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[426] noon, Hardee, as usual, retreating across the Cape Fear, burning the bridges; but our pontoons will be up to-day, and with as little delay as possible I will be after him towards Goldsboro. A tug has just come up from Wilmington, and before I get off from here I hope to get up from Wilmington some shoes and stockings, sugar, coffee, and flour. We are abundantly supplied with all else, having, in a measure, lived off the country. The army is in splendid health, condition, and spirit, although we have had foul weather, and roads that would have stopped travel to almost any other body of men I ever read of.

Our march was substantially what I designed —straight on Columbia, feigning on Branchville and Augusta. We destroyed, in passing, the railroad from the Edisto nearly up to Aiken; again from Orangeburg to the Congaree; again from Columbia down to Knoxville and the Wateree, and up towards Charlotte as far as the Chester line. . . . At Columbia we destroyed immense arsenals and railroad establishments and forty — three cannon; at Cheraw we found also machinery and material of war from Charleston, among which twenty-five guns and thirty-six hundred barrels of gunpowder. Here we find about twenty guns and a magnificent United States arsenal.1 . . If I can now add Goldsboro

1

We cannot afford to leave detachments, and I shall therefore destroy this valuable arsenal, for the enemy shall not have its use, and the United States should never again confide such valuable property to a people who have betrayed a trust.

I could leave here to-morrow, but want to clear my column of the vast crowd of refugees and negroes that encumber me. Some I will send down the river in boats, and the balance I will send to Wilmington by land, under small escort, as soon as we are across Cape Fear river.

Sherman to Grant, March 12.

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