responsible that his pontoon is got to the point of ferriage. Possibly there may be water enough in some of the creeks which intersect the marsh to float the pontoons a part of the way. In this case the party of engineers accompanying each pontoon will manage it while afloat, the infantry moving along the marsh near it to assist if necessary. When all the pontoons have reached the point of ferriage further orders will be given. It is expected that every man in the command will get wet. Strict orders should be given to prevent either lights or noise, as either would give the alarm to the enemy.
C. B. COMSTOCK
Lieutenant-Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General.
CITY POINT, VA., February 15, 1865.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The Richmond Dispatch to-day has the following:
AFFAIRS IN SOUTH CAROLINA-WHEELER BEATS KILPATRICK NEAR AUGUSTA.
We have for some days been in doubt as to what force Sherman had sent in the direction of Augusta. This doubt has at length been solved. It seems that while his main army advanced toward Branchville and Charleston he sent Kilpatrick and his cavalry to demonstrate against Augusta, and to break up the Charleston and Augusta Railroad. From official dispatches received at the War Department we learn that on last Friday General Wheeler attacked Kilpatrick at Aiken, on the Charleston and Augusta Railroad, twenty miles northeast of Augusta, and after a considerable engagement drove him five miles in the direction of Branchville.
An official dispatch received from Columbia, yesterday states that in consequence of the enemy having occupied Orangeburg in force our troops have abandoned Branchville. This is in effect the same statement made by us yesterday. Our troops have by this no doubt, fallen back to the Congaree River, which, with the Wateree, forms the Santee. Columbia is situted immediately on the right bank of the Congaree, thirty miles above its confluence with the Wateree. If our troops fall back behind the Congaree the enemy will be able to shell Columbia from the south bank of that stream. We also learn that the Congaree and its tributary, the Saluda, are both easily fordable above the city. This disposes us to believe that our troops will seek to give battle before crossing the Congaree.
The Whig says:
We learn upon good authority that our forces are falling back before Sherman's advancing columns in the direction of Columbia, S. C., and will probably make a stand on the Santee.
A NAVAL FORCE CAPTURED.
We learn that a naval party, consisting of 12 officers and 100 men, under the command of Lieutenant (Tacony) Read, were recently caputred by the yankees near Smithfield, Isle of Wight County. Among the party was Assistant Engineer Tomlinson, of the James River fleet, who was married the night before his departure. We do not deem it pry information as to the object of their expedition and think we are sufficiently explicit when we say that they started for a purpose, failed in accomplishing it, and are now no doubt in a Yankee prison doing anything else than blessing their luck. A heavy fire occurred at Danville on Wednesday last. The estimated loss exceeds $2,000,000. General Braxton Bragg is at present in Richmond.
U. S. GRANT,