General Howard reports the losses of the right wing at two officers and thirty-five men killed, twelve officers and two hundred and eighty-nine men wounded, and one officer and sixty men missing; total, three hundred and ninety-nine. He also buried one hundred rebel dead, and took one thousand two hundred and eighty-seven prisoners. The cavalry of Kilpatrick was held in reserve, and lost but few, if any, of which I have no report as yet. Our aggregate loss at Bentonville was one thousand six hundred and forty-six. I am well satisfied that the enemy lost heavily, especially during his assaults on the left wing during the afternoon of the nineteenth; but as I have no data save his dead and wounded left in our hands, I prefer to make no comparisons. Thus, as I have endeavored to explain, we had completed our march on the twenty-first, and had full possession of Goldsboro, the real “objective,” with its two railroads back to the seaports of Wilmington and Beaufort, North Carolina. These were rapidly being repaired by strong working parties directed by Colonel W. W. Wright, of the Railroad Department. A large number of supplies had already been brought forward to Kinston, to which place our wagons had been sent to receive them. I therefore directed General Howard and the cavalry to remain at Bentonville during the twenty-second, to bury the dead and remove the wounded, and on the following day all the armies to move to the camps assigned to them about Goldsboro, there to rest and receive the clothing and supplies of which they stood in need. In person I went on the twenty-second to Cox's bridge to meet General Terry, whom I met for the first time, and on the following day rode into Goldsboro, where I found General Schofield and his army. The left wing came in during the same day and next morning, and the right wing followed on the twenty-fourth, on which day the cavalry moved to Mount Olive station, and General Terry back to Faison's. On the twenty-fifth the Newbern railroad was finished, and the first train of cars came in, thus giving us the means of bringing from the depot at Morehead City full supplies for the army. It was all-important that I should have an interview with the General-in-chief, and presuming that he could not at this time leave City Point, I left General Schofield in chief command, and proceeded with all expedition by rail to Morehead City, and thence by steamer to City Point, reaching General Grant's headquarters on the evening of the twenty-seventh of March. I had the good fortune to meet General Grant, the President, Generals Meade, Ord, and others of the Army of the Potomac, and soon learned the general state of the military world, from which I had been in a great measure cut off since January. Having completed all necessary business, I reembarked on the navy steamer Bat, Captain Barnes, which Admiral Porter placed at my command, and returned via Hatteras Inlet and Newbern, reaching my own headquarters in Goldsboro during the night of the thirtieth. During my absence full supplies of clothing and food had been brought to camp, and all things were working well. I have thus rapidly sketched the progress of our columns from Savannah to Goldsboro, but for more minute details must refer to the reports of subordinate commanders and of staff officers, which are not yet ready, but will in due season be forwarded and filed with this report. I cannot even, with any degree of precision, recapitulate the vast amount of injury done the enemy, or the quantity of guns and material of war captured and destroyed. In general terms we have traversed the country from Savannah to Goldsboro, with an average breadth of forty miles, consuming all the forage, cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, cured meats, corn meal. &c. The public enemy, instead of drawing supplies from that region to feed his armies, will be compelled to send provisions from other quarters to feed the inhabitants. A map herewith, prepared by my Chief Engineer, Colonel Poe, with the routes of the four corps and cavalry, will show at a glance the country traversed. Of course the abandonment to us by the enemy of the whole sea-coast, from Savannah to Newbern, North Carolina, with its forts, dock-yards, gunboats, &c., was a necessary incident to our occupation and destruction of the inland routes of travel and supply. But the real object of this march was to place this army in a position easy of supply, whence it could take an appropriate part in the spring and summer campaign of 1865. This was completely accomplished on the twenty-first of March by the junction of the three armies and occupation of Goldsboro. In conclusion, I beg to express in the most emphatic manner my entire satisfaction with the tone and temper of the whole army. Nothing seems to dampen their energy, zeal or cheerfulness. It is impossible to conceive a march involving more labor and exposure, yet I cannot recall an instance of bad temper by the way, or hearing an expression of doubt as to our perfect success in the end. I believe that this cheerfulness and harmony of action reflects upon all concerned quite as much real honor and fame as “battles gained” or “cities won,” and I therefore commend all, generals, staff, officers, and men, for these high qualities, in addition to the more soldierly ones of obedience to orders and the alacrity they have always manifested when danger summoned them “to the front.” I have the honor to be Your obedient servant,
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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