them from two successive positions, taking three guns, some prisoners and wounded, but losing himself pretty severely, I think as many as 300 in all. But the enemy lost heavily also, from appearances. At night the enemy still held the forks, but it is just reported that he is gone, I suppose up to Averasborough, where the Raleigh and Smithfield roads fork. Your scout, Duncan, is just in, having escaped from McLaws' guard, he thinks about twelve miles out on the Smithfield road; so Hardee is retreating on Smithfield. Slocum will feel out toward Averasborough, but move his column on the Goldsborough road, which is that which crosses Black and Mingo Creek just ahead of where we are. Our true tactics would be to push all our columns to Smithfield, but I will only follow Hardee far enough to give him impulse, when we must resume our [course]. I want you to-day to get to where the Goldsborough road crosses Mingo, and have that bridge well repaired. You need not come over to Slocum unless you hear him engaged. We might cut his column at Elevation, but it will be time enough to think of that to-night. Blair is getting too far off. Better draw him and all your trains toward Troublefield's Store. Weather having cleared off, we may count on better roads. Have a road for your column reconnoitered from Mingo bridge to that point north of Troublefield's where three roads meet. I expect to be to-night somewhere between Black River and Mingo bridge.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Crossing of Fayetteville and Goldsborough with
Clinton and Raleigh Roads, March 17, 1865-3 p. m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: Your dispatch by Duncan received. I am glad enough to see him back. He was stripped of his clothing, and everything, even to his finger ring, and in the presence of Hampton himself. Quite different usage from that I bestow on prisoners from Hampton. Your order for me to repair the bridge across Mingo Creek made me think you were mistaken as to my position. By dark Logan will have his four divisions at this point. It is thirteen miles from here to Averasborugh, eleven to Bentonville, and seven to Beaman's Cross-Roads, to which place Blair is moving. You said you thought Blair was getting too far off. When Logan turned northward toward this road Blair did the same. You gave me Everettsville as my objective. Now that General Slocum has turned toward Goldsborough, I have given my orders according to the programme you laid down for me; but thinking you might wish still to turn on Smithfield, I will lead the disencumbered divisions toward Bentonville, across both branches of the Cohera, and then can take a road leading direct to Everettsville. This road begins about five miles beyond Seven-Mile Branch. I heard that the quartermaster in charge of shoes, &c., by the steamer had refused to send the half I left to General Slocum for want of quartermaster's receipts. I regret it exceedingly, as I would have had them receipted for and sent to him had I suspected such meanness. I hope, however it is not true. Thinking you might wish me to push farther north, I have had one division encamped well out on the Averasborough road, and Corse has sent a reconnaissance toward Mingo