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[250] We marched very rapidly to join the main body, and though delayed by the swollen condition of the Appomattox, came up with it near Amelia Courthouse on the 5th of April. We were to march all that night, but owing to the slow progress of the trains and troops in front, had only reached Amelia Springs, seven miles off, by 8 A. M. Parties of cavalry here appeared on our left flank, and about 11 A. M. made an effort to get to the road on which our trains were moving past us. Gordon's corps, the rear-guard, was being hard pushed at the same time. I threw out as skirmishers part of Colonel Atkinson's command of heavy artillery of General Lee's division, and a battery of light artillery acting as infantry under Captain Dement, which had just been assigned to me. These troops soon repelled the enemy's cavalry skirmishers. Their demonstrations continued from 11 A. M. till 2 P. M., and I retained my troops in position to cover the passage of the trains. As soon as they were out of the way, I followed General Anderson's corps, and was followed by General Gordon, who brought up the rear of the trains, constantly fighting. On crossing a little stream known as ‘Sailor's Creek,’ I met General Fitz. Lee, who informed me that a large force of cavalry held the road just in front of General Anderson, and were so strongly posted that he had halted a short distance ahead. The trains were turned into a road nearer the river, while I hurried to General Anderson's aid. General Gordon's corps turned off after the trains. General Anderson informed me that at least two divisions of cavalry were in his front, and suggested two modes of escape, either to unite our forces and break through, or to move to the right through the woods and try to strike a road that ran toward Farmville. I recommended the latter alternative, but as he knew the ground and I did not, and had no one who did, I left the dispositions to him. Before any were made, the enemy appeared in rear of my column in large force, preparing to attack. General Anderson informed me that he would make the attack in front, if I would hold in check those in the rear, which I did until his troops were broken and dispersed. I had no artillery, all being with the trains. My line ran across a little ravine which leads nearly at right angles towards ‘Sailor's Creek.’ General G W. C. Lee was on the left, with the Naval Battalion under Commodore Tucker behind his right; Kershaw was on the right. All of Lee's and part of Kershaw's divisions were posted behind a rising ground that afforded some shelter from artillery. The creek was perhaps three hundred yards in their front, with brush pines between and a cleared field beyond

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R. H. Anderson (5)
William W. Gordon (3)
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