—Sooy Smith and his cavalry column finally step off, many days after Sherman had intended him to, from Collierville, Tennessee, just outside of Memphis. His goal: Meridian, Mississippi.
—Gen. Sherman’s campaign through central Mississippi is of a new kind: he is carrying few supplies, and therefore has very little of a wagon train for the Confederates to attack. He is living off the land, and is systematically (and doctrinally) laying waste to any and every thing that might be useful to the Confederate cause. Grant did it during his sweep through central Mississippi a year earlier, but Sherman is now doing it deliberately as part of a strategic doctrine, used here for the first time: Total War. Today, at Lake Station, Federal troops destroy train engines, cars, a half-mile length of track, the depot, machine shops, and a mill.
---George Templeton Strong of New York City comments in his journal on the writings of Count Gurowski on the war:
—Sergeant Alexander G. Downing, of the 11th Iowa Infantry Regiment, writes in his journal of their march with Sherman deep into Mississippi, and of the "foraging" the Federals do to feed themselves:
—Faced with the lack of resources to build a Navy that can compete with the U.S. Navy, the Confederate Navy department puruses a number of technological innovations, one of which appears to be a bomb made to look like a chunk of coal that would explode in a Federal ships firebox, crippling the vessel. This report details information given by a refugee from Richmond who verifies the rumor:
Off Blakistone Island, February 9, 1864.
SIR: I have to report that I received six refugees on board this morning, coming direct from Richmond, Va. One of them, Joseph Leuty, made the following statement, which I thought important enough to bring to your notice. He says:
—Sarah Morgan of New Orleans receives word of another brother’s death by disease, less than a week after the passing of her brother Gibbes:
—David Lane, a young Federal soldier in the 17th Michigan Infantry Regiment, posted at Chattanooga with Gen. Thomas and the Army of the Cumberland, writes a poignant passage in his journal about the problem of a soldier filling up his time:
|Unnamed Federal cavalryman|
—David L. Day, of the 25th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, is marching up the James Peninsula from Yorktown as a supporting column for a cavalry raid toward Richmond. He notes several incidents on the march, including almost a fragging incident:
There was one of the general’s aids who seemed to take a great interest in getting us along, and his interest from some cause or other (probably his canteen) seemed to increase with the evening. The boys would be groping their weary way through the darkness, when some one would give a whistle and they would all squat in the road. This aid would ride up in a great passion and order them up, telling them if they didn’t get along faster he would put a regiment of colored troops on the advance. The response to that threat would be: "Bring on your niggers!" This officer had another provoking habit which he came well nigh paying dearly for. There were occasional mud holes in the road caused by the rains; some of them two or three rods across. The boys would flank these to keep their feet from getting wet and sore, but this officer attempted to drive them through, saying it took up the time flanking them. At one of these places he was going to drive them through anyway or it would be the death of some of them. I was quietly going around, and halted to see how he made it work with them. He was swearing at them, wheeling his horse right and left among them, and making himself about as disagreeable as he could. Just then I heard the ominous click of rifle locks, and heard some one ask him if he was aware those rifles were loaded. He seemed to catch on to the idea, and got himself out of that as quickly as possible, and was seen nor heard from no more during the march. Soldiers are human, with feelings and passions like other men; they can and do stand a great deal, but they cannot stand everything any more than a stone drag. . . .
It is curious how sometimes the most trifling act or expression will raise up the almost exhausted energies of men and inspire hope when almost on the verge of despair. As an instance of this, the boys while marching along had for some time preserved a dead silence; not a word had been spoken, and all seemed to he absorbed in their own reflections, when suddenly I stumbled over a stump. Gathering myself up I exclaimed: "There, I know just where that stump is!" The effect was like magic; all within the sound of my voice broke out in a loud and hearty laugh, and for a time forgot their fatigue and trudged lightly along. . . .
This Baltimore is the junction of several roads; the one we came up from New Kent extends on to Richmond, one runs south to Charles City, one northeast to White House, and another runs north over into Northumberland, where once lived a little boy who owned a little hatchet and couldn’t tell a lie. . . . In the little square formed by the intersection of the roads stands an interesting old building—the church in which Gen. Washington was married. It is a long, low, rather narrow building, without belfrey or ornament of any kind outside or in. It is without paint or even whitewash, and shows the rough marks of age and neglect. . . .