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Chapter 21:

After thoroughly destroying Atlanta, save its mere dwelling-houses, as is stated in his official report, Gen. W. T. Sherman began his march through Georgia on November 15, 1864, and on December 10th drove in the picket lines of the Confederate forces at Savannah under command of LieutenantGen-eral Hardee. During Sherman's advance, his feints at Columbia, Ga., made it uncertain for a time whether he did not intend to enter South Carolina at that point.

On November 28th, before the arrival of Sherman at Savannah, Maj.-Gen. John G. Foster, commanding the Federal department of the South, left Hilton Head with all his available troops, ‘amounting to 5,000 infantry, cavalry and artillery, with 500 sailors and marines,’ and went by boat to Boyd's Neck, on the south side of Broad river. After landing, Brig.-Gen. J. P. Hatch was put in command, with orders to push forward and cut the Charleston & Savannah railroad.

This formidable attempt seemed to promise success to the Federals, as Colonel Colcock, in command of the district, and Major Jenkins, commanding in the immediate vicinity of the Federal movement, had no forces adequate to an effective resistance, but fortunately, Gen. G. W. Smith's division of Georgia State troops had just arrived at Savannah, and was promptly sent to the scene by General Hardee. The troops were put in position about [355] 10 a. m. on the 30th on a line near the north bank of a small stream about three miles south of Grahamville station, occupying some light intrenchments that had been made upon ground called Honey hill, ten or twelve feet above the water level. On the right there was a dense forest, on the left an open pine wood, with an open space in front. The road on which the Federals approached was bordered closely by dense forests. Colonel Colcock was put in command of the line of battle, and Major Jenkins of the cavalry, while Captain DeSaussure, adjutant-general of the district, remained with General Smith. ‘Within five or ten minutes after these dispositions had been made,’ said General Smith, ‘the battle began by an advance piece of our artillery firing upon the enemy. Their line of battle was soon formed, and from that time until near dark made continuous efforts to carry our position. We had actually engaged five pieces of artillery, and it is due to the South Carolina artillerists that I should say I have never seen pieces more skillfully employed and gallantly served upon a difficult field of battle.’ In an hour the enemy had so extended and developed their attack that Smith was compelled to put in his last Georgia regiment, making his force engaged about 1,400 muskets. The valor with which they fought may be inferred from the report of General Foster, who said:

The enemy's infantry, rather over 4,000 and nearly equal to our own in number, was posted behind intrenchments in the woods on each side of the road. This position was immediately attacked with vigor and determination, but . . . we were unable to drive the enemy. After an obstinate fight of several hours, General Hatch, finding that the enemy's line could be neither successfully assaulted nor outflanked, retired after dark to a strong position about 2 1/2 miles from Boyd's Neck. Our loss was 88 killed, 623 wounded and 43 missing.

‘Our loss in every arm of the service,’ General Smith reported, ‘was 8 men killed and 42 wounded. The enemy [356] left over 200 of their dead upon the field, and their whole loss in killed and wounded is believed to be upward of 1,000.’ About 4:30 p. m., General Robertson arrived with reinforcements from Charleston, and by the next morning General Chestnut was up with 350 South Carolina reserves, and General Baker with a North Carolina brigade.

Of his subsequent operations, General Foster reported:

From November 30th to December 5th, while keeping the greater part of the force at Boyd's Neck, I made at different points, with the assistance of the navy, several demonstrations, in one of which the Twenty-fifth Ohio marched six miles into the interior toward Pocotaligo and captured two pieces of artillery at Church bridge. On the night of December 5th, I embarked a force under command of Brigadier-General Potter . . . which landed at Gregory's plantation, on the right bank of Tulifinny creek. . . pushed forward immediately, and about a mile and a half out met the enemy, whom he forced rapidly back to the spot where the road up the peninsula between the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny meets the road running across from river to river. Here the enemy made a stand and attacked our left vigorously, but our men repulsed them, and got possession of the crossing, which we now hold. Our loss was 5 killed and 50 wounded.

Maj.-Gen. Samuel Jones, who had been ordered to establish his headquarters at Pocotaligo, reached there on the evening of the 5th, and found the Confederate forces available were the Fifth and Forty-seventh Georgia, part of the Thirty-second Georgia, artillery, part of the Third South Carolina cavalry, Kirk's squadron, some Georgia and South Carolina reserves and South Carolina militia. They were posted to protect the railroad from Pocotaligo to the Savannah river and up that river to Sister's ferry, the forces at and near Grahamville under the command of Brigadier-General Chestnut, and those at and near Coosawhatchie under Brigadier-General Gartrell. The latter met the advance under General Potter, on the 6th, sending forward a small battalion of the Fifth [357] Georgia, which was soon pressed back. It was reinforced by a section of artillery and the Georgia reserves, but the entire line soon gave way and fell back across the Coosawhatchie river. The battalion of South Carolina cadets was led forward by Maj. John Jenkins to the Tulifinny bridge, but arrived too late to be of service. General Jones then concentrated on the railroad near the Tulifinny trestle all the troops he could collect, Georgia commands, a company of the First artillery, the cadets, and Bachman's battery, and at dawn on the 7th Colonel Edwards, of Georgia, commanding, made an attack upon the enemy in conjunction with a demonstration by Gartrell, but without success, losing 4 killed and 31 wounded. This attack was participated in by Captain King's company, First regulars, the cadets under Maj. J. B. White, and 130 militia.

Gen. B. H. Robertson was put in command of the troops in this region on the 8th. On the 9th he was attacked by a Federal brigade under command of Col. Stewart L. Woodford, of New York, and several determined efforts were made to carry his line, but all were handsomely repulsed. General Robertson reported:

Foiled in his undertaking, the enemy moved to his left in the direction of Coosawhatchie. The engagement was renewed most vigorously on our right at 3 p. m., and after an obstinate resistance by the enemy, lasting some two hours, he was driven 800 yards from his original line. . . . The German artillery, Captain Bachman, rendered very efficient service on the left, as was proved by the number of dead found in their front. Major Jenkins, commanding the cadets, was particularly conspicuous during the morning fight.

General Robertson lost 8 killed and 44 wounded. Colonel Woodford gave the loss of his regiment alone at 8 killed and 51 wounded. Some skirmishes followed, but the Georgians and South Carolinians remained in firm possession of the railroad.

On December 21st, Sherman, planning an assault [358] upon Savannah, learned that General Hardee had successfully eluded him, evacuated the Georgia seaport, crossed the river, and moved into South Carolina.

On the 25th of December, Gov. A. G. Magrath addressed a letter to President Davis which may be taken as presenting accurately the situation in the State at that date. Some extracts are therefore presented:

The fall of Savannah has, of course, very much affected the people of this State. The question which naturally presents itself is, why the force which penetrated Georgia cannot penetrate South Carolina. And at this moment it is not an unwillingness to oppose the enemy, but a chilling apprehension of the futility of doing so, that affects the people. . . . As rapidly as it can be done, I am reorganizing the militia. . . . If you will send us aid, although for the moment it falls short of effectual aid, if it foreshadow other aid to come, that spirit can be vitalized which . . . supplies the place of numbers. Of any force which you may send, I am very anxious that the brigade of General Conner should be a part of it, and sent as soon as possible.

To this President Davis replied:

I have long realized the importance of such action as you suggest, but necessities elsewhere have prevented action in accordance with our wish. I have held several conferences with General Lee on the subject, and will have another, showing him your letter and telegram.

To the governor's petition was added that of W. F. De Saussure, Andrew Crawford, W. H. Scarborough, Daniel Ravenel and many other citizens, declaring: ‘It is absolutely necessary to have at least one well-organized corps besides Hardee's on the coast, about which the half-trained citizens may rally. Otherwise, however brave and determined, their efforts will amount to nothing.’ On the latter, President Davis indorsed: ‘The question presented is one which General Lee can best judge.’ The indorsement of General Lee was:

I have sent all the troops from this army that can be spared. The army of Tennessee is ordered to South [359] Carolina, and a part of it arrived. If the citizens of Georgia and South Carolina will fill up its ranks, it will be able to protect the country.

General Hardee, then at Charleston, on the 27th, was advised to make ‘silently and cautiously all necessary preparations for the evacuation of Charleston, should it become necessary.’ General McLaws was instructed to assume command of all troops between the Savannah river and Pocotaligo, including the cavalry command of General Wheeler at Hardeeville, and the forces at Honey hill and on the Tulifinny and Coosawhatchie and vicinity, then under General Taliaferro.

Beauregard was at his request relieved of the general command of the department on the last day of 1864. His presence was required at Montgomery and with the army of Tennessee. He instructed General Hardee that while the fall of Charleston would be a terrible blow to the Confederacy, the loss of its garrison would be still more fatal, and that preparations should be made for evacuation as well as for defense.

On January 19th, General Butler's cavalry division was ordered to South Carolina, and Gen. D. H. Hill was put in command at Augusta, Ga. The greatly depleted corps of S. D. Lee, Stewart and Cheatham, army of Tennessee, were on their way to reinforce General Hardee. These troops were reported destitute of clothing, but their indomitable spirit remained, and the people of the Carolinas were cheered by their approach. On the 28th, Gen. Wade Hampton reported for duty in defense of his State, soon after was given command of Butler's and Young's (Iverson's) cavalry divisions, and later of all the cavalry in the Carolinas. Conner's brigade, from the army of Northern Virginia, arrived in this month, and on the 31st, General Hardee's army was organized as follows:

McLaws' division, composed of Conner's brigade, Colonel Kennedy; the Georgia brigade (reserves) of Col. John C. Fiser; the Georgia brigade of Col. G. P. Harrison, including a detachment of the First South Carolina cavalry; Col. W. M. Hardy's North Carolina [360] brigade; another brigade of Georgia reserves, and six batteries of artillery.

Taliaferro's division, composed of Brig.-Gen. Stephen Elliott's brigade—parts of First and Second artillery, serving as infantry, under Lieut.-Col. J. A. Yates; First cavalry, State cadets, and a company of the siege train, under Lieut.-Col. W. A. Walker. Rhett's brigade—First artillery, Maj. Ormsby Blanding; Third artillery, Col. William Butler; First militia, Col. J. Griffin; Nineteenth cavalry, Capt. M. J. Kirk; Young's cavalry; artillery, Capt. E. L. Parker, and part of Thirty-second Georgia. Not brigaded: Lusk's company First cavalry, six companies Second artillery, Fifteenth artillery battalion, Maj. J. J. Lucas; South Carolina siege train, Col. Edward B. White; Eighteenth militia, Col. John E. Carew; Gist Guards artillery, Lieut. T. G. Boag; company Palmetto battalion; Tupper's militia artillery, and several companies of Georgia artillery.

Maj.-Gen. Ambrose R. Wright's division, composed of Mercer's brigade—Capt. A. P. Brown's company First cavalry; First, Second, Sixth and Seventh reserves, Brig.-Gen. A. G. Blanchard; batteries of Capts. M. Rickenbaker, Charles Daniell, W. L. DePass, W. K. Bachman; Capt. J. D. Kay's reserve cavalry, and several Georgia commands. Robertson's brigade-Second, Third and Fourth militia, Col. A. D. Goodwyn; batteries of Capts. H. M. Stuart, F. C. Schulz, F. W. Wagener, J. R. Mathewes, C. E. Kanapaux, G. H. Walter; Stono scouts, Capt. J. B. L. Walpole; Wilkins' cavalry company reserves.

Wheeler's cavalry corps included the brigades of Anderson, Hagan and Crews, in Allen's division; of Dibrell, Ashby and Harrison, in Humes' division; and of Ferguson, Lewis and Hannon, in Iverson's division.

Brig.-Gen. J. H. Trapier's brigade, detached, was composed of Ward's battalion reserves, Capt. L. A. Grice; Capt. J. J. Steele's cavalry company, and the artillery companies of Capts. F. Melchers and Mayham Ward.

Brig.-Gen. J. K. Jackson's brigade, also detached, included the First foreign battalion, Lieut.-Col. J. G. Tucker; Fourteenth militia, Col. D. R. Barton; Capt. A. J. Frederick's company militia; Capt. W. E. Charles' battery.

The post at Columbia was commanded by Lieut.-Col. R. S. Means, including a post guard under Capt. R. D. Senn, and provost guard under Capt. D. H. Hamilton for the care of prisoners of war.

On February 2d, a conference was held at Green's Cut station, Ga., at which Generals Beauregard, Hardee, D. H. Hill and G. W. Smith were present. It was estimated that the forces available to meet Sherman, Lee's corps of the army of Tennessee having arrived, and Cheatham's and Stewart's being on the way, had the following effective strength: Hardee's command, regular infantry, 8,000; militia and reserves, 3,000; light artillery, 2,000; Butler's cavalry division, 1,500; total, 14,500. Militia and reserves under Generals Smith and Browne, [361] 1,450. Wheeler's cavalry, 6,700. Army of Tennessee: Lee's corps, 4,000; Cheatham's corps, 3,000; Stewart's corps, 3,000; artillery, 800; total, 10,800. Grand total, 33,450. On, account of the absence of most of the army of Tennessee, it was deemed inadvisable to give battle at the important point of Branchville; but it was determined to hold the Combahee as long as possible, while Hardee should fall back on Charleston, and Wheeler on Columbia. Lee's corps was ordered to Branchville, where Conner's brigade was already stationed.

General Sherman, meanwhile, was preparing to march northward through the Carolinas, with Savannah as his base. His army was organized in two wings, the right, under Gen. O. O. Howard, composed of the corps of John A. Logan and Frank P. Blair; the left, under Gen. H. W. Slocum, of the corps of Jeff C. Davis and A. S. Williams. The average strength of each corps was 13,000 men, and the cavalry, under Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, was about 4,000 in number. This, with the artillery, made up an aggregate effective strength, officers and men, of 60,000.

General Howard was ordered to embark his wing, transport it to Beaufort, and by the 15th of January to make a lodgment on the Charleston & Savannah railroad at or near Pocotaligo, while the other wing and cavalry were ordered to rendezvous near Robertsville and Coosawhatchie. Howard performed his part of the program, but on account of the loss of a pontoon bridge, Slocum was compelled to cross at Sister's ferry, and the river, even there, was so overflowed as to be three miles wide, and he did not get entirely across until February. In the meantime, to make Sherman's advance easier, Grant had sent a division to garrison Savannah, Schofield's corps to operate from New Bern, N. C., and a tremendous fleet of warships, assisted by a land force, was about to reduce Fort Fisher, the main defense of Wilmington. [362]

On January 2, 1865, a Federal brigade made the first crossing of the river near Savannah and moved toward Grahamville. On the 14th, General McLaws, confronting the advance of Howard, from Beaufort, reported: ‘I am endeavoring to evacuate my position. Enemy are immediately in my front. . . . They are now checked at Old Pocotaligo.’ McLaws withdrew behind the Salkehatchie, and the railroad from there southward was at last gained by the Federals. But the Combahee was an impassable barrier to Howard, and he was compelled to move up its southwest bank to find a crossing place.

General Wheeler was watching the enemy from Hardeeville, gradually falling back to Robertsville and Lawtonville, while part of his force observed the Federal movements on the Georgia side. On the 28th he reported the enemy crossing and advancing toward Robertsville. After a brisk skirmish near Loper's cross roads, he fell back toward Rivers' and Buford's bridges on the Big Salkehatchie, early in February.

Sherman declares that his ‘real march’ began on the 1st of February. ‘All the roads northward had been held for weeks by Wheeler's cavalry, who had felled trees, burned bridges and made obstructions to impede our progress.’ On the 2d, Logan's corps was at Loper's, and Blair's at Rivers' bridge. Williams' corps was ordered to Buford's bridge, Kilpatrick to Blackville, and Howard to cross the Salkehatchie and move for Midway on the South Carolina railroad. ‘The enemy held the line of the Salkehatchie in force, having infantry and artillery intrenched at Rivers' and Buford's bridges.’ The former was carried February 3d by two divisions of Blair's corps, who waded the swamp and turned Mc-Laws' position, compelling him to retire toward Branchville, behind the Edisto. McLaws reported, ‘It was with difficulty that my command could be withdrawn, as I was completely flanked on both sides. The fighting at Rivers' bridge was quite sharp and lasted several hours.’ [363] Wheeler, following McLaws' retreat, burned the bridges over the Little Salkehatchie. Gen. C. L. Stevenson, commanding S. D. Lee's corps, took position to hold the South Edisto to Binnaker's bridge.

Sherman pushed his army rapidly toward Midway and Graham's Station on the South Carolina railroad, which was destroyed, while Blair threatened Branchville, and Kilpatrick, Augusta. The latter was met by Wheeler's cavalry in battle at Blackville, Williston and Aiken, the Confederate leader winning a substantial victory before the latter place, and stopping Kilpatrick's advance.

On February 8th there was a brisk engagement at the bridge of the Edisto west of Branchville. Stovall, stationed at Binnaker's bridge, was reinforced by Clayton, and the position ordered to be held as long as possible. But on the 10th, Stevenson reported from Orangeburg: ‘The enemy has driven the troops from Binnaker's and they are retiring on this point.’

On the 11th, McLaws' skirmishers, on the south side of the North Fork, before Orangeburg, made a gallant resistance, and Sherman's advance was checked by a battery commanding the bridge, which was partially burned, until a flanking force crossed the river below the town. Orangeburg was then abandoned and the work of destroying the railroad there was begun. Then, while Blair marched up the railroad toward the Congaree, destroying the track, Sherman turned toward Columbia.

General Hampton was put in command at the State capital and arrangements were made for the transfer of prisoners of war from that city and Florence to Salisbury, N. C. General Hardee was ordered by General Beauregard to evacuate Charleston, and join in a general concentration of forces at Chesterville, whither the military stores at Columbia were hastily forwarded. President Davis, writing to Beauregard regarding the evacuation of Charleston, said: ‘Such full preparation had [364] been made that I had hoped for other and better results, and the disappointment to me is extremely bitter.’

The military situation on the 16th, as Beauregard described it, was: ‘Our forces, about 20,000 effective infantry and artillery, more or less demoralized, occupy a circumference of about 240 miles from Charleston to Augusta. The enemy, well organized and disciplined, and flushed with success, numbering nearly double our forces, is concentrated upon one point (Columbia) of that circumference.’ On the same day he resumed command of all troops in South Carolina. General Hardee was seriously ill, and General McLaws took command at Charleston in his stead and completed the evacuation by the morning of Saturday, the 18th of February, when the city was surrendered at 9 a. m. by Mayor Charles Macbeth.

Generals Cheatham and Stewart had by this time brought what remained of their corps, pitifully few in numbers, to Augusta, in the vicinity of which General Wheeler had his cavalry, and General Hampton urged the most rapid movement possible of these forces to unite with the troops at Columbia for the defense of the State capital, and the line of the Congaree; but the rapid movements of Sherman made this impossible.

On the 15th, Logan's corps, advancing on Columbia, was checked by a brave band of Confederates manning a tete-de-pont and fort at Little Congaree bridge, and it was night before the head of the Federal column reached the Congaree in front of Columbia, and went into camp, shelled by a battery on the other side. That night the bridge was burned to check the Federal crossing, and next morning part of De Gress' Federal battery began firing upon the town. Slocum's corps was ordered to move toward Winnsboro and Howard to occupy Columbia, which one of his brigades did, by crossing the Saluda and Broad rivers. General Hampton evacuated Columbia on the 17th, and his forces took up their march northward intending to concentrate at Chesterville, or if not [365] possible there, at Charlotte, N. C., and at the same time Cheatham's corps began its march in the same direction, from Columbia.

A pontoon was built, on which Sherman crossed into Columbia on the 17th, and was met by the mayor, who surrendered the city and asked for its protection from pillage. The day, Sherman says, was clear, but a ‘perfect tempest of wind was raging.’ His orders to Howard were, he says, to burn all arsenals and public property not needed for army use, as well as all railroads and depots, but to spare dwellings and schools and charitable institutions; and he declares that before a single building was fired by his order, the city was in flames spread by cotton burning on the streets before he occupied the city; that the whole of Woods' division was brought in to fight the fire; that he was up nearly all night, and saw Generals Howard, Logan, Woods and others laboring to save houses and protect families. ‘Our officers and men on duty worked well to extinguish the flames; but others not on duty, including the officers who had long been imprisoned there, may have assisted in spreading the fire after it had once begun.’

General Hampton denies that any cotton was fired by his orders, also that any cotton was burning when the Federals entered the city. Abundant testimony has been given by the people of Columbia, both white and black, to the effect that the city was burned by the Federal soldiers. This is virtually admitted by General Slocum when he says: ‘I believe the immediate cause of the disaster was a free use of whisky (which was supplied to the soldiers by citizens with great liberality). A drunken soldier, with a musket in one hand and a match in the other, is not a pleasant visitor to have about the house on a dark, windy night.’ Sherman, in his Memoirs, says: ‘The army, having totally ruined Columbia, moved on toward Winnsboro.’ There can be no doubt [366] that Federal soldiers burned Columbia and were never punished for it.

This, however, was but one instance of the general devastation accompanying Sherman's march. The words of a Federal soldier1 may be quoted as suggestive of the ruin wrought by the invading army:

It was sad to see the wanton destruction of property which. . . was the work of ‘bummers’ who were marauding through the country committing every sort of outrage. There was no restraint except with the column or the regular foraging parties. We had no communications and could have no safeguards. The country was necessarily left to take care of itself, and became a ‘howling waste.’ The ‘coffee-coolers’ of the army of the Potomac were archangels compared to our ‘bummers,’ who often fell to the tender mercies of Wheeler's cavalry, and were never heard of again, meeting a fate richly deserved.

General Beauregard at this time reported to General Lee that Sherman was advancing on Winnsboro, and would thence probably move on Greensboro, Danville and Petersburg, and that he did not believe it possible for the troops from Charleston or those of Cheatham to make a junction with him short of Greensboro. On the 19th, Gen. R. E. Lee wrote to the war department

I do not see how Sherman can make the march anticipated by Beauregard [to Greensboro], but he seems to have everything his own way, which is calculated to cause apprehension. . . . General Beauregard has a difficult task to perform under present circumstances, and one of his best officers (General Hardee) is incapacitated by sickness. Should his strength give way, there is no one on duty in the department that could replace him, nor have I any one to send there. Gen. J. E. Johnston is the only officer who has the confidence of the army and people, and if he was ordered to report to me I would place him there on duty. It is necessary to bring out all our strength, and, I fear, to unite our armies, as separately [367] they do not seem able to make headway against the enemy. Everything should be destroyed that cannot be removed out of the reach of Generals Sherman and Schofield. Provisions must be accumulated in Virginia, and every man in all the States must be brought out. I fear it may be necessary to abandon all our cities, and preparation should be made for this contingency.

On February 22d, General Johnston was assigned to command of the departments of Tennessee and Georgia, and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

On the 21st, Sherman's advance was at Winnsboro, and Rocky Mount was occupied on the 23d. Kilpatrick's cavalry was ordered to Lancaster. For several days after this Sherman was delayed by high water in the rivers. Howard's wing, having crossed the Catawba before the rains set in, advanced on Cheraw, where Hardee was stationed with a force of about 12,000, and a cavalry command was sent to burn and destroy at Camden. Another body of cavalry attempting to cut the railroad from Charleston to Florence was met and routed by a part of Butler's command, at Mount Elon. General Butler met Howard's advance at Chesterfield, and skirmished to impede its march, but Cheraw was entered by the enemy March 2d, and much property destroyed. An expedition of Federals was sent toward Florence, but was defeated in its attempt to reach that place.

Continuing his march northward, Sherman's left wing reached Fayetteville, N. C., on the 11th of March. General Hampton, with his cavalry, had maintained active skirmishing to cover the retreat of Hardee's troops, and on the morning of March 10th, finding Kilpatrick's cavalry in a scattered condition, he ordered Wheeler's and Butler's cavalry to attack. They charged the camps, took Kilpatrick's headquarters, artillery and wagons, destroying the latter, and captured 350 prisoners, but the enemy reforming in a marsh, finally compelled the Confederates to withdraw.

Sherman spent three days at Fayetteville, destroying [368] the arsenal and machinery. He then began to fear serious trouble from the concentration of the Confederate forces in his front under General Johnston, and began a movement toward Goldsboro, where he ordered Schofield to join him. His march began March 15th, his advance being steadily resisted by Hampton, and on the 16th he encountered General Hardee near Averasboro, in the narrow, swampy neck between Cape Fear and South rivers, determined to check the Federal advance to gain time for the concentration of Johnston's army.

At 7 a. m. on the 16th, Hardee's line was attacked, 5 miles south of Averasboro, and Colonel Rhett's brigade forced back, rallying on Elliott's. Forming a second line, supported by McLaws' division and later by Wheeler's cavalry, the fighting was continued, although the enemy's great superiority in numbers enabled him to flank the second line and compel Hardee to occupy a third. He maintained his position during the day and retreated upon Smithfield, where Johnston's headquarters was then located. He reported his loss as 400 or 500. Colonel Rhett was captured, in a skirmish preceding the battle, and Colonel Butler commanded his brigade. Casualties were reported in fourteen brigades of the Federal army, aggregating 95 killed, 533 wounded and 54 missing.2

General Taliaferro, in his report of the battle of Averasboro, says:

Our skirmish line, under the command of Captain Huguenin, First South Carolina infantry, received their [369] advance very handsomely, and only fell back when forced by greatly superior numbers. On the right of the line and well advanced to the front, the houses at Smith's place were occupied by two companies of the First South Carolina artillery. . . . The fighting was heavy during the entire morning. Men and officers displayed signal gallantry. Our loss on this [Elliott's] line was considerable, including some of our best officers, among whom were Lieutenant-Colonel De Treville, First South Carolina infantry, and Captain Lesesne, First South Carolina artillery. Our light artillery, which consisted of two 12-pounder howitzers of LeGardeur's (New Orleans) battery and one 12-pounder Napoleon of Stuart's (South Carolina) battery, was well served, and operated with good results upon the enemy's infantry and opposing battery. The ground was so soft with the heavy rains that the pieces could with difficulty be maneuvered, and when this line was abandoned, it was impossible to withdraw two of the guns, as every horse of Stuart's but one, and nine of LeGardeur's were killed, and nearly all the cannoneers of both guns were either killed or wounded. Spare horses had been ordered up, but did not arrive in time. All the ammunition, however, to the last shot of all the guns had been expended upon the enemy.3

On being informed that the Fourteenth and Twentieth Federal corps, which had been engaged with Hardee at Averasboro, were moving by the Goldsboro road, at some distance from Sherman's other wing, Johnston immediately concentrated his troops available at Bentonville, and attacked Slocum at 3 p. m., at first meeting with brilliant success. A mile in the rear the Federals rallied. ‘We were able to press all back slowly until 6,’ said Johnston, ‘when receiving fresh troops apparently, they attempted the offensive, which we resisted without difficulty till dark.’ On the 20th, Hoke's division was [370] attacked, but repulsed every assault. Next day there was heavy skirmishing, and Stewart's and Taliaferro's skirmishers were thrown forward, who found that Sherman, having united his two wings, was intrenching. On the evening of the 21st, General Hardee, assisted by Hampton and Wheeler, defeated an attempt of Blair's corps to move upon Bentonville. Then, learning that Schofield had reached Goldsboro, and Sherman was moving toward Cox's bridge, Johnston withdrew to the neighborhood of Smithfield, and thence through Raleigh toward Greensboro.

The first attack upon the enemy preliminary to the battle of Bentonville was made by General Hampton, on the morning of the 18th, in defense of the position he had selected for the battle which had been planned. On the 19th, before the arrival of Hardee to take position between Hoke and Stewart, Hampton held the gap in the line with two South Carolina batteries of horse artillery, Hart's, under Capt. E. L. Halsey, and Capt. W. E. Earle's.

Maj.-Gen. D. H. Hill, commanding Lee's corps, which included the South Carolinians of Manigault's brigade, reported the entire success of his command in the first attack, and added: ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Carter [commanding Manigault's brigade] was in actual negotiation with a Yankee general for the surrender of his command.’ Unfortunately, at this juncture the enemy pressed upon the flank and rear of his advance, and many men were cut off. ‘Captain Wood, adjutant-general of Manigault's brigade, brought out 10 men and 8 prisoners, after a tiresome march all night around the Yankee forces.’

Gen. John D. Kennedy commanded Kershaw's old brigade, and he and his veterans did gallant service.4 [371]

During the operations just narrated, Hagood's brigade had been engaged, under Hoke and Bragg, in the defense of Wilmington, N. C., and of Kinston, maintaining in every combat its old-time reputation for valor. In the operations about Kinston, Lee's corps, under D. H. Hill, also took part, and in the actions of March 8th, 9th and 10th, the South Carolinians of Manigault's brigade were engaged.

Having fought to the extremity for a great Right, the army under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was surrendered April 26, 1865, upon the terms agreed upon between Lee and Grant at Appomattox. The South Carolina soldiery of all arms, and its men of the navy in all waters, had valorously sustained the honor of their State, making in long and arduous service a reputation for fortitude, courage, humanity, and devotion to the Confederacy, only equaled by the fame similarly earned by their comrades from other States. Accepting honorable parole in good faith, these chivalrous men retired from the theater of war to act well their parts in civil life, trusting their country's future to the honest hope that the operations in the minds and actions of their countrymen of the essential principles of free government under constitutional regulations, would yet accomplish in peace the great ends for which they had so terribly suffered in war. [372]

1 Capt. Daniel Oakey, Second Massachusetts volunteers, in ‘Battles and Leaders’

2 A Federal line officer, writing of this fight years afterward, said: ‘It was a wretched place for a fight. At some points we had to support our wounded until they could be carried off, to prevent their falling into the swamp water, in which we stood ankle deep. No ordinary troops were in our front. They would not give way until a division of Davis' corps was thrown upon their right while we pressed them closely. As we passed over their dead and wounded, I came upon the body of a very young officer, whose handsome, refined face attracted my attention. While the line of battle swept past me I knelt at his side for a moment. His buttons bore the arms of South Carolina. Evidently we were fighting the Charleston chivalry.’

3 Among South Carolinians specially mentioned by General Taliaferro were Brig.-Gen. Stephen Elliott and Colonel Butler, commanding brigades; Colonel Brown, Major Warley and Captain Humbert, Second South Carolina artillery; Captain Mathewes and Lieutenant Boag, Manigault's battalion; Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, Major Blanding (severely wounded) and Captain King, First South Carolina artillery; Captain Huguenin, First South Carolina infantry, and Major Lucas.

4 General Kennedy complimented Lieutenant-Colonel Wallace, commanding the Second regiment, for skill and gallantry, and mentioned particularly, ‘Capt. C. R. Holmes, assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Harllee, acting assistant inspector-general, Lieutenant Sill, acting on staff, and C. Kennison, acting aide-de-camp; also the good conduct and coolness in bearing dispatches of Sergeant Blake and Corporal Pinckney of the Second South Carolina.’ Lieutenant-Colonel Roy, in the advance, was for a time on the left of the brigade, gallantly inspiriting the men.

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