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[582] left flank of the enemy, gained a success over Kilpatrick's cavalry only less complete from encountering two brigades of infantry assigned to protect Kilpatrick from the rough usage he had been receiving from the hands of Wheeler.

A handsome little affair occurred at Fayetteville next morning. Infantry had crossed Cape Fear, and cavalry had not come in, when one hundred and fifty of the enemy's cavalry charged into the town, which was full of trains and led horses, but without troops. General Hampton, at the head of a dozen men-staff-officers and couriers-charged the body, killing two with his own hand, capturing some, and driving the remainder out of town.

March 16th.
Arrived in vicinity of Averysboro. Breaking off near here are roads leading to Raleigh, Smith's Lane. and Goldsboro; and, to ascertain whether I was followed by Sherman's whole army, or a part of it, and what was its destination, I determined to make a stand here, to develop numbers and object of enemy. I e elected a point where Cape Fear and Black Rivers were contiguous.

My force, two divisions, commanded by McLaws and Taliaferro, small originally, and now reduced by the desertions it had been impossible to prevent in a rapid march, and by the withdrawal of a brigade of South Carolina militia, which Governor Magrath had refused to let go out of the State, footed up six thousand effectives, including a brigade of South Carolina reserves. My flank was protected by Wheeler, with a part of his cavalry. The enemy brought against me the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps infantry, and Kilpatrick's cavalry. Sherman was on the field in person.

My troops, for the most part, had never seen field-service, were organized on the march, etc. Regiments and brigades went into action under disadvantages. But, during the day, they changed position under fire, and repelled all attempts of the enemy to break or turn their position, with the steadiness of veterans. My loss was five hundred killed


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