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In the wake of Lee's retreat the ruins of railroad bridge at Petersburg April, 1865 The scene that met the eyes of the Union cavalry on April 3d. The ashes of a bridge, locomotive, train and all, as they had fallen the day before on the gravelly shore of the Appotomax. When the lines southeast and west of the city were captured on April 2d, Lee had seen that retreat was the only resource left. His haggard but undaunted veterans began this final movement at eight o'clock in the evening, passing to the north side of the Appomattox by the pontoon, Pocahontas and “railroad” bridges. These were given to the flames immediately after crossing, in order to hinder the pursuit. Though there were in the fields of Mississippi and Alabama supplies enough to feed Lee's army for a whole year, the means of transportation was so poor that all through the winter they had suffered from hunger. Now the only avenue of supply that had remained in their control was seized by the Union armies. The possibility of joining with Johnston's forces, or of making a last stand where the pursuer should put himself at a disadvantage, was the hope which sustained the famished heroes in gray as they left behind them the burning bridge.

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