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[553] in the early spring, and endeavored with these to assuage their hunger.

Meanwhile, discovering that Lee and his army were certainly at Amelia, Sheridan hurried up the Fifth corps, and ordered Griffin to entrench across the railroad until he could be reinforced. The isolated command went into position, throwing up breastworks as it arrived, and Sheridan at once sent information back to Grant that he had intercepted Lee. As Meade, however, was nearer than the general-in-chief, and time was of inestimable importance now, he dispatched an aide-de-camp also to the headquarters of the army of the Potomac, at Deep creek, where Humphreys had gone into camp—a long day's march from Jetersville. It was well into the night before the messenger arrived. Meade was unwell, and had taken to his soldier's bed, but he roused himself at the stirring news. His men were weary with their march, and with helping wagons out of the mire; they had no rations in their haversacks, and the supply trains were far in the rear. But the sick commander issued an order to march at three o'clock in the morning.

At 10.45 P. M., he sent word to Grant: ‘I have ordered Humphreys to move out at all hazards at three A. M.; but if the rations can be issued to them prior to that, to march as soon as issued; or if the temper of the men on hearing the dispatch of General Sheridan communicated to them leads to the belief that they will march with spirit, then to push on at once as soon as they could be got under arms. . . . You may rest assured that every exertion will be made by myself and subordinate commanders to reach the point with the men in such condition that ’

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Warren Sheridan (3)
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