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[377] General Beauregard was anxious that General Johnston should now immediately concentrate his forces against Schofield, and defeat him before he could effect his junction with the main body of General Sherman's army. Circumstances and the views of the General commanding, which, in that respect, differed from those of General Beauregard, prevented the execution of the suggested movement.

On the 15th of March, General Sherman's entire army had crossed Cape Fear River, and was on its march to Goldsboroa. His four corps advanced in the following manner: the 17th on the right, the 15th next in order, the 14th and 20th on the left, with the cavalry in close supporting distance to that flank.

General Johnston, believing that the enemy might be inclined to move on Raleigh as well as on Goldsboroa, had collected a portion of his forces at Smithfield, while General Hardee was on his way from Fayetteville to Raleigh, with part of his cavalry on the road leading to Raleigh, and part of it on the Goldsboroa road. On the 16th, at a point five miles south of Averysboroa, He was attacked by the two Federal corps under General Slocum and by Kilpatrick's cavalry. General Hardee had posted his force in two lines. On the first was formed Colonel Alfred Rhett's brigade of Regulars, from the defences of Charleston, supported by a battalion of light artillery and some of Hampton's cavalry. That line was attacked by Jackson's division, a part of Ward's, and by a portion of Kilpatrick's cavalry, in two successive assaults and a movement in front and flank. After repulsing with slaughter two attacks and maintaining the front line for several hours, the command fell back to the second line, which General Hardee held, driving back the enemy. General Sherman speaks of this defence as ‘stubborn.’ Our loss was computed at five hundred. That of the enemy, according to prisoners' accounts, amounted to thirty-two hundred. General Sherman, in his ‘Memoirs,’ gives the casualties on the Federal side at ‘twelve officers and sixty-five men killed, and four hundred and seventy-seven men wounded; a serious loss,’ he adds, ‘because every wounded man had to be carried in an ambulance.’1 General Johnston, in his ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ criticises General Sherman's report, and says that if his soldiers were ‘driven back repeatedly ’

1 Sherman's ‘Memoirs,’ vol. II., p. 302.

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