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[555]

Maj.-Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, who commanded the cavalry corps of the army of Northern Virginia during the Appomattox campaign, sent to Gen. R. E. Lee, from Richmond, April 22, 1865, a report of the operations of his command from the 28th of March to the 8th of April. Of the events near the time of the surrender, he wrote:

During the evening of the 8th I received orders to move the cavalry corps to the front and to report in person to the commanding general. Upon arriving at his headquarters I found General Longstreet there, and we were soon after joined by General Gordon. The condition of our situation was explained by the commanding general to us as the commanders of his three corps, and the correspondence between General Grant and himself, as far as it had then progressed, was laid before us. It was decided that 1 should attack the enemy's cavalry at daylight, then reported as obstructing our further march; Gordon was to support me, and in case nothing but cavalry was discovered we were to clear it from our route and open a way for our remaining troops; but in case they were supported by heavy bodies of infantry, the commanding general should at once be notified, in order that a flag of truce should be sent to accede to the only alternative left us. The enemy enabled to take position across our line of march by moving up from Appomattox station, which they reached earlier than our main advance, in consequence of our march being retarded by our wagon trains.

At daybreak on the 9th, Gordon's command, numbering about 1,600 muskets, was formed inline of battle a mile west of Appomattox Court House, on the Lynchburg road. The cavalry corps was formed on his right, W. H. F. Lee's division being nearest the infantry; Rosser's in the center, and Munford's on the extreme right, making a mounted force of about 2,400 men. Our attack was made about sunrise, and the enemy's cavalry quickly driven out of the way, with a loss of two guns and a number of prisoners. The arrival at this time of two corps of their infantry necessitated the retiring of our lines, during which, and knowing what would be the result, I withdrew the cavalry, W. H. F. Lee retiring toward our rear, and Rosser and Munford out toward Lynchburg, having cleared that road of the enemy. Upon hearing that the army of Northern Virginia had surrendered, the men were generally dispersed and rode off to their homes, subject to reassembling for a continuation of the struggle. I rode out in person with a portion of W. H. F. Lee's division, the nearest to me at that time, and previous to the negotiations between the commanders of the two armies. It will be recalled that my action was in accordance with the views I had expressed in the council the night before—that if a surrender was compelled the next day, I would try to extricate the cavalry, provided it could be done without compromising the action of the commanding general, but that I would not avail myself of a cessation of hostilities pending the existence of a truce. I had an understanding with General Gordon that he should communicate to you the information of the presence of the enemy's infantry upon the road in our front. Apart from the fond, though forlorn hope that future operations were still in store for the cavalry I was desirous that they should not be included in the capitulation because the ownership of their horses was vested in themselves, and

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