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[381] on the 20th, Cox again advanced, on the western bank. He succeeded in crossing Town creek by a single flat-boat found in the stream, and, wading the swamps, he reached the enemy's flank and rear, attacked and routed him at once, capturing two pieces of artillery and three hundred and seventyfive prisoners. During the night he rebuilt the bridge which the rebels had burned, and in the morning pushed on towards Wilmington, meeting with no opposition. Terry, meanwhile, on the eastern shore, had advanced to a point about four miles below the town, where he found the enemy strongly posted, in numbers greater than his own. Nevertheless, he so occupied the rebels in his front that no force could be sent to replace that which Cox had destroyed.

On the 21st, Cox, still advancing, secured a rebel pontoon bridge, and threatened to cross the Cape Fear river above Wilmington, whereupon the rebels at once set fire to their steamers, cotton, and military and naval stores, and abandoned the town. Cox entered Wilmington on the 22nd of February, while Terry pursued the rebels across Northeast river. The total national loss in these operations, from the 11th of February to the capture of Wilmington, was not more than two hundred, in killed and wounded. The enemy lost about as many,1 besides eight hundred prisoners. Fifty-one pieces of heavy ordnance and fifteen light guns fell into Schofield's hands.

While these movements were occurring in North Carolina, Grant, in order to prevent any attempt at the evacuation of Richmond, directed still another movement in the rear of the ill-starred capital. Sherman was approaching from the south, Meade

1 Schofield's Report.

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