|USS Tyler (NPS)|
SAINT LOUIS, March 1, 1862.Major General U. S. GRANT,
Transports will be sent to you as soon as possible to move your column up the Tennessee River. The main object of this expedition will be to destroy the railroad bridge over Bear Creek, near Eastport, Miss., and also the connections at Corinth, Jackson, and Umboldt. It is thought best that these objects be attempted in the order named. Strong detachments of cavalry and light artillery, supported by infantry, may by rapid movements reach these points from the river without very serious opposition. Avoid any general engagement with strong forces. It will be better to retreat than to risk a general battle. This should be strongly impressed upon the officers sent with the expedition from the river. General C. F. Smith, or some very discreet officer, should be selected for such command.
Having accomplished these objects, or such of them as may be practicable, you will return to Danville and move on Paris. Perhaps the troops sent to Jackson ad Humboldt can reach Paris as easily by land as to return to the transports. This must depend on the character of the roads and the position of the enemy. All telegraph line which can be reached must be cut.
The gunboats will accompany the transports for their protection. Any loyal Tennessee who desire it may be enslited and supplied with arms.
Competent officers should be left to command the garrisons of Forts Henry and Donelson in your absence. I have indicated in general terms the object of this.
H. W. HALLECK,
Official Records, Series I., Vol. 7, Part 1, Page 674.
Grant was anxious for his next assignment. This expedition moved a portion of his troops under Brigadier General C. F. Smith 115 mile Northwest of Nashville, in position to destroy rail supply connections on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad the Confederates would need as they fell back toward Corinth. Grant had 27,000 men, two gunboats, and 58 transports. The original intent was for a limited strike, avoiding battle, but this would become the opening move in the Shiloh Campaign.