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rest and refit at White House. At this time the greatest source of uneasiness to me was the fear that the enemy would leave his strong lines about Petersburg and Richmond for the purpose of uniting with Johnston, before he was driven from them by battle, or I was prepared to make an effectual pursuit. On the twenty-fourth of March General Sheridan moved from White House, crossed the James river at Jones' landing, and formed a junction with the Army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg on the twentyseventh. During this move, General Ord sent forces to cover the crossings of the Chickahominy.
On the twenty-fourth of March the following instructions for a general movement of the armies operating against Richmond were issued:
"CITY POINT VA., March 24, 1865. "GENERAL: On the twenty-ninth instant the armies operating against Richmond will be moved by our left, for the double purpose of turning the enemy out of his present position around Petersburg, and to ensure the success of the cavalry under General Sheridan, which will start at the same time, in its efforts to reach and destroy the Southside and Danville railroads. Two corps of the Army of the Potomac will be moved at first in two columns, taking the two roads crossing Hatcher's run, nearest where the present line held by us strikes that stream, both moving toward Dinwiddie Court-house.
"The cavalry under General Sheridan, joined by the division now under General Davies, will move at the same time by the Weldon road and the Jerusalem plank-road, turning west from the latter before crossing the Nottaway, and west with the whole column before reaching Stony creek. General Sheridan will then move independently, under other instructions, which will be given him. All dismounted cavalry belonging to the Army of the Potomac, and the dismounted cavalry from the Middle Military Division not required for guarding property belonging to their arm of the service, will report to Brigadier-General Benham, to be added to the defences of City Point. Major-General Parke will be left in command of all the army left for holding the lines about Petersburg and City Point, subject, of course, to orders from the commander of the Army of the Potomac. The Ninth Army Corps will be left intact to hold the present line of works so long as the whole line now occupied by us is held. If, however, the troops to the left of the Ninth corps are withdrawn, then the left of the corps may be thrown back so as to occupy the position held by the army prior to the capture of the Weldon road. All troops to the left of the Ninth corps will be held in readiness to move at the shortest notice by such route as may be designated when the order is given.
"General Ord will detach three divisions, two white and one colored, or so much of them as he can and hold his present lines, and march for the present left of the Army of the Potomac.
In the absence of further orders, or until further orders are given, the white divisions will follow the left column of the Army of the Potomac, and the colored division the right column. During the movement Major-General Weitzel will be left in command of all the forces remaining behind from the Army of the James.
"The movement of troops from the Army of the James will commence on the night of the twenty-seventh instant. General Ord will leave behind the minimum number of cavalry necessary for picket duty, in the absence of the main army. A cavalry expedition from General Ord's command will also be started from Suffolk, to leave there on Saturday, the first of April, under Colonel Sumner, for the purpose of cutting the railroad about Hicks' ford. This, if accomplished, will have to be a surprise, and therefore from three to five hundred men will be sufficient. They should, however, be supported by all the infantry that can be spared from Norfolk and Portsmouth, as far out as to where the cavalry cross the Blackwater. The crossing should probably be at Uniten. Should Colonel Sumner succeed in reaching the Weldon road, he will be instructed to do all the damage possible to the triangle of roads between Hicks' ford, Weldon, and Gaston. The railroad bridge at Weldon being fitted up for the passage of carriages, it might be practicable to destroy any accumulation of supplies the enemy may have collected south of the Roanoke. All the troops will move with four days' rations in haversacks, and eight days' in wagons. To avoid as much hauling as possible, and to give the Army of the James the same number of days' supply with the Army of the Potomac, General Ord will direct his commissary and quartermaster to have sufficient supplies delivered at the terminus of the road to fill up in passing. Sixty rounds of ammunition per man will be taken in wagons, and as much grain as the transportation on hand will carry, after taking the specified amount of other supplies. The denselywooded country in which the army has to operate making the use of much artillery impracticable, the amount taken with the army will be reduced to six or eight guns to each division, at the option of the army commanders.
"All necessary preparations for carrying these directions into operation may be commenced at once. The reserves of the Ninth corps should be massed as much as possible. While I would not now order an unconditional attack on the enemy's line by them, they should be ready, and should make the attack if the enemy weakens his line in their front, without waiting for orders. In case they carry the line, then the whole of the Ninth corps could follow up so as to join or cooperate with the balance of the army. To prepare for this the Ninth corps will have rations issued to them, same as the balance of the army. General Weitzel will keep vigilant watch upon his front, and if found at all practicable to break through at any point, he will do so. A success north of the James should be followed
up with great promptness. An attack will not be feasible unless it is found that the enemy has detached largely. In that case it may be regarded as evident that the enemy are relying upon their local reserves principally for the defence of Richmond. Preparations may be made for abandoning all the line north of the James, except enclosed works-only to be abandoned, however, after a break is made in the lines of the enemy.
fected, visited me at City Point on the twentyseventh of March, and stated that he would be ready to move, as he had previously written me, by the tenth of April, fully equipped and rationed for twenty days, if it should become necessary to bring his command to bear against Lee's army, in cooperation with our forces in front of Richmond and Petersburg. General Sherman proposed in this movement to threaten Raleigh, and then, by turning suddenly to the "By these instructions a large part of the right, reached the Roanoke at Gaston or therearmies operating against Richmond is left be- abouts, whence he could move on to the Richhind. The enemy, knowing this, may, as an mond and Danville railroad, striking it in the only chance, strip their lines to the merest skel- vicinity of Burkesville, or join the armies eton, in the hope of advantage not being taken operating against Richmond, as might be of it, while they hurl everything against the deemed best. This plan he was directed to moving column, and return. It cannot be im- carry into execution, if he received no further pressed too strongly upon commanders of directions in the mean time. I explained to him troops left in the trenches not to allow this to the movement I had ordered to commence on occur without taking advantage of it. The very the twenty-ninth of March. That if it should fact of the enemy coming out to attack, if he not prove as entirely successful as I hoped, I does so, might be regarded as almost conclusive would cut the cavalry loose to destroy the evidence of such a weakening of his lines. I Danville and Southside railroads, and thus dewould have it particularly enjoined upon corps prive the enemy of further supplies, and also commanders that, in case of an attack from the prevent the rapid concentration of Lee's and enemy, those not attacked are not to wait for Johnston's armies. orders from the commanding officer of the army to which they belong, but that they will move promptly, and notify the commander of their action. I would also enjoin the same action on the part of division commanders when other parts of their corps are engaged. In like manner, I would urge the importance of following up a repulse of the enemy.
"Major-Generals MEADE, ORD, and SHERIDAN."
Early on the morning of the twenty-fifth the enemy assaulted our lines in front of the Ninth corps (which held from the Appomattox river toward our left), and carried Fort Steadman, and a part of the line to the right and left of it, established themselves and turned the guns of the fort against us; but our troops on either flank held their ground until the reserves were brought up, when the enemy was driven back with a heavy loss in killed and wounded, and one thousand nine hundred prisoners. Our loss was sixty-eight killed, three hundred and thirty-seven wounded, and five hundred and six missing. General Meade at once ordered the other corps to advance and feel the enemy in their respective fronts. Pushing forward, they captured and held the enemy's stronglyintrenched picket-line in front of the Second and Sixth corps, and eight hundred and thirtyfour prisoners. The enemy made desperate attempts to retake this line, but without success. Our loss in front of these was fifty-two killed, eight hundred and sixty-four wounded, and two hundred and seven missing. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was far greater.
General Sherman having got his troops all quietly in camp about Goldsboro', and his preparations for furnishing supplies to them perVOL. XI.-Doc. 23
I had spent days of anxiety lest each morning should bring the report that the enemy had retreated the night before. I was firmly convinced that Sherman's crossing the Roanoke would be the signal for Lee to leave. With Johnston and him combined, a long, tedious, and expensive campaign, consuming most of the summer, might become necessary. By moving out I would put the army in better condition for pursuit, and would at least, by the destruction of the Danville road, retard the concentration of the two armies of Lee and Johnston, and cause the enemy to abandon much material that he might otherwise save. I therefore determined not to delay the movement ordered.
On the night of the twenty-seventh, MajorGeneral Ord, with two divisions of the Twentyfourth corps, Major-General Gibbon commanding, and one division of the Twenty-fifth corps, Brigadier-General Birney commanding, and McKenzie's cavalry, took up his line of march in pursuance of the foregoing instructions, and reached the position assigned him near Hatcher's run on the morning of the twenty-ninth. On the twenty-eighth the following instructions were given to General Sheridan:
"CITY POINT, VA., March 28, 1865 "GENERAL: The Fifth Army Corps will move by the Vaughan road at three o'clock to-morrow morning. The Second moves at about 9 A. M., having but about three miles to march to reach the point designated for it to take on the right of the Fifth corps, after the latter reaching Dinwiddie Court-house. Move your cavalry at as early an hour as you can, and without being confined to any particular road or roads. You may go out by the nearest roads in rear of the Fifth corps, pass by its left, and, passing near to or through Dinwiddie, reach the right and rear of
the enemy as soon as you can. It is not the in-sible to do so, before going back. I do not tention to attack the enemy in his intrenched want you, therefore, to cut loose and go after position, but to force him out, if possible. the enemy's roads at present. In the morning Should he come out and attack us, or get him- push around the enemy, if you can; and get self where he can be attacked, move in with on to his right rear. The movements of the your entire force in your own way, and with the enemy's cavalry, may, of course, modify your full reliance that the army will engage or follow, action. We will act all together as one army as circumstances will dictate. I shall be on the here until it is seen what can be done with the field, and will probably be able to communicate enemy. The signal officer at Cobb's Hill rewith you. Should I not do so, and you find that ported, at eleven-thirty A. M., that a cavalry the enemy keeps within his main intrenched column had passed that point from Richmond line, you may cut loose and push for the Dan- toward Petersburg, taking forty minutes to pass. ville road. If you find it practicable, I would "U. S. GRANT, like you to cross the Southside road, between Petersburg and Burkesville, and destroy it to some extent. I would not advise much detention, however, until you reach the Danville road, which I would like you to strike as near to the Appomattox as possible. Make your destruction on that road as complete as possible. You can then pass on to the Southside road, west of Burkesville, and destroy that in like manner.
"After having accomplished the destruction of the two railroads, which are now the only avenues of supply to Lee's army, you may return to this army, selecting your road further south, or you may go into North Carolina and join General Sherman. Should you select the latter course, get the information to me as early as possible, so that I may send orders to meet you at Goldsboro'.
"U. S. GRANT,
"Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN."
On the morning of the twenty-ninth the movement commenced. At night the cavalry was at Dinwiddie Court-house, and the left of our infantry line extended to the Quaker road, near its intersection with the Boydton plank-road. The position of the troops, from left to right, was as follows: Sheridan, Warren, Humphreys, Ord, Wright, Parke.
Everything looked favorable to the defeat of the enemy, and the capture of Petersburg and Richmond, if the proper effort was made. I therefore addressed the following communication to General Sheridan, having previously informed him verbally not to cut loose for the raid contemplated in his orders until he received no
tice from me to do so:
"GRAVELY CREEK, March 29, 1865.
"Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN."
From the night of the twenty-ninth to the morning of the thirty-first, the rain fell in such torrents as to make it impossible to move a wheeled vehicle, except as corduroy roads were laid in front of them. During the thirtieth, Sheridan advanced from Dinwiddie Court-house toward Five Forks, where he found the enemy in force. General Warren advanced and extended his line across the Boydtown plank-road to near the White Oak road, with a view of getting across the latter; but, finding the enemy strong in his front and extending beyond his left, was directed to hold on where he was and fortify. General Humphreys drove the enemy from his front into his main line on the Hatcher, near Burgess' Mills. Generals Ord, Wright and Parke made examinations in their fronts to determine the feasibility of an assault on the enemy's lines. The two latter reported favorably. The enemy confronting us, as he did, at every point from Richmond to our extreme left, I conceived his lines must be weakly held, and could be penetrated, if my estimate of his forces was correct. I determined, therefore, to extend my line no further, but to reinforce General Sheridan with a corps of infantry, and thus enable him to cut loose and turn the enemy's right flank, and with the other corps assault the enemy's lines. The result of the offensive effort of the enemy the week before, when he assaulted Fort Steadman, particularly favored this. The enemy's intrenched picket line captured by us at that time threw the lines occupied by the belligerents so close together at some points that it
was but a moment's run from one to the other. Preparations were at once made to relieve General Humphreys' corps, to report to General Sheridan, but the condition of the roads prevented immediate movement. On the morning of the thirty-first General Warren reported favorably to getting possession of the White Oak road, and was directed to do so. To accomplish this he moved with one division, instead of his whole corps, which was attacked by the enemy in superior force, and driven back on the second division before it had time to form, and it, in turn, forced back upon the third division, when the enemy was checked. A division of the Second corps was immediately sent to his sup"I now feel like ending the matter, if it is pos-port, the enemy driven back with heavy loss,
"GENERAL: Our line is now unbroken from the Appomattox to Dinwiddie. We are all ready, however, to give up all, from the Jerusalem plank-road to Hatcher's run, whenever the forces can be used advantageously. After getting into line south of Hatcher's, we pushed forward to find the enemy's position. General Griffin was attacked near where the Quaker road intersects the Boydton road, but repulsed it easily, capturing about one hundred men. Humphreys reached Dabney's mill, and was pushing on when last heard from.
turned General Miles to his proper command. On reaching the enemy's lines immediately surrounding Petersburg, a portion of General Gibbons' corps, by a most gallant charge, captured two strong, enclosed works-the most salient and commanding south of Petersburg-thus materially shortening the line of investment necessary for taking in the city. The enemy south of Hatcher's run retreated westward to Sutherland's station, where they were overtaken by Miles' division. A severe engagement ensued, and lasted until both his right and left flanks were threatened by the approach of General Sheridan, who was moving from Ford's station toward Petersburg, and a division sent by General Meade from the front of Petersburg, when he broke in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands his guns and many prisoners. This force retreated by the main road along the Appomattox river. During the night of the second the enemy evacuated Petersburg and Richmond, and retreated toward Danville. On the morning of the third pursuit was commenced. General Sheridan pushed for the Danville road, keeping near the Appomattox, fol
and possession of the White Oak road gained. Sheridan advanced, and with a portion of his cavalry got possession of the Five Forks; but the enemy, after the affair with the Fifth corps, reinforced the rebel cavalry defending that point with infantry, and forced him back toward Dinwiddie Court-house. Here General Sheridan displayed great generalship. Instead of retreating with his whole command on the main army, to tell the story of superior forces encountered, he deployed his cavalry on foot, leaving only mounted men enough to take charge of the horses. This compelled the enemy to deploy over a vast extent of woods and broken country, and make his progress slow. At this juncture he despatched to me what had taken place, and that he was dropping back slowly on Dinwiddie Court-house. General McKenzie's cavalry and one division of the Fifth corps were immediately ordered to his assistance. Soon after, receiving a report from General Meade that Humphreys could hold our position on the Boydton road, and that the other two divisions of the Fifth corps could go to Sheridan, they were so ordered at once. Thus the operations of the day necessitated the send-lowed by General Meade with the Second and ing of Warren, because of his accessibility, instead of Humphreys, as was intended, and precipitated intended movements. On the morning of the first of April General Sheridan, reinforced by General Warren, drove the enemy back on Five Forks, where, late in the evening, he assaulted and carried his strongly-fortified position, capturing all his artillery and between five thousand and six thousand prisoners.
Sixth corps, while General Ord moved for Burkesville along the Southside road, the Ninth corps stretched along that road behind him. On the fourth General Sheridan struck the Danville road near Jettersville, where he learned that Lee was at Amelia Court-house. He immediately intrenched himself and awaited the arrival of General Meade, who reached there the next day. General Ord reached Burkesville on the evening of the fifth.
On the morning of the fifth, I addressed Major-General Sherman the following communication:
"WILSON'S STATION, April 5, 1865.
About the close of this battle, Brevet MajorGeneral Charles Griffin relieved Major-General Warren in command of the Fifth corps. The report of this reached me after nightfall. Some apprehensions filled my mind lest the enemy might desert his lines during the night, and by "GENERAL: All indications now are that Lee falling upon General Sheridan before assistance will attempt to reach Danville with the remnant could reach him, drive him from his position of his force. Sheridan, who was up with him and open the way for retreat. To guard against last night, reports all that is left, horse, foot, this, General Miles' division of Humphreys' and dragoons, at twenty thousand, much demorcorps was sent to reinforce him, and a bombard-alized. We hope to reduce this number one ment was commenced and kept up until four o'clock in the morning (April second), when an assault was ordered on the enemy's lines. General Wright penetrated the lines with his whole corps, sweeping everything before him, and to his left toward Hatcher's run, capturing many guns and several thousand prisoners. He was closely followed by two divisions of General Ord's command, until he met the other division of General Ord's, that had succeeded in forcing the enemy's lines near Hatcher's run. Generals Wright and Ord immediately swung to the right, and closed all of the enemy on that side of them in Petersburg, while General Humphreys pushed forward with two divisions and joined General Wright on the left. General Parke succeeded in carrying the enemy's main line, capturing guns and prisoners, but was unable to carry his inner line. General Sheridan being advised of the condition of affairs, re
half. I shall push on to Burkesville, and, if a stand is made at Danville, will in a very few days go there. If you can possibly do so, push on from where you are, and let us see if we cannot finish the job with Lee's and Johnston's armies. Whether it will be better for you to strike for Greensboro', or nearer to Danville, you will be better able to judge when you receive this. Rebel armies now are the only strategic points to strike at.
"U. S. GRANT,
"Major-General W. T. SHERMAN.”
On the morning of the sixth it was found that General Lee was moving west of Jetersville, toward Danville. General Sheridan moved with his cavalry (the Fifth corps having been returned to General Meade on his reaching Jetersville), to strike his flank, followed by the
"Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT."
To this I immediately replied:
April 8, 1855.
Sixth corps, while the Second and Fifth corps ginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless pressed hard after, forcing him to abandon sev- effusion of blood, and therefore, before consideral hundred wagons and several pieces of ering your proposition, ask the terms you will artillery. General Ord advanced from Burkes-offer on condition of its surrender. ville toward Farmville, sending two regiments | "R. E. LEE, of infantry, and a squadron of cavalry, under Brevet Brigadier-General Theodore Read, to reach and destroy the bridges. This advance met the head of Lee's column near Farmville, which it heroically attacked and detained until General Read was killed and his small force overpowered. This caused a delay in the enemy's movements, and enabled General Ord to get well up with the remainder of his force, on meeting which the enemy immediately intrenched himself. In the afternoon General Sheridan struck the enemy south of Sailor's creek, captured sixteen pieces of artillery and about four hundred wagons, and detained him until the Sixth corps got up, when a general attack of infantry and cavalry was made, which resulted in the capture of six or seven thousand prisoners, among whom were many general officers. The movements of the Second corps and General Ord's command contributed greatly to the day's success.
"GENERAL: Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of same date, asking the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon, namely: That the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia will be received. "U. S. GRANT,
On the morning of the seventh the pursuit was renewed, the cavalry, except one division, and the Fifth corps moving by Prince Edwards Court-house; the Sixth corps, General Ord's" General R. E. LEE." command, and one division of cavalry, on Farm
ville, and the Second corps by the High Bridge Early on the morning of the eighth the purroad. It was soon found that the enemy had suit was resumed. General Meade followed crossed to the north side of the Appomat-north of the Appomattox, and General Sheridan, tox, but so close was the pursuit that the Second corps got possession of the common bridge at High Bridge before the enemy could destroy it, and immediately crossed over. The Sixth corps and a division of cavalry crossed at Farmville to its support.
Feeling now that General Lee's chance of escape was utterly hopeless, I addressed him the following communication from Farmville:
with all the cavalry, pushed straight for Appomattox Station, followed by General Ord's command and the Fifth corps. During the day General Meade's advance had considerable fighting with the enemy's rear guard, but was unable to bring on a general engagement. Late in the evening General Sheridan struck the railroad at the Appomattox station, drove the enemy from there, and captured twenty-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and four trains of cars loaded with supplies for Lee's army. During this day I accompanied General Meade's column, and about midnight received the following communication from General Lee:
April 8, 1865.
"GENERAL: I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army; but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your proposal may affect the Confederate States forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet vou at ten A. M. to