approaching the bridge; and he now dispatched another officer to give warning to Read that Lee
's whole army was in his rear, and that he could only return by pressing on, crossing the Appomattox
, and making a circuit by way of Prince Edward courthouse.
This second officer was driven back by rebel cavalry.
Read, however, came up with Washburne
, led the cavalry into Farmville
, examined the country, returned to the infantry, and was pushing for High bridge
, when the cavalry of Lee
's army overtook him within two miles of the river.
Here about noon the gallant Read drew up his little band of eighty horse and five hundred infantry, rode along the front of his ranks, inspired the men with his own valor, and began the battle with an army in his front.
Charge after charge was made by the chivalrous Washburne
, who captured more rebels than he had men. But Read fell, mortally wounded, then Washburne
, and at last not an officer of that cavalry party was left unwounded to lead the men; and not until then did they surrender.
But the stubborn fight in his front led Lee
to believe that a heavy force had struck the head of his column.
He ordered a halt, and this whole portion of his army began entrenching; so that the rear-guard and wagon train were delayed in their march, and this gave time for Sheridan
to come up with the flying column on the Deatonsville road.
As soon as the retreat of Lee
became a matter of certainty, the direction of the army of the Potomac was changed, and the whole command faced west instead of north.
The Sixth corps, which had been on the right, was moved across the