The rebel line at this time extended along the White Oak
road to a point about two miles west of Burgess's mill, where it turned abruptly to the north.
Four miles west of this point the White Oak
road is crossed by that from Dinwiddie
as it runs to the Southside railway.
Still another road from the south comes in at the junction, and thus the ‘Five Forks
’ is formed.
It is only two miles from the Southside
road, and was, therefore, of vital consequence in all the movements of either army.
If Five Forks
was gained by Grant
could not remain in Petersburg
pushed out a division from Dinwiddie
, but found the enemy in force at the junction, and the condition of the roads still prevented any serious attack by the cavalry.
, at the same time, was advanced until his left extended across the Boydton
, and in the direction of the White Oak
He, too, found the enemy strong in his front, extending westward, but was directed to hold and fortify his new position.
, meanwhile, drove the rebels behind their main line on Hatcher
's run, near Burgess's mill, and Ord
, and Parke
made examinations in their fronts to determine the feasibility of assault; for, as the enemy now confronted the national army at every point from Richmond
to the Boydton
concluded that the rebel lines must be weakly held, and could be penetrated, if his estimate of Lee
's forces was correct.
reported favorably to an assault, and Grant
determined, therefore, to extend his line no further, but to reinforce Sheridan
with a corps of infantry, and enable him to turn the rebel flank, while the other corps assaulted the enemy's works in front.