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[379] soon as his troops reached that place, the battle opened. It lasted until evening. The enemy was driven a mile from his intrenchments, one of his corps was routed, and three of his guns were captured. He rallied on fresh troops, however, and then attempted the offensive, which the Confederates successfully and easily resisted until dark. Nothing more was done that night. The next morning the entire Federal army was in front of General Johnston's forces, and intrenched. The 15th Corps had moved from the direction of Goldsboroa, on our left flank and rear, necessitating, on our part, a change of front to the south. All further attack being impossible, General Johnston merely held his position to cover the removal of his wounded and occupy the enemy. On that and the following day (20th and 21st) several assaults were made by the enemy, but they were invariably repulsed. ‘The troops of the Tennessee army,’ said General Johnston, in one of his despatches to General Beauregard, ‘have fully disproved the slander that has been published against them.’ Such well-deserved testimony in their behalf must have been most gratifying to their old commander, who, having so often tested their mettle, knew that even at this dark hour of our struggle, and after they had been so hardly tried, there were no better troops in the Confederate service. What might not have been the result of the battle of Bentonville, if to Bragg's and Hardee's forces, and to the small portion of the Army of Tennessee there present, had been added two corps of the Army of Northern Virginia; or if, without them, General Johnston's forces had really amounted to 49,868 men, as General Badeau asserts, in his ‘Military History of Ulysses S. Grant!’1

The effective strength under General Johnston, at the battle of Bentonville, did not exceed 14,100 men. General Butler's division of cavalry, posted to watch General Sherman's right column, took no part in the action; nor did, General Wheeler's forces; nor did the 2000 men of the Army of Tennessee, under General Cheatham, who only arrived on the 20th and 21st, and had nothing to do during the first day's encounter.2 The Federal army, on the other hand, must have numbered at least 60,000 men. Half of it—or the whole left wing, composed of two

1 Vol. III., p. 432.

2 Johnston's ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ pp. 392, 393.

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