Today in History:

23 Series I Volume XLVII-I Serial 98 - Columbia Part I


destroyed, as also the railroad trestles and bridges down as far as Darlington. An expedition of mounted infantry was also sent down to Florence, but it encountered both cavalry and infantry, and returned, having only broken up in part the branch road from Florence to Cheraw.

without unnecessary delay the columns were again put in motion, directed on Fayetteville, N. C., the Right Wing crossing the Pedee at Cheraw, and the Left Wing and cavalry at Sneedsborough. General Kilpatrick was ordered t keep well on the left flank, and the Fourteenth Corps, moving by Love's Bridge, was given the right to enter and occupy Fayetteville first. The weather continued unfavorable and roads bad, but the Fourteenth and Seventeenth Corps reached Fayetteville on the 11th of March, skirmishing with Wade Hampton's cavalry, that covered the rear of Hardee's retreating army, which, as usual, had crossed Cape Fear River, burning the bridge. During the march from the Pedee General Kilpatrick had kept his cavalry well on the left and exposed flank. During the night of the 9th of March his three brigades were divided to picket the roads. General Hampton detecting this dashed in at daylight and gained possession of the camp of Colonel Spencer's brigade, and the house in which General Kilpatrick and Colonel Spencer had their quarters. The surprise was complete, but General Kilpatrick quickly succeeded in rallying his men, on foot, in a swamp near by, and by a prompt attack, well followed up, regained his artillery, horses, camp, and everything save some prisnemy carried off, leaving their dead on the ground.

The 12th, 13th, and 14th were passed at Fayetteville, destroying absolutely the U. S. Arsenal and the vast amount of machinery which had formerly belonged to the old Harper's Ferry U. S. Arsenal. Every building was knocked down and burned, and every piece of machinery utterly broken up and ruined by the First Regiment Michigan Engineers, under the immediate supervision of Colonel O. M. Poe, chief engineer. Much valuable property of great use to an enemy was here destroyed or cast into the river.

Up to this period I had perfectly succeeded in interposing my superior army between the scattered parts of my enemy. But I was then aware that the fragments that had left Columbia under Beauregard had been re-enforced by Cheatham's corps from the West and the garrison of Augusta, and that ample time had been given to move them to my front and flank about Raleigh. Hardee had also succeeded in getting across Cape Fear River ahead of me, and could therefore complete the junction with the other armies of Johnston and Hoke, in North Carolina. And the whole, under the command of the skillful and experienced Joe Johnston, made up an army superior to me in cavalry, and formidable enough in artillery and infantry to justify me in extreme caution in making the last step necessary to complete the march I had undertaken. Previous to reaching Fayetteville I had dispatched to Wilmington from Laurel Hill Church two of our best scouts with intelligence of our position and my general plans. Both of these messengers reached Wilmington, and, on the morning of the 12th of March, the army tug Davidson, Captain Ainsworth, reached Fayetteville from Wilmington, bringing me full intelligence of events from the outer world. On the same day this tug carried back to General Terry, at Wilmington, and General Schofield, at New Berne, my dispatches to the effect that, on Wednesday, the 15th, we would move for Goldsborough, feigning on Raleigh, and ordering them to march straight for Goldsborough, which I expected to reach about the 20th. The same day the gun-boat Eolus, Captain Young, U. S. Navy, also reached Fayetteville,