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‘ [421] him, and follow it up to the best advantage. . . .So far, but few troops have been detached from Lee's army. Much machinery has been removed, and material has been sent to Lynchburg, showing a disposition to go there. Points, too, have been fortified on the Danville road. Lee's army is much demoralized, and his men are deserting in great numbers. Probably from returned prisoners and such conscripts as can be picked up, his numbers maybe kept up. I estimate his force now at about sixty-five thousand men.’

On the 23rd of March, the junction between Sherman and Schofield was formed at Goldsboro.

Sherman had started on his northward march on the 1st of February. On that day his right wing was south of the Salkehatchie river, and his left still struggling in the swamps of the Savannah, at Sister's ferry. As has been shown, he had not the remotest idea of approaching Charleston, but he was able, by seeming preparation, to detain a considerable force of the enemy to contest an advance in that direction, while both his columns were instructed to aim for the South Carolina railroad, west of Branchville. These feints were kept up until he was ready to move.

The Salkehatchie at this time overspread its banks, presenting a formidable obstacle; the enemy also appeared in some force on the opposite side, and cut away all the bridges that spanned the many and deep channels of the swollen stream. But the division generals led their columns through the swamps, the water up to their shoulders, crossed over to the pine land beyond, and then, turning upon the rebels who had opposed the passage, drove them

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