864, in the same letter which unfolded his plan for the general Spring campaign as follows:
I shall direct Sherman, therefore, to move out to Meridian with his spare force—the cavalry going from Corinth, and destroy the railroads east and south of there so effectually that the enemy will not attempt to rebuild them during the rebellion.
He will then return, unless the opportunity of going into Mobile with the force he has, appears perfectly plain.
And writing on the same subject to Thomas at Chattanooga, on the 19th of January, he said:
He (Sherman) will proceed eastward as far as Meridian at least, and will thoroughly destroy the roads east and south from there, and, if possible, will throw troops as far east as Selma; or, if he finds Mobile so far unguarded as to make his force sufficient for the enterprise, will go there.
To cooperate with this movement you want to keep up appearances of preparation of an advance from Chattanooga.
It may be necessary even to move a