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[699] moved by Barnwell and Blackville to Aiken, threatening Augusta. Thus, by the 11th, our whole army was on the line of the railroad aforesaid, tearing it up, and holding apart the enemy's forces covering Augusta on one hand and Charleston on the other.

Our right was now directed on Orangeburg; the 17th corps crossing the South Edisto at Binnaker's bridge, while the 15th crossed at Holman's bridge, farther up; the two approaching at Poplar Spring: the 17th moving swiftly on Orangeburg bridge over the South Edisto, and carrying it by a dash; the enemy trying to burn it with but partial success. A battery was in position behind it, covered by a parapet of cotton and earth, with wings extending so far as could be seen. Blair confronted it with G. A. Smith's division, and sent his other two to a point two miles below, where pontoons were quickly laid and Force's division crossed; Mower's holding the bridge as a support. When Force emerged from the swamp on the right flank of the Rebels at Orangeburg, they gave way; when Smith pushed over; occupied their works, repaired the bridge; and by 4 P. M. the whole corps was in and around Orangeburg, tearing up the railroad leading to Columbia; pressing thence, so soon as possible, on that metropolis, regardless of Branchville or Charleston on their right; as Sherman knew that, being thus flanked, they must be abandoned rather than run the obvious risk of losing the troops by whom they were held.

The 15th corps was again resisted1 at the crossing of the Congaree; where the bridge was swept by the guns of a substantial fort on the north side, with a smaller work or bridge-head on the south: the approach being over level, open ground, covered with mud from the recent inundation. Gen. Chas. R. Woods, whose division had the advance, turned the bridge-head by sending up Stone's brigade through a cypress swamp on the left; when the enemy decamped, after having fired but not destroyed the bridge, which was promptly repaired; so that our guns were brought over, and at night the head of the column bivouacked near the fine bridge over the Congaree leading into Columbia, which was fired and consumed as our van approached it next morning.

The left wing, under Slocum, had found the crossing of the swollen Savannah so difficult, that it was not entirely clear of that river till the 7th; but it had encountered thence-forth very little resistance; Wheeler's cavalry being the only force that infested its march, and this being kept quite busy by Kilpatrick alone. Augusta was full of Rebel stores; and, in painful apprehension of a visit from Sherman, was defended by such Georgians as could be mustered for militia; but Sherman had no notion of molesting or being molested by them. The shattered remnant of Hood's army — once more consigned to Jo. Johnston — was making its way, under Cheatham, from north Mississippi across Sherman's track through Georgia to his front in the Carolinas, but was not yet near enough to give us trouble: so Slocum, unvexed by any obstacle but the necessity of corduroying the interminable swamps he must traverse, crossed the South

1 Feb. 15.

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