Pocotaligo Depot, South Carolina
The right wing will be in place Monday. The left wing, General A.S. Williams reports:
In compliance with request of Major-General Slocum, I have the honor to report that two divisions of the Twentieth Corps on this side of the river have reached, with the head of the column, the crossing of Cypress Swamp, where a bridge about seventy-five feet long has been destroyed. This will be repaired today and we shall reach Sister’s Ferry tomorrow. We find as yet nothing but scouting parties of the enemy. The roads are all obstructed by felled timber. The Fourteenth Corps night before last were twenty miles out from Savannah and getting along well. Geary’s division of my corps is with it. General Slocum went up from this point on steamer to Sister’s Ferry at daylight this morning. The roads require march repairing, but we shall get over them very well.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Pocotaligo Depot, January 28, 1865.
Major-General SLOCUM, Commanding Left Wing:
General Williams reports to me today from Purysburg that you have passed up the Savannah River to Sister’s Ferry and therefore I infer you will be there, and that Davis can get out to Robertsville by Monday. On that day Howard will have the Fifteenth Corps at McPhersonville and the Seventeenth at a point north of the Salkehatchie bridge ready to start the moment you are ready. Remember that every day’s delay takes away one day’s rations from Howard, and, if possible, be all ready to start on Tuesday from Robertsville.
The Fifteenth Corps will keep along the east of Coosawhatchie, the Seventeenth along the Salkehatchie, and will cross it at Rivers’ Bridge, in Barnwell District.
The order of march and general orders will be the same as on the Georgia march. Until we reach the Charleston and Augusta road I want the most rapid possible movement: Kilpatrick to keep to your left front. Corse should cross to your rear to Hickory Hill and fall in with his corps there. Work hard to load your wagons, and report to me here to Pocotaligo Depot your readiness to move on Tuesday if possible. I think you can find two or more good roads and these will improve as we go north, unless the weather changes. It is very important that we hurry to our first point before Hood gets across and makes junction about Columbia.
If you are all ready on Tuesday you may act on the supposition that Howard is equally so.
Let Kilpatrick see this letter. I will shift over to see you, up about the edge of Barnwell District.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.
A late report indicates that Williams will not be able to cross at Sister’s Ferry but will have to move up to about Robertsville. The citizens state that the river is again rising, and the direct road to Sister’s Ferry is flooded. The corp will move as rapidly as possible, so that in case the road to Purysburg should be flooded the command will not be cut off. All of the wagons will loaded at Purysburg before starting. Forage is scarce, and after leaving Purysburg feeding will be light.