Orangeburg, South Carolina
We have crossed the North Edisto and entered Orangeburg. All the heads of column reached the Edgefield railroad that is the communications between Charleston and Columbia. The Seventeenth Corps turned to the right, against Orangeburg. When I reached the head of column opposite Orangeburg, I found Giles A. Smith’s division halted, with a battery unlimbered, exchanging shots with a party on the opposite side of the Edisto. He reported that the bridge was gone, and that the river was deep and impassable. I then directed General Blair to send a strong division below the town, some four or five miles, to effect a crossing there. He laid his pontoon-bridge, but the bottom on the other side was overflowed, and the men had to wade through it, in places as deep as their waists. I was with this division at the time, on foot, trying to pick my way across the overflowed bottom; but, as soon as the head of column reached the sand-hills, I knew that the enemy would not long remain in Orangeburg, and accordingly returned to my horse, on the west bank, and rode rapidly up to where I had left Giles A. Smith. I found him in possession of the broken bridge, abreast of the town, which he was repairing, and I was among the first to cross over and enter the town.
Before the time either Force’s or Giles A. Smith’s skirmishers entered the place, several stores were on fire, and the towns-people told me that a merchant had set fire to his own cotton and store, and from this the fire had spread. The fire was soon put out, and I stayed there with the Seventeenth Corps during the night. In Orangeburg, I visited a large hospital, on the hill near the railroad depot, which was occupied by the orphan children who had been removed from the asylum in Charleston. We gave them protection, and some provisions. The railroad and depot were destroyed by order, and a good deal of cotton was burned, for we all regard cotton as hostile property, a thing to be destroyed. General Blair was ordered to break up this railroad, forward to the point where it crossed the Santee, and then to turn for Columbia.
I sent the news to Headquarters
FEBRUARY 12, 1865. 1:50 p.m.
Seventeenth Corps has just carried the crossing of North Edisto and I am waiting for the bridge to be repaired to go into Orangeburg. Notify Logan. Write to Slocum as soon as Davis communicates with Kilpatrick to move on Columbia. Let him secure at once the crossing of North Edisto.
I will stay at Howard’s headquarters tonight and overtake you in the morning. Logan will move straight for Columbia. The Seventeenth Corps will break railroad tomorrow up as far as the State Road and the turn over toward Columbia. Keep behind Logan’s leading division and I will overtake you. Follow leading division Fifteenth Corps. We are not certain as to the road – whether there is a road to the west of Caw Caw. I will see Howard in the morning and get to the head of the Fifteenth Corps.
Howard Orders the next movement of my Right Wing:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Orangeburg, S. C., February 12, 1865.
The next movement of this command will be as follows:
The Fifteenth Army Corps, Major General John A. Logan commanding will march toward Sandy Run Post-office, making sufficient distance so as to reach that point on the 14th instant. He will take roads one either side, or both if practicable, of Caw Caw Swamp.
The Seventeenth Army Corps, Major General F. P. Blair, will break the railroad as far north as the State road and send his mounted infantry to burn trestle-work and culverts beyond and endeavor to force the enemy to burn the railroad bridge over the Congaree River. On reaching the State road he will turn to the left and march toward Sandy Run Post-Office, endeavoring to be within four of five miles of that point on the evening of the 14th instant. The bridge train will continue as at present. That part of it with the Fifteenth Army Corps will follow one of the divisions of that corps; that part of it with the Seventeenth Army Corps will follow one of the divisions of that corps. Department headquarters will move with the Fifteenth Army Corps, leaving here at 9 a. m. tomorrow.
By order of Major General O. O. Howard
I am trying to cross Hazen at Shilling’s, demonstrating, at a point one mile and half above and the same distance below. The enemy seem to be strong enough to make strong resistance. We are making rafts under fire.
11 a. m.
We have one regiment across the river one mile and a half below Shilling’s Bridge, and I am crossing other troops at that point.
Howard Gives Logan the Instructions:
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Orangeburg, S. C., February 12, 1865.
Major General JOHN A. LOGAN, Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps:
I wish to move your corps to the point marked Sandy Run Post-Office (on some maps, Sandy Run Meeting House) by a two day’s march. The direct road on the eastern bank of Caw Caw Swamp from Orangeburg is open to you, and I think you can find another road between Caw Caw Swamp and Livingstone Creek, running into the other. You can use both roads if you wish.
General Blair will break the railroad as far as the State road, and turning to the left will proceeded to Sandy Run Post-Office. Send one division at least by the most direct route you can find to the road above mentioned on the east side of Caw Caw Swamp. I wish to follow that division with my headquarters. I will send an officer to you to consult with you in order that my headquarters may start at the right time. I will issue a field order this evening, but do not wait for it. Base your order of march on this letter.
Hazen Reports from Logan’s Corp:
My division broke camp at 7 a.m. today and marched four miles to the North Edisto River, where two regiments were deployed as skirmishers and pushed down to the river bank, and one sent above and one below that point to find crossings. An enemy was found at the point first approached, which proved to be a small brigade. Trees were felled in the river and a crossing effected, when four regiments were pushed over under command of Colonel Wells Jones, Fifty-third Ohio, commanding Second Brigade, and moving upon the right flank of the enemy drove them from their works, capturing fifty-three officers and men. Several others were cut off from their commands and picked up by other commands. Both of the of the regiments succeeded perfectly in effecting crossings. The division was pushed over and moved to a point near the Orangeburg and Columbia road, about five miles from the latter place, where it camped for the night. My headquarters are with the troops. My losses today were 1 killed and 3 wounded.
The entire right wing is now on the railroad.
Major General F. P. Blair orders the movement for tomorrow:
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 39.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Orangeburg, S. C., February 12, 1865
The following are the orderes for tomorrow:
1. Bvt. Major General Giles A. Smith, commanding Fourth Division, will move his command forward at 7 a. m. on the road running along the railroad to a point seven miles and a half from Orangeburg, where he will being the destruction of the railroad and continue it until he strikes the State road.
2. Major General J. A. Mower, commanding First Division, will follow the Fourth Division until he reaches a point three miles and a half from Orangeburg, from where he will destroy the railroad to where General Smith commences. After completing the work assigned he will move forward camp encamp near the junction of the State road and the railroad.
3. Brigadier General M. F. Force, commanding Third Division, will commence the destruction of the road in the town and destroy up to the point where General Mower commences, burning the depot and railroad buildings, if not already done. He will leave the regiment now doing provost duty in the town until everything has moved out, with instructions to arrest all stragglers and hold them for punishment. After completing his work he will move forward and encamp with the command.
4. The bridge train will move next after the First Division.
5. The destruction of the road will be as complete as possible.
6. Each division commander will move his train forward to the designated camp with a guard of two regiments.
7. The Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry will move across the river at daylight and will protect the right flank of the line of march.
ORANGEBURG, February 12, 1865. 4:30 p.m.
General SLOCUM, Commanding Left Wing:
Move on Columbia with your two corps. Keep to the left of the Sand Hills. Howard will reach railroad tomorrow toward Columbia, and follow. I will attend the Fifteenth Corps west of Caw Caw Swamp. No road is laid down, but there must be one. We will all be across Edisto tonight. Try and communicate with me the day after tomorrow. Get your left flank on Saluda about the factory.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
Davis Orders his Division of the left wing:
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, Numbers 8.
HDQRS. FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Weatherston’s Plantation, S. C. February 12, 1865. 5 a.m.
General Baird will at once move his division by the most direct road to Johnson’s Station (leaving the pontoniers now with him at this point), and will then commence and proceed east, tearing up the railroad.
General Kilpatrick (unless otherwise ordered) will support and cover General Baird while engaged in this work.
General Carlin will move immediately upon the railroad at a point about six or seven miles west of Williston, and will destroy the road to that place.
General Morgan will conduct his division, with the trains of the corps, direct through Williston, and push on toward Guignard’s Bridge.
The detachment First Michigan Engineers, now on the railroad, will report to Generals Carlin and Baird, and assist them in the destruction of the railroad.
The greatest possible dispatch will be used in the execution of these movements, as it is important that the commands press on immediately.
Corps headquarters will be along the railroad during the day, and tonight at Williston.