The success of the battle of Sailor's creek was largely due to the vigor and ability of Sheridan
After the combinations of the general-in-chief
had produced the strategical situation, it was Sheridan
's masterly tactics, his brilliant manoeuvring with the cavalry, his assault with the Sixth corps on the left of the rebel column; and, finally, his handling of both portions of his command in the presence of the enemy, bringing Wright
face to face, with the rebels between, which secured the result at which Grant
was aiming—the destruction of almost a fourth of Lee
A result so complete was only to be achieved by the exercise of the highest qualities of military genius, whether in conception or performance.
It was late in the evening before Grant
, where he found that Ord
had moved to Rice
's station, and entrenched in front of Lee
. The general-in-chief
at once reported the situation to the government: ‘The troops are pushing now,’ he said, ‘though it is after night, and they have had no rest for more than one week.
The finest spirit prevails among the men, and I believe that in three days more Lee
will not have an army of five thousand men to take out of Virginia
, and no train or supplies.’
At the same time he continued his exhortations to Sherman
: ‘We have Lee
's army pressed hard, his men scattering, and going to their homes by thousands.
He is endeavoring to reach Danville
, where Davis
and his cabinet have gone.
I shall press the pursuit to the end. Push Johnston
at the same time, and let us finish this job all at once.’
This night he received an important dispatch from the President
, who had gone to Richmond