Salkehatchie, January 21, 1865.
Major General J. WHEELER,
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
GENERAL: I received to-day statements from two different scouting parties, both composed of the most reliable men, who say that yesterday two divisions of the Seventeenth Army Corps, the First and Fourth, marched out from Pocotaligo with two days' rations and sixty rounds of ammunition, and came down to the river with a large pioneer force, stopping at a place called Blountville until 10'clock last night, when they returned to Pocotaligo. A scouting party from this force having been observed from this side of the river, I put my people in motion to repel the attack, which seemed imminent. I think they returned because the waters were rising and because they heard the cheers of our troops. I regret to add that my troops fired upon each other in the swamp, the mistake being caused by the nature of the country in which they were operating. The Federal force referred to by the scouts numbered (so prisoners say who were taken by the scouts) 5,000 men and were commanded by General Mowry [Mower]. The enemy (so a reliable and experienced scout reports) are taking up the iron from the railroad between the Salkehatchie and Pocotaligo Station. I received to-day your report of transportation, dated the 3rd instant. Cannot imagine where it has been. Previous to your report of the 19th, just received (10 p. m.), nothing had been received since day before yesterday. Prisoners taken say that the Seventeenth Army Corps is, or is about to be, in motion. The Seventeenth Army Corps is at Pocotaligo, and no other; so it is positively reported. The Fifteenth is at Beaufort. A small division of Foster's is at Coosawhatchie. I send you to-day's papers from Charleston. Passengers from Charleston report that Hood is at Columbus. (Quien sabe?) The Salkehatchie is very high and rising rapidly.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
Near Lawtonville, January 21, 1865 - 9. 30 p. m.
Major General L. McLAWS,
Commanding, &c., Salkehatchie Station:
GENERAL: A scout sent this morning in direction of Hardeeville reports that he went within six miles of Hardeeville, where he met a scout of about twenty-five men from the enemy, who told citizens they were in search of rebel soldiers who were lurking about home. He reports that the country was overflowed by the river, and the swamps so full as to be very difficult of passage; that the enemy are engaged in cutting the blockage out of the Robertsville road and the Grahamville road. A citizen who was a prisoner in Hardeeville on the 19th thought that there was at least one corps at Hardeeville, and said that he had heard drums in the direction of Purysburg, but was unable to learn from the enemy the name of the commanding general or the corps. He saw very little cavalry, but large crowds of infantry; could hear nothing of any crossing the Savannah River. Had heard nothing of any boats coming as high up as Purysburg. The scout thinks their encampment extends from Purysburg to Hardeeville; he heard of many