HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Hickory Hill, February 1, 1865. 5 p.m.
Slocum is a Little behind. I don’t want Logan to get farther to-morrow than the place marked “Store” near Duck Branch Post-Office. I want to make slow marches till Slocum gets up, or nearly so. Please make your orders accordingly.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
Your dispatch is just received. The road has been badly obstructed, but we cleared it out without difficulty till we came to Whippy Swamp Creek. The road here for a quarter of a mile was filled with felled trees and six bridges destroyed. The obstructions have been cleared, the bridges rebuilt, the swamp corduroyed in part, and Mower’s division on the other side with all its material.
I think if you were here and saw the country and the difficulties in clearing away the obstructions across Whippy Swamp, that you wold prefer me to push on to Rivers’ Bridge by this route. I expected General Logan would send two divisions via Whippy Swamp Post-Office and two by the lower route, all to meet at Angley’s Post-Office, crossing Whippy Swamp at that place. I can push one division of the Seventeenth Corps by the route you suggest, and not be obliged to return; otherwise I shall have to march back some distance and take the other route.
I will inclose you a copy of my order of march as issued, and will send you an officer that you may modify my instructions and let me know.
Lieutenant Taylor was wounded in the skirmish today quite severely, but I think not dangerously. The enemy had about 600 cavalry in our front. They took the route to Whippy Swamp Post-office. We found some forty guarding the crossing here.
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS Numbers 28.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, In the Field, S. C., February 1, 1865.
The following will be the other of march for tomorrow, commencing at 7 a.m.: The Fifteenth Army Corps, Major General J. A. Logan commanding, will move to Angley’s Post-Office, as indicated in Special Field Orders, Numbers 27. The Seventeenth Army Corps, Major General F. P. Blair commanding, will march to Rivers’ Bridge, and if possible effect a lodgment on the other side of the river. The wagon train of these headquarters will move in rear of the leading division of General Blair’s corps. The bridge train will move in rear of the division second in column of General Blair’s corps. These headquarters will be established at or near Rivers’ Bridge.
By order of Major General O. O. Howard
Slocum Writes from the Left Wing:
SISTER’S FERRY, February 1, 1865.
Your communication of yesterday received. I directed Williams to communicate to you our situation. The Savannah River is ten feet above its usual depth. The country on each bank is flooded. I have a bridge across the river and a large force at work on bridges, but have not yet been able to cross even a cavalryman to the high land. I can now reach within half a mile of it, and the river is falling. I hope to get Kilpatrick over this evening. My efforts shall be made to push as rapidly as possible. Our road from the ferry is lined with torpedoes as far as we have gone. Two men were killed yesterday, and over thirty torpedoes were dug up yesterday by working party.
H. W. SLOCUM, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Hickory Hill, S. C., February 1, 1865. 5 p.m.
Major General H. W. SLOCUM, Commanding Left Wing:
GENERAL: I have a letter from General Williams detailing your difficulties. I think you had better dispatch Williams with his two divisions and Kilpatrick’s cavalry, by the road leading through Duck Branch Post-Office, to Buford’s Bridge, and overtake us and follow as soon as possible with the balance. I deem it important to get on the railroad as soon as possible.
We will march slowly, say ten or twelve miles a day, toward Midway, and I want you to come up on our left say at Blackville or Graham’s.
You will find some meat and forage. We have already found some.
Wheeler had a division of cavalry here, but they ran; they had obstructed the roads, but they were cleaned out without delay. Tell Corse he may come by Hickory Hill or Duck Branch, as he finds most convenient. You might occupy roads to the left for convenience.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Four Miles south of Hickory Hill, February 1, 1865. 1 p.m.
General FOSTER, Commanding Department of the South:
GENERAL: Your letters of January 31 are received. I cannot modify my orders relative to General Saxton having the charge of recruiting blacks. The Secretary made that a point.
I think the impression at Washington is that both you and I are inimical to the policy of arming negroes, and all know that Saxton is not, and his appointment reconciles that difficulty. If anything serious occurs correspond directly with Mr. Stanton and make your points. Let Grant know that I am in motion, and telegraph to Easton that if Slocum has to wait for provisions it will be dead loss, as the moment the enemy lets go the railroad it will be broken back to the Edisto.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
General Foster Reports:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, Hilton Head, S. C., February 1, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: I regret to learn that reports have been made to you by General Easton to the effect that the cause of non-arrival of supplies for the Left Wing of the army was my failing to supply him with steamers. I desire to place myself in the proper light in this matter, for I have earnestly striven to do all that I could to aid in supplies reaching the Army. I therefore inclose a report of the occupation of every steamer in the department. By it it will be seen that sixteen steamers are under General Easton’s orders, besides others that have at various times been under his orders, while to convey General Howard’s army to Beaufort, to supply it there, to supply General Hatch’s division, and to do all the work of the whole department, twenty-one steamers only are in use. I inclose a late paper, the 27th, brought by a steamer just in from the North. Major Gray takes both the paper and this letter to you.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
J. G. FOSTER, Major-General of Volunteers
General Hatch Reports:
CAMP AT INTRENCHMENTS, February 1, 1865.
Items for General Sherman:
General Foster just arrived from Savannah. All up on the south side of the river Slocum found torpedoes in the road and road damaged by water; was obliged to make a new road. Bridge was completed and some men thrown over on the night of the 30th.
Has one mile and three-quarters to corduroy on this side; expects to complete it on the 31st. Kilpatrick will probably cross on the 1st February. Iverson’s cavalry, one brigade, is on the south side of the Savannah River.General Foster requests that paragraph 5, Special Field Orders, Numbers 15, the last sentence, be annulled, so that General Saxton shall have nothing to do with recruiting. General Hardee writes General Saxton that he has authority to allow cotton to be sold and cross the lines.
Major Gouraud arrived from North Carolina. Generals Grant, Schofield, and Rawlins were at Morehead City on the 29th; returned to Fort Monroe on that day.
On the 30th a dense black smoke arose from Wilmington; occasional explosions heard.
General Terry’s advance line is about four miles from Fisher, his original line.
Newspaper of the 26th sent by General Foster.
JOHN P. HATCH, Brigadier-General
I left General Foster at 2 a.m.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, February 1, 1865. 1 p.m.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HATCH, Commanding Coast Division:
GENERAL: Your note of this morning is received. All right. Get word over to Slocum that I have started and will be opposite Rivers’ Bridge to-morrow. I may await him there, or go on to the railroad about Midway. He should push cavalry first, and cross by corps as fast as ready. Keep feeling at the Salkehatchie bridge and the ferry, and if the enemy lets go follow up as far as Edisto. Let’s coop him in Charleston close. Foster will demonstrate about Edisto Island.
Roads are very fair; obstructed at the swamps, but we cut a way out as fast as a column marches. We find some hogs, bacon, and corn, but much has been carried off by Wheeler, who is ahead. Open communication with Slocum to-night from Coosawhatchie to Robertsville.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General