Schofield and Terry to press toward Goldsborough as hard as possible from the east as I advance from the southwest. The enemy is superior to me in cavalry, but I can beat his infantry man for man, and I don't think he can bring 40,000 men to battle. I will force him to guard Raleigh till I have interposed between it and Goldsborough. Weather is now good, but threatens rain. We are all well. Keep all parts busy and I will give the enemy no rest.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, opposite Fayetteville, March 14, 1865-7 p. m.
Major General O. O. HOWARD,
Commanding Right Wing:
GENERAL: I think I have studied the problem of the next move and will give yhou, in confidence, its analysis. We must make a strong feint on Raleigh, and strike with cavalry, if possible, the road near Smithfield. I take it for granted that the bridge will be too strongly guarded for Kilpatrick to surprise, and therefore I will leave him to disable that road, of course only partially, between the Neuse and Eurek. To this end the cavalry will move to-night across the bridge, beginning at 3 a. m., and will push to-morrow up the plank road to about Averasborough, Slocum following up with four disencumbered divisions to near the forks of the road, moving his trains by a crross road toward Bentonville. The next move will be the cavalry to Elevation, and Slocum will cross Black River. The next move will bring Slocum to Bentonville, and Kilpatrick, supported by a division of infantry, will make a dash for the railroad. This is as far as I will now determine. I want you to be as near in support as possible. I do think it is Johnston's only chance to meet this army before an easy junction with Schofield can be effected. I would like you to have four divisions free to move rapidly to the sound of battle in the direction of Mingo Creek and Elevation, and, at any event, to make a junction by head of column with Slocum at Bentonville. The weather look bad and I fear we may have swamps about South River. I think it would be well for you to have four divisions to get agead of Slocum's trains on the directoroad form Fayetteville to Bentonville and keeping ahead of him about five or six miles so as., in case of action, to come up on his right. I will keep near Slocum, and wish you to keep me thoroughly advised of the position of your troops and trains, and instead of aiming toward Faison's, rather look toward Dead Fields and Everettsville. I think Colonel Garber can give you another boat, in which case you had better send down a load of prisoners of war. Do not fail to clear your columns of the dead weight by sending them via Clinton to Wilmington. I do not expect your head of column to be more than ten miles distant from Fayetteville to-morrow night, but it would be well for a brigade to secure the bridges across South River, if not already done. Schofield and Terry are now fully advised of our whereabouts and have my orders. Their movements will directly co-operate with ours and I propose to make an actual junction before crossing the Neuse, unless events and weather favor a differant course.
W. T. SHERMAN,