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[385] was probably an interval of a day's march between the heads of the two columns.

To be prepared to attack the head of the left Federal column next morning, the troops at Smithfield and at Elevation were ordered to march immediately to Bentonville, and to bivouac that night between the hamlet and the road on which the left Federal column was marching. By the map, the distance from Elevation to Bentonville was but twelve miles; the timely arrival of all the troops seemed to be certain, therefore. The map proved to be very incorrect, and deceived me greatly in relation to the distance between the two roads on which the Federal columns were marching, which it exaggerated very much, and that from Elevation, which it reduced almost as much. General Hardee found it too great for a day's march.

Lieutenant-General Hampton gave all necessary information that night in Bentonville. He described the ground near the road abreast of us as favorable for our purpose. The Federal camp, however, was but four or five miles from that ground, nearer, by several miles, than Hardee's bivouac, and therefore we could not hope for the advantage of attacking the head of a deep column. But Lieutenant-General Hampton had caused some light intrenchments to be thrown up across the road between the Federal camp and the proposed field of battle, by the help of which he expected Butler's division to keep back the enemy until the arrival of Hardee's corps should enable us to attack.

As soon as General Hardee's troops reached Bentonville next morning, we moved by the left flank,

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