Jefferson Davis by mid-1864 clearly despaired over the invasion of his nation by Union forces; he particularly was concerned about William Tecumseh Sherman’s march through his own state of Mississippi.
On Thursday, February 11, 1864 Davis informed General Joseph Johnston that Sherman’s advance through Mississippi “should be met before he reaches the Gulf and establishes a base to which supplies and reinforcements may be sent by sea.”
Unbeknown to Davis, Sherman had no intention of marching to the Gulf of Mexico so he could be resupplied; Sherman’s forces had every intention of living off the land, a policy that he would later so effectively employ in his infamous march through Georgia. Sherman’s force had determined Meridian, Mississippi to be its target. From there Mississippi’s plantations and railroads could easily be destroyed.