Today in History:

51 Series I Volume XLVI-I Serial 95 - Appomattox Campaign Part I


enemy may have collected south of the Roanoke. All the troops will move with four days' rations in haversacks and eight days' in wagons. To avoid as much hauling as possible, and to give the Army of the James the same number of days' supply with the Army of the Potomac, General Ord will direct his commissary and quartermaster to have sufficient supplies delivered at the terminus of the road to fill up in passing. Sixty rounds of ammunition per man will be taken in wagons, and as much grain as supplies. The densely wooded country in which the army has to operate making the use of much artillery impracticable, the amount taken with the army will be reduced to six or eight guns to each division, at the option of the army commanders.

All necessary preparations for carrying these directions into operation may be possible. While I would of the Ninth Corps could follow up, so as to join or co-operate with the balance of the army. To prepare for this the Ninth Corps will have rations issued to upon his front, and if found at all practicable to break thought at any point, he will do so. A success north of the James should bene followed up with great promptness. An attack will not be feasible unless it is found that the enemy has detached largely. In that case it may be regarded as evident that the enemy are relying upon their local reserves, principally, for the defense of Richmond. Preparations only to be abandoned, however, after a break is made in the lines of the enemy.

By these instructions a large part of the armies operating against Richmond is left behind. The enemy, knowing this, may, as an only chance, strip their lines to the merest skeleton, in the hope of advantage not being taken of it, while they hurl everything against the moving column, and return. It cannot be impressed too without taking advantage of it. The very fact of the enemy coming out to attack, if he does so, might be regarded as almost conclusive evidence of such a weakening of his lines. I would have it particularly enjoined upon corps commanders that, in case of an attack from the enemy, those not attacked are not to wait for orders from the commanding officer of the army to which they belong, but that they will move promptly, and notify the commander of their action. I would also enjoin the same action on the part of division commanders when other parts of their corps are engaged. In like manner, I would urge the importance of following up a repulse of the enemy.



Early on the morning of the 25th the enemy assaulted our lines in front of the Ninth Corps (which held from the Appomattox River toward our left) and carried Fort Stedman and a part of the line to the right and left of it, established themselves, and turned the guns of the fort against fuse; but our troops on either flank held their ground until the reserves were brought up, when the enemy was driven back, with a heavy loss in killed and wounded and 1,900 prisoners. Our loss was 68 killed, 37 wounded, and 506 missing. General Meade at once ordered the other corps to advance and feel the enemy in their respective fronts. Pushing forward they captured and held the enemy's strongly entrenched picket-line in front of the Second and Sixth Corps and 834 prisoners. The enemy made desperate attempts to retake this line, but without success. Our loss in front of these was 52 killed, 864 wounded, and 207 missing. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded was far greater.

General Sherman having got his troops all quietly in camp about Goldsborough, and his preparations for furnishing supplies to them perfected, visited me at City Point on the 27th of March and stated that he would be ready to move, as he had previously written me, by the 10th of April, fully equipped and rationed for twenty days, if it should become necessary to bring his command to bear against Lee's