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[84] Richmond and Petersburg, not as an irretrievable disaster, but only as a prolongation of the war. We were falling back to an interior line behind the Staunton or Dan, where Lee and Johnston could unite their forces and turn first upon one and then upon another of the pursuing armies. This plan would doubtless have been carried out but for the inexcusable failure of our government at Richmond to have supplies at Amelia Courthouse on our line of retreat, as ordered by General Lee. The delay caused by the necessity of gathering supplies from the surrounding country was fatal to Lee's plans. The enemy gained on us, headed us off from Burkeville, and forced us to take the road to Farmville and Lynchburg.

Forced the battle.

No fighting of any consequence occurred until the 6th of April, when Sheridan, by rapid marching on a parallel line, got ahead of our division, struck the road on which we were moving, captured a portion of our wagon train, and forced the battle of Sailor's Creek. We had been on the march most of the night, and our men were weary and hungry, having been subsisting for two days or more on parched corn. At the time the battle began we (our brigade) were resting on a hill, awaiting developments, as the enemy were pressing our rear guard. It was here that my brother John and Thompson Furr, of my company, who had gone foraging the night before, rejoined us, bringing with them a bucket of boiled eggs and some fried chicken and corn bread. They found an old darkie some distance from the road, who, in exchange for two good army blankets, gave them a good breakfast and also something for their comrades. It was timely relief, for we had not more than finished our breakfast when we were startled by the sound of pistol shots in our front. Looking up, we saw some ambulances and stragglers rushing down the opposite hill towards us, hotly pursued by Federal cavalry. The hill seemed to be covered with timber, and only a narrow valley lay between. Our men took in the situation at once, and sprang to their feet, eager for a tussle with Sheridan. I speak here of Hunton's Brigade, which was not in the battle of Five Forks. They felt that they were a match for the cavalry, and all along on the retreat they were hoping for a chance to wipe out the reproach of April 1st. The opportunity now presented itself, and without waiting for orders from General Hunton, who was in the rear, the head of the column (8th Virginia) started down the hill at a quickstep to meet the enemy,

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