Monday, January 6, 1865

Five Miles South Of Bamberg, SC.

I am with the Fifteenth Corps preparing to strike the railroad at Bamberg. I expect severe resistance at this railroad, for its loss would sever all the communications of the enemy in Charleston with those in Augusta.

Colonel POE:
The Fifteenth Corps moves early tomorrow on Lowry’s Station. Please see that the engineer regiment falls in with the leading division, provided with one wagon load of their tools for destroying road. After a breach is made I will give orders for parties to work right and left, and desire the engineers to confine their attention to the twist. The two leading divisions of the Fifteenth Corps will move without wagons, other than ambulances and a few with cartridges.
Yours, &c.,
W.T. SHERMAN, Major-General

General Logan Reports:

At 1:30 o’clock we drove the enemy from his works on the other bank of Little Salkehatchie, and now have possession of the two roads, two miles beyond, leading to Bamberg and Graham’s, one division occupying same. Will have all my command over the river to-night, but it will be late, as we have to finish a bridge some 100 feet long. Will take possession of the crossing over the next stream tonight.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Fire Miles from Bamberg, February 6, 1865.

General JOHN A. LOGAN, Commanding Fifteenth Corps:
You may make your orders and march to-morrow on Lowry’s Station, South Carolina Railroad, and make a strong lodgment and break up the road. Inasmuch as the enemy must by this time have detected our plan, you should be prepared for battle. You know that the Seventeenth Corps is approaching Midway by the road from Rivers’ Bridge and should now be within eight miles. You have only five miles to Bamberg and one at Lowry’s. Williams is just behind you, and Kilpatrick is supposed to be at Barnwell and has orders to strike the railroad about Blackville and turn to Bamberg. Williams is ordered to move straight on Graham’s Station unless he hears you engaged, when he will turn to your left flank. You had better march with two divisions, disencumbered of all wagons save a few with cartridges and the ambulances, and let your train follow to any point you may select about Bamberg or Lowry’s, to be parked. As soon as you reach the railroad set to work to destroy it effectually, viz, every rail must be twisted. Your advance should push out a mile or so beyond the railroad toward South Edisto, on the Cannon’s Bridge road. If you hear Howard engaged lean toward Midway, but get the road broken anyhow. I will be with you, but want you to fight your own battles, as I am a non-combatant. The enemy ought to fight us, but I don’t believe he will.

Yours, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

P. S. –Have the left-hand road at the church clear for Williams by 8 a.m.

General HOWARD:
The Fifteenth Corps is crossing Little Salkehatchie, and will move out to the forks of the road marked Duncanville. Tomorrow early will move on the railroad about Bamberg. Move early on the same point. It has just begun to rain. Williams will be at this crossing, and I expect Kilpatrick to strike the road about 8 a.m. tomorrow about Blackville. All well.
SHERMAN, Major-General

Howard Writes:

We have possession of east bank of the Little Salkehatchie and the enemy’s rifle-pits, after a slight skirmish. Seven bridges are destroyed. The march today has been delayed on account of the bridges at this point. They were absolutely destroyed, every stringer being either burned or cut in two. The longest bridge was sixty-six feet in length. Total amount rebuilt, 262 feet. It took us five hours to rebuild the bridges. I have pushed but one division over, keeping the other two on this side. Reconnaissances have been pushed out to Lemon’s Creek. The bridges at Lemon’s Creek and Swamp are reported destroyed, and some force, probably that which left here today, on the other side.

Inclosed please find a copy of my order of march for tomorrow.

The movement for tomorrow will commence at 7 a.m. The Fifteenth Corps, Major General John A. Logan commanding, will march as rapidly as possible to Bamberg, pass the railroad, and take up a strong position and intrench at least two divisions. The Seventeenth Corps, Major General F. P. Blair commanding, will push to Midway, cross the railroad at that point, and intrench strongly, making a strong right flank. Department headquarters will follow the leading division of the Seventeenth Corps. The bridge train will follow the second division in the order of march. The trains tomorrow night will be closely and carefully parked. The pickets of the two corps must connect. A strong force of pioneers must be kept at the head of each column, so as to repair bridges and clear away obstructions with the greatest rapidity. All foraging parties will be kept well in hand, and all straggling completely repressed.
By order of Major General O. O. Howard

General Force Reports Information from Reconnaissance:

I was about moving the division over, to reconnoiter well to the front on the Midway road and prevent the burning of any more bridges, I at once sent out the Twelfth Wisconsin (Colonel Proudfit) and Captain Munson, of my staff. They reached Lemon’s Swamp, about five miles out, after dark. The four small bridges were already in flames, and the road through the swamp obstructed by felled trees. An observing force of the enemy appear to be posted beyond the swamp. The road between this and the swamp requires corduroying in several places. The Twelfth Wisconsin is returning to camp. It is said that there is a work on this side of the Edisto defending the railroad bridge. No other works on the railroad between the Edisto and Midway. General Hardee was in Augusta last Thursday.

Slocum’s Wing is Moving Forward:
General Carlin will march from Brighton, his present position, by the most direct route to Lawtonville.

General Baird will move from his present position to Brighton.

General Morgan will remain in his present position at Sister’s Ferry until his trains are properly loaded. He will, at 6 a.m. to-morrow, relieve the battery of reserve artillery now in position on the bank of the river with the battery attached to his command.

Major Houghtaling, chief of artillery, will move his command for Brighton at 7 a.m. to-morrow, in rear of General Baird.

Colonel Moore will at once take up his pontoons and move his command in the rear of Major Houghtaling in the morning to Brighton.

Corps headquarters will be tomorrow night at Brighton.

All wagons not now loaded will remain and come forward with General Morgan’s command.


Major General W. T. SHERMAN, U. S. Army:
The enemy have evacuated their works at Salkehatchie bridge. I am rebuilding the turnpike bridge, and will cross a column tomorrow morning and move toward Ashepoo. I have also crossed at Combahee Ferry and occupy the causeway for about half a mile from the river. There is in the works there some artillery and some militia. We will drive them out tomorrow. The troops that have been occupying the works at Salkehatchie was a brigade of South Carolina veterans, who came from Richmond. They formerly belonged to Early’s army; were in Richmond a few weeks; came here three weeks ago. They marched toward Charleston, on the dirt road. A pass from a deserter states that he will rejoin his company at Adams’ Run, a point between the Ashepoo and the Edisto.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN P. HATCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding.

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