Thursday, December 24, 1863

Louisville, Kentucky
I sent this letter to Admiral Porter:

Admiral D. D. PORTER, Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Cairo


I have succeeded in relieving Chattanooga and Knoxville, and have left my army of the Tennessee, below Bridgeport, ready for the next move. As some time will be consumed in the preliminary preparations, I propose to avail myself of a short respite and go home (Lancaster, Ohio) for Christmas. I will come to Cairo about January 3 to confer with you and concert some plan to stop the firing on our transports on the great river.

I want to visit Paducah for a few hours; then go to Memphis to regulate matters, and then for work. I think a short time will enable us to make a combined movement up Yazoo River to, say, Yazoo City or Tchula, where a land force moving inland could reach the Grenada road and make a finished job of it and of Grenada also. I did this last summer, but in an effort to save locomotives and cars for the Memphis road we made a mistake, and did only partially what should have been done effectually. Grenada and its road destroyed, Memphis would no longer be threatened from that quarter.

Then I think I would send a force across to Monroe and the Ouachita, levying a contribution to pay the damages to boats on the river. Then, if you will, I will take all the force I can collect at Memphis and Vicksburg and go up the Red River as high as Shreveport, and make that rich country pay in gold or cotton of all depredations on our river commerce.

Please think of these things, and if you agree with me collect information as to boats burned, fired on, &c., that we may let people remote from the river see that we hold them responsible for the acts of Dick Taylor and kindred spirits. I must be back so as to command the army in the field in all February, so no time can be lost. Forrest (at Jackson, Tennessee) is not hurting us. We are not interested in the fate of the people he is harassing. I propose to strike at large armies and large interests, and let the smaller ones work out their salvation. Should you with to communicate with me telegraph at Lancaster, Ohio.

Your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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