HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., January 17, 1865.
Major General O. O. HOWARD,
Commanding Dept. and Army of the Tennessee, Beaufort, S. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith, for your information, a condensed report made up from the statements of rebel deserters, refugees, and escaped Union officers of the enemy's defensive works, &c., on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, from the Edisto River to Savannah.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
Report of rebel defensive works on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad from the Edisto to the marches on the Savannah River.
Edisto. -At the crossing of the Edisto, no works known; bridge, 350 feet in length; no troops near the river above the bridge, and no manned batteries believed to be below it. November, 1864.
Ashepoo. -Bridge, 300 feet long; country open; earth-work at railroad station north of the river. On the right bank of the river, a short distance above the bridge, is a slight epaulement without guns. Between Ashepoo and Pocotaligo lives a man named Buther, who, in November, 1864, had captured more than seventy escaped Union officers by dogs.
Salkehatchie. -Bridge, 200 feet long; no works there or between there and Pocotaligo.
Combahee. -Battery at Combahee Ferry, behind a creek and between the creek and road, made to run earth-works into. The ferry is three miles from the railroad, and in September an infantry company was stationed there. Small battery with one iron gun on Tar Bluff; another battery, not large, on Field's Point, at the mouth of the Combahee; small work with one large iron gun at the near side of the ferry on William's (Williams'?) Island. Bull River navigable. The creek running by Kean's Neck (sometimes called Summer House Island) is not for steam-boats. Four miles from Combahee Ferry, on a creek running into Combahee River, are salt-works at which fifty men are employed.
Pocotaligo. -No troops at Pocotaligo, except at the station; two cavalry companies at New Station; five men at Pocotaligo Station in September, 1864; militia regiment under Major Sorwin at Pocotaligo Station; three companies South Carolina cavalry at Pocotaligo in September, 1864. The deport for troops is at Pocotaligo and all stores were issued thence in July, 1864. The station is a mile and a half from Pocotaligo. The railroad bridge is only ten yards long. An inclosed work at the old bridge with three large guns, the ditch about five feet deep; no force stationed at the battery; very heavy works. At Pocotaligo, to the right of the main-road bridge, are works with seven guns. The works extend from the bridge all the way down to the Union road. At Pocotaligo and Port Royal Ferry in July, 1864, were part of Fourth Georgia Cavalry (500), the companies Third South Carolina Cavalry (150), Bachman's and Stuart's batteries (250).
McPhersonville. -Not fortified; two batteries of light Artillery there, but no infantry, in September, 1864.
From Pocotaligo to Port Royal Ferry. -The country is open with back water for rice plantations; it is easy to go through; but few troops on