I learned that General Bragg is in Augusta, and that General Wade Hampton has been ordered there from Richmond, to organize a large cavalry force to resist our progress. General Hardee is ahead, between us and Savannah, with McLaw’s division, and other irregular troops, that can not, I feel assured, exceed ten thousand men. I ordered the fine depot at Millen to be destroyed, and other damage done. We resume the march directly on Savannah, by the four main roads.
The right column reaches Statesborough, or near it, today. General Woods is going into camp near Wilson’s Creek (the one next to Nevil’s, and not named on the map). The two columns will come together opposite Guyton (or Numbers 3) tomorrow. I don’t suppose General Blair can quite make that point, but he can come within five miles of it. The bridges across the Ogeechee at 6 and 5 are burned. What was the firing today? Are you meeting with resistance on the left?
I am traveling with Mower’s division who marched sixteen miles today, and we encamped opposite Station 5 1/2. We have destroyed nine miles of railroad. The cavalry are near 4 1/2, and skirmished with the enemy from this point all the way, the last part very heavy. The enemy are on the other side of the Little Ogeechee River, reported to be fortifying. They are estimated at from 2,000 to 5,000 strong, and have artillery. They have burned the railroad bridge over the Little Ogeechee River. We will use pontoons there tomorrow.
I Write to Slocum:
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, in the Field, Station Numbers 5 1/2, Central Railroad, December 4, 1864 3:15 p.m.
Major-General SLOCUM, Commanding Left Wing, &c.:
Your note of 10 a.m. has been received. The day has been so good that General Blair has got to the point on our map indicated by the intersection of the main road with that leading through Sylvania, Hunter’s Mills, and Paris Academy, viz, four miles west of Halcyondale. He keeps three brigades breaking railroad abreast of him. His advance on arrival here was fired on, but by parties who took flight. If any opposition is made to us this side of Savannah, it will occur near Ogeechee, by Mill Ray. We will turn that position. You have nothing to apprehend on your front, but should look to your rear, especially on General Davis’ flank, until you get in the neck between Ogeechee Church and Halley’s Ferry.
I want you to report to me frequently, but in the absence of orders to move your entire wing, with Kilpatrick’s cavalry, in the direction of Springfield and Monteith, getting your left flank on the Savannah and Charleston Railroad, about Saint Augustine Creek. General Blair will continue to move along the railroad, and the Fifteenth Corps will continue on the west side of the Ogeechee until abreast of Eden (Numbers 2). We continue to find abundance of forage, and all our animals are in first-rate condition. Nevertheless, I want to impress upon all the importance of filling all empty wagons, as it may be to our interest to act rapidly, without waiting to draw supplies from our new base. If our marching on this flank is too fast for you please notify me, and I will check it, as I am aware you are moving on a large circle. We heard the firing today which you report, which, from its rate of fire, I inferred to be from Kilpatrick, who is fond of using artillery. I do not know that I reported to you that at Millen we got a dispatch that Bragg proposes to follows us, with 10,000 men, from Augusta. If we draw him down toward Savannah we can turn on him and send him off at a tangent.
I am, General, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General