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nty-seven miles west of Petersburg. A railroad engineer who had been brought in as a prisoner reported that Davis and his cabinet had passed through Burkeville, on their way south, early on the morning of the day before. The next morning the general sent a despatch to Sherman in North Carolina, giving him an account of the situation, containing instructions as to his future movements, and winding up with the famous words: Rebel armies are now the only strategic points to strike at. On the 5th he marched again with Ord's column, and at noon reached Nottoway Court-house, about ten miles east of Burkeville, where he halted with Ord for a couple of hours. A young staff-officer here rode up to Ord in a state of considerable excitement, and said: Is this a way-station1 The grim old soldier, who was always fond of a quiet joke, replied with great deliberation: This is Nott-a-way Station. The staff collected around General Grant on the front porch of the old town tavern, and while exam
essions of joy. Although the news was expected, there were loud shouts of rejoicing from the group who heard it read. The general, as usual, did not manifest the slightest sign of emotion, and merely remarked: I am sorry I did not get this information before we left the President. However, I suppose he has heard it by this time ; and then added: Let the news be circulated among the troops as rapidly as possible. Grant and Meade both went into camp at Sutherland's Station that evening (April 3). The Army of the Potomac caught but a few hours' sleep, and at three the next morning was again on the march. The pursuit had now become swift, unflagging, relentless. Sheridan, the inevitable, as the enemy had learned to call him, was in advance, thundering on with his cavalry, followed by Griffin and the rest of the Army of the Potomac; while Ord was swinging along toward Burkeville to head off Lee from Danville, to which point it was naturally supposed he was pushing in order to unit
ught but a few hours' sleep, and at three the next morning was again on the march. The pursuit had now become swift, unflagging, relentless. Sheridan, the inevitable, as the enemy had learned to call him, was in advance, thundering on with his cavalry, followed by Griffin and the rest of the Army of the Potomac; while Ord was swinging along toward Burkeville to head off Lee from Danville, to which point it was naturally supposed he was pushing in order to unite with Joe Johnston's army. April 4 was another active day; the troops were made to realize that this campaign was to be won by legs; that the great walking-match had begun, and success depended upon which army could make the best distance record. Grant rode this day with Ord's troops. Meade was quite sick, and had to take at times to an ambulance; but his loyal spirit never flagged, and all his orders breathed the true spirit of a soldier. That night General Grant camped at Wilson's Station on the South Side Railroad, twe
d to watch the roads running south from Burkeville and Farmville, and then went over to Meade's camp near by. Meade was lying down, and still suffering from illness. His views differed somewhat from General Grant's regarding the movements of the Army of the Potomac for the next day, and the latter changed the dispositions that were being made, so as to have the army unite with Sheridan's troops in swinging round more toward the south and heading off Lee in that direction. The next day (April 6) proved a decided field-day in the pursuit. It was found in the morning that Lee had retreated during the night from Amelia Court-house; and from the direction he had taken, and information received that he had ordered rations to meet him at Farmville, it was seen that he had abandoned all hope of reaching Burkeville, and was probably heading for Lynchburg. Ord was to try to burn the High Bridge over the Appomattox, and push on to Farmville. Sheridan's cavalry was to work around Lee's l
road to Richmond, between the picket-lines of the two armies. R. E. Lee, General. Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant. The general shook his head, expressive of his disappointment, and remarked, It looks as if Lee still means to fight; I will reply in the morning ; and after making a few more comments, lay down again upon the sofa. Rawlins and I expressed the hope that the general might still be able to get some sleep, and then retired from the room. About four o'clock on the morning of April 9 I rose and crossed the hall to ascertain how the general was feeling. I found his room empty, and upon going out of the front door, saw him pacing up and down in the yard, holding both hands to his head. Upon inquiring how he felt, he replied that he had had very little sleep, and was still suffering the most excruciating pain. I said: Well, there is one consolation in all this, general: I never knew you to be ill that you did not receive some good news before the day passed. I have be
April 7th, 1865 AD (search for this): chapter 29
e same. The general raised his hat in acknowledgment of the cheers, and gave a pleasant nod to each of the men who addressed him. A little before noon on April 7, 1865, General Grant, with his staff, rode into the little village of Farmville, on the south side of the Appomattox River, a town that will be memorable in history he expected to capture them before Lee could reach them, induced the general to write the following communication: Headquarters, Armies of the U. S., 5 P. M., April 7, 1865. General R. E. Lee, Commanding C. S. A.: The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army ofn an hour after he received General Grant's letter, but it was brought in by a rather circuitous route, and did not reach its destination till after midnight: April 7, 1865. General: I have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of
April 8th, 1865 AD (search for this): chapter 29
eneral. Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies of the U. S. The next morning, before leaving Farmville, the following reply was given to General Seth Williams, who again went to Humphreys's front to have it transmitted to Lee: April 8, 1865. General R. E. Lee, Commanding C. S. A.: Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of the same date, asking the conditions on which I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply would say that to get any sleep. I had in the mean time brought a lighted candle, and now stepped into the room with it. The general, who had taken off only his coat and boots, sat up on the sofa and read the communication. The letter was as follows: 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
April 9th, 1865 AD (search for this): chapter 29
some good fortune were to overtake you before night. He smiled, and replied: The best thing that could happen to me to-day would be to get rid of the pain I am suffering. We were soon joined by some others of the staff, and the general was induced to walk over to Meade's headquarters with us and get some coffee, in the hope that it would do him good. He seemed to feel a little better then, and after writing the following letter to Lee, and despatching it, he prepared to move forward. April 9, 1865. General: Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace, the meeting proposed for 10 A. M. to-day could lead to no good. I will state, however, general, that I am equally anxious for peace with yourself, and the whole North entertains the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives, and hundreds of
John Brown (search for this): chapter 29
as now dark, but they spied the general-in-chief watching them with evident pride from the piazza of the hotel as they marched past. Then was witnessed one of the most inspiring scenes of the campaign. Bonfires were lighted on the sides of the street; the men seized straw and pine-knots, and improvised torches; cheers arose from their throats, already hoarse with shouts of victory; bands played, banners waved, and muskets were swung in the air. A regiment now broke forth with the song of John Brown's body, and soon a whole division was shouting the swelling chorus of that popular air, which had risen to the dignity of a national anthem. The night march had become a grand review, with Grant as the reviewing officer. Ord and Gibbon had visited the general at the hotel, and he had spoken with them, as well as with Wright, about sending some communication to Lee that might pave the way to the stopping of further bloodshed. Dr. Smith, formerly of the regular army, a native of Virgi
J. A. Campbell (search for this): chapter 29
cout who had brought the important despatch sent by Sheridan from Columbia to City Point. I said to him, How do you do, Campbell? and told our men he was all right, and was one of our people. He said he had had a hard ride from Sheridan's camp, ans time the general had also recognized him, and had ridden up to him and halted in the road to see what he had brought. Campbell took from his mouth a small pellet of tin-foil, opened it, and pulled out a sheet of tissue-paper, on which was written r a few minutes, and wrote a despatch to Ord, using the pony's back for a desk, and then, mounting the fresh horse, told Campbell to lead the way. It was found that we would have to skirt pretty closely to the enemy's lines, and it was thought that i's safety was now entirely in the power of a comparatively unknown man, I, for one, began to grow suspicious. Just then Campbell fell back several paces and suddenly turned his horse into a piece of woods which we were skirting, and seemed to be act
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