CONFIDENTIAL.] QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., February 22, 1865.
General Gillmore has orders, as soon as he is in possession of Charleston, to diminish the force in the Department of the South to what will enable him to hold the most important points and to send every man he can spare to North Carolina. The result of this measure will be to diminish the concumption of supplies in the Department of the South. The transportation wagons and animals of the detachment lately sent by General Thomas from the Tennessee River to New Orleans will follow the troops as rapidly as steamers can be provided to move them. Please read and sign this and return it.
M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General, Brevet Major-General.
(Same to Colonel Brown.)
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Peay's Ferry, S. C., February 22, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: A negro has just come in who left Charleston on Friday. The rebels all left Charleston the same day and our troops immediately took possession of the city. He says they left the city in a great hurry, leaving several light batteries for want of horses, all their heavy guns, and their commissary and quartermaster's stores. He accompanied the troops as far as Summerville and Laurence, where they stopped. Another negro has come in, who was employed in the engineer department on James Island. He left that place one week ago last Monday. He says all the engineers left the same day, going direct through Charleston north. He came through Camden last Monday. Says that General Beauregard was there then, but not many troops. He says the people are not going to destroy the bridge, in the hope that it will be better for the town if it should be captured. The pontoon bridge at this point was begun at 1 p.m. There was only a picket-poost here, which ran away at the approach of our soldiers.
O. O. HOWARD,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Rocky Mount Post-Office, February 22, 1865-9 p.m.
Commanding Right Wing:
GENERAL: Yours of to-day from Peay's Ferry has just been received. General Sherman desires me to say he would like to have you put your whole command over the river with due expedition, and suggest it would be well to move out in the direction intended some ten or twelve miles, say Russell Place, until the high or table land may be reached. He also wishes you to reconnoiter for roads toward Cheraw well, and toward Camden. Two divisions of the Twentieth Corps with