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This was done, but just as Mower under a hot fire was leading a connected column again to the same Confederate flank or rear, Sherman ordered him back. The general also called off Blair's entire command — an order that by some accident did not get to me at all till I met Blair and began calling him to account for the withdrawal of his men. Blair answered: “The withdrawal is by Sherman's order!”

Sherman did this deliberately, and gave his reasons for it. One was that he thought that Mower had been a little rash; another, that he thought Johnston had a larger command than he really did have; and another, which was probably the governing one at that time, that there had been enough bloodshed already, and that Johnston would surely retreat northward and leave us to go and complete our connection at Goldsboro and establish our new base of supplies.

None of these reasons satisfied me at the time, but events were already ripening which very soon made me glad that this last battle had not been pushed to an extremity.

The night of March 21st Johnston saw his line of retreat toward the north still open, and, having done his best, he could reap no further fruits from his enterprise, so he carefully withdrew.

Sherman's table of losses at Bentonville was:

Aggregate loss1,604

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