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[117] rebel Confederacy. His manoeuvres secured the chief battle-field of his own selection. His orders: massed the troops where he wanted to strike the heaviest blows. His sagacity selected the gallant Sheridan to lead the boldest movements and the hardest fighting. His keen vision saw the key to the rebel position at Five Forks, and his persistency pressed his heavy columns upon it till it was carried, and Lee sent his message of dismay to the trembling traitors at Richmond. His strategy had. practically surrounded the rebel armies, and his tactics forced Lee to retreat by a line north of the Appomattox, on a route chosen by himself.

Jeff Davis and his confederate traitors of the rebel government fled precipitately from Richmond, and Lee's army evacuated that city and Petersburg, utterly defeated and demoralized. Retreating by the route which Grant had forced them to take, the rebels were promptly and vigorously pursued by a shorter road, harassed and hurried by the Union cavalry. Every skirmish resulted in their defeat, and the roads were strown with the evidences of their demoralization. Numerous guns and prisoners were captured, and the army which had so long resisted the national authority was rapidly diminishing by the desertion of the disheartened men. Not only was it pursued by the victorious army of the Potomac, but by Grant's strategy at Lynchburg, whither it was retreating, it was confronted by Hancock's forces from the Shenandoah Valley, and Stoneman's strong cavalry force was approaching from the west.

While the pursuit was still in progress, Grant,

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