Bridges. All right. Let General Davis lead into Fayetteville, holding the Twentieth in support with the cavalry on his left rear. I will hold General Howard back, but close enough to come up if Joe Johnston wants to fight. I will now fight him if he dares, and therefore wish you to act on that idea, keeping each corps ready to hold the enemy if he appears in force on your left, but his strength must be developed before other corps are called from their roads. I have notified General Howard of this order, and he has simply asked instead of holding on here to make slow marches to gather forage and meal. I send you a copy of his orders of march; * I also send you an open letter for General Kilpatrick, which read and forward to him. #
Major Audenried, of my staff, left him yesterday, ten miles this side of Wadesborough, and my orders to him were to hold his command covering all roads, especially the plank road between Wadesborough and your troops. After you have got a covering force across the Pedee let General Kilpatrick have the bridge and move out to your left front, say Rockingham. We have been badly treated by the weather, but I hope for a better spell henceforth. I will get messengers through to Wilmington the moment any head of column is across Lumber Creek, and feel sure that Schofield will meet us in force at Goldsborough. I will draw from Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington at least 25,000 men to re-enforce our army at Goldsborough, and will put them under Schofield as the center or reserve, restoring the organization of the Atlanta campaign. With that army replenished and refreshed we can make things move. Indeed I feel confident that nothing can now stand before us. I find here additional symptoms of discomfiture. Three thousand six hundred barrels of powder are among our spoils, and the surgeons of the Confederate hospitals admit that Hardee left them without supplies or even orders. Keep me well advised of progress, and I will make things conform to your movements.
I am, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. LEFT WING, ARMY OF GEORGIA, Near Pegue's Crossing, Numbers 25.
Great Pedee River, S. C., March 5, 1865.
I. Bvt. Major General J. C. Davis, commanding Fourteenth Army Corps, will cross his command over the Great Pedee River at this point and move to Fayetteville, N. C., by way of Love's Bridge road.
II. Bvt. Major General A. S. Williams, commanding Twentieth Army Corps, will cross his command over the Great Pedee River as soon as the cavalry has crossed, and will move to Fayetteville, N. C., by way of McFarland's Bridge road. Brevet Major-General Kilpatrick, commanding cavalry, will have the use of the pontoon bridge after the Fourteenth Army Corps has crossed.
III. Corps commanders will select from the pack animals of their commands fifty of their best mules, and turn them over to-day to Lieutenant Colonel J. Moore, commanding pontoon train. Colonel Moore will give in exchange animals now in his train.
* * * * *
By command of Major General H. W. Slocum:
ROBT. P. DECHERT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
*See March 4, p. 676.
#See March 5, p. 692.