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I wish you to attack any force of cavalry you meet, and follow them southward, but in no event be drawn into the forks of the streams that make up the Yazoo. nor over into Alabama.

Don't let the enemy draw you into minor affairs, but look solely to the greater object to destroy his communication from Okolona to Meridian, and then eastward to Selma. From Okolona south you will find abundance of forage collected along the railroad, and the farms have standing corn in the fields. Take liberally of all these, as well as horses, mules, cattle, &c. 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 and convenience of your command.

If convenient, send into Columbus and destroy all the machinery there, and the bridge across 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.

Try and communicate with me by scouts and spies from the time you reach Pontotoc, avoid any large force of infantry, leaving them to me. We have talked over this matter so much that the above covers all points not provided for in my published orders of to-day.

I am, yours, &c.,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General Commanding.

While General Sherman admits the defeat of General W. Sooy Smith and censures him severely, he claims that his own movement was a complete success, and said, in general orders dated Meridian, Mississippi, February 18th, 1864: “Having fulfilled and well all the objects of the expedition, the troops will return to the Mississippi river.”

Now we know that the whole North expected Selma to be destroyed or Mobile taken by him, and were sadly disappointed when he returned, after tearing up a few miles of railroad track, which were soon replaced or repaired.

General Boynton, who took issue with General Sherman, says: “This impression” (that Mobile or Selma was to be taken) “was current at General Grant's headquarters and at Washington, and General Grant himself had written to Halleck, under the date of January 15th, 1864, in the same letter which unfolded the spring campaign, as follows: ‘I shall direct Sherman, therefore, to move out to Meridian with his spare force — the cavalry coming from Corinth and destroying the railroad 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 appears perfectly plain.’ Again, writing to General Thomas at Chattanooga, January 19th, General Grant said: ‘He (Sherman) will proceed eastward as far as Meridian at least, and will thoroughly destroy the roads east and south of there, and if possible will throw troops as far east as Selma, or if he finds Mobile so far unguarded as to make his troops sufficient for the enterprise, will go there.’ It will be observed in General Sherman's letter of instructions to General Smith, he mentions as objects of attack Columbus and Selma, where we had important government works, but gives no instructions to attack Forrest; on the contrary, intimates that an attack will come from him, and the movement seemed ”

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