Goldsboro, North Carolina
I have received great news from General Grant that will force me to alter my plans and move straight on Raleigh:
Colonel T. B. BOWERS, City Point:
Please have the following dispatch put in cipher and ask Admiral Porter to send it to Morehead City:
WILSON’S STATION, April 5, 1865.
All indications now are that Lee will attempt to reach Danville with the remnant of his force. Sheridan, who was up with him last night, reports all that is left, horse, foot, and dragooons at 20,000, much demoralized. We hope to reduce this number one-half. I shall push on to Burkeville, and if a stand is made at Danville will in a very few days be there. If you can possibly do so, push on from where you are and let use see if we cannot finish the job with Lee’s and Johnston’s armies. Whether it will be better for you to strike for Greensborough or nearer to Danville you will be better able to judge when you receive this. Rebel armies now are the only strategic points to strike at.
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Goldsborough, N. C., Saturday, April 8, 1865.
Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Va.:
I have just received your letter of the 5th from Wilson’s Station, and although I have written you several letters lately, will repeat. On Monday at daylight all my army will move straight on Joe Johnston, supposed to be between me and Raleigh, and I will follow him wherever he may go. If he retreats on Danville to make junction with Lee I will do the same, though I may take a course round him, bending toward Greensborough for the purpose of turning him north. I will bear in mind your plan and unmistakable point that “the rebel armies are now the strategic points to strike at. ” I will follow Johnston, presuming that you are after Lee, or all that you have left to him and if they come together we will also. I think I will be at Raleigh on Thursday, the 13th, and shall pursue Johnston toward Greensborough unless it be manifest that he has gone toward Danville. I shall be rough unless it be manifest that he has gone toward Danville, as I don’t want to race all the way back through South Carolina and Georgia.
It is to our interest to let Lee and Johnston come together, just as a billiard player would nurse the balls when he has them in a nice place. I am delighted and amazed at the result of your move to the south of Petersburg, and Lee has lost in one day the reputation of three years, and you have established a reputation for perseverance and pluck that would make Wellington jump out of his coffin. I wish you could have waited a few days, or that I could have been here a week sooner, but it is not too late and you may rely with absolute certainty that I will be after Johnston with about 80,000 men, provided for twenty full days, which will last me forty, and I will leave a small force here at Goldsborough and repair the railroad up to Raleigh.
If you have a spare division you might send it to Schofield to help him hold this line of railroad out from Morehead City to Goldsborough, but I will not hesitate to let go the railroad and everything if I can get at Joe Johnston in an open field. If Sheridan don’t run his horses off their legs and you can spare him for a week or so let him feel down for me, and make a big haul of horses. Tell him I make him a free gift of all the blooded stock of North Carolina, including Wade Hampton’s, whose pedigree and stud are of high repute. Don’t fail to have Stoneman break through the mountains of West North Carolina. He will find plenty of Union men, who will aid him to reach either your army or mine, and Canby should, if he takes Mobile, get up the Alabama River about Selma, from which place he can catch all fragments passing toward Texas. I have an idea that he can get up the Alabama River, even if he do not take Mobile. I have a report from Wilson, who will, I think break up all railroad lines in Alabama.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Goldsborough, April 8, 1865 7 p.m.
General MEIGS, Morehead City:
Am just receipt of a cipher dispatch from General Grant at Burkeville, of 6th. He is pressing Lee hard and expects to scatter his whole army. Davis and cabinet are at Danville. Tell Major Leet, who comes down today, to get to Old Point as quick as possible, and get a message to General Grant, at any cost, that I will push Joe Johnston to the death.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Goldsborough, N. C., April 8, 1865.
Captain W. H. MACOMB, U. S. Navy, Commanding Squadron, Albemarle Sound:
DEAR MACOMB: You have, of course, heard of the defeat by General Grant of Lee’s army at Petersburg, and consequent occupation of Richmond and Petersburg. I have letters from General Grant, of the 5th, from Wilson’s Station, on the road toward Burkeville, stating that he is pushing the pursuit after the retreating army. This changes our whole plans, and I will move straight for Raleigh instead of making for the Roanoke. We will not, in consequent, have any use for Winton or Murfreesborough, and if General Schofield has sent any troops up to Winton he will recall them and use them to cover our railroads. I expect to march on Monday, the 10th, on Raleigh, and maybe Greensborough, and give you this notice that you may not be disappointed in the recall of troops from the Chowan. So far as my operations are concerned for the next month, all I ask is that the sounds and channels leading up to New Berne and Kinston be patrolled by the gunboats. Hoping to meet you again soon,
I am, with respect, yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, Numbers 85.
HDQRS. ARMY OF THE TENN., Goldsborough, N. C., April 8, 1865.
I. The amount of ammunition to be carried on the coming, campaign will be 180 rounds per man of infantry, and 250 per gun of artillery. Of the infantry ammunition sixty rounds per man will be carried upon the person and the remainder in wagons; the 250 per gun will include that carried in the chests. Corps and division allotted for this purpose, estimating the weight at not more than 2,000 pounds to each wagon.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Goldsborough, April 8, 1865. 12 m.
General KILPATRICK, Mount Olive:
I now have official intelligence from General Grant of the defeat of Lee’s army and occupation of Petersburg and Richmond. He is pursuing the fragments, represented at 20,000, toward Danville. We move on Monday rapidly on Johnston toward Raleigh. I sent your orders last night, and now repeat the substance. Move early on Monday by Troublefield’s Store, Lee’s, and Elevation to strike the railroad between Smithfield and Raleigh. General Terry will move via Bentonville and Turner’s Bridge. The main army takes the main road, crossing the Neuse at Smithfield. Now is the time for your cavalry to work on the flanks and rear of Johnston. I think Wheeler is between us and Weldon. I think Butler’s division has been sent back to South Carolina. I hear of them between Wilmington and Florence. Wade Hampton is about Smithfield, where I also suppose Johnston to be, though he may have moved back toward Raleigh. Answer.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General
MOUNT OLIVE, April 8, 1865.
I will move is directed. I did not receive your orders of last evening. Am all ready, save the saddles expected from New Berne. Shall go without them if they do not arrive in time. Spencer is anxious about his leave. He can go as well as not. I have a good officer to take this place. Please indicate to me the points at which messages will be most likely to reach you from time to time. I shall operate boldly and do all the mischief possible.
KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, April 8, 1865.
Spencer can have his leave. You can communicate with me here till Monday. I will then keep with General Slocum’s left corps near Cox’s Bridge, and be near Smithfield Tuesday; afterward on the main road to Raleigh, not far from the head of column. General Sheridan has done great service against the retreating infantry, cutting off and capturing whole brigades of infantry, artillery, and wagon trains.
Of course I would like you to have new saddles, but time won’t wait. I will have the telegraph and railroad keep up with me, and shall habit-bridge here and at Cox’s. Terry’s command will be your support until we are all across the Neuse at Smithfield, when General Slocum will be the left, and General Schofield, with General Terry, the center; General Howard the right. I intend to push to Greensborough as fast as I can consistent with ordinary prudence.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding