Monday, March 7, 1864

Vicksburg, Mississippi

I wrote this letter to Admiral Porter:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, 
Vicksburg, Miss., March 7, 1864

Admiral D. D. PORTER, Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Red River:

DEAR ADMIRAL: I received last night the dispatches and was delighted at the result. Taking the guns at Trinity, burning at Harrisonburg, and general driving away of the force there gives you the initiative, and if you only had water enough in Red River you could alone follow it up to Shreveport. But in a day or two I will have with you General A. J. Smith, with 10,000 good infantry, which can land and act in concert with you. The lowness of water in the Mississippi and Red River is most extraordinary, and will embarrass us, but at all hazards and at whatever cost we should meet General Banks at Alexandria on the 17th instant. I will instruct my quartermaster to use small boats as far as possible, and suggest that you put some of your light iron-clads up as far as Alexandria anyhow, and wait there for a rise.

General Banks will move so as to turn the position at De Russy, so that a mere display of force on its water front will, connected with the movement of our troops on land, lead to the evacuation of the fort and it may be the surrender of its armament and garrison. At all events I think we should not let General Banks arrive at Alexandria without finding our river party there. You have bounced them from the Washita, and conjointly with my infantry, which will join you in a day or two, can also open up the Red River as far as Alexandria. Beyond that point I agree with you, and authorize you to use my name with General Banks, that a further move ought not to be attempted above Alexandria unless the river admit the navigation by your first-class iron-clads and large transports, viz, 7 feet of water on the rapids of Alexandria. I must hurry around to my command in the field at Huntsville, but send A. J. Smith to co-operate with you in Red, and leave General McPherson here on the Mississippi. With these I know you will take pleasure in conferring and co-operating harmoniously.

I am, with great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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