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or strike a base at the White House. under Gen. Dick Taylor ; * Thomas Fortunately, in Grants opinion, he was pushing out two large and wellchose the latter.
appointed cavalry expeditions, one from From New Market Sheridan took up Middle Tennessee, under Gen. Wilson, his line of march, following the canal against the enemy's vital points in toward Richmond, destroying every Alabama, the other from East Tenlock upon it, and cutting the banks nessee, under Gen. Stoneman toward wherever practicable, to a point eight Lynchburg, -and assembling the remiles east of Goochland, concentrating mainder of bis available forces, prethe whole force at Columbia on the paratory to offensive oserations, in East 10th of March. Here he rested one Tennessee ;t Gen. Sheridan's cavalry day, and sent Grant information of his was at White House; the armies of the whereabouts, and a request for supplies Potomac and James were confronting to meet him at White House. The the enemy, under Lee, in his defences news reached Grant on the 12th of of Richmond and Petersburg; Gen. March, and he dispatched immediately Sherman with his armies, reinforced an infantry force to get possession of by that of Gen. Schofield, was at White House, and ordered forward sup- Goldsborough; Gen. Pope was making plies. Moving from Columbia in a preparations for a spring campaign direction to threaten Richmond, to near against the enemy under Kirby Smith Ashland Station, Sheridan crossed the and Price, west of the Mississippi; and North and South Anna Rivers, and Gen. Hancock was concentrating a after having destroyed all the bridges force in the vicinity of Winchester, and many miles of the railroad, pro- Virginia, to guard against invasion, or ceeded down the north bank of the to operate offensively, as might prove Pamunkey to White House.
This necessary.” place was reached on the 19th of March, On the 24th of March, Grant issued and as his cavalry had had long and his long and carefully prepared instrucfatiguing work before them,
before them, over tions for a general movement of the winter roads, Sheridan found it neces. armies operating against Richmond. sary to rest and refit at White House. They were directed to Gens. Meade, Ord, On the 24th of March, Sheridan moved again, crossed the James River at
from Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan. Spanish Fort was Jones's Landing, and formed a junction invested on the 27th, was bombarded April 8th, and with the Army of the Potomac in front evacuated by the rebels the same night. of Petersburg, on the 27th. During Alabama River was thus opened for approach on Mo
Blakely was carried by assault, April 9th, and the this move,
Gen. Ord sent forces to cover bile from the north. On the night of April 11th, the the crossings of the Chickahominy.
city was evacuated, and taken possession of by our
forces the next day. For a more full account, and the Gen. Grant, in his report, states, part taken by the navy, see Duyckinck's “War for the " that in March, 1865, Gen. Canby was Union," yol. iii , pp. 663-673
+ For Grant's brief notice of the expeditions under moving an adequate force against Gens. Wilson and Stoneman, see his “ Report,” pp Mobile, and the array defending it 74, 75.
* The movement was made on the 20th of March,
LEE ATTACKS FORT STEADMAN.
and Sheridan, and are given in full in the other corps to advance and feel the Grant's report (p. 61). They are also rebels in their respective fronts. Pushworth consulting by the reader as evi. ing forward, they captured and held dencing Grant's clearness of conception, the enemy's strongly entrenched picket fixedness of purpose, and the end line in front of the 2d and 6th corps, which he expected speedily to attain. and 834 prisoners. The enemy made
Gen. Lee, having reached a point of desperate attempts to retake this line, great depression in regard to his pros- but without success. Our loss in front pects, and well aware that he must do of these was fifty-two killed, 864 something immediately, resolved upon wounded, and 207 missing. The making an attack on Grant's lines, enemy's loss in killed and wounded was which, if successful, would infuse some much greater. new life and energy into his troops, Grant, of whose anxiety respecting and prevent the continual desertions the possible escape of Lee, we bave which were taking place almost every spoken above, (p. 526) was of opinion, day. The assault was made, March that by moving out at this time with25th, in front of the 9th corps, which out delay, he would put his army in held from the Appomattox River better condition for pursuit, and would towards Grant's left. At daybreak, two at least, by the destruction of the Danof the rebel divisions dashed suddenly in ville Road, retard the concentration of upon our entrenchments on Hare's Hill, Lee's and Johnston's forces, and cause and having carried Fort Steadman, and the rebels to abandon much material a part of the line to the right and left that they might otherwise save. Acof it, established themselves there for a cordingly, immediate steps were taken brief period, and turned the guns upon for this purpose. Gen. Ord was sent, the adjacent batteries. These were at on the night of the 27th of March, with once abandoned by our men and oc- two divisions under Gibbon and Birney, cupied by the rebels. Checked by the and McKenzie's cavalry, to Hateher's activity of Fort Hascall, the next on Run, which was reached at dawn on the left of Fort Steadman, the enemy the 29th. The day before, Sheridan were unable to proceed further on either received his instructions to move, which
, flank; and when Hartrauft's division he did, with his splendid cavalry force came up, the rebels were pushed out of of 9,000 men, to Dinwiddie Court Steadman into the space over which House, on his way to cut the rebel comthey had come, and were gallantly re- munications. He reached this point on pulsed, nearly 2,000 prisoners being the afternoon of the 29th of March, taken. Our loss was sixty-eight killed, and the infantry line extended, on the 337 wounded, and 506 missing. The left, to the Quaker road, near its interrebel movement turned out to be a section with the Boydton plank road; failure and a mortifying one too, and after Sheridan, on the extreme left, the roused up our
to additional position of the forces was, under Warren, activity. Gen. Meade at once ordered Humphreys, Ord, Wright, and Parke.
VOL. IV. -67.
Everything now, in Grant's judgment, favorably. Grant determined not to looked favorable to the defeat of the extend his line any further, but to rerebels and the capture of Petersburg inforce Sheridan with a corps of in. and Richmond, if the proper effort fantry, and thus enable him to cut loose were promptly made. On the 29th of and turn the rebel right flank; with the March, he communicated with Sheridan, other corps an assault was to be made directing him not to cut loose for the on Lee's lines. The result of the ofcontemplated raid just at present. “I fensive effort of the enemy a week be. now feel,” he said, “like ending the fore, when they assaulted Fort Steadman, matter, if it is possible to do so, before particularly favored this.
Their en going back. I do not want you, there. trenched picket line captured by our fore, to cut loose and go after the troops at that time threw the lines ocenemy's roads at present. In the morn-cupied by the belligerents so close toing push around the enemy, if you can, gether at some points, that it was but a and get on to his right rear. The moment's run from one to the other. movements of the enemy's cavalry may, Preparations were at once made to reof course, modify your action. We will lieve Humphreys's corps, to report to act all together as one army here until it Sheridan; but the condition of the is seen what can be done with the roads prevented immediate movement. enemy." From Wednesday night, the On the 31st of March, Warren was 29th, till Friday morning, March 31st, pressing his entire corps upon the rebel the rain fell in torrents, so as to render entrenched line on the White Oak road. it almost impossible to move any Lee ordered an attack in force on War. wheeled vehicle, except by means of ren, which was made with great spirit, corduroy roads. Sheridan, however, and division after division was driven during the 30th, advanced from Din. back, until, on reaching Griffin's force, widdie Court House toward Five Forks, the troops were rallied and the assault where he found the enemy in force. repelled. A division of the 2d corps Warren advanced and extended his line was immediately sent to Warren's supacross the Boydton plank road to near port, the enemy driven back with the White Oak road, with a view of heavy loss, and possession of the White getting across the latter; but, finding Oak road gained. Sheridan advanced,
the enemy strong in his front and with a portion of his cavalry got
and extending beyond his left, possession of the Five Forks; but the was directed to hold on where he was enemy, after the affair with the 5th and fortify. Humphreys drove the corps, reinforced the rebel cavalry, deenemy from his front into his main line fending that point with infantry, and on the Hatcher, near Burgess's Mills. forced Sheridan back toward DinOrd, Wright and Parke made examina- widdie Court House. Here, as Grant tions in their fronts to determine the admiringly says, “Sheridan displayed feasibility of an assault on the enemy's great generalship. Instead of retreatlines; and the two latter reported ing with his whole command on the
BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS.
main army, to tell the story of su- number of colors and guns. Our loss perior forces encountered, he deployed was reported as comparatively small, his cavalry on foot, leaving only viz., a few hundred cavalry, and 634 mounted men enough to take charge of infantry killed and wounded. the horses. This compelled the enemy Grant, somewhat apprehensive lest to deploy over a vast extent of wood the rebels might desert their lines dur and broken country, and made his pro- ing the night, and by falling upon
Sheridan before aid could reach him, Sheridan informed Grant of the posi- drive him from his position and open tion of affairs, and that he was falling the way for the retreat of Lee's back slowly on Dinwiddie Court House. army, sent Miles's dirision of McKenzie's cavalry and a division of the corps of Humphreys to reinforce the 5th corps were immediately ordered Sheridan. A bombardment was also to Sheridan's assistance, and Meade hav- ordered of all the guns in the Petersing reported that Humphreys' could | burg lines, which, beginning at nighthold the position on the Boydton road, fall of the 1st of April, was kept up and that the other divisions of the till four o'clock the next morning, Sun3d corps could go to Sheridan, they day, April 2d. An assault speedily folwere so ordered at once. This was on lowed, from the Appomattox to Hatchthe morning of the 1st of April, and er's Run, by the troops of Parke, Sheridan, now reinforced, assaulted the Wright, and Ord. Wright penetrated rebel troops and drove them back on the rebel lines with his whole corps, Five Forks, which was held by them sweeping everything before him, and in force. This battle illustrated the capturing many guns and several thousuperior strategy and tactics of Sheri- sand prisoners. He was closely followdan. By the skilful use of his cavalry, ed by two divisions of Ord's command, as a mask to cover the maneuvring of until he met Ord's other divisions, the infantry, he made his arrangements which had succeeded in forcing the so as to assault the rebels with tremen- enemy's lines near Hatcher's Run. dous effect; and by nightfall, the routed Wright and Ord immediately swung enemy fled westward from Five Forks, to the right and closed all of the pursued for many miles by our ca. enemy on that side of them in Petersvalry.* Between 5,000 and 6,000 burg, while Humphreys pushed for prisoners were taken, and a large ward with two divisions and joined
Wright on the left. Parke succeeded * Sheridan, for reasons given in his report, relieved in carrying the main line of the rebels, Warren of command of the 5th corps at the close of the battlo. Sheridan's siatements are, that, Warren capturing guns and prisoners, but on was slow in his movements, not disposed to follow out reaching the inner cordon of works, the command promptly, etc. Warren, on the other hand, has defended himself in his published" Account was unable to force them. of the Fifth Army Corps at the Battle of Five Forks." We need not enter into the merits of the question. around Petersburg, a portion of the
On reaching the lines immediately Swinton is of opinion that Sheridan's wholly inadequate to justify that officer s conduct.” corps of Ord, under Gen. Gibbon, be
gan an attack on the two strong, en ting sixteen miles between them and closed works, named Forts Gregg and Petersburg* Alexander. By a gallant and resolute Richmond was taken possession of charge, they carried these forts, the by our forces, under Gen. Weitzel, most salient and commanding south of early on Monday morning, April 3d. the city, and thus materially shortened The rebels had blown up all they could, the line of investiment necessary for the vessels in the river, the taking it. The enemy south of Hatch- bridges, etc.; they also set fire er's Run retreated westward to Suther to the tobacco warehouses, and the land's Station, where they were over- flames spreading rapidly, notwithstandtaken by Miles's division. A severe ing the efforts of our men to extinguish engagement ensued, and lasted until them, laid the entire business portion both the right and left flanks of the re- of the city in ashes. President Lincoln bels were threatened by the approach visited Richmond the next day, in comof Sheridan, who was moving from pany with Admiral Porter; and throughFord's Station towards Petersburg, and out the country great rejoicings took a division sent by Gen. Meade from the place, and numerous patriotic addresses front of Petersburg, when they broke were made. In this connection, we in the utmost confusion, leaving in the may quote a paragraph or two from hands of our troops their guns and a Vice-president Johnson's speech at Wash. large number of prisoners. This por ington, on the receipt of the news, & tion of the rebel force retreated by the speech which at the time was regarded main road along the Appomattox River. as of no moment, but which, in view
The rebel commander, well aware of the calamity that soon after fell upon that he could no longer resist Grant's the country, assumed an importance assaults, sent a message to Jeff. Davis, proportionate to the unlooked for elethis Sunday morning, April 2d, while vation of Andrew Johnson to the prehe was at St. Paul's Church, Richmond, sidency. After remarking that old stating that the time had come when Andrew Jackson would hang up as Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated. Silently, in the darkness
*“When in the gray dawn of Monday, April 3d, the of the night, the rebel troops, having skirmishers advanced from the lines before Petersburg, left Petersburg, marched along the the city was found to be evacuated. At the same time
the Union force on the lines confronting Richmond from north bank of the Appomattox, north. the north side of the James was startled by a clamorward to Chesterfield Court House, mid- ous uproar, and the sky was seen to be lit up with a way between Petersburg and the rebel blazon, Gen. Weitzel threw forward a cavalry party
lurid glare. Surmising the meaning of this direful capital. Here they were joined by the that, entering the city without let, planted its guidons other troops from Bermuda Hundred on the capitol. Thus Richmond fell! Marvellous as
had been the one year's defence of the confederate and Richmond, and Lee's whole army, capital, its fall was not less strange. Occupied, not now not much more than 25,000 in captured, Richmond, to gain which such hecatombs of number, pushed eagerly forward, and civil authorities to a body of forty troopers !"--Swin
lives had been sacrificed, was at length given up by the by the next morr:ng succeeded in put- ton’s “ Army of the Potomac,” p. 606.