and possession of the White Oak road gained. Sheridan advanced, and with a portion of his cavalry got possession of the Five Forks; but the enemy, after the affair with the Fifth corps, reinforced the rebel cavalry defending that point with infantry, and forced him back toward Dinwiddie Court-house. Here General Sheridan displayed great generalship. Instead of retreating with his whole command on the main army, to tell the story of superior forces encountered, he deployed his cavalry on foot, leaving only mounted men enough to take charge of the horses. This compelled the enemy to deploy over a vast extent of woods and broken country, and make his progress slow. At this juncture he despatched to me what had taken place, and that he was dropping back slowly on Dinwiddie Court-house. General McKenzie's cavalry and one division of the Fifth corps were immediately ordered to his assistance. Soon after, receiving a report from General Meade that Humphreys could hold our position on the Boydton road, and that the other two divisions of the Fifth corps could go to Sheridan, they were so ordered at once. Thus the operations of the day necessitated the sending of Warren, because of his accessibility, instead of Humphreys, as was intended, and pre-cipitated intended movements. On the morning of the first of April General Sheridan, reinforced by General Warren, drove the enemy back on Five Forks, where, late in the evening, he assaulted and carried his strongly-fortified position, capturing all his artillery and between five thousand and six thousand prisoners. About the close of this battle, Brevet Major-General Charles Griffin relieved Major-General Warren in command of the Fifth corps. The report of this reached me after nightfall. Some apprehensions filled my mind lest the enemy might desert his lines during the night, and by falling upon General Sheridan before assistance could reach him, drive him from his position and open the way for retreat. To guard against this, General Miles' division of Humphreys' corps was sent to reinforce him, and a bombardment was commenced and kept up until four o'clock in the morning (April second), when an assault was ordered on the enemy's lines. General Wright penetrated the lines with his whole corps, sweeping everything before him, and to his left toward Hatcher's run, capturing many guns and several thousand prisoners. He was closely followed by two divisions of General Ord's command, until he met the other division of General Ord's, that had succeeded in forcing the enemy's lines near Hatcher's run. Generals Wright and Ord immediately swung to the right, and closed all of the enemy on that side of them in Petersburg, while General Humphreys pushed forward with two divisions and joined General Wright on the left. General Parke succeeded in carrying the enemy's main line, capturing guns and prisoners, but was unable to carry his inner line. General Sheridan being advised of the condition of affairs, returned General Miles to his proper command. On reaching the enemy's lines immediately surrounding Petersburg, a portion of General Gibbons' corps, by a most gallant charge, captured two strong, enclosed works — the most salient and commanding south of Petersburg — thus materially shortening the line of investment necessary for taking in the city. The enemy south of Hatcher's run retreated west-ward to Sutherland's station, where they were overtaken by Miles' division. A severe engagement ensued, and lasted until both his right and left flanks were threatened by the approach of General Sheridan, who was moving from Ford's station toward Petersburg, and a division sent by General Meade from the front of Petersburg, when he broke in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands his guns and many prisoners. This force retreated by the main road along the Appomattox river. During the night of the second the enemy evacuated Petersburg and Richmond, and retreated toward Danville. On the morning of the third pursuit was commenced. General Sheridan pushed for the Danville road, keeping near the Appomattox, followed by General Meade with the Second and Sixth corps, while General Ord moved for Burkesville along the Southside road, the Ninth corps stretched along that road behind him. On the fourth General Sheridan struck the Danville road near Jettersville, where he learned that Lee was at Amelia Court-house. He immediately intrenched himself and awaited the arrival of General Meade, who reached there the next day. General Ord reached Burkesville on the evening of the fifth. On the morning of the fifth, I addressed Major-General Sherman the following communication:
On the morning of the sixth it was found that General Lee was moving west of Jetersville, toward Danville. General Sheridan moved with his cavalry (the Fifth corps having been returned to General Meade on his reaching Jetersville), to strike his flank, followed by theWilson's Station, April 5, 1865.General: All indications now are that Lee will attempt to reach Danville with the remnant of his force. Sheridan, who was up with him last night, reports all that is left, horse, foot, and dragoons, at twenty thousand,much demoralized. We hope to reduce this number one half. I shall push on to Burkesville, and, if a stand is made at Danville, will in a very few days go there. If you can possibly do so, push on from where you are, and let us see if we cannot finish the job with Lee's and Johnston's armies. Whether it will be better for you to strike for Greensboroa, or nearer to Danville, you will be better able to judge when you receive this. Rebel armies now are the only strategic points to strike at.