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
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
was found to be ahead; and our cavalry marched all day3
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
tore it up down to Alston
, where he crossed4
, and pushed north nearly to Chesterville
; when he found that Wheeler
had moved around his front, united with Wade Hampton
, and was before him on the road to Charlotte
and Raleigh, N. C.
, which Sherman
's advance northward from Columbia
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
captured 25 guns), and thence up to the State
line at Sneedsboroa; moving on parallel roads within easy supporting distance, till they were concentrated at Fayetteville
,8 N. C.
; leaving Charlotte
and the bulk of the Rebel
army far to our left.
Heavy rains and almost impassable streams had delayed our different 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
; 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.
skillfully deceived Gen. Atkins
, whom Kilpatrick
had left behind, passed him by an unsuspected road, and fell in full force upon Kilpatrick
about 2 A. M.; taking them completely by surprise, routing them and capturing all their guns.
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 succeeded in rallying them, while the enemy, supposing him utterly routed, were intent on plundering his camp; and,