HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS,
On the Causeway, Three Miles from Screven's Ferry,
January 20, 1865.
Major General H. W. SLOCUM,
Commanding Left Wing, Army of Georgia:
GENERAL: The whole country on this side of the river is entirely submerged by the freshet in the river. I attempted to get back to my headquarters trains, but found it impossible. The water has broken away the dikes and washed way the corduroy. It is utterly impossible for the trains now on the island to come through this way. The causeway is not as yet flooded, but from this point to the river is worn out, and impassable even for empty wagons. I shall put on men and pull through the wagons between here and the ferry (thirty-eight wagons), but the supplies now at the ferry I shall be obliged to leave there to be taken from there by boat. The water is rising rapidly, and the negroes here say that the causeway also will be flooded. I shall go on at once to Purysburg and make headquarters there.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. S. WILLIAMS,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 21, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
Your letters brought by General Barnard received at City Point and read with interest. Not having them with me, however, I cannot say that in this I will be able to satisfy you on all points of recommendation. As I arrived here at 1 p.m. and must leave at 6 p.m., having in the meantime spent over three hours with the Secretary and General Halleck, I must be brief. Before your last request to have Thomas make a campaign into the heart of Alabama, I had ordered Schofield to Annapolis, Md., with his corps. The advance, 6,000, will reach seaboard by the 23rd, the remainder following as rapidly as railroad transportation can be procured from Cincinnati. The corps numbers over 21,000 men. I was induced to do this became I did not believe Thomas could possibly be got off before spring. His pursuit of Hood indicated a sluggishness that satisfied me that he would never do to conduct one of your campaigns. The command of the advance of the pursuit was left to the subordinates, whilst Thomas followed far behind. When Hood had not much more than half crossed the State, from whence he returned to Nashville to take steamer for Eastport. He is possessed of excellent judgment, great coolness, and honesty, but he is not good on a pursuit. He also reported his troops fagged, and that it was necessary to equip up.
This report and a determination to give the enemy no rest determined me to use his surplus troops elsewhere. Thomas is still left with sufficient force, surplus, to go to Selma under an energetic leader. He has been telegraphed to know whether he could go, and, if so, by which of the several routes he would select. No reply is yet received. Canby has been ordered to act offensively from the sea coast to the interior toward Montgomery and Selma. Thomas' forces will move from the