Tuesday, March 14, 1865

Opposite Fayetteville, North Carolina

The tug Davidson again arrived from Wilmington, with General Dodge,
quartermaster, on board, reporting that there was no clothing to be had at Wilmington; but he brought up some sugar and coffee, which were most welcome, and some oats. He was followed by a couple of gunboats, under command of Captain Young, United States Navy, who reached Fayetteville after I had left, and undertook to patrol the river as long as the stage of water would permit. General Dodge also promised to use the captured steamboats for a like purpose. Meantime, also, I had sent orders to General Schofield, at Newbern, and to General Terry, at Wilmington, to move with their effective forces straight for Goldsboro’, where I expected to meet them by the 20th of March.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, opposite Fayetteville, Tuesday, March 14, 1865
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, City Point:
I am now across Cape Fear River with nearly all my army, save a division, with orders to cross at daylight tomorrow. I shall then draw out ten miles and begin my maneuvers for the possession of Golddsborough, which is all important to our future purposes. I was in hopes that I could get some shoes and stockings at Wilmington, but the tug Davidson has returned with Brigadier-General Dodge, chief quartermaster, with word that there is no clothing there, but he brings us some forage, sugar, and coffee. I can get along for ten days, having forced the army to collect plenty of beef, and a good deal of corn meal.

I shall tonight move my cavalry, 5,000, straight toward Raleigh, and follow it with four divisions without trains, and keep the trains off toward the right rear. I will hold another four divisions in close support and move toward Smithland or to strike the railroad half way between Goldsborough and Raleigh; then when my trains are well across toward the Neuse will move rapidly to Bentonville, and afterward, at leisure, move opposite Goldsborough, open direct communication with Schofield, who is ordered to push against Kinston and Goldsborough. I may cross Neuse, about Cox’s Bridge, and move into Goldsborough, but will not attempt it till within
close communication with Schofield.

I have full orders to Schofield. It will not do to build any determinate plan from there till I am in full possession of Goldsborough. I have ordered Schofield and Terry to press toward Goldsborough as hard as possible from the east as I advance from the southwest. The enemy is superior to me in cavalry, but I can beat his infantry man for man, and I don’t think he can bring 40,000 men to battle. I will force him to guard Raleigh till I have interposed between it and Goldsborough.
Weather is now good, but threatens rain. We are all well. Keep all parts busy and I will give the enemy no rest.
Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, opposite Fayetteville, March 14, 1865. 7 p.m.

Major General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
I think I have studied the problem of the next move and will give you, in confidence, its analysis. We must make a strong feint on Raleigh, and strike with cavalry, if possible, the road near Smithfield. I take it for granted that the bridge will be too strongly guarded for Kilpatrick to surprise, and therefore I will leave him to disable that road, of course only partially, between the Neuse and Eureka. To this end the cavalry will move tonight across the bridge, beginning at 3 a.m., and will push tomorrow up the plank road to about Averysborough, Slocum following up with four disencumbered divisions to near the forks of the road, moving his trains by a cross road toward Bentonville. The next move will be the cavalry to Elevation, and Slocum will cross Black River. The next move will bring Slocum to Bentonville, and Kilpatrick, supported by a division of infantry, will make a dash for the railroad. This is as far as I will now determine.
I want you to be as near in support as possible. I do think it is Johnston’s only chance to meet this army before an easy junction with Schofield can be effected. I would like you to have four divisions free to move rapidly to the sound of battle in the direction of Mingo Creek and Elevation, and, at any event, to make a junction by head of column with Slocum at Bentonville. The weather looks bad and I fear we may have swamps about South River. I think it would be well for you to have four divisions to get ahead of Slocum’s trains on the direct road form Fayetteville to Bentonville and keeping ahead of him about five or six miles so as., in case of action, to come up on his right. I will keep near Slocum, and wish you to keep me thoroughly advised of the position of your troops and trains, and instead of aiming toward Faison’s, rather look toward Dead Fields and Everettsville.

I think Colonel Garber can give you another boat, in which case you had better send down a load of prisoners of war. Do not fail to clear your columns of the dead weight by sending them via Clinton to Wilmington. I do not expect your head of column to be more than ten miles distant from Fayetteville tomorrow night, but it would be well for a brigade to secure the bridges across South River, if not already done. Schofield and Terry are now fully advised of our whereabouts and have my orders. Their movements will directly co-operate with ours and I propose to make an actual junction before crossing the Neuse, unless events and weather favor a different course.
Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

General Howard Reports:

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Cade’s Plantation, N. C., March 14, 1865. 8 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN:
If I have good luck I expect to have everything over the river tonight, and in order to organize the light column refugee trains, &c., will stretch out on the roads, but will not move my headquarters. I had already issued my orders and moved out one corps before getting General Slocum’s suggestion. I therefore proposed to him to send Logan’s surplus trains on lower route through Clinton, and have his surplus trains follow the four light divisions along the road via Beaman’s Cross-Roads. This will open the direct road to Bentonville to General Slocum for his light column, and I will have a good force always within supporting distance. He did not send me word whether this was satisfactory. We have, however, interchanged our respective orders of march.
Respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, opposite Fayetteville, March 14, 1865

Major-General SLOCUM, Commanding Left Wing:
I have notified General Howard that tomorrow night your head of column would be near the cross-road above Kyle’s Landing, the next day across Black River near Mingo, and third day near Bentonville, and have instructed him to have four divisions in easy support, and a little in advance of you, say five or six miles, so that on receiving orders or hearing battle he may come promptly up on your right. I think Colonel Garber can promise you another boat, in which case it would be well to send to Wilmington your prisoners of war. You might leave them tomorrow where the gun-boat lies, two miles below General Howard’s bridge, and the guard, if unable to overtake you the day after tomorrow, could follow direct to Bentonville. I want the three first marches to be made with prudence and deliberation. I am willing to accept battle with Johnston’s concentrated force, but would not attack him in position until I make junction with General Schofield.
I am, truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Fayetteville, N. C., Tuesday, March 14, 1865.

Major-General SCHOOFIELD, Commanding at New Berne:
I am now across Cape Fear River, and tomorrow shall draw out ten miles, and next day, if weather is favorable, will begin to maneuver on Goldsborough. I shall feign strong on Raleigh by approaching, and, it may be, striking the railroad half way between Goldsborough and Raleigh; then, as soon as the wagons are well toward Faison’s, will swing rapidly in front of Goldsborough, but will not cross the Neuse till I hear from you.

You must push vigorously toward Kinston and Goldsborough with the absolute certainty that I will engage the attention of Joe Johnston’s army to the west and southwest of Goldsborough. Let the railroad construction party push its work at least as far as Kinston. I want you to draw up Terry’s force making a junction, I can spare General Terry 200 wagons and you 300. I think we have transportation enough for 100,000 men. Be sure to accumulate food for my army, and especially clothing. Tell General Easton we will need at least 100,000 suits of clothing. Our animals are in good condition, and have been accustomed to a full ration of fodder. They will wail piteously if put on a mere grain ration.

If not delayed much at Goldsborough we can soon gain a good fodder country. You must now push as boldly as possible straight on Goldsborough, and I will do the same. Joe Johnston may try to interpose, in which case we must strike him as near at the same time as possible. If he crosses Neuse to the south you must do the same, but I think he will await us at Goldsborough or Raleigh, and I hope, at both.

Consolidate your command at once into an army, the Center of this. General Howard has the Right Wing, and Genereal Slocum the Left. You can have Terry’s troops, but I want the detachments that belong to this army to join their respective brigades as quick as possible. I understand that Meagher’s division is composed wholly of detachments that belong to the corps now with my-Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Fourteenth, and Twentieth. I will want to give Kilpatrick as much cavalry as possible, as he has a heavy load to carry. He has to look out for Hampton, Wheeler, and Butler, all accounted first class men. I take it for granted that Joe Johnston has now S. D. Lee’s corps, 4,000; Cheatham’s, 5,000; Hoke’s, 8,000; Hardee’s, 10,000, and detachments about 10,000-37,000, with near 8,000 cavalry. Our duty is to effect a junction south of Neuse, but if you can get Kinston whilst Johnston is engaged with me, do so, and push on toward Goldsborough. I will attack the Raleigh road. Get your supplies as far forward as possible, that I may quickly replenish.
I am, yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Fayetteville, N. C., March 14, 1865.

General DODGE, Chief Quartermaster, Wilmington (Present):
I am compelled to clear my camps of refugees, white and black, that have clung to us during our march through South Carolina, and have ordered Major Windsor’s One hundred and sixteenth Illinois to gather them and conduct them, with such means as we can spare, to Wilmington. I hardly know myself what numbers will go, and what proportions are able-bodied, but fear they are all helpless. You may send all blacks to General Rufus Saxton, at Beaufort, S. C., and all whites not absorbed by the usual demand you may send in return chartered vessels to New York, consigned to the commissioners of emigration.

Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, opposite Fayetteville, Tuesday, March 14, 1865.

Major-General TERRY, Commanding, &c., Wilmington:
Quartermaster-General Dodge is now with me, and I have explained many things to him. I want your 9,000 infantry up at Goldsborough as soon as possible. I begin my movement tomorrow and if the weather is at all favorable will be opposite Goldsborough in five days. I think your best plan is to move up as light as possible by by the best road. When you effect a junction I can supply you 200 wagons.

Until we get Goldsborough reduced to possession and its railroad down we will not have much marching. General Schofield should push his railroad from New Berne, and your branch should be kept moving as fast as possible. Colonel Wright has but a limited force, but I will write to General Schofield to send some of Colonel Wright’s foremen and also one or two regiments of negro troops as laborers. As I apprroach the road, the enemy will doubtless remove as much of the iron as he can. I have asked Captain Young to keep up an active movement along Cape Fear River to make Joe Johnston believe that I have resupplied my wagons and can stand a hirty days’ campaign. I shall feign strong on Raleigh, but actually approach Goldsborough, but will not attempt Goldsborough till I have Kinston and the railroad bridge across the Neuse, so that I can draw supplies from New Berne, on the north bank of the Neuse. That once done, I think I can get Goldsborough quick. I may, however, do so at once, according to appearances, as I approach the place. I am much obliged for the supplies, but would suggest that you estimate to keep on hand always 1,000,000 of rations, independent of your own wants. I feel confident that Generals Easton and Beckwith have full supplies for me about New Berne.

I am, truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

General Terry Writes:

HDQRS. PROVISIONAL CORPS, DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Wilmington, N. C., March 14, 1865
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:

I have received your letters of the 12th and 13th. I sent you by the steamer Howard yesterday 158,000 rations of coffee-all we had-and all our sugar; by the Lady Lang a load of forage. I send today by the Mary Benton 3,800 pairs of shoes and 2,400 pairs of boots. The shoes and boots arrived here this morning from Beaufort, and were intended for my own troops, who are much in need of them; but I suppose the necessities of your main army in this respect are much greater than mine and I therefore send them to you. I also send by the Benton 1,500 boxes of hard bread. We have no clothing of any description here. All the supplies have been sent to Beaufort. When General Couch left here my wagons were taken to supply him. Others are now on transports off the bar, but the vessels are of too heavy draft to come into the river. I expect to transship and get them up here tomorrow. I cannot start from here until day after tomorrow morning. I think that I can reach Faison’s Depot Sunday night. My transportation will be very short and I shall need supplies very soon after reaching Faison’s, but I think General Schofield will have wagons to spare and I shall write to him to send them across to me from Kinston with subsistence.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ALFRED H. TERRY, Major-General

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