MARCH 3RD, 1865: General Sherman's large army, marching parallel to the coast from Columbia in order to keep sea support near at hand, steadily approached Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The Navy continued to clear the Cape Fear River of torpedoes and obstructions so as to provide Sherman with a base at Wilmington for sea supply comparable to what he had at Savannah. As the river was cleared light draft gunboats bumped up the river to be ready to open communication.
This date, Lt.Cmdr. Ralph Chandler, USS Lenapee, reported to Lt. Cmdr. George W. Young, Senior Naval Officer at Wilmington: "In obedience to your order of the 1st instant, I got underway with this vessel on the 2nd instant and proceeded up the North West Branch to a point where the Cape Fear River forms a junction with the Black River.
"The bends of the river I found too short to attempt to get the vessel higher without carrying away the wheelhouse and otherwise damaging the ship. I remained there until 1 o'clock p.m. to-day.
:During the night some negroes came down, and, on questioning them, they informed me that they had been told that General Sherman's forces were at a town called Robeson, 20 miles from Fayetteville."