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[74] despatch about Sheridan, who had reached the head of the Valley and could no longer communicate with Washington. To this Grant replied: ‘I am taking steps to prevent Lee sending reinforcements to Early, by attacking him here.’ At four o'clock, he telegraphed again: ‘I did not expect to carry Richmond, but was in hopes of causing the enemy so to weaken the garrison of Petersburg as to be able to carry that place. The great object, however, is to prevent the enemy sending reinforcements to Early:’ and still later: ‘Operations to-day prevented getting Richmond papers,1 and consequently hearing of Sheridan. . . I am satisfied no troops have gone from here against him, and they cannot in the next two days. By that time he will be through, and on his way to a position where he can defend and supply himself.’

In the meantime the rebels were evidently moving large bodies of troops from Petersburg to the Richmond front; and half an hour before midnight Grant said to Meade: ‘. . You need not move out at daylight, but be prepared to start, say at eight o'clock, if you find the enemy still further reduced, or if ordered. . . When you do move out, I think it will be advisable to manoeuvre to get a good position from which to attack, and then, if the enemy is routed, follow him into Petersburg, or where circumstances seem to direct. I do not think it advisable to try to extend our line to the Southside road, unless a very considerable part of the ’

1 Information in regard to national movements was frequently obtained from the rebel newspapers, and was especially valuable when commanders like Sherman and Sheridan were separated from their base or communications.

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P. H. Sheridan (3)
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