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576

FAYETTEVILLE REACII ED.

rium of the South-now a heap of blackcncd ruins. Here rebellion had been hatched for the purpose of degrading that Nag, and at the same time prcventing all interfcrence with the servile condition of thc blacl: man-and behold the result! A colored regiment, with well-set ranks, wearing the National uniform and bearing above them that glorious flag, marched into its streets as conquerors. Human history can scarcely present another such a contrast, produced in the short space of four years.

Gillmore reported four hundred and fifty pieces of cannon captured in the various defenses of the place, before which he had sat down in siege, five hundred and eighty-five days before. For five hundred and forty days the city had been under fire.

Only some ten thousand inhabitants, of the lower classes, remained after its evacuation. Its overthrow was hailed with unbounded delight at the North, and scarce a sigh was heaved over its wide-spread desolation.

At Cheraw, the right and left wings of Sherman's army met for the first time since leaving Savannah, and now, together, marched on Fayetteville, which the advance columns reached on the 12th of March.

In anticipation of his arrival, he had sent trusty scouts to Wilmington, nearly a hundred miles distant, to announce his near approach. Our troops had entered this place about a fortnight before. Schofield, in conjunction with Porter, of the Navy, moved his forces up both sides of the Cape Fear River, and advanced against Fort Anderson—the enemy's main defense on the west bank of the river—which the garrison at once evacuated. During the following two days, some fighting occurred, but on the 22nd of February, our troops had possession of the place.

On the arrival of the scouts, the United States steam-tug Davidson was started up the river, and reached Fayettcville

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BATTLE OF A VERYSBORO.

577

on the same day that Sherman's columns approached it, and was hailed by the latter with loud chcers. - A few hours later she returned with dispatches from Sherman to Terry, in command at Wilmington, and to Schofield who had transferred his Corps to Newbern, directing them to move at once on Goldsboro, and join him there, where he himself expected to be in five days. He knew that he would soon need these columns, that had been planted on the seaboard, on purpose to aid him, for he could no longer prevent the concentration of the enemy's forces. He was aware that Cheatham had effected a junction with Beauregard, and that both were marching on Raleigh, and that Hardee, who had evacuated Fayetteville at his approach, was falling back in the same direction. These, joined by Johnston and Hoke, with the forces from Wilmington and Newbern would make a formidable rirmy.

Schofield, however, had some difficulty in making his way inland, for he was attacked on the 8th at Wise's Forks, and driven back with severe loss. Two days after, the enemy following up his success, attacked his intrenched position, but was repulsed with such a heavy loss that he was compelled to retreat. On the 14th Schofield crossed the Ncusa and occupied Kinston.

The next day after this success, Sherman put his columns in motion up the Cape Fear River, as though his objective point was Raleigh instead of Goldsboro on the Neuse, up which Schofield was to march.

Hardee in his retreat from Fayetteville, had halted on a narrow, swampy neck of land between Cape Fear and South Rivers, near Averysboro, and with twenty thousand men now occupicd an intrenched position. Here Kilpatrick found him and sent back word to Slocum. The latter, after getting his forces well up, began to feel the enemy's lines. The ground was so swampy that horses mired at every step, and it was

578

ATTACK ON SLOCUM.

difficult for the infantry to operate; but it was necessary that this position should be carried-and amid torrents of rain, and fearful gusts of wind he advanced to the attack and drove the enemy in confusion from their works. Our loss in the engagement was about six hundred. The rebels retreated in the night during a frightful storm, leaving one hundred and eight dead on the field.

The next day Slocum ceased his movement on Raleigh, and wheeling to the right, crossed South River, swollen by the rains, and took the road to Goldsboro, whither Howard farther to the east was marching, "wallowing along the miry roads."

On the 18th both wings were within a few miles of the place, and Sherman, thinking there would be no more opposition to his advance, left Slocum and started across the country to sce Howard. But he had gone scarcely six miles when he was startled by the sudden, angry roar of artillery behind him, evidently coming from the spot where Slocum's army lay. While listening to the heavy explosions, wondering what they could mean, a staff-officer galloped up, and quieted his anxiety by saying that it was merely n affair between Carlin's division and the rebel cavalry, and that the latter were in full retreat. In a few moments however, other officers arrived, who, to his surprise informed him that Slocum had suddenly found himself confronted by the whole of Johnston's army near Bentonville. Comprehending at once the new and dangerous position of affairs, he sent back word to Slocum to stand solely on the defensive until he could hurry up troops to bis relief. Officers immediately dashed off over the country, bearing dispatches—one to Blair, to make a night march with his Corps, to Falling Creek Church, and with three divisions of the Fifteenth Corps to come up in Johnston's rcar from the direction of Cox's bridge—another to Howard, to move, minus his wagon guard, at daylight on Bentonville.

BATTLE OF BENTONVILLO.

579

While thus engaged in dispatching his orders, other couriers arrived, from Schofield and Terry. Ordering the for. mer to march on Goldsboro, and the latter to move to Cox's bridge ten miles above, and establish a crossing there, he 01ce more gave his undivided attention to Slocum, and the unexpected battle thus suddenly thrown upon him.

The latter, however, seemed to feel no uneasiness, and choosing an admirable position, placed his artillery so as to sweep

his entire front. He then sent on Morgan's division to establish another line about a half a mile in advance. Against this Johnston advanced in overwhelming numbers, and hurled it in confusion back, capturing three guns and caissons. Slocum, seeing the heavy force opposed to him, at once deployed me two divisions of the Fourteenth Corps, General Davis, and hurried forward at their utmost speed the two divisions of the Twentieth Corps, General Williams. A line of barricades was hastily prepared, and the whole force put strictly on the defensive. In the meantime Kilpatrick aroused by the thunder of artillery, came dashing down the roads and massed his squadrons on the left. It was now four o'clock in the afternoon, and Slocum had hardly got every thing ready when the enemy came on in one of their dashing, impetuous charges. In three massive columns, they swept up to his frail barricades, and threatened by mere weight of numbers to carry every thing before them. Mowed down by our batteries, and the deliberate deadly volleys of the infantry, the first column recoiled, when the second, undaunted by the repulse of the first, charged with a chcer. But rignt in its path stood Davis' Corps—that won such immortal honor on the bloody field of Chickamauga—and stopped it with one terrible blow. The whole fury of the attack spent itself in less than an hour, and yet in that time the enemy had made six successive assaults, and in the last charge broke Slocum's line, but it

580

RETREAT OF JOHNSTON.

quickly rallied, and charging in turn, drove him back. So close and desperate was the combat that many of the rebel dead lay within our lines, and even around the head-quarters of the Generals.

That night Slocum got up his wagon train, with its guard of two divisions, and the gallant Hazen's division, with which reinforcements he felt able to hold his ground, although Johnston, with Hoke's, Cheatham's and Hardee's Corps, greatly outnumbered him. The next day, Howard came up and connected with his left. Sherman now had his invincible army well in hand and presenting a strong line of battle in front of the enemy's intrenched position. Johnston had concentrated his forces rapidly, intending to catch the army divided, and break it up in detail. Instead of that, he suddenly found it all together, and boldly confronting him in his works. It was not, however, Sherman's wish to bring on a battle here, unless every thing was in his favor, and so he contented himself with pressing forward the skirmishers, and playing with his batteries on the woods in which the enemy lay, and threatening his strongly protected flanks.

This was the state of things on the 21st of March; on which day Schofield entered Goldsboro', and Terry got possession of the Neuse River at Cox's bridge, ten miles above, with a pontoon bridge across, and one brigade over. It was a stormy day, and the rain fell in torrents, yet during it Mower managed to work well around the enemy's flank, to the right, and nearly reached Mill Creek bridge—the only line of his retreat. “A noisy battle,” as Sherman termed it, followed, and in the night Johnston retreated. Our total loss was sixteen hundred and forty-six.

Directing Howard, with the cavalry, to remain next day on the field and bury the dead, he gave orders for the troops to move to the various camps assigned them around Goldsh

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