, so narrowed and distorted his possible lines of retreat as to render the capture or dispersion of his entire army at least possible.
And, with Grant
as his antagonists, it was morally certain that all would be made of their advantages that could be.
The Army of Virginia--now reduced by desertions and its recent heavy losses, mainly in prisoners, to 35,000 men — was concentrated, from Richmond
on the north to Petersburg
on the south, at Chesterfield C. H.; thence moving rapidly west-ward to Amelia C. H.
, where Lee
had ordered supplies to meet him by cars from Danville
; but where he found none — an order from Richmond
the train to that city to aid in bearing away the fugitives; and it was taken with-out unloading: so that the over-matched, worsted, retreating, and fainting Rebel soldiery, while endeavoring to evade the fierce pursuit of Sheridan
's troopers, must snatch their subsistence from the impoverished, exhausted country.
And, while Lee
halted here, throughout the 4th and 5th, trying to gather from any and every quarter the means of feeding his famished men, Sheridan
, moving rapidly westward by roads considerably south of Amelia C. H.
, had struck the Danville railroad at Jetersville
, while his advance had swept down that road nearly to Burkesville
, scattering by the way such portions of the Rebel
cavalry as had fled west-ward from their discomfiture at Five Forks
At Deep creek
, a considerable force of infantry was encountered,2
and ultimately driven by the 5th corps.
Concentrating at Jetersville
had here planted him-self across the railroad, intrenched his infantry, and, supported by his cavalry, prepared to stop Lee
's entire force, until Grant
, pursuing, should be able to overtake and crush him. Meade
, with the 2d and 6th corps, came up late on the 5th, while Lee
was still at Amelia C. H.
Thus the provisions which the Confederates
had collected and prepared to send to Lee
were intercepted, and all hope of succor to his sore beset army cut off.
left Amelia C. H.
at nightfall of the 5th; moving around the left of Meade
's position at Jetersville
, striking for Farmville
, in order to recross there the Appomattox
, and, if possible, thus escape his pursuers.
But this was not to be. Already, Gen. Davies
, making a strong reconnoissance to our left and front, had struck, at Paine
's cross-roads, Lee
's train, moving in advance of his infantry, and destroyed 180 wagons; capturing 5 guns and many prisoners.
's soldiers, not far behind, attempted to envelop and crush our cavalry, now swelled by Gregg
's and Smith
's brigades, sent to support Davies
; and a spirited fight ensued; but Davies
was extricated; falling back on Jetersville
; where nearly our whole army was next morning3
concentrated, and the pursuit vigorously resumed: Sheridan
returning the 5th corps to Meade
, and henceforth commanding the cavalry only.
, now holding Sheridan
's left (facing eastward), advanced to Deatonsville, where Lee
's whole army was seen moving rapidly westward.