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[469] his infantry and most of his cavalry, striking at Davies's brigade on the left of Merritt, he forced it back after a gallant fight, and penetrated Sheridan's line, isolating Merritt and Davies from the remainder of the command. Sheridan at once ordered this detached force to move to the Boydton road, march down to Dinwiddie, and join the line of battle there. Mounted and dismounted, as the ground permitted, these troops together contested every grove and every knoll, and fell back slowly towards the Boydton road.1

The rebels, deceived by this manoeuvre, which they supposed a rout, followed it up rapidly, making a left wheel, and presenting their own rear to Sheridan's main line north of Dinwiddie. Sheridan instantly perceived his opportunity, and ordered Gibbes and Gregg to advance. Then, as the rebel line went crashing through the woods in pursuit of Merritt, wheeling towards the Boydton road, Gibbes struck them in flank and rear, while Gregg, moving rapidly up from his position on Chamberlain's bed, and taking a wood road, came in on the left of Gibbes, and also in the enemy's rear. This sudden and combined attack compelled the rebels at once to face by the rear rank and abandon the pursuit of Merritt, which, if continued, would have taken in flank and rear the infantry of Warren.

But now the entire rebel command, foot and horse, had turned on the national cavalry covering Dinwiddie; and ‘here,’ said Grant, ‘Sheridan displayed ’

1 For many of the incidents of March 31st and April 1st, such as only an eye-witness could describe, I am indebted to the graphic and often eloquent narrative of Colonel Newhall, entitled ‘With Sheridan in Lee's Last Campaign, by a Staff Officer.’

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