We had a wonderful banquet in the Governor’s mansion last night. Johnston is gone. I wrote this letter to my friend, Admiral Porter: I replied to the letter from my friend, Admiral Porter:
TO DAVID DIXON PORTER
HEADQUARTERS,. Army in the Field
Jackson, Mississippi July 19,1863
Admiral D. D. Porter, Commanding, Mississippi Fleet
Your kind and considerate Letter reached me at Clinton, as we were trudging along in heat and dust after Johnston, who had been troubling us about Vicksburg during our eventful siege. We must admit, these Rebels out travel us, and Johnston took refuge in the fortified Town of Jackson. My heads of columns reached the place on the 9th, but the forts and lines were too respectable to venture the assault, and I began a miniature Vicksburg. The enemy was about 30,000 strong, with plenty of Artillery, which he used pretty freely. Some rifled 32s of too heavy metal for our Field guns, but we got close up and made the invariable sap, succeeding in disabling one of the 32s knocking off a trunnion, and breaking up the carriage. We expended on the Town as much of our ammunition, as was prudent to expend, and a train with a re-supply reached me the very night, he concluded to quit.
We had a good deal of picket work. We succeeded in driving the enemy behind his earth works, but we made no assault. Indeed, I never meditated one, but I was gradually gaining round by the flank, when he departed in the night. Having numerous bridges across Pearl River, now very low, and a RailRoad in full operation to the Rear, he succeeded in carrying off most of his Material and men. Had the Pearl been a Mississippi, with a Patrol of Gunboats, I might have accomplished your wish in bagging the Whole. As it is, we did considerable execution. I have 500 prisoners. We are still pursuing and breaking RailRoads, so that the good folks of Jackson, will not soon again hear the favorite Locomotive whistle.
The enemy burned nearly all the handsome dwellings, round about the Town, because they gave us shelter, or to light up the ground, to prevent night attacks. He also set fire to a chief block of Stores in which were Commissary supplies, and our men in spite of guards have widened the Circle of fire so that Jackson, once the pride and boast of Mississippi is now a ruined Town. State House, Governors Mansion and some fine dwellings, well within the lines of entrenchments, remain untouched. I have been, and am yet employed in breaking up the RailRoad, 40 miles North and Sixty South; also ten miles East. My ten miles break west of last May is still untouched, so that Jackson ceases to be a place for the enemy to collect Stores and men, from which to threaten our Great River.
The weather is awful hot, dust stifling, and were I to pursue Eastward, I would ruin my Command, and on a review I think I have fulfilled all, that could have been reasonably expected. By driving Johnston out of the valley of the Mississippi, we make that complete, which otherwise would not have been.
I hope soon to meet you, and that we may both live long to navigate that noble channel, whose safety has absorbed our waking and sleeping thoughts so long. I trust we may sit in the shade of the awning, as the Steamers ply their course, not fearing the howling shell at each bend of the River, or the more fatal bullet of the guerrilla at each thicket.
Last night at the Governors Mansion in Jackson, we had a beautiful supper and union of the Generals of the Army. I assure you, “the Army and the Navy forever’ was sung with a full and hearty chorus. To me it will ever be a source of pride, that real harmony has always characterized our intercourse, and let what may arise, I will ever call upon Admiral Porter with the same confidence, as I have in the past. Present my kindest remembrances to Captain Breese, to Captain Walker, McLeod, Bache and all the gallant gentlemen, you have called about you, and please say to Captain Selfridge. I regret exceedingly, that I was called off so suddenly, as not even to say good-bye to him.
Most sincerely and truly your friend,
W.T. Sherman, Major General