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[486] of the infantry, however, was still impracticable until Crawford's division arrived. Griffin and Ayres were, therefore, directed to remain in the neighborhood of the Boisseau house, refresh their men, and be ready to move forward when required.

In this emergency, Sheridan devised a new and brilliant scheme. He determined to drive the rebels back to Five Forks with Merritt's column, press them into their works, and make a feint of turning their right flank, and then, while their attention was completely engaged by the cavalry, to quietly move the whole Fifth corps against Pickett's left, and crush the entire rebel command. It was his old manoeuvre, which had been so successful in the Valley; a feint upon the enemy's front and right, and suddenly a turning movement to overwhelm the left. But in this instance it was more felicitous in its application than ever before; for the success of the Fifth corps would drive westward the rebels who might escape, and isolate them from Lee. It would thus not only secure victory for Sheridan, but, by breaking the right wing of Lee's command, defeat the last manoeuvre of the rebel general, and open a way for Grant to destroy the entire army of Northern Virginia.

Merritt accordingly was directed to press the enemy, and promptly pushed Custer out by the Scott or western road, and Devin by the main one, to Five Forks. Twice he encountered temporary breastworks, erected since the day before; but, dismounting part of his men, he charged impetuously and carried both these lines. The fields, however, were all quicksand and the woods all jungle, and

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Warren Sheridan (2)
Wesley Merritt (2)
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Pickett (1)
Charles Griffin (1)
U. S. Grant (1)
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