The rehearsal for the March to the Sea.
With the fall of Vicksburg to Union forces in mid-1863, the Federals began work to extend and consolidate their hold on the lower Mississippi Valley. As a part of this plan, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman set out from Vicksburg on February 3, 1864, with an army of some 25,000 infantry and a battalion of cavalry. They expected to be joined by another Union force moving south from Memphis and supported themselves off the land as they traveled due east across Mississippi. Sherman entered Meridian on February 14 and thoroughly destroyed its railroad facilities, munitions plants, and cotton stores, before returning to Vicksburg. Though not a particularly effective campaign in terms of enemy soldiers captured or killed, it offers a rich opportunity to observe how this large-scale raid presaged Sherman's Atlanta and Carolina campaigns, revealing the transformation of Sherman's strategic thinking.
"Sherman's Mississippi Campaign is a noteworthy addition to the historiography of the Civil War's western campaigns and to the military life of William T. Sherman." (Civil War History)
"With Sherman's Mississippi Campaign Foster has contributed significantly to the literature on the Civil War's western theater." (Journal of Southern History)
"Sherman's Mississippi Campaign is a well-researched and well-written study of an often-neglected campaign and should be on the shelves of those interested in the Civil War." (Alabama Review)
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