The long feared march through Mississippi by Union forces under General William Sherman began in early February 1864. As Sherman’s forces advanced from Vicksburg through the old battlefields of 1863, Confederate forces under General Leonidas Polk gave grounds before the superior Union force.
By Friday, February 5, 1864 Union forces entered Jackson, the state capital; destroyed by Sherman’s forces in May 1863, Jackson was no longer militarily important and was once again abandoned after skirmishing by Confederate cavalry.
With 26,000 infantry and an additional force of approximately 7600 Union cavalry, Sherman could not be stopped. The vastness of the Southern Confederacy left her vulnerable to Union assaults, and William Tecumseh Sherman would become the most effective, and infamous, of those Union generals invading the heartland of the South.