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[530] 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.’1

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. Grant 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, whose

1 The three dispatches given in the text were the only reports made by Lee on the 2nd of April, and that dated seven o'clock was the last he sent to his government.

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