HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Hickory Post-Office, February 2, 1865-3. 45 a.m.
I have just received your dispatch. You may go on with two divisions and secure, if possible, Rivers' Bridge. Let one division keep [on[to Angley's Post-Office by the south of Whippy. Logan will move so as to get his head of column on the road leading from Duck Branch Post-Office to Angley's. That road, the old Orangeburg road, is supposed to be on good, firm ground, and is and old road leading to Buford's Bridge, which is the one I expect to use. Wheeler's cavalry is mostly to our left. At Rives' you will find infantry and Artillery in position. Slocum is unable to cross the Savannah by reason of water over the banks; will have to bridge three-quarters of a mile from four to six feet of water. We may have to go to the railroad without him. I have a cipher dispatch from him, the contents of which, when translated, I will ell the bearer of this.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Near Rivers' Bridge, S. C., February 2, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: General Blair crossed his Fourth Division to this side of Whippy Swamp and pushed on, skirmishing constantly with some 300 rebel cavalry. General Mower had the advance. On reaching the road leading to Broxton's Bridge he pushed a reconnaissance to the river and found the bridge throughly destroyed.
The enemy had a long line of skirmishers on the other side, who wounded two or three of our men. We left a regiment to continue the demonstration, and moved on rapidly to Rivers' Bridge. General Mower succeeded in preventing the rebels from destroying it, but discovered and earth-work upon the other shore with two pieces of Artillery bearing on the road; the rebels opened fire as soon as our men appeared. Colonel Swayne, of the Forty-third Ohio, commanding brigade, lost his leg, and the adjutant of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, Lieutenant Fitzgerald, was killed. * Several (five or six) were wounded by the shelling. The skirmish line got through the swamp as far as the Salkehatchie River, and at dark the pioneers were felling trees across the river for foot bridges. General Force, with the Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, was three or four miles from Angley's Post-Office when last heard from.
The Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry led the skirmish line during part of the day; they made several gallant charges, in one of which Lieutenant-Colonel Kirby, of General Blair's staff, was wounded and had his horse killed.
I send you copy of my order for to-morrow.
I am anxious to have more force here so as to control Buford's Bridge.
The enemy seem to have considerable force opposite us at this point, enough to furnish quite an extended skirmish line.