which, though an incident of the operations on the main line and not specifically marked out in the original plan, attained in its brilliant execution and results all the proportions of an independent campaign.
On the 8th of May, just after the battle of the Wilderness, and when we were moving on Spotsylvania, I directed Sheridan, verbally, to cut loose from the Army of the Potomac, pass around the left of Lee's army and attack his cavalry; to cut the two roads-one running west through Gordonsville, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg, the other to Richmond; and, when compelled to do so for want of forage and rations, to move on to the James River and draw these from Butler's supplies.
This move took him past the entire rear of Lee's army.
These orders were also given in writing through Meade.
The object of this move was threefold: 1.
If successfully executed — and it was — he would annoy the enemy by cutting his lines of supplies and telegraphic communications, and destroy or get