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[145] as you can place it. Sherman's army started one wing from Fayetteville, and the other wing from behind Averysboro. His mind, fully determined, was to pass from the Cape Fear River to the Neuse, making Goldsboro his objective point.

As Schofield and Terry had Wilmington, New Berne and Kinston, and were moving northward to form a junction with us, Sherman greatly desired to make this connection and secure Goldsboro before fighting a general battle. He believed that the enemy would fall back to Smithfield, and perhaps to Raleigh after the hard blows he had received at Averysboro; so that it is very plain that Bentonville was not Sherman's objective.

Johnston, on the other hand, had his eye upon Bentonville. He was at Smithfield when our parties departed from the Cape Fear River gathering up his forces. He proposed to throw them boltlike upon our upper column when isolated near Bentonville. Bentonville was then indeed a strategic and objective point for the Confederates.

Aiming for Goldsboro caused the separation of our columns and made us unready March 19th when the Confederates began their first attack. At that instant Blair was as far south as Troublefield's store, but he was on the direct road to Goldsboro. Logan, with the bulk of his corps, had really passed beyond Bentonville, and but for the detention of battle would have gone there.

Wade Hampton, commanding the entire Confederate cavalry before us, was falling back on Slocum's road toward Bentonville. Johnston, strengthened by news that Hampton kept sending to him, that our wings were so separated and marching as I have indicated,

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