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ers. He thereupon fell back into Aiken; and Kilpatrick, after threatening him there till the night of the 12th, suddenly drew off, moved rapidly across the South and then the North Edisto," and, moving on the left of the 14th corps, struck the Lexington and Augusta road 9 miles north-west of Lexington, when barely 1,500 of Wheeler's men had got between him and Columbia, while Cheatham’s force (the remnant of Hood's army) was moving parallel with our advance still farther to the left. But, on crossing the Saluda," Wheeler was found to be ahead; and our cavalry marched all day “parallel with Cheatham's corps, moving at times within three miles—a difficult stream forbidding an attempt to strike the enemy in flank, as he was strung along the road. Crossing the Greenville and Columbia road, Kilpatrick tore it up down to Alston, where he crossed “ the Broad, and pushed north nearly to Chesterville; when he found that Wheeler had moved around his front, united with Wade IIampton, and was before him on the road to Charlotte and Raleigh, N. C., which Sherman's advance northward from Columbia to Winnsboro’ “ had led the enemy to believe was his intended course. They were at fault, as usual. Though his left wing was thrown north nearly to Chesterville, the movement in this direction was a feint, and the whole army soon turned sharply to the right, crossing the Catawba," and, after halting the right wing three days to enable Slocum (who had been delayed by a flood in the Catawba) to come up, struck the Great Pedee at Cheraw "
(where Blair captured 25 guns), and thence up to the State line at Sneedsboro’; moving on parallel roads within easy supporting distance, till they were concentrated at Fayetteville,” N. C.; leaving Charlotte and the bulk of the Rebel army far to our left. Heavy rains and almost impassable streams had delayed our dif. ferent columns; and Hardee was expected to make a stand at Fayetteville and resist our passage of the Cape Fear river; but he merely burned the bridge and put off as Blair came up. Kilpatrick, still on our extreme left had advanced by Rockingham; “striking next day the rear of Hardee's column retreating from Cheraw on Fayetteville; when, learning from prisoners that Hampton's cavalry was behind, he resolved to intercept it. Posting a mounted brigade near Solemn Grove on one road, he made, with Spencer's brigade, a rapid night-march across to another; during which, he rode through a division of Hampton's cavalry: losing by capture his escort of 16 men, but escaping with his staff. Hampton skillfully deceived Gen. Atkins, whom Kilpatrick had left behind, passed him by an unsuspected road, and fell in full force upon Kilpatrick and Spencer about 2 A. M.; taking them completely by surprise, routing them and capturing all their guns. Spencer and most of Kilpatrick's staff were made prisoners; Kilpatrick barely escaping on foot. Driven back into a swamp, with most of his men, he oucceeded in rallying them, while the enemy, supposing him utterly routed, were inlarging on foot, he retook his headIarters and guns, just as the enemy ere harnessing the horses to draw em off, and opened upon their reding backs when scarcely twenty ices distant, quickening the pace of I who still retained the power of lomotion. Hampton soon rallied his mmand, and tried hard to regain all at he had so suddenly won and st; but Kilpatrick kept him at y till Gen. Mitchell, hearing the ins, at 8 A. M. came hastily across th a brigade of infantry of the th corps; when the enemy disapared; having inflicted a loss of 19 lled, 61 wounded, and 103 prisonS. Kilpatrick reached Fayetteville, N. , on the 11th, and the whole army as concentrated there next day; hen the army tug Davidson and e gunboat Eolus steamed up from ilmington with news of the capture that city and of all that had ocrred during the six weeks that the my had been corduroying its way rough the interminable swamps d pontooning across the swollen teams of South Carolina. At Combia, the disastrous fire and the tter hostility of the people had prented the only corps that entered at city from learning much of the ter world; but here Sherman was full communication with the Govnment and the cooperating Genals, and able to dispatch full inuctions to Gen. Schofield; who, ving been brought around from innessee to Newbern, was prepar: to réenforce him at Goldsboro’. Sherman halted three days at Fayeville; completely destroying the S. Arsenal and the costly machi
to Feb. 15. “Feb. 17. “Feb. 18. “Feb. 19 “Feb.
tent on plundering his camp; and, 21 * Feb. 23. "March 3, “Malch 11. “March 7. * March 15.
nery which had been brought hither from the U. S. armory at Harper's Ferry on its first capture in April, 1861. His army greatly needed rest; and besides, there was reason now to apprehend other resistance than that afforded by the swamps, the streams, and the elements. Hardee from Savannah and Charleston; Beauregard from Columbia; Cheatham from the Tennessee; with a considerable force drawn from North Carolina and her seaward defenses under Bragg and Hoke, made up, with Wheeler's and Hampton's cavalry, a body of not less than 40,000 men, mainly veterans, now united under the able and wary Jo. Johnston. It would no longer answer to move as hitherto; our columns must be kept well closed up, the corps within easy supporting distance, on peril of surprise and disaster. True to his favorite policy, Sher: man again pushed" four divisions of his left wing, covered by Kilpatrick, directly northward to AVERysboro, as if intent on Raleigh; while Slo: cum's train, his two remaining divi. sions, and the right wing, moved by various roads nearly east, toward Goldsboro, his true destination. The incessant rains had reduced the roads to a state wherein horses would mire almost anywhere, and ‘cord" roy’ was essential wherever guns or wagons were to be moved. Sherman was on the left with Slocum, who was that day required to send up a brigade of infantry to the aid of Kilpatrick, who was skirmishing heavily in the advance. Next morning, when near Avery* borough, on approaching the road, which runs eastward to Bentonville, the enemy, under Hardee, was found
Jo HN ST ON ATTACKS SLO CUM AT B ENT ON VILL E. 707
posted on a narrow, swampy neck of land between the Cape Fear and South rivers; his total strength being estimated at 20,000. Ward's division of the 20th corps, in our left advance, was deployed, sending forward a skirmish line, developing a brigade of infantry behind a light field-work, with a battery enfilading the approach. Williams sent Case's brigade by a circuit to our left; turning the enemy’s work, and, by a quick charge, driving back the infantry brigade holding it, under the fire of Winnegar's battery, to a stronger and better line behind it; whereupon, Ward's division charged directly on the retreating foe, capturing 3 guns and 217 prisoners, of whom 68 were wounded; while 108 of the enemy's dead were buried by Williams on the field. Jackson's division was now sent up on the right of Ward, and two divisions of the 14th corps on the left: while Kilpatrick, massing his cavalry farther to the right, was directed to feel for the road to Goldsborough. He had gained that road with one brigade, when he was vehemently assailed by McLaws's Rebel division, and pushed back, fighting gallantly; until, at length, our whole line advanced, driving the enemy within his intrenchments and pressing him there till night fell, dark and stormy; under cover of which he retreated, taking the road not to Raleigh but to Smithfield. Slocum's loss was 77 killed and 477 wounded (no prisoners)—which may or may not include that of Kilpatrick. The enemy's was probably about the same. Ward's division made a show of pursuing the enemy;
while the rest of our army, bearing to the right, pushed directly for Goldsborough. Sherman, supposing the fight all out of the Rebels for the present, had ridden across to the right wing, and was intent on reaching Goldsborough and meeting Schofield, when the sound of guns on the left again challenged his attention. Slocum, approaching BENTON VILLE, had been assailed by Jo. Johnston with the entire Rebel army. Couriers from Schofield and from Terry now arrived; the former reporting himself at Kinston, short of provisions, but able to reach Goldsboro' on the 21st, which he was directed to do; Terry being likewise directed to advance. Meantime, the several divisions of the right wing were ordered to move on rapidly to the relief of the outnumbered left. Slocum had at first encountered “ Dibbrell's cavalry; which he was driving, when he ran headlong upon the whole Confederate army: the two leading brigades of Carlin's division being hurled back on the main body, with a loss of 3 guns and their caissons. Slocum thereupon, very properly, stood on the defensive; showing a front of four divisions, and throwing up slight barricades; while Kilpatrick came into action on the left. Here our left received six assaults from Johnston's army; holding our ground firmly, and inflicting heavy loss on the foe with our artillery — they having brought up little or none. Johnston had hurried hither by night from Smithfield, moving very light, expecting to crush Slocum before he could be supported; but he was mistaken. Night fell out giving him any ground; and, re morning, Slocum got up his on-train, with its guard of two ions, while Hazen's division of 15th (Logan's) corps came up on ight, rendering his position seThe enemy not risking furattacks, Slocum awaited the ng up of Howard and the entire ; wing; by which time, Johnston ntrenched thoroughly in a strong ion, forming a sort of triangle, its apex at the front, but facing sum on one side and Howard on other. IIere he was very cauly approached and felt of by man, who was aware that Schowas improving this delay to get 'ssion of Goldsborough in the ly's rear, while Gen. Terry aded to the Neuse at Cox's bridge, 10 miles higher up. And now,” |g a heavy rain, under cover of Sisy demonstration along the l front, Mower's division of 's corps worked around by our to the enemy's rear; hoping to e the bridge over Mill creek, h was his only line of retreat. Johnston was not to be thus ht; nor did he choose to stop and fight 60,000 men with (at 40,000; so he decamped during light, retreating on Smithfield Raleigh so suddenly as to leave ickets behind, as well as his ely wounded. or total loss here was 191 killed, wounded, and 344 missing: l, 1,643. We buried here 267 l dead, and took 1,625 prisonmany of them wounded. further resistance being made, rmy moved on to Goldsboro’,
* March 18.
Gen. Sherman, after a hasty visit to Gens. Terry and Schofield, took" the first train of cars that ran to Morehead City, and thence a swift steamer to City Point;” where he met in council the President, Gens. Grant, Meade, &c.; returning as hurriedly to his army at Goldsboro’, which he reached on the 30th.
We may now narrate the events of the Winter in North Carolina, which signally contributed to the final over. throw of the Rebellion. WILMINGTON, N. C., had—because of its location, so convenient for the supply of ordnance, munitions, &c., to the main Rebel armies, and the extraordinary difficulty of precluding the ingress and egress of blockade. runners, at this port—been, from the outset, one of the most important sea-ports of the Confederacy, before, by the gradual closing of the others, it became the only one of consequence that remained accessible. To close it, therefore, became at length synon: ymous with barring all direct and nearly all commercial intercourse between the Confederacy and the non-belligerent world. Early in the Autumn of 1864, Gen. Grant proposed to Gen. Butler the dispatch of Brig.-Gens. Weitzel and Graham to reconnoiter Fort Fishko, the main defense of the seaward approaches to Wilmington, to determine its strength, preparatory to.” combined attack. The reconnor sance was made accordingly, and its result duly reported.” The meditated attack was intended to have been a virtual surprise, when the pressure of our armies at
e it rested and was réclad, while ** March 21. *March 25.
all points should have probably re
** March 27. 64 About Sept. 20.
duced the garrisons of Fort Fisher and its adjuncts to a minimum ; but even the small number required was not available for this purpose till October; when it was judged that the collection and evolutions of a great fleet in Hampton Roads must have attracted the enemy's attention and prompted a röenforcement of the threatened defenses. (The original plan of the expedition contemplated the collection and outfit of this fleet at or near Port Royal, under the guise of a demonstration against Fort Sumter and Charleston; but this was overruled by considerations of obvious convenience.) Meantime, the fertile genius of General Butler had been stimulated by the accounts of a tremendous gunpowder explosion at Erith, England, whereby destructive effects had been produced at a considerable distance; and he had conceived the project of running a vessel filled with gunpowder under the sea-wall of Fort Fisher, and there exploding it; trusting that, at least, the garrison would be so paralyzed by the resulting earthquake as to facilitate a prompt seizure of the fort by its expectant besiegers. Delays in preparation occurred, as usual; Gen. Butler was ordered “ by telegraph to New York, to keep the Peace there during the Presidential election; and, when he returned,” the powder experiment had been re. solved on and preparation for it partially made. But Gen. Grant now left the front for a flying visit to his family in New Jersey, devolving on °en. Butler the chief command; *nd, when he returned, of the 250 tons of powder required, 100 tons Yore still wanting, and did not arrive
at Fortress Monroe till December : thus the expedition did not get fairly off till the 14th. Admiral Porter, commanding the naval part of it, was off Beaufort, N. C., on the 16th; though Gen. Butler, in advance of the transport fleet, had reached our blockaders off Wilmington the night before. The transports and troops were at Masonborough inlet, 18 miles north, or nearly east of Wilmington. Gen. Grant, it is clear, had not designed that Butler should accompany the expedition, but intended that Weitzel should be its commander; yet it is equally plain that, up to a very late hour, Gen. Butler undoubtingly understood that he was not merely to fit it out, but personally command it. So he did. Porter, with his war vessels, arrived on the 18th, and at once sent up the powder-boat Louisiana, intending to explode her forthwith ; but, on Butler's remonstrance that the land forces must be ready to follow up the explosion with an assault, he countermanded the order. It appears that the Rebels were not aware of the presence or imminence of the expedition till the 20th–a few vessels more or less in the offing, where several blockaders were generally visible, not wearing any special significance. But now, as the wind was high and the sea rough, with a prospect of still worse weather, the transports put back 70 miles to Beaufort, N. C., for water, &c.; when a storm ensued which prevented their return till the 26th. Admiral Porter—who was not on terms of cordiality with Gen. Butler —set to work by himself. IIe had sent in the powder-boat Louisiana,
* Nov. 1 1864.
* Nov. 16.