previous next

[378] skirmishing with Butler's division of cavalry, and the next day about noon the Seventeenth corps entered Cheraw, the enemy retreating across the Pedee and burning the bridge at that point. At Cheraw we found much ammunition and many guns, which had been brought from Charleston on the evacuation of that city. These were destroyed, as also the railroad trestles and bridges down as far as Darlington. An expedition of mounted infantry was also sent down to Florence, but it encounted both cavalry and infantry and returned, having only broken up in part the branch road from Florence to Cheraw.

Without unnecessary delay, the columns were again put in motion, directed on Fayetteville, North Carolina, the right wing crossing the Pedee at Cheraw and the left wing and cavalry at Sneedsboro. General Kilpatrick was ordered to keep well on the left flank, and the Fourteenth corps, moving by Love's bridge, was given the right to enter and occupy Fayetteville first. The weather continued unfavorable and roads bad, but the Fourteenth and Seventeeth corps reached Fayetteville on eleventh of March, skirmishing with Wade Hampton's cavalry, that covered the rear of Hardee's retreating army, which, as usual, had crossed Cape Fear river, burning the bridge. During the march from the Pedee General Kilpatrick had kept his cavalry well on the left and exposed flank During the night of the ninth of March his three brigades were divided to picket the roads. General Hampton, detecting this, dashed in at daylight, and gained possession of the camp of Colonel Spencer's brigade, and the house in which General Kilpatrick and Colonel Spencer had their quarters. The surprise was complete, but General Kilpatrick quickly succeeded in rallying his men, on foot, in a swamp near by, and by a prompt attack, well followed up, regained his artillery, horses, camp, and everything save some prisoners, whom the enemy carried off, leaving their dead on the ground.

The twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth were passed at Fayetteville, destroying absolutely the United States arsenal and the vast amount of machinery which had formerly belonged to the old Harper's Ferry United Statesarsenal. Every building was knocked down and burned, and every piece of machinery utterly broken up and ruined, by the First regiment Michigan engineers, under the immediate supervision of Colonel O. M. Poe, Chief Engineer. Much valuable property of great use to an enemy, was here destroyed, or cast into the river.

Up to this period I had perfectly succeeded in interposing my superior army between the scattered parts of my enemy. But I was then aware that the fragments that had left Columbia under Beauregard had been reinforced by Cheatham's corps from the West, and the garrison of Augusta, and that ample time had been given to move them to my front and flank about Raleigh. Hardee had also succeeded in getting across Cape Fear river ahead of me, and could, therefore, complete the junction with the other armies of Johnston and Hoke in North Carolina. And the whole, under the command of the skilful and experienced Joe Johnston, made up an army superior to me in cavalry, and formidable enough in artillery and infantry to justify me in extreme caution in making the last step necessary to complete the march I had undertaken. Previous to reaching Fayetteville I had despatched to Willnington, from Laurel Hill church, two of our best scouts with intelligence of our position and my general plans. Both of these messengers reached Wilmington, and on the morning of the twelfth of March the army tug Davidson, Captain Ainsworth, reached Fayetteville from Wilmington, bringing me full intelligence of events from the outer world. On the same day this tug carried back to General Terry, at Wilmington, and General Schofield, at Newbern, my despatches to the effect that on Wednesday, the fifteenth, we would move for Goldsboro, feigning on Raleigh, and ordering them to march straight for Goldsboro, which I expected to reach about the twentieth. The same day the gunboat Eolus, Captain Young, United States Navy, also reached Fayetteville, and through her I continued to have communication with Wilmington until the day of our actual departure. While the work of destruction was going on at Fayetteville two pontoon bridges were laid across Cape Fear river, one opposite the town, the other three miles below.

General Kilpatrick was ordered to move up the plank road to and beyond Averysboro. He was to be followed by four divisions of the left wing, with as few wagons as possible; the rest of the train, under escort of the two remaining divisions of that wing, to take a shorter and more direct road to Goldsboro. In like manner General Howard was ordered to send his trains, under good escort, well to the right, toward Faison's depot and Goldsboro, and to hold four divisions light, ready to go to the aid of the left wing if attacked while in motion. The weather continued very bad, and the roads had become mere quagmires. Almost every foot of it had to be corduroyed, to admit the passage of wheels. Still time was so important that punctually, according to order, the columns moved out from Cape Fear river on Wednesday, the fifteenth of March. I accompanied General Slocum, who, preceded by Kilpatrick's cavalry, moved up the river or plank-road that day to Kyle's landing, Kilpatrick skirmishing heavily with the enemy's rear guard, about three miles beyond, near Taylor's Hole creek. At General Kilpatrick's request,General Slocum sent forward a brigade of infantry to hold a line of barricades. Next morning the column advanced in the same order, and developed the enemy, with artillery, infantry, and cavalry, in an intrenched position in front of the point where the road branches off toward Goldsboro, through Bentonville. On an inspection of the map it was manifest that Hardee, in retreating from Fayetteville, had halted in the narrow,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. Kilpatrick (8)
Hardee (3)
Spencer (2)
H. W. Slocum (2)
Joe Johnston (2)
W. G. Young (1)
Alfred H. Terry (1)
J. M. Schofield (1)
O. M. Poe (1)
Love (1)
Kyle (1)
O. O. Howard (1)
R. T. Hoke (1)
Wade Hampton (1)
Faison (1)
Cheatham (1)
Benjamin F. Butler (1)
P. T. Beauregard (1)
Ainsworth (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 15th (1)
March 12th (1)
March 11th (1)
March 9th (1)
15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: