Tuesday, January 24, 1865

Beaufort, South Carolina

I started from Beaufort with a part of my staff, leaving the rest to follow at leisure, rode across the island to a pontoon-bridge that spanned the channel between it and the mainland, and thence rode by Garden’s Corners to a plantation not far from Pocotaligo, occupied by General Blair. There we found a house, with a majestic avenue of live-oaks, whose limbs had been cut away by the troops for firewood, and desolation marked one of those splendid South Carolina estates where the proprietors formerly had dispensed a hospitality that distinguished the old regime of that proud State. I slept on the floor of the house, but the night was so bitter cold that I got up by the fire several times, and when it burned low I rekindled it with an old mantel-clock and the wreck of a bedstead which stood in a corner of the room.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865
Admiral DAHLGREN:
Weather is now fine and promises us dry land. I will go today to Pocotaligo and Coosawhatchie. Tomorrow I will demonstrate on Salkehatchie, and would be obliged if you would feel up Edisto or Stono, just to make the enemy uneasy on that flank, and to develop if he intends to hold fast to Charleston and Columbia both. It will take five days for Slocum to get out of the swamps of Savannah, and during that time I will keep Howard seemingly moving direct on Charleston, though with no purpose of going beyond the Salkehatchie.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

Admiral DAHLGREN Replies from Hilton Head:

This northwest wind will dry up the roads and drain the swamps. The Sonoma is in the North Edisto; the Dai Ching in the Combahee, with orders to annoy the rebels as much as possible; to land and drive in their pickets. The Pawnee is just leaving for the South Edisto. I hear that a battery and obstructions have been felt on the Ashepoo, and much alarm at our reconnaissance. The Pawnee will go there and try to knock it down. It is said to be twenty miles up the Ashepoo. If General Howard’s men feel that way it might prove of interest.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865
Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point, Va.:
I reached here yesterday from Savannah and this morning went up to Pocotaligo to look to matters in person, and propose tomorrow to secure Salkehatchie bridge for a demonstration, and also to then reconnoiter until Slocum gets out to high ground from Sister’s Ferry. The storm has been severe and continuous for several days, delaying movements by bad roads, but now it is clear; the roads are improving rapidly and it bids fair for good weather.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865.
General EASTON, Savannah:
You may employ any vessels suitable for deep water, carrying soldiers, wagons, or ammunition of the Right Wing as long as General Logan wants you, but do not relax your efforts to get food and forage up to Sister’s Ferry by the time Davis gets there. Weather is now fine, and if it lasts will make our roads fine in a very short while. On this clear spell we must reach Barnwell and the Augusta road. Keep things moving night and day. I go to Pocotaligo today.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

SAVANNAH, GA., January 24, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN:
Your telegram received. The Fifteenth Corps still here, to go by water, about 3,400 men, 2,400 animals, 280 wagons, and 16 ambulances. I will get them off as soon as possible.
L. C. EASTON, Chief Quartermaster

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865.
General SLOCUM, Left Wing:
Weather is now magnificent, and we must take all advantage possible of it. The roads here cut deep also, and your best plan is to move rapidly to Robertsville via Sister’s Ferry, and don’t lose an hour of time. See Easton, that he gets boats to that point. Also, we must get up on the Charleston and Augusta road in this spell of good weather. I go to Pocotaligo today, and will secure the Salkehatchie bridge, and make Hardee believe I am coming straight for Charleston. I shall expect to hear of you about Sister’s Ferry in four days – say 29th.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

I have ordered General Foster to complete a telagraph from Beaufort to Pocotaligo.

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