HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, THIRD DIV., 20TH ARMY CORPS,
Purysburg, S. C., January 18, 1865.
Captain JOHN SPEED,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division:
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report for the information of the general commanding:
At an early hour this morning I started out two scouting parties, each attended by a staff officer, to explore the country, examine woods, bridges, communications, &c., in our front, and have the honor to submit the following information, which they report:
One of these parties, under charge of Lieutenant Brown, from my headquarters, moved out upon a road running nearly east from Purysburg and crossing the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. At the point of crossing he left this road, moving nearly directly north through the swamp, there being no road near that point, striking the Grahamville road about three or three miles and a half from Purysburg; moving out upon that road toward Grahamville about two miles, and to within ten miles of Grahamville and two of Great Swamp bridge, about five miles from Purysburg, on the Grahamville, road, he found a low, swampy piece of road, considerably obstructed by fallen timber; besides clearing out this timber, the road, for perhaps a quarter of a mile, will have to be corduroyed to make it passable for trains. Besides this, there are no serious obstructions in the road, except an occasional fallen tree or small bridge torn away, except within half a mile of Purysburg, where the road is impassable in its present condition, being flooded with about three feet of water and intersected by an uncovered ditch. There was a family living at the point on the Grahamville road where Lieutenant Brown stopped, but none between that point and Purysburg. At this house Lieutenant Brown was told that a party of five rebels had passed there about two hours before, which would have been about 11 a.m. They said they belonged to Wheeler's cavalry. The country through which he passed is a low pine swamp; there are no plantations and no forage.
The other party, with Captain Easton, started upon the Augusta road, but, on account of the water coveriniged to leave all of his party not mounted, and went forward to Rushing's, about three miles from Purysburg. The entire length of this road is covered with water, and Captain Easton reports it at present impassable for trains. I propose to send a party out as far as Great Swamp bridge to-morrow. No steam-boat has yet come up the river as far as this place. The water in the river is still rising.
I am, captain, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Beaufort, S. C., January 18, 1865.
Major General J. G. FOSTER,
Commanding Department of the South:
GENERAL: I understand that General Hatch is destroying the railroad. I had not done so because I thought we might want to use it. Had you given orders to that effect?
O. O. HOWARD,