Immediately following, and perhaps in consequence of this sortie, an extensive attack was made upon our lines to the left of Fort Steadman, but without any decisive results. On March 27th the main part of Grant's forces confronting Richmond were moved over to the lines before Petersburg, and his left was on the same day joined by Sheridan's division of cavalry. It will be remembered that Lee had sent Longstreet to the north side of the James as soon as he discovered that Grant had sent a corps across with the supposed purpose of attacking Richmond from that side. It was intended that Longstreet should return whenever the enemy withdrew his main force from the north side of the James; it appears, however, that this was so secretly done as to conceal the fact from General Longstreet, and that both Hancock and Ord had joined Grant, to swell his forces by two corps before our troops returned to join Lee. Grant, thus strengthened, made a more determined movement to gain the right of Lee's position; before he was ready to make his assault, however, Lee marched with a comparatively very small force, took the initiative, and on the 31st struck the enemy's advance and repulsed him in great confusion, following until confronted by the heavy masses formed in open ground in the rear, when Lee withdrew his men back to their entrenchments.
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