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[406] On the 13th of March, he telegraphed to Stanton: ‘Sheridan is reported to be within five miles of Richmond this morning,’ and on the 14th, he instructed Meade: ‘From this time forward keep your command in condition to be moved on the very shortest possible notice, in case the enemy should evacuate, or partially evacuate, Petersburg, taking with you the maximum of supplies your trains are capable of carrying.’ He evidently meant to follow, and not to return. On this day also he said to the same commander: ‘Fitz Lee's cavalry has been ordered on to the Danville road. Private stores, tobacco, cotton, etc., had been turned over to the provost marshal, to be got out of the way, and citizens were ordered to be organized, no doubt to prevent plundering in the city when it is evacuated. The information clearly indicates the intention to fall back to Lynchburg. Sheridan will be at White House to-day. If there is no falling back for four or five days, I can have the cavalry in the right place.’ To Sheridan he said, also on the 13th: ‘Information just received from Richmond indicates that everything was being sent from there to Lynchburg, and that the place would have been cleaned out but for your interruption. I am disposed now to bring your cavalry over here, and to unite it with what we have, and see if the Danville and Southside roads cannot be cut. . . . . When you start, I want no halt made until you make the intended raid, unless rest is necessary. In that case, take it before crossing the James.’ Evidently both Grant and Lee knew the importance to the rebels not only of Lynchburg, but of the Danville road. Both

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