Part XXIV

Federal Preparations To Invade Georgia, 1864.

       The greater part of the armies in Virginia and Tennessee rested awhile in the midst of the severe winter: Sherman, however, with an army of 30,000 marched against Meridian, Miss., which he entered on February 16th and began his usual work of destruction with both infantry and cavalry. But he was harassed by Forrest, who had "the genius for cavalry fighting," and after his own cavalry force of 8,000 men had been punished so severely in a number of fights that they rode off to Memphis, Sherman retreated to Vicksburg.
       During the same month the invasion of Florida by Seymour was arrested by the Confederate victory at Olustee, February 20th, fought under Generals Colquitt and Finegan. Texas and Louisiana, at this season, became the ground of an expedition of combined land and naval forces under General Banks and Admiral Porter, who went up Red river early in March and advanced upon Shreveport. The expedition had large proportions and expectations of acquiring an immense quantity of cotton, but it met with most mortifying defeats by the Confederates under General Taylor. Banks found the way to New Orleans for himself and parts of his disordered command, while Porter escaped with his gunboats by the ingenuity of an engineer. General Banks was relieved of his command.

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