but don't delay long, a but effectually destroy some piece of the track, enough to cut communication, and then turn to us about Duncanville and Bamberg. You will find plenty of corn and bacon. I think Wheeler's fores are scattered, and he has no idea where you are up to this moment, so you can act with a rush. Some cavalry retreated before General Williams to the northwest toward Augusta and other parts across the bridges of Salkehatchie. I don't care about your going into Barnwell, and only refer to it as the point where you will likely find cleared roads across the swamp. The bridges amount to nothing; the swamp is the worst, and you may cross it wherever you please. I shall expect to hear from you on the night of February 7 or morning of the 8th, when I will be with the Fifteenth Corps, not far from Duncanville or Bamberg. On this side the Salkehatchie we find the roads fine, with farms and abundance of forage. None has been destroyed. The farmers west of Salkehatchie were ordered to move their forage and stock to the east of Salkehatchie, expecting to hold that line. Mystify the enemy all you can, but break that road whilst I move straight on it about Lowry's.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, S. C., February 5, 1865.
GENERAL: I have to thank you very much for your kind letter of instructions, and also the good advice it contained. I am almost ashamed of myself for having troubled you with such matters while your attention is occupied with things of so much greater importance. I shall try to keep things straight as far as possible. I have made a respectful request of the Secretary of War to have the recruiting and organizing of negroes left in the hands where it previously rested by orders and instructions of the War Department. I have backed the request by copies of orders, &c. I have also respectfully asked that General William Birney may be detailed to relieve General Saxton of his duties in this department. If both or either of these be granted there will be no further trouble, and everything will go on smoothly. The enemy having left General Hatch's front, that officer is preparing to cross the Combahee. I have sent two companies to build a tete-de-point at Port Royal Ferry. General Prince is ordered to form a camp at Blair's landing on the Pocotaligo River (he has several hundred men already arrived from the North). He is to do all he can to forward supplies, and to aid in communicating with your army, and to support General Hatch, if needed. I am going to start this morning for Morris Island to do all I can in the way of demonstrations, and to land in Bull's Bay, as you requested, at the time specified to Major Gray. I forwarded intelligence of your movement to General Grant and General Halleck. I also sent further information yesterday of your arrival at "The Store," and wrote again in full to General Schofield, telling him of the importance you attached to his movement, and that he was to go ahead and take Goldsborough as soon as he was ready, and to take and hold all he could. I returned from Savannah yesterday. It was reported that the bridge at Sister's Ferry would not be ready for