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[705] 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,1 and, moving on the left of the 14th corps, struck the Lexington and Augusta 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,2 Wheeler 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 and Columbia road, Kilpatrick tore it up down to Alston, where he crossed4 the Broad, 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 to Winnsboroa5 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,6 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 at Cheraw7 (where Blair 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;9 striking next day the rear of Hardee's column retreating from Cheraw on Fayetteville; 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.

Hampton skillfully deceived Gen. Atkins, whom Kilpatrick had left behind, passed him by an unsuspected road, and fell in full force upon Kilpatrick and Spencer about 2 A. M.; taking them completely by surprise, routing them and capturing all their guns. Spencer 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,

1 Feb. 15.

2 Feb. 17.

3 Feb. 18.

4 Feb. 19

5 Feb. 21

6 Feb. 23.

7 March 3.

8 March 11.

9 March 7.

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