It rained nearly all night and it is damp and cloudy this morning. We received orders last night to be ready to march at 7 this morning and about day light this morning we had orders to let our tents stand till farther orders so it is hard to tell what hour we will move. It is the generall opinion that we are going to Augusta Ga. We received orders to be ready to march at 12.30 PM we packed up and moved about 40 rods and had orders to fix up winter quarters the report is that the roads are so bad that we cannot move, so we went to work to put up log cabbins it has been showery by spells all day but we have a nice dry camping ground. I read 8 Chapt. in the testament today.
On 21 January 1865, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and his staff left Savannah for Beaufort, on Port Royal Island in South Carolina, to oversee the beginning of the Campaign of the Carolinas. Most of Maj. Gen Oliver O. Howard‘s Army of the Tennessee (the “Right Wing” of the Savannah campaign) had already been transferred during January in preparation for the new March. Union forces had indeed began to advance on the 14th, making reconnaissance to the Salkehatchie River by this date. Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield‘s Army of the Ohio solidified gains on the Cape Fear in North Carolina, and Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum‘s Army of Georgia (the XIV and XX corps) once again took up the Left Wing in the Carolinas Campaign.
It must have been a bittersweet homecoming for the general, having come to great regard for the state during his army posting at Charleston, only to have his friend Robert Anderson betrayed at Ft. Sumter. Whereas the March through Georgia focused specifically on destroying Confederate war making capacity, this March was all about breaking Confederate morale. Sherman took it personally, and wanted to personally repay the favor.
Finally about this time, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was assigned General-in-Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard was initially in command of Rebel forces opposing Sherman, but Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Beauregard had never gotten along. In February Davis and Lee placed Gen. Joseph E. Johnston as Beauregard’s superior in the field, the last in a long line of slights for the Louisiana native, classmate of Sherman at West Point and Mexican War hero who had masterminded the fall of Ft. Sumter in 1861.