War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 1298 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

united may impede the march of the Federal army, and even find opportunities to strike heavy blows, or at least prevent it from gathering food. Would it be possible to hold Richmond itself with half your army, while the other half joined us near Roanoke to crush Sherman? We might then turn upon Grant. Would it not be well to instruct General Bragg to keep me advised of his movements? I shall inform him of mine and those of the enemy near me.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON,

General.

CHARLOTTE, N. C., March 1, 1865.

Sketch of Plan of Operations for the Spring Campaign of 1865.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,

Commanding Department, &c., Charlotte, N. C.:

Sherman's ultimate objective point is doubtless Richmond, before which he expects to form a junction with grant, forcing General Lee either to evacuate Virginia or to accept battle at great disadvantage, and with certain defeat by superior numbers. His intermediate objective points are possibly Fayetteville, and certainly Raleigh and Petersburg. His present position (at or near Camden, S. C.) movements indicate a purpose to avoid Charlotte and to move on Fayetteville, effecting a junction with Schofield from Wilmington, whose force is about 15,000 men. I estimate Sherman's force at not exceeding 35,000 men, exclusive of 4,000 cavalry. This plan of campaign may be signally foiled.

First. The troops now concentrating under Hardee at Cheraw, some 10,000 infantry and light artillery, in conjunction with the cavalry under Hampton, should oppose Sherman's advance, and do all possible to delay his march, making an obstinate defense of the line of the Pedee, for a time at least.

Second. The forces at Charlotte, about 6,000 infantry and light artillery, should be sent by rail via Raleigh to Smithfield, N. C., as soon as Sherman's movements are uncovered so clearly as to indicatrch to be the one anticipated.

Third. From Smithfield this force should march at the proper moment and form a junction at or in advance of Fayetteville with Hardee, who would fall back gradually before Sherman.

Fourth. Bragg should retire from his present position - about Fish [Rockfish] Cree, near Wilmington - by railroad to Warsaw, and march thence to Fayetteville (forty-seven miles), so as to reach that place at the same time with the troops from Charlotte. He should cover or ocnceal his movement from Schofield by his cavalry and a strong line of skirmishers, and some light artillery, which may be sacrificed, if necessary. By these means there would be assembled at Fayetteville -

Hardee's corps (infantry and artillery). . . . . . . . . . . 10,000

Army of Tennessee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6,000

Bragg's forces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,000

--------

Infantry and artillery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26,000

But Sherman will have a well disciplined and organized army of 35,000 men, flushed with a series of successes, to cope with which, especially in the present condition of our forces, we should have at