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pation by Gen. Schofield. The columns moving from the seaboard were to concentrate at Goldsboro, as pre-arranged sith Gen. Sherman.

After a brief delay at Cheraw, Gen. Sherman resumed his march, passing into North Carolina and moving toward Fayetteville. His right wing crossed the Pedee river at Cheraw, and his left and cavalry at Sneedsboro. The Fourteenth and Seventeenth Corps entered Fayetteville on the 11th of March, driving back Wade Hampton's cavalry, which covered the rear of Hardee's forces, as they retreated across the Cape Fear river, burning the bridge behind them. The next three days were passed at Fayetteville, during which the arsenal, includ. ing a large amount of machinery from the old armory at Harper's Ferry, were completely destroyed, as well as much other valuable property of use to the enemy.

The Rebel forces, hitherto successfully separated by Gen. Sherman in his march—those under Beauregard, including Cheatham's brigade, driven aside to Charlotte, as well as the troops which had garrisoned Augusta, and those under Hardee, which had escaped across the Cape Fear river-were now getting in a condition to form a junction with Johnston and Hoke, at or near Raleigh. These several commands, united under Johnston-one of the most skillful of the Rebel generals—with a combined cavalry force superior to that under Kilpatrick, would constitute a formidable army, fighting on familiar ground against an invading force without a “base." By trusty scouts, Sherman opened communication with Gen. Terry, now in command at Wilmington, and with Gen. Schofield at Newburn, apprising them of his situation and plans. Communication was also opened by a gunboat, which now ran up to Fayetteville. Both Schofield and Terry were ordered to advance at once on Goldsboro, toward which place Sherman himself moved on the 15th of March, first feigning an advance on Raleigh. Kilpatrick moved out accordingly, on the road to Averysboro, followed by four divisions of Slocum's command, accompanied by Gen. Sherman in person. On the 16th—Kilpatrick having had some heavy skirmishing with the enemy's rear-guard, three miles beyond Kyle's Landing—the

Rebels were found in a fortified position, covering a point where the road branches off through Bentonville to Goldsboro, It was apparent to the commanding General that Hardec, whose force was estimated at 20,000 men, had made a stapd here, on the narrow, swampy neck between Cape Fear and South rivers, in the hope of gaining time for a concentration of the various forces under Johnston, at some point beyond, toward Goldsboro. It became expedient, therefore, to dislodgo the enemy as promptly as possible, and was necessary, as well for the purpose of continuing the feint on Raleigh, as of securing the use of the Goldsboro rcad. After a conflict, chiefly difficult from tiu nature of the ground, over which horses could not move, and which yielded to the steps of the men—two or three charges by brigades, and some artil. lery firing by a well-posted battery, comprising the sum of all—the enemy was forced back from his first and second lincs, and made his escape in the darkness of the ensuing night. It was soon found that he had retired by the Smithfield road, and not toward Raleigh. The only Union forces engaged were portions of the Twentieth and Fourteenth Corps, the command of Gen. Slocum, who reported his losses as twelve officers and sixty-five men killed, and 476 wounded. The cnemy left 108 dead on the field, bis whole loss probably exceeding 700. Such was the battle of Averysboro, fought on the 16th day of March.

The left wing now took the Goldsboro road. Howard's column and the trains were already moving in the same direction on the right; Kilpatrick watching the right flank. Slocum encamped on the night of the 18th, at a point where the road from Clinton to Smithfield crosses the Goldsboro road, twenty-seven miles from Goldsboro, and five from Bentonville. Howard was at Lee's store, two miles south, and both wings had pickets thrown out for three miles, to where the two roads united in one. Not anticipating any further opposition, Howard was directed to advance, on the 19th, along the new Goldst boro road, by Falling Creek Church, while Sherman proceeded to join this column in person, desiring to open communications with the converging columns of Schofield and Terry,

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advancing from Newbern and Wilmington. Slocum had not gone far before Carlin's division, in the advance, encountered Dibbrell's division of Rebel cavalry, supported by infantry, which gained some advantage over him; and soon after it appeared that he was confronted, near Bentonville, by the whole of Johnston's army in position, under that officer in person. Sherman speedily made his dispositions for battle. Couriers from Schofield and Terry arrived at this juncture, reporting that the former was at Kingston, and could reach Goldsboro by the 21st, and that Terry was at or near Faison's Depot, some thirty miles south of Goldsboro, on the Wilmington railroad. Orders were issued to ttese commanders, with a view to secure their most effective co-operation, at the earlicst moment, in the battle now pending.

Meanwhile, Slocum had protected himself by a line of bar. ricades, and remained on the defensive, having with him but four divisions, to which the cavalry of Kilpatrick was added, after the latter had heard the sounds of battle. In this position, six successive charges were made on the left, by the combined forces of Hardee, Cheatham and Hoke, under the direction of Johnston himself. Each attack was repulsed, with heavy loss to the enemy. During the night of the 19th, the two divisions guarding the wagon train arrived, together with Hazen's division of the Fifteenth Corps, enabling Gen. Slocum to make his position secure. Gen. Howard, on advancing the Fifteenth Corps to form a connection with Slocum, found that Johnston's left occupied a strong position, fortified by a line of parapets across the Goldsboro road, thus interposing a barrier between Sherman's two wings. Howard, however, succeeded in forming a connection with Slocum's right, without engaging the enemy. Before nightfall, on the 20th, Sherman's united forces, in a strong line of battle, had Johnston on the defensive. On the 21st, Gen. Schofield entered Goldsboro without serious opposition, and Gen. Terry reached the Neuse river, ten miles above Goldsboro. The three armies were thus brought into communication, within supporting distance of each other-a triumphant success of the various movements.

D'uring the day, on the 21st, it rained steadily, but Mower's

division of the Seventeenth Corps, on the extreme right, gradually moved around on the enemy's flank, and had nearly reached the bridge over Mill Creek, Johnson's only line of retreat now left open. To prevent Mower from being overwhelmed by a superior force of the enemy, Sherman ordered his skirmishers to attack along the whole line, while Mower regained his connection with his own corps. During the night, the enemy retreated on Smithfield, leaving his pickets, with many unburied dead, and his wounded men in the field hospitals to fall into Sherman's hands. Pursuit was made for two miles beyond Mill Creek, on the morning of the 22d, and then suspended. Johnston had been completely foiled in his main attempt, and decisively beaten. Slocum reported his total losses at the battle of Bentonville, in killed, wounded and missing, as 1,247. Howard's entire losses numbered only 399— making an aggregate Union loss of 1,646. The Rebel dead, buried by our forces, pumbered 267, and his entire loss in prisoners was 1,625—making an aggregate of 1,892. Johnston must have lost heavily, in addition to the foregoing, in his attacks on the left wing, on the 19th.

Sherman had now full possession of Goldsboro, accomplishing his purpose, and his forces thus combined constituted an army irresistible by any force that could be brought against him. He had now communications by the two railroads, rapidly put in running order, with the seaboard at Beaufort and Newbern.

Before Petersburg, Gen. Meade had continued to keep a strong hold upon Lee, breaking his communications, and extending the Union lines on the left. The effective fighting ander Gen. Sheridan, in the Shenandoah Valley, had rendered the longer maintenance of any large force there unnecessary. The Sixth Corps had returned to Petersburg not long after the decisive engagements in the late autumn, and was assigned a position on the left, affording the opportunity for a further advance of Meade's lines toward the Southside railroad. The most important movement undertaken by the Army of the Potoinac since the movement on the Weldon road under Warren and Gregg, in December, was that which resulted in

the battle of Hatcher's Run, on the 6th and 7th of February, and by which the Rebel communications by the Boydton Plank road were broken. The Fifth, and a portion of the Sixth Corps, were engaged in this movement, the Third division of the Fifth Corps suffering heavily. Its aggregate loss in killed and wounded was 594. The losses in the Sixth Corps, acting mainly as a supporting column, were slight.

It was now manifest that the main Rebel armies under Lee and Johnson were becoming inextricably invovled in the toils of Grant and his Generals. Only some unforeseen cause, or some serious blunder, could long delay the final termination of the struggle. A conference was now held at City Point, between President Lincoln, Lieut.-Gen. Grant, and Gens. Meade, Sherman, and other leading commanders, on the 27th of March. The closing movements were non fully considered and planned, with incidental discussions of the general policy to be pursued in the final exigencies; and the several Generals returned to their commands, prepared to strike the last blows, and confident of their effect.

To President Lincoln, saddened and worn by four years of a strife so relentless and painful, the prospect of peace near at hand was inexpressibly gladdening. To each of the warworn Generals, the culmination of all his cares and toils in a grand choral triumph, was a joyful hope that made music in his heart, as he moved away to his closing task.

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