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[493] seemed to be fiercest at the Forks, pushed on in that direction by the Ford road.

Sheridan had been obliged to halt Ayres in his impetuous advance, lest a collision should occur with the cavalry as they charged over the rebel works to effect a junction with the infantry; but when Griffin came up on the right, Ayres again advanced, for the cavalry had now gained the angle and connected with his left inside the rebel breastworks. Devin contested with Custer the honor of having first gained a foothold, and both divisions had planted their colors on the parapet.

Thus the works in front were carried at several points by Merritt's men, while the Fifth corps doubled up the left; and finally, flanked by Ayres, and assailed in front by Merritt along the White Oak road, the rebels fell back fighting to the Forks. Griffin attacked them before they reached this point, and so absolute was the junction of the national forces that Griffin's men and the cavalry, at first fired into each other's lines. Most of Merritt's fighting had been dismounted, but, when his cavalry joined hands with the infantry, he mounted some of his men, who rode into the broken ranks, capturing a battery of artillery, and turning the guns at once upon the enemy. Pickett himself was vainly striving to stem the onset, when a national trooper, astride of a mule, jumped over the works and ordered him to surrender and be damned to him. The rebel commander was almost surrounded before he could gallop away. With him rushed off the remnants of the enemy, the cavalry riding hot haste after them, as fast as they could get up their horses from the rear.

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Wesley Merritt (3)
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