I am spending the night at Hickory Hill Post-Office.
Today, the right wing moved up the Salkiehatchie, the Seventeenth Corps on the right, with orders on reaching Rivers’s Bridge to cross over, and the Fifteenth Corps by Hickory Hill to Beaufort’s Bridge. Kilpatrick is instructed to march by way of Barnwell; Corse’s division and the Twentieth Corps to take such roads as will bring them into communication with the Fifteenth Corps about Beaufort’s Bridge. All these columns started promptly on the 1st of February. We encountered Wheeler’s cavalry, which had obstructed the road by felling trees, but our men picked these up and threw them aside, so that this obstruction hardly delayed us an hour. In person, I accompanied the Fifteenth Corps with General Logan by McPhersonville and Hickory Hill, and kept couriers going to and fro to General Slocum with instructions to hurry as much as possible, so as to make a junction of the whole army on the South Carolina Railroad about Blackville.
The question of supplies remains the one of vital importance. I reason that we might safely rely on the country for a considerable quantity of forage and provisions, and that, if the worst comes to the worst, we could live several months on the mules and horses of our trains. Nevertheless, time is equally material, and the moment I heard that General Slocum had finished his pontoon-bridge at Sister’s Ferry, and that Kilpatrick’s cavalry was over the river, I gave the general orders to march, and instructed all the columns to aim for the South Carolina Railroad to the west of Branchville, about Blackville and Midway.