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that seeing Ayres in a tight place I had come to help him, and by General Griffin's order. Then, cried he, with a vigor of utterance worthy of the army in Flanders, you take command of all the infantry round here, and break this dam- I didn't wait to hear any more. That made good grammar as it stood. I didn't stand for anything, but spurred back to some scattered groups of men, demoralized by being so far in the rear, and not far enough to do them any good, yet too brave to go back. Captain Laughlin of Griffin's staff came along, and I took him with me down among these men to get them up. I found one stalwart fellow on his hands and knees behind a stump, answering with whimsical grimaces to the bullets coming pretty thick and near. Look here, my good fellow, I called down to him, don't you know you'll be killed here in less than two minutes? This is no place for you. Go forward! But what can I do? he cried; I can't stand up against all this alone! No, that's just it, I replied
skets, and with hands and faces up cried out, We surrender, running right in upon us and almost over us. I was very glad of it, though more astonished, for they outnumbered us largely. These were Colonel Hutter of the 11th Virginia Infantry of Mayo's Brigade and part of the 3d Virginia Cavalry dismounted which Munford had sent to reinforce Ransom. I was a little afraid of them, too, lest they might find occasion to take arms again and revoke the consent of the governed. They were pretty solpment. To meet this, the enemy, instead of giving up the battle as they would have been justified in doing, stripped still more their main works in front of our cavalry by detaching nearly the entire brigade of General Terry, now commanded by Colonel Mayo, and facing it quite to its rear pushed it down the Ford Road and across the fields to resist the advance of Warren with Crawford. We, too, were pressing hard on the Ford Road from the east, so that all were crowded into that whirlpool of
J. Boisseau (search for this): chapter 6
the squares described on the two legs of it were far more than equal to that so laboriously executed on its hypothenuse. So do we walk amidst the precipices of our fate. Griffin's and Crawford's Divisions were massed near the house of J. Boisseau, on the road leading from Dinwiddie Court House to Five Forks. Ayres was halted a mile back at the junction of the Brooks Road, which he had reached by his roundabout, forced march during the night. We were waiting for Sheridan, at last. Anrather than to be dragged around the two long sides of an acute-angled triangle to get to it,--why the two-legged animals might not have taken the short route and the four-legged ones the long one,--in short, what magic relics there were about J. Boisseau's, that we should be obliged to make a painful pilgrimage there before we were purified enough to die at Five Forks. It is now about four o'clock. Near the church is a group of restless forms and grim visages, expressing their different te
Rebellion Records (search for this): chapter 6
all. Pickett narrowly escaped the shots of our men as he attempted to pass them to reach his broken lines towards the White Oak Road. It is also remarkable that General Robert E. Lee, although himself alert, was not kept informed by Fitzhugh Lee or Pickett of the movements of the Fifth Corps in relation to Five Forks, and that Lee was led by a word from Pickett to suppose that Fitzhugh Lee's and Rosser's cavalry were both close in support of Pickett's left flank at Five Forks. Rebellion Records, serial 95, p. 1264. This was not the truth. Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry under Munford was over a thousand yards east of Pickett's left at the beginning and during the day was pressed around his rear so as to reach his troops after their lines had all been broken. And as for Rosser's cavalry they were at no time on the field. We know now that General Lee afterwards wrote General Wade Hampton in these words: Had you been at Five Forks with your cavalry the disaster would not have befallen
y with Dana's to the Secretary of War, July 7, 1864, denouncing General Meade, and advising that he be removed from the command of the army. , p. 35.) It now appears that Warren was in great disfavor with Meade also, after arriving before Petersburg. Meade called upon Warren tMeade called upon Warren to ask to be relieved from command of his corps on the alternative that charges would be preferred against him. (Dana's despatch, June 20, 1864, War Records, Serial No. 80, p. 26.) Meade was much displeased, too, with Warren for his characteristic remark to the effect that no prure of superiors,--a pet of his State, and likewise, we thought, of Meade and Warren, judging from the attention they always gave him, --possh Corps front, where Ord, of the Army of the James, commanded. And Meade, the high-born gentleman and high-born soldier, would have been spa, p. 216. Who from such beginning could have foretold the end! And Meade,--he, too, went from the Fifth Corps to the command of the army, an
hands on it. There was a queer parliament of religions just then and there, at this Five Forks focus. And it came in this wise. As Ransom and Wallace and Wood's reinforced but wasting lines had fallen back before us along the north and east side of their works, our cavalry kept up sharp attacks upon their right across the works, which by masterly courage and skill they managed to repel, replacing as best they could the great gaps made in their defenses by the withdrawal of so many of Stewart's and Terry's Brigades, to form the other sides of their retreating hollow square. Driven in upon themselves, and over much concentrated, they were so penned in there was not a fair chance to fight. Just as Ayres' and Griffin's men struck the brave fellows holding on around the guns at the Forks, from which Pegram, the gifted young commander, had been borne away mortally wounded,and spirits as well as bodies were falling,--two brigades of our cavalry, Fitzhugh's and Pennington's of Devin
Fred Winthrop (search for this): chapter 6
were taking their respective stations. I was in my place but had not yet mounted, when General Fred Winthrop of Ayres' leading brigade came over and said: Dear old fellow, have you managed to bringes on the left, west of the Church Road, the division in double brigade front in two lines, and Winthrop with the First Brigade in reserve, in rear of his center; Crawford on the right, east of the ro right upon the angle — the right, the Maryland Brigade on the return --brave Bowerman down-and Winthrop's Brigade-gallant Winthrop gone-reaching beyond, across the White Oak Road, driving a crowd befWinthrop gone-reaching beyond, across the White Oak Road, driving a crowd before them. I have only time to say to Ayres, Gwyn is in on the right ; for Sheridan takes him in hand. I tell you again, General Ayres, you are firing into my cavalry! We are firing at the people whnd had been obliged to change front instantly with two of his brigades. Their two commanders, Winthrop and Bowerman, falling almost at the first stroke, he had taken these brigades in person, and pu
Fitz-John Porter (search for this): chapter 6
-might have been spared the after humiliation of experiencing in his own person how fortune and favor preside in the final distribution of honors in a country's recognition. The Fifth Corps had an eventful history. Two passages of it made a remarkable coincidence. It was its misfortune to lose two of its commanders — the first and the last in the field of action-by measures so questionable as to call for a court of review, by which, long after, both were substantially vindicated: Fitz-John Porter, accounted the most accomplished corps commander on the Peninsula, and heir apparent to the command of the army, and Warren, whom Grant says he had looked upon for commander of the army in case anything should take from the field the sterling Meade. Grant's Memoirs, vol. II., p. 216. Who from such beginning could have foretold the end! And Meade,--he, too, went from the Fifth Corps to the command of the army, and found there a troubled eminence and an uncrowned end. Shakespeare
Southside Road (search for this): chapter 6
t he greeted me kindly, and spoke freely of the way things had been going. We were riding down inside the works in the woods covering the Forks and Ford Road, now the new focus of the fight. Just then an officer rode flightily up from that direction, exclaiming to General Sheridan, We are on the enemy's rear, and have got three of their guns. I don't care a d — for their guns, or you either, sir! What are you here for? Go back to your business, where you belong! What I want is that Southside Road. The officer seemed to appreciate the force of the suggestion, and the distant attraction of the Southside Road. I looked to see what would happen to me. There were many men gathered round, or rather we had ridden into the midst of them, as they stood amazed, at the episode. The sun was just in the tree-tops; it might be the evening chill that was creeping over us. Then Sheridan, rising in his stirrups, hat in hand waving aloft at full arm's length, face black as his horse, and both
my men in, and hence I escaped censure for appearing. Indeed his criticism seemed to be that there was not more of me, rather than less. By G-, that's what I want to see! was his greeting, general officers at the front. Where are your general officers? I replied that I had seen General Warren's flag in the big field north of us, and that seeing Ayres in a tight place I had come to help him, and by General Griffin's order. Then, cried he, with a vigor of utterance worthy of the army in Flanders, you take command of all the infantry round here, and break this dam- I didn't wait to hear any more. That made good grammar as it stood. I didn't stand for anything, but spurred back to some scattered groups of men, demoralized by being so far in the rear, and not far enough to do them any good, yet too brave to go back. Captain Laughlin of Griffin's staff came along, and I took him with me down among these men to get them up. I found one stalwart fellow on his hands and knees behind a
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