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[533] He pushed forward at once to ascertain whether the enemy had retired. Wright and Ord were notified of the report, and instructed also to push forward skirmishers to discover the condition of the enemy.

At four o'clock, Parke succeeded in penetrating the line in his front at all points almost simultaneously, capturing the few remaining pickets. Ely's brigade, of Wilcox's division, was the first to enter the town, near the Appomattox, and to Colonel Ely the formal surrender was made at 4.28 A. M. . The Sixth corps also advanced, and the authorities must have been anxious to capitulate, for a second communication surrendering the town was forwarded by Wright to Meade. The flag of the Sixth Michigan sharpshooters was raised on the court-house, and guards were posted throughout the town. By the prompt efforts of officers and troops the main structure of the bridge was saved. Skirmishers were then pushed across the river, and numbers of stragglers were captured both in the city and outskirts.

At ten minutes past five Meade reported to Grant: ‘Colonel Ely is in possession of Petersburg;’ and Grant instantly replied: ‘You will march immediately with your army up the Appomattox, taking the River road, leaving one division to hold Petersburg and the railroad.’ He followed this with a personal interview, and at six o'clock Meade issued his orders to the corps commanders. Mott's division of the Second corps was on the extreme left of the investing force, nearest the river, and Meade instructed Wright: ‘Send Mott up the River road to join Humphreys as soon as possible. Move with your whole corps at once, following Mott, and keeping control of him until he shall report to Humphreys.’

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Meade (4)
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U. S. Grant (2)
Cadmus Wilcox (1)
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