HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Rivers' Bridge, S. C., February 3, 1865.
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: Major-General Mower, under General Blair's direction, after most extraordinary exertion, opening two parallel roads, laying foot bridges a mile and half in extent, crossing sixteen streams, succeeded in turning the position of the enemy with two brigades, while he made a strong demonstration on their direct front. He carried the position, taking a few prisoners. Meanwhile General Giles A. Smith crossed the swamp and the Salkehatchie two miles south of this point, creating a diversion and preventing the forces at Broxton's Bridge from coming up.
I visited the field this evening immediately after Mower had carried the works. It is the strongest position I ever saw in my life, and I think was defended by about 2,000 men. Some eight regimental flags, accompanying troops in motion below Giles Smith, moving down the river, where seen by our men just before dark. I took them to be re-enforcements cut off by General Smith's movement. Buford's Bridge is reported destroyed, and was abandoned about the time Rivers' Bridge was carried, so that the movement of to-day has given us the line of the Salkehatchie, and as the people of Barnwell District have taken all their provisions over this river we probably shall not suffer. General Blair has found sufficient forage thus far. I have concluded to send back my empty wagons under a small escort, and have them return to us following General Logan's column. It is a great pity the Left Wing is not so posted as to enable us to push at once for the railroad. It is twenty-two miles from here to Midway. I will spend the time till you say go ahead in preparing the bridges at this point and at Buford's Crossing. General Mower's loss, the doctor says, is 10 or 12 killed and at least 70 wounded. I shall send back all the wounded I can with the returned trains.
O. O. HOWARD,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, February 3, 1865.
Commanding Fifteenth Corps:
GENERAL: Move your command to-morrow, two divisions to Buford's Bridge and one to Angley's Post-Office. Better pursue the same order as now and let all march, say, at 6 a. m. That will bring the divisions of Woods and John E. Smith at Buford's, and Hazen's at Angley's. I will move Williams by our left rear around to Arnold Church and Hayes'.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Loper's Cross-Roads, S. C., February 3, 1865.
Captain A.m. VAN DYKE,
Asst. Adjt. General, Department and Army of the Tennessee:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to inform you, for the information of the general commanding, that the three divisions of this corps are