Tuesday, April 11, 1865

HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Smithfield, N. C., April 11, 1865
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS Numbers 53

The movement will proceed rapidly, but also with due caution, on Raleigh:

I. General Howard, commanding Army of the Tennessee, will send one corps as rapidly as possible east of the Neuse to Raleigh, via Hinton’s Bridge (the Neuse Mills). The other corps will move by Pineville and the river road, prepared dto cross over on the sound of battle by the bridge at Pineville or at Battle’s Bridge.

II. General Slocum’s column will be the column of direction, and will move straight on Raleigh, and, if possible, will use roads lying between Swift Creek and the Neuse, but if compelled to use the road across Swift Creek, will not follow it west of the road leading from Elevation to Raleigh.

III. General Schofield, commanding Army of the Ohio, will cross the Neuse at Turner’s Bridge and take any road convenient west of the one prescribed for General Slocum, and be prepared to pass the enemy’s flank if he attempts to hold an intrenched line, or to support General Slocum if he needs it.

VI. The cavalry, General Kilpatrick, will operate from the left flank of the army, and will, in case the enemy breaks or manifests disorder, pursue with vehemence.

V. All the columns may safely leave their supply trains well to the rear, and be ready to engage the enemy with strong skirmish lines whenever encountered. Should the enemy attack any one of the columns, it must hold him and all others must turn on his flank and rear.

VI. If the enemy retreats through and beyond Raleigh he must be pursued, but a new order of march will be prescribed from Raleigh.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:

Slocum will move as follows:
I. The Fourteenth Corps will cross the upper pontoon bridge over the Neuse River, starting as early as possible, and will march by the road through Iron Mine, Gulley’s Station, and Auburn, encamping to-morrow night at or near Gulley’s Station. The trains of the corps will march as heretofore.

II. The Twentieth Corps will cross the lower pontoon bridge over the Neuse River, starting as early as possible, and will march by the road leading in the direction of Leachburg, but turning to the right at the intersection of this road with the road running from Elevation to Raleigh. The corps will encamp to-morrow night at Swift Creek, nearly opposite Gulley’ Station. The trains of the Twentieth Corps will follow those of the Fourteenth.

Howard Reports:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Pine Level, N. C., April 11, 1865. 1:30 p. m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
General Blair is here, his head of column at the swamp near by preparing a crossing. I expect General Logan is at Lowell Factory by this time, as he encamped about seven miles back from Whitley’s Mill on the road to Pikeville last night. The roads are bad and need much work. Will General Slocum cross at Smithfield so that I can use the river road to Pineville? About 300 cavalry (rebel) left here this a. m., between 9 and 10 o’clock. A “galvanized Yankee” came in this a. m. He assisted in tearing up the railroad, and says that Jeff. Davis was at Greensborough four days ago. He says that Johnston claims to have 60,000 men. Quite a number of men have come down from Danville and a large number, reported at 18,000, from Charleston, said to have come by the Georgia Railroad. He says sthat Stonemant was at Salem, fifteen miles beyond Greensborough. I do not regard his reports with much credibility unless confirmed by other reports.
Very respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Smithfield, April 11, 1865. 3:30 p.m.
General HOWARD, Pine Level:
Direct your columns on Pineville, but keep the division that went to Nahunta by the road high up, say, by Hinton’s Bridge. I have a Raleigh paper of the 10th. It is utterly in the dark as to recent events about Richmond, and dwells on the idea that Lee evacuated, but citizens say they have not heard from Richmond for several days. This is accounted for by Grant being between Lee and the south. An article speaks of a review of Hardee’s corps on the railroad, at which were present Johnston, Hardee, Cheatham, Hoke, and D. H. Hill; that was last Friday. I suppose Johnston to be about Walnut Creek, and may have infantry down as far as Auburn. I notice also a communication dated the Fifth Cavalry Camp, Nahunta Swamp. I think Wheeler is there; Wade Hampton here, and Butler gone back to South Carolina. Stoneman is raiding in the direction of Greensborough. Wilson whipped Forrest at Selma, took the town, burned the navy-yard and stores, and smashed up things generally. Forrest had three roads, but got on the Alabama and had ordered Montgomery never to surrender, although the people were scattering. It is probable I will keep the Fifteenth Corps on the east of Neuse as high up as Neuse Mills, and the Seventeenth to Battle’s Bridge. Have the bridges at the heads of columns. Send to Logan at once and turn him on his course, and I take it for granted you have a road from Pine Level to Pineville. You had better stay at Pine Level, or come and see me here in the morning.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, Pine Level, N. C., April 11, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
General Logan reports at Lowell Factory that his detached division under General Woods is at Folk’s Bridge. The bridge had been destroyed, but he would soon have it repaired so as to cross this p. m. The General will cross his three divisions at Lowell Factory, tonight. Do your wishes with regard to destroying factories, mills &c., remain the same as during previous campaigns? Your note just received. I had issued my marching orders in accordance with your former letter. I have now sent special instructions to General Logan. General Blair can move more directly than to go through Smithfield. Your note expressed a wish to see me. Is it important that I go to Smithfield?
Respectfully,
O. O. HOWARD, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Smithfield, N. C., April 11, 1865.
Major General O. O. HOWARD, Commanding Right Wing:
Your note is received. You need not have the Lowell Factory destroyed. I will wait our reception at Raleigh to shape our general policy. You may instruct General Logan to exact bonds that the factory shall not be used for the Confederacy. Of course the bond is not worth a cent, but if the factory owners do not abide by the conditions they cannot expect any mercy the next time. Until we get to Raleigh I propose to keep up connection back with Goldsborough. I shall await your coming tomorrow morning. I send you a Raleigh paper of the 10th.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. CAVALRY COMMAND, MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., In the Field, April 11, 1865. 4:30 p.m.
My advance tonight encamps on Middle Creek near Mr. Moore’s house. I learn, which is known to you also, no doubt, that the rebel army is retiring on Raleigh. The bridges on Black Creek were all burned to-day by the enemy, forcing me to make a wide detour to the left in order to cross. My command is not sufficiently well up, owing to the long march and bad roads, to make a successful dash on the enemy’s columns, even if I was within striking distance. Citizens and prisoners inform me that one corps of infantry and a considerable force of cavalry passed Gulley’s Station during last night and this morning: a brigade of cavalry were holding the crossing over Black River, but left at our approach. I hardly think the enemy will make any stand this side of Raleigh. I have made long marches over bad roads, and as yet have found no forage. Citizens inform me I shall find plenty on the other side of Middle Creek. I shall cross Middle Creek and follow up the enemy, reporting everything of interest.
Very respectfully,
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Smithfield, N. C., April 11, 1865. 10:30 p.m.
General KILPATRICK, Commanding Cavalry:
Please hereafter, in reporting your position, to use names on our map. “Moore’s” on Middle Creek is not down. I suppose you to be about the mill without name. You may count on my being near Gulley’s Store tomorrow night, and you may go as near Raleigh as you can. I have Raleigh papers of the 10th. Stoneman is raiding strong near Greensborough, and Wheeler is after him. A portion of Wade Hampton’s cavalry is cut off over toward Weldon (Nahunta Swamp). I don’t think Hampton has 2,000 cavalry with him, and this is your chance. I will push all the column straight on Raleigh. I don’t care about Raleigh now, but want to defeat and destroy the Confederate army; therefore you may run any risk. Of course, don’t break the railroad except to the rear (west) of Johnston, as we want the rails up to Raleigh.
General Wilson has taken Selma and is threatening Montgomery. He has whipped Red Jackson twenty-seven miles from Selma, and at Selma knocked Forrest all to pieces. Rebel papers report Forrest wounded in three places; Abe Buford to defend Montgomery with citizens; Dick Taylor ran westward from Selma; many cooped up in Mobile. General grant is between Johnston and Lee. They cannot communicate. Davis is at Danville.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Smithfield, N. C., April 11, 1865. 10:30 p.m.
General SCHOFIELD, Near Fennon’s Bridge:
General Slocum has two bridges down and will cross early and go to the point on the railroad twelve miles out known as Stalling’s (Gulley’s on our map). We have questioned the doctors and preachers, who all agree that our map is substantially correct and that there is but one road between Swift Creek and the Neuse until abreast of Gulley’s. General Kilpatrick reports from Moore’s house, on Middle Creek (not on our map), which must be up near Leachburg. He reports bridges burned. If in your progress you judge Johnston to be beyond Raleigh, and no fight, you can go as far to the westward as you please, aiming toward Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. You are safe in leaving your wagons under small escort to follow until we are sure of Raleigh. General Howard’s two corps are at Pine Level and Lowell Factory, and will keep well up on this side of the Neuse unless wanted. I would give yu the middle or direct road, but judge time important to save fortifying of the enemy, but will give you center as soon as you get Cox and Terry together. In reporting your position use names on my map, though incorrect.
Yours,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

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