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The Sooy Smith expedition (February, 1864). by George E. Waring, Jr., Colonel, 4TH Missouri cavalry, U. S. V., commanding Brigade.
In January, 1864, General Sherman arranged for an expedition from Vicksburg to Meridian with 20,000 infantry, under his own command, and a cooperating cavalry expedition, 7000 mounted men and 20 pieces of artillery, under the command of General W. Sooy Smith, chief-of-cavalry on General Grant's staff.
This cavalry force was ordered to start from Collierville, east of Memphis, on the 1st of February, and to join Sherman at Meridian as near the 10th as possible, destroying public property and supplies and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, from Okolona south.
[See map, p. 348.] Sherman's orders to Smith were, Attack any force of cavalry you may meet and follow them south. . . . Do not let the enemy draw you into minor affairs, but look solely to the greater object — to destroy his communications from Okolona to Meridian and then east toward Selma.