The corps moved forward before daylight with the division of Evans
in front, captured a half mile of breastworks with Fort Stedman
, and turned the guns upon the other Federal works.
Several batteries to the right and left were also cleared of their defenders and occupied by the enthusiastic Georgians
It was intended that a supporting column of 20,000 men should follow up and secure the ground thus won, but they did not arrive in time to go promptly forward.
So the Federals
were able to concentrate against the Confederates
in such force that they were compelled to fall back to their own lines with heavy loss.
Two days later, Sheridan
with 10,000 cavalry reinforced Grant
, who now rapidly concentrated the main body of his army to the south and west of Petersburg
, with the purpose of assailing the Confederate
Without waiting to be attacked, Lee
fell upon the Federals
with so heavy a blow that he forced his enemy back.
On the same day, March 31st, Sheridan
was repulsed near Dinwiddie Court House, but on the next day, reinforced by two corps of infantry, he overwhelmed Pickett
's smaller force at Five Forks
On the following morning the Federals
attacked all along the line, which was very thin, there being in many places only one man to every seven yards. The gallant defense of Forts Alexander and Gregg checked the Federals
came up and interposed his corps.
That night Lee
withdrew from the lines of Petersburg
, which he had held so long and skillfully.
's retreat was conducted with his usual skill, but the failure to secure supplies at Amelia Court House
caused a delay which was fatal to his plans.
The men of the Seventh Georgia cavalry, with M. W. Gary
's brigade, were among the last to leave the Confederate
capital just before the last bridge was destroyed.
At Sailor's creek, where Ewell
's corps was surrounded and forced to surrender, the brigades of Simms
, and Humphreys
' Virginia brigade, fighting