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Doc. 115. surrender of General R. E. Lee.

Report of Major-General Meade.

headquarters Army of the Potomac, April 30, 1865.
Colonel — I have the honor to submit here, with a succinct report of the operations of this army in the recent campaign resulting in the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg, and terminating in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

On the twenty-ninth ultimo, in pursuance of orders received from the Lieutenant-General commanding, the Second and Fifth corps were moved across Hatcher's run, the former by the Vaughan road, the latter by the old stage road crossing at Perkins'. The Second corps, holding the extreme left of the line before Petersburg prior to moving, was relieved by Major-General Gibbon, commanding two divisions of the Twenty-fourth corps.

Major-General Humphreys, commanding the Second corps, was directed after crossing [641] Hatcher's run. to take position with his right resting on Hatcher's run, and his left extending to the Quaker road. Major-General Warren, commanding Fifth corps, was directed at first to take position at the intersection of the Vaughan and Quaker roads, and subsequently, about noon of the twenty-ninth, he was ordered to move up the Quaker road beyond Gravelly run.

These orders were duly executed, and by evening Major-General Humphreys was in position, his right resting near Dabney's mill, and his left near Gravelly meeting-house, on the Quaker road. In taking this position Major-General Humphreys encountered but little opposition, meeting only a small force in a line of rifle-pits, who were quickly driven out. Major-General Warren was delayed in his movement by having to rebuild the bridge over Gravelly run. The advance of his column, Brigadier-General Griffin's division, was attacked about four P. M., when about a mile and a half beyond Gravelly run, by Bushrod Johnson's division. A spirited engagement ensued, in which Griffin handsomely repulsed and drove the enemy, capturing over one hundred prisoners.

On the thirtieth, Major-General Humphreys again advanced, driving the enemy into his main line of works, and by night occupying a line from the Crow house, on Hatcher's run, to the intersection of the Dabney's mill and Boydton plank-roads.

Major-General Warren during this day advanced on the Quaker road to its intersection with the Boydton plank, and pushed Ayres' division in a north-westerly direction over the White Oak road. No fighting of any consequence occurred this day except picket skirmishing and exchange of artillery shots from the respective lines, now close to each other.

During the night of the thirtieth, Major-General Humphreys, who had intrenched his line, was directed to relieve Griffin's division, Fifth corps, by Miles' division, and Major-General Warren was ordered to move both Crawford and Griffin within supporting distance of Ayres, whose position on the extreme left was considered likely to invite attack.

On the thirty-first, about ten A. M., Ayres, under General Warren's orders, advanced to dislodge the enemy in position on the White Oak road. Ayres' attack was unsuccessful, and was followed by such a vigorous attack of the enemy that Ayres was compelled to fall back upon Crawford, who, in turn, was so strongly pressed by the enemy as to force both divisions back in considerable disorder to the position occupied by Griffin, when the pursuit of the enemy ceased. Immediately on ascertaining the condition of affairs, Major-General Humphreys was ordered to move to Warren's support, and that officer promptly sent Miles' division to attack in flank the force operating against Warren.

This movement was handsomely executed by Miles, who, attacking the enemy vigorously, drove him back to his former position on the White Oak road, capturing several colors and many prisoners.

In the mean time Warren advanced with Griffin's division, supported by such portions of Ayres' and Crawford's divisions as could be rallied, and regaining the position held by Ayres in the morning, Griffin attacked with Chamberlain's brigade, driving the enemy and securing a lodgement on the White Oak road.

These operations over, hearing heavy firing to the left and rear, which was presumed to be the cavalry moving up from Dinwiddie Court-house, Warren was directed to send a brigade down the White Oak road to cooperate with the cavalry. This brigade by night reached the crossing of Gravelly run, by the road leading through J. Boisseau's, where, not meeting any enemy, it bivouacked.

During the night, having been directed to send support to Major-General Sheridan at Dinwiddie Court-house, Major-General Warren was ordered to move with his whole corps, two divisions by the White Oak road and one by the Boydton plank-road. Major-General Humphreys was ordered to extend his left as far as practicable, consistent with its security.

During the foregoing operations, the Sixth and Ninth corps remained in the lines in front of Petersburg, with orders to watch the enemy closely, and, in the event of the lines in their front being weakened, to attack.

On April first, after consultation with the Lieutenant-General commanding, believing from the operations on his right that the enemy's lines on his left must be thinly held, orders were sent to Major-Generals Wright and Parke to attack the next morning at four. About seven P. M., intelligence having been received of the brilliant success of the cavalry and Fifth corps at Five Forks, orders were sent to Generals Parke and Wright to open their batteries and press the enemy's picket line. At the same time, Miles' division, Second corps, was detached to the support of Major-General Sheridan, and Major-General Humphreys advised of the intended attacks of the Twenty-fourth, Sixth, and Fifth corps, and directed to hold his two remaining divisions ready to cooperate in the same, should they prove successful.

On the second of April, Major-General Wright attacked at four A. M., carrying everything before him, taking possession of the enemy's strong line of works, and capturing many guns and prisoners. After carrying the enemy's line in his front, and reaching the Boydton plank-road, Major-General Wright turned to his left, and swept down the enemy's line of intrenchments till near Hatcher's run, where, meeting the head of the Twenty-fourth corps, General Wright retraced his steps and advanced on the Boydton plank-road toward Petersburg, encountering the enemy in an inner line of works immediately around the city. Major-General [642] Wright deployed his corps confronting their works, in conjunction with the Twenty-fourth and part of the Second corps.

Major-General Parke's attack at four A. M. was also successful, carrying the enemy's lines, capturing guns and prisoners, but the position of the Ninth corps, confronting that portion of the enemy's line, the longest held and most strongly fortified, it was found he held a second and inner line, which Major-General Parke was unable to carry. Receiving a despatch during the morning from Major-General Parke, reporting his being pressed by the enemy, the troops left in City Point defences, under Brigadier-General Benham and Brevet Brigadier-General Collis, were ordered up to General Parke's support; their prompt arrival enabling them to render material assistance to General Parke in holding his lines.

So soon as Major-General Wright's success was reported, Major-General Humphreys was ordered to advance with the remaining divisions of his corps; Hays, on the right, advanced and captured a redoubt in front of the Crow house, taking a gun and over one hundred prisoners. Mott, on the left, on advancing on the Boydton plank-road, found the enemy's line evacuated. Hays and Mott pushed forward and joined the Sixth corps confronting the enemy. Early in the morning Miles, reporting his return to his position on the White Oak road, was ordered to advance on the Claiborne road simultaneously with Mott and Hays. Miles, perceiving the enemy were moving to his right, pursued and overtook him at Sutherland's station, where a sharp engagement took place, Miles handling his single division with great skill and gallantry, capturing several guns and many prisoners. On receiving intelligence of Miles being engaged, Hays was sent to his support, but did not reach the field till the action was over.

At three A. M. of the second of April, Major-Generals Parke and Wright reported no enemy in their front, when, on advancing, it was ascertained Petersburg was evacuated.

Wilcox's division, Ninth corps, was ordered to occupy the town, and the Second, Sixth, and Ninth corps immediately moved up the river, reaching that night the vicinity of Sutherland's station.

The next three days, the third, fourth, and fifth, the pursuit was continued along the river and Namozine roads — the Fifth corps following the cavalry, and the Second and Sixth following the Fifth; the Ninth having been detached to guard the Southside railroad. The progress of the troops was greatly impeded by the bad character of the roads, the presence of the supply-trains of the Fifth corps and cavalry, and by the frequent changes of position of the cavalry, to whom the right of way was given. On the night of the fourth, receiving a despatch from Major-General Sheridan that his army was in position at Amelia Court-house, immediate orders were given for the resumption of the march by the troops of the Second and Sixth corps, reaching Jetersville between four and five P. M., where the Fifth corps was found intrenched expecting an attack. No attack being made, on the morning of the sixth of April the three corps were moved in the direction of Amelia Court-house, with the intention of at tacking the enemy, if found there; but soon after moving, intelligence was received that Lee had moved from Amelia Court-house toward Farmville.The direction of the corps was changed, and the six corps moved from the right to the left. The Second corps was ordered to move on Deatonsville, and the Fifth and Sixth corps to move in parallel directions on the right and left respectively.

The Second corps soon came up with the enemy, and commenced a rear-guard fight, which continued all day till evening, when the enemy was so crowded, in attempting to cross Sailor's creek, that he had to abandon a large train. Guns, colors, and prisoners were taken in these successful operations of the Second corps.

The Sixth corps, on the left of the Second, came up with the enemy posted on Sailor's creek.Major-General Wright attacked with two divisions, and completely routed the enemy. In this attack the cavalry, under Major-General Sheridan was operating on the left of the Sixth corps, while Humphreys was pressing on the right. The result of the combined operations was the capture of Lieutenant-General Ewell and four other general officers, with most of Ewell's corps.

The next day, the seventh of April, the Fifth corps was moved to the left toward Prince Edward's Court-house. The Second corps resumed the direct pursuit of the enemy, coming up with him at High bridge over the Appomattox. Here the enemy made a feeble stand with his rearguard, attempting to burn the railroad and common bridge. Being driven off by Humphreys, he succeeded in burning three spans of the railroad bridge, but the common bridge was saved, which Humphreys immediately crossed in pursuit, the enemy abandoning eighteen guns at this point. Humphreys came up with the enemy at the intersection of the High bridge and Farmville roads, where he was found intrenched behind rail breastworks, evidently making a stand to cover the withdrawal of his trains. Before reaching this point Humphreys had detached Barlow's division to the left toward Farmville. Near Farmville Barlow found the enemy, who was about evacuating the place, which operation was hastened by a successful attack of Barlow's.

When Humphreys ascertained the position of the enemy, Barlow was recalled, but did not reach Humphreys till evening, and after an unsuccessful assault had been made by part of Miles' division.

The Sixth corps moved early in the morning toward Farmville, but finding the road occupied, [643] first by the cavalry and subsequently by the Twenty-fourth corps, it was too late in the afternoon before it reached that place, where it was found the enemy had destroyed the bridge. On learning the position of Humphreys, orders were sent to Wright to cross and attack in support. By great exertions a bridge for infantry was constructed, over which Wright crossed, but it was nightfall before this could be effected.

The next day, April eighth, the pursuit was continued on the Lynchburg stage road. On the ninth, at twelve M., the head of the Second corps, when within three miles of Appomattox Court-house, came up with the enemy. At the same time I received a letter from General Lee, asking for a suspension of hostilities pending negotiations for surrender. Soon after receiving this letter, Brigadier-General Forsyth, of General Sheridan's staff, came through the enemy's lines and notified me a truce had been made by Major-General Ord, commanding the troops on the other side of Appomattox Court-house. In consequence of this I replied to General Lee that 1 should suspend hostilities for two hours. At the expiration of that time I received the instructions of the Lieutenant-General commanding to continue the armistice until further orders, and about four P. M., I received the welcome intelligence of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

It has been impossible, in the foregoing brief outline of operations, to do full justice to the several corps engaged; for this purpose reference must be had to the reports of corps and division commanders, which will be forwarded as soon as received. At the same time I would call attention to the handsome repulse of the enemy by Griffin's division, Fifth corps, on the twenty-ninth ultimo; to the important part taken by the Fifth corps in the battle of Five Forks; to the gallant assault, on the second instant, by the Sixth corps--in my judgment the decisive movement of the campaign; to the successful attack of the Sixth corps in the battle of Sailor's creek; to the gallant assault, on the second instant, of the Ninth corps, and the firmness and tenacity with which the advantages then gained were held against all assaults of the enemy; to the brilliant attack of Miles' division, Second corps, at Sutherland's station; to the energetic pursuit and attack of the enemy by the Second corps, on the sixth instant, terminating in the battle of Sailor's creek; and to the prompt pursuit the next day, with Barlow's and Miles' attacks, as all evincing the fact that this army, officers, and men, all nobly did their duty, and deserve the thanks of the country. Nothing could exceed the cheerfulness with which all submitted to fatigue and privations to secure the coveted prize — the capture of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The absence of official reports precludes my forwarding any statement of casualties, or lists of the captures of guns, colors, and prisoners. To my staff, general and personal, I am indebted, as I ever have been, for the most zealous and faithful discharge of their duties.

Respectfully yours,

George G. Meade, Major-General U. S. A., Commanding. Colonel T. S. Bowers, Assistant Adjutant General.

General Sheridan's report.

cavalry headquarters, May 16, 1865.
General — I have the honor to submit the following narrative of the operations of my command during the recent campaign in front of Petersburg and Richmond, terminating with the surrender of the rebel Army of Northern Virginia, at Appomattox Court-house, Virginia, on April 9, 1865:

On March twenty-sixth my command, consisting of the First and Third cavalry divisions, under the immediate command of Brevet Major-General Wesley Merritt, crossed the James river by the bridge at Jones' landing, having marched from Winchester, in the Shenandoah valley, via White House, on the Pamunkey river.

On March twenty-seventh this command went into camp near Hancock station, on the military railroad in front of Petersburg, and on the same day the Second cavalry division, which had been serving with the Army of the Potomac, reported to me under the command of Major-General George Crook.

The effective force of these three divisions was as follows: General Merritt's command, First and Third divisions, 5,700; General Crook's command, Second division, 3,300. Total effective force, 9,000.

With this force I moved out on the twenty-ninth March, in conjunction with the armies operating against Richmond, and in the subsequent operations I was under the immediate orders of the Lieutenant-General commanding.

I moved by the way of Reams' station, on the Weldon railroad, and Malone's crossing, on Rowanty creek, where we were obliged to construct a bridge.

At this point our advance encountered a small picket of the rebel cavalry and drove it to the left across Stony creek, capturing a few prisoners, from whom, and from my scouts, I learned that the enemy's cavalry was at or near Stony creek depot, on the Weldon railroad, on our left flank and rear. Believing that it would not attack me, and that by pushing on to Dinwiddie Court-house I could force it to make a wide detour, we continued the march, reaching the Court-house about five o'clock, P. M., encountering only a small picket of the enemy, which was driven away by our advance.

It was found necessary to order General Custer's division, which was marching in the rear, to remain near Malone's crossing, on the Rowanty creek, to assist and protect our trains, which were greatly retarded by the almost impassable roads of that miry section.The First and Second divisions went into camp, covering the [644] Vaughan, Flat Foot, Boydton plank, and Five Forks roads, which all intersect at Dinwiddie Court-house, rendering this an important point, and from which I was expected to make a cavalry raid on the Southside railroad, and thence join General Sherman, or return to Petersburg, as circumstances might dictate. However, during the night the Lieutenant-General sent me instructions to abandon the contemplated raid and act in concert with the infantry under his immediate command, and turn the right flank of Lee's army if possible.

Early on the morning of the thirtieth of March I directed General Merritt to send the first division, Brigadier-General Devin commanding, to gain possession of the Five Forks, on the White Oak road, and directed General Crook to send General Davies' brigade of his division to the support of General Devin.

Gregg's brigade, of Crook's division, was held on the Boydton plank-road, and guarded the crossing of Stony creek, forcing the enemy's cavalry, that was moving from Stony creek depot to form a connection with the right of their army, to make a wide detour, as I had anticipated, on the south roads of Stony creek and west of Chamberlain's bed — a very fatiguing march in the bad condition of the roads. A very heavy rain fell during this day, aggravating the swampy nature of the ground, and rendering the movement of troops almost impossible. General Merritt's reconnoissance developed the enemy in strong force on the White Oak road in the vicinity of the Five Forks, and there was some heavy skirmishing throughout the day. Next morning, March thirty-one, General Merritt advanced toward the Five Forks with the First division, and meeting with considerable opposition, General Devin's brigade, of Crook's division, was ordered to join him, while General Crook, advancing on the left with the two other brigades of his division, encountered the enemy's cavalry at Chamberlain's creek, at a point a little north and west of Dinwiddie, making demonstrations to cross. Smith's brigade was ordered to hold them in check and Gregg's brigade to a position on his right.The advance of the First division got possession of the Five Forks, but in the mean time the Fifth Army Corps, which had advanced toward the White Oak road from the Vaughan road, was attacked and driven back; and, withdrawing from that point, this force of the enemy marched rapidly from the front of the Fifth corps to the Five Forks, driving in our cavalry advance, and moving down on roads west of Chamberlain's creek, attacked General Smith's brigade, but were unable to force his position. Abandoning the attempt to cross in his front, this force of the enemy's infantry succeeded in effecting a crossing higher up the creek, striking General Davies' brigade of the second division, which, after a gallant fight, was forced back upon the left flank of the first division, thus partially isolating all this force from my main line covering Dinwiddie Court-house.

Orders were at once given to General Merritt to cross this detached force over to the Boydton plank-road, and march down to Dinwiddie Court-house and come into the line of battle. The enemy, deceived by this movement, followed it up rapidly, making a left wheel, and presenting his rear to my line of battle. When his line was nearly parallel to mine, General Gibbs' brigade of the First division, and General Irvin Gregg's brigade of the Second division, were ordered to attack at once, and General Custer was directed to bring up two of his brigades rapidly, leaving one brigade of his division with the trains that had not yet reached Dinwiddie Court-house. In the gallant attack made by Gibbs and Gregg, the enemy's wounded fell into our hands, and he was forced to face by the rear rank, and give up his movement, which, if continued; would have taken in flank and rear the infantry line of the Army of the Potomac. When the enemy had faced to meet this attack, a very obstinate and handsomely contested battle ensued, in which, with all his cavalry and two divisions of infantry, the enemy was unable to drive five brigades of our cavalry, dismounted, from an open plain in front of Dinwiddie Court-house. The brunt of their cavalry attack was borne by General Smith's brigade, which had so gallantly held the crossing of Chamberlain's creek in the morning. His command again held the enemy in check with determined bravery, but the heavy force brought against his right flank finally compelled him to abandon his position on the creek, and fall back to the main line immediately in front of Dinwiddie Court-house. As the enemy's infantry advanced to the attack, our cavalry threw up slight breast-works of rails at some points along our lines, and when the enemy attempted to force this position they were handsomely repulsed, and gave up the attempt to gain possession of the Court-house. It was after dark when the firing ceased, and the enemy lay on their arms that night, not more than one hundred yards in front of our lines. The commands of Generals Devin and Davies reached Dinwiddie Court-house without opposition by way of the Boydton plank-road, but did not participate in the final action of the day. In this well-contested battle the most obstinate gallantry was displayed by my entire command. The brigades commanded by General Gibbs and Colonels Stagg and Fitzhugh, in the First division, Generals Davies, Gregg, and Smith, in the Second division, Colonels Pennington and Capehart, in the Third division, vied with each other in their determined efforts to hold in check the superior force of the enemy; and the skilful management of their troops in this peculiarly difficult country entitles the brigade commanders to the highest commendation.

Generals Crook, Merritt, Custer, and Devin, by their courage and ability, sustained their [645] commands, and executed the rapid movements of the day with promptness and without confusion.

During the night of the thirty-first of March my headquarters were at Dinwiddie Court-house, and the Lieutenant-General notified me that the Fifth corps would report to me, and should reach me by midnight. This corps had been offered to me on the thirtieth instant, but very much desiring the Sixth corps, which had been with me in the Shenandoah valley, I asked for it, but on account of the delay which would occur in moving that corps from its position in the lines in front of Petersburg, it could not be sent to me. I respectfully submit herewith my brief accounts of the operations of the day, the response to which was the ordering of the Fifth corps to my support and my command, as also the despatch of the Lieutenant-General notifying me of his action. I understood that the Fifth corps, when ordered to report to me, was in position near S. Dabney's house, in the angle between the Boydton road and the Five Forks road.

Had General Warren moved according to the expectations of the Lieutenant-General, there would appear to have been but little chance for the escape of the enemy's infantry in front of Dinwiddie Court-house. Ayres' division moved down the Boydton plank-road during the night, and in the morning moved west via R. Boisseau's house, striking the Five Forks road about two and a half miles north of Dinwiddie Court-house. General Warren, with Griffin's and Crawford's divisions, moved down the road by Crump's house, coming into the Five Forks near J Boisseau's house, between seven and eight o'clock on the morning of the first of April. Meantime I moved my cavalry force at daylight against the enemy's lines in my front, which gave way rapidly, moving off by the right flank, and crossing Chamberlain's creek. This hasty movement was accelerated by the discovery that two divisions of the Fifth corps were in their rear, and that one division was moving toward their left and rear.

The following are the instructions sent to General Warren:

cavalry headquarters, Dinwiddie C. H., April 1, 1865--3 A. M.
I am holding in front of Dinwiddie Court-house, on the road leading to Five Forks, for three quarters of a mile, with General Custer's division. The enemy are in his immediate front, lying so as to cover the road just this side of A. Adams' house, which leads out across Chamberlain's bed or run. I understand you have a division at J. Boisseau's; if so, you are in rear of the enemy's line, and almost on his flanks. I will hold on here. Possibly they may attack Custer at daylight; if so, attack instantly and in full force. Attack at daylight anyhow, and I will make an effort to get the road this side of Adams' house, and if I do, you can capture the whole of them. Any force moving down the road I am holding, or on the White Oak road, will be in the enemy's rear, and in all probability get any force that may escape you by a flank attack. Do not fear my leaving here. If the enemy remains I shall fight at day-light.

P. H. Sheridan, Major-General.1 Major-General Warren, Commanding Fifth Army Corps.

As they fell back the enemy was rapidly followed by General Merritt's two divisions, General Devin on the right and General Custer on the left; General Crook in rear. During the remainder of the day General Crook's division held the extreme left and rear, and was not seriously engaged.

I then determined that I would drive the enemy, with the cavalry, to the Five Forks, press them inside of their works, and make a feint to turn their right flank, and meanwhile quietly move up the Fifth corps with a view to attacking their left flank, crush the whole force, if possible, and drive westward those who might escape, thus isolating them from their army at Petersburg. Happily, this conception was successfully executed. About this time General McKenzie's division of cavalry, from the Army of the James, reported to me, and consisted of about one thousand effective men. I directed General Warren to hold fast at J. Boisseau's house, refresh his men, and be ready to move to the front when required; and General McKenzie was ordered to rest in front of Dinwiddie Court-house until further orders.

Meantime General Merritt's command continued to press the enemy, and by impetuous charges drove them from two lines of temporary works; General Custer guiding his advance on the Widow Gilliam's house and General Devin on the main Five Forks road. The courage displayed by the cavalry officers and men was superb, and about two o'clock the enemy was behind his works on the White Oak road, and his skirmish line drawn in. I then ordered up the Fifth corps on the main road, and sent Brevet Major Gillispie, of the engineers, to turn the head of the column off on the Gravelly Church road, and put the corps in position on this road obliquely to and at a point but a short distance from the White Oak road, and about one mile from the Five Forks. Two divisions of the corps were to form the front line, and one division was to be held in reserve, in column of regiments, opposite the centre.

I then directed General Merrttt to demonstrate as though he was attempting to turn the enemy's right flank, and notified him that the Fifth corps would strike the enemy's left flank, and ordered that the cavalry should assault the enemy's works as soon as the Fifth corps became engaged, and that would be determined by volleys of musketry. I then rode over to where the Fifth corps was going into position, and [646] found them coming up very slowly. I was exceedingly anxious to attack at once, for the sun was getting low, and we had to fight or go back. It was no place to intrench, and it would have been shameful to have gone back with no results to compensate for the loss of the brave men who had fallen during the day. In this connection, I will say that General Warren did not exert himself to get up his corps as rapidly as he might have done, and his manner gave me the impression that he wished the sun to go down before dispositions for the attack could be completed. As soon as the corps was in position, I ordered an advance in the following formation: Ayres' division on the left in double lines, Crawford's division on the right in double lines, and Griffin's division in reserve, behind Crawford, and the White Oak road was reached without opposition.

While General Warren was getting into position I learned that the left of the Second corps of the Army of the Potomac, on my right, had been swung around from the direction of its line of battle until it fronted on the Boydton road. and parallel to it, which afforded an opportunity to the enemy to march down the White Oak road and attack me in right and rear. General McKenzie was therefore sent up the Crump road, with directions to gain the White Oak road if possible, but to attack at all hazards any enemy found, and if successful, then march down that road and join me. General McKenzie executed this with courage and skill, attacking a force of the enemy on the White Oak road, and driving it toward Petersburg. He then countermarched, and joined me on the White Oak road just as the Fifth corps advanced to the attack, and I directed him to swing round with the right of the infantry and gain possession of the Ford road at the crossing of Hatcher's run. The Fifth corps, on reaching the White Oak road, made a left wheel, and burst on the enemy's left flank and rear like a tornado, and pushed rapidly on, orders having been given that if the enemy was routed there should be no halt to reform broken lines. As stated before, the firing of the Fifth corps was the signal to General Merritt to assault, which was promptly responded to, and the works of the enemy were soon carried at several points by our brave cavalry men. The enemy were driven from their strong line of works and completely routed, the Fifth corps doubling up their left flank in confusion, and the cavalry of General Merritt dashing on to the White Oak road, capturing their artillery and turning it upon them, and, riding into their broken ranks, so demoralized them that they made no serious stand after their line was carried, but took to flight in disorder. Between five thousand and six thousand prisoners fell into our hands, and the fugitives were driven westward, and were pursued until long after dark by Merritt's and McKenzie's cavalry for a distance of six miles.

During this attack I again became dissatisfied with General Warren. During the engagement portions of his line gave way when not exposed to a heavy fire, and simply from want of confidence on the part of the troops, which General Warren did not exert himself to inspire. I therefore relieved him from the command of the Fifth corps, authority for this action having been sent to me, before the battle, unsolicited. When the pursuit was given up, I directed General Griffin, who had been ordered to assume command of the Fifth corps, to collect his corps at once, march two divisions back to Gravelly church, and put them into position at right angles to the White Oak road, facing toward Petersburg, while Bartlett's division (Griffin's old), covered the Ford road to Hatcher's run. General Merritt's cavalry went into camp on the Widow Gilliam's plantation, and General McKenzie took position on the Ford road at the crossing of Hatcher's run. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the troops in this battle, and of the gallantry of their commanding officers, who appeared to realize that the success of the campaign and fate of Lee's army depended upon it. They merit the thanks of the country and reward of the Government. To Generals Griffin, Ayres, Bartlett, and Crawford, of the Fifth corps, and to Generals Merritt, Custer, Devin, and McKenzie, of the cavalry, great credit is due; and to their subordinate commanders they will undoubtedly award the praise which is due to them for the hearty co-operation, bravery, and ability which were everywhere displayed. At daylight on the morning of April second, General Miles' division of the Second corps reported to me, coming over from the Boydton plank-road. I ordered it to move up the White Oak road toward Petersburg, and attack the enemy at the intersection of that road with the Claiborne road, where he was in position in heavy force, and I followed General Miles immediately with two divisions of the Fifth corps. Miles forced the enemy from this position and pursued with great zeal, pushing him across Hatcher's run, and following him up on the road to Sutherland's depot. On the north side of the run I overtook Miles, who was anxious to attack, and had a very fine and spirited division. I gave him permission, but about this time General Humphreys came up, and, receiving notice from General Meade that General Humphreys would take command of Miles' division, I relinquished it at once, and faced the Fifth corps by the rear. I afterward regretted giving up this division, as I believe the enemy could at that time have been crushed at Sutherland's depot. I returned to Five Forks, and marched out the Ford road toward Hatcher's run.

The cavalry had in the meantime been sent westward to cross Hatcher's run and break up the enemy's cavalry, which had collected in considerable force north of that stream, but they would not stand to fight, and our cavalry pursued them in a direction due north to the Namozine road. Crossing Hatcher's run with the Fifth corps, the Southside railroad was struck at [647] Ford's depot, meeting no opposition, and the Fifth corps marched rapidly toward Sutherland's depot, in flank and rear of the enemy opposing Miles. As he approached that point the force of the enemy fled before the Fifth corps could reach them, retreating along the main road by the Appomattox river, the cavalry and Crawford's division of the Fifth corps engaging them slightly about dusk. On the morning of the third our cavalry took up the pursuit, routing the enemy's cavalry, and capturing many prisoners. The enemy's infantry was encountered at Deep creek, where a severe fight took place. The Fifth corps followed up the cavalry rapidly, picking up many prisoners and five pieces of abandoned artillery, and a number of wagons. The Fifth corps, with Crook's division of cavalry, encamped that night (the fourth) at Deep creek, on the Namozine road, neither of these commands having been engaged during the day. On the morning of the fourth General Crook was ordered to strike the Danville railroad between Jetersville and Burke's station, and then move up toward Jetersville. The Fifth corps moved rapidly to that point, as I had learned from my scouts that the enemy was at Amelia Court-house, and everything indicated that they were collecting at that point. On arriving at Jetersville, about five o'clock P. M., I learned without doubt that Lee and his army were at Amelia Court-house.

The Fifth corps was at once ordered to intrench, with a view to holding Jetersville until the main army could come up. It seems to me that this was the only chance the Army of Northern Virginia had to save itself, which might have been done had General Lee promptly attacked and driven back the comparatively small force opposed to him and pursued his march to Burksville Junction. A despatch from General Lee's chief commissary to the commissary at Danville and Lynchburg, requiring two hundred thousand rations to be sent to meet the Army at Burksville, was here intercepted. So soon as I found that the entire army of the enemy was concentrated at Amelia Court-house, I forwarded promptly all the information I had obtained to General Meade and the Lieutenant-General. On the morning of April five General Crook was directed to send General Davies' brigade to make a reconnoissance to Paine's cross-roads on our left and front, and ascertain if the enemy was making any movement toward that flank to escape. General Davies struck a train of one hundred and eighty wagons, escorted by a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry, which he defeated, capturing five pieces of artillery.He destroyed the wagons and brought in a large number of prisoners. Gregg's and Smith's brigades of the Second division were sent out to support Davies, and some heavy fighting ensued, the enemy having sent a strong force of infantry to attack and cut off Davies' brigade, which attempt was unsuccessful. During the afternoon, and after the arrival of the Second corps at Jetersville, which General Meade requested me to put in position,he being ill, the enemy demonstrated strongly in front of Jetersville against Smith's and Gregg's brigades of Crook's division of cavalry, but no serious attack was made. Early on the morning of April sixth General Crook was ordered to move to the left to Deatonsville, followed by Custer's and Devin's divisions of General Merritt's command. The Fifth corps had been returned to the command of General Meade at his request. I afterward regretted giving up the corps.

When near Deatonsville the enemy's trains were discovered moving in the direction of Burksville or Farmville, escorted by heavy masses of infantry and cavalry, and it soon became evident that the whole of Lee's army was attempting to make its escape. Crook was at once ordered to attack the trains, and, if the enemy was too strong, one of the divisions would pass him while he held fast and pressed the enemy, and attack at a point further on, and this division was ordered to do the same, and so on, alternating, and this system of attack would enable us finally to strike some weak point. This result was obtained just south of Sailor's creek and on the high ground over that stream. Custer took the road, and Crook and Devin coming up to his support, sixteen pieces of artillery were captured and about four hundred wagons destroyed, and many prisoners were taken, and three divisions of the enemy's infantry were cut off from the line of retreat. Meantime Colonel Stagg, commanding the Michigan brigade of the First division, was held at a point about two and a half miles south of Deatonsville, and with this force and a section of Miller's battery, which shelled the trains with excellent effect while Colonel Stagg demonstrated to attack them, thus keeping a large force of the enemy from moving against the rest of the cavalry and holding them until the arrival of the Sixth corps, which was marching to report to me. I felt so strongly the necessity of holding this large force of the enemy that I gave permission to General Merritt to order Colonel Stagg's brigade to make a mounted charge against their lines, which was most gallantly done, the men leaving many of their horses dead almost up to the enemy's works.

On the arrival of the head of the Sixth corps the enemy commenced withdrawing. Major-General Wright was ordered to put Seymour's division into position at once, and advance and carry the road, which was done at a point about two miles or two miles and a half from Deatonsville. As soon as the road was in our possession, Wright was directed to push General Seymour on, the enemy falling back, skirmishing briskly. Their resistance growing stubborn, a halt was called to get up Wheaton's division of the Sixth corps, which went into position on the left of the road, Seymour being on the right. Wheaton was ordered to guide right, with his right connecting with Seymour's left and resting on the road. I still felt the great importance of pushing the enemy, and was unwilling to wait [648] for Getty's division of the Sixth corps to get up. I therefore ordered an advance, sending word to General Humphreys, who was on the road to our right, and requesting him to push on, as I felt confident that we could break up the enemy. It was apparent, from the absence of artillery fire and the manner in which they gave way when pressed, that the force of the enemy opposed to us was a heavy rear guard. The enemy was driven until our lines reached Sailor's creek; and, from the north bank, I could see our cavalry on the high ground above the creek and south of it, and the long line of smoke from the burning wagons. A cavalryman, who, in a charge, cleared the enemy's works and came through their lines, reported to me what was in front. I regret that I have forgotten the name of this gallant young soldier. As soon as General Wright could get his artillery into position I ordered the attack to be made on the left, and sent Colonel Stagg's brigade of cavalry to strike and flank the extreme right of the enemy's line. The attack by the infantry was not executed exactly as I had directed, and a portion of our line in the open ground was broken by the terrible fire of the enemy, who were in position on commanding ground south of the creek.

This attack by Wheaton's and Seymour's divisions was splendid, but no more than I had reason to expect from the gallant Sixth corps. The cavalry in rear of the enemy attacked simultaneously, and the enemy, after a gallant resistance, were completely surrounded, and nearly all threw down their arms and surrendered. General Ewell, commanding the enemy's forces, and a number of other general officers, fell into our hands, and a very large number of prisoners. I have never ascertained exactly how many prisoners were taken in this battle. Most of them fell into the hands of the cavalry, but they are no more entitled to claim them than the Sixth corps, to which command equal credit is due for the good results of this engagement. Both the cavalry and the Sixth corps encamped south of Sailor's creek that night, having followed up the small remnant of the enemy's forces for several miles. In reference to the participation of the Sixth corps in this action I desire to add that the Lieutenant-General had notified me that this corps would report to me. Major McClellan and Lieutenant-Colonel Franklin, of General Wright's staff, had successively been sent forward to report the progress of the corps in coming up, and on the arrival of Major-General Wright he reported his corps to me, and from that time until after the battle received my orders and obeyed them; but after the engagement was over, and General Meade had communicated with General Wright, the latter declined to make his report to me until directed to do so by the Lieutenant-General.

On the seventh instant the pursuit was continued early in the morning by the cavalry, General Crook in the advance. It was discovered that the enemy had not been cut off by the Army of the James, and under the belief that he would attempt to escape on the Danville road through Prince Edward Court-house, General Merritt was ordered to move his two divisions to that point, passing around the left of the Army of the James. General Crook continued the direct pursuit, encountering the main body of the enemy at Farmville, and again on the north side of the Appomattox, where the enemy's trains were attacked by General Gregg, and a sharp fight with the enemy's infantry ensued, in which General Gregg was unfortunately captured.

On arriving at Prince Edward Court-house I found General McKenzie, with his division of cavalry from the Army of the James, and ordered him to cross the bridge on the Buffalo river and make a reconnoissance to Prospect station, on the Lynchburg railroad, and ascertain if the enemy were moving past that point. Meantime I heard from General Crook that the enemy had crossed to the north side of the Appomattox, and General Merritt was then moved on and encamped at Buffalo creek, and General Crook was ordered to recross the Appomattox and encamp at Prospect station. On the morning of the eighth Merritt and McKenzie continued to march to Prospect station, and Merritt's and Crook's commands then moved on to Appomattox depot, a point on the Lynchburg railroad, five miles south of Appomattox Court-house. Shortly after the march commenced, Sergeant White, one of my scouts, notified me that there were four trains of cars at Appomattox depot loaded with supplies for General Lee's army; Generals Merritt and Crook were at once notified, and the command pushed on briskly for twenty-eight miles.General Custer had the advance, and on nearing the depot skilfully threw a force in rear of the trains and captured them. Without halting a moment he pushed on, driving the enemy (who had reached the depot about the same time as our cavalry) in the direction of Appomattox Court-house, capturing many prisoners and twenty-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and a large park of wagons. General Devin coming up, went in on the right of Custer. The fighting continued till after dark, and the enemy being driven to Appomattox Court-house, I at once notified the Lieutenant-General, and sent word to Generals Ord and Gibbon, of the Army of the James, and General Griffin, commanding the Fifth corps, who were in rear, that if they pressed on there was now no means of escape for the enemy, who had reached “the last ditch.” During the night, although we knew that the remnant of Lee's army was in our front, we held fast with the cavalry to what we had gained, and ran the captured trains back along the railroad to a point where they could be protected by our infantry that was coming up. The Twenty-fourth and Fifth corps, and one division of the Twenty-fifth corps, arrived about daylight on the ninth at Appomattox depot. [649]

After consulting with General Ord, who was in command of these corps, I rode to the front, near Appomattox Court-house, and just as the enemy in heavy force was attacking the cavalry with the intention of breaking through our lines, I directed the cavalry, which was dismounted, to fall back, gradually resisting the enemy, so as to give time for the infantry to form its lines and march to the attack, and when this was done to move off to the right flank and mount. This was done, and the enemy discontinued his attack as soon as he caught sight of our infantry. I moved briskly around the left of the enemy's line of battle, which was falling back rapidly (heavily pressed by the advance of the infantry), and was about to charge the trains and the confused mass of the enemy, when a white flag was presented to General Custer, who had the advance, and who sent the information to me at once that the enemy desired to surrender.

Riding over to the left at Appomattox Court-house, I met Major-General Gordon, of the rebel service, and Major-General Wilcox. General Gordon requested a suspension of hostilities, pending negotiations for a surrender then being held between Lieutenant-General Grant and General Lee. I notified him that I desired to prevent an unnecessary effusion of blood, but as there was nothing definitely settled in the correspondence, and as an attack had been made on my lines with the view to escape, under the impression our force was only cavalry, I must have some assurance of an intended surrender. This General Gordon gave by saying that there was no doubt of the surrender of General Lee's army. I then separated from him, with an agreement to meet these officers again in half an hour at Appomattox Court-house. At the specified time, in company with General Ord, who commanded the infantry, I again met this officer, also Lieutenant-General Longstreet, and received from them the same assurance, and hostilities ceased until the arrival of Lieutenant-General Grant.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. Sheridan, Major-General. Brevet Major-General John A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff.

cavalry headquarters, Dinwiddie Court-House, March 31, 1865.
The enemy's cavalry attacked me about ten o'clock to-day on the road coming in from the west and a little north of Dinwiddie Court-house. This attack was very handsomely repulsed by General Smith's brigade of Crook's division, and the enemy was driven across Chamberlain's creek.Shortly afterward the enemy's infantry attacked on the same creek in heavy force, and drove in General Davies' brigade, and advancing rapidly gained the forks of the road at J. Boisseau's. This forced Devin, who was in advance, and Davies, to cross to the Boydton road. General Gregg's brigade and General Gibbs' brigade, who had been toward Dinwiddie. then attacked the enemy in the rear very handsomely. This stopped the march toward the left of our infantry, and finally caused them to turn toward Dinwiddie, and attack us in heavy force. The enemy then again attacked at Chamberlain's creek and forced Smith's position. At this time Capeheart and Pennington's brigades of Custer's division came up and a very handsome fight occurred.

The enemy have gained some ground, but we still hold in front of Dinwiddie, and Davies and Devin are coming down the Boydton road to join us.

The opposing force was Pickett's division, Wise's independent brigade of infantry, and Fitzhugh Lee's, Rosser's, and W. H. Lee's cavalry commands.

The men have behaved splendidly. Our loss in killed and wounded will probably number four hundred and fifty men; very few were lost as prisoners.

We have of the enemy a number of prisoners.

This force is too strong for us. I will hold on to Dinwiddie Court-house until I am compelled to leave.

Our fighting to-day was all dismounted.

P. H. Sheridan, Major-General. Lieutenant-General Grant, Commanding Armies United States.

Dabney Mills, March 31, 1865--10:05 P. M.
The Fifth corps has been ordered to your support. Two divisions will go by J. Boissean's and one down the Boydton road. In addition to this I have sent McKenzie's cavalry, which will reach you by the Vaughan road.

All these forces, except the cavalry, should reach you by twelve to-night.

You will assume command of the whole force sent to operate with you, and use it to the best of your ability to destroy the force which your command has fought so gallantly to-day.

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General. Major-General P. H. Sheridan.

Official copy: E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General. Adjutant-General's office, November 18, 1865.

1 <*> page 336, Volume x., Rebellion Record.

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