HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Near Bentonville, N. C., March 21, 1865-6 p. m.
GENERAL: It is manifest that we are not to be favored with weather. After raining six weeks it has apparently set in for another six weeks. I wish whilst waiting for the pontoon train you would keep strong details corduroying the roads at the low places, especially in the bottoms of Falling Creek at both bridges, or at the bridges on both roads, viz, the one from Cox's to Goldsborough, and the one from Falling Creek School-House to Goldsborough. Better keep 1,000 men on detail for such work. We will corduroy back toward you, and you toward Goldsborough. Rails are pretty good, but pine saplings ten inches through the cut, split in two, the flat side laid down, make a better road. We have had some pretty sharp skirmishers all round the line, but nothing either way. If I could get the railroad done to Goldsborough I would be better off than Johnston, as he has the same weather and, I think, a worse road to his base at Smithfield-both distances twenty miles. I am very anxious to hear of General Schofield at Goldsborough, and especially that the railroadis done to that point. It should have been completed before I got here.
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS PROVISIONAL CORPS,
Near Cox's Bridge, N. C., March 21, 1865.
Brigadier General CHARLES J. PAINE,
Commanding Third Division, Twenty-fifth Army Corps:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding requests that, as soon as the pontoon bridge is completed, you will order the brigade of your command stationed at the river to cross the pontoon and intrench on the other side so as to form a strong bridge-head, with both flanks resting on the river and the salient well thrown forward.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
WILMIMGTON, March 21, 1865.
Commanding Provisional Carps:
SIR: I send Mr. Phelps, master mechanic, with six carpenters, six machinists, and twenty laborers up to Magnolia and thereabouts, with full instructions to repair any and all cars that he can catch, and I explain to him all that you tell me about the machine-shop at Magnolia. Wallace, president of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, tells me the superintendent did not mean to send tools away from Magnolia if he could help it. The trouble is not in finding mechanics, but the tools are missing. I am hunting up the creek for some, giving notice in the town, offering employment to such as will bring tools, &c., I also send Captain McClure, of the engineers, to make a temporary landing place at Northeast. He takes a party. I send on the same steamer another load of provisions. If you can keep the rebels off we
60 R R-VOL XLVII, PT II.