Today in History:

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


of Hatcher's Run retreat wester ward to Sutherland's Station, where they were overtaken by Miles' division. A severe engagement ensued and lasted until both his right and flanks were threatened by the approach of General Sheridan, who was moving from Ford's Station toward Petersburg, and a division sent by General Meade from the front of Petersburg, when he broke in the utmost confusion, leaving in our hands his guns and many prisoners. This force retreated by the main road along the Appomattox River. During the night of the 2nd the enemy evacuated Petersburg and Richmond, and retreated toward Danville. On the morning of the 3rd pursuit was commenced. General Sheridan pushed for the Daville road, keeping near the Appomattox, followed by General Meade with the Second and Sixth Side road; the Ninth Corps stretched along that road behind him. On the 4th General Sheridan struck the Danville road near Jetersville, where he learned that Lee was at Amelia Court-House. He immediately entrenched himself and awaited the arrival of General Meade, who reached there the next day. General Ord reached Burkeville on the evening of the 5th. On the morning of the 5th I addressed Major-General Sherman the following communication:

WILSON'S STATION, April 5, 1865.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

GENERAL: All indications now are that Lee will attempt to reach Danville with the remnant of his force. Sheridan, who was up with him last night, reports all that is left, horse, foot, and dragoons, at 20,000, much demoralized. We hope to reduce this number one-half. I shall push on to Burkeville, and if a stand is made at Danville, will in a very few days go there. If you can possibly do so, push on from where you are, and let us see if we cannot finish the job with Lee's and Johnston's armies. Whether it will be better for you to strike for Greensborough or nearer to Danville, you will be better able to judge when you receive this. Rebel armies now are the only strategic poitns to strike at.



On the morning of the 6th it was found that General Lee was moving west of Jeretsville toward Danville. General Sheridan moved with his cavalry (the Fifth Corps having been returned to General Meade on his reaching Jetersville) to strike his flank, followed by the Sixth Corps, while the Second and Fifth Corps pressed hard after, forcing him to abandon several hundred wagons and several pieces of artillery. General Ord advanced from Burkeville toward Farmville, sending two regiments of infantry and a squadron of cavalry, under Bvt. Brigadier General Theodore Read, to reach and destroy the bridge. This advance met the head of Lee's column near Farmville, which it heroically attacked and detained until General Read was killed and his small force over-powered. This caused a delay in the enemy's movements, and enabled General Ord to get well with the remainder of his force, on meeting which the enemy immediately entrenched himself. In the afternoon General Sheridan struck, the enemy south of Sailor's Creek, captured 16 pieces of artillery and about 400 wagons, and detained him until the Sixth Corps got up, when a general attack of infantry and cavalry was made, which resulted in the capture of 6,000 or 7,000 prisoners, among whom were many general officers. The movements of the Second Corps and General Ord's command contributed greatly to the day's success. On the morning of the 7th the pursuit was renewed,