March 17, 1862
I wrote you from Savanna Landing sending you a Paymasters certificate for my months pay. I started in command of eleven Regiments, landed at Tylers Landing 18 miles above this and in the midst of a perfect flood attempted to cross over the intervening space of 17 miles to break the Memphis and Charleston Road. The rain fell in torrents and streams began to rise, and the Cavalry which led had to turn back for the swollen water. It was very unfortunate, so I had to return the Boats. The Tennessee River rose 15 feet in one day and the Landing was under water. I was compelled to drop down again to this place where there is a high Bluff Landing.
After describing reconnaissance efforts made by his cavalry and infantry near Pittsburg Landing, Sherman went on to elaborate on the situation of the Union forces at the landing, giving hint to the looming danger of a Confederate attack.
Generals Grant and [C.F.] Smith are at Savannah 19 miles below, and I command here, but as the Force has swollen to 25,000 men, and more are coming I take it for granted that some one else will come to command. I hear Halleck is coming, may be Grant, and on the whole we are furthest advanced into Secession. In a circuit of many miles I find houses abandoned, the People having fled, because they are told, we take everything we can lay our hands on, all the pretty girls and leave the Old Ones for the negros. I had an old man who really believed this, and was much assured when I said if he would stay at home and mind his own business I would not permit the Soldiers to disturb him. Upon going to his house, his wife and children had fled to the woods as though we were savages—Our soldiers do in spite of all efforts burn rails, steal geese chickens &c. &c.
The boat is ringing her bell, and I must ashore to my tent.
I am very tired having ridden for two days, the enemy under Bragg and Beauregard are to our front from Florence to Corinth with the country full of never ending cavalry. We may have fights at Purdy [TN] and Corinth [MS]. My love to all.
Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, Edited by Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 197-198.