HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Goldsborough, March 21, 1865.
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I occupied Goldsborough this afternoon with only slight opposition. Your cipher dispatch of Sunday night has just reached me, but my cipher clerk has not yet come up. I will have my pontoon bridge laid early in the morning, and will be ready to carry out your orders as soon as I can get your dispatch deciphered. I infer from all that I have heard, including the sound of artillery, that your left had a pretty heavy fight on Sunday, and that you were probably compelled to concentrate your army, but that all is well and in accordance with your plans.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, near Bentonville, N. C., March 21, 1865.
Major-General SCHOFIELD, Commanding Army of the Ohio:
GENERAL: Captain Twining is here and I send by him an order that you will perceive looks to staying here some days. * I thought Johnston, having failed, as he attempted to crush one of my wings, finding he had not succeeded but that I was present with my whole force, would withdraw, but he has not, and I must fight him here. He is twenty miles from Smithfield with a bad road to his rear, but his position is in the swamps, difficult of approach, and I don't like to assail his parapets, which are of the old kind. As soon as you get to Goldsborough leave a small garrison, break the bridge across Little River above the railroad, but use the one near its mouth at old Waynesborough and advance to Millard, where you can effect a junction with Terry. He need leave a very small picket at Cox's Bridge. Make up a force of about 25,000 men, leaving at Goldsborough Carler's division, if as I understand, it is composed of troops properly belonging to this army. Let me know the moment these combinations are made, when we can act. I would like to have your pontoon bridge across Neuse about Jericho, so that our trains to and from Kinston can use it. General Howard will bridge at or near Goldsborough and General Slocum at Cox's. The roads are now comparatively good and I want to make the most of the good weather, but the moment Johnston gives ground I propose to fall back on Goldsborough and await the completion of our railroad and re-equipment of my army. I will probably post you at Kinston, General Terry about Faison's, and this army at Goldsborough. You will probably find plenty of corn, bacon, and corn meal in the country from Waynesborough to Millard. The road near the Neuse is also better than the one back, as it is better drained. All the heads of creeks in this region are swamps and level pine lands that afford bad roads. I expect you surely at Goldsborough to-day at that you have at once secured the bridge across Little River. I don't think you will find over there anything but cavalry. Hoke is to our front. We took prisoners from his command yesterday.
W. T. SHERMAN,
* See Special Field Orders, Numbers 33, p. 930.