HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Fayetteville, N. C., March 12, 1865.
Commanding U. S. Forces, Wilmington:
GENERAL: I have just received your message by the tug which left Wilmington at 2 p. m. yesterday, and arrived here without trouble. The scout who brought me your cipher message started back last night with my answers, which are superseded by the fact of your opening the river. General Howard just reports that he has secured one of the enemy's steam-boats below the city, and General Slocum will try and secure two known to be above, and we will load them with refugees, white and black, that have clung to our skirts, impeded our movements, and consumed our food. We have swept the country well from Savannah here, and my men and animals are in fine condition. Had it not been for the foul weather, I would have caught Haardee at Cheraw or here. But at Columbia, Cheraw, and here, we got immense stores, and have destroyed machinery, guns, ammunition, and property of inestimable value to our enemy. At all points he has fled from us, "standing not on the order of his going. " The people of South Carolina, instead of feeding Lee's army, will now call on Lee to feed them. I want you to send me all the shoes, stockings, drawers, sugar, coffee, and flour you can spare; finish the loads with oats or corn. Have the boats escorted, and let them run at night at any risk. We must not lose time for Joe Johnston to concentrate at Goldsborough. We cannot prevent his concentrating at Raleigh, but he shall have no rest. I want General Schofield to go on with his railroad from New Berne as far as he can, and you do the same from Wilmington. If we can get the roads to and secure Goldsborough by April 10, it will be soon enough, but every day now is worth a million of dollars. I can whip Joe Johnston provided he don't catch one of my corps in flank, and I will see that my army of from 20,000 to 30,000 useless mouths, as many to go down Cape Fear as possible, and balance will go in the vehicles, and captured horses via Clinton to Wilmington. I thank you for the energetic action that has marked your course, and shall be most happy to meet you.
I am, truly, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN,
NEW BERNE, March 12, 1865.
(Via steamer from Beaufort.)
General Cox gave Bragg a good beating at Southwest Creek on the 10th and drove him across the Neuse at Kinston. General Couch arrived yesterday all right. Inform General Sherman that I cannot count on having the railroad completed farther than Kinston by the 20th, but will have supplies for him there, and farther if possible; also inform him that he may look for General Sheridan with 8,000 cavalry in a few days.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
(Forwarded by General Terry to General Sherman.)