I met with General Hurlbut and his staff to discuss details of the campaign in Mississippi. I will march from Vicksburg to Meridian, Mississippi with as much infantry as I can gather and send the cavalry from Memphis to meet us in Meridian. Many of the troops will come from the command of AJ Smith. I asked Hurlbut to send him orders:
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tennessee, January 11, 1864
Brigadier General A. J. SMITH, Commanding District of Columbus, Columbus, Ky.:
GENERAL: Major General W. T. Sherman, commanding department, orders that two divisions, of at least 5,000 each, of infantry, and a division of cavalry of the same number, be forwarded at once from this corps for a special expedition. You will receive herewith your orders. I need not say to you that rapidity of execution is necessary. Both General Sherman and myself rely upon promptness on your part. I desire that you will procure and bring with you as much of the Spencer rifle ammunition as practicable, as we have another regiment just coming in armed with that weapon. There is at Saint Louis a battery of Napoleon guns in hands of the quartermaster for transportation. They are for the Second Iowa Battery, with General Tuttle, and will be much needed. You will oblige me by telegraphing in my name for that battery to be sent at once by rail to
Cairo, and thence hurry it forward as soon as practicable.
General Sherman desires that you will send the regiments forward that have been longest in garrison, and that you will come down yourself, either with the infantry or cavalry force, as you prefer. Three wagons will be allowed to a regiment. All baggage to be reduced to a minimum and superfluities thrown away without remorse. Send forward all spare transportation for brigade and division trains. Twelve boats are ordered down.
If your have at Cairo or Columbus any quantity of stockings and army shoes, bring them down; also, all the horse and mule shoes and nails you can lay your hands on, as we are almost out. Require strict inspection and report of the state of your command as to clothing, especially drawers, shirts, stockings, and shoes. We have a heavy march before us, the command must be fully prepared. It is the intention of General Sherman to move with the artillery and infantry and such troops as he can get from Vicksburg direct on Demopolis and Selma, the cavalry moving down the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to meet us near Meridian, thus forcing the enemy to let go of their hold on Dalton or endangering the loss of Selma, and perhaps Mobile. Close attention is therefore necessary to the fitting out the individual soldier and will be impressed upon field and line officers. You will notify the citizens of Paducah and Columbus of the necessity of their standing upon their own defense, and give such instructions as will bring about this result.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT, Major-General