Sherman's March Through South Carolina

66 Days of Hell

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The following excerpts are taken from "The Fiery Trail" by Thomas Osborn and other first hand accounts of the march.

30 DEC 1864 - Exit Savannah

02 JAN 1865 - First Crossing into South Carolina by Federal Troops

05 JAN 1865 - Pocotaligo

09 JAN 1865 - Sherman and his officers arrived by Steamer at Beaufort from Savannah. They met the XV and XVII A.C. which had marched out of Savannah on 31 DEC 1864. I do not think it is in General Sherman's plans to move directly against Charleston, but to neutralize it by other operations. It is strongly fortified and an attempt to take it would result in a large loss of men. The information we pick up indicates that the enemy is not in large force in this part of the country, but that the main body of the troops have been shipped to some other point. The prominent railroad connections above us, the posession of which appear to be of value in cutting off supplies from General Lee's army are Branchville, Columbia, Florence, Raleigh, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Weldon and Danville.."3

"Our soldiers were so many, needed so many supplies, and felt themselves at last on South Carolina soil, that a lawless spirit came over them and many complaints came to me of their doings." 4

14 JAN 1865 - Gen. Howard leaves Beaufort to join Gen. Blair and the XV A.C. Battle at Pocotaligo creek. Federal loss - 2 officers killed and 2 men wounded. Federal forces take the railroad at Pocotaligo Station with a loss of about a dozen men.

15 JAN 1865 - Right wing of Sherman's army reaches Beaufort, SC

17 JAN 1865 - XVII A.C. occupies the Savannah & Charleston railroad. Loss Federal - about 12 men. "The XVII Corps has occupied the Charleston and Savannah railroad which it succeeded in doing with a loss of about a dozen men. I am told here that at one time and another 6,000 men have been lost in attempts to occupy this railroad from this point. Of course we have more men than has at any one time been employed and the enemy are in less confident spirit than at any time before. Yet I am disposed to think that the success with so light a loss is more owing to good military judgement than to any other cause."5

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