War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 0344 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,

Midway, S. C., February 8, 1865.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN,

Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: Captain Henley, of General Blair's staff, who conducted a reconnaissance of Walker's or Valley Bridge, has just returned. He drove in the rebel pickets to their bridge-head and forced them to abandon it and cross the river. The rebels then fired the bridge, already prepared for burning, and opened on him with artillery. He says they have good works on the other side, and at least a section of artillery. He saw a force that he estimate4d at the strength of two regiments. This bank of the river is swampy, with a single causeway approaching the bridge. The reconnaissance late last evening by a regiment of infantry caused the rebels to burn the railroad bridge, so that the bridges across the Edisto are all destroyed in this vicinity. General Blair has nearly completed the destruction of that party of the railroad assigned to his command. General Logan reports that his work is done, and well done. The road is now destroyed form Graham's to the Edisto, including the railroad bridge. I believe the distance is twelve miles. A negro, who came form Branchville last night, says there were only about forty soldiers there; that the rebels were being transported toward Columbia on the cars, and that some few had been sent toward Charleston.

Respectfully,

O. O. HOWARD,

Major-General.

SPECIAL

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND FIELD ORDERS,

ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Numbers 34.

Midway, S. C., February 8, 1865.

I. The Fifteenth Army Corps, Major General John A. Logan commanding, will move as follows, commencing to-morrow: One division by the most direct route across Sikes' Creek to cross-roads nearest to Holman's Bridge. The division will take up a strong position here and push forward a reconnaissance to Holman's Bridge; hold this point as an outpost till the arrival of the rest of the corps. The other two divisions will move via Graham's by the road south of the railroad to the Barnwell and Orangeburg road; remain at that point until they have destroyed the railroad between Graham's and Blackville, then move on and join the leading division.

II. The Seventeenth Army Corps, Major-General Blair commanding, will move by the most direct route, starting at 8 a.m. to-morrow, to Binnaker's Bridge; secure a lodgment on the other side of the Edisto and lay the bridge preparatory to moving forward. The bridge train and department headquarters will follow the leading division of the Seventeenth Army Corps. Headquarters will move to-night at the point easiest of access between Holman's and Binnaker's Bridges.

By order of Major General O. O. Howard:

A.m. VAN DYKE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.