Soon after breaking camp Sheridan came upon proof of the demoralization of the enemy.
He was on the road by which the rebels had retreated from Sutherland
the night before, and Pickett
, with the defeated cavalry, were fleeing before him. The rebel artillerists had thrown their ammunition into the woods and then set fire to the fences and trees among which the shells had fallen.
Caissons and guns were lying in the road; small arms, knapsacks, and even clothing dotted the line of march; while the flankers and scouts were constantly bringing in prisoners from the farms and bypaths on either side.
There was some skirmishing in Merritt
's front, but the opposition was easily brushed away, and it was not until Deep creek
was reached that any serious fighting occurred.
Here a strong body of infantry was encountered, but Merritt
attacked with spirit, driving the enemy from the ford and pushing out vigorously on the opposite side.
The Fifth corps followed rapidly and picked up many prisoners, as well as five pieces of abandoned cannon; but there was no fighting this day except by the cavalry.
By night Sheridan
had captured thirteen hundred prisoners.
The Fifth corps and the cavalry encamped at Deep creek
, on the Namozine road; the Second corps was not far behind, at Winticomack church; and the Sixth and Ninth were in the neighborhood of Sutherland
this night both slept at Sutherland
The inhabitants along the road had now begun to understand that Lee
was really overcome.
They saw on every hand the evidence of rout and flight, and were suffering themselves.
Their houses were