Friday, February 10, 1865

Blackville, South Carolina

I rode up to Blackville, where I conferred with General Slocum and became satisfied that the whole army would be ready by tomorrow, and made orders for the next movement north to Columbia. The right wing is to strike Orangeburg en route. Kilpatrick is ordered to demonstrate strongly toward Aiken, to keep up the delusion that we might turn to Augusta; but he was notified that Columbia is the next objective, and that he should cover the left flank against Wheeler, who hangs around it. I want to reach Columbia before any part of Hood’s army can possibly get there. Some of them are reported as having reached Augusta, under the command of General Dick Taylor.

Kilpatrick Writes from Aiken, South Carolina:

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISIPPI, Johnson’s Turnout, February 10, 1865. 11 a. m.
Major L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General, Military Division of the Mississippi:

I have advanced as far as this point in direction of Aiken. Have just driven out a brigade of rebel cavalry, and find that Wheeler has concentrated the majority of his troops at Aiken, and is now in line of battle, barricading his position two miles this side of Aiken. We have had considerable skirmishing, but nothing more. This is a splendid country; plenty of forage and supplies. The enemy now believe that we are marching on Augusta; such, at least, is the impression among the citizens. Anderson’s division crossed Cook’s Bridge last evening, and passed this point. Wheeler’s command is at this moment passing up from the direction of the river to my front and forming lines at a trot. I will not attack until I hear further from you. No better opportunity ever offered to break Wheeleer up; but as he may have supports of infantry I do not consider it prudent to attack. Could he now be driven back and Aiken captured we could secure a large amount of provisions, needed by my command, and I think a wrong impression be produced upon the minds of the enemy which he could not correct until it would be entirely too late. If you will send me a brigade of infantry the Twentieth Army Corps, which must now be this side of Blackville and consequently less than a day’s march from this point, I will render Wheeler powerless to even annoy your flank or wagon trains again during the campaign. Major-General Slocum offered me a brigade of infantry when I left him at Sister’s Ferry. I wish now that I had taken it. The brigade asked for will not delay or interfere at all with your plans already mentioned. I can mach at any moment with it to the Edgefield road, via Cook’s Bridge, and be in constant communication with the Fourteenth Army Corps, which I understand will not reach White Pond for two or three days.
I hope, general that the suggestion in this communication contained will meet with your approval, and that you will give me an opportunity of disposing of Wheeler’s command. I will break road until I am attacked, in which case you can rest easy as to the result.
Very respectfully,
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, February 10, 1865.

General KILPATRICK, Commanding Cavalry:
Your note from Johnson’s is just received. I cannot change my plans now, as they are in progress. I don’t care about Aiken, unless you can take it by a dash, and as Wheeler’s attention drawn to that quarter you can let it work. Tomorrow the Right Wing moves on Orangeburg, and after breaking that railroad good we will proceed as heretofore indicated. Davis should be at Williston tonight or early tomorrow; keep in communication with him and conform to his movements.

It won’t pay to have infantry chasing Wheeler’s cavalry; it is always a bad plan, and is injurious to detach infantry, save for a day or a single occasion. You can see Davis when he comes up, and he can spare a brigade for a day or so, but I don’t want a brigade of infantry to go off to the flank when the whole army would have to wait for it, or it would be marched to detach to catch up. Wheeler, or a part of his command, was on the north side of the South Edisto yesterday, and the concentration of the enemy is being made at Columbia, though I have no doubt that attention has been drawn toward Augusta, but I will not delay the main move an hour, and therefore want Davis to move on as soon as he can repair the bridge. Slocum will give him his orders, and I wish you to conform to the movements of the left corps; give it notice of danger from the direction of Augusta, and only attack Wheeler when he exposes himself. When operating near General Davis’ corps he will doubtless let you have a brigade of infantry from time to time, but not as a permanent thing.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

The Twentieth Corp will take the engineers to Guignard’s Bridge over the Edisto River and rebuild the bridge. They will send the engineers back to the railroad to meet Davis march up from the South to complete the destruction.

Hazen is in advance guarding the road to Orangeburg to our front.
Corse is about six miles behind Logan. He is ordered to start at 5 a.m to join Logan.

Howard Repots:

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Near Binnaker’s Bridge, S. C., February 10, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
One of our men captured the other day near Graham’s escaped from his guard near Orangeburg. He says he crossed the river at Holman’s Bridge on the 7th. He says he saw quite large camps on the north side of the Edisto, and understood that the troops were of Lee’s corps, and had marched all the way from Augusta. Stovall’s brigade was in front of Mower last night, of Stevenson’s division, said to be 400 strong. They took the first left-hand road and went toward Columbia. The force in front of Hazen was infantry, and took the Columbia road. My scouts have been over this road across Holman’s Bridge as far as it intercepts the left-hand road from Binnaker’s Bridge, that is, five or six miles out. The road is reported good and the country full of provisions. Everything is in readiness now to advance on Orangeburg. I have directed General Logan to send three divisions by Holman’s Bridge and one by Binnaker’s. The latter will be the nearest for Corse from Graham’s. I hardly think Corse will reach Graham’s tonight. The supply train you inquired about is with him.
Very respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD, Major-General

P. S. – Corse has deviated toward your camp, and must be within six miles of you tonight. I send you some mail just arrived by Captain Gilbreth.

Howard Gives Orders for the Right Wing Tomorrow:

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Near Binnaker’s Bridge, S. C., February 10, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
Your note of last night received. I will have a good bridge-head at each place, and govern myself by your direction. I sent a lieutenant with six mounted men to meet the supply train and turn it so as to follow General Corse. There is no doubt but what it is with him. It has the Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry for a guard. It may be in rear of Davis. I am going over the Edisto not to reconnoiter. The casualties in yesterday’s skirmish were 1 man killed, 1 mortally wounded, and 3 others wounded. The enemy commanded the road with his artillery.

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

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Near Graham’s, S. C., February 10, 1865
General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
I have just returned from Blackville, where I saw General Slocum. The Twentieth Corps is all up and at work destroying railroad. The Fourteenth, General Slocum thinks, will reach Williston tonight. I also learn that General Corse is close at hand, so all things are in readiness for the move on Orangeburg. General Slocum will have his two corps on the Orangeburg and Edgefield road, opposite the New Bridge, at the head of Fair’s Island, and Guignard’s by the day after tomorrow.
You had better move the Seventeenth Corps straight on Orangeburg, aiming to get within two or three miles, ready the next day to cross by pontoons above Orangeburg and make a lodgment on the road.

The Fifteenth Corps should move tomorrow to Bull Fight Pond, and the next day to North Edisto, at the mouth of Mill Branch Creek or Caw Caw, according to the appearances about Orangeburg. I will accompany the Fifteenth Corps and camp with it tomorrow night. I want to have road broken up from about Orangeburg up above the State road, Mathews’ Post-Office, but would prefer that one corps should do the work, leaving the Fifteenth to follow a course more to the west in support of the Left Wing, in the event of Dick Taylor having got to August with Hood’s old army.

Slocum’s orders will take him by the most direct road possible to Columbia, but making to his left about the Sand Hills in case he comes in contact with one of your columns. If tomorrow or next day we observe a concentration of forces about Orangeburg I can draw from Slocum by the Edgefield road. I will notify General Logan to put his corps in motion tomorrow to Bull Fight Pond.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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