March 19, 1865: Bentonville

Rebel charge at Bentonville NC
Rebel Charge at Bentonville


Sherman’s men have run into Johnston’s troops outside of Bentonville, North Carolina.

March 19, 1865-1. 15 p. m.
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding-in-Chief, &c.:

GENERAL: One of General Logan’s scouts has just returned from the bridge across the Neuse before Goldsborough, and reports that the crossing is defended by a bridge-head held by the rebels. The Seventh Illinois Mounted Infantry is at the bridge before the works.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Falling Creek Post-Office, March 19, 1865.
Major General W. B. HAZEN,
Commanding Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: Major-General Slocum needs aid quick. You will please move your command back via Blackman Lee’s Store, and from there, under direction of General Slocum’s senior aide-de-camp, across to the Left Wing, reporting to Major-General Slocum.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-General.


Near Falling Creek Post-Office, N. C., March 19, 1865.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifteenth Army Corps:

MAJOR: I have the honor to report the following as the operations of this division for the day: Broke camp near Newton’s Grove Cross-Roads at 6 a. m. and moved in advance on Goldsborough road, the advance of the command arriving at Falling Creek Post-Office at 11. 30 a. m., at which point a halt was ordered to enable the First Brigade and a portion of the train which had become mired at and beyond Falling Creek to close up on the advance. It being reported that parties of the enemy were on our front, I sent one regiment of the SEcond Brigade our about a quarter of a mile on the Cox’s Bridge road, and one about three-quarters of a mile out on the Goldsborough road as advance guards. Pickets were also thrown out on the left flank. At about 2 p. m. I was ordered by Major-General Howard to cause one regiment to report to Lieutenant Colonel William E. Strong, of his staff, to go out to near Cox’s Bridge for the purpose of driving off the enemy’s picket post established at that point. I sent the Tent Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and am informed by one of my staff, who accompanied the regiment, they succeeded in developing about 250 rebel cavalry, and in driving them back to within a quarter of a mile of Cox’s Bridge. At 3 p. m. I was ordered to encamp the division, and while attending to the same, orders were received to send the remainder of the Second brigade to the support of the Tenth Iowa, which, learning it was in a dangerous position, I had ordered to fall back. This order, I was afterward informed, was countermanded by Major-General Logan. The entire brigade is no encamped near the First Division, at the Cox’s Bridge and Everettsville cross-roads. At about the same time that I was ordered to send the Second Brigade forward I was also ordered to change the position of the First Brigade, and accordingly moved it forward about 500 yards and placed it in position on the west side of and its right resting on the Cox’s Bridge road, fronting north; artillery immediately in rear of the center of the brigade. At 6. 30 p. m. I was ordered to send one regiment as an advance post out on the Goldsborough road, from which the regiment from the Second Brigade had been taken during the p. m., and to place one regiment in rear of the left of the remainder of the brigade covering approaches from the west, and at 8. 45 p. m. to send two companies out to Falling Creek bridge, one mile and a half from the picket post on the Goldsborough road, all of which was complied with. Distance marched, fifteen miles.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brevet Major-General.


Falling Creek Church, N. C., March 19, 1865.
Major-General BLAIR,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: General Slocum reports having met a very large force and thinks that Johnston’s whole army is confronting him. The general commanding directs that you do not move farther forward at present, but that you get your trains well closed up, so that you may put them under guard and be ready to move up, disencumbered of wagons, to the support of the Left Wing at a moment’s notice, and for that purpose you reconnoiter carefully all roads leading in this direction. The inclosed dispatch* is from General Sherman, who wishes you to send it by some careful, trustworthy person though to General Schofield, who is supposed to be advancing on Goldsborough, and is probably near Kinston.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-General.


Smith’s Chapel, N. C., March 19, 1865.

SIR: The inclosed dispatch has just been received from army headquarters, and General Blair has been directed by General Sherman to send it to General Schofield by some “careful, trustworthy person. ” Either this dispatch or the one sent you for General S. this evening is evidently of great importance. This one is probably a cipher dispatch.

In view of the probable importance of the dispatches, the major-general commanding orders that you send at as early an hour as practicable to-morrow a detachment of your command to Kinston and communicate with General Schofield at that point or wherever he may be, delivering these dispatches. We have received orders to move to Falling Creek at 3 a. m. to-morrow to the support of General Slocum, who reports that he has met a large force, and thinks the whole of Johnston’s army is confronting him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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