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SHERIDAN ROUTS PICKETT AT FIVE FORKS. 533 movements, and suspected him of not, Warren's indifference or inefficiency; wishing to make a decisive charge for he believed this chasm in our that day. It was now 4 P. M.-dark. charging lines could never have been ness, in that wooded region, would opened if our troops had been hanquickly follow sunset—when all of- dled with energy and resolution. He fensive operations, over ground to therefore deprived" Warren of his which our men were strangers, must command, giving it to Griffin, whose utterly cease. As yet, many more division he ordered thrown forward of our men than of the enemy had to fill the gap in our line, which was fallen this day; and the morrow now impelled forward with irresistible would doubtless show the Rebels momentum; while Merritt, with the either strongly rëenforced or missing. cavalry, charged the enemy's front. Sheridan-a raging lion on the bat- The Confederates, facing their foes tle-field—sought to hurry Warren's in each direction, stood bravely to movements, using some language their arms; but they were two diviinore energetic than courteous; and sions-Pickett's and Bushrod Johnat length-the whole corps having son's-- against at least double their reached the position assigned it and number, and their case was manifestly faced westward—the charge was hopeless. In a few minutes, Ayres's dimade; McKenzie's horsemen having vision burst over their flank intrenchbeen thrown out on Warren's right, so ments, taking 1,000 prisoners; while as completely to outflank the Rebels Griffin struck their refused flank in and bar their retreat northward. the rear, capturing 1,500 more; and
Ayres's division advanced nearest Crawford-resisted only by skirmishto the White Oak road and the Rebel ers — pressed forward rapidly to the defenses, with Crawford's on its right, Ford road, running northward from or farther north ; Griffin's being in their center, precluding their retreat reserve behind it. But Crawford's toward Lee; and then, turning southleft, advancing across open ground ward on that road, came rapidly under fire of the enemy—whose left down upon their rear, taking 4 guns had been refused and formed at right -our cavalry all the time sharply angles with its main line to meet this assailing their front and right, and attack-swerved to the right to gain at length charging over their inthe shelter of the woods, opening a trenchments, as Ayres and Griffin, gap between it and Ayres's right, on having turned their left out of its which the Rebels now directed their works, bore down upon its renewed fire, causing it to waver and crum- front, hurling all that remained of ble; a portion of it going to the the enemy in disorderly flight westright-about in haste and disorder. ward; charged and pursued for miles
Sheridan was watching this turn by our cavalry until long after dark, ing movement and charge in no and until our prisoners exceeded amiable temper, and now saw its suc- 5,000; while our total loss this day cess imperiled by what he considered was but about 1,000. At this cost,
" Swinton says that " After the close of the action, Warren, however, in his defense, asserts posiSheridan relieved Gen. Warren from duty." Sheri- tively that Sheridan's order did not reach him dan's official report does not sustaia this averment. I till after the fighting was over.
Lee's right wing had been substan- | Wright and Ord swung to the right, tially demolished. Among our killed pressing on Petersburg from the was Brig.-Gen. Fred’k Winthrop (Col. west; while Humphreys, farther to 9th N. York), cousin to Maj. Theo. our left, with Hays's and Mott's Winthrop, killed at Big Bethel. divisions of the 2d corps, having
Sheridan now directed Griffin to stormed a redoubt in his front, came move eastward with two divisions up with two divisions, closing in on of his infantry to Gravelly church, their left. Thereupon, the Rebel lines some miles toward Petersburg, thus defending Petersburg on the south rëopening his communications with were assaulted by Gibbon's division the rest of our army, while Griffin's of Ord's corps, which carried by own division (now Bartlett's) support storm two strong and important ed McKenzie's cavalry, which had works-Forts Gregg and Alexander pushed northward up the Ford road-shortening our besieging lines, and to Hatcher's run.
weakening the defenses of that city. And now, as darkness fell, by Fort Gregg was held by Harris's Grant's order, our guns in position Mississippi brigade, now reduced to before Petersburg opened from right 250; of whom but 30 remained when to left, making the night lurid with it fell. Gibbon's loss in this assault a bombardment that proclaimed the was about 500. signal victory just achieved on our Miles's division of the 2d corps left, and predicted more decisive tri- had been sent to rëenforce Sheridan, umphs at hand. Wright, Parke, and reaching him at daybreak, and had Ord, still holding our intrenchments been directed to follow the White facing Petersburg and thence east- Oak road eastward toward Peters ward to the Appomattox, were or- burg, and attack the enemy at the dered to assault, and did assault, at intersection of the Claiborne road, daybreak next morning."' Parke, in where they were reported in force; front of Petersburg, carried, with Sheridan following immediately, with his (9th) corps, the outer line of Griffin's and Crawford's divisions of Rebel works confronting him, cap- the 5th. Miles assailed and carried turing some guns; but found an in the designated position; forcing the ner line behind them which he could enemy northward across Hatcher's not force, and desisted; Wright, run, and pursuing them to Suther. on his left, with the 6th corps, sup- land's dépôt; where he was about to ported by two divisions of Ord's, attack when Gen. Humphreys came charging at dawn, drove every thing up and reclaimed Miles's division : before him up to the Boydton road; when Sheridan desisted, returned to on which, wheeling to the left, to- Five Forks, and took the Ford road ward Hatcher's run, he swept down out to Hatcher's run, where he crossed the rear of the Rebel intrenchments, the 5th corps and moved rapidly tocapturing many guns and several ward Sutherland's dépôt, to strike in thousand prisoners : meantime, Ord's flank and rear the enemy who had conother division had forced the ene-fronted Miles. But Miles, ere this, my's lines at the run; and now under Humphreys's order, had dis
:0 Sunday, April 2.
RICHMOND EVACUATED BY THE REBELS.
lodged and defeated his antagonists, I was spoken; but the whole assemtaking 2 guns and 600 prisoners. blage felt that the missive he had so
Longstreet, who had hitherto held hastily perused bore words of doom. the defenses of Richmond north of Though the handwriting was not the James, had joined Lee at Peters- blazoned on the wall, it needed no burg at 10 a. M. this day, with Daniel to declare its import. Benning's brigade; and A. P. Hill, But no one can duly depict that on Lee's left, now ordered a charge last afternoon and night of Confedeby Heth to regain some of the works rate rule in Richmond but an eyecarried by Parke in his assault. The witness : so let Pollard narrate for attack was so vigorous and persistent us the visible collapse and fall of the that our men holding City Point Slave Power in its chosen metropolis. were ordered up to Parke's support. After stating how, upon Mr. Davis's Heth was repulsed. Hill was shor withrawal from church," the rumor dead while reconnoitering this day. was caught up in the streets that He was among the ablest of Lee's Richmond was to be evacuated, and lieutenants.
was soon carried to the ends of the Petersburg was still held by the city,” he proceeds: Rebel army; but Lee saw that it
“Men, women, and children, rushed from could not be held much longer. His the churches, passing froin lip to lip news heavy losses-by this time exceeding of the impending fall of Richmond. And yet, 10.000 men
it was difficult to believe it. To look up to and the utter demoli- the calm, beautiful sky of that Spring day, tion of his right, rendered it morally unassailed by one single noise of battle, to certain that to hold on was to insure
watch the streets, unvexed by artillery or
troops, stretching away into the quiet, hazy the capture or destruction of his atmosphere, and believe that the capital of army; and well he knew that his the Confederacy, so peaceful, so apparently veterans were the last hope of the
secure, was in a few hours to be the prey of
the enemy, and to be wrapped in the inferRebellion. For Grant was now at nal horrors of a conflagration! liberty to throw forward his left to “It was late in the afternoon when the
signs of evacuation became apparent to the the Appomattox; while it was mor- | incredulous. Wagons on the streets were ally certain that his cavalry would being hastily loaded at the departments soon clutch the railroad junction at
with boxes, trunks, &c., and driven to the
Danville dépôt. Those who had determined Burkesville, which had now become | to evacuate with the fugitive Government the jugular vein of the gasping Con
looked on with amazement; then, convinced
of the fact, rushed to follow the Governfederacy. At 10ļ A. M., therefore, he
ment's example. Vehicles suddenly rose to telegraphed to Davis in Richmond a premium value that was astounding; and à dispatch, containing very nearly
ten, fifteen, and even a hundred dollars, in
gold or Federal currency, was offered for a these words:
conveyance. Suddenly, as if by magic, the "My lines are broken in three places, streets became filled with men, walking as Richmond must be evacuated this evening."
though for a wager, and behind them excited
negroes with trunks, bundles, and luggage of That message found Mr. Davis, every description. All over the city, it was at 11 A. M., in church, where it was
the same-wagons, trunks, bandboxes, and
their owners, a mass of hurrying fugitives, handed to him, amid an awful hush; |
filling the streets. The banks were all open, and he immediately went quietly, 50-| and depositors were as busy as bees removberly out-never to return as Presi- |
ing their specie deposits; and the directors
were equally active in getting off their buldent of the Confederacy. No word | lion. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of
paper money was destroyed, both State and The roar of an immense conflagration Confederate. Night came; and with it caine sounded in their ears; tongues of flame confusion worse confounded. There was leaped from street to street; and in this no sleep for human eyes in Richmond that baleful glare were to be seen, as of demons, night.
the figures of busy plunderers, moving, "The City Council had met in the even- pushing, rioting, through the black smoke ing, and resolved to destroy all the liquor and into the open street, bearing away in the city, to avoid the disorder consequent every conceivable sort of plunder on the temptation to drink at such a time. “The scene at the commissary dépôt, at About the hour of inidnight, the work com- the head of the dock, beggared description. menced, under the direction of committees | Ilundreds of governinent wagons were loadof citizens in all the wards. Hundreds of ed with bacon, flour, and whisky, and barrels of lignor were rolled into the street, driven off in hot haste to join the retreatand the heads knocked in. The gutters ran ing army. Thronging about the dépôt were with a liquor freshet, and the fumes filled hundreds of men, women, and children, and impregnated the air. Fine cases of bot- / black and white, provided with capacious tled liquors were tossed into the street from bags, baskets, tubs, buckets, tin pans, and third-story windows, and wrecked into a aprons; cursing, pushing, and crowding; thousand pieces. As the work progressed, awaiting the throwing open of the doors, some straggling soldiers, retreating through and the order for each to help himself. the city, inanaged to get hold of a quantity “About sunrise, the doors were opened of the liquor. From that moment, law and to the populace; and a rush that almost order ceased to exist. Many of the stores seemed to carry the building off its foundawere pillaged; and the side-walks were en- tion was made, and hundreds of thousands cumbered with broken glass, where the of pounds of bacon, flour, &c., were soon thieves had smashed the windows in their swept away by a clamorous crowd." reckless haste to lay hands on the plunder within. The air was filled with wild cries
Our lines opposite Richmondof distress, or the yells of roving pillagers. that is, north of the James-had been
“But a more terrible eleinent was to ap- | held, since Oru's withdrawal sonthpear upon the scene. An order lad been issued froin Gen. Ewell's headquarters to ward, by Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, with fire the four principal tobacco warehouses Kautz's division of the 24th, and of the city-namely, the public warehouse, situated at the head of the basin, near the
Ashborne's and Thomas's divisions Petersburg railroad dépôt; Shockoe ware of the 25th corps, under instructions house, situated near the center of the city,
from Grant to make the utmost show side by side with the Gallego flour-mills; Mayo's warehouse, and Dibrell's warehouse, of strength and purpose to assault, on Cary-st., a square below Libby prison. so as to keep the enemy here in force,
“Late in the night, Mayor Mayo had dispatched, by a committee of citizens, a re
while the bulk of our army should be monstrance against this reckless military flanking and fighting him out of Peorder, which plainly put in jeopardy the
These instructions had
tersburg. whole business portion of Richmond. It was not heeded. Nothing was left for the been faithfully, efficiently obeyed; citizens but to submit to the destruction of though Longstreet, confronting Weittheir property. The warehouses were fired. The rams in the James river were blown
zel, had at length suspected the true up. The Richmond, Virginia, and another character of Grant's strategy, and one, were all blown to the four winds of
had himself, with a part of his force, heaven. The Patrick Henry, a receivingship, was scuttled. Such shipping, very lit moved southward to the help of Lee tle in amount, as was lying at the Richmond at Petersburg. Weitzel, however, wharves, was also fired, save the flag-oftruce steamer Allison.
persisted in speaking daggers, but “The bridges leading out of the city using none; and, throughout the namely, the Danville railroad bridge, the
memorable Sunday evening of the Petersburg railroad bridge, Mayo's bridge, leading to Manchester and the opposite side
Rebel Hegira, though his guns were of the James, were also fired, and were soon silent, his bands were vocal far into wrapped in flames. “Morning broke upon a scene such as
| the night, treating our friends behind those who witnessed it can never forget. I the opposite intrenchments with va