population to take care of themselves.
‘It was after two P. M.,’ says the diary of a rebel war-clerk, ‘before the purpose to evacuate the city was announced, and the government had gone at eight.’
At seven o'clock, Lee
sent his last dispatch to the rebel Secretary of War
, who alone of his government had remained at his post: ‘It is absolutely necessary,’ he said, ‘that we should abandon our position to-night, or run the risk of being cut off in the morning.
I have given all the orders to officers on both sides of the river, and have taken every precaution that I can to make the movement successful.
It will be a difficult operation, but I hope not impracticable.
Please give all orders that you find necessary in and about Richmond
The troops will all be directed to Amelia court-house
When night fell on the 2d of April, Lee
was still holding the semicircular line south of the Appomattox
which closely included Petersburg
; while his extreme right, hard pressed by Sheridan
, was fifteen miles west of the town.
The forces from Richmond
and the lines at Bermuda Hundred
were already in motion to join him on the Appomattox
; and Pickett
and Bushrod Johnson
were heading their scattered troops for Amelia court-house
, crossing the river wherever they could find a bridge or a ford.
encompassed the city with his right wing, and his left extended parallel with the fragments of Lee
's command that had been left outside.
The whole object and aim of the rebel leader now was to effect a junction with Johnston