I am at Finlay’s Bridge across Lynch’s Creek with the Twentieth Corp. The roads are so bad that we must to corduroy nearly every foot of the way. There is no serious opposition from the enemy to any movement of the army. The Right Wing is crossing Lynch Creek.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Finlay’s Bridge, Lynch’s Creek, March 1, 1865
General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
Slocum has the Twentieth here across Lynch’s Creek and a good bridge. Davis is across the Catawba, and ought to be about fifteen miles behind us. Tomorrow all will move forward fifteen miles, which will bring us near Chesterfield, next day at Cheraw, Davis in the meantime closing his gap. Push Blair straight, on Cheraw; with the Fifteenth Corps move on the same point, careful to reach the railroad below Cheraw and break it, then on Cheraw. We will cross to the north of Cheraw. The enemy cannot hold Cheraw against us, because it is on a branch road and we can insulate it. Johnston, if there, will not fight with a bridge behind him. We may have to cross the Pedee with a serious enemy in front, but we must not allow the Confederates caster; also Wheeler. I had an original communication from Wade Hampton yesterday, and he is still watching Kilpatrick, who is at Lancaster till Davis gets past. Push with all energy straight on Cheraw, cutting its road below, and I will be up on the 3rd instant.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, March 1, 1865.
Major-General BLAIR, Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:
The Twentieth Corps will be tomorrow night at or near Chesterfield. I want the Right Wing to move straight on Cheraw vigorously and secure if possible the bridge across Pedee. You need not suppose the enemy to be there in heavy force. Big generals may be there but not a large force. At all events get across Thompson’s on tomorrow and in Cheraw if possible. I will have men across the same stream about Chesterfield. Communicate with me there tomorrow night.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
All prisoners confirm the statement that the garrisons of Charleston and Wilmington are at Cheraw, with Joe Johnston in command, and that they were en route for Charlotte. Deserters and prisoners think they will make a stand here. They have a great deal of field artillery. Day before yesterday there was reported to be eighteen batteries, yesterday twenty-three. My command is intrenched in a strong natural position, and I am safe against anything the enemy can bring. Some of our foragers report seeing the foragers of the Twentieth Corps on this side of Lynch’s Creek, and they report the corps crossing at a bridge some distance above Blakeny’s.
P. S. -I have not considered myself authorized to advance farther after receiving your communication yesterday afternoon.
The slow movement is causing a lack of forage:
SPECIAL ORDERS, Numbers 55.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, In the Field, S. C., March 1, 1865
The scarcity of forage renders it necessary that all worthless animals in this command should be at once disposed of. Blair sends orders:
Division commanders will cause an inspection to be made of their camps and all foraging animals found that are in excess of the number allowed by them to each regiment or detachment will be taken to a distance from the camp and killed. If, however, any serviceable animals are found in this excess they will be delivered to the division quartermaster.
Division commanders are specially directed to reduce the number of forage animals in their commands to as small a number as possible.
The attention of division commanders is called to existing orders in relation to forage parties passing ahead of the column. The great number of mounted men that are exploring the country in advance of not only the infantry but the cavalry renders any effort of the latter to obtain information concerning the enemy’s movements perfectly futile.
Foragers are captured every day, and every one captured is a source of information to the enemy. The most stringent measures must be taken to prevent foraging in front of the columns. The operations of foraging parties can be extended to the flank as far as the commanding officer may see proper to go.
Lieutenant Colonel S. T. Hughes, commanding Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, will cause all foragers he may find in advance of the column to be dismounted and sent back in arrest.
Division commanders will cause their pickets to be instructed to permit no foragers to pass to the front from the camp.
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING, ARMY OF GEORGIA, Near Bridge, Lynch’s Creek, S. C., March 1, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Army:
I have just heard from General Davis; at 11 o’clock this morning his advance had reached Hanging Rock and the corps was coming along well. One of my staff officers has just come from the Fourteenth Army Corps. Morgan’s division, with his train, is in camp on Little Lynch’s Creek, where General Ward encamped last night. The other two divisions are near that point. I think we can push the Twentieth Corps fifteen miles tomorrow. Davis will very soon be up up with us. He will take a road to the left after reaching this point. If he is short of forage he will go to McManus’ Bridge from Horton’s Tavern.
H. W. SLOCUM, Major-General.
General Davis Writes:
We are at last on the road and fairly off again. The roads improve by and above the river, but are bad still. We are pushing, and will continue to do so. The pontoon bridge could not be gotten out until last night. The enemy attacked and skirmished quite sharply the rear guard while taking up the bridge. I shall report tonight again. My advance is six miles beyond this.
Morgan is at Horton’s; Baird and Carlin here. The road over the hill at this place is very bad. If the bridge at McManus’ is standing I think Morgan can reach Blakeny’s tomorrow night. The other divisions will not be far behind. My orders are to march at daylight and go into camp at dark. I sent a communication to you this morning by return messenger. Ludlow left me about 1 p.m., and must have reported to you by this time. Make your calculations upon everything being done that men and animals can accomplish in catching up with you. I will dispatch you in the morning again.
Kilpatrick is at Lancaster:
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, Numbers 29.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND, In the Field, S. C., March 1, 1865.
I. The command will move to Blakeny’s Cross-Roads, six miles from and east of Robinson’s Ford, tomorrow.
II. Colonel Spencer, with Third Brigade and dismounted men, Lieutenant-Colonel Way commanding, will move direct from his camp to the point indicated at 7 o’clock, obstructing ford. After crossing Lynch’s Creek he will encamp north of and east of Blakeny’s.
III. Colonel Jordan, with First Brigade, will move at 6 a.m. via Robinson’s Ford to Blakeny’s.
IV. General Atkins, with Second Brigade, will move at 6 a.m., following Colonel Jordan, and obstructing Robinson’s Ford after crossing.
V. Brigade commanders will see that the command moves steadily forward without halting, in order that they may have no delay.
By command of Brevet Major-General Kilpatrick