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1865 April 1: The Battles of Fort Stedman and Averasborough

April 2, 2015

A summary of the week’s war news, taken from the St. Paul Press of March 28, 1865, and republished in the April 1, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.  The battles mentioned are:

  • Battle of Fort Stedman, aka Hare’s Hill, March 25.
  • Battle of Averasborough, March 16.
  • Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21.

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From the St. Paul Press, March 28th.

THE WAR NEWS.

The Army of the Potomac, long surging and chafing like an angry sea, against the rebel ramparts on the Appomatox [sic: Appomattox], and long held to its military bounds, partly by the imperious demands of strategy, and lately, by the necessities of the season, has again, as soon as weather and roads would permit, been let loose upon the rebel lines and opened the Spring campaign on Saturday last, with what appears from Grant’s brief dispatch, to have been an important success, resulting in the capture of the enemy’s strong entrenchments confronting our left on the Southside road, (we infer the locality, which is not mentioned in our dispatches) and in inflicting a terrible loss upon the enemy.  Our own loss was heavy, amounting in the three corps engaged, to 119 killed, 800 wounded, and 808 missing ;  total 1,720.  But the prisoners captured from the enemy alone exceeded this whole loss, numbering 1870 ;  while their loss in killed and wounded was twice or thrice as large as ours.  On the morning of the same day the enemy had made a sudden and a successful attack upon Fort Steadman [sic]—a point in our defenses which we take to be east or North-east of Petersburg, on the Appomatox [sic].  They captured the whole garrison at this point, but were subsequently driven out with heavy loss, and most of the prisoners they had taken, escaped.

While Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] is breaking through the net-work of the rebel defenses around Petersburg and Richmond, Sherman [William T. Sherman] is advancing by rapid and triumphant strides through North Carolina, where he is everywhere welcomed by the people as a deliverer.

Sherman has effected a junction with Schofield and Terry [John M. Schofield, Alfred H. Terry], six miles west of Goldsboro, and was rapidly moving on Raleigh.  Joe Johnston falling back to cover that place [Joseph E. Johnston].  In accomplishing these movements the only fighting of consequence was a battle with Hardee [William J. Hardee] at Averysboro [sic: Averasborough], on the 16th, when the latter was completely defeated, and the affair at Bentonville, which Johnston crowed loudly over as a great victory, but which turns out to have been but a mere temporary repulse of a division, immediately reviewed and repaid with compound interest as soon as reinforcements arrived.  Sherman officially reports his whole loss since leaving Savannah, at 2,500 men—most slightly wounded—while he has taken 2,000 rebel prisoners alone.

Meanwhile, universal disaffection prevails in the rebel armies, and their soldiers are deserting in increased numbers every day.  North Carolina will, in a few days, pass away from rebel rule forever, under the safe protection of that old flag she has never ceased to love, and in less than a month, perhaps in half that time, the military power of the rebellion will be practically confined to the section of Eastern Virginia occupied by the army of Lee [Robert E. Lee].  East Tennessee is being heavily garrisoned to close the door of Lee’s retreat that way.  Sheridan [Philip H. Sheridan] is preparing to leap to horse again and soon the combined armies of the Union will be thundering at the gates of Richmond.

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