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[581] of the Army of Tennessee and the forces of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

My orders on leaving Charleston had been to move to Greensboro, North Carolina, via Wilmington. Capture of latter place, 21st of February, left route by Cheraw the only practicable one.

Arriving at Cheraw in advance of my troops, I found Sherman had changed his course, hitherto directed to Charlotte, North Carolina, and was marching on Cheraw. His advance was within a few miles of the place. A staff-officer, Major Black, sent out to reconnoitre, was captured, but escaped by a daring act of horsemanship. As fast as my troops came up I pushed them out toward the enemy and held him in check until my transportation and supplies came up and I was ready to resume the march.

Cheraw was the terminus of the railroad, and I sent the accumulated rolling-stock back to the central part of the State or the point least exposed. Two thousand prisoners of war left at Florence when Confederate States prison was removed to Salisbury, North Carolina, were exchanged by a staff-officer sent to Federal commander at Wilmington for that purpose.

As I marched out of Cheraw, the enemy pressed my rear closely and there was a sharp skirmish over the bridge spanning the Great Pedee. Skirmishers and flying artillery opened from the opposite bank upon my rear-guard as it cleared the bridge. Major-General Butler, with a squad of cavalry, charged repeatedly for the head of the bridge and drove back the enemy. He passed the bridge himself after it had been fired in a dozen places. The enemy attempted to extinguish the flames, but were prevented by the First Georgia regulars, under Colonel Wayne, from the opposite bank of the river.

Left Cheraw March 3d, and subsequently received orders from General Johnston to move to Smithfield, North Carolina, by way of Rockingham and Fayetteville.

March 10th.
Hampton and Wheeler, who had been hanging on the

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