Sixth corps, while the Second and Fifth corps pressed hard after, forcing him to abandon several hundred wagons and several pieces of artillery. General Ord advanced from Burkesville toward Farmville, sending two regiments of infantry, and a squadron of cavalry, under Brevet Brigadier-General Theodore Read, to reach and destroy the bridges. This advance met the head of Lee's column near Farmville, which it heroically attacked and detained until General Read was killed and his small force overpowered. This caused a delay in the enemy's movements, and enabled General Ord to get well up with the remainder of his force, on meeting which the enemy immediately intrenched himself. In the afternoon General Sheridan struck the enemy south of Sailor's creek, captured sixteen pieces of artillery and about four hundred wagons, and detained him until the Sixth corps got up, when a general attack of infantry and cavalry was made, which resulted in the capture of six or seven thousand prisoners, among whom were many general officers. The movements of the Second corps and General Ord's command contributed greatly to the day's success. On the morning of the seventh the pursuit was renewed, the cavalry, except one division, and the Fifth corps moving by Prince Edwards Court-house; the Sixth corps, General Ord's command, and one division of cavalry, on Farmville, and the Second corps by the High Bridge road. It was soon found that the enemy had crossed to the north side of the Appomattox, but so close was the pursuit that the Second corps got possession of the common bridge at High Bridge before the enemy could destroy it, and immediately crossed over. The Sixth corps and a division of cavalry crossed at Farmville to its support. Feeling now that General Lee's chance of escape was utterly hopeless, I addressed him the following communication from Farmville:
Early on the morning of the eighth, before leaving, I received at Farmville the following:April 7, 1865.General: The result of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
To this I immediately replied:April 7, 1865.General: I have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express on the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
Early on the morning of the eighth the pursuit was resumed. General Meade followed north of the Appomattox, and General Sheridan with all the cavalry, pushed straight for Appomattox Station, followed by General Ord's command and the Fifth corps. During the day General Meade's advance had considerable fighting with the enemy's rear guard, but was unable to bring on a general engagement. Late in the evening General Sheridan struck the railroad at the Appomattox station, drove the enemy from there and captured twenty-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and four trains of cars loaded with supplies for Lee's army. During this day I accompanied General Meade's column, and about midnight received the following communication from General Lee:April 8, 1855.General: Your note of last evening, in resply to mine of same date, asking the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon, namely: That the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia will be received.
April 8, 1865.General: I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army; but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your proposal may affect the Confederate States forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet vou at ten A. M. tomorrow