Hanging Rock, South Carolina
General Jeff. C. Davis finally got across the Catawba. The march on Cheraw is resumed.
I have just sent a cipher message as you desired. The Lynch is over its banks a mile wide and now swimming deep. We will do well to get our trains across today. I am sorry for the accident at the Catawba. They should make platforms and ferry over the balance of their wagons. But I suppose they know best.
If the water continues to fall General Logan can get his trains over in the morning at Tiller’s Bridge and at Kelly’s, and the moment he can do it I will have him push a division to the Big Black.
General JEF. C. DAVIS Reports:
The bridge is being laid in a new place and bids fair of being a success. The current was thought to be still too rapid at the old one immediately below the falls. The bridge will probably be done by 4 o’clock this evening, and I shall make every exertion to cross and be on the march tomorrow morning at daylight. This is the best that can possibly be hoped for under the circumstances. I am doing everything that man can do, but I cannot dry up the river that separates my command; it has fallen about eighteen inches and is still falling. I do not know what the emergency is in the front, but presume it must be very great, judging by the general’s dispatches, and am working accordingly.
Kilpatrick reported to me from Lancaster yesterday, but has not reported today. I should like him to remain on my flank, as it will enable me to march more securely and, of course, more rapidly.
HDQRS. CAVALRY COMMAND, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Lancaster, S. C., February 27, 1865
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Militia Division of the Mississippi:
I am still encamped at Lancaster, holding the roads running in the direction of Charlotte and Monroe. Wheeler is holding the country in that direction. Hampton is in command. Wheeler reports to him. Such is my information. The enemy are under the impression that General Davis, Fourteenth Army Corps, is at or near this point, and that our intention is to move upon Charlotte by way of Monroe. The enemy is now intrenching, to hold the roads in that direction. I have made demonstrations on all roads in that direction, and have been met each time by the enemy in strong force. Hampton has received your communication. General Butler’s cavalry, of Hampton’s command, is moving on your immediate front in direction of, I think, Hickory Head. I shall move parallel to Davis, who expects to be at Pleasant Hill Post-Office tonight. I think I shall move on road by way of Nelson’s, Montgomery’s, and, unless I think the enemy too strong, by Plyer’s, and thence across the headwaters of Lynch’s Creek; otherwise cross the creek at French Creek Steam Mill. I shall move rather upon the left and rear of Davis, that the enemy may be deceived as long as possible as to our real direction of march and to protect his flanks from an attack, which the enemy certainly cold make at almost any point, owing to the great number of roads.
The country here is good; forage plenty. My command has been resting for two days, and is in better condition than at any time during the march. We have captured a large number of mules and some horses, and have mounted all my dismounted men, save 300. I think Hampton’s and Wheeler’s forces combined amount to about 6,000 fighting men. Notwithstanding this superiority of numbers, I shall attack if a favorable opportunity offers. The road upon which I shall march is the best in the country. I will keep you advised daily as to my operations and position.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Hanging Rock, February 27, 1865.
Major-General KILPATRICK, Lancaster:
Your letter is just received. It is all important that you keep me advised. Davis was slow in using the bridge and it carried away and was not mended until today. He will be all over tonight. The movement you describe is the proper one, to keep on the left rear of the left infantry corps. I have word from Howard that will put him near Cheraw tomorrow night, and I shall push to meet him, but must wait till General Davis gets along; probably will be about Horton’s Tavern tomorrow night. Keep feeling the different roads toward Charlotte till you hear General Davis is well toward the head of Lynch’s Creek and then draw off.
General Howard captured a good many horses and mules and some militia. He will send a division, light, to Florence simply to break that road and prevent the removal of any more railroad stock. There is little doubt our troops are in Charleston, and General Howard reports that a dispatch reached Camden yesterday that we also had taken Wilmington. In that event the enemy will collect all his forces about Raleigh as soon as he sees I am not coming to Charlotte. Keep me advised daily; a dispatch sent to the nearest corps, to be forwarded, will answer the purpose, but I think Hampton will draw off as soon as he feels General Howard’s approach to Cheraw.
General Howard is moving on the two roads from Young’s and Tillersville.
General Slocum, Twentieth Corps, will probably pass at Blakeny’s and General Davis at McManus’. You will have no trouble with Lynch’s Creek, as it is passable anywhere above McManus’.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding