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[731] enemy's intrenched line when night arrested his advance.

Rain fell heavily all that night and next day: our infantry doing little beyond perfecting their formation and their connections; while Sheridan, pressing back the enemy, without much fighting, behind his intrenchments, pushed forward part of his cavalry on their right flank to five Forks, where they found the enemy too strong to be ridden over or driven off; and returned, through the rain and mud, to Dinwiddie C. H. Grant, who was on the field, directing the general movement, ordered Warren to support the cavalry; placing him under Sheridan's command.

Next morning,1 the rain had ceased; but the earth was so soaked and flooded that Grant proposed in the main to stand still. But Lee had other views. Alive to his peril, he had left his works immediately covering Richmond to be held by some 8,000 men, under Longstreet, while he hurried all the rest of his infantry, through rain and mire, to the support of his endangered right; his cavalry, which had been posted at Stony creek, far on his right, and which Sheridan's advance had isolated, making a long detour around Dinwiddie C. H. to regain its lost communications.

Warren had pushed forward skirmishers on his left to seize the White Oak road beyond the Rebel right, and had ordered Ayres to advance Winthrop's brigade through the woods to support the effort; when, at 10 1/2 A. M., Lee dealt him an unexpected and staggering blow: striking Ayres heavily in flank and rear; hurling his division back in disorder on Crawford's, which likewise broke; so that there was, for a moment, a prospect of another Chancellorsville. But behind these two stood Griffin's division, well posted in more open ground, whence it refused to be driven; stopping the Rebel advance, while the routed divisions rallied behind it, enabling Warren to assume the offensive; Humphreys supporting his counter-charge by sending in Miles's division on Warren's right to strike the enemy's left flank. Before these well-timed charges the enemy recoiled; taking refuge behind his intrenchments along the White Oak road; having lost heavily by his assault, mainly in prisoners. Still, his position was so strong that repeated and vigorous attempts by Miles, Mott, and Hays, under Humphreys's orders, to penetrate it at different points, were repelled — the abatis which covered its front being even more formidable than the Rebels behind it.

Sheridan, meantime, had renewed his once foiled effort to turn the Rebel right by a resolute advance from Dinwiddie C. H. to Five Forks; and, while Lee's infantry was in conflict with Warren, he had advanced to and carried the coveted position. But now — the attack on Warren having failed — Lee impelled Pickett's and Bushrod Johnson's divisions of infantry westward along the White Oak road to Five Forks, where they fell upon Devin's division and Davies's brigade of cavalry there posted, drove them out in disorder, and followed them nearly to Dinwiddie C. H.; at length interposing between Devin and Sheridan's main line, and compelling

1 March 31.

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Fitz Henry Warren (6)
Philip H. Sheridan (5)
Robert E. Lee (4)
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