information show that General Sherman is approaching any port on the coast, supplies from New York and the northern depots will be at once turned in that direction, but until definite information reaches us, it seems to me that it will be proper to continue accumulating these suppolies at Port Royal according to the requests of his chief supply officers and my knowledge of his own expressed wishes. General Sherman's staff officers were clear in their expressions to me of a desire to have complete control of the supplies and means of moving them, and for this purpose desired that they should be collected at Port Royal and Savannah, and be subject to their orders. This seemed to be also General Sherman's object in some degree in having them sent to that point. Another one seemed to be the possibility which he entertained of his going to Georgetown. This he contemplated only as the result of a check in his operations. Georgetown, Cape Fear, and Beaufort are all south of Hatteras. Supplies from Port Royal for these ports will not be exposed to detention by storms off that cape when put in motion. Since writing the above I have your copyof a dispatch from General Grant, that there can be no necessity for sending General Sheman's supplies to Port Royal, and will prepare to ship supplies to Beaufort unless otherwise advised. Yet I apprhened some derangement of General Sherman's scheme of supply from the change.
M. C. MEIGS
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI. FIELD ORDERS,
In the Field, near Columbia S. C., Numbers 26.
February 16, 1865.
The next series of movements will be on Fayetteville, N. C., and thence to Wilmington or Goldsborough according to events. Great cre must be exercised in collecting forage and food, and at the same time in covering the wagon trains from cavalry dashes.
I. General Howard will cross the Saluda and Broad Rivers as near their mouths as possible, occupy Columbia, destroy the public buildings, railroad property, manufacturing and machine shops, but will spare libraries and asylums and private dwellings. He will then move to Winnsborough destroying en route utterly that section of the railroad. He will also cause all bridges, trestles, water-tanks, and depots on the railroad back to the Wateree to be burned, switchese broken, and such other destruction as he can find time to accomplish consistent with the proper celerity. For movements of his army he will select roads that cross the Wateree to the south of Lancaster.
II. General Slocum and Kilpatrick will cross the Saluda River near Mount Zion, and the Broad River below or at Alston, and will cause the destruction of the bridge at Alston and the railroad back toward Columbia as far as possible, aiming to be in communication with Winnsborough by the time General Howard reaches that point. They will study to get roads in the direction of Lancaster, and should they have any spare time on reaching the Great Northern Railroad they will prolong the break in the direction north of Winnsborough.
III. Colonel O. M. Poe, chief engineer, will cause the First Regiment Michigan Engineers to accompany the Right Wing, and have it destroy as much of the railroad from columbia northward through and beyond Winnsoborough as possible, working in concert with any troops he may find employed at that work.