joined you. It is reported that there is quite a large body of the rebel cavalry on the Halfway Creek road. If this is confirmed by reports you may receive try and capture or disperse them. I will try to keep your troops supplies with rations by the Cooper and Wando Rivers.
JOHN P. HATCH,
HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL DIVISION,
In the Field, Saint Stephen's Station, S. C., February 28, 1865-8 a.m.
A railroad employed who came across the Santee last night report that the enemy has left the other side of the river. The last of their infantry was about leaving Kingstree per rail for Cheraw. The cavalry and artillery marched by the road. He also reports Sherman forty miles north of Columbia, on the road to Charlotte. Beauregard is in his front, endeavoring to check him until the rebel forces can concentrate at Charlotte. The report of the capture of Wilmington is confirmed. I think it evident that Sherman intends to move directly to Raleigh without making any base at Charleston or Georgetown. In this event it would be impossible for me to overtake and communicate with him by crossing the Santee at this point and following the retreating rebels. They would always be between Sherman and this force. A more probable means of communicating with him would be by following his route from Columbia. The officer in charge of the steamer Bennett, with rations for this command, reported here last evening. All my wagons, nine in number, are on their way here with ammunition. I have ordered all the carts to go to the landing on the western branch, and bring what rations they can from the Bennett. Is it intended that the railroad bridges and trestles should be rebuilt, and if so, when will that work be probably finished? The constant rains will make the roads almost impassable, and with my present means of transportation I shall not be able to bring supplies, even from the western branch of Cooper River. There is nothing to prevent the tin-clads from coming up the Santee to this point. I must again request that the telegraph operator be sent here from Goose Creek. I have sent orders tohim directly, but hear nothing of him. The telegraph wire is broken in one place only, I believe, between Saint Stephen's and Monk's Corner, and I think it is very little injured between the last place and Goose Creek. I shall order Major Place and the guard which was left at Goose Creek to rejoin their command. The small guard which is needed at the Goose Creek bridge can better be furnished from Charleston. If it be the intention to reconstruct the trestle-works below Saint Stephen's I can order Lieutenant-Colonel Fox, Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, who is a civil engineer, to commence the work. There is plenty of timber here already framed for the trestles. Will you have the goodness to forward a copy of this dispatch to the major-general commanding.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWARD E. POTTER,
P. S. -A small guard from the One hundred and forty-fourth New York Volunteers was left at Mount Pleasant. I should like to have them returned to their regiment as soon as possible.