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[518] and Wilcox, further to the west, were cut off by Humphreys and Ord. Pickett in the night had endeavored to gather up what he had saved from the ruin at Five Forks, and form a junction with the rebel right near Sutherland station, but, meeting the fugitives of Heth and Wilcox, who had thrown away their arms, he retraced his steps and hurried to cross the Appomattox at Exeter mills. Sheridan meantime was coming up by the White Oak road to shut off every avenue of escape, and complete the destruction of the enemy. It seemed for a while as if conquered and conquerors would enter Petersburg together, and whether Lee could retain any organization at all or the Appomattox be crossed, was a matter of doubt. The rebel chief had anticipated his defeat, and dressed himself that morning in full uniform, with his finest sword, declaring that if forced to surrender, he would fall in harness; and when it was announced that his works were carried, he simply said: ‘It has happened as I thought; the lines have been stretched until they broke.’1

He fled with his escort from one position to another before the victorious columns, and once the advancing batteries were opened on a house where he had halted, and he was driven by their fire still nearer in towards Petersburg. At first but little effort seems to have been made to resist the national progress. Lee had been composed all through this terrible morning, but it was with the dull, apathetic composure of despair. It was necessary, however, to make some stand, or every man in the rebel army

1 The statements in this chapter in regard to Lee's conduct and language are all taken from Pollard, McCabe, Cooke, or other rebel writers.

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