War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0037 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

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East; that it numbered about 21,000 men; that we had at Fort Fisher about 8,000 men, at New Berne about 4,000; that if Wilmington was captured, General Schofield would go there; if not, he would be sent to New Berne; that, in either event, all the surplus force at both points would move to the interior toward Goldsborough, in co-operation with his movement; that from either point railroad communication could be run out; and that all these troops would be subject to his orders as he came into communication with them. In obedience to his instructions, General Schofield proceeded to reduce Wilmington, N. C., in co-operation with the navy under Admiral Porter, moving his forces up both sides of the Cape Fear River. Fort Anderson, the enemy's main defense on the west bank of the river, was occupied on the morning of the 19th, the enemy having evacuated it after our appearance before it. After fighting on the 20th and 21st, our troops entered Wilmington on the morning of the 22nd the, the enemy having retreated toward Goldsborough during the night. Preparations were at once made for a movement on Goldsborough in two columns - one from Wilmington, and the other from New Berne, and to repair the railroads leading there from each place, as well as to supply General Sherman by Cape Fear River, toward Fayetteville, if it became necessary. The column from New Berne was attacked on the 8th of March at Wise's Forks,and driven back with the loss of several hundred prisoners. On the 11th the enemy renewed his attack upon our intrenched position, but was repulsed with severe loss, and fell back during the night. On the 14th the Neuse River was crossed and Kinston occupied, and on the 21st Goldsborough was entered. The column from Wilmington reached Cox's Bridge, on the Neuse River, ten miles above Golsborough, on the 22d.

By the 1st of February General Sherman's whole army was in motion from Savannah. He captured Columbia, S. C., on the 17th; thence moved on Goldsborough, N. C., via Fayetteville, reaching the latter place on the 12th of March, opening up communication with General Schofield by way of Cape Fear River. On the 15th he resumed his march on Goldsborough. He met a force of the enemy at Averysborough, and after a severe fight defeated and compelled it to retreat. Our loss in the engagement was about 600; the enemy's loss was much greater. On the 18th, the combined forces of the enemy, under Joe Johnston, attacked his advance at Bentonville, capturing 3 guns and driving it back upon the main body. General Slocum, who was in the advance, ascertaining that the whole of Johnston's army was in the front, arranged his troops on the defensive, intrenched himself, and awaited re-enforcements, which were pushed forward. On the night of the 21st the enemy retreated to Smithfield, leaving his dead and wounded in our hands. From there Sherman continued to Golsborough, which place had been occupied by General Schofield on the 21st, crossing the Neuse River ten miles above there, at Cox's Bridge, where General Terry had got possession and thrown a pontoon bridge, on the 22d, thus forming a junction with the columns from New Berne and Wilmington. Among the important fruits of this campaign was the fall of Charleston, S. C. It was evacuated by the enemy on the night of the 17th of February, and occupied by our forces on the 18th.*


*Subordinate reports of the campaign of the Carolina will appear in Vol. XLVII.