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[205] intelligence from the War Department, of the precise object of General Sherman's operation.

To assist in this, a diversion is to be made upon Charleston, though General Sherman is directly opposed to any direct attack, from seaward, upon the harbor or upon James Island.

General Foster will not, therefore, engage in any thing of the kind, but will, conjointly with me, undertake a move along the approaches to Mount Pleasant from Bull's Bay, so as to embarrass the rebel general as to the real design.

The force I have is not equal to any thing more than a cooperation with the army, and is therefore limited to what the generals may elect. Assuming, however, that the rebel garrisons will be reduced to a minimum, I have proposed to General Foster an attack on a portion of their works, which I am very hopeful of. At the same time it relies very much more on the presumed reduction of the rebel force by General Sherman's interior operation, than on our own strength.

General Foster has it now under consideration, and is so far well inclined to it, that he only wants the sanction of General Sherman.

. . . . . . .

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron.

flag-steamer Harvest Home, Port Royal Harbor, January 24, 1865.
Despatch No. 38.

Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:

Sir: The inclosed copy of a note from General Sherman conveys the latest information to this date of the state of things here.

I have the Dai-Ching and a tug in the Combahee to assist the move at that ferry. The Sonoma is in the North-Edisto, and the Pawnee leaves at early light with a tug for the Ashepoo, where a battery and obstructions are reported.

The orders of all are to drive in the rebel pickets, and knock down his batteries when they can be reached. The Tuscarora, Mingoe, State of Georgia, and Nipsic, are at Georgetown, with orders to prevent the erection there of any batteries. The Pontiac is in the Savannah River, at Pusyburgh, advancing with General Sherman's extreme left.

The demonstration desired by General Sherman at Charleston, may be said to be begun by the collection there of so many iron-clads.

. . . . . . .

I have the honor to be, etc., your obedient servant,

J. A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral, Commanding S. A. B. Squadron.

headquarters military division of the Mississippi, in the field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865.
Admiral Dahlgren:
dear Admiral: Weather is now fine, and promises us dry land. I will go to-day to Pocotaligo and Coosawhatchie; to-morrow will demonstrate on Salkehatchie, and would be obliged if you would fire up Edisto or Stono, just to make the enemy uneasy on that flank, and to develop if he intends to hold fast to Charleston and Columbia both.

It will take five days for Slocum to get out of the savannas of Savannah, and during that time I will keep Howard seemingly moving direct on Charleston, though with no purpose of going beyond the Salkehatchie.


W. T. Sherman, Major-General.

flag-ship Harvest Moon, Port Royal Harbor, S. C., February 13, 1865.
Despatch No. 69.

Hon. G. Welles, Secretary of the Navy:

Sir: I take advantage of the departure of a steamer to-night, to apprise the department of the state of affairs here.

The army of General Sherman may now be considered as having begun its movement northward from Savannah. The department has been informed, in my previous communications, that the right wing having been moved from Savannah to Beaufort by water, advanced gradually, driving in the rebel forces near Pocotaligo, and finally inclining to the left, found itself, about the second, ready to cross the Combahee, at Rivers Bridge, on the confines of the Barnwell district.

Here it necessarily awaited the left wing, under General Slocum, which had been delayed in passing up along the banks of the Savannah, by the effect of the freshets on the roads, which in many places required to be corduroyed.

I had sent the Pontiac to cover these troops and their crossing, at Sister's Ferry, forty-one miles from the city, where this vessel arrived on the twenty-fourth of January, about three days in advance of the column of General Davis.

By the seventh of February, the last man of the rear division was over, without molestation; and the Pontiac dropped down the river, anchoring near the city, by reason of a request from the General, to the effect that he considered the presence of some vessel of war necessary.

As the left wing had about thirty-five miles to march for its position with the army, it is fair to presume that by the tenth or eleventh, General Sherman had his whole force in hand, ready to move on Branchville, some twenty miles distant from Rivers Bridge, and making due allowance for the Edisto River and its swamps, may be there at this date, unless he shall have inclined to the left, more toward Augusta, in order to avoid swampy ground.

Meanwhile, by way of diversion, as requested by General Sherman, the Ottowa and Winona were feeling their way in the Combahee, on the eighth and ninth; the Pawnee and Sonoma pound the battery on the Togadoo and Wadmelaw on the tenth and eleventh, while the monitors Lehigh, Wissahickon, McDonough, Smith, and Williams, were shelling the works on the Stono.

On the twelfth and thirteenth came the demonstration at Bull's Bay, which is all that

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