Sunday, January 1st, 1865
Moved to town this morning; some misunderstanding, marched back to our quarters.
At Catholic Church this morning, Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m.; preaching by Rev. Dr. Aron.
Hallock Aug. 19th /61 (1861)
Sherman Aug. 12th /64 (1864)
Sheridan Nov. 8th /64 (1864)
Thomas Dec. 15th /64 (1864)
Meade Aug. 18th /64 (1864)
Colonel Robinson’s Eagles have turned into Stars.
(Editor’s Note: Col. Robinson promoted to General – see entry for Tuesday, Feb. 14.)
At Presbyterian Church l0 and a half a.m. Dr. Aron, Chaplain; sermon preached in camp at 2 p.m.; meeting at the Wesley Chapel in the evening.
Gen’l Inspection by Capt. Reynolds; orders to march in the morning.
(Editor’s Note: Sherman appointed the 15th of January as the day when he would commence his march. The left wing under Slocum accompanied by Kilpatrick’s cavalry was to have crossed the Savannah River on a pontoon bridge laid at the city but incessant rains which flooded the country swelled the stream and overflowed the swamps on their margins and had caused the submergence of a causeway which Slocum had constructed opposite Savannah and broken up his pontoon bridge. He was compelled to look higher up the river for a passage and marched his troops to Sister’s Ferry, or Purysburg (also Three Sister’s Ferry). The delay caused by the flood prevented Slocum getting his entire wing of the army across the Savannah River until the first week in February.)
Marched 8 a.m., crossed the Savannah River, marched 7 miles; camped on Gen. Hardee’s plantation.
Marched at 2 p.m. - 5 miles.
Marched at 9 a.m. – 8 miles; news of the capture of Fort Fisher read to us; rains fast.
In Camp at Three Sister’s Ferry.
Pleasures are like Poppies spread
You seize the flower, its bloom is sped
Or like the snow falls in the river
A moment white, then melts forever
Or like the Borealis race
That flits ere you can point the place
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.
Move at 7 a.m., 12 miles, camped at 5 p.m.
March 7 a.m., camp 5 p.m., 10 miles; plenty of forage, Hogs and Sweet Potatoes.
In camp at Robertsville on the River.
Saw George Scarthe.
Wednesday, February 1st, 1865
On Foraging Expedition, thousands of everything, 10 miles.
March at 8 a.m., camp at 8 p.m., 12 miles.
March 6 a.m., camp at 5 p.m., march 15 miles.
Leave camp at 8 a.m., march 9 miles.
March 7 and a half a.m., camp 5 p.m. 10 miles.
March 10 a.m., camp 6 p.m., 7 miles.
March 7 a.m., camp at 5 p.m., march 9 miles; struck the Railroad at Blackville. Grahams turn out (?)
Repairing the Railroad, 4 miles.
Marched 14 miles, destroyed some road.
Remodeling the Road.
March at 8 a.m., cross a small river, the South Edisto; camp 5 p.m., 12 miles.
(Editor’s Note: Slocum with Kilpatrick’s cavalry comprising the left wing pressed through the wet swamps from Sister’s Ferry toward Barnwell, threatening Augusta; while the right wing keeping westward of the Salkhatchie River made for the crossings of that stream at River’s and Beaufort Bridges for the purpose of pushing on to the Edisto River and thus flanking Charleston.)
March at 5 p.m., reach camp at 9 p.m., 9 miles; some skirmishing.
(Editor’s Note: The 17th and 15th Corps crossed the south fork of the Edisto and converged at Poplar Spring where the 17th moving swiftly on Orangeburg dashed upon the Confederates intrenched in front of the bridge near there and drove them across the stream. The latter tried to burn the bridge but failed. With the various Union forces completely flanking the Confederates, the latter retreated and by four o’clock that afternoon the whole of the 17th Corps was in Orangeburg and had begun the work of destruction of the railway connecting that place with Columbia.)
March at 10 a.m., camp at 4 p.m., 8 miles; some skirmishing.
March at 7 a.m., camp at 12 a.m., 6 miles; Capt. Reynolds of Gen. Robinson’s staff captured.
Leave camp at 9 a.m., camp at 9 p.m., 10 miles; sharp skirmishing all day; out with foraging party.
Leave camp at 8 a.m., every appearance of a fight; our troops are concentrating; camp at 4 p.m., 4 miles from Columbia, 8 miles.
(Editor’s Note: While the 17th and 15th Corps approached Columbia the left wing under Slocum had pushed steadily forward some distance to the westward of the right but with the same destination, Columbia. For a while Augusta trembled with fear as his host passed by but Slocum was very little troubled excepting by Wheeler, and those troopers were kept too busy by Kilpatrick to be very mischievous. Thru swamps and across the streams he trudged on for the Saluda River, hearing now and then of the approach of troops from the westward.)
March at 8 a.m., 4 miles up the river, 14th Corps crossing on pontoons.
(Editor’s Note: The scattered remnants of the Confederate army were ordered to cut off Sherman’s march but his movements were too rapid and the National army was at Columbia before any of Hood’s men appeared. Slocum had not been molested by them and he arrived on the banks of the Saluda near Columbia.)
March at 8 a.m., camp at 5 p.m., 6 miles.
March at 7 a.m., crossed the Broad River about 100 yards wide; 6 miles.
(Editor’s Note: Slocum was ordered to cross the Saluda and Broad rivers and to march directly upon Winsboro’, destroying the Greenville & Columbia railroad near Alston, where it crosses the Broad River. Both orders were executed.)
Leave camp at 10 a.m., march 12 miles; pass through Winnsboro’; camp at 5 p.m., cut the Charlotte Railroad.
(Editor’s Note: Sherman moved his whole army from Columbia to Winnsboro’ in the direction of Charlotte and from that point Slocum who arrived on the 21st with the 20th Corps caused the railway to be broken up well toward Chesterville (Chesterfield).)
Leave camp at 12 a.m., march 17 miles, camp at 12 p.m.; got lost from the Regiment.
Leave camp at 7 a.m., cross the Wateree River, march six miles; the Hilliest country we have passed through.
March 4 miles, the 14th Corps cross the road ahead of us.
March at 9 a.m., march 7 miles, camp at 6 p.m.; roads dreadful, much rain has fallen the last two or three days; the country is very broken but thickly settled.
(Editor’s Note: Slocum crossed the Catawba on a pontoon bridge at Rocky Mount on the 23rd just as a heavy rainstorm set in which flooded the country and swelled the streams.)
Move at 6 a.m., 2 miles; wash and mend our clothing; rain.
Leave camp at 7 a.m., march 7 miles, camp at 3 p.m., muster.
Wednesday, March 1st, 1865
Move at 6 a.m., march 18 miles, camp at 4 p.m., roads good; crossed a small stream, Lynch’s Creek.
(Editor’s Note: It was a most fatiguing march for the whole army for much of the country presented flooded swamps, especially in the region of Lynch’s Creek at which the left wing was detained.)
March at 6 a.m., marched 18 miles, camped at 4 p.m. at Chesterfield; sharp skirmishing, drizzling rain: crossed a small stream, our Division in advance.
(Editor’s Note: On the 2nd of March the leading division of the 20th Corps reached Chesterfield, skirmishing there with Butler’s cavalry division.)
Move at 7 a.m., cross a small River, had to wade it, rather a cold bath: march 5 miles; our Division has been in advance 3 days.
(Editor’s Note: The left wing with the cavalry crossed the Pedee River at Sneedsboro on the state line.)
Leave camp 5 p.m., roads very much cut up, march 5 miles, camp at 2 p.m., rear Guard.
In camp near Cheraw; detailed on Picket.
March at 8 a.m., reach Cheraw 2 p.m., cross the Little Pedee River 7 p.m.. camp at 2 a.m., next morning, 15 miles, cross the North Caroline line.
March at 7 a.m., march 15 miles, camp at 3 p.m.
Move at 6 a.m., in advance, march 20 miles; camp at 5 p.m., by the Cumber River, the Rebs burnt the bridge; rained all day.
Detail repairing the bridge all night, march at 3 p.m., 1 mile; rained very hard.
March 6 a.m., camp 3 p.m., 6 miles, our Division has had the advance 3 days; camped by a large stream, bridge burnt.
Leave camp at 11 a.m., camp at 11 p.m., roads bad; camp near Fayetteville, 18 miles.
(Editor’s Note: The weather was bad but the Nationals made good time and on the 11th of March Sherman’s whole force was concentrated at Fayetteville from which Hardee had also retreated.)
(Editor’s Note: The National army rested three days at Fayetteville during which time the U.S. Arsenal there with all the costly machinery which the Confederates brought to that place from Harper’s Ferry in the spring of 1861 was utterly destroyed.)
Marched at 2 p.m., passed through town [Fayetteville], General Sherman and other Generals reviewed us: camped all night on the river bank [Cape Fear River], 2 miles.
Crossed the Cape Fear River at 2 p.m., communication open with Wilmington, a gunboat and some transports here received northern papers of the 23rd February, march 4 miles (Wilmington, Delaware).
March at 8 a.m., sharp skirmishing at 5 p.m., march 10 miles.
March at 8 a .m., 3rd Div. in advance, the Cavalry are engaged and are fighting bravely, our Div. arrived on the ground, 12 a.m.; we have sharp fighting all day; both sides lose heavily; we capture 3 pieces of artillery and 300 prisoners; the 14th Corps arrived at 3 p.m.; the loss of our Div. was 180 killed and wounded, 5 miles; the Rebs left their dead and wounded in our hands.
(Editor’s Note: In accordance with his usual plan of distracting the attention of his antagonist, Gen. Sherman sent Slocum with four divisions of the left wing toward Averasboro’ on the main road to Raleigh, feigning an advance upon the capital of the state while the two remaining divisions of that wing took the direct road to Goldsboro’. Sherman was with Slocum on the left. Incessant rains had made quagmires of the roads and the army was compelled to corduroy them continually. Near Taylor’s Hole Creek to which Slocum had advanced Kilpatrick skirmished heavily with Hardee’s rear guard that evening and captured some of them. On the following morning Slocum advanced his infantry and in the vicinity of Averasboro’ he found Hardee intrenched with a force of all arms estimated at 20,000 men on a narrow swampy neck of land between the Cape Fear & South Rivers. Hardee’s object was to hold Sherman there while Johnston should concentrate his forces at Raleigh, Smithfield or Goldsboro’. It was necessary to dislodge him and also to keep up the feint on Raleigh as long as possible and hold possession of the road to Goldsboro’. Slocum was, therefore, ordered to advance and carry the position. The ground was so soft that horses sank deep at every step and men traveled over the pine-barren only with difficulty. They ran into a Confederate brigade of heavy artillery but by a quick charge upon their flank broke that wing into fragments and drove it back. Three guns and 217 men were captured. The confederates in their haste left 108 of their dead on the field. Various other corps advanced to equally strategic positions while the whole of Slocum’s line advanced and after a hard fight drove Hardee within his entrenchments and there pressed him so heavily that during the dark and stormy night that succeeded he retreated to Smithfield over the most wretched roads. So ended the conflict known as the Battle of Averasboro’ in which Slocum lost 77 killed & 477 wounded but no prisoners. Hardee’s loss was similar.)
March at 8 a.m. the 14th Corps in advance, march 6 miles.
March 7 a.m., camp at 7 p.m., 10 miles.
March 6 a.m., 8 miles, 14th Corps in advance; skirmishing in front; our Regt. left behind to guard a cross road, heavy firing in front; we arrive just in time; the Rebs have been driving our men; we form new lines with artillery in position; the Rebs made 8 or 10 charges on our lines but were repulsed each time; our loss slight: the Rebs lost heavily.
(Editor’s Note: Sherman felt satisfied that he should have no more serious strife with the enemy on his march to Goldsboro’ He issued an order to the effect that commanders would march their corps in the easiest manner and by the nearest roads to Goldsboro’. That sense of security was almost fatal to Sherman’s army for at that moment Johnston, who had come down from Smithfield in rapid but stealthy march under cover of night, was hovering near in full force. He found the Union forces in a favorable position for the execution of his designs. Early on the morning of the 19th Sherman was so assured of security that he left Slocum’s wing of the army, which was most exposed to the foe, and joined Howard’s farther to the right which was scattered and moving as rapidly as the wretched state of the roads would admit. When only 6 miles on his journey to overtake Howard he heard cannonading at the northwest but was assured that it was only a slight encounter between Carlin’s division and Dibrell’s cavalry (rebel) and that the former was easily driving the latter. It was true that Carlin and Dibrell had met but the matter soon assumed a most serious aspect. Confederate cavalry made much stouter resistance than common; each moment they revealed increased strength. Measures were taken to counteract it & by 10 o’clock the brigades of Carlin’s division were both deployed & the former had made a vigorous assault on the foe and driven them back some distance. By 12 o’clock the fighting had become stubborn; artillery was at work vigorously on both sides. A deserter, a ‘galvanized Yankee” (A Union prisoner forced into fighting to escape the horrors of captivity) was brought to Gens. Slocum & Davis & declared that the whole of Johnson’s army were in a fortified position intending an immediate attack. It was now half past two o’clock. Measures were taken to resist the expected overwhelming attack. Just then the rebels dashed out of the woods and fell with great fury mainly upon Carlin’s division already wearied & weakened by continual & severe fighting for hours. The scene was in a densely wooded, dark, wet and dismal swamp. Encouraged by Gen. Davis the men dashed forward in an impetuous charge. That charge was a magnificent display of courage, discipline and enthusiasm. The confederates were staggered and paralyzed by this unexpected and stunning blow from a force hitherto unseen by them. They reeled and fell back in amazement, fearing they knew not what and the attack was not renewed on that part of the field for more than an hour afterward. The army was saved!)
All quiet during the night; the Rebs carrying off their dead by torch light; we advance our line half a mile.
Keep our old position; we are well fortified; our wagons ordered to the river with the sick and wounded.
The Rebs all gone; we march to the right: march 10 miles.
March at 7 a.m., crossed the Neuse River at 2 p.m., camp at 6 p.m., 9 miles; make connection with Terry’s forces (partly negroes); on Picket.
(Editor’s Note: Schofield and Terry had been approaching Goldsboro’ and at the very time when Sherman was pressing Johnston at Bentonsville the former entered that place and Terry laid a pontoon bridge over the Neuse River ten miles above at Cox’s Bridge. On the 23rd of March all the armies in the aggregate about 60,000 strong were disposed in camps around Goldsboro’ there to rest and receive needed clothing.)
March 7 a.m., pass through Goldsboro [North Carolina] 11 a.m.; meet Schofield’s Corps; camp at 1 p.m., .7 miles.
(Editor’s Note: On the 25th the railroad between Goldsboro’ and New Berne was completed and in perfect order by which a rapid channel of supply from the sea was opened. So ended in complete triumph with small loss Sherman’s second great march through the interior of enemy country.)
Change position; receive mail, one letter from Richard.
General Inspection, orders to be ready to move by the 10th of April.