Saturday, January 28, 1865

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Pocotaligo, January 28, 1865.
Major-General HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:

Yours of yesterday came at night. If Easton did not give vessels to carry Logan’s mules it was for a most excellent reason: that he did not have them. Slocum reports that he had ordered Davis to move on the 25th, and he should reach Sister’s Ferry today; the rear can close on him whilst he lays his bridge. Slocum was to go by river so as to meet Davis and Williams there. I confide in his energy and judgment to get his command across by Monday.

You may now let Foster’s troops occupy the old fort at Pocotaligo bridge, where the Charleston and Savannah turnpike road crosses. They will also hold Coosawhatchie fort, that the main road crosses. They will camp covering the Salkehatchie bridge, prepared to fall back on Pocotaligo fort and the works at the depot now occupied by Mower and Leggett. You may now move your two corps to points in front, north of the railroad, and be ready to march by all the roads leading north between the Coosawhatchie and Salkehatchie, with your wagons to close up the moment they are loaded. Roads are now comparatively good. Giles Smith’s division should make room for Hatch, but Mower and Leggett can start from their present camps.

The Fifteenth Corps should take position to the left or right front, according to your intention of giving one or the other the right of your movement. You will have to get nearly up to Barnwell before turning toward Midway. The point marked Heywardsville looks like a good point for the Fifteenth Corps and could be reached from the position of John E. Smith’s camp. Giles Smith could move to the point about four miles north and west of the Salkehatchie bridge, when you would have your two corps all ready to move by separate roads, viz, one following substantially the Salkehatchie and the other the Coosawhatchie, leaving Corse to make his junction as arranged at Hickory Hill. Hatch can supply his command by boats altogether, so as not to occupy our road at all. You had better begin this movement tomorrow.
I am, sir,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Howard Replies:

Your note just received. I have given all my officers to understand that they would not move till Monday, and there is some little shortness of clothing that I was hoping to get distributed in the present camps. If you will permit me, I think I can accomplish your wishes, limiting the movement simply to General Giles A. Smith’s division. General John E. Smith’s brigade at Beaufort, I think, will get closed up today, but I fear not before tomorrow night. I had intended, with your sanction, to move the Seventeenth Corps by the right hand road, and the Fifteenth by roads to the left of it. Will it be practicable to cross the Salkehatchie before reaching Walker’s or Rivers’ Bridge? I mean by the right corps.

MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Pocotaligo, January 28, 1865.
Major-General HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
The modifications you suggest in my general directions are approved, and the movements ordered for tomorrow will be deferred to Monday, provided the weather does not charge. You should push matters now that weather is fair, and better leave behind those who are not ready, and do what you may, some will not be ready. You cannot count on crossing Salkehatchie till you are in Barnwell District, nor is it advisable. Your right flank should aim for Midway and Columbia.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

Howard gives the orders:

The division of General Giles A. Smith will move toward the road which runs along the west bank of the Salkehatchie and encamp preparatory to a forward movement on that road Monday morning. All wagons of the Seventeenth Corps will be so moved and parked as to leave the road from Pocotaligo by McPhersonville clear for the Fifteenth Army Corps by 9 a.m. Monday. The bridge train will move tomorrow, following General Giles A. Smith, and encamp in rear of him.

Movement for Monday: The Seventeenth Corps, Major-General Blair, will commence the forward movement by 7 a.m., ascending the Salkehatchie on the west bank, making if possible fifteen miles from Pocotaligo. The Fifteenth Corps, Major General J. A. Logan, will move forward to Hewardsville, moving General John E. Smith’s division by the Ridge road between the Pocotaligo and the Tullifinny, if practicable. Department headquarters will follow the leading division of the Seventeenth Army Corps. Whenever it is practicable corps commanders will subdivide their columns, moving on parallel roads, particularly when not in the presence of a large force; and after the leading division on a road has taken up a strong position for the night the succeeding divisions need not close up to nearer than two miles interval for each. The corps commanders will deviate from this whenever the presence of a large force or other apparent necessity may require it. Particular pains will be taken to organize foraging parties for each brigade, battery, headquarters, and detachment, not to exceed in numbers of absolute necessity. A more uniform system of distribution of forage and rations than was had during the last campaign must be secured, and every possible economy in the issue of hard bread is demanded. The Engineer Regiment, after reaching Garden’s Corners, will take right-hand road and will follow the Seventeenth Corps. The bridge train will be kept with the Seventeenth Corps for the present.

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