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[23] in flank, while he fought them in front, he forced them back to their original lines, the most of the day being consumed in the battle. The attack was made about 10.30 A. M. Late in the afternoon Sheridan, who had advanced to the immediate vicinity of Five Forks, was driven back by Pickett to Dinwiddie Courthouse.

During most of the day, while the fighting was severe farther to the right, there was a very heavy skirmish going on about Burgess' mill, and on Cooke's brigade, near where the line intersected Hatcher's run, below the mill, and on Lane's brigade, to the left of Cooke. It was so heavy and threatening about the mill that Gen. Heth sent to me for a brigade, I being in charge of the lines from the run back to near Petersburg; but the firing increasing on my own front, and ,being probably heard and properly appreciated by him, he sent me the note below:

Headquarters, &c., March 31, 1865.
Gen. Wilcox, Commanding, &c. :
Maj.-Gen. Heth directs me to say that you must not compromise your line. He wants the brigade sent for by Maj. Starke, but you must be the judge as to whether or not you can spare it.

Respectfully, W. H. Palmer, Assist. Adjutant-General.

This left me free to choose between two evils, each equally dangerous; we, Gen. Heth and myself, were too weak to support the one, the other, or to maintain our own line if attacked with force and spirit. The brigade was not sent. At this time I was holding a line three or four miles long, with Cooke's, Davis',--and McComb's brigades of Heth's division, and Lane's and Thomas' of my division; on parts of my line the men were in one thin line ten feet apart, and no where was it held by men in double ranks. Col. Richardson, of the artillery,


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