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in doubt whether the besiegers could hold the entire army at Petersburg; and in case they could not, a number of troops sufficient to crush me might be detached by Lee, moved rapidly by rail, and, after overwhelming me, be quickly returned to confront General Meade. I was moreover, that my transportation could not supply me furtn by any other. I was confident that if a movement of this character could be made with celerity it would culminate in the capture of Richmond, and possibly of General Lee's army, and I was in hopes that General Grant would take the same view of the matter; but just at this time he was so pressed by the Government and by public opnot discovering that the chase had been discontinued till south of Mount Jackson they rallied on Early's infantry. After this catastrophe, Early reported to General Lee that his cavalry was so badly demoralized that it should be dismounted; and the citizens of the valley, intensely disgusted with the boasting and swaggering tha
demonstrations to prevent my reinforcement of General Grant, began himself to detach to General Lee by returning Kershaw's division to Petersburg, as was definitely ascertained by Torbert in a recoas at Petersburg; simultaneously with its transfer to that line Early sending his Second Corps to Lee. During the entire campaign I had been annoyed by guerrilla bands under such partisan chiefs rigade, which was in southwestern Virginia, had been sent to Petersburg during the winter, and Fitz. Lee's two brigades of cavalry also. Rosser's men were mostly at their homes, where, on account ofrry me over the Pamunkey, for in view of the fact that hitherto it had been impracticable to hold Lee in the trenches around Petersburg, I regarded as too hazardous a march down the south bank of thent, and that Pickett's division, which had been sent toward Lynchburg to oppose my march, and Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, were moving east on the Southside railroad, with the object of circumventing me. R
the Army of the Potomac, to come back to crush Lee after the destruction of General Johnston's armPotomac, which army was able unaided to destroy Lee, and I could not but oppose any dispersion of iy directing every effort to the annihilation of Lee's army, I left him to go to General Ingalls's qhat I did not think it at all probable that General Lee would undertake such a desperate measure tocter; and in any event General Grant would give Lee all he could attend to on the left. Mr. Lincolds, which are now the only avenues of supply to Lee's army, you may return to this army, selecting the Five Forks road would lead directly to General Lee's right flank, in case opportunity was founmmand, to turn, if possible, the right flank of Lee's army. The despatch made my mind easy with releft during the day was early discovered by General Lee. He met it by extending the right of his iced in command of all the mounted troops of General Lee's army. At daylight on the 30th I proce[1 more...]
on the 29th, the three divisions numbering 9,000 enlisted men, Crook having 9,000, and Custer and Devin 5,700. During the 30th, the enemy had been concentrating his cavalry, and by evening General W. H. F. Lee and General Rosser had joined Fitzhugh Lee near Five Forks. To this force was added, about dark, five brigades of infantry-three from Pickett's division, and two from Johnson's-all under command of Pickett. The infantry came by the White Oak road from the right of General Lee's intreGeneral Lee's intrenchments, and their arrival became positively known to me about dark, the confirmatory intelligence being brought in then by some of Young's scouts who had been inside the Confederate lines. On the 31st, the rain having ceased, directions were given at an early hour to both Merritt and Crook to make reconnoissances preparatory to securing Five Forks, and about 9 o'clock Merritt started for the crossroads, Davies's brigade supporting him. His march was necessarily slow because of the mud, an
wagons, and brought off five pieces of artillery. Among these wagons were some belonging to General Lee's and to General Fitzhugh Lee's headquarters. This work through, Davies withdrew and rejoined Crook, who, with Smith and Gregg, was established near Flat Creek. It being plain that Lee would attempt to escape as soon as his trains were out of the way, I was most anxious to attack him when the Second Corps began to arrive, for I felt certain that unless we did so he would succeed in pas the Second Corps was arriving, and that I wished he himself was present. I assured him of my confidence in our capturing Lee if we properly exerted ourselves, and informed him, finally, that I would put all my cavalry, except Mackenzie, on my left, and that, with such a disposition of my forces, I could see no escape for Lee. I also inclosed him this letter, which had just been captured: Amelia C. H., April 5, 1865. dear Mamma: Our army is ruined, I fear. We are all safe as yet. Sh
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