Bussey is off wrecking the railroad to the north. Fullerton is wrecking the railroad to the south. General Steele pursued Johnston to the east as far as Brandon Station. Johnston has continued to retreat to the east toward Meridian and Selma. It is too hot and dry to pursue him. Steele has destroyed Brandon. He burned the courthouse and the jail and all the railroad buildings. The track has been destroyed. This will prevent the enemy from moving back to Jackson in large numbers. General Steele will return today. I made the following orders:
GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Number 60. Jackson, MISSISSIPPI, July 19, 1863
I. The enemy having evacuated his intrenchments and escaped eastward by the aid of his railroad, the general commanding announces to all that the purposes for which we sallied forth from the line of the Big Black have been fulfilled, and this army, after fully completing the destruction of the railroads, will return to the neighborhood of Vicksburg for rest and reorganization. The railroad has been broken up for 40 miles north, including the costly bridge above Canton and the extensive machine-shops, cars,&c., in Canton, with fully 12 miles of track burned and destroyed. In like manner it has been destroyed for 60 miles south, as far as Brookhaven, and eastward to and beyond Brandon. Jackson cannot again become a place for the assemblage of men and material with which to threaten the Mississippi River. All hostile bodies of men recently threatening us during the siege of Vicksburg are now driven beyond Pearl River, and are known to be in full retreat eastward, broken up and perishing in the desert region of 88 miles, destitute of water, between Pearl River and Meridian, over which at this hot season it would be destructive for us even to follow.
II. The two DIVISIONS of the NINTH Army Corps proper, under Generals Potter and Welsh, the whole commanded by General Parke, will at once return, by easy marches by Brownsville and Messinger’s, to its old camp at Milldale, the commander reporting in advance by letter to General Grant, at Vicksburg.
III. The Thirteenth Army Corps, General Ord, will return to Vicksburg by easy marches as soon as the cavalry under Colonel Ferguson is in, moving via Raymond, Edwards Depot, and Black River Bridge, the commander reporting in advance to General Grant, in Vicksburg, for further orders.
IV. The Fifteenth Army Corps, to which will be attached the DIVISION heretofore commanded by General W. S. Smith, will move by the direct Clinton and Bolton road, crossing Big Black River, and taking post for the present near Black River and Bear Creek.
V. General McArthur’s DIVISION will resume post at Black River Bridge, reporting to General McPherson for orders.
VI. The cavalry, Colonel Bussey, will, after all the infantry have broken camp, move by easy and slow marches to its old camp on Black River, attached for the time being to the Fifteenth Army Corps.
VII. Medical directors will see that every wounded and sick man is properly conveyed ahead of or along with the corps to the proper DIVISION or general hospital at the place to which the corp will end. They will call on the quartermasters of the respective DIVISIONS and corps for all empty wagons, or they may seize and appropriate to that use all vehicles not engaged in the transportation of army stores proper, or the horses, mules, and beasts that now attend the army ridden by idlers, negroes, &c. Quartermasters and staff officers will be held responsible that not a dollar’s worth of public property is left behind.
VIII. Major Taylor, chief of artillery, is charged with destroying or casting into Pearl River all guns, shot, shells, and ammunition of the enemy found in Jackson, and he will also cause to be battered down with artillery the piers of the old railroad bridge across Pearl River, as soon as General Steele’s expedition is back from Brandon.
IX. General Blair will cause to be burned all cotton or other public property in Jackson used in the construction of forts, or for hostile purposes. Nothing of the kind must be left to be again used against us in war.
X. General Parke will commence the movement at once. The other troops will move on the 21st, or after having accomplished the above. All commanders will see that provisions meet them at some point of the road, drawing from the depot at the railroad bridge across Black River.
XI. In thus dissolving this army, and returning its parts to their appropriate places, General Sherman tenders his personal and official thanks to officers and men for the cordial support he has received from all in thus giving the finishing stroke to the magnificent campaign of Vicksburg.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-General