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[311] the city on the 9th of July. The two armies faced each other in the attitude of besieged and besieging, from the 9th to the night of the 16th day of July, when General Johnston, seeing his danger, crossed over Pearl river and marched towards Meridian, General Sherman pursuing beyond Brandon, Miss. It appears that it was General Sherman's intention at that time to crush the Confederate army, or drive it out of the State of Mississippi, and destroy the railroads. There was then a great drought and the heat was so intense that he decided to postpone further pursuit, and return to Vicksburg, intending at some future time to penetrate the State and drive out any Confederate forces that might be found. During these operations the Confederate army lost 600 men in killed, wounded and missing. The Federal army lost 1,122. The occupation of Jackson by Grant's army in May, 1863, began the cruel side of the war in the wanton destruction of private as well as public property, which destruction was emphasized especially by General Sherman in all his campaigns to the close of the war. He reported July 18, 1863:

“We have made fine progress to-day in the work of desolation; Jackson will no longer be a point of danger. The land is desolated for thirty miles around.” The destruction of private property ever marked the progress of General Sherman's armies. Raymond, Jackson and Brandon had already felt the shock, and monumental chimneys for the most part marked their former locations.

In the meantime General Sherman had carried most of his army to east Tennessee to assist General Grant in his operations against the Confederate army under General Bragg. He returned to Memphis January 10, 1864, and began at once to prepare an army to go into Mississippi from Vicksburg as far as Meridian, or Demopolis, Ala. His first step was to order that the Memphis and Charleston Railroad be abandoned. He had a large force guarding the Mississippi river, one division at Natchez, McPherson's 17th Army Corps at Vicksburg, Hurlbut's 16th Army Corps at Memphis, and about 10,000 cavalry in West Tennessee, including General W. Sooy Smith's command from middle Tennessee (about 40,000 effectives). With this large force and the great Mississippi gunboat and ironclad fleets operating with these troops, a diversion was to be made on Mobile Ala., by General Banks and Admiral Farragut. An expedition was also to ascend the Yazoo river from Snyder's Mill, consisting of five gunboats and five transports with several regiments of infantry.

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