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Union Orders, Reports and Letters -- Mississippi page 2

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 3, vol 3, Part 1 (Union Letters, Orders, Reports) UNION AUTHORITIES. Page 939

CIRCULAR.] NATCHEZ, MISS., October 27, 1863.

The following regulations for the government of the commissioners for leasing plantations are published for the information of all concerned: -----------

II. The property of disloyal persons of right belongs to the United States, and when required may be taken. Such is the case with plantations, crops, &c., owned by them, which the commissioners may take possession of and lease the plantations to loyal citizens.

III. The plantations of men of undoubted loyalty, especially those who have been so from the beginning of the rebellion, will be occupied and managed by themselves or leased by them to loyal citizens. In case they do neither, the commissioners may take possession and lease, as in the above case.

IV. Men of doubted loyalty, if permitted to cultivate their plantations, will be required to take as a partner a loyal citizen.

By order of the Secretary of War:



OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 32, Part 1 (Forrest's Expedition) Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION. Page 173 - 179

Vicksburg, Miss., March 7, 1864.

GENERAL: I now the honor to submit a report of the recent operations in the State of Mississippi:

------- My plan of action was as follows: General William Sooy Smith to move from Memphis by or before the 1st of February with an effective force of 7,000 cavalry lightly equipped, to march straight on Pontotoc, Okolona, Columbus Junction (Artesia), and Meridian, to arrive there about February 10, distance 250 miles; to disregard all minor objects, to destroy railroads, bridges, corn not wanted, --------

So I rested the army on the 15th, and on the 16th began a systematic and through destruction of the railroads centering at Meridian. The immense depots, warehouses, and length of side-track demonstrated the importance to the enemy of that place. Through it he has heretofore transported his armies and vast supplies, and by means of the railroads large amounts of corn, bacon, meal, and produce have been distributed to his armies. For five days 10,000 men worked hard and with a will in that work of destruction, with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars, and with fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work as well done. Meridian, with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, officers, hotels, and cantonments no longer exists.

We subsisted our army and animals chiefly on his stores, brought away about 400 prisoners and full 5,000 negroes, about 1,000 white refugees, about 3,000 animals (horses, mules, and oxen), and any quantity of wagons and vehicles. Beyond Pearl River we destroyed all C. S. A. cotton and all that was used in the enemy's work at Meridian; also many cotton-gins and piles of cotton were burned by our soldiers and by negroes, without orders and without detection.

I attach little importance to these matters, by the great result attained is the hardihood and confidence imparted to the command, which is now better fitted for war.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 47, Part 2 (Columbia) Chapter LIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION. Page 351


GENERAL: I have just received your note in cipher. I send you a copy of orders for the next move, which will give you the key to the whole. * Wheeler writes to General Howard offering not to burn cotton if we don't burn houses. I assured him that he would oblige me by burning cotton, for it saves us the trouble; that we don't burn occupied houses, but if people vacate their own houses I don't think they should expect us to protect them. You may burn all cotton; spare dwelling houses that are occupied, and teach your men to be courteous to women; it goes a great ways; but take all provisions and forage you need. Act as though you are to be followed by infantry. I expect Hood's army will try and join the South Carolina army about Columbia and I will try and interpose again at Orangeburg. I will order the Fourteenth Corps to Williston and Guignard's Brigade or Pine Log Bridge. Edisto is narrow and easily passed up there. The Orangeburg and Edgefield road is the "key line" of South Carolina.

Major-General, Commanding.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 30, Part 1 (Chickamauga)


SIR: I have honor to transmit copy of report of expedition ordered from these headquarters.

Cavalry force from la Grange on 13th, under command of

Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, Ninth Illinois Infantry (mounted), reached Grenada 17th, drove Slemons, with 2,000 men and three pieces artillery, from the place, destroyed 57 engines, 400 cars, the depot build ings, machine-shops, several blacksmith-shops, and a quantity of ordnance and commissary stores, and captured 50 railroad men and a number of prisoners.

After Colonel Phillips had accomplished his work Colonel Winslow, ordered up by Major-General Grant, appeared with a force.

Detailed report will be forwarded.


OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 24, Part 2 (Vicksburg) Chapter XXXVI. THE Jackson CAMPAIGN. Pages 525 - 527

Army before Jackson, July 14, 1863.

There is a DIVISION of cavalry commanded by General Jackson; two brigades, commanded by Whitfield and Cosby, containing, I think, about 3,000 men. Cosby is, I suppose, at Canton and the bridge, and Whitfield is east of Pearl River, guardiback to Meridian, with some scattered squads hanging about the country. Our foraging parties now go out about 15 miles, but are invariably guarded by a regiment of infantry. We are absolutely stripping the country of corn, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, everything, and the new-growing corn is being thrown open as pasture fields or hauled for the use of our animals. The wholesale destruction to which this country is now being subjected is terrible to contemplate, but it is the scourge of war, to which ambitions men have appealed, rather than the judgment of the learned and pure tribunals which our forefathers had provided for supposed wrongs and injuries.


I am, with great respect,

Major-General, Commanding

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 30, Part 3 (Chickamauga) Chapter XLII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.
Page 211


August 29, 1863.

General DENNIS,

Railroad Bridge:

General McPherson says a negro reports that a squad of guerrillas crossed at Baldvin's Ferry, killed a negro, and returned, proposing to come again. Have the matter inquired into, and, if true, send a couple of regiments across and out a couple of miles, with orders to burn the house of some known secesh, and give notice it will be repeated as often as they please. I will be down to-morrow.



Isn't it amazing how Sherman belives the Union has the "right" to take what they want? They didn't have the right to invade the Confederacy in the first place. Their "rights" were granted by might not by the laws of God or man. -- GP

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 24, Part 3 (Vicksburg) Chapter XXXVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION. Page 209

CAMP BEFORE Vicksburg, April 19, 1863.

Major General FRED. STEELE,

Commanding First DIVISION, Fifteenth Army Corps:

DEAR GENERAL: Yours of the 18th instant is just received, and I hasten to assure you that I most heartily approve your purpose to return to families their carriages, buggies, and farming tools, wherewith to make a crop. War at best is barbarism, but to involve all-children, women, old and helpless-is more than can be justified. Our men will become absolutely lawless unless this can be checked. Inasmuch as Greenville was a point from which the enemy attacked our boats, we were perfectly in making the neighborhood feel the consequences. The destruction of corn or forage and provisions in the enemy's country is a well-established law of war, and justifiable as the destruction or private cotton by the Southern Confederacy. Jeff. Davis, no doubt, agrees that they have a right to destroy their people's cotton, but the guerrillas do not stop to inquire whose cotton they burn, and I know, as you know, the Confederate Government claims the war right to burn all cotton, whether belonging to their adherents or to Union men. We surely have a similar right as to corn, cotton, folder, &c., used to sustain armies in war. Still, I always feel that the stores necessary for a family should be spared, and I think it injures our men to allow them to plunder indiscriminately the inhabitants of the country. Whatever restitution you may make to the families along Deer Creek and to Mr. Hunt will meet my hearty sanction; only impress on all with whom you converse that these devastating expeditions are the certain and inevitable consequences of firing on passing boats. As I think Deer Creek has been sufficiently chastised again to desire a Yankee visitation, I shall advise General Grant to order you back to camp.

You will have heard the only news from this quarter since my last. Bowen's brigade has crossed to this side from Grand Gulf, and now that so large a fleet of gunboats is below, he cannot return. It may be, however, that the enemy intended this brigade of Missourians to work their way up to Price. I rode through your camps yesterday, and they are mostly dry and comfortable, but the water is close up to me. All my camps are now above my house.

I am, &c.,


From the memoirs of General W.T.Sherman---

Meridan Campaign-

MEMPHIS, January 27, 1864

Brigadier-General W. S. SMITH, commanding Cavalry, etc., present.

I will in person start for Vicksburg to-day, and with four divisions of infantry, artillery, and cavalry move out for Jackson, Brandon, and Meridian, aiming to reach the latter place by February 10th. General Banks will feign on Pascagoula and General Logan on Rome. I want you with your cavalry to move from Colliersville on Pontotoc and Okolona; thence sweeping down near the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, disable that road as much as possible, consume or destroy the resources of the enemy along that road, break up the connection with Columbus, Mississippi, and finally reach me at or near Meridian as near the date I have mentioned as possible. --------
From Okolona south you will find abundance of forage collected along the railroad, and the farmers have corn standing in the fields. Take liberally of all these, as well as horses, mules, cattle, etc. As a rule, respect dwellings and families as something too sacred to be disturbed by soldiers, but mills, barns, sheds, stables, and such like things use for the benefit or convenience of your command. If convenient, send into Columbus, Mississippi, and destroy all machinery there, and the bridge across the Tombigbee, which enables the enemy to draw the resources of the east side of the valley, but this is not of sufficient importance to delay your movement.

W. T. SHERMAN, Mayor-General, commanding.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 3, vol 3, Part 1 (Union Letters, Orders, Reports)


Vicksburg, Miss., August 28, 1863.

Brigadier-General CROCKER,

Commanding, Natchez, Miss.:

GENERAL: Colonel Farrar has just called on,me for instructions with regard to recruiting for his regiment. I have just returned from Cairo and not yet reached my headquarters. When I get there I will prepare fuller instructions, and only give some general rules to be observed here. In the first place it is the intention of the Secretary of War that all able bodied negroes that can be reached shall be taken to fill up the colored regiments.

At the same time it is desirable that we should make a wide distinction between the Southern citizens who have been loyal and those who have not; also a distinction between those who have not been loyal, but now express a voluntary willingness to return to their allegiances and employ their negroes in accordance with exerting orders, and those who hold out in their acknowledgment of a Southern Confederacy. I would lay down, then, as a rule, that negroes who have belonged to persons of known loyalty only be recruited as free white persons are; that is, when they come and offer themselves. Of the second class they may be visited by recruiting officers and the option given them to enlist, and the able-bodied negroes of the third class of citizens may be taken possession [of] with or without their own consent.

All negroes who have not been employed in accordance with published orders may be taken to put in the ranks.

In hunting them up the plantations of known loyalty should not be visited. Indeed, I think it advisable that a list of planters and citizens should be made out, whose premises should not be visited for the purpose of securing negroes. I am desirous of seeing the two organization now being raised in Natchez filled up as soon as possible. I hope you will give both of them every facility to of so within these meager instructions. I want the expedition against Harrisonburg to start as soon as possible.

I will see the naval commander here at once and secure his co- operation.

Very respectfully,