- Forces before Richmond and Petersburg, March 25, 1865 -- Grant's disposi-tions in Virginia and North Carolina -- order for movement in front of Petersburg -- rebel attack on Fort Steadman -- repulse of rebels -- desperate strategy of Lee -- movement of Grant to left, March 29th -- relations of Grant and Sheridan -- characteristics of Grant's strategy -- situation, March 30th -- Sheridan ordered to take Five Forks -- Lee masses one—third of his army against Grant's left -- Warren disposes his forces contrary to orders -- attack on Warren -- repulse of Warren -- dissatisfaction of Grant -- unfortunate peculiarities of Warren -- advance of Humphreys and Warren -- Pickett sent against Sheridan -- battle of Dinwiddie -- advance of Pickett -- repulse of rebels on Chamberlain's creek -- Pickett pierces Sheridan's centre -- Sheridan attacks in return -- Sheridan forced back to Dinwiddie -- Sheridan holds Dinwiddie -- generalship of Sheridan -- situation, March 31st -- Sheridan not dismayed -- Grant determines to reinforce Sheridan -- Warren ordered to Sheridan's support -- Urgency of Grant and Meade -- inexcusable delay of Warren -- chagrin of Grant -- Disarrangement of Sheridan's plan -- advance of Sheridan without Warren -- Sheri-Dan's new plan of battle -- battle of Five Forks -- dispositions of Sheridan -- further obstructiveness of Warren -- advance of cavalry -- assault by Ayres -- gallantry of Sheridan -- movements of MacKENZIEenzie -- deflection of Crawford -- inefficiency of Warren -- Second advance of Ayres -- splendid success of Ayres -- movement of Griffin and Crawford -- simultaneous advance of cavalry -- complete victory of Sheridan -- rout of rebels-pursuit of rebels -- Warren relieved from command -- results of battle-grant's endorsement of Sheridan -- characteristics of Warren and Sheridan.
On the 25th of March, 1865, Lee had still seventy thousand effective men in the lines at Richmond and Petersburg, while the armies of the Potomac and the James and Sheridan's cavalry, constituting Grant's immediate command, numbered one hundred and  eleven thousand soldiers.1 After the long campaign through the Carolinas, Sherman could not be ready to move again until the 10th of April, but on that day he was to start for the Roanoke river, and thence  either strike the Danville road or join the forces operating against Richmond, as the general-in-chief might determine. Grant's own movement to the left was fixed for the 29th of March, and, unless it was immediately and completely successful, he meant to send Sheridan to destroy the Danville and Southside railroads, and then allow him to move into North Carolina and join Sherman. By this strategy the commands of Lee and Johnston would both be enclosed and driven to a common centre. If they attempted to unite in order to fall upon Sherman, Grant would follow Lee as rapidly as possible; or, if events rendered this course unadvisable, Sherman could be brought to Grant whenever necessary; while Sheridan moved between, destroying the communications of both the rebel armies. Grant had now spent many days of anxiety lest each morning should bring the news that the enemy had retreated the night before. He was firmly convinced that the crossing of the Roanoke by Sherman would be the signal for Lee to leave; and if Johnston and Lee were combined, a long and tedious and expensive campaign, consuming most of the summer, might become inevitable. His anxiety was well founded; for, during Sherman's delay, the rebel  commanders were conferring in order to effect a junction.