HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, FOURTH DIV., 17TH ARMY CORPS,
Cheraw, S. C., March 4, 1865.
Captain AD. WARE, JR.,
Asst. Adjt. General, Fourth Div., Seventeenth Army Corps:
CAPTAIN: In compliance with instructions from headquarters Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Hibbets, commanding Thirty-second Ohio Volunteers, to proceed with his regiment down the Darlington and Cheraw Railroad, and destroy the trestle-work on said road as far down as he could go to-day. I accompanied the regiment to Thompson's Creek; found the railroad and dirt road bridges destroyed by the enemy. A floating bridge was at once constructed and the troops and horses passed over. A report of the operations of the regiment after crossing the creek will be made by Lieutenant-Colonel Hibbets and forwarded on his return. I found 600 feet of high trestle-work on this side of the railroad bridge and caused the same to be destroyed, also one box-car.
I am, captain, with high respect, your obedient servant,
B. F. POTTS,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Cheraw, S. C., March 4, 1865-8 p. m.
Commanding Left Wing, Sneedsborough:
GENERAL: I got here at 10 a. m. found the Seventeenth Corps in town and laying a pontoon bridge across the Pedee. The Fifteenth Corps is also here, and their trains are coming in all safe. The bridge is down; one division (Mower's) is across and is skirmishing about two miles out. Hardee commanded here, and had, it is said, about 15,000 men, but I doubt if he had more than the Charleston garrison and S. D. Lee's corps, in all, 10,000. There was a gun-boat here that had come up when the Yankees got Georgetown, but it was blown up to-day about six miles down the river. There is a good deal of property here, such as guns (twenty-five), ammunition, &c., and more of a town than I expected to find. General Howard has sent a mounted force to destroy public property at and near Florence, which cannot return before the day after to-morrow, by which time I think he can have all his command across. Of course the sooner we reach Fayetteville the better, but we must move in compact masses, as either column may encounter the whole of Hardee's command, and it may be re-enforced by some from Charlotte.
I have no doubt Schofield is at work in North Carolina. I feel assured he is fully possessed of my views and will have Goldsborough with both the Wilmington and New Berne roads done by the 15th, the day appointed. Still, it is but prudent to continue as heretofore to collect all the food possible, in case we are delayed thereabouts. There is a story afloat that 6,000 of Schofield's men are already at Fayetteville, which will be a great success, better than we expected; but I know Grant will spare no efforts to second us; he is fully alive to the importance of our movement. Get your bridge down and cross over as fast as possible, and stretch out on the road you want, and I will order General Howard to conform to you. If you can get out ten miles during all Tuesday it will be as much as I expect.
W. T. SHERMAN,