tioned as being on the Neuse River, above Kinston. I understand from citizens that the bridge at Goldsborough has been destroyed. I will keep in front of the enemy, between him and Smithfield and Goldsborough, until the very last moment, but the destruction of the bridge at Goldsborough will render it necessary for me to go above to cross the neuse River. The position of the enemy's cavalry has not been sufficiently ascertained, but small bodies of cavalry have been observed in advance of their army, and but few prisoners have been taken from their cavalry. I fear that it may have moved up on the west side of the Cape Fear River, endeavoring to strike at our trains or to reach the railroad at Raleigh. some disposition should be made to counteract such a movement. Two regiments of cavalry were left on the west side of the Cape Fear River, and Crews' brigade, which has been with General Stewart's corps, should be near enought to come between them and Raleigh, if they are moving in that direction. Colonel Dibrell's train, with four pieces of artillery, was two days; march behind the rest of Wheeler's wagons when last heard from, and Butler's wagons were, I understand, ordered from Charlotte to Raleigh. These trains would be in danger if the enemy's cavalry is on the west of the Cape Fear River. I will unite Dibrell's brigade with Butler to-morrow and impede the enemy all I can. Hart's battery (horse artillery) joined me to-day.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Smithfield, March 17, 1865 - 10 p. m.
GENERAL: Please send me by the bearer all the information you have of the movement and position of the enemy, the number of their columns, their location and distance apart, and didtance from Goldsborough, and give me your opinion whether it is practicable to reach them from Smithfield on the south side of the river before they reach Goldsborough.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY CORPS,
March 17, 1865 - 12. 45 a. m.
Major H. B. McCLELLAN,
MAJOR: On arriving at General Hardee's position yesterday morning I found him engaged with the enemy, and fought with him until dark. In obedience to his instructions General Allen will move on his right, to cover that flank while moving to Smithfield, and I remain with Ashby's command to cover his rear. Any communication will reach me at Elevation to-day.
Respectfully, major, your obedient servant,