HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, Ga., January 16, 1865.
General U. S. GRANT:
I have written you less than I had designed; but I have had visits from many, including General Barnard and Mr. Stanton, who will tell you all matters of interest. General Barnard staid over one steamer, at my request, to study the relation of the parts of this coast, and will explain things clearly. I don’t want to assume the control of matters here further than to give uniformity of action through it was well to place the Department of the South subject to my command.
This is the day for Howard to put his Right Wing at Pocotaligo and fortify. He was across Port Royal with the Seventeenth Corps and out some four miles when I last heard. The Fifteenth Corps is now passing from Thunderbolt to Port Royal. The Twentieth Corps is across the Union Causeway, and Davis and Kilpatrick will move up to Sister’s Ferry, and I will get all my army in hand on a line from Sister’s Ferry to Pocotaligo. I have not heard from you since Colonel Ewing went up, but suppose the route indicated will be the best. I now take it.
Some, if not all, of Hood’s army will be worked over this way, and Thomas should be pressed down to Selma. If Thomas would prefer to watch Tennessee, order him to send a small force from Chattanooga down toward Rome, and detach Schofield, with 35,000 men, including Wilson, to Selma, via Tuscaloosa, and to return via Talladega and Rome. That circuit would be easy to make, and would tear out the heart of Alabama and prevent the farmers planting corn, because all rails would be burned, horses and mules taken, and corn eaten up. I would risk that march with just enough wagons to carry the command across Sand Mountain. I think the farmers of Georgia are organizing against Jeff. Davis, but don’t build any castles on that hope.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, January 16, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, City Point:
Since my letter of this morning I have official reports from General Howard, commanding Right Wing. He crossed from Beaufort Island on Saturday, the 14th, by Port Royal Ferry to the mainland with the Seventeenth Corps, General Blair, and marched for Pocotaligo. They encountered the enemy near Garden’s Corners, but soon outflanked him, and followed, dislodging him from position to position, till he took refuge in a strong fort at Pocotaligo. This is described as a well-constructed, inclosed work, pierced for twenty-four guns, and the approaches covered by the peculiar salt marsh points that guard this coast. Night overtook the command there, and Sunday morning the enemy was gone. Howard expresses satisfaction thereat, as it was Sunday, and it saved him an assault which might have cost him some valuable lives. As it was, he lost Lieutenant Chandler, of General Leggett’s staff, killed, and Captain Kellogg, of General Giles A. Smith’s staff, wounded. He writes that 8 or 10 will cover his loss. He reports guns captured at Garden’s Corners.
We are therefore now in possession of good high ground on the railroad at Pocotaligo, with a good road back twenty-five miles to Beaufort. I will order Howard to forage toward Charleston, but proceed to get my army and trains across, and can start north the moment I can get my wagons loaded. The weather at sea has been so stormy that vessels are behind, and it has been touch and go to get daily food. I have ordered Slocum to push a division up to Hardeeville and Purysburg, and think I can use the Savannah River up to that point. We are hard at work corduroying the roads across the rice fields by the Union Causeway. The Secretary told me I would surely receive 4,000 men from Baltimore to garrison Savannah. They are not heard of here yet.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, Ga.,
Major-General HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing, Beaufort:
I have your reports of Saturday and yesterday, and am glad you got the position of Pocotaligo so cheaply. It is of great value to us in the future, and I wish you to have it thoroughly strengthened, and all water channels to its south and east reconnoitered. Don’t seem to feel up the peninsula, but rather toward the Salkehatchie. Go on and accumulate supplies and stores, and get ready as soon as possible to sally forth with your whole wing supplied as well as possible.
I have ordered Slocum to push one division to Hardeeville and Purysburg, and to open up communication with you. I will try and get Davis started by Wednesday, but cannot hear of the troops from Baltimore to relieve Geavy here. I will not move from Pocotaligo till we get a good supply in our wagons, as that is the great point.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding
Foster Writes from Hilton Head:
Will hurry up the steamers. Did not go to Morris Island with the Secretary. General Howard telegraphed last night that General Blair’s corps was on the railroad, and thus cut off Fort Pocotaligo from re-enforcements from toward Charleston. I immediately sent orders to General Hatch to advance and attack from his side, and in every way co-operate with General Howard, with whom he is in communication. I will send a boat for your mail to-night.