HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS,
Bark Camp Creek, GA., December 1, 1864.
Brigadier General W. T. WARD,
Commanding Third Division:
GENERAL: The general commanding directs that you march toward Birdville at 6 a. m. to-morrow. He further directs that in case any of the wagons in your train are unable to keep closed up that you turn them out and burn them, either your own or the wagons belonging to the cavalry. He desires that you will keep a strong rear guard with artillery. Keep General Kilpatrick's wagons in rear all the time, and detail a field officers to keep them closed up; if they do [not] burn them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. PERKINS,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Station Numbers 9, December 1, 1864.
Brigadier General J. KILPATRICK,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of 12 m. yesterday just received, and Captain Audenried has also returned. Your operations have been entirely satisfactory to the General-in-chief. He wishes you to move on the flank of the Right [Left] Wing, holding your command well in hand for further work, but always giving the enemy all he wants when he offers you battle. As regards retaliation, you must be very careful as to the correctness of any information you may receive about the enemy murdering or mutilating our men. You may keep the prisoners you have, or turn any portion of them over to General Slocum's infantry to guard, and keep such as you may wish to retain for your object. You may communicate with Wheeler by flag of truce, and notify him of the conduct of his command toward our men, and that you will retaliate, which you may do until you feel satisfied. When our men are found, and you are fully convinced the enemy have killed them after surrender in fair battle, or have mutilated their bodies after being killed in fair battle, you may hang and mutilate man for man without regard to rank.
I am, General, respectfully, your, &c.,
L. M. DAYTON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
Hilton Head, S. C., December 1, 1864 - 12 m.
[Lieutenant Colonel J. F. HALL:]
DEAR COLONEL: Three rebel deserters have just arrived - one lieutenant and two enlisted men - from Savannah. They report General Sherman's forces advancing in three columns - one column is crossing at Sister's Ferry, about seventy miles above Savannah; one column is moving from Millen, seventy-nine miles from Savannah; one column marching between Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers. It is supposed that one column is striking for Pocotaligo. It was reported at Savannah that General Grant was to land a portion of his forces at Pocotaligo to form a junction with Sherman. The utmost excitement prevails in