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was a garrison at Fort Fisher of about Sister's Ferry, on the 2d of February. 8,000, and at Newbern of about 4,000 Kilpatrick's cavalry also was crossed men ; that if Wilmington was captured, on pontoon bridges
. General Schofield would go there; if not, he Howard, with the right wing, would be sent to Newbern; that in was directed to cross the Salkahatchie, either event, all the surplus force at and push rapidly for the South Caroboth points would move to the interior lina Railroad, at or near Midway. The towards Goldsborough, in co-operation rebels held the line of the Salkahatchie, with his movement; that from either in force; but, on the 3d of February, point railroad communication could be Mower's and Giles's divisions of the run out; and that all these troops 17th corps crossed the swamp nearly would be subject to Sherman's orders as three miles wide, and with the water he came into communication with them. nearly up to the waist, and drove the
Sherman having recruited his men, enemy towards Branchville. The reand made all the needful preparations bels retreated behind the Edisto, and for his advance, sent the 17th corps being threatened at Branchville, burned under Blair, January 15th, by way of the railroad bridge, and Walker's Beaufort, S. C., to make a lodgment on bridge below, across the Edisto. From the Charleston Railroad, at or near the 7th to the 10th of February, the Pocataligo. This was accomplished, 17th corps was occupied in thoroughly and a depot for supplies was establish- destroying the railroad track. The ed near the mouth of Pocataligo Creek. left wing was similarly occupied with A demonstration was made in the di- the South Carolina Railroad, from rection of Charleston, so as to divert Branchville to Windsor. Having dithe attention of the rebels, and cause vided the enemy's forces by these ope. them, under apprehension of an attack rations, a movement was begun on on that city, to keep a considerable Orangeburg. On the 12th of February, force there prepared to defend it. Sher. the rebels attempted resistance at the man, however, had no intention of bridge, and it was partially burned; stopping for this purpose; Charleston but they were soon repulsed, the bridge would fall of itself in due time; and was repaired, and our troops entered Sherman's blow against the “Confede- Orangeburg late in the afternoon. racy” was to be much heavier than Blair was ordered to destroy this road would result from taking the rebel city effectually up to Lewisville,' and to where was fired the first gun at the push the enemy across the Congaree, opening of the rebellion.
and force him to burn the bridges, The march of Sherman's army was which he did on the 14th of Febbegun on the 1st of February: Gun. ruary. Having forced the passage Slocum, with the left wing, had been of the Little Congaree, the head delayed, by the heavy rains and floods, of the column, early on the 16th from crossing the Savannah River; but of February, reached the Congaree, ophe was enabled to gain a passage at posite Columbia, but too late to save
the fine bridge which spanned the river of above, rendered the evacuation of at that point. It was destroyed by the Charleston a necessity. With its suprebels.
plies cut off, with the
of Sherman Sherman directed the crossing not to in the rear, closely beset on James Isbe made in front of Columbia, but three land by the forces of the department miles above, and the town thus to be of the South, with Admiral Dahltaken from the north. There were gren's powerful navy in front, it was great astonishment and fright in Co- no longer tenable as a military lumbia; and on the 17th of February, post. It was only left to Harit was surrendered by the mayor to our dee, who was in command, to escape forces. The rebel general, Wade Hamp. while he could by the single northerly ton, in command, had ordered all the coast line of railroad still open to him.
. cotton to be moved into the street and Prominent citizens had already left, fired, which was done. Our men tried the army and stores were being reto put out the conflagration, but were moved, and on the 18th of February, only partially successful. “I disclaim," the city was surrendered. Gillmore says Sherman, in his report, “ on the announced the fact in a dispatch to part of my army, any agency in the fire, Washington of the same date. All but on the contrary claim that we saved that could be destroyed by the rebels what of Columbia remains unconsumed. was set on fire or blown up; cotton And without hesitation, I charge Gen. warehouses, arsenal, bridges, vessels in Wade Hampton with having burned the ship yard, stores, locomotives, etc., his own city of Columbia, not with a shared a common fate. The cotton demalicious intent, or as the manifestation stroyed was estimated at 4,000 bales. of a silly ‘Roman stoicism,' but from Gillmore reported a capture of 450 folly and want of sense, in filling it pieces of ordnance and a large quantity with lint, cotton, and tinder.” During of ammunition; but the city itself was the 18th and 19th of February, the in a deplorable state. It was almost arsenal, railroad depots, machine shops, desolate, and far the greater part of the foundries, and other buildings were pro- inhabitants which were left, were the perly destroyed by detailed working poor and destitute who could not get parties, and the railroad track torn up away.
Hardee retreated in the direcand destroyed down to Kingsville and * A correspondent of one of the journals gives a grathe Waterce Bridge, and up in the di. phic account of the state of affairs in Charleston when
our troops took possession. “It is an indescribable rection of Winnsborough.*
scene of desolation and ruin, of roofless, doorless, win. The capture of Branchville, spoken dowless houses, crumbling walls, upheaved pavements
, and grassgrown streets-silent to all sounds of busi
ness, and voiceless only to the woe-begone, poverty* The thieving and pillaging done hy Wheeler's stricken, haggard people, who wander up and down cavalry before Columbia was taken was bitterly moaned amid the ruins, looking to a jubilant past, a disappointover by the rebels ; and when was added to this, the ed present, and a hopeless future. They are in rags, fierce conflagration and the terror and dismay of the and their boots are out at the toes, their shoes down inhabitants, it became evident that the capital of South at the heels. There is no longer a manifestation of Carolina was paying fearfully for its share in the re
arrogance, lordly insolence, and conscious superiority
over the Yankees on the part of the whites.” VOL. IV.-66
tion of North Carolina, having with This stronghold having been lost, him about 12,000 men.
Hoke speedily evacuated Wilmington, Gen. Schofield, who had received in- which, after some fighting, on the 20th structions from Grant, as noted on a and 21st of February, was entered, on previous page (p. 519), acting in concert the morning of the 22d, by the troops with Admiral Porter, entered vigorously under Gen. Terry. The rebels retreatupon the work with which he was charg. ed towards Goldsborough during the ed. After the capture of Fort Fisher (p. night, having destroyed before they 500) the chief obstacle hindering an left about 1,000 bales of cotton, 15,000 advance by water to Wilmington, N. barrels of rosin, a large cotton shed and C., was Fort Anderson, on the Cape presses, an iron-clad partly completed, Fear River, guarding the approach to three extensive turpentine works, and the city. It was said to be a work of various bridges. About 700 prisoners immense strength and extent, enclosing were captured, and also some thirty to an area of about four square miles. forty pieces of artillery. The movement up the river was begun The taking of Wilmington was lookon the 11th of February, with a recon- ed upon as very valuable and importnaissance which was pushed to the re- ant, with reference to further operations bel lines on the left bank of the river on the part of Sherman, and preparaopposite the fort and about twelve tions were at once made for a movemiles from Wilmington. There was ment on Goldsborough in two columns, some sharp skirmishing at the enemy's the one from Wilmington, and the other outposts, Gen. Hoke being in command from Newbern. Preparations were of the rebel forces, in which the negro also made for repairing the railroad troops were actively engaged, while the leading to Goldsborough, from each of Monitor Montauk bombarded the fort." the places just named, as well as to These preliminary movements were fol. supply Sherman by Cape Fear River lowed up, on the 16th of February, by toward Fayetteville, if it should bethe transfer by Gen. Schofield of Cox's come necessary. division of the 23d corps across from On the last day of January, Grant Federal Point to Smithfield, whence directed Gen. Thomas to send a cavalry they advanced on the right bank of expedition, under Gen. Stoneman, from the river through swampy and difficult East Tennessee to penetrate South Carground to the rear of Fort Anderson. olina, well down toward Columbia, to Early on the morning of the 18th of destroy the railroads and miliFebruary, Porter began and kept up tary resources of the country, during the day a heavy fire upon the and return, if he was able to East Tenfort. Schofield, meanwhile, was work- nessee by way of Salisbury, N. C., reing in the rear of the rebels, to cut leasing our prisoners t:ere, if possible. . them off; but during the night they of the feasibility of his latter, howabandoned the fort, which was occu-ever, Gen. Stoneman was to judge. pied by our forces the next morning. Sherman's movements, Grant had no
FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., HOW SERVED.
doubt, would attract the attention of destroying the bridge at that point. all the force the enemy could collect Ammunition, stores, railroad trestles, and facilitate the execution of this. etc., found here were destroyed. Stoneman was so late in making his The columns were again put in mostart on this expedition, February 27th, tion, directed on Fayetteville, N. C., and Sherman having passed out of the the right wing crossing the Pedee at state of South Carolina, Grant directed Cheraw, and the left wing and cavalry Thomas to change his course, and or at Sneedsborough. The weather condered him to repeat his raid of last fall, tinued bad, and the roads were any. destroying the railroad toward Lynch. thing but good; but the 14th and 17th burg as far as he could. This would corps reached Fayetteville on the 11th keep him between our garrisons in East of March, skirmishing with Hampton's Tennessee and the enemy. It was re- cavalry, that covered the rear of Hargarded as not impossible that, in the dee's retreating troops. The three fol. event of the enemy being driven from lowing days were passed at Fayetteville, Richmond, he might fall back to Lynch.destroying absolutely the United States burg, and attempt a raid north through arsenal and the vast amount of machinEast Tennessee. About the middle of ery which had formerly belonged to the February, Thomas was directed to start old Harper's Ferry United States arsethe expedition, consisting of 4,000 to nal. Every building was knocked down 5,000 cavalry, as soon as he could get and burned, and every piece of ma
chinery utterly broken up and ruined Columbia having fallen on the 17th by the engineers, under the immediate of February, Slocum moved on Winns- supervision of Col. Poe, chief engineer. borough, which was reached on the Much valuable property of great use to 21st, the roads being destroyed, and a the enemy was here destroyed or cast further movement made to Rocky Mount into the river. “Up to this period,” on the Catawba River. This was cross- says Sherman, in his report, “I had pered on the 23d, and the cavalry marched fectly succeeded in interposing my supe. to Lancaster, to keep up the delusion rior army between the scattered parts of a movement on Charlotte, N. C., to of the enemy. But I was then aware wbich Beauregard, with all the rebel that the fragments that had left Cocavalry, had retreated from Columbia. lumbia, under Beauregard, had been Very heavy rains caused considerable reinforced by Cheatham's corps delay in advancing; on the 26th of from the west, and the garrison February, however, the Catawba was of Augusta, and that ample time had crossed, and the left wing put in motion been given to move them to my front for Cheraw. The right wing was also and flank about Raleigh. Hardee had delayed by bad roads, and by skirmish. also succeeded in getting across Cape es with the rebel cavalry. On the 3d Fear River ahead of me, and could of March, Cheraw was entered, the en- therefore complete the junction with the emy retreating across the Pedee, and other armies of Johnston and Hoke iu North Carolina. And the whole, under Smithfield, or Goldsborough. Slocum the command of the skilful and experi- was ordered to dislodge Hardee, and enced Joe Johnston, made up an army clear the road for the advance. This superior to me in cavalry, and formida- was done, after a severe contest, at a ble enough in artillery and infantry to place called Averysborough, our loss justify me in extreme caution in making being about 600. The rebel loss was the last step necessary to complete the probably much greater. march I had undertaken."
it under way
On the 18th of March, when near Sherman next sent word to Terry at Bentonville, the rebels attacked Slo. Wilmington, and Schofield at Newbern, cum's head of column, gaining a tempothat, on Wednesday, March 15th, he rary advantage, and took three guns would move for Goldsborough, feign- and caissons, driving the two leading ing on Raleigh, and giving them orders brigades back on the main body. As to march straight for Goldsborough, soon as Gen. Slocum realized that he which place he expected to reach about had in his front the whole rebel force the 20th. The column from Newbern, under Johnston, he promptly deployed we may here mention, was attacked on the two divisions of the 14th corps, the 8th of March, at Wise's Forks, and Gen. Davis, and rapidly brought up driven back with the loss of several on their left the two divisions of the hundred prisoners. On the 11th, the 20th corps, Gen. Williams. These he rebels renewed the attack on our en. arranged on the defensive, and hastily trenched position, but were repulsed prepared a line of barricades. Gen. with severe loss, and fell back during Kilpatrick also came up at the sound the night. On the 14th, the Neuse of artillery, and massed on the left. In River was crossed and Kinston occu- this position the left received six dispied, and on the 21st, Goldsborough tinct assaults by the combined forces was entered. The column from Wil. of Hoke, Hardee, and Cheatham, under mington reached Cox's bridge, on the the immediate command of Johnston Neuse River, ten miles above Goldsbo- himself, without giving an inch of rough, on the 22d of March. On the ground, and doing good execution on 15th, as above indicated, Sherman re- the enemy's ranks, especially with our sumed his advance on Goldsborough. artillery, the enemy having little or The weather continued unfavorable, none. Reinforcements were brought and the roads were proportionably bad up during the night of the 19th and and difficult to travel over. Hardee, on the 20th of March. The next night on retreating from Fayetteville, had the enemy retreated to Smithfield, leav. halted in the swampy district between ing the dead and wounded in the hands Cape Fear and South Rivers, having, of our men. Slocum reported the loss it was supposed, about 20,000 men, and on the left wing at 1,250, he having being in hope of delaying Sherman, so taken 338 prisoners. Howard's loss as to gain time for Johnston to concen on the right was reported at 400; pritrate the rebel troops either at Raleigh, soners taken, about 1,200. Thus, as