HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, One mile North of Warrenton's, Fifteen South of Lancaster, February 24, 1865.
Major-General HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
GENERAL: Jeff. Davis is not yet across, and the roads are so very bad that I think it will take him all day and to-morrow to get well over and up on high ground. The Twentieth Corps is here. We can see the Seventeenth passing eastward, about one mile south. Davis is ordered to take roads that will bring him into the direct road from Lancaster to Chesterfield, and the Twentieth will move by Hanging Rock, and thence by roads to the south of Davis. Unless the rains cease we will have a hard time. Don't push too fast, but gather as much food as you can en route. I think you could send into Camden with safety, but there is no object, but when you get to Lynch's Creek you might pass the Ninth Illinois Creek* across and push them toward Florcne with orders to break two or three bridges about Timmonsville and then rejoin you at Cheraw. I don't believe there is any cavalry of the enemy down there, and ours might pick up some good horses. The only object would be to prevent the shipment by cars of the garrison of Charleston to Fayetteville or Wilmington to oppose us. If at the time you suppose all of the Charleston garrison is east of Florence the expedition would not be advisable. I believe Foster is in possession of Charleston, because of the general belief to that effect and the reports of the negroes you sent me. I have also jsut released a prisoner captured yesterday by the Twentieth Corps, who was a bright Lad sixteen years old, son of Richard Bacot, who was at West Point with me, and whom I knew well at Charleston. This boy left Charleston last Thursday at 12 m., at which time he says our troops had been shelling the city for twenty-four hours from James Island. He was a hospital attendant and was sent along with the sick from the hospitals to Florence, thence to be conveyed to the hospital at Cheraw. He said the orders for evacuation had been published, and the garrisons were to be rendezvoused along the Florence road at Porcher's and Bonneau's. He said they were removing the powder and ammunition, but would leave the heavy guns. The gun-boats were to be blown up. He says the first orders were to go to Columbia, but these were changed. If you can possibly employ a negro to go through to Charleston, make a cipher dispatch telling our general position and destination and an order of liberal payment. I think you will have good roads, and that there is no danger in our spreading out this side of Cheraw, thence to Fayetteville roads favor us as also from Fayetteville to our destination. At both Cheraw and Fayetteville are bridges that we can secure by holding the towns responsible. We find no enemy hereabouts, and suppose them all to be about Charlotte and Salisbury. Kilpatrick must now be at Lancaster; he crossed last night and was off this morning.
W. T. SHERMAN,
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS,
HDQRS. DEPT. AND ARMY OF THE TENN.,
Near Williams' Cross-Roads, S. C., Numbers 48. February 24, 1865.
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II. Captain William Duncan, Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, will, with his command and that of Captain John L. King, commanding