After the conference, Sherman returned to New Bern, N.C., on board the USS Bat, a swifter ship than the steamer on which he had arrived at City Point. Porter had ordered Lt.Cmdr. Barnes: "You will wait the pleasure of Major-General W.T. Sherman...and when ready will convey him, with staff, either to New Berne, Beaufort, or such place as he may indicate. return here as soon as possible."
Sherman's troops were at Goldsboro at this time, a little more than 125 miles in a direct line south of Petersburg.