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 March 6th, a large Confederate force across the way near Averysboro. It proved to be Hardee, not Johnston, in immediate command. Kilpatrick came upon the enemy behind intrenchments and moved to the right, while Slocum deployed two divisions of the Twentieth Corps in front of the enemy's line. Sherman joined Slocum and directed him to send a brigade to the left so as to get a ford in rear of the Confederate intrenchments. This was successfully accomplished. The enemy retreated and MacBeth's Charleston battery with 217 of Rhett's men were captured. The Confederates were found behind another line of works, a short distance in rear of the first. Both operations constituted the battle. Slocum skirmished up to the new position, and went into camp “in their immediate front.” During the night Hardee retreated, leaving 108 dead for Slocum to bury and 68 wounded. We lost 12 officers and 65 men killed and 477 men wounded. It is evident that my movement across the Black River and touching the Averysboro road on that same day, where I was waiting to turn back upon Hardee's left, was what caused him to retreat without further battle. Now, it is plain from all accounts that Johnston in good earnest was gathering in all the troops he could at or near Bentonville. A dispatch mentioned Stephen D. Lee, Stevenson, Stewart, Cheatham, Hampton, and IIardee as near at hand. Johnston's instructions, which he received from Richmond, February 23d, at his residence in Lincolnton, N. C., were: “To concentrate all available forces and drive Sherman back.” “This was done,” Johnston alleges, “with a full consciousness on my part, however, that we could have no other object in continuing ”
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