HEADQUARTERS TWENTIETH CORPS,
Three Miles East of Rockfish Creek, March 11, 1865-9. 30 a. m.
Brevet Major-General GEARY,
Commanding Second Division:
GENERAL: The brevet major-general commanding directs that you push forward at once two brigades of your command to cover the whole train, relieving all of the troops of the First and Third Divisions which are ordred forward unencumbered. The general desires that you will take charge of the whole train and push it forward toward Fayetteville as rapidly as possible.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND,
In the field, N. C., on Chicken Road,
Eleven Miles from Fayetteville, March 11, 1865.
Major L. M. DAYTON,
Asst. Adjt. General, Military Division of the Mississippi:
MAJOR: You will remember that I stated in my last communication from Solemn Grove that Hardee was marching rapidly for Fayetteville, but that Hampton and Wheeler were still in rear, and that I would endeavor to cut them off. The information was correct. Hampton, however, was found to be moving upon two roads-the Morganton road and a road three miles farther to the north,, and parallel to it, just south and east of Solemn Grove. I posted upon each road a brigade of cavalry, and learning that there was a road still farther north, upon which some of the enemy's troops might move, I made a rapid night march with Colonel Spencer's little brigade of there regiments and 400 dismounted men and one section of artillery, and took post at the point where the road last mentioned intersected the Morganton road. During the forepoart of the evening I left General Atkins and joined Colonel Spencer with my staff and actually rode through one of General Hampton's divisions of cavlary, which by 11 o'clock had flanked General Atkins and was then encamped within three miles of Colonel Spencer. My escort of fifteen men and one officer was captured, but I escpaed with my staff. General Atkins and Colonel Jordan discovered about 9 o'clock that, while the enemy was amusing them in front, [he] was passing with his mainf orce on a road to his right. These officers at once pulled out and made every effort to join me before daylight but failed to do so, owing to the bad roads and the almost incessant skirmishing with the enemy, who was amrchign parallel to him, and at some points not a mile distant. Hampton had marched all day, and rested his men about three miles from Colonel Spencer's position at 2 o'clock in the morning, and just before daylight charged my position with three divisions of cavalry-Humes', Allen's, and Buttler's. Hampton led the center division-Butler's-and in less than a minute had driven back my people, had taken possession of my headquarters, captured my artillery, and the whole command was flying before the most formidable cavalry charge I have ever witnessed. Colonel Spencer and a large portion of my staff were virtually taken prisoners. On foot I succeeded ing aining the cavalry camp, a few hundre yards in rear, and found the men fighting with the rebels for their camp and animals, and we were finally forced back some 500 yards farther to a swmap impassalbe to friend or foe.