They say their troops are just coming up. I shall strengthen my position and feel of their lines, but I hope you will come up on their left rear in strong force.
H. W. SLOCUM,
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING, ARMY OF GEORGIA,
March 19, 1865-2 p. m.
General SHERMAN, or
I have met [the enemy] in strong force on the road from Bentoville to Cox's Bridge. It is reported by prisoners that Johnston and Hardee are here. I think a portion of the Right Wing should be brought forward at once.
H. W. SLOCUM,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Falling Creek Church, March 19, 1865-2 p. m.
Commanding Left Wing:
GENERAL: Howard, with one division, is now at this point, which is just three miles south of Cox's Bridge, and ten from Goldsborough. A scout is just in from Schofield, who will leave Kinston for Goldsborough to-day or to-morrow. I send him a courier to march staight for Goldsborough. Howard's four divisions are strung out, but he will push them through to-night. We occupy a position dangerous to the enemy, if he thinks he is in front of the whole army. You may strengthen your position, but feel the enemy all night. If he is there at daylight we will move straight on Cox's Bridge, and then turn toward you. I think you will find them gone in the morning. Howard has sent a regiment to Cox's Bridge. It has not reported. He has the bridge across Falling Creek, two miles east of this, toward Goldsborough. He has also some mounted men at Goldsborough, where they find a little outpost occupied by the enemy. Blair is about five miles south of this with the trains. I will order Kilpatrick to remain with you. Get up your trains between your camp and Lee's Store, and keep the enemy busy till we can get up the four divisions of the Fifteenth Corps. If you hear firing to the front not explained by your own acts you must assault and turn the enemy, for it will not do to let him fight us separately.
W. T. SHERMAN,
P. S. -Your note of 2 p. m. is just received. Howard's regiment drove the picket from the cross-raods, one mile this side of Cox's Bridge. That will disturb the forces to your front. Howard can better help from this quarter than by returning by Lee's Store.