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[270] swords to distinguish them. Altogether they impressed us with their individual hardiness, powers of endurance, and earnestness of purpose, and as an army, powerful, full of resources and with staying qualities unsurpassed.

In letters to General Foster dated January 28 and 29, General Sherman expressed his wish that Hatch's force should not be reduced or moved until Foster ascertained the effect of his (Sherman's) appearance west of Branchville, upon the Charleston garrison. He said,—

‘My movement to the rear of Charleston is the principal, and all others should be accessory, merely to take advantage of any “let go.” ’

He did not wish the railroad broken until the latter part of the succeeding week. Should the enemy retire beyond the Edisto, then Foster was to cut the railroad on our side anywhere. Admiral Dahlgren should make demonstrations on February 1 and 2 in the Edisto and Stono, and the troops on Morris Island effect a lodgement, if possible, on James Island.

Colonel Van Wyck's brigade, of Hatch's division, came to our vicinity on the 29th. Sherman's men near us moved on the morning of the 30th, to get into proper position for advancing. When they departed, our men visited the deserted camps, finding much corn and rice, besides many useful articles. Four cannon-shots were heard in the distance that morning. The Salkehatchie Bridge had been burned by the enemy; and the high water which overflowed the banks made it difficult to reach the stream itself.

By General Sherman's order General Hatch sent the Twenty-fifth Ohio, on the 30th, to the forks of the wagonroad and railroad, from where a reconnoissance was pushed

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