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[81] times the first warnings the infantry had of these dashes was the explosion of ammunition and the smoke of burning wagons. The rear guard resisted to the last from every advantageous hill and every coign of vantage to gain time for the balky trains to move on. Often it was driven from position while the long trains were not yet out of sight, and the enemy's batteries thundered forth destruction into the trains which, spread out for miles in the road, presented a tempting mark at which not a shot could be thrown in vain. During the last days of the retreat, attack came from every quarter, and the days and nights alike were spent in marching and fighting. There was not time or opportunity for sleep, and of food there was none. Suspense, despair, exposure, famine and want of sleep caused many whose weak bodies could not sustain their dauntless souls to lie down on the roadside to await the coming of death. Many were not strong enough to carry their muskets and placed them in the wagon trains while they marched beside them, hoping that food and rest, when these could be obtained, would again enable them to bear arms.

On the morning of the 6th the Army of the Potomac, which had been mainly concentrated at Jetersville, moved northward to Amelia Courthouse to give battle to Lee, but he had passed, as we have seen, on the night before on the Deatonsville road. Humphrey's second corps was ordered to move on the Deatonsville road, and the fifth and sixth corps in parallel directions on the right and left. The Army of the James, under Ord, had in the meantime reached Burkeville, and on the 6th General Ord was directed towards Farmville. Meade discovered Lee's withdrawal from Amelia before reaching that point, and made new dispositions for pursuit. The second corps soon came up with Gordon in the rear, and a sharp, running fight commenced with Gordon's corps, which continued nearly all day. An obstinate stand was made at Sailor's Creek, but the numbers of the enemy enabled them to turn Gordon's position and take some high ground commanding it, and just at nightfall his position was

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