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[733] movements, and suspected him of not wishing, to make a decisive charge that day. It was now 4 P. M.--darkness, in that wooded region, would quickly follow sunset — when all offensive operations, over ground to which our men were strangers, must utterly cease. As yet, many more of our men than of the enemy had fallen this day; and the morrow would doubtless show the Rebels either strongly reenforced or missing. Sheridan — a raging lion on the battle-field — sought to hurry Warren's movements, using some language more energetic than courteous; and at length — the whole corps having reached the position assigned it and faced westward — the charge was made; McKenzie's horsemen having been thrown out on Warren's right, so as completely to outflank the Rebels and bar their retreat northward.

Ayres's division advanced nearest to the White Oak road and the Rebel defenses, with Crawford's on its right, or farther north; Griffin's being in reserve behind it. But Crawford's left, advancing across open ground under fire of the enemy — whose left had been refused and formed at right angles with its main line to meet this attack — swerved to the right to gain the shelter of the woods, opening a gap between it and Ayres's right, on which the Rebels now directed their fire, causing it to waver and crumble; a portion of it going to the right — about in haste and disorder.

Sheridan was watching this turning movement and charge in no amiable temper, and now saw its success imperiled by what he considered Warren's indifference or inefficiency; for he believed this chasm in our charging lines could never have been opened if our troops had been handled with energy and resolution. He therefore deprived1 Warren of his command, giving it to Griffin, whose division he ordered thrown forward to fill the gap in our line, which was now impelled forward with irresistible momentum; while Merritt, with the cavalry, charged the enemy's front.

The Confederates, facing their foes in each direction, stood bravely to their arms; but they were two divisions — Pickett's and Bushrod Johnson's — against at least double their number, and their case was manifestly hopeless. In a few minutes, Ayres's division burst over their flank intrenchments, taking 1,000 prisoners; while Griffin struck their refused flank in the rear, capturing 1,500 more; and Crawford — resisted only by skirmishers — pressed forward rapidly to the Ford road, running northward from their center, precluding their retreat toward Lee; and then, turning southward on that road, came rapidly down upon their rear, taking 4 guns — our cavalry all the time sharply assailing their front and right, and at length charging over their intrenchments, as Ayres and Griffin, having turned their left out of its works, bore down upon its renewed front, hurling all that remained of the enemy in disorderly flight westward; charged and pursued for miles by our cavalry until long after dark, and until our prisoners exceeded 5,000 ; while our total loss this day was but about 1,000. At this cost,

1 Swinton says that “After the close of the action, Sheridan relieved Gen. Warren from duty.” Sheridan's official report does not sustain this averment. Warren, however, in his defense, asserts positively that Sheridan's order did not reach him till after the fighting was over.

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