north and early day, or some of his troops will be sent to Canby. Without further re-enforcement Canby will have a moving column of 20,000 men. Fort Fisher, you are aware, has been captured. We have a force there of 8,000 effective. At New Berne about half that number. It is rumored through deserters that Wilmington also has fallen. I am inclined to believe the rumor, because on the 17th we knew the enemy were blowing up their works about Fort Caswell, and that on the 18th Terry moved on Wilmington. If Wilmington is captured Schofield will got here. If not, he will be sent to New Berne. In either event all the surplus force at the two points will move to the interior toward Goldsborough in co-operation with your movement. From either point railroad communication can be run out, there being here abundance of rolling-stock suited to the gauge of those roads.
There have been about 16,000 men sent from Lee's army south. Of these you will have against you, if Wilmington is not held by the enemy, about 14,000, casualties at Fort Fisher having overtaken about 2,000. All these troops are subject to your orders as you come in communication with them. They will be so instructed. From about Richmond I will watch Lee closely, and if he detaches much more or attempts to evacuate, will pitch in. In the meantime should you be brought to a halt anywhere, I can send two corps of 30,000 effective men to your support from the troops about Richmond.
To resume: Canby is ordered to operate to the interior from the gulf. A. J. Smith may go from the north, but I think it doubtful. A force of 28,000 or 30,000 men will co-operate with you from New Berne or Wilmington, or both. You can call for re-enforcements. This will be handed to you by Captain Hudson of my staff, who will return with any message you may have for me. If there is anything I can do for you in the way of having supplies of shipboard at any point on the sea coast ready for you let me know it.
U. S. GRANT,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, January 21, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,
City Point, Va.:
GENERAL: In fulfillment of my project* General Howard moved the Seventeenth Corps, General Blair, from Thunderbolt to Beaufort, S. C., and on the 14th by a rapid movement secured the Port Royal Ferry and moved against Pocotaligo, which he gained on the 15th, the day appointed. By that course secured the use of the ground in South Carolina up to the Selkehatchie (Saltkatcher), and General Slocum was ordered in like manner to get his wing up about Robertsville by the way of the Savannah River and the Union Causeway. The transfer of men, animals, and wagons by steamer is a very slow process, and on the 19th General Slocum had only two divisions of the Twentieth at Purysburg and Hardeeville with open communications with Howard. John E. Smith crossed by the Union Causeway, on which Slocum had put ten days' hard work, but the hard rains had raised the Savannah River so that the whole country was under water, and the corduroy road on the Union Causeway was carried away, cutting off one
*See Sherman to Grant, January 2, p. 7.