part of his army, and thus presented the opportunity already provided for. Grant
attacked in return, with his fiery subordinate, and the defeat of Pickett
was instantly followed by the assaults on Petersburg
Not a moment was left the rebel chief to recover from the effect of the disaster at Five Forks
, either to bring back Pickett
, or himself to move in prompt endeavor to escape; but while Lee
was still stunned and bewildered by the immensity of his misfortune and his peril, the terrible blow descended like the thunderbolt of a god.
, cities, fortifications, populations, Presidents
, armies, armaments—all went down in one tremendous crash, as if the world itself was at an end.
Even then Grant
did not wait a moment.
He did not even move his army eastward to occupy or capture Petersburg
; he was certain it would fall without a final effort, and before the town was in his hands, his forces were stretching out westward, to intercept the flying defenders, who themselves had not yet escaped from the lines which had protected them so long.
were held loose on the night of April 2nd, in the certainty that Lee
would evacuate Petersburg
For when once the citadel of the rebellion was gone, when the rebels were driven from cover, Grant
knew well what the next and only object of Lee
must be. He must attempt to unite with Johnston
Should this be accomplished, the war might very possibly last yet another year.
The two great rebel forces combined might retire into the interior, and in some way find supplies; and though they probably could not damage the national armies seriously,