he will proceed about 10 miles farther, and then, halting for the night, will burn another section, with any bridges near. The next morning he will enter Canton, and there effectually break up the road, cars, depot, and everything that might be used to our injury.

You will proceed in such a manner as at all times to be in easy supporting distance, generally on his right flank, and will camp tomorrow night near him. On the following day, move in concert with him and reach Canton at the same time. When he is fairly at work in Canton, you will push on with your cavalry to the bridge over Black River beyond, and burn and destroy it effectually, with all the smaller bridges and trestlework near it. If necessary, Colonel Woods will detach with you a section of artillery. Having completed this work, return to Canton or wherever Colonel Woods may appoint to meet you, and return to camp, keeping in communication with him.

Send me couriers daily of the progress and success of the work. The road should be absolutely destroyed for 40 miles. In case you encounter an enemy in sufficient force to require concert of action, your rank entitles you to command the whole, but unless you actually encounter a strong force of the enemy, each of you should confine your command to the respective parts.

W. T. SHERMAN

Destruction of the Railroad to the South will proceed as follows:

HDQRS. ARMY BEFORE JACKSON, Camp, July 15, 1863
Major General E. O. C. ORD, Comdg. Thirteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: You will dispatch your mounted force with their howitzers and five empty wagons tomorrow early to the south to destroy railroad. Order this force to move some 15 or 20 miles, and rest for noon, and during the rest, with tools to be carried along in the wagons, to tear up about a mile of railroad track, make bonfires of the ties, and pile the iron thereon, so as to be bent by the heat. After a good rest, to push on toward Gallman, and break the railroad a SECOND time. The next morning to reach Hazlehurst Station, near Gallman, and there burn a section of the road and any bridge near, with cars, depots, turn-outs, &c.

If there be any appearance of the enemy, this party will proceed on to Brookhaven, where doubtless will be found locomotives, cars, station-houses,&c., all of which should be destroyed.

Having completed the destruction of the railroad as far as Brookhaven, the officer in command will return by any route he may choose. He should move with speed, and if any of his horses become broken down he may procure a remount in the country, if they can be found. On his return, the officer in command will be instructed to make a minute report of all that he has done, and should be careful to make his work so good that it will not require another trip.

W. T. SHERMAN

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