March 16, 1865: Averasborough

William J. Hardee
Gen. William J. Hardee


Carolinas campaign map

Slocum runs into Hardee and has a sharp skirmish; losses on both sides, but Hardee loses cannon and retreats into Averasborough.

In the Field, near Little Cohera Creek, N. C., March 16, 1865.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifteenth Army Corps:

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements and operations of my command the 15th instant: Pursuant to orders from corps headquarters I broke camp at 9 a. m. sharp and moved upon the Goldsborough road to the vicinity of South River, where the enemy was developed upon the opposite bank, and immediately opened with artillery and small-arms, the latter being from a pretty strong skirmish line holding a position in front of a wooded swamp covered with water from two to four feet in depth.

The enemy had rendered the bridge over the main channel (which was about ten feet deep) impassable by removing the covering of the bridge. Upon the arrival of the pontoon train, at 6 p. m., I placed two boats across the main channel of the stream, and at 8 a. m. commenced crossing my infantry, who were compelled to wade a distance of 200 yards through the swamp with water to the waist after leaving the boats. At 9. 30 the Seventh Iowa Infantry Volunteers succeeded in making a lodgment on high ground on the opposite bank, and found the enemy had left his position, which this regiment immediately occupied. Upon receiving intelligence of the flight of the enemy, I at once placed a detail at work on the bridge, in order to have it in readiness for crossing my trains in the morning. My command has made a march of ten miles.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brevet Major-General.


Near Jackson’s Farm, N. C., March 16, 1865.
Major General F. P. BLAIR,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: General Sherman says that Hardee is in front of Slocum on the river road, and he thinks he intends to make a stand at the cross-roads above Kyle’s Landing. Please move to Beaman’s Cross-Roads to-morrow, effecting a crossing, however, of the creek in your front with your mounted men, in order to let the refugees pass through Clinton. If Slocum needs us we can march up the Raleigh road, but if he does not you will be directed to Troublefield’s Store, and Logan’s disencumbered divisions will move straight on Bentonville, while his trains will follow you from Beaman’s Cross-Roads. Our main objective has been changed to Everettsville instead of Faison’s Depot, as ordered before. Schofield reports that he whipped Bragg, and is near Kinston. Terry says he will be at Faison’s by Sunday or Monday. Expect further orders at Beaman’s Cross-Roads. We have skirmished with the rebel cavalry to-day, supporting artillery. Your movement will turn them out.

Very respectfully,


In the Field, Eighteen Miles Northeast Fayetteville,
March 17, 1865-7 a. m.
Major General O. O. HOWARD,
Commanding Right Wing:

GENERAL: General Slocum found the enemy covering the narrow neck from Taylor’s Hole up to the Goldsborough road. He drove them from two successive positions, taking three guns, some prisoners and wounded, but losing himself pretty severely, I think as many as 300 in all. But the enemy lost heavily also, from appearances. At night the enemy still held the forks, but it is just reported that he is gone, I suppose up to Averasborough, where the Raleigh and Smithfield roads fork.

Your scout, Duncan, is just in, having escaped from McLaws’ guard, he thinks about twelve miles out on the Smithfield road; so Hardee is retreating on Smithfield. Slocum will feel out toward Averasborough, but move his column on the Goldsborough road, which is that which crosses Black and Mingo Creek just ahead of where we are.

Our true tactics would be to push all our columns to Smithfield, but I will only follow Hardee far enough to give him impulse, when we must resume our [course]. I want you to-day to get to where the Goldsborough road crosses Mingo, and have that bridge well repaired. You need not come over to Slocum unless you hear him engaged. We might cut his column at Elevation, but it will be time enough to think of that to-night.

Blair is getting too far off. Better draw him and all your trains toward Troublefield’s Store. Weather having cleared off, we may count on better roads. Have a road for your column reconnoitered from Mingo bridge to that point north of Troublefield’s where three roads meet. I expect to be to-night somewhere between Black River and Mingo bridge.

Major-General, Commanding.

This entry was posted in Henry W. Slocum, North Carolina, Sherman's March, William J. Hardee, William Tecumseh Sherman. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *