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[366] found, and, if successful, then march down the road and join me. General McKenzie executed this with courage and skill, attacking a force of the enemy on the White Oak Road, and driving it toward Petersburg. He then counter marched, and joined me on the White Oak Road just as the Fifth corps advanced to the attack, and I directed him to swing round with the right of the infantry and gain possession of the Ford Road at the crossing of Hatcher's Run. The Fifth corps, on reaching the White Oak Road, made a left wheel, and burst on the enemy's left flank and rear like a tornado, and pushed rapidly on, orders having been given that, if the enemy was routed, there should be no halt to re-form broken lines. As stated before, the firing of the Fifth corps was the signal of General Merritt to assault, which was promptly responded to, and the works of the enemy were soon carried at several points by our brave cavalrymen. The enemy were driven from their strong line of works and completely routed, the Fifth corps doubling up their left flank in confusion, and the cavalry of General Merritt dashing on to the White Oak Road, capturing their artillery and turning it upon them; and riding into their broken ranks so demoralized them that they made no serious stand after their. line was carried, but took to flight in disorder. Between five thousand and six thousand prisoners fell into our hands, and the fugitives were driven westward, and were pursued until long after dark by Merritt's and McKenzie's cavalry for a distance of six miles.

During this attack I again became dissatisfied with General Warren. During the engagement portions of his line gave way, when not exposed to a heavy fire, and simply for want of confidence on the part of the troops, which General Warren did not exert himself to inspire. I therefore relieved him from the command of the Fifth corps, authority for this action having been sent to me before the battle, unsolicited. When the pursuit was given up, I directed General Griffin, who had been ordered to assume command of the Fifth corps, to collect his troops at once, march two divisions back to Gravelly Church, and put them into position at right angles to the White Oak Road, facing toward Petersburg, while Bartlett's division, Griffin's old, covered the Ford Road to Hatcher's Run. General Merritt's cavalry went into camp on the widow Gilliam's plantation, and General McKenzie took position on the Ford Road at the crossing of Hatcher's Run. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the troops in this battle, and of the gallantry of their commanding officers, who appeared to realize that the success of the campaign and fate of Lee's army depended upon it. They merit the thanks of the country and reward of the government. To Generals Griffin, Ayres, Bartlett, and Crawford, of the Fifth corps, and to Generals Merritt, Custer, Devin, and McKenzie of the cavalry, great credit is due; and to their subordinate commanders they will undoubtedly award the praise which is due to them for the hearty co-operation, bravery, and ability which were everywhere displayed.

* * * * * * *

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

P. H. Sheridan, Major-General. Brevet Maj.-Gen. John A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff.

cavalry headquarters, Dinwiddie C. H., March 31, 1865.
Lieutenant-General Grant, commanding Armies United States:
The enemy's cavalry attacked me about ten o'clock to-day, on the road coming in from the west, and a little north of Dinwiddie C. H. This attack was very handsomely repulsed by General Smith's brigade of Crook's division, and the enemy was driven across Chamberlain's Creek. Shortly afterward, the enemy's infantry attacked on the same creek in heavy force, and drove in General Davies' brigade, and, advancing rapidly, gained the forks of the road at J. Boiseau's. This forced Devin, who was in advance, and Davies, to cross to the Boydton Road. General Gregg's brigade and General Gibbs', who had been toward Dinwiddie, then attacked the enemy in the rear very handsomely. This stopped the march toward the left of our infantry, and finally caused them to turn toward Dinwiddie and attack us in heavy force. The enemy then again attacked at Chamberlain's Creek, and forced Smith's position. At this time Capehart's and Pennington's brigades of Custer's division came up, and a very handsome fight occurred.

The enemy have gained some ground, but we still hold in. front of Dinwiddie C. H., and Davies and Devin are coming down the Boydton Road to join us.

The opposing force was Pickett's division, Wise's Independent Brigade of Infantry, and Fitzhugh Lee's, Rosser's, and W. H. Lee's cavalry commands.

The men behaved splendidly. Our loss in killed and wounded will probably number four hundred and fifty men; very few were lost as prisoners.

We have of he enemy a number of prisoners. This force is too strong for us. I will hold out to Dinwiddie C. H. until I am compelled to leave.

Our fighting to-day was all dismounted.

P. H. Sheridan, Major-General.

Dabney Mills, March 31, 1865--10.05 P. M.
Major-General Sheridan:
The Fifth corps has been ordered to your support. Two divisions will go by J. Boiseau's, and one down the Boydton Road. In addition to this, I have sent McKenzie's cavalry, which will reach you by the Vaughan Road.

All these forces, except the cavalry, should reach you by twelve to-night.

You will assume command of the whole force sent to operate with you, and use it, to the

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