|Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton|
The fight at Monroe's Crossroads gained the additional time needed for Hardee's infantry to cross the Cape Fear River. With their troops and equipment safely across, the Confederates burned the bridges. Hardee then moved to join Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's command, which helped to set the stage for the climactic Battle of Bentonville a few days later.
But first, Hardee's men would have an opportunity to stand and fight before they joined Johnston.
|Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee|
The 2-day Battle of Averasboro had begun.2
At dawn on the second day, the Federals advanced on the first line but were stopped by the main Confederate defense. Later in the morning, a surprise flanking attack routed some of the Confederates on the line. Soon the attackers drove back the second line of defense. Just as the Federals were attempting to outflank Hardee's 3rd line, Wheeler's cavalry arrived to cover the gap. Sherman made the decision to postpone another assault until the next morning. However, by then Hardee had successfully evacuated his position in the darkness and moved toward Smithfield to join Johnston.3
2 For excellent map of the Battle of Averasboro see The Civil War Trust website.
3 At this moment, my Great Grandfather Nathan Oakes, in Lowrey's Brigade, also was making his way to join Johnston's forces that were concentrating at Smithfield.