forces were massed at Smithfield, in North Carolina
, half-way between Raleigh
, and a little nearer than Sherman
's troops to Petersburg
could possibly succeed in joining Johnston
, he would still command a formidable army, and might hope even yet to give the national general serious trouble, or at least secure more favorable terms for the shattered Confederacy.
The distance between the rebel armies was a hundred and fifty miles. To accomplish his purpose Lee
must evade the columns of Grant
, striking first for Burksville
, at the junction of the Southside
and Danville roads, fifty miles from Richmond
, and then move still further south towards Danville
, to which point he might hope that Johnston
would fall back in order to concentrate the two commands.
The Appomattox river
, rising in the neighborhood of Lynchburg
, and flowing east in a general course, ran directly across Lee
's path, and as Grant
had possession of the southern bank as far as Sutherland
, the rebel general would be obliged to move on the opposite side for more than twenty miles; then, crossing at Goode
's bridge, he meant to strike for Amelia court-house
on the Danville
road, eighteen miles north of Burksville
he expected to obtain supplies.
, of course, would divine his route and endeavor to follow or intercept his march; but Lee
was no further from Burksville
than the national army, and decidedly nearer to Amelia
his troops would have the impetus of flight, and would start some hours in advance.