conclusive, and showed it when he said, in parting, to his soldiers, “We have gone through the War
lie did not overrate its decisive importance.
Before returning to Sherman
— whom we left at Goldsboroa, facing Johnston
, who was at Smithfield
, north of him, covering Raleigh
— we must glance at an effective blow dealt at the scanty resources remaining to the Confederacy
's cavalry, dispatched, under Stoneman
, from East Tennessee
, after his return to Knoxville
from his successful Winter expedition into south-western Virginia
, was directed1
to make a fresh advance with his cavalry, south-west-ward into South Carolina
, in aid of Sherman
's movement through that State.
Before he had started, however, Sherman
had made such progress as not to need his assistance; so Grant
directed him to advance almost eastward, destroying the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, so nearly to Lynchburg
as might be. Moving2
eastward to Boone, N. C.
, he there turned northward down the valley of New river
to Wytheville, Va.
; whence he swept down the railroad, disabling it almost to Lynchburg
; then turning nearly south, and striking the North Carolina railroad between Danville
and Greensboroa; destroying some depots of supplies, and taking 400 prisoners. Evading Greensboroa, he moved thence south-westward on Salisbury
— a Rebel prison-camp — which was defended3
's creek, 10 miles out, by 3,000 Rebels under Gen. W. M. Gardiner
, with 14 guns directed by Col.
This force was charged by our cavalry, and instantly routed: all its guns being taken, with 1,364 prisoners. The remainder were chased several miles until utterly dispersed.
Vast magazines of ammunition and depots of provisions, clothing, medicines, &c., were found in Salisbury
and destroyed, with 10,000 small arms, 4 cotton factories, 7,000 bales of cotton, the railroads, &c., &c. After spending two days in this work, Stoneman
returned thence by Slatersville, N. C., to Jonesboroa
,4 East Tennessee
; in defiance of Sherman
's urgent orders to remain in North Carolina
, and afford him that aid which his weakness in cavalry required.
remained quiescent at Goldsboroa, reclothing and refitting his army, until electrified5
by the news of Grant
's successes at Five Forks
, with the resulting captures of Petersburg
He now impelled a determined advance6
, who, with 40,000 men, still lay at Smithfield
; which was entered, at 10 A. M. next day, by our 14th corps, supported by the 20th: Johnston
, burning the bridge over the Neuse
, retreating on Raleigh
without a struggle; and, having the use of the railroad, which he destroyed behind him, was thus able to keep out of the way. But the news of Lee
's surrender, here received, caused Sherman
to drop his trains, and push on through Raleigh7
in a heavy rain; his right wing following Johnston
's line of retreat by Hillsboroa toward Greensboroa, while his left took a more southerly route by Pittsboroa and Ashboroa, in anticipation of Johnston
's following the railroad