Special Field Orders, No.11 (Department of the Tennessee) Text

January 27, 1864

On January 27, 1864, William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 11, launching his Meridian Campaign.

Black and white photo of William T. Sherman.

On January 27, 1864, William T. Sherman issued Special Field Orders, No. 11, launching his Meridian Campaign. [Wikimedia Commons]


Memphis, Tenn., January 27, 1864.

  1. Major-General Hurlbut will, with the command recently organized here, proceed with all dispatch to Vicksburg, and move out on the upper Jackson road to the Big Black near Messinger’s, and prepare a bridge to cross his command to the east. He will then await the arrival of the general commanding.
  2. Major-General McPherson will move his command, as heretofore ordered, to the Big Black railroad bridge, and there prepare to cross to the east. He will leave a covering force at Vicksburg, Haynes Bluff, and the bridge, and will be prepared to move from Big Black eastward at an hour’s notice.
  3. The command designated for the field will be lightly equipped – no tents or luggage save what is carried by the officers, men, and horses. Wagons must be reserved for food and ammunition. Cartridge-boxes must be filled full of fresh ammunition, and a hundred rounds extra carried along in wagons or on pack animals. Ten days meat and bread and thirty days of salt, sugar, and coffee will be carried in wagons; beef-cattle driven along, and pack animals, at the rate of one per company, when practicable, in lieu of wagons.
  4. Artillery will be cut down one-half, and that double-teamed, and 200 rounds of ammunition for each gun will suffice, but must be carried in caissons belonging to each battery. Artillery carriages must not be loaded down with men and packs, nor must imperfect ammunition be carried along, nor shots wasted at imaginary objects. Chiefs of artillery will see that each box is inspected, and the heavy artillery wagons and forges left at the depots.
  5. The expedition is one of celerity, and all things must tend to that. Corps commanders and staff officers will see that our movements are not embarrassed by wheeled vehicles improperly loaded. Not a tent will be carried, from the commander-in-chief down. The sick must be left behind, and the surgeons can find houses and sheds for all hospital purposes.
  6. All cavalry in the department is placed under the orders and command of Brig. Gen. W. S. Smith, who will receive special instructions.

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By order of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman:

Aide-de- Camp

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  • Article Title Special Field Orders, No.11 (Department of the Tennessee) Text
  • Date January 27, 1864
  • Author
  • Keywords William T. Sherman, Meridian Campaign
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 15, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024