the fighting was severe.
The rebels availed themselves of every favorable piece of ground to hold the national column in check, and when Merritt
's line was formed and ready to attack, they generally moved off again, their infantry gliding through the woods with ease, while the national troopers labored hard in pursuit, through the thick undergrowth and miry soil.
By noon, however, the last of the enemy had retired behind their works along the White Oak
road, and Merritt
had pressed so close that the rebel skirmishers were called in. They evidently evaded a general battle outside.
In the meantime, Crawford
had at last come up with Griffin
, and at eleven A. M., Warren
reported in person to Sheridan
also had arrived, with the cavalry of Ord
's command, and was directed to remain in front of Dinwiddie
, and rest his men, until further orders.
Early on this morning Lee
to hold Five Forks
and the rebels had accordingly fortified a line running along the White Oak
road for at least two miles, with its left refused at a point about half a mile east of the Forks
They thus covered not only the Forks
themselves, but the Ford
road, which runs north to the Southside railway, and was the route by which Pickett
communicated with Lee
. As soon as it was evident that the enemy had retired behind these works, Sheridan
to advance on the Five Forks road, in the rear of the cavalry.
Then turning to the right, the Fifth corps was to take position obliquely to and a short distance from the