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or ten miles toward the Oconee bridge, which he did; with instructions to move forward to-day, and, if possible, to secure that bridge, and plank it over for infantry to cross.
The members of my staff have given me material aid, and I hope to be able to reward them substantially, at some time, for faithful services. Very respectfully, O. O. HOWARD,
Major-General. P.S.—General Osterhaus reports the enemy's killed on the field yesterday number three hun0. O. H.,
November 23, 1864.-The Fourth division, Fifteenth corps, with bridge-train, having roads that were almost impassable, only reached the vicinity of Clinton at night. This morning, fifty-dred. five to fifty-six mule-teams have been sent to assist the pontoon-train through. General Woods's division is moving up this way, abreast of General Corse; General Hazen moving toward Irwinton; General Blair moving along the railroad, and destroying it.
At Irwin's Cross-Roads, a second report was made, embracing operations up to that time, as follows:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, IRWIN'S CROSS-ROADS, GEORGIA, November 27, 1864. Major-General W. T. Sherman:
I propose, with your sanction, to move across the Oconee River at two points; one, six miles below the railroad bridge at Ball's Ferry; the other, two and a half miles above the railroad bridge at Jackson's Ferry. I have already forwarded to you despatches captured. Prisoners still estimate the strength of the enemy in our vicinity about ten thousand. The attack on Walcott was made, I think, by militia, mingled with some old troops retained at Macon. The number of prisoners of war in my hands: In the Seventeenth corps, thirty-five enlisted men; in the Fifteenth corps, eighty enlisted men. Total, one hundred and fifteen. I believe the cav-my from two stockades, and across the bridge. alry have some fifty or sixty more in addition.
We have about forty-five wounded of our own men. The number of bales of cotton reported officially to have been burned is two thousand one hundred and thirty. A large cotton-factory, known as Ocmulgee Mill or Planters' Factory on the map-containing one thousand five hundred spindles, and giving employment to one hundred and fifty hands, and some twenty cotton-ginshave also been destroyed.
We have found the country full of provisions and forage, and have almost completely supplied ourselves, drawing very little upon our rations. The above estimate is independent of what has been done by the cavalry. I regret to say that quite a number of private dwellings, which the inhabitants have left, have been destroyed by fire, but without official sanction. Also many instances of the most inexcusable and wanton acts, such as the breaking open of trunks, taking silver plate, etc.
I have taken measures to prevent it, and I believe they will be effectual. The inhabitants are generally terrified, and believe us a thousand times worse than we are. Having soldiers in the command who have been bitten by bloodhounds, permission has been given to kill them. Permit me to commend to you Generals Blair and Osterhaus, and the officers and men under them; also General Kilpatrick and his command, for their faithfulness, energy, and untiring exertions to make our march a complete success. While the pleasant weather lasted, the marches were easily made; but as soon as the rains came on, the roads became very heavy, and the poorer mules broke down. But we have found a number in the country that have more than replaced our losses.
GENERAL: In accordance with instructions from your headquarters, contained in Special Field Or der, dated November twenty-third, my command marched from Gordon in two columns, the Fifteenth corps via Irwinton to Ball's Ferry, the Seventeenth corps along the railroad with instructions to cross at Jackson Ferry, two and a half miles north of railroad bridge. General Giles A. Smith, who had preceded his column with the First Alabama cavalry, drove quite a force of the ene
He found that Jackson's Ferry was an old abandoned route through the swamp, completely impracticable; I therefore directed that General Blair's corps move to Ball's Ferry. The two heads of column arrived at Ball's Ferry about the same time on the twenty-fifth instant.
A detachment of the First Alabama had the day before reconnoitred the ferry, finding a small force of the enemy, made a raft, crossed the river, and drove the enemy back, but were, subsequently, themselves forced to re-cross the river with some loss.
On our arrival at the river we found the enemy with barricades, and quite an extended line of skirmishers.
General Osterhaus and Blair confronted them with a line which extended beyond the enemy's flanks both up and down the river; the former placed artillery in position and made a demonstration on the front, along the road, while the latter, General Blair, sent a detachment some two miles up the river, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Kirby, of his staff; Captain Reese, Chief-Engineer, assisted them with boats to cross the river; the current was too swift to get them over by rowing, they were finally swung over, after the fashion of a flying ferry.
After working through the bayous and swamps till near morning, his men reached the road at a point that was in rear of the enemy's position; but the enemy had retreated; Colonel Kirby came in sight of his rear-guard and wagons, but could not overtake them. The Oconee, at this place, is about as wide as the Ocmulgee at Planters' Ferry, but the current is very swift, and there are some two miles of swampy ground on the right bank, but the immediate approach to the ferry on the left bank is very good. The
bridges were laid so that the troops commenced crossing in two columns about twelve M.
November 26.-Generals Corse and Woods, Fifteenth army corps, reached this point, between nine and ten miles from the ferry, last night. Seventeenth corps massed near the fork of the road that leads to Station fourteen. The rear of the Fifteenth corps is now crossing. General Blair has sent a division that is destroying the railroad from Oconee bridge to a point near Irwin's Cross-Roads. General Osterhaus has sent a force to destroy the rest to Station thirteen. I directed the wagon bridges across Commissioners' Creek and the three bridges across Sandy River to be destroyed; the enemy helped me themselves by destroying the one nearest the Oconee. The country this side of the river is quite open and sandy, but there is plenty of forage thus far. Wheeler, with his main force, passed here the day before yesterday.
My headquarters will remain here to-day.
The next day, twenty-ninth, the two lower columns nearly formed a junction; the advance, under General Woods, encamping near Summerville, and the rest along the lower Savannah road and near Sunderland's Mill, some seven miles to to the rear of General Woods; the Seventeenth cosps on the upper Savannah road, abreast of Station No. 10 of the Georgia Central Railroad.
The character of the country, open pine woods, wire grass; quite a number of swamps along the Ohospee River and its tributaries; very few clearings or plantations. Quite a number of mules and horses were captured in the swamps, the citihaving run them off in the hope of escaping our army and Wheeler's cavalry.
November 30, 1864.-Generals Woods and Corse's divisions pushed on through Summerville northward, till they reached the upper Savannah road, and encamped near Deep Creek. General Blair moved forward to Station No. 9, effecting built the wagon bridge, partially destroyed, and a crossing of the Ogeechee; at that point he realso laid a pontoon-bridge across the river.
1. Major-General Osterhaus will move his left column of two (2) divisions by the Louisville road to the intersection of the Johnson road, and thence to "Johnson" this evening, being careful to clear that intersection at an early hour tomorrow morning. His right column will move by a settlement-road directly to Johnson, starting at seven A. M. to-morrow.
December 1.-The three columns moved as follows: the lower on the Statisborough road, the middle upon the Savannah road, and the left along the Georgia Central Railroad, destroying it
The two right columns encamped opposite Station No. 8. General Woods securing and repairing the wagon-bridge across the Ogeechee at that
2. Major-General Blair will move on the Louis-point. A small force crossed over and made a ville road (starting his column at seven A.M. to-break in the railroad, and destroyed the depot. morrow or earlier, at his option) till he reaches the nearest parallel road to the railroad, on the south side, south of Williamson's swamp creek. He will follow this road till abreast of Station No. 10, (or Sevastopol,) where it is probable he will cross the "Ogeechee."
The Seventeenth corps succeeded in reaching Station No. 9.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY
V. The army will move forward substantially
the capital of Johnson county. Some considerable difficulty arose from the numerous roads through the pine woods, and from the fact that neither citizens nor negrocs knew of such a place as Johnson's Cross-Roads.
In accordance with instructions from the Gen-zens eral-in-Chief, dated Sandersville, November twenty-seventh, 1864, I issued the following order :
Major-General Sherman proposes to accompany this column in person.
Headquarters will be at "Johnson" to-morrow night, the train moving with the leading division of right column.
The herds of cattle (other than those belong ing to divisions) will follow the right column to Johnson," a regiment from the rear division of which will remain at this point till every thing is passed, and will then follow on to " Johnson," carefully guarding all roads leading South.
By order of Major-General O. O. HOWARD.
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
At night of the twenty-eighth, the command encamped, the centre column near Riddleville; the left abreast on the Sandersville and Savannah road; and the right, consisting of one brigade and a battery of artillery, at Wrightsville.
The above order was literally conformed to, excepting that a portion of General Corse's division bore to the right and entered Wrightsville,
December 2.-The column preserved the same order of march. General Blair reached Millen, having completely destroyed the railroad up to that point, including the large depot and considerable lumber, railroad ties, etc.
The middle column encamped near Clifton's Ferry, having thrown a bridge over the Ogeechee at that point, and sent a brigade of General Corse's division to assist the Seventeenth corps in breaking up the railroad. In addition to the above, Scull's Creek, a wide stream, too deep to be forded, was carefully bridged in two places.
Our scouting-parties hurried on to Scarborough, a little below, and seized a mail which gave us Savannah papers of that day.
December 3.-The Fifteenth corps remained in position, excepting that two brigades of General Corse's division crossed the river, and aided the Seventeenth corps in destroying the railroad from Millen to Scarborough. The Seventeenth corps came up abreast, encamping near Station No. 7.