Wilmington from Neuse River bridge. You shall have the use of every ambulance in the army not absolutely needed in the other corps and divisions.
W. T. SHERAMAN,
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING, ARMY OF GEORGIA,
In the Field, N. C., March 20, 1865.
GENERAL: I have already ordered the movement to be made on the left.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. SLOCUM,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, March 20, 1865-8 p. m.
Commanding Left Wing:
GENERAL: I find the topography of the country different from what I expected. The road from Falling Creek Church will be very bad in west weather as far as Cox's Bridge, thence for eight miles very good, with sandy ground and open fields; hence about ten miles from Cox's Bridge we are on flat pine land, such as makes bad roads in wet weather. We struck the enemy on his left rear about noon and have pressed him pretty hard, and have dislodged him from all his barricades except the line constructed as against you, which may be double or inclosed, for our men find parapets from the road well down to Mill Creek. Johnston hoped to overcome your wing before I could come to your relief. Having failed in that, I cannot see why he remains and still think he will avail himself of night to get back to Smithfield. I would rather avoid a general battle if possible, but if he insists on it, we must accommodate him. In that event if he be in position to-morrow, I want you to make a good raod around his flank into this, and to-morrow night pass your trains and dispose your troops so that we have our back toward Faison's and Goldsborough. General Schofield was to leave Kinston for Goldsborough to-day, and General Terry has arrived with 9,000 infantry at Faison's, and I have ordered him to Cox's Bridge to be drawn up here if we need him. I can also draw on General Schofield in a few days for 10,000, but I think we have enought. First, in case of being to fight the enemy here we must send our trains to Kinston for supplies, and therefore get a road at once around the flank of the enemy; the rest is in our possession. Retain ordnance and all wagons with food; all else should go down. Make no orders as yet, till to-morrow reveals the purpose of our enemy, but think the problem over. Post General Hazen to your right so as to join his own corps, the Fifteenth. Keep General Kilpatrick on your left rear; feel the enemy at several points to-night, and, if he retreats, try and get some prisoners. Make me a report of to-day's operations with you, and describe more fully the topography.
W. T. SHERMAN,