Operations in the Mississippi February–March 1864

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Map Code: Ax01809

After an orgy of destruction, General Sherman left Meridian, Mississippi, on 20 February 1864, reporting ‘its depots, stores, arsenal, hospitals, offices and hotels no longer (exist)’. Yet the Confederates managed to get the all-important railroad junction operational in just 26 days. Sherman at least accomplished his mission. The performance of his supporting acts in Mississippi was dire. Ordered to rendezvous with Sherman at Meridian, General William Sooy Smith first dallied at Memphis, then got routed by Nathan B. Forrest’s hugely outnumbered Confederates at Okolona (22 February), who proceeded to chase him out of the state. Meanwhile, a diversionary expedition led by Colonel James Coates from Vicksburg became trapped in Yazoo City by Confederate brigades under Texan ‘Sul’ Ross. Despite again having the advantage in numbers, plus gunboats controlling the Yazoo River, Coates was forced to evacuate and abandon the precious supplies he had plundered. Oblivious to these shenanigans, Sherman returned to Vicksburg

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