In an effort to link up with Sherman's troops advancing into North Carolina, Union Gen. John M. Schofield advanced inland from Wilmington in late February 1865. Schofield ordered Maj. Gen. Jacob D. Cox to move his XXIII Corps from New Berne toward Goldsboro. Cox’s advance was blocked, however, by Confederate divisions under Gen. Braxton Bragg at Southwest Creek just east of Kinston. Bragg tried to wrest the initiative from the Federals by attacking their flanks on the 8th. After initial success, the Southern attacks stalled. Union reinforcements arrived on March 9, just in time to repulse Bragg’s renewed attacks the next day. After heavy fighting and unable to dislodge Cox, Bragg withdrew across the Neuse River.