Tuesday, January 7, 1865

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Lowry’s Station, S. C., February 7, 1865

Admiral J. A. DAHLGREN, Off Charleston, S. C.:
We are on the South Carolina road, at Midway, and will break fifty miles, from Edisto toward Augusta, and then cross toward Columbia. Weather is bad and country full of water. This may force me to turn against Charleston. I have ordered Foster to move Hatch up to the Edisto, about Jacksonborough and Willstown. Also to make that lodgment about Bull’s Bay. Watch Charleston close. I think Davis will order it to be abandoned, lest he lose its garrison as well as guns. We are all well and the enemy retreats before us. Send word to New Berne that you have heard from me, and the probabilities are that high waters may force me to the coast before I reach North Carolina, but to keep Wilmington busy.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s, February 7, 1865
General HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing, Midway:
GENERAL: We are on the road here and will get to work at once westward. Be careful to instruct each rail to be twisted, even if it takes more time. I want you, if possible, to force the enemy to burn his own bridge across Edisto at the railroad crossing, also at Walker’s Bridge. From here we will move westward some fifty miles. Dispose of your trains accordingly.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

Your note is just received. General Blair sent a reconnaissance to Cannon’s Bridge this evening, and found that the enemy had destroyed the larger and one of the smaller bridges, and withdrawn to the other side of the river. The other smaller bridge can be destroyed at any time. A reconnaissance was also sent to the railroad bridge, but it has not been heard from. It is understood, however, that the enemy has had it prepared to be destroyed for several days past. At daylight tomorrow morning I will send a force to Walker’s Bridge. Prisoners from S. D. Lee’s corps say that Hood went through to Richmond on a train. I write you before hearing from the other reconnaissance, thinking that you might wish to modify General Logan’s order to move on Cannon’s Bridge.
2 P.M. General Blair’s head of column reached here about 2 p.m. He found three large bridges destroyed and the roads made horrible by the rain, so that it will be difficult to get up the trains, though the obstructions have been removed, the bridges rebuilt, and the troops are getting through. I have two prisoners from Palmer’s brigade, Stevenson’s division, Lee’s corps. They don’t know whether their whole division is through to Augusta or not. A part of it is at Branchville. Please open communication by telegraph, as the wires are in order. A prisoner from Hampton’s command wants to see you, and I send him up. Your dispatch is just translated. I will comply with your request. How much time can you afford me to do the work in this vicinity before moving?

Very respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s, February 7, 1865.
General HOWARD:
I have just received your note. We will stay here all day tomorrow and until I can get all the army up within ordering distance. Williams is at Graham’s, so we have full possession of the road for fifteen miles. Break to the river good and burn the bridge, if possible. Its guard is small; a part of Lee’s corps has come; we have divided the enemy. I do not propose to cross Edisto until we are up abreast of Blackville and White Pond or Windsor. Put in a good day’s work tomorrow and have an inspector-general to see that every rail is bent around a post or is twisted by the process a la Poe.

Logan will maneuver on Cannon’s Bridge and Williams will on Binnaker’s. I want all these broken or burned good.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

General Logan effected a lodgment on the railroad at 9:30 a.m. He has four brigades in camp, covering the Cannon’s Bridge road and the approaches to the Edisto River, with two brigades tearing up railroad. The other division is moving into camp, covering the trains.

General Blair had three large bridges to build, very bad obstructions to clear away, and will have at least a third of the way to corduroy. The enemy seem to have a little force from Virginia, a little from Hood, almost a division, but his troops do not seem to be concentrated, being at Columbia, Branchville, Augusta, and probably still at Charleston. A great many barricades were made across the road, but they were all abandoned before our approach.

My Chief Engineer Poe is to Work with Logan to destroy the railroad:

In order that all our working forces may be directed to the best advantage in destroying railroads, I would respectfully request you to order as follows to the troops under your command, viz, that “the infantry details shall tear up the track and pile the superstructure after this manner: Three ties in the roadbed as they lie, one tie across these at each end, at right angles; six ties crosswise with these (right angles) with intervals to allow their being fired; then the iron laid on top, parallel with the railroad, but kindling wood and surplus ties on top of all. The piles to be fired by the infantry details, and the heated iron will then be twisted by the engineer troops. The piles should be about thirty-five feet apart. ” By systematizing in this way the engineer regiment can twist all the iron that can be taken up by your corps.

General Corse Reports:

HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Near Hickory Hill, S. C., February 7, 1865
General SHERMAN:
I know not how anxious you may be to have me with you, but I assure you not more so than I am. Our roads have proven execrable. I worked all one day on a swamp about three and a half miles long. If I can get this bridge done today I will move heaven and earth to join you day after tomorrow, if you are not too far from me. Please let me know of your whereabouts as soon as practicable after the reception of this. Slocum is today about Duck Branch Post-Office with Geary; Davis is—-God knows where, for the roads are such I have no doubt he is nearer the infernal regions than he ever was before. I hope you have a few green leaves of all the fresh wreaths you are winning left.
Devotedly, yours,
CORSE, Brevet Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s, February 7, 1865.
General CORSE:
We are on the railroad and the enemy has retreated across the Edisto. After crossing the Little Salkehatchie you had better send forward an officer to report, as you will save distance by moving to the northwest, as I propose breaking up a wide gap in this road from Edisto toward Augusta. This column meets no resistance worth mentioning. The Seventeenth Corps, or Mower’s division, had a smart fight to secure Rivers’ Bridge across Big Salkehatchie and whipped the enemy handsomely. Roads are bad and water abundant, above, below, and all around.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

General Logan is now engaged destroying the railroad. He has been instructed to destroy it as far down as half way between Midway and Bamberg. He wishes Blair to commence at as early an hour as possible tomorrow morning and destroy it, twisting every rail from the point to which General Logan will come down to the bridge over the Edisto.

Bvt. Major General G. A. Smith, commanding Fourth Division, will move one brigade and one section of artillery of his command at daylight tomorrow morning toward the railroad bridge on the Edisto River, and if the bridge is not already burned he will make such demonstrations as will cause the enemy to destroy it, or if practicable, destroy it himself. He will then destroy the railroad from the bridge, or as near as practicable to it, to a point three miles and a half this side.

Brigadier General M. F. Force, commanding Third Division, will move forward the bridge of his command at Little Salkehatchie Rive at daylight to-morrow morning and encamp at the saw-mill half a mile south of this point, where two brigades of General Mower’s command are now encamped.

Major General J. A. Mower, commanding First Division, will cause one brigade of his command to be moved to this point from the saw-mill at 7 a.m. tomorrow and set at work destroying the railroad, commencing at the depot and working to a point one mile and a half west of here. As soon as the brigade of the Third division has reached the saw-mill he will move the brigade remaining there to this point, and cause it to destroy from the depot east a distance of two miles.

The destruction of the road must be complete. Every tie must be burned and every rail twisted.

The road will be inspected by the inspector-general’s department after the work is done.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s, February 7, 1865.
General SLOCUM, On the Road:
We are on the railroad and the enemy has retreated across the Edisto. I propose to break up road westward, so you may let Geary join Williams about Graham’s, and let Davis take any road you may prefer to the left to reach the neighborhood of Blackville. You may send that corps (Fourteenth) through Barnwell for the sake of forage. We find plenty, but I fear we leave little behind us. Weather is villainous, but we can’t help it and must do the best we can. Send back to Coosawhatchie fort, or any other point you may think best, the inclosed cipher messages to General Foster and Admiral Dahlgren. Send by several messengers and by secure roads.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

General Davis is Bringing up the Rear:
General Carlin will remain in his present position at or near Lawtonville until he is joined by the other trains of the command under the charge of Captain Remington, the reserve artillery and ammunition trains under Major Houghtaling, and pontoon train under Lieutenant-Colonel Moore. He will then take charge of the entire train of the corps, and at once move by the most direct and practicable roads, via Duck Branch Post-Office and Angley’s Post-Office, upon Buford’s Bridge across the Salkehatchie River, which point he will endeavor to reach as soon as practicable. There he will receive further orders.

General Baird, sending his trains to report to General Carlin, will march to-morrow a.m. with two companies of the pontoniers (which will be sent to report to him by Colonel Moore) and a battery of artillery, by the most direct road to Ingram’s, near which point he will encamp to-morrow night. He will thoroughly repair the roads as he passes over them.

General Morgan will march early tomorrow a.m. from his present position at Sister’s Ferry, via this point, and here detaching his trains, to report to General Carlin, will follow General Baird. Major Houghtaling, detaching one battery with orders to report to General Baird, will move the remainder of his command at 7 a.m. to-morrow, and will report to General Carlin at Lawtonville.
Corps headquarters will be with the Second and Third Divisions until a junction is effected.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS, Hanberry Cross-Roads, February 7, 1865. 2 p.m.
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Army of Georgia:
My advance is within two miles of the railroad. My column is badly stretched out, owing to the swollen condition of the streams. I have three brigades in hand and shall move on the railroad at once, and shall bring up my whole command to that point tonight. I am satisfied from the report of prisoners that there is nothing but one brigade of cavalry (perhaps more) in my front. They are withdrawing.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. S. WILLIAMS, Brevet Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s Station, February 7, 1865.
General GEARY:
We are on the railroad here. Williams took the road at Duncanville for Graham’s. Our maps are right, and you will find no difficulty in following him. It is the straight or left-hand road, about two miles out from Little Salkehatchie. Howard is at Midway and the Edisto. Enemy has retreated across the Edisto.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND, Blackville, S. C., February 7, 1865. 2 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding:
I crossed Salkehatchie at 2 p.m. yesterday with little opposition. We drove a rebel cavalry brigade out of and occupied this place at 1 p.m. today. Wheeler was near Graham’s last night. I learn now that a large portion of his force is between me and the Edisto. I will remain here until morning, destroying track, and then march to Graham’s or direct on Duncanville. At any moment you desire I can drive Wheeler into the Edisto, and I think save any bridge you may name. Yesterday about 200 rebels made an effort to hold the Salkehatchie till the bridge was burnt, but the Ninety-second Illinois dismounted, charged over the bridge, all on fire, drove off the rebels, and saved the bridge. I only mention this to show you the spirit of my men.
Very respectfully,
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Lowry’s Station, South Carolina Railroad, February 7, 1865.
General KILPATRICK, Commanding Cavalry:
Your note of 2 p.m. is received. We are all on the road and will break road all tomorrow, and then move up toward Augusta. You can remain where you are and try and secure the bridge at the head of Young’s Island. I will pass the Edisto above that point and as high as Guignard’s Bridge. Make a good break whilst you are about it. If you feel confident you may move up the road, making occasional breaks, and meet us on your return about White Pond in two days after tomorrow. I will order Davis’ corps to come round through Barnwell to White Pond or Windsor.

Don’t risk much, but keep your horses and men well in hand.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Lowry’s Station, February 7, 1865
Major General J. G. FOSTER, Hilton Head:
We are on the railroad at Midway; weather bad, waters high, and roads bad. These may force me to turn against Charleston before crossing the Santee. Enemy have retreated east and north across the Edisto. We will break up fifty miles of this road toward Augusta and then move over toward Columbia. Watch Charleston close and threaten at Bull’s Bay. Hatch’s force should now get across to the Edisto about Jacksonborough and Willstown. Slocum is not yet up.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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