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‘ [470] great generalship.’1 Instead of retreating with his whole command, to tell the story of superior forces encountered, he deployed the cavalry on foot, leaving only mounted men enough to take charge of the horses. This compelled the enemy also to deploy over a vast extent of woods and broken country, and made the rebel progress slow. Pickett's infantry, however, pushed back Gregg and Gibbes to the court-house, while the rebel cavalry turned on Smith, who had so gallantly maintained the crossing of Chamberlain's creek in the morning. His command again held off the enemy for a while with determined bravery, but the heavy force brought against his flank finally compelled Smith to abandon the position on the creek, and fall back to the main line immediately in front of Dinwiddie. Meanwhile, Sheridan had brought up two brigades of Custer's division, and these, with Gibbes and Gregg, were now in line; slight breastworks had been thrown up at intervals along this front, and every attempt to force the position was repelled. Pickett, with his entire command, was unable to drive five national brigades of cavalry from the open plain in front of the courthouse. It was after dark when the firing ceased, and the rebels lay on their arms that night not more than a hundred yards from Sheridan's lines. Dinwiddie, however, was held.

Merritt and Davies, with their commands, reached the court-house without opposition by the Boydton road, but too late to participate in the final action of the day.

Thus the rebels had failed to overwhelm the national cavalry. Sheridan had extricated his troops

1 Grant's Official Report.

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